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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently started walking my dog in an expensive neighborhood next to us that I had rarely walked through and I noticed an XLR in the driveway of one simple 1960's home (easily valued at $3.5M+, even as a teardown) that appeared to have been sitting for a long time. It had a flat tire, there was a plastic bag jammed in between the driver's window and the roof, and upon further review I noticed that the registration expired in 2015. I somehow neglected to take pictures of it but when I got home, I thought to look on Google Streetview. In the 2017 streetview photo (below), it is in the same place, with the same tire looking flat/very low and something different stuffed in the window. Going back further, it was at this same house in 2011 and being driven because in that photo it is parked next to a larger Cadillac sedan that has a car cover on it.

While an XLR hadn't been a car I had been particularly seeking out, I do love the lines of it and I'm always intrigued by the opportunity to restore something that needs saving (partly how I ended up in this neighborhood, buying a house that developers were circling to teardown and restoring it). I was thinking I would try knocking on the door sometime or sending a letter - from an online search it appears a woman in her 80s lives there - it was perhaps her deceased husband's car and seeing if she was interested in selling it to a neighbor (me) that would like to restore it. I'm sure her other neighbors would appreciate it out of her driveway - hard to believe she hasn't been reported already. If she is open to it, is there a baseline - like if I can get it for $6-8K - that even if I bring it to my mechanic and it is a disaster that I can easily part out the headlights/tailights and a few other easy pieces and get much of my money back? I have restored several 1960s British sports cars myself but modern cars are definitely beyond my ability for doing serious work.

I'll go back tomorrow or Friday and take more pictures, see if I can get a VIN, get a plate and see if I can run it for more info and share on the forum along with my more detailed questions about what I should try to check if she was open to selling and let me poke around the car a bit. Is there anything in particular that I should try to get photos of that would help determine the year (sounds like 2004 and to a lesser extent 2005 can be more problematic) or anything critical.

Streetview images:
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Vehicle Car
Tire Wheel Land vehicle Vehicle Car
 

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looks like it gets washed or cleaned from time to time. sitting that long an 04/05 is only going to be worth what you stated. the fact the windows down some means it is bound to have some water inside and mildew. check on ebay and see instead of what people ask for headlights and taillights, see what they actually sell for. I am sure you can sell the parts for 6K or so if you have time and can check them out .I am betting they remember what they paid and that's what they want 20-30k hahaha Keep us posted and hope you can get a deal
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I went back today to take some more photos and get a closer look at the car and I think it may be too far gone - even just from a cosmetic perspective, not knowing what horrors lie in the drivetrain. I think 15 years ungaraged in the SoCal sun and 6 years without any care, no tint or window shade may have done it in.

Upon further review, I noticed the following:
-It is a 2005 model - I've got the VIN if there is anything else interesting I can tell from it
-Driver taillight appears to have some small cracks in it
-Both headlights are very cloudy
-All rubber seals around the top are bad
-It looks like there could be rust forming at the edge of the trunk lid and where the rear glass meets the frame around it, unless this is just dirt collecting in these areas (rust is pretty rare around here)
-Seats look like they have some wear and the sun beating on them in the same areas likely leads to irregularities in the fading
-Dashboard looks like it has some small cracks, unless those are just seams
-As is clear by the photo - presumably the window doesn't go all the way up and hasn't for at least 4 years

Big if, but if I could get it for next to nothing (maybe $2K or they donate to a charity I'm affiliated with and I buy from them) with the promise that I will do my best to save it - is there any path to getting it in decent shape and running without spending a fortune? It seems like you can get a decent example on BaT for $12-15K so the goal would be to save it for less than that.

It looks like it will need all the rubber seals around the top, doors, etc - are they still available? Can the headlights be made to look mediocre rather than horrible with something like Plast-X?

Any chance that the top would work? Does it run off of the regular battery or is there a separate accessory battery for it? If there are issues from sitting, are parts available/mildly reasonable?

My experience with engines is little British cars and 6 years without driving wouldn't be a big deal, I'd guess you could take the plugs out, put a little oil in each, put a new battery in and you could get it to run. This is obviously a much more sophisticated engine. What would that process be like? Would there be electronics or other issues that would keep it from turning over? Is there a chance it doesn't need a major overhaul?

How about the brakes? Are they likely to be working? I'm guessing they are rusted and the system needs to be bled but are there a lot of rubber components or other things that would have gone bad or been eaten by the brake fluid.

It sounds like the XLR has a fairly advanced suspension system - how much of a disaster is that to deal with? I had an SL years ago with an adjustable suspension which was very cool but also problematic and expensive.

Lots of ifs at this point, but if I could get it very cheap, I'm thinking I get it towed to my garage, go through whatever process to see if I can get it to turn over, get the brakes functional, then see if it drives, if it gets past that, then figure out the situation with the top and the cosmetics. If I give up on it somewhere along the way, I sell it as a parts car = how much value could there be (with the problems mentioned above))? Does that plan make sense?

I didn't want to bog the site down with a lot of high res images - so if you want to pore over a dozen images of the car and tell me what you notice - here is a Link to Hi-res Photos.

Here are a few images with some close-ups of some problem areas:

Wheel Tire Car Automotive tail & brake light Vehicle

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Hood


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Parts are extremely expensive when available. Some parts seem impossible to find. While they have some things in common with Vetts, there are parts that are XLR only. Just check out the cost for one headlight!
 

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those headlights can be made to look a little better but not much 04/05 when they get chicken scratches in them the scratches go all the way thru. You cannot sand and buff them out . Once the taillights start to crack on top the yals olet moisture go inside and would need a rebuild at 600 each. the Headlights like they are might bring 7-800 each but not much more .There is no rust as all the panels you see are SMC or plastic. Something caused it to be parked .Thats would be the first issue. The seals on the trunk look awful. that means the 3000$ suspension module is most likely shot so that the mag ride shocks will not work. The power top module is at the same place so there is another 1000$ If someone gave you he car after tires .going thru the brakes, hoses, seals, hoping you can save the interior with an oil and cleaning plus dye job , doing al lthe work yourself and shopping smart you would have 5-6000 in it . If I was close by I would most likely give 3000-3500 for it. the hood will sell the fenders , a few other parts that I can see would get my money back. I doubt I would spend the time or money to try and sell it. I might fix a few things, new battery and there is only one and if it ran well with fairly low mileage, I might get it road worthy fix a few things and try and make 1000 on it as is and move it on. That is a lot of "ifs" haha. I would be willing to say the owner wants 15-20K for it so that would end that in a heart beat. Oh and sitting that long the fuel pumps would 99% likely need to be pulled and replaced. Thats a 20 hour job for a novice and 4-500$ in parts .The whole rear has to come out to drop the tanks. dealer charges about 2500-3000
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Bion - that's the type of realism I needed to hear. I'll still drop her a note and see if she responds. If I could get it for basically nothing, it could be fun to drag it home and see what works and then find a more capable or appropriate home for it. More likely, maybe I could help her list it on BaT or something and she could get $3-4K for it and at least the parts would end up on eBay or something where other people could use them. My only interest is I hate to see a once great car (and now essentially a collection of some useable parts) slowly rot away. From what I can gather from looking online it may be owned by an elderly widow who doesn't drive anymore and it was either or her husband's car before he passed so she may have different motivations. Most likely, I won't hear back.
 

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you never can tell. I had an old car I used to asked owner to sell me 40 years ago. I asked him once a month. My buddy stopped and he sold it to him. My buddy said I will give you 800 for it and he said ok. I had just asked him if he would sell and later he told me , he didn't think I could pay 800. I would and could have given him 1200 so it never hurts to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
did you make her an offer yet?
I left her a note a week ago, introducing myself and asking if I could help her by either buying it, helping her list it online and find a buyer, or if she didn't want to sell, maybe I could get the window up and do a few things to help preserve it better. No response. I think I'll give it one more week and follow up with a simpler note, basically just offering her X amount and I'll get it out of her driveway. I walk by there almost every day so I'm always hoping I might see someone outside that I could talk to. In the meantime, trying to think about what that X amount should be. I'm not really interested or have the time to part it out and ship parts out and seems like if it is possible to save which is more interesting, I don't know that I could do it myself. Because of the limited run of these cars and at a price that most people aren't doing their own work, it doesn't seem like there are the online resources to be able to get detailed instructions, photos, videos, etc on how to fix things that I'm used to from my days of working on little British cars.
 

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welI I like to see them on the road. Parting them out is a hard way to go. you will sell a couple of parts then have 3/4 of a car sitting around for years till you have it hauled off. Shipping on door fenders hood etc cost almost what you get .Unless you are in an area that no one is parting any out I dont suggest it. I like the offer to get the window up. that will be a pretty good task. If she takes you up on it , I will be glad to walk you thru what will be needed .Battery will be dead so you have to have a key to open the trunk thru the bumper . Its a little work but I will be glad to help.
 
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