buying 97 Civic EX with 2000 Civic engine?

They seller is asking 3500USD. The car has 17" rims on it, paint looks fine, no visible rust, leather seats from a integra I believe, exhaust and intake
on it, lowered as far as you can go, can't get my finger between tires and fenders, carfax says there was a very minor damage reported (police report, 5 years ago) and it's been a lease car for a while, there is a kit around the car, front bumper is a little loose hanging half an inch lower... The engine is a 2000 Civic engine.. that's what's written on the valve cover. The car is a 97 Civic EX, red. On the right side I saw a few small dents spread over the passengerdoor and forward to the fender. That is all I saw wrong with it. I was told I can raise it up, it has coilovers.....? The odometer says 187000 but I don't know what the 2000 Civic engine has on it.
I'd like to know what others think of this and what would you do or check before buying this? I'm going to testdrive it in a few.
Thanks a lot.
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From your description it sounds like it probably was a young person's car and quite possibly was "beaten" by a previous owner. It's 8 yrs old and will be 9 in another 2~3 months. Most likely the lease occurred when the car was new and should be a non-issue. Lease returns are usually pretty good deals. However, the lease is ancient history as far as this car's background is concerned and the mileage on the car today suggests everything on the car (transmission, suspension, bearings, etc) with the possible exception of the engine has been driven "around the world" at least 7 times.
Kelly Blue Book for a '97 Civic EX w/187k on the clock says it's worth $1200 which assumes everything (A/C and all power accys) is in working order and no suspension mods needing to be undone. From your own description of the car I'd personally be scared to death of it even for $1000.

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I would avoid this vehicle; most likely most of the mods were done in a backyard. When you buy a used vehicle, buy one that has service records. You get what you pay for.
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