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Article: Finding scarce parts can drive up the cost of flipping luxury cars


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Oct 7, 2006
New Hampshire
My XLR/V(s)
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Interesting article in the Tampa Bay Times regarding the scarcity of XLR parts:

Finding scarce parts can drive up the cost of flipping luxury cars

Malena Carollo
Tampa Bay Times staff writer

BROOKSVILLE — When the tail light on Jack O’Donnell’s 2006 Cadillac broke, he requested the part from his dealer, but came up dry. After calling all the Cadillac dealers in the area, a tail light for his model was still nowhere to be found. The only replacement he could find cost about $4,000 from a private seller.

"I’m afraid to drive the car now," the Brooksville retiree said. He wants to avoid any further expensive repairs.

The predicament facing 77-year-old O’Donnell and collectors like him is fairly unusual. But it shows how expensive it’s become when auto aficionados have no choice but to hunt the parts aftermarket for their vehicle because the original manufacturer has stopped producing them. And depending on the part, pickings can be particularly slim.

O’Donnell buys and maintains vehicles he thinks will be worth a decent sum in the future, primarily Chevrolet Camaros. The goal is to rebuild and repair them with original components to maintain the cars’ value, but when those are unavailable, he turns to a parts aftermarket.

This particular tail light in a General Motors Cadillac is one of a handful of components that are relatively scarce, potentially jeopardizing the car’s value.

"The car is depleted in value," he said.

O’Donnell’s car is a Cadillac XLR-V, "an experimental luxury roadster with a super charger on it," he said. Its specialized hard top pulls back into the trunk to become a convertible, and with 450 horsepower under the hood, "it’s an experience to drive," he said.

General Motors stopped making it in 2009. O’Donnell bought the platinum-colored 2006 model — the first version of the car available — because the first release of a vehicle is often worth the most money in the future.

Cadillacs are a longtime love for O’Donnell. The first time he ever saw one was when he was 8 years old, standing on a street in Miami. A man pulled up in a 1949 two-door Cadillac — black with chrome trim, swoop back, wire-spoked wheels. If you pushed on the tail light, it lifted up to reveal the gas tank.

"This is the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen," he remembers telling the driver.

"You can have one just like it," the man told him. "All you have to do is work hard."

"I’ve been stuck in that situation ever since," O’Donnell said. He ran home and began mowing grass to save up for one.

Full Story: Finding scarce parts can drive up the cost of flipping luxury cars


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Replacement parts can not be found.

I have enjoyed my 2008 XLR Platinum for 6 years. It just turned 25,000 miles yesterday, but I think it is time to move on. When I noticed the warning about the headlight following system I took it into the dealer and found out the part is discontinued. Now I have a dash pad that is coming loose, and again, no part to find. I will pay a high end upholstery shop to fix it then put it up for sale. I will miss this car, but the future looks bad for finding needed parts in the coming years.

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