In my 40 yrs of car ownership I have owned and driven: (x) yrs owned;
[xxx,yyy] xxx = purchase price, yyy = selling price
1. 65 Plymouth Fury III (1) Junk [$700,0]
2. 73 Merc Capri (2) a little better than Junk [2600,2000]
3. 76 Pontiac Firebird (2) Junk [5000,5000]
4. 79 Pontiac grand prix (14) Junk [9000,1300]
5. 90 Acura Integra (17+) Best by far and still going strong [12,000,n/a]
Total cost net of trade ins: $21,000
Estimated total cost of repairs (over 40 yrs) < $2,500
Needless to say I do almost all work myself
All cars were driven approx 12k/yr
1. 1974 Toyota Corolla 1200, $2525 brand new, not bad for a high school
kid. As far as maintenance, what's that?
2. 1969 Chevy 108 van. What's an oil change?
3. 1973 Volvo 1800ES. Nickled and dimed me almost to death when I flipped
it over. At 19 I thought I knew everything...
4. 1972 Toyota Corona. Wreck. Paid $2500 which was $2000 too much.
5. 1975 Dodge Aspen Wagon. Still only 19. Couldn't get out of it's own
way, and the three-on-the-tree didn't help.
6. 1978 Toyota Corolla 1200. Another car with an engine as big as a
Harley. This was a keeper, $4100 brand new. 21, and now know what oil
filter, spark plugs and wires do. Unfortunately, a 1972 Mustang didn't
want me to keep this car, only made it to 50,000.
7. 1980 Corolla SR5 "Trueno", but we didn't get the twin cam engine like
the rest of the world did. Got sideswiped while parked at 1 year, but the
work was done well. This went 6 years and 244,000 miles. A lot of stuff
done by me, but still limited...traded for
8. 1985 Corolla GTS (seeing a trend here?) "Trueno". This one *DID* get
the 1.6L Twin Cam, and an LSD as well. Never hit. Stolen twice. First time
I had to rebuild the car, second time they had to rebuild the thief.
258,000, last driven in 2004, still sitting in my back yard waiting for
"rust work"...and waiting. But that's another story.
9. 1990 Nissan 240SX. It had the looks! It had the balls! It had NO build
quality at all! The worst car I ever loved. Bought it in 2001 with
128,000, sold it as soon as I found out the timing chain was going. But
this car taught me brakes and a little more about electrical.
10. 1995 Toyota Tercel. Back to the econoboxes. A girl traded it in on a
purple 1999 Escort. I got it with 99,998 and ran it up to 140,000. Nice
11. 1994 Chrysler LHS. This was a freebie, and as much as I don't like big
American cars, this was a REALLY nice car! got it with 142,000 and traded
it with 168,000.
12. 1992 Plymouth Grand Voyager. It was a trade in I sold to someone who
kept it for a year and then gave it back. Same guy that gave me the LHS.
I gave it back to him 4 months later, with the doors fixed, one window
replaced and the sway bar reattached.
13. 1983 Toyota Tercel AWD wagon. Another freebie. It was rusty and
painted Krylon green, with an 'exterior white' house paint roof. I sanded
it all down, fiberglassed the rust and painted it BRIGHT YELLOW!!!! I
mean, Glow In The Dark! Drove it for a year, the rust started coming back,
so I gave it away and took in a...
14. 1985 Toyota Celica GTS. $250. A rolling wreck that kept rollong, till
it dropped a spring on a tire. That was enough. Wasn't good enough to put
any more effort into, even though a frien had just put in a 1991 2.4L
22R-E from a truck.
15. 1992 Plymouth Grand Voyager (another trend?)$400 This one was AWD, but
had no heat in the winter. Wish I had known about the blend door, because
I broke a bunch of bolts trying to get the water pump out. Gave it away.
16. 1988 Toyota Supra with a Sport Roof. $600. This is the reason the
Corolla is rusting into the grass behind the house. It ran well, but neede
a "few" things (gas tank, trans, timing belt...). It gets the money that
should be going to the Corolla. I sold the Tercel to buy with, with enough
cash left over for the timing belt (still hadn't learned enough to tackle
that job). Registered in 2006, it lives in a heated garage in the winter.
Was going to do the suspension this year, but the head gasket decided it
wanted all the attention. I am attempting this chore myself...
17. 1989 Mazda 626. This is a 'daily driver'. I paid $150 for it with
158,000 on it. Friday it rolled 190,000 and keeps chugging. It looks OK
outside, but is loaded with boxes and a tool kit for my job, and goes
about 75-125 miles a day. The first axle took me 9 hours. The second one
took me 3...
18. 2005 Scion tC. $15,650. Another car that spends most of it's time
parked and looking good. I traded the Chrysler LHS for it, a move I still
kick myself on a regular basis for. For a lousy $600, I should have kept
the LHS. Has 30,000 miles on it...just. If it rains, I take the Mazda.
Sometimes if it doesn't rain, I take the Mazda...
19. 1989 Subaru GL Hatchback, $480 3 speed AT and AWD. Bought this while I
was delivering newspapers while between jobs. It's a tank! When the Supra
comes off the road in Novemeber, the plates go on this. It too has started
returning to the element from which it came, but it runs great, so maybe
two more years. First timing belt job I ever did. And what a bonus! Not
one, but TWO belts! it was a snap! It also had a leaky head gasket, but
Bar's head gasket repair took care of that.
20. 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon. $200. Was on the road for a week when I
discovered it was overheating because of a BHG. Sits in the back yard,
waiting for a head gasket. Maybe in September...
21. 1992 Dodge Grand Caravan. Not AWD. Did I mention I play bass in a
band. These things are GREAT, and they made so many of them parts are a
dime a dozen, even from Chrysler. Needs an alternator. I'm lazy this
summer. Hey, I got the belt off, and didn't snap anything!
Also, brand new 1985 VW Jetta (acutally #9) $8500. I bought it for the
wife (first wife). What a POS. Regular oil changes, maintenance, and it
still fell apart. Traded it for a 1987 Toyota Corolla (#10) sedan $9200,
another great Toyota that wound up getting traded because the wife got a
cramp in her leg in rush hour and DEMANDED an AT, so after 14 months and
35,000 miles we traded for a 1988 Honda Accord 'stripper' (#11) $8650,
almost free because of the value of the Corolla. it was a leftover we
bought in early '88, and she kept it after the divorce in 1991. I think
because of the expert care it got early in it's life from me, it went to
220,000 miles. The second wife (and two kids) were packed into a....1992
Dodge Caravan!!! $12,750. Yes indeed. The first one. Had the 3.0 liter
Mitsubishi nightmare, but never caused any trouble.
My Favorites? Hard to say. All the Corollas were great cars, I think in
order the GTS, then the Corolla SR5, then the Supra, the Volvo, and the
Scion. The LHS is in here as well. I never really had a bad car, except
maybe the 1969 Nova beater I drove for three months and didn't even count
Here's the surprise. The most comfortable car out of them all is the '89
Subaru Hatch. This is a really comfortable car to drive, then the Honda.
This covers 55 years of my life.
33 Chev 2 door sedan.
34 Plymouth Coupe
1940 Willys Coupe
1941 Buick twin carbs straight 8 Sedan
1942 Chev Club Coupe (yes 1942)
1952 Ford F 100 truck
1956 Ford ThunderBird
1957 Ford F100 truck
1967 Ford Bronco
1970 GMC Suburban 4WD
1971 Ford F100 truck
1985 Cadallic Eldorado
1998 Oldsmobile 98
2001 Infiniti QX4 Best off road ever owned
2007 Dodge Grand Caravan.
Also 5 Harley Davidsons, Many Hondas, Yamahas, Kawasaki's
Still have the Infiniti and Dodge and 1 Yamaha.
So for the "junk" you wound up with an average cost of $388 per year.
For you "best" you are spending $588 (assuming you could get $2000 for
it now, which is unlikely) Looks like the "junk" was the better deal.
1. 1970 Olds Delta 88 $200
2. 1964 Chevrolet Corvair (didn't quite get this one on the road) $100
3. 1976 Chevrolet Caprice 4dr. $500
4. 1975 Ford Granada (the first & last Ford I will own) $500
5. 1991 Chevrolet S-10 pickup (my only new purchase) $9,000
6. 1982 Olds Cutlas Calais $1000
7. 1965 Chevrolet Corvair $1100 (daily driver for 6 years - put 50k on
8. 1989 Olds Cutlas Ciera (freebie)
9. 1982 Dodge Van (got it after my father passed away)
10. 1989 Plymouth Breeze (another freebie but needed motor) current
11. 2001 Dodge Ram Van 2500HD current vehicle
I did own several Corvairs that never made on the road too. The '64
listed above was road worthy, but being 16 at the time and not knowing
where parts were at the time I couldn't get her through inspection.
I would have to stop and think and write them down.I have owned a lot of
vehicles before, all of them I bought secondhand.
Currently, I own a 1914 Ford Model T Runabout Roadster car, a 1948
Willys Jeep, a 1978 Dodge Van, a 1983 Dodge van, and a 1976 made in
Germany Hercules moped.
I bought my first new car in 1971..so I guess I am close to having owed cars
for 40 years. I have a hard time remembering what they all cost, but here is
a shot at my list
1972 Ford Pinto - $2100 (?) - first new car. It was a terrific car. I drove
it to college for four rears and regularly autocrossed it. It did well.
After I graduated from college, I sold it to my Sister who drove it for
another 3 years. Then I got it back as a computer car and drove it for one
more year before selling it for somewhere around $600. In the 7 or 8 years
we owned it, it only needed three repairs - a starter (which burned up
becasue I had water in the gas but it was was under wrranty), a throttle
cable (it broke becasue I modified it to raise the accelerator pedal for
autocrossing) and a timing belt that broke when my sister owned the car. I
doubt we spent $100 on actual repairs in the time we owned the car.
1975 Datsun 280Z - $6500 - This was a new car that I bought this when I got
my first job out of college (1975). I only kept it for 3 years and around
50k miles. I loved the car but it did have some issues. The clutch was a
pain in the ass for as long as I owned the car. Virtually every componet
related to the clutch was replaced. I never got it working right, although
eventually the friend I sold it to claims he did (after replacing everything
again). The interior bits were fragile. I sold the car becasue after one
winter in Michigan it had already started to rust. I also had problems with
the fuel injection - the car would stall for no reason. Eventually we traced
that to a loose connection (after the dealer tried unsuccessfully to stick
me with the cost of a new fuel pump). The car constantly spit wheel covers
(I usually could find them, but had to buy several repalcemets). Shortly
after my friend bought the car, the exhaust system collasped internally
(leading to a "no power condition). It took us a day to figure that out.
1963 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 3 - I bought this car in pieces for $300 in
1977 and assembled it in the parking lot of an apartment while I was in
graduate school. It was a typical British car - I spent as much time fixing
it as I did driving it. The unique feature was the hand made (by me) wooden
dash (necessary beacause the car didn't come with one).
1968 Austin-Healey Sprite - I bought this car from under a pine tree in
1977. It had significant rust but ran. I intended to restore it, but sold it
when I got an out of state job. I never actually drove it except to take it
1978 Ford Fairmont Futura - Purchased new in 1978 for around $5300. This was
the first time I purrchased a car and regretted it before the car was a
month old. Mechanically the car was great. Cosmetically it was a disaster
area. It had runs in the paint, a body seam wasn't properly sealed (allowing
water into the passenger compartment), and it had a god awful vinyl roof.
But boy would it go. It had a 302 V8 and was much faster than the Datsun
280Z it replaced. It was also quiet. It handled reasonably well for such a
nose heavy car. I only kept it for about a year and 30k miles. I hated it.
1974 Jensen-Healey - I bought this off the side of the road (broken down)
in 1978. I fixed the problems (water pump, radiator, fuel pump) and drove it
for a couple of years. It was invoved in a chain collision and I did the
repairs myself. Eventually I got tired of the lack of A/C, the constant
drone of the engine, and the constant maintenance needed to keep it going
(clutch, transmission, valve adjustment, wheel alignment, etc., etc., etc.).
I loved the way it drove on a nice sunny day with the top down. In the
winter with a cheap hard top installed - not so much. I eventually sold the
car to a local guy who drove it for a few months and then burned up the
engine (engine fire when gasahol destroyed the fuel line tee between the
carburetors). I actually bough the wreck back, with intentions of repairing
it, but after I got married I never got the chance. I eventually sold the
car (and the parts car mentioned below) as a pacakage deal.
1974 Hensen-Healey - this was a wreck I bought for parts. It actually sort
of ran but it had been in a wreck and the front end was a mess.
1973 Ford Pinto - I bought this in 1979 from my older Sister to use while I
repaired the 1974 Jensen-Healey mentioned above. My parents had purchased
this Pinto new in 1972 for my Sisters to drive. My older sister finally got
a new car in 1979 and I bought this because I need a car to use temporarily
while I fixed the Jensen-Healey. I only drove it for about 6 months and then
sold it to a co-worker for his kids to drive. They drove if for at least
another 4 years before it weas sold again. Another terrific car. I never did
anything to it. The co-worker replaced a rocker arm to elimiate a valve tick
(my Sister was notorious for not having her oil changed).
1981 Plymouth Reliant K- Purchased new in 1980. I have no idea what I was
thinking when I bought this car. It drove great (2.2L, 4 speed manual). It
got decent gas mileage. It was quiet and very comfortable. However, in the
11 months I owned it, it was in the shop at least a dozen times (clutch
cable, transmissiom, dash rattles, accessory drive, etc., etc., etc.). I
traded it in after 11 months,. However, becasue this was the age of
inflation, I got almost as much for it in trade as I paid for it new (the
MSRP of cars increased weekly back then).
1981 Audi Coupe - I purchased this to replace the Plymouth. Decent car but
sort of dull. It had nice front seats. The rear seats were big but hard to
get into. The fuel economy was decent. I liked the car OK, but never really
"loved it." It took a year to get the A/C working properly and "properly"
was an exaggeration. I only kept if for 2.5 years and 50k miles (just got
bored with it).
1979 For Courier - My Father gave me this truck in 1982 when he got a new
Ranger. I drove it for less than a year. Only problem was a failed vaccum
modulator. BUT the thing had a horrible ride, no A/C, no room, and no radio.
I sold it and did not miss it.
1983 Mazada 626 Five Door - I purchased this new in 1983. I have no idea
why. Within weeks of buying it, I hated it. It didn't have enough head room.
The A/C never worked right. The rear package shelf and exterior trim faded
in less than 2 years. Yet, my Sister wanted the car, so I sold it to her
after 2 years. She drove it for a number of years but eventually it
developed over heating issues (blown head gasket) and she dumped it to.
1978 Ford Fiesta - I got this in 1985 when I sold my Sister the Mazda. I
loved this car! It was fun to drive. I kept it for only 3 years (135k total
miles). I did manage to burn a piston (driving flat out with the EGR not
working was probably a bad idea) but it only took a couple of hours to
replace the piston. If the car had A/C I would have kept it much longer.
1986 Mercury Sable - I ordered this car and picked it up early in 1986. I
loved the car. It was the best car I ever owned. Comfortable, good gas
mileage, roomy, reliable, etc. I drove it for 10 years and 135k miles. A
friend bought it and drvoe it past 200k before stuffing it into a tree. Did
I mention, I loved this car?
1983 Toyota Cressida - this car came with my wife. It was a horrid piece of
crap. It was slow, cramped, unreliable. The paint, trim, and interior bits
faded despite the fact the car was parked in a garage much of the time. The
alternator failed every August. The starter failed. The tranmsission started
acting up. The A/C failed. I hated this car. We dumped it with less than 50k
miles when it was 6 years old.
1986 Ford Ranger Pick-up. My father gave me this truck after it was damaged
in an accident. I repaired the damage and drove it for a year or so before
it was fatally damaged by a falling tree. The only part that ever failed was
the ignition module. Decent enough truck, and I would have kept it except
for the tree damage.
1989 Ford Taurus Wagon - bought this for the wife to replace the Cressida.
It had the 3.8L V6 which in my opinion was not as good as the 3.0L V6 in the
Sable. It went with the wife when we got divorced. It was reliable while we
were married, but the ex griped about it later. Not sure what the problem
was. Didn't really care.
1992 F150 - I bought htis to repalce the wrecked 1986 Ranger. Terrific
truck. I drove it for 14 years. Until it was 12 years old it never ahd any
problems. The last couple of years requied the A/C to be recharged and the
fuel pump replaced. I gave it to my son, who managed to damage
thetransmission. Rather than pay to fix a 14 year old truck, I sold it. It
turns out the transmission fix was only $600. It was an excellent truck that
got a lot of abuse on my farm.
1996 Ford Explorer - I bought this new in 1995. It was a nice vehicle. It
had the best front seats of any vehicle I ever owned (optional sports
seats). I only kept it a year and 32k miles becasue I decided I wanted an
Expedition. However, I was able to sell it for with in a few thousand of the
original price, so it worked out great.
1997 For Expedition - I ordered this truck and picked it up in May of 1997.
I loved it. I drove it for 5 years and 149k miles. Only significant problems
were a bad alternator and 1 bad coil pack. I traded it on a new 2003
Expedition in 2002.
2001 Ford Mustang GT Convertible- I bought this as a second car and loved
it. Only problem was a minor oil leak fixed under warranty. When my younger
son was about to 16 I decided to get rid of it. I miss it.
2003 Ford Expedition - I bought this to replace the 1997 Expedition. In some
ways it was better, but I never liked it as much. Only problem was a bad
power window (fixed under warranty). I decided I didn't need an SUV and sold
it with about 100k miles on the odometer.
2003 Saturn Vue - I bought this to replace the Mustang. It had a 4 cylinder
engine and the CVT transmission. As long as I drove it, it was fine. When my
son turned 16, I gave it to him to drive. It lasted less than 6 months
before the transmission failed (fixed under an extended warranty), then the
horn failed (required a new air bag ro fix), the coil assembly failed (might
have been related to the mud all over the engine), etc. I got rid of the car
at this point. I gave my son the F150 and bought myself a new truck.
2004 Ford Thunderbird - I bought this used (but with less than 3000 miles)
off of Ebay. I loved the car. Only real negative was the limited headroom
with the hardtop installed. I only kept the car for a couple of years and
30k miles. I never had any problems and sold it for almost as much as I
paid for it. I miss it.
2006 Nissan Frontier. I bought this to replace the F150 I gave to my son.
The truck had some nice features - good A/C, good 4WD system
with"electronic" traction control, great power, good tranmssions,etc. It
also had some significant negatives - poor load carrying capacity, a cramped
cabin (despite being an Kig Cab), lousy gas mileage. I drove it for about
65k miles. In the end, it jsut was not a good farm truck, or a good vehcile
for driving long distances. It is probably a great vehcile for an averaged
size person who doesn't really need a truck but wants one.
1992 (?) Firebird - I bought this POS for my Son. It was a horror show.
Eventually the engine started knocking (after I repalced the clutch and
shocks) and we ditched it.
2006 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe - not really my car, I bough it for my younger
son. After he trashed the Saturn Vue and the F150, I decided to try a new
car. This has worked out better. While the car was under warranty he had a
rear end problem, but since then, everything has been OK. It must be the
toughest car on the planet.
2000 Mercury Grand Marquis - When I sold the 203 Expedition, I purchased
this car from my Mother. I thought I would keep it as a people mover and the
2004 Thunderbird as my everyday car. This didn't work out. I hated the Grand
Marquis. It was dead solid reliable and got great gas mileage, but it was
too large and handled like crap (too spongy for me). I decided I had too
many cars in the lot, so eventually I traded it.
2007 Ford Fusion - I bought this to replace the Grand Marquis and the
Thunderbird. It is a great car. My only complaint is the relatively poor gas
mileage. I got a V6 AWD model. I like the AWD, but if I was buying again, I
would go for the FWD version. I've had the car for almost three years and
70k miles and have had zero problems. It is better than the 1986 Mercury
Sable in some ways, but overall I think the 1986 Sable was a better car (the
Sable was somewhat larger and got better gas mileage).
2008 Mazda3 - I bought this for my older son. I rarely drive it. It has
about 20k miles and zero problems. Only complaint is a weak A/C system.
2009 F150 4x4 SuperCab - I bought this last year to replace the Frontier. It
now has around 40k miles and has been perfect except for a bad tire
pressure sensor. It is a very roomy truck, get almost the same gas mileage
as the Frontier (but is not as fast), hauls tremendous loads, etc., etc. No
complaints, but I don't really think it is anything special. The ergonomics
are poor (at least compared to the old F150 or my Fusion or even the
Frontier). I think Ford is trying too hard to imitate the crappy look of
Toyota dashes - lots of big poorly located knobs. Ford could probably learn
a few good things from Toyota, but ergonomics is not one of them.
1980 to 2010 ---->>
1. June 1980 bought my first car, a black 1973 Chevrolet Impala sedan,
bought used for $1,500.00 Junkyard hauled it away in Feb 1983 for $75.00
2. 1968 Buick LeSabre Convertible, bought used for $600.00 Rear Quarters
& Trunk badly rotted out. Sold in Sept 1986 for $400.00
3. 1978 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 2 door. Bought Used for $1999.00 Bought
Aug 1986 with 89,000 miles. My new neighbor inherits the same car from a
dead uncle with only 600 miles on it - neighbor still has the car in
2010. Mine gets Stolen Dec 1986, found in the ghetto - where else! I
got it back 2 days later. Missing the 5 wheels, battery, trunk contents
& radio. Rear brake drums fell off when towed to a repair shop.
Spent the next 2-3 years fixing theft related damage. Both front springs
were broken 3 inches from the end of the pigtail ! The Frame was bent.
During the battery removal it was dropped on the upper radiator hose and
fractured the seal on the upper hose connector at the side tank. The
transmission went out six months after I got the car back. Internal
spline gear shattered from the result of doing neutral drops. But not
A Ziebart removable Sunroof added in 1988. The landau roof I removed
and had a body shop paint the roof the body color. Went to Disney World,
Denver, CO and Myrtle Beach, SC in 1988. Record high of 29,000 miles
that year. By Dec 1990 every other week $$$ had to be put into the car.
I was begining to travel more out of state (Joined some clubs and got
new friends who travel) so I decided to sell it and buy something more
dependable. Sold my 88 to a trucker in April 1991 with 196,000 miles. At
225,000 Louie had to install another differential. I found my Oldsmobile
13 years later in a Chicago junkyard with 329,000 miles on the odometer.
Painted on the quarter panel in yellow: " Motor junk ! Water in Oil".
The floor pans front & rear were gone. rotted away due to a leak
sunroof that was never fixed. Someone poured silicone sealer all over
the seal. I Drove home to get the camera to take pictures of the
car....The trucker moved to Wisconsin in 1992. So the car must of had a
one or more owners after I sold it to Louie in 1991, somehow it got back
down to Sweet Home Chicago, and it died back where it was originally
4. On Monday, Feb 4, 1991 the famed 91 Bonneville LE was purchased
with 6 miles on the odometer. This is my first new car. While I'm
starting out life with a new car, sadly 2 are ending, while coming home
from the Pontiac dealership with my new car, six blocks east from the
dealer honeymooner's returning from Aruba are killed minutes before I
pass through the same intersection. A car with 3 robbery suspects
crashes into the honeymooners Monte Carlo killing them instantly. The
robbers are unhurt (naturally ) & caught. Big write up in the paper the
next morning. 2 of the robbers are out of jail in less than 2 years.
A long history ensues with the Bonneville.
It takes me to places I've never been....Texas, Oklaholma,Salt Lake
City, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, The Badlands...and I finally find out:
Where The Hell Wall Drug is! Wall, SD. Other places included the biggest
Mall of America, Lake of The Woods, Coney Island, Hershey Park,
Pittsburgh, Ohio, The Jersey Shore and the Everglades. Who ever thought
you could drive to Sydney, Austrailia?........ok I made that one up.
Needless to say the car has been around.
2002 sees a whopping 34,000 miles by years end.
Labor Day 1995 hit 100,000, June 2001 saw 200,000 - 1/4 million miles in
2003 and 300,000 rolled over around January 2005. Around 304,000 mile
the engine developes a knock. Plans are in the works to buy a new car
before summer travels of 05'....but I have no idea what to buy.. In
July 2008 the rear window seal seperated from the body, it was removed
& the center section of the top was cut off. A trim shop made up a snap
on boat cover and sewed in a plastic window. Driveable in the rain &
winter. Car currenly running on only 5 cylinders - Possibly a bad cam.
Paint / clearcoat look bad, dull, haze cracks. The body is rusting and
rotting out now : - (
On nice days, take the top off and it works well as a lumber truck
hauing 4x8 sheets of plywood and 12 foot planks. The car gets a lot of
looks and compliments.
5. April 1996 bought car #5 (used) to help prolong the life of the
Bonneville, a 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier Z-24 convertible V6. Looked very
sharp. Sold in June of 2000. The car developed into a problem child in
about a year. You never knew if this car was going to run or not. Major
body work escaped detection of my now trained eye. I also missed seeing
the radiator pan bet and the condensor bowed in from being smashed. How
did I miss seeing that?? The car was stored in the winters. It had
39,000 on it in 1996 sold it with 89,000 miles for $2500.00 Went out of
state a few times with no problems. Went to Wisconsin Dells and as far
away as North Tonanwanda, NY, and the Pocono's in PA.
6. Car # 6 - 2005 Buick Park Avenue, a used rental car buy back from
Alamo in Boca Raton Florida to a Buick Caddy dealership in Hodgkins, IL,
where my main mechanic works. It has 13,000 miles. Just turned over
100,000 last week with the original spark plugs & Dex Cool in
While looking at the Buick I was looking closely at a 2003 Lincoln
Towncar with 30,000 miles. It was priced $4000 less than the Buick...
But one day when I went back to look at the Lincon I found the body
shops masking tape over the round back up sensors in the rear bumper -
which had been painted over, so the car must of gotten hit in the rear.
Some trace evidence on the quarters meant they were partially painted
too. Lucky it caught my eye that day ...BIG AL, My parts guy @ Chevy
run the vin # on the Lincoln. It turned out to be a California emissions
car. Several mechanic friends warned against buying it for that reason
alone....hello Buick, wanna be my friend for the next 20 years?
As you can see by my signature I still have # 4 & 6 and the mileage is
91 Bonneville 322,596
05 Park Avenue 100,234
For me, starting in 1964...
1962 Renault Dauphine (given to me by my dad)
1959 VW bug (first car I bought, in 1967)
196? Honda S90
1955 Mercedes 190SL (engine in a basket, literally)
1971 Honda CB350 (bought new)
1964 Dodge Dart (came with wife...1974)
1974 Chevy pickup
1968 BMW 2002
1976 Ford E150 (traded in Chevy pickup)
1980 Volvo sedan, diesel (traded BMW)
1981 Ford Cortina (leased when we lived in Scotland)
1980 Ford Fairmont wagon (when we returned to States)
1984 Ford Sierra (leased when we lived in Switzerland)
1986 Ford Taurus wagon (when we returned to States)
1967 BMW 1600
1991 Ford Aerostar (traded Taurus)
1993 Ford Ranger (traded E150)
1993 Ford Aerostar (traded 91 Aerostar)
1998 Chevy Astro (traded 93 Aerostar)
1999 Mazda Protege (kid's car)
2003 Mazda Protege (another's kid car)
2003 Mazda Protege (replaced other 2003 that was totaled)
2004 Ford Taurus
2007 Chevy Cobalt (kid's car, traded 99 Protege)
1990 Toyota Corolla (inherited from MIL)
2008 Honda CR-V (traded 98 Astro)
2008 Ford F250 Diesel (to pull our fifth wheel)
Jeez...I can't believe we've had that many cars.
I still have the CR-V, F250, Cobalt, 04 Protege, 04 Taurus, and 93
Ranger. The others were sold or traded along the way. The Ranger and
Taurus are for sale, or soon will be. I have no idea of TCO...I'd
probably rather no know. I don't recall any major problems with any of
them after the 74 Chevy and it wasn't bad, just got terrible mileage.
The 91 Aerostar puked its tranny at about 9k miles but it was fixed
You done good.
This is rough but accurate enough.
Tried to overestimate costs by about 25%.
TCO is cost of car and all repairs only.
But I did a lot the repairs myself and didn't add my time.
Rebuilt the engines on the Bug and F-100 for example.
Never got stranded due to a breakdown, but had 3 tows to a local shop.
ECU failed on the Celebrity, and ignition switch on the Corsica.
Primary ignition wire shorted on the Dart, my fault.
All bought used. Most were a good deal, some were pure blue book.
No idea about miles put on, except the Celebrity, which I put +150k
miles on, and I've put 50k miles on the Lumina so far.
Probably averaged about 15k miles a year on them, but some were purely
commuter cars, while others took long or cross-country trips.
After '73 usually had 2 cars at once, and had to have cars suitable
for hauling family on vacation.
All were running when junked, but I didn't feel right selling them due
to rust, so I disabled them before calling the boneyard tow truck.
Except when totaled or sold, rust put them to bed.
Car, Approx years owned, approx TCO. Final disposition. TCO includes
sales recoup when sold and insurance payment on the Skylark.
Had wheels since 1967.
'61 Pontiac Ventura (3, $1000) totaled
'64 Olds Holiday 88 (3, $600) sold
'64 Bug (5, $1800) junked
'67 VW Squareback (3, $600) sold
'66 Ford F-100 (7, $2000) bartered
'68 Skylark (2, $200) totaled
'71 Chevy Malibu (2, $1000) junked
'74 Dart Swinger (5, $800) sold
'76 Impala (5, $1500) gave away
'78 Beaueville Van (8, $4000) junked
'85 Cavalier (5, $1500) junked
'88 Celebrity (10,$8000) junked
'88 Beretta (5, $1500) junked
'90 Corsica (12,$3200) junked
'93 Grand Am (6, $4000) current
'97 Lumina Sedan (5, $3200) current
Favorite - Celebrity by a mile.
Least Favorite and Not Worth Talking About - Malibu. Fastest off the
line with 307, but tinny and burned a valve. Hated it.
Most Troublesome - VW Squareback. Hated it.
Fastest Rusting - Bug, Dart, Impala, Cavalier
Slowest Rusting - Corsica (Surprise!) F-100 was good except tailgate.
First with A/C - Impala
Car I Never Felt Was A Real Car - Dart
Cars I felt Were Cheap Ass Cars - Malibu, Beretta.
Prettiest Car - '64 Holiday 88
Ugliest Car - '71 Malibu
Most Fun, Easiest to Work On - Bug, F-100.
Best Highway MPG - Corsica (32), Celebrity, Lumina (30)
Worst Highway MPG - Beauville, F-100 (15-18)
Biggest Percentage of Shop Repairs in TCO - Squareback (synchros),
Corsica (struts) , Impala (trans)
Biggest Percentage of my time in repairs - Bug, Squareback, F-100,
Most Disappointing Single Flaw - Celebrity paint peeling.
Second and Third Most Disappointing Flaws - Lumina paint peeling, and
driver's seat collapse at door side.
Best sounding - F-100 352.
Worst Sounding - Cavalier 2.0, Corsica 2.2.
Dogs Off The Line - Cavalier, Corsica, both VW's, Dart
Most Quiet, Comfortable Road Cars - Celebrity 2.8, Lumina 3.1, Impala
Best Take Wife and 5 Kids Cross-Country - Beauville, hands down.
Best Disposable Grocery Getter - Corsica.
Cars I Was Sad to Part With - Skylark, Celebrity, Corisca.
Car I Almost Forgot - Skylark, which was a great car for the short
time I had it..
Best tracking suspension on any car I've had.
You could drive hundreds of miles without touching the steering wheel
by adjusting speed to highway grade.
Not that I did it that, but I noticed it and did it for miles at a
The small V-8, 300 I think, got decent mileage.
Got 50 bucks less than I paid for it from insurance when a kid totaled
it while it was parked. I was at a party at a friend's and we heard a
loud "CRASH" outside. Had to chase him a couple blocks to his house,
but his dad was cool about it and had his insurance take care of it.
Still drivable but the back was destroyed.
I put a rebuilt 2bbl on it when it started running rough.
Cost $25 for the carb. Dropped a wrench which holed the radiator so
paid about $25 for a new rad.
Lost a gear on the trans and had a shop rebuild the trans for $125.
That was about 1975. Man, repair costs have really skyrocketed.
Anyway, I've had mostly good luck with cars, and spent little money on
them. I have an ear and feel for them, and do some homework.
But luck enters in too.
The Celebrity was my favorite and most trouble-free, but I paid the
most for it. First six cylinder except for the Dart.
2 1/2 years old with 30k miles and cherry.
Nice having a "new" car.
But I'm one of those guys Mike Hunt mocks about buying hand-me-downs.
And that, my friends, when you add things up, allowed me to retire at
Sorry if that's "bad for the economy." It's been real good for mine.
Never been jealous about others buying new cars.
If I felt like doing that, I would.
But I started out young with an aversion to debt and depreciation and
that never left me.
I might buy a brand new car for my wife before I kick off.
I think women really like having a brand new car.
But I got a feeling she'd be happier with just a nice one a few years
old and pocket the difference to spend on stained glass lamps, jewelry
or a vacation.
She's pretty level-headed. Not counting lamps and jewelry.
Except for a very short period when I rented a car for one vacation,
I've always had a good road car I could jump into and take off
Of course when I was young and single the Bug qualified. Wouldn't
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