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Thread: Rent or Buy???

  1. Default Rent or Buy???

    Hey all, how is the Northern Autumn?

    I'm new to this forum. Seems to be lots of good info and experience here. I'm here with a bunch of thoughts, so if any of you can give me some advice it'd be great!

    My plan: I'm a New Zealander who arrives in San Francisco in late November. I have a few friends across the states that I want to visit, and I want to do it "the right way": I don't want to rent a modern Ford or Toyota, I want to buy a $2,000 Camaro/Firebird/similar from the late seventies to mid eighties, do as much as possible (hike in Yellowstone, go to Zion, Las Vegas, Texas panhandle, mississippi, and everything inbetween) and then sell it when I get to New York in mid January. I'm planning on around 6,000 miles. If I lose $1,000 on the car when I sell, that's fine. I think it'd still be cheaper than renting, and in any case a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the dying days of cheap gas.

    So yeah... just how crazy is that? Sound like it's do-able?

    My experience so far, and my concerns and questions:
    1) Multiple ~2,000mile road trips in old cars around the South Island of NZ, but usually with other people coming the whole way.
    2) Never owned an American car but have worked on them.
    3) Have found out alot about smogging and registration, but am still a little bit uneasy about insurance. Any tips for a foreign driver looking for cheap and nasty insurance?
    4) Have discovered craigslist. Any other good places to look? How do I sell a car really fast in New York?
    5) Been to the states a couple of times, I've travelled alot but not like this.
    6) I am a qualified mechanic, but I haven't done it as a job in 6 years. Happy to fix brakes but definitely not keen to buy a new engine or transmission halfway. Anyone aware of any public workshops (like where you can hire a hoist and tools for a day in a worst case scenario)?
    7) Anyone crazy enough to join in even part way?

    I know it's alot to ask, but if anyone can talk me out of this crazy idea, or can help me with advice on any of the above, I would be very appreciative!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Maybe you are a little unhinged....

    Quote Originally Posted by Unhinged Kiwi View Post
    My plan: I'm a New Zealander who arrives in San Francisco in late November.
    Let's see you are going to buy a used car, drive across the USA in middle of winter and sell the car in NY? Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! There are several posts on this Forum addressing those issues. Personally I would never recommend this plan, but since you are a mechanic and have knowledge it might work out OK.
    So yeah... just how crazy is that? Sound like it's do-able?
    Getting crazy (is sometimes) a good thing. Look through this "Gear Up" section for tips on insurance and buying and selling cars.


  3. Default Doing a little due diligence?

    You might want to check on car prices, both on the buying and selling end?

    One way to do this is the go to the internet site of a local newspaper for these places, and look in the classified ads to see what range of cars are in your budget or that you're interested in. Pretty much all the major local newspapers have web sites now. There are also used car sites as well -- is one. You might need to have the zip code (postal code) for where you want to start, and then look for available cars in a 30-50 mile range -- but they'll give you some of the listed prices for cars and let you look to see if any are available.

    Smog certificate has to be provided by a reputable dealer if you buy a car through a registered car dealer, I believe. If not, you can make it a condition of sale from a private party -- just to have a current one.

  4. Default

    Thanks for that, I've only been looking at craigslist so far - private sales only. But the prices look good and some of the cars look fine too. There are diamonds in the rough...

    I now have a really specific question on this: If I don't have a Cali address to register the vehicle to, what happens? How do I get a registration document? Would California send your registration to your NY address? Would you get some kind of temporary permit or something maybe? I can't find the info on "buying a california car when you're from another state" on any dmv websites!

    Thanks again for your help!!

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