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Anyone familiar with this Malaga '76 in San Diego?


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Hi all, 


I'm on the hunt for my first 2002 after many years of e30 ownership, and I believe i've found a pretty good starting point in a 1976 Malaga Red 2002 for sale in San Diego. The VIN is #2371709. It was recently on eBay (here's the auction link), and the high bidder apparently has been unresponsive since the auction ended. I had placed a bid as well, and so am now in touch with the seller to see if we can make a deal. The auction obviously had very little information to go on, but what's there looks pretty good (to my untrained eye at least). I have since had a long phone conversation with the seller to address some concerns of mine, and am receiving additional detailed photos of the interior, exterior, and engine bay. The new photos reveal what appears to be a largely stock vehicle, with suspension and engine mechanicals all reasonably intact. No obvious modifications that I can identify. Some rust is present as described in the photos below.


Here's the rub: I'm located in Oregon, so I need to coordinate airfare down to view the car, and get it inspected by someone who knows 2002s. Then, assuming all looks good I will either attempt to drive it back up 900 miles, or have it shipped. I'd prefer to drive it if possible, but that seems a bit risky. The seller (Joe) does not know much about the car - he seems to find old cars, drive them and fix them up slightly, then resell. So, he'll make a small profit, and there are basically no records to go with it. That makes it a bit tricky for me to determine the real-world value: It's a relatively original if slightly scruffy driver-quality Malaga '76, in CA, so the smog issue makes a dent in the value for that year. But, i'm in Oregon so it's less problematic. It appears to be largely original with an older repaint, without structural rust (but some older questionable rust repair and a current small hole in the rear seat pan). Does $6,500 seem like the right ballpark for such a car in today's market?


I'm hoping that the 2002faq community might recognize the car from a previous owner, and/or be able to point me in the direction of someone well-versed in 2002s to take a close look at it locally in the San Diego area. Are there any forum members who would be willing to meet up with me when I fly in to check out the car? Barring that, I would be willing to take it for a full PPI at a knowledgeable shop, but would prefer a more grassroots (less costly) option!


Finally, is there anything that should be a major red flag in what i've described or as shown in the attached photos? I have quite a few other detailed pictures that describe an overall intact older chassis, but these undercarriage images are the ones that give me some pause. 


It probably helps to share my goals for the car to see if this would be a good fit: overall, i'm looking for a good daily-driver quality '02 that I can live with in the short term while fixing small issues here and there over time. I'm not interested in originality - moreso I'm looking to make a long-term driver that I love, handles well, and maybe eventually has a bump in power. No real track aspirations, but I would like it to eventually be Auto-X capable, if for no other reason that to have confidence in its handling characteristics. Turbo flares, airdam, driving lights, and euro bumpers are not a priority, but I do have a weakness for modified '02s!



Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!!!








Edited by jlb
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Ahhhh, the textbook example of a '76 Flintstonemobile.  For some reason, '76s (only) had a propensity to rust out around those plugs in the front floorboards.  The only reason that I've ever seen--and it sounds plausible--is that the factory used a different, and apparently poorer quality sealer around those plugs.  That allowed water to leak in under the tarpaper, rusting the metal without the owner knowing it 'till he put his foot through the carpet.  Your pictures show one side (hard to tell which one--it's the second picture) that needs a bit of welding--shouldn't be a deal breaker but a good bargaining point for you (especially if you can weld it yourself).  The pax side isn't nearly as bad, but hard to tell if that's just surface rust and peeling undercoat, or some small holes.  


None of the underside pictures you posted are scary enough for you to walk away--at least according to my Rust Belt eyes...



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Thanks pigpen & otisdog - i'll figure out a way to get the car over to Carl @ LJI and see what they have to say. 


Those 'repairs' visible on the photos above kind of freak me out. I'll definitely need to get the car up on a lift and poke around to see what's going on. 


Anyone have an opinion on whether this is a reasonable pick up @ $6.5k? I'm trying to adjust to the new reality of 2002 values (much like e30 values), so it seems high to me, but then again looking at some of the 'sold' examples on BaT makes this seem about right. I do not believe there's any wiggle room downward on that price, unfortunately. 

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