First off, let's preface this conversation with some facts. When I say $1000 car, I mean one that has no major mechanical problems and can pass a state safety and emission test fairly easily. And gets you from Point A to B and every now and then Point C. Let's say your budget is $1000 (the reason why you want a car in that price range) the tax's and fee's alone are going to be up to 20% of that budget. For instance, a 7% Sales Tax would mean $70 Tax, plus $50 Smog and Safety Test, and $100 in DMV License Fee's. This totals $220 and makes up 22% of your budget.
Now we are talking about a $780 car! Let's say I go to a Salvage Auction because generally the cars there are cheaper due to the title and light damage. All Auctions have what they call a Buyer's Fee, a fee for this bid price would probably range in the $150 zone. This means we are now talking about a $630 car! This is before any of the damage on the car is repaired, remember we are buying cars that have damage, which is the reason we are getting them so cheap.
Much to the dismay of many Liberals, I prefer to be in the business of making a profit! Generally, the risk and time involved demands that I make a minimum profit that rewards my efforts. Therefore, if I am able to buy a reliable vehicle that I can honestly sell to a customer that can use it for at least 1 year under normal wear and tear, I would have to be purchasing it for no more than $300. Because after I fix the vehicle to make it road worthy and beyond, I am barely making a profit worth my time and efforts. We are talking less than $300 folks! I'm not greedy, but even that small of profit margin is slim for anyone's efforts.
Just like their is no such thing as penny candy anymore, I say their is no such thing as "Reliable" $1000 cars anymore. I firmly believe that it takes a minimum of $1500 to get into a reliable car including tax and license fee's. Even these are a rare find!
However, I have found one! I currently have a 1988 Toyota Corolla with 75k Miles in my inventory. It's in great condition considering the year and I have it only priced at $1500! We can talk about the Tax and License Fee's :)