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Carfax and TC Advice Needed

gostillerz

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Hi everyone. I was looking to buy this 05 Signature L. I got a Carfax report. Was in an accident, airbags deployed and totaled by the insurance company in January. How can a car that's been totaled still have a clean title? Also noticed the miles. In the picture, the mileage is lower than it was after the accident. I don't know much about car titles or Town Cars, but it's hard to find a Signature L near this price. Is this something to run away from?


 

bmarler

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sounds like a bit of shenanigans going on with that one. it is possible to "wash" a title by registering it in one state and then transferring to another. (i haven't done it, and don't know which states allow this but have heard from my other car guys) they must have changed the cluster or re-programmed it too. unless you totally don't care about resale value it's a hard pass. insurance company might have issue with it too...
 

gostillerz

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I called the Michigan DMV to check if maybe they didn't process the salvage title yet. They said for cars over a certain age, the salvage law only applies to cars that are totally unrebuildable. She verified the title is clear, and that PA would see it the same since they use the same software. And I don't see the seller messing with the miles, it's only a couple hundred off, just something that caught my eye.

I'm on the fence with this. If I did sell it, it wouldn't be for at least 5 years unless something major happened to it. This won't be a daily driver, just a summer road trip car like my 95 Fleetwood. Driven 2-3k a year then garaged all winter. He has it listed for $5200, now $4800 and says excellent condition. Even if it looks as good as the pics, it can't be excellent considering the accident, right? What would you offer? Prices here seem nuts for a TC. I've seen a few 05-07 Signatures with 150k miles and they're asking $7000. That's insane. Not sure what I'm going to do. This car is in Detroit, I'm in Pittsburgh so it's about a 4 hour drive. Don't mind the drive at all, just don't want to waste time you know?
 

bmarler

New member
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go look, inspect it well. small deviation in the odometer reading of a few hundred miles is nothing worth worrying about. i repair cars all the time. the work i do is often better than factory, and almost always better that if i hire it done. to find a car listed as excellent is truly possible, but like i said, inspect it well for defects, rust, etc...
 

04TC

Junior Member
63
9
8
Tampa, FL
The advertisement could be using pictures from before the accident. The Carfax says that a severe accident usually results in a salvage/junk title. Also, the Carfax says that the vehicle is exempt from odometer reporting, which means either the odometer isn't working or the mileage it is showing isn't accurate. But it was declared exempt recently (in March), and the insurance company had the car since the crash, so it probably hasn't been driven too many miles more since then. As bmarler said, you should definitely inspect it very well.

If it was me looking at the car, I wouldn't buy it, but I usually intend to keep my cars for longer than most people 'round these parts.
 

gostillerz

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What would be a good price to offer, providing the repairs were done correctly?
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bbf2530

Junior Member
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What would be a good price to offer, providing the repairs were done correctly?
Hi gostillerz. I would agree with others here who have recommended you do not buy that Town Car.

However, if you insist on buying, I would recommend you use KBB.com, Edmunds.com etc to work up several private party price quotes. Once you see and inspect the car, you can then work down from there. I know there are those who feel they can price a car better than those sources, but I personally would trust those sites better than a bunch of anonymous Internet people (that includes me), no matter how helpful and honest we may be trying. That is especially true when none of us can actually see the car.

And again, these are just my personal experiences and opinions.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
 
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gostillerz

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Thanks. My fiancée's old man is a mechanic, and I'm going to take it to one up there as well before I do anything. KBB was around $4500, but that doesn't account for the accident. The Carfax one does, and is saying $3740. That I can live with if the car checks out.

Besides the obvious frame and airbag, are there any model specific things to look out for? I was reading gears in the power seats, pedals and trunk leaks.
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
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Watch the panel alignment, hood looks off in the pic and drivers door looks a slightly different color.
Hard to tell with FB pics though.

The R letter on the trunk is missing which is annoyingly common.

The factory nav is just about useless at this point, and painful to try and use compared to what we have on
cell phones now. Not a bad radio though, the CD players crap out in them pretty regular.
Rare option, the nav, my 04 has it.

If the airbags went off I'd really want to see paperwork from who repaired it.
If it was young enough at the time it's possible it was done right, but those cars depreciated so
fast it's much more likely it was totaled and bought at auction and cheaply fixed for cheap resale.
I'd be mighty weary, lots of those cars out there and not a ton of demand.
I've seen some reeeealy nice cars of that era in salvage yards where they were totaled out for
not a lot of damage, worth too little to justify proper repair.
I really don't think $3700 is all that cheap even with kinda low miles.
KBB and such are generally optimistic unless there is a lot of active demand for
a given model.
 

gostillerz

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The missing R has been bugging the crap out of me since I saw the pics the first time haha. I figured that about the navigation. I have/had an 09 MKS and an 08 Caddy STS and they were terrible, mostly the interface. The car was definitely bought at an auction, and I noticed the door too. If it's really like that, whoever repainted it needs a new line of work. I can't tell on the hood, but with the hood open, the passenger side bumper looks pushed in a bit.

Does the air suspension light come on when the key is turned to on, then goes out when the car is running? And do the L's ride smoother with the extended wheelbase? If not, I might start looking at Designers as well. But any TC around here they want a ton of cash for. Small lot next town over has a regular 07 Signature with 127k miles and wants $7400.

I'm going to call the guy again in a bit, still might go for shits and giggles even if the car sucks. There's a couple of restaurants that looks good there haha.
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bbf2530

Junior Member
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The missing R has been bugging the crap out of me since I saw the pics the first time haha. I figured that about the navigation. I have/had an 09 MKS and an 08 Caddy STS and they were terrible, mostly the interface. The car was definitely bought at an auction, and I noticed the door too. If it's really like that, whoever repainted it needs a new line of work. I can't tell on the hood, but with the hood open, the passenger side bumper looks pushed in a bit.

Does the air suspension light come on when the key is turned to on, then goes out when the car is running? And do the L's ride smoother with the extended wheelbase? If not, I might start looking at Designers as well. But any TC around here they want a ton of cash for. Small lot next town over has a regular 07 Signature with 127k miles and wants $7400.

I'm going to call the guy again in a bit, still might go for shits and giggles even if the car sucks. There's a couple of restaurants that looks good there haha.
Hi gostillerz. Yes, the Air Suspension light should come on during the initial systems check, then go out. Apples to apples, the L version will not really ride any noticeable/appreciable amount smoother.

Also, looking at the photos briefly, the drivers side front fender and door are out of alignment and look to possibly be repainted.

Again, I would stay away. But if you insist, take it on an extended test drive and have your fiance's father put it on a lift and take a really close look at it first.

Oh...and forgot to mention. It is entirely possible for a "totalled" vehicle to have a clean title. In late 1989, few years after he retired, my father ordered and purchased a new 1990 Town Car. Unfortunately, he passed away a year and a half later. I kept the car for sentimental reasons...and because my wife loved driving it. On New Years Eve 2004, it was hit and run (the front left of the car) in front of my house. The insurance company "totalled" it and paid out the full value amount (yes, I still had Collision coverage on it), but let me keep it. I had it repaired and my wife drove it for two more years, until we purchased our first Lincoln MKZ and reluctantly sold the Town Car. The registration/title never changed. And yes, I did disclose it to the buyer, the car was in excellent condition for a ~17 year old car, and she agreed to my asking price. And of course, all this may vary in other States and other circumstances.

Keep us updated and good luck.
 
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wolf_walker

Junior Member
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Prices on these are super geographically rooted it seems like. Here in the midwest they are a dime a dozen but tend to have higher miles since everything is far apart out here. But they hold up so well for so long it's not that big a deal, my 230K 04 honestly looks as good or better cosmetically than that one, and it's still not anywhere near mechanically worn out. And mechanical stuff is cheap and simple on these. Car lots are always out of touch on prices, and as PT Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute so they get away with it. I'd be shooting for a private owned since new or maybe long time 2nd owner car with 120K ish on it that is cosmetically excellent, been garaged, has service records, etc. Anything from 04 up.

I wouldn't want an L if you're driving around town a lot, parking lots, etc. I would otherwise as they are basically "more of a good thing". Haven't had enough seat time to say if they ride that much better or such but I doubt it's a huge difference, much less so than dependant on what kind of dampers /tiresand the condition of them. They look a little odd with the long back door but it's minor.
I don't honestly think these cars ride especially well when compared to peers(of which there weren't/aren't many), but they do compared to smaller unibody vehicles. The charm is mostly in room, comfort, low price and ease/infrequency of maintenance. And they are really pretty, the aesthetic grew
on me, some really good design work went into them after the 03 facelift.
They are great, for the money..

Go drive a bunch, see how they strike you.
 

gostillerz

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Thanks guys. BBF2530, good eye man! I couldn't zoom in on the pics, so I screenshotted it and could then. Saw the top chrome not line up, figured that could be trim getting loose. But the bottom trim by the fender is the same. And that door isn't as reflective as the passenger one, doubt that's from a crappy pic. And I learned about the total/title stuff from the nice lady at the Michigan DMV.

Wolf, I'm looking to replace my 95 Cadillac Fleetwood. That's why I was looking at the extended wheelbase ones as they're closed in size. Basically I'm looking for a somewhat modern version of it. My daily driver is a F350 crew cab, so I'm used to the turning radius of the Titanic haha. Higher mileage doesn't bother me at all, I know panthers last forever. Drove to Cleveland last weekend to look at one with 200k, but the body was so bad on it. It doesn't help that I'm an impatient guy either.

Yinz are right though, I'm not going to go. Thanks for saving me some money and headaches haha.
 

All2kool

Senior Member
1,189
19
38
Portland, OR
I think the price is right for an LTC approaching 20 years in age with those low miles, especially for a LWB model. Are you planning on using this for Uber or Lyft? IIRC, the age limit on cars for either service is just about expired. And well, if you aren't going into the private limo service industry, there really is no need for that extra 6" of rear passenger space.
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wolf_walker

Junior Member
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If I was gonna ride in the back seat I'd want the L. My non-L has kids back there or it's empty so no big deal, but it's really not super leg-roomy
compared to the size of the car overall unless it's an L.
 

All2kool

Senior Member
1,189
19
38
Portland, OR
If I was gonna ride in the back seat I'd want the L. My non-L has kids back there or it's empty so no big deal, but it's really not super leg-roomy compared to the size of the car overall unless it's an L.
I operated a very private Town Car service for a number of years and seldom had more than a single passenger. They always rode in the rear passenger area with the front seat moved all the way forward. It was plenty of room.
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
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I have pretty long legs, and even with my short significant other in the passenger seat, the incongruity of
them not being fairly even front/back bugs me. Back seats are okay in the SWB version, but I'm used to LWB S class and 7 series,
takes the long Lincoln to compare to them. Back seat foot room isn't overly impressive in the SWB Germans either, just
the way things were designed back then. I like the ones with the fold down airline style tray tables on the front seat backs.
Jag did those so beautifully.
 

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