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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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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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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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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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