I was at an auction (just junk stuff, no cars) with my father and saw a Metro in the parking lot and mention to my dad that I wouldn't mind finding a nice one of those. He said my uncle had one and the estate was trying to sell it - my uncle had died the previous week. I called my aunt (executor) and asked the specifics and she didn't have a clue but someone wanted it and was about to give $1000 for it. I told her to make sure they wanted it and if they didn't I'd probably take it once she told me the year model, engine, options etc. My dad had seen it and said it was a $500 car if they were lucky and the person willing to give $1k will most likey back out, he was right.
The car turned out to be a 95lsi 3dr 3cyl with 77,000 miles. Sounded good and promising until they described it to me. Tires BAD, wouldn't start so I had no idea of good it ran. I told them I'd drive up and look at it anyway as they said he drove it until he got sick then it sat for a few months - "drive up" meant go from FL to PA. The next week we headed up in the truck with car dolly attached. Once my wife and I saw it she wasn't happy. It looked like a POS. Paint faded, missing hubcaps, smoked once we got it started, A/C didn't work, ran rough and it was dirty dirty dirty.
About 4 hours later - ran great (tune up), didn't smoke (changed oil), drove fine (new tires), looked great (shampooed interior, washed and wax - detailed w/clay bar, hubcaps were in the trunk now installed), A/C worked (charged it), battery charged from driving. I did this all BEFORE I told my aunt if I would buy it, I did tell her upon intially seeing it that it "looked to be a $500 car IF I could get it running". Since it was family and the estate needed $$$ I went ahead and gave $1k for it. Also the 4 hours I spent was around $190 plus the drive up was about $300 or so, so I had a little less than $1500 in it. Now with a CD player, FULL synthetic fluids EVERYWHERE and my racing disc hubcaps I have almost $1700 total in the car.
Result: a relatively low mileage (82k miles), nice looking, great running car that I have gotten over 50mpg with when driving easy. I love the car but the wife says I have too many toys so I told her IF gas breaks $3 for an extended period (a month or so) it will go to eBay as I'm SURE I'll get my money and then some out of it.