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  1. #1
    FEP Senior Member
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    Default Help evaluating a crash... Aero Fox

    Hi all

    Sorry for posting about an aero here, but honestly the 4eye community here is very knowledgeable and the cars are basically the same...

    I got the chance to buy this car, 1989 GT convertible, mostly original, has 160k miles, no mods. The car has a clean title and I checked the car fax and had no reports or any accidents (at least until 2011 when it was imported to Mexico). However the car has been in an accident at some point.

    Most noticeable from the outside is a large gap where the left fender meets the door in the upper section (which I know in convertibles its a typical area that gets large gaps because of body flex)

    Iīll describe what I see in each pic, and what is puzzling me is that I am finding many original parts (or at least they seem original), yet I see evidence of a frontal crash...



    First is the right part of the radiator support. I see evidence of a repair where it meets with the fender section, the 3 piece headlamps are new and there is evidence of a fiber glass repair in a section of the headlamp header panel


    Right section of the radiator support, looks OK. The car has what seems to be the original stickers, and thereīs a metal plaque with the last digits of the vin riveted to the core support. the numbers match with the carīs vin


    The lower section of the radiator support seems pretty straight to me...


    So... so far things donīt look bad. Yes its been hit on the right side, damage is there (Iīll show pics of the inner fender apron later as well) but seems OK...

    Now to the puzzling part...

  2. #2
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    Default

    Now to the areas of concern:
    Right Fender: Inner apron is in horrible shape and there are huge gaps where the fender meets the inner fender section.... but hereīs what puzzles me: shock towers look fine, with the original paint on them (even its faded on the left side), yet the two welded sections behind the shock tower seem to be misaligned (in my 81 Mustang they are very straight in comparison)

    [/URL]URL=http://s478.photobucket.com/user/rpliegos/media/Foto2_zpsl8pi0inf.jpg.html][/URL]

    The left side fender... gaps between the fender and inner fender are large as well, yet the inner fender apron is straighter, shock tower looks OK, but again the two welded reinforcements behind the shock tower are not straight
    Last edited by blueandsilver; 03-17-2017 at 01:16 PM.

  3. #3
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    Finally to the frame rails... both sides show damage (difficult to see in the pics) right in front of the shock towers, but are straight all the way towards the front where they meet with radiator support. From the shock tower to the back they are straight...

    Left:


    Right, the rail is also bent exactly in front of the shock tower (very similar to the previous pic). Couldnīt get a clear pic because its below the air filter box and between hoses.


    Last is the K member...


    What are your thoughts? I am not concerned about inner fender aprons and the frame rails, as I know they sell replacement parts (and everything in front of the shock tower is pretty much fixable), but what do you think about the rear sections behind the shock towers, and the door to fender gap (sorry I didnīt get a pic of that area).

    I know cheap body shops here would not be creative enough to get the radiator support stickers (they arenīt even available) and the tag with the vin number stamped on the support.... and fenders are easily replaced so the car probably doesnīt have the original fenders in it (couldnīt see any damage repairs).

    Iīm taking the car to a shop to lift it and take a detailed look at the floor pans as well (they seem straight, OK and without any sign of rust), what else should I look for?

  4. #4

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    A Carfax is NOT useless and it does have a purpose but it certainly is no guarantee of anything. It just says that insurance company that IS INSURING the car did not pay a claim on it. I have a '94 GT that has a spotless Carfax but it's been wrecked in the front AND back. They told me to notify my insurance company when I was hit by someone else and, of course, being smart, I did not. The accidents weren't my fault and my insurance company wasn't paying anything out so what purpose would that serve other than to get me classified as a high risk individual? Hence, the report shows no accidents. The other insurance company paid for the repairs and off I went. These cars are really fragile up front and if you have the tools and skills they aren't hard repair. I would want to not just put it on a rack, but on an ALIGNMENT rack to verify the car is square. I suspect the problem is you are smart and you care about the damage but a TON of shoppers out there just want a 5.0 and they will pay what he is asking. So you may just have to walk away. The fact is, it's been wrecked and therefore the value is lower than one in identical condition that has not been. Good luck, that is a nice car and those Recaros are awesome.

  5. #5

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    It looks to me like it was smacked pretty good. But that doesn't mean it can't be straight. I had a 88 SSP that ended up with the same type thing. But it did align right and drive straight.
    83 Mustang GT , A5 5 speed, 31 spline Cobra rear, LMR TRX, 302 being built, currently stock motor
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  6. #6
    FEP Senior Member Matt J's Avatar
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    Aligning fenders is not that easy to do, but a good shop should be able to do it if the substructure of the car is straight. So it's either not straight, or the shop wasn't that good. Either way, that's a big red flag. The fact that it was in Mexico is also a red flag, I have nothing against Mexico, but their reporting standards probably aren't the same as ours and it's one other thing to worry about. Paperwork gets more complicated, and a LOT of cars are stolen and brought over the border. If the VIN comes up clear you're probably okay, but you might want to check the tags carefully to make sure there's no chance they were altered. If you haven't bought it already, then I'd walk away. It's a nice looking car, but if it's been hit hard enough to notice AFTER the repairs are done, I'd wait for the next one to come up. If the price is so great that you just have to have it, then like Homer said it definitely needs to go on a frame machine to measure it out. A reputable body shop can tell you immediately if the repairs are good or not, everyone is happy to criticize other's work! I can tell you from experience with my 84 that these cars are pretty fragile when hit, especially the convertibles, and if the structure is already bent or stressed from a prior accident, I wouldn't want my kids in it. There are millions of these out there, you can find one that won't cause you issues down the road (remember you might want to sell it at some point yourself)!

    If there's been a claim filed then it would likely show up in the Carfax, no matter which insurer paid for it as all claim information goes into a national insurance database (to prevent fraud). I assume that's where Carfax gets their claim info. If the claim happened in Mexico, however, all bets are off as I have no idea what their reporting requirements are. If there was no claim because there was no insurance involved at all, then it wouldn't likely show up in Carfax either. You're doing the right thing by asking the right questions and doing your due diligence. Good luck!

  7. #7

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    Uhhh^^^^^ you DO realize that he IS in Mexico, right? LOL. I agree though, they are EASY to bend in the front so I wouldn't worry too much but I SURE would get it verified before buying it. And again, my car has still been wrecked twice and still has a spotless Carfax. They provide information but probably aren't worth what they charge for them. It is best effort at best and if you actually READ the Carfax agreement, they say as much. There still is a place for them and they have value, just don't put all your faith in ONLY a Carfax report.
    Last edited by homer302; 03-17-2017 at 05:59 PM.

  8. #8

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    My SVO was clocked in the left front and the rails were tweaked just like that. 10 hours later on the frame machine and new aprons and it's like new.


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  9. #9
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    Thanks a lot for the info guys! My guess is that the car was wrecked here in Mexico. We do not have any public records like in the US, so its pretty much impossible to know a carīs history. The title is clean and signed over to the guy who imported it here, so I assume is was legally bought, and it also has the legal documentation of the import.

    I will follow the advice and take it to the alignment rack, and check the damage from underneath.

    The price is good, the seller acknowledged it is damaged,

  10. #10
    FEP Supporter 82GTforME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 80fairmont View Post
    My SVO was clocked in the left front and the rails were tweaked just like that. 10 hours later on the frame machine and new aprons and it's like new.
    We had the same happen but it was slightly worse than yours and blueandsilver's pictures above. That doesn't look too bad.
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  11. #11
    FEP Super Member JTurbo's Avatar
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    Aero cars have the vin tag stickers on all of the front sheet metal. So if they have been replaced (or repainted) these small stickers will be missing.

    Based on the frame rails it does look like the car was nosed. They can be pulled straight but it's not a cheap fix - requires frame machine to straighten.

    The car appears to be in nice shape so depending on the purchase price and the cost of repairs, it could be a nice deal.

    Also, if the damage doesn't bother you, you could always just drive it like it is. It all depends on your goals for the car.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  12. #12
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    Thanks all! I got an aero car for a good price. Took it to a shop for a detailed evaluation, and as people commented the damage is not as bad and can be straightened in the machine. The engine is very good shape despite needing a full tune up, the tranny and rear diff are in good shape as well. The exterior is in good shape in general, but the interior needs to be redone, which I know is quite easy...

  13. #13

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    I hit a Cadillac at 40mph in my 87 tbird (same general chassis and engine bay). I was worried about a few crinkles and the lower radiator support( fan ate the radiator). After bending the support out with a tow rope and getting it running, I took it to a friend's frame shop. He looked at it and said it wasn't bent behind the shock towers and not to worry about it.

    Wish I took a picture of the Cadillac. The bird ate his whole trunk and neither drivers side door would open. If my bumper bracket weld wouldn't have broken off, pretty sure I would have drove my car home.
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
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