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daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
1/8/15 2:51 p.m.

My younger sister is currently living in Berkley CA (the real one). She has open job prospects (ie, no permanent plans) this coming spring.

I decided we should plan an adventure, I will fly out and we will drive the pacific coastal highway.

Hertz rents 911's out of SF airport. It would be a $3000 bill (plus gas and mileage) for that trip. I have no financial responsibilities, so I saved up.

Talking to family over Christmas, the question came up, why not get a clunker for 3k, and drive it into the ocean at the end of your trip. I agree mostly, but want to keep the car.

So that is where you guys come in!

I have a $3000 budget, cash in hand. My sisters prospects likely put her in the east coast by summer '15, so that opens options for CA cars which won't pass smog. If anyone is an expert on this, how long can you "temporarily" drive a non-smog in CA if your plans are to register in PA? Or could I register it in PA at the sale if I insure it?

If the car is under budget, the extra cash will go toward little sis' insurance/gas/repair budget. She is not mechanically inclined, nor understanding of mechanical sympathy. Ideally she would have the vehicle for personal transport (commutes to work with public transport) until the spring/summer.

Manual transmission is a must, with few exceptions.

My list of prospective (tainted by rust belt rarity) are:

80's-90's toyota pickups or SUV's. I would even consider a later camry if manual transmission.

Some type of older mercedes, not really picky as long as reliable. Auto okay.

early Lexus ls400. Auto obv okay.

Volvo wagon (I'm not sold, but she thinks they are cool) I said absolutely no auto.

dual fuel natural gas powered anything (per my fathers request)

Anything sporty or cool.

This was my first pick: mazda Lil' sis nixed it as she thinks its too ugly. Normally I wouldn't listen and buy anyways however there is a high probability she could blow it up before I got there in April.

So in summary: I want a sub 3k interesting car from SF to be bough remotely by my sister soon, and to still be alive in April for a road trip. Any ideas on what to look for, or good finds would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Mike

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
1/8/15 3:08 p.m.

If your sister is going to register and insure the car in CA you need smog, so just make sure the car is smogged prior to purchase. Collectible cars in CA have a premium if they are 1975 or older (no smog required.) If I were going to buy are car in CA and drive to PA I would look for a collectible 76-85 car that would be worth money in PA - i.e. no rust muscle car. The buy in will be cheaper in CA because you can't mod them, but you can mod once you get to PA. Z28, Trans AM, Monte SS, Vette, collectible Japanese iron, etc..

t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
1/8/15 3:12 p.m.

Saab 9-3 Turbo Vert. Your in CA get that top down!

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/4837242155.html

Oooo....Here you go. Eclipse GST, it's smogged.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/4810048490.html

Edit: Just make sure you're insured good, I was out there 2 years ago and was going to drive down the coastal highway, was headed out there and got rear ended on the way. Ruined that day and never got out there. The state minimum for liability is a joke.

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo Dork
1/8/15 3:22 p.m.

When buying a car to register here in CA, the smog cert has to be done by the seller, but when you go to look at cars you will find that many sellers aren't aware of this requirement or are unwilling to comply. There are sellers who will say things like "it just passed/will pass easily" or "the registration is still current" and you'll buy the car only to fail the smog test when you go have it done. Obviously check for working cats, CEL, and everything else you'd look at when buying a used car, but having a recent passing smog cert should be a requirement.

Smog cert is good for 90 days, if you get a car that has a passing smog cert from within that timeframe, registration will go smoothly.

rcutclif
rcutclif HalfDork
1/8/15 3:24 p.m.
t25torx wrote: Oooo....Here you go. Eclipse GST, it's smogged.

[That standalone engine management] is a good way to spend 80 thousand dollars.

You owe me a 10 second car.

It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or win by a mile.

/vindiesel

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
1/8/15 3:26 p.m.

As noted above 90 days to transfer ownership. That being said, it is not unknown (at least in the past) for people to wait a long time before transferring. They only giveaway, as far as I know, is if the registration is not current. Otherwise the only way you can get caught is to get pulled over for another offence and have the officer realize the pink slip was signed over 30 days ago (you would need to show the pink to show why you are driving someone else's car, unless you want to try for the "borrowing it from a friend" thing).

So, from my past experience (should be the same now), until the registration runs out, there should be no obvious issue. As far as insuring it, well, there maybe something there.

As hinted to above, you technically cannot legally sell a car that cannot be smogged (that needs one of course). If the buyer does not care, it's not an issue, but if they do, it's the sellers responsibility.

I am in So Cal, so I cannot help you find a car. I grew up in the bay area though, and if you are looking for Volvo wagons, THAT is the place to look, ESPECIALLY around Berkeley (seems to be a popular car with the tree hugging variety). San Francisco should also be a pretty big Volvo hot spot.

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
1/8/15 3:36 p.m.

I have a cousin who lives in Mountain View. He's a huge SAAB guy and Chump/LeMons racer, car guy so I'll ask him to keep an eye out for anything interesting and to let me know if there are any gotchas to be aware of (since I know little of cali registration laws).

I will say that I've "bought" two vehicles from Cali and driven them home to Oregon. Cali tags were current on both and I had the parental unit sign the title over and away we went. Oregon just registered it per normal procedures for an out of state car, so I'd say make it easy on yourself and use your home address for registration/documents (since that is where it will eventually be going anyway) and tell Cali to stick it.

Depending on your route, there are more than a few GRM'ers along the way that could lend a hand or just partake in a cool beverage or two. So let us know how the planning goes.

captdownshift
captdownshift Dork
1/8/15 3:48 p.m.
captdownshift
captdownshift Dork
1/8/15 4:02 p.m.
daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
1/8/15 4:08 p.m.
aircooled wrote: As noted above 90 days to transfer ownership. That being said, it is not unknown (at least in the past) for people to wait a long time before transferring. They only giveaway, as far as I know, is if the registration is not current. Otherwise the only way you can get caught is to get pulled over for another offence and have the officer realize the pink slip was signed over 30 days ago (you would need to show the pink to show why you are driving someone else's car, unless you want to try for the "borrowing it from a friend" thing). So, from my past experience (should be the same now), until the registration runs out, there should be no obvious issue. As far as insuring it, well, there maybe something there. As hinted to above, you technically cannot legally sell a car that cannot be smogged (that needs one of course). If the buyer does not care, it's not an issue, but if they do, it's the sellers responsibility. I am in So Cal, so I cannot help you find a car. I grew up in the bay area though, and if you are looking for Volvo wagons, THAT is the place to look, ESPECIALLY around Berkeley (seems to be a popular car with the tree hugging variety). San Francisco should also be a pretty big Volvo hot spot.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I just booked my flight, and will not be out there until april 9th. It would be super sweet to buy a car then transfer title and registration to my name and address in PA thus bypassing emissions baloney, but that leaves out 3.5 months of my sister having use of a vehicle. So I suppose we should focus on passing vehicles for now.

The 510 is sweet, but I have no way of getting it running from over here. The eclipse would be awesome if it was awd and 1st gen.

I stumbled on this: yota , she is gonna have a friend who understands cars give it a once over.

Although there is profit to be made bringing vintage iron back east, I'm not really looking to do that, I'm hoping to have an adventure with a unique parting gift I get to keep.

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
1/8/15 4:18 p.m.
captdownshift wrote: Manual Cressida drift sled in the making ranchero!! EK hatch a proper beetle

Cressida is sweet, but that body damage would melt the whole car after being exposed to moisture over here.

I put the ranchero on the list to check out! thanks!

I'm not going to be involved in a cross country trip with an original beetle, I'm adventurous, but not that much!

These are great! thanks!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
1/8/15 4:56 p.m.

Yeah, CA sez you have to re-register the vehicle to your name within 30 days, so that's usually enough to escape CA if you don't live there.

In your case I'd just keep an eye our for vehicles that are properly smogged. Or you could take a gamble and see if my 1st gen CRX passes CA smog . Speaking of which, I've seen a bunch of both 2nd gen CRXs and same age Civic Sis advertised for your budget or a little more in the Bay Area. Some of them are fugly, but some of them were super clean.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Reader
1/8/15 11:17 p.m.

Lots of sub $3k Miatas in the Bay Area. Great car for exploring the excellent coastal mountain roads. Here's a good example...

96 Miata

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Reader
1/8/15 11:31 p.m.

Nice looking Mitsubishi Starion. Something different, needs smog- new cat. Should be able to talk the seller down...

Starion

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
1/8/15 11:46 p.m.

Get a 'Vert, you're driving the coast road! Trust me, it's where I learned to drive.

Start in LA. Get a clean Miata, and sell it in Washington as a rust free car for a profit. Free trip perhaps?

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
1/8/15 11:57 p.m.
mr2peak wrote: Get a 'Vert, you're driving the coast road! Trust me, it's where I learned to drive. Start in LA. Get a clean Miata, and sell it in Washington as a rust free car for a profit. Free trip perhaps?

I own a rust free 91 miata. I do see the potential for bringing a rust free example back to the east coast for profit, but that isn't what I want to do. I want to experience something new or something long gone over here. (thus the want for 80's toyota pickups or non rusted mercedes)

The starion is interesting, but "needs tuneup" is too far gone to diagnose from the east coast. It would be convenient if it could pass smog for 3 months.

I'm not sure if I love honda's, I dd a CR-Z, it is a wonderful car but I just can't connect to it. I'm worried a crx would not excite me as well.

I love that ranchero,(I think its the one) but lil sis doesn't quite dig it.

Thanks, and keep the ideas coming!

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Reader
1/9/15 12:21 a.m.
Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Reader
1/9/15 12:47 a.m.

89 Mustang GT Vert.

Lots of Fox Mustangs in the price range. This one looks pretty clean.

bmwbav
bmwbav Reader
1/9/15 9:15 a.m.

The mustang is a great choice, a convertible is definitely the way to go. The PCH is congested a large majority of the time, but beautiful all the time. You want something fun at low speeds. A V8 mustang would be perfect. I think you would be very frustrated in that 911, putting along behind RV's for hours on end while paying a crazy rental rate.

nilfinite
nilfinite New Reader
1/9/15 12:49 p.m.

I live in SF. Moving from renting a Porsche to buying a clunker seems like a pretty huge change.

This is a pretty easy one in my mind. Use one of the peer to peer car rental companies. RelayRides or Getaround. There are some really awesome cars on there. I like this one: https://relayrides.com/car-rental/millbrae/bmw-z4/71453

Then give your sister the remainder. She can save up and buy a car thats suited for PA in PA. No need to pay to transfer the car across the nation.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
1/9/15 1:56 p.m.

As a Bay Area resident and car enthusiast, I think Nilfinite's idea is a good one. Owning a car in the Berkeley/Emeryville/San Francisco area is not fun. The areas are fairly densely populated. Traffic is bad. Parking can often be a pain. Gas, DMV fees, and insurance are pretty high, even for low value cars.

vdubinsd
vdubinsd New Reader
1/9/15 2:39 p.m.

Crafty devious idea here....with the insane back penalities CA imparts on back registration fees (for those smog-failing cars) I would search for one with a year or 2 expired tags. It is about a 3 hour drive over the sierras (which is beautiful drive) to Nevada; get one of our 30 day temp permits for a whopping $1.

If an address is needed (likely); I know a guy....

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo Dork
1/10/15 1:22 p.m.

not NorCal but I'm going to leave this here Sunchaser

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
1/10/15 1:31 p.m.
DuctTape&Bondo wrote: not NorCal but I'm going to leave this here Sunchaser

Wow are those bad pics.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltraDork
1/10/15 5:40 p.m.

If you sister were more in tune with the Genre, i would tell you to buy any of a host of classics that could be sold for the same or more than what she paid. Any of the usual Brit suspects would work; MGB or Triumph. Hard to go wrong with a solid 240Z if it is solid and sold on the east coast.

But if I think on it, what I would be looking for is as nice of a 10 year old pick-up truck as I could find. You were ready to eat a 3k loss by renting the porch, so I don't see how you could go wrong by having a rust-free pick-em-up for sale on the east cost for about what you paid for it 6 months ago.

As with all these opportunities, you make the money when you buy, so it will require a time and effort investment to get the right vehicle.

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