Low-Miles Skepticism

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If you read Angelo Van Bogart's latest "Under the Hood" blog you'll hear about and see the 19'66 Caprice that ex-Old Cars Weekly staff member Kenny Buttolph picked up last week. It's a very nice car with 19,000 miles showing on its odometer. Kenny has been involved in the hobby for years and knows how to spot a low-mileage car. I'm sure he checked his Caprice out very carefully. 

However, I have to admit I usually get skeptical when I hear stories about cars 40 or more years old that have unusually low odometer readings. Not Kenny's car, mind you, but cars in general.

I have seen many 100,000-mile-plus cars that were very well maintained and look like 20,000-mile cars. On the other hand, I have not seen many cars purchased only to be stored away and never driven. People buy cars to use them and it's easy to put thousands of miles on them with only minimal use. My girlfriend has a '97 Cadillac that she maintains meticulously and only drives once every two weeks. In the winter, it's used even less. And it already has 35,000 miles on it.

Years ago, cars did not have sealed speedometers that read to six digits and mileage laws were not as strict as they are today. So I can't help thinking that a lot of the "low-mileage" cars you see in the old-car hobby today are just well-preserved cars that rolled over the 100,000-mile mark rather gently.

What do you think? Click on "comments" below and tell me. 


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