Car News: Oversteer
The 6 Coolest One-Owner Cars For Sale on Autotrader
As you probably know, one-owner cars carry a premium on the used market simply because they've been cared for by one person, and driven in one fashion, throughout their lives. But while you expect most one-owner cars to be 4- or 5-year-old examples of normal, everyday models, occasionally a one-owner car will surprise you. These are the six most surprising one-owner cars I found currently listed for sale on Autotrader -- and while many listings incorrectly claim their cars to be "one owner," I've verified the Carfax reports on each vehicle listed here to prove that they've really only had one owner.
Ferrari models almost never record just one owner, largely due to a simple truth about Ferraris I developed many years ago: Rich people get bored fast. They buy a new Ferrari, they like it for a year, then they want the next new Ferrari. And Ferrari does a good job feeding the beast by coming out with a constant stream of new models, which helps entice their owners to trade up.
Well, this owner wasn't enticed. Here's a 1989 Ferrari Testarossa that was sold new in December 1989 to a buyer in Livingston, New Jersey, near New York. That owner kept the car, but virtually never drove it; at a March 2011 New Jersey state inspection, it had just 2,226 miles on the odometer -- and it's now for sale at the well-known exotic car dealership Isringhausen Imports in Springfield, Illinois, for $199,900 -- having covered just 2,560 miles in its 27-year lifespan.
This 1996 Jaguar XJS represents the final year of the controversial XJS model, which came out decades earlier in the 1970s. The only owner bought it new on June 18, 1996, in Plainview, New York, and drove it only sparingly: By June 2003, it had only 4,800 miles on the odometer. The current owner took the XJS to the Chicago area in 2004 and brought along the XJS, but it still didn't get much use (although it was involved in an accident in 2008) and now it's offered by Star Motor Sales in the Chicago suburbs with just 21,300 miles. It's priced from $25,985, which is a steep figure for an XJS -- but if anyone is looking for a show-quality example of the car, this one seems like it fits the bill.
This might just be my favorite car on this list -- and also probably the least likely car to retain just one owner. It's a 1995 Jeep Wrangler, and it was clearly used as a beach vehicle: the one and only owner bought it new on September 27, 1994, and registered it in the Outer Banks beach town of Hatteras, North Carolina. The owner moved to nearby Nags Head, North Carolina (also a beach town) in 2000, but kept the Jeep -- and retained it for another 17 years, giving it up only in January with less than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Interestingly, this Wrangler somehow ended up at a dealer auction in California, which is why it's currently offered for sale there by Car Expo in the Los Angeles area for $18,989. That's a big price -- but this is also likely one of the only one-owner '95 Wranglers on the market.
This 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL was registered new in Jacksonville, Florida, in late 1990, and it appears to have been with the same owner ever since -- likely a "snowbird" who went back and forth between Florida and West Virginia. Finished with a tremendously unusual teal blue exterior color, this 560SEL has covered just 27,700 miles since new -- many (if not all) of which were likely added in the sunny confines of Florida. Currently offered by a private seller in North Carolina who purchased it from the original owner just a few months ago, this S-Class is available for $34,500 -- a big asking price, but likely worth it if you think (as some do) that "W126"-body S-Class models will soon rise in value.
If you're looking for a family car that'll stand out from today's sea of minivans and crossovers, look no further: This 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 station wagon has covered just 45,000 miles from new, thanks to one (clearly careful) owner. Sold new on March 31, 1995, and registered in the small town of Rantoul, Illinois, it's now for sale from a private seller in nearby Urbana, Illinois, for $22,000. That's big money for a 22-year-old Mercedes wagon, but this is likely the nicest one in existence -- and as interest continues to increase in the "W124" Mercedes models, this one will almost surely find an owner to pamper it for the next 22 years.
Possibly the biggest surprise on this list is right here: this 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo, finished in silver with a black leather interior. Given the Supra's popularity with tuners and the car's recent rise in values, I figured there was no possible way this car could be with the original owner -- but, indeed, it is: The first owner bought it new April 9, 1994, in Napa, California, and has had it ever since. It's traveled just 56,000 miles since then, and it looks like the only modification is a set of aftermarket wheels. Now offered privately in Roseville, California for $44,000, this Supra Turbo appears to have just one drawback: Sorry, enthusiasts, but this one is an automatic.