Shinola vs Shine: 1999 Ford Contour vs 1993 Nissan 300ZX

Here is today’s quiz for the kids. Imagine you’ve got $2k to spend on a car that you need to drive twice a week to get somewhere. Don’t need to impress the inlaws or deliver Uber-eats, this is just an occasional driver, but you want something other than a clapped out Civic/Camry you could get for that price. You’ve got a choice between a 1993 Nissan 300ZX for $2200 that might have 37k or 378k miles on the odo and has been sitting for the better part of a decade…or you can get a sub 100k mile 1999 Ford Contour Sport offered for $1999 that looks about as nice as you can find for the age, but needs a transmission component to get back on the road. Either way…you are gonna get your hands dirty and have a sweet ride in the end.

From the seller of the Z:

1992 nisdan
condition: good
cylinders: 6 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 378558
paint color: grey
size: compact


title status: lien
transmission: manual
type: coupe
300zx with t-top been sitting seen 2014 with 37k miles starts buts need tune-up. Never been orginal paint, interior ok condition. Call show contact info
. Manual trans and leather seats

From the seller of the Contour:

1999 ford contour se
VIN: 3FAFP66L6XM102099
condition: fair
cylinders: 6 cylinders
drive: fwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 89900
paint color: custom
size: compact
title status: clean
transmission: automatic
type: sedan
PLEASE READ ENTIRE AD BEFORE TEXTING ME

We bought this 1999 Ford Contour Sport from the original owner. It was sitting many years in the garage, so right after purchase we did a lot of maintenance. All gaskets in the engine were replaced along with a few hoses. Coolant system was flushed and oil was changed. We purchased it for my wife as her first car. She drove it for 6 days after that the transmission stopped shifting. Luckily, I have a good mechanic (who replaced gaskets and fluids). He rebuilt the entire transmission but this didn’t solve the issue. I took it to the Star Ford Dealership in Glendale for inspection and the issue was found. PCM has miscommunication with the transmission. I was quoted $700 but this part is discontinued, and to get it brand new form Ford would take few months up to a year.

We bought another car for my wife, this one is just sitting in the backyard. Engine doesn’t have leaks, starts right up. There are a lot of used PCM’s on eBay, junkyards, and auto part stores. Cost is around $200. Transmission is fully rebuilt. Need to do a wheel alignment. Clean title, 89900 original miles, car comes with 3 keyes. It’s still drivable, but it’s not shifting in the next gears. Interior is like new. Since we purchased another vehicle, I don’t want to invest time and money into this car anymore. Asking price is much lower than what I’ve put into it. $2000 firm. Nice opportunity to have low mileage car with a great renewed engine and rebuilt transmission under $2500. Text only!

Which one would you pick? Neither…that’s interesting. So you’d rather get this 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S that you could drive home for the same price? Good call!