While I haven't had a list of tremedous vehicles I've driven, what I lack in quality I make up for in quantity.
My first two cars were Toyota Corollas. I started with a 1979 in white with 4 doors and a 5-speed manual. We got this from some relatives and my parents drove it for a year or so before I was old enough to drive. Unfortunately, I don't own photos of most of my vehicles (or most of my childhood). We didn't own a camera most of my life (crazy huh?) and it just was never a concern of mine to document these sorts of things. The '79 was a great learner car. It was a stick, and it was slow. So I got good experience but was limited in how quickly I could do stupid things. Eventually the clutch cable broke, and the car wasn't worth fixing with some of the other issues that began to crop up with it.
The second Corolla was a dirt brown 1978 2-door with the automatic transmission (was previously my grandparent's car). The only option it had was a rear window defroster. Both Corollas were glorified beer cans with wheels. I give thanks I was never in an accident in them. The only claim to fame for the brown car was that we sold it with nearly 300K on it for something like $500. The body was shot, everything mechanical worked, but barely. Suspension was laughable. But 4 years later the same guy who bought it was driving it around town still. You just couldn't kill it. A cockroach of cars.
The next car I got was a 1984 VW Rabbit. 4 doors, tan everywhere, and epically slow. My first front wheel drive car and my first hatchback. It was as uninspiring as a car could get, but it served me well until the distributor broke off in the motor. I regularly ferried about a half ton of offensive linemen home after football practice in this little car. Rear bumper just barely above rubbing pavement. Imagine three linemen in the back seat of a VW Rabbit. Yeah.
I started really paying attention to Studebaker trucks for the first time at this year's SDC Ohio Chapter meet in Tallmadge.
Contributed by Norman Kincaide.
The dust has settled from Saturday night’s demolition derby at the Arkansas Valley Fair. The aroma of teriyaki chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, turkey drum sticks, and cotton candy has all but dissipated with the sunrise.
This past Saturday, there was a charity car show in nearby Wadsworth benefitting the local youth basketball program. It was a perfect day for such things, sunny and comfortably warm with low humidity.
Here's some of what I saw.
Yes, folks, some cars just should not be 4-doors. A lot of folks felt this way when the Dodge Charger was reintroduced in the 2006 model year, but we did get used to it. For the most part. I know the cops sure did.
And usually, if a car has a back seat, I'd like back doors there. I learned my lesson in a 2-door Chevette about leaning forward to let folks in the back.
But there are some cars that no amount of time will ever pass to let them be. They are surely from, or should go to, the twilight zone.
After reading Chris Hafner's post, I realized that if I hadn't gone so Mazda-heavy, I could have gotten some great 20- and 30-year-old cars in my garage.
I wanted to try again, with a fresh slate. I hope you'll indulge me, and I hope you even find it entertaining.
But I've got to change the rules, slightly. I'll still have limitations, because limitations help channel and inspire creativity.
First change: no "car currently on sale" requirement. All cars need to be 20 to 30 years old. Maybe 15, at most. The point is to get cars that are old enough to be great value, but not so old as to be "classic". The point is to catch cars near the bottom part of the trough, where the value has declined as much as possible, but not to the point where the value starts to rebound from rarity/coolness.
Second change: I have to have exactly 20 cars. No more, no less. The point is to see how close I can get to the $100k total without going over, for exactly 20 cars.
Third change: All car prices will be according to the NADA "clean retail" price, but here's the twist: if you can manage to find a 20-year-old car in "clean retail" condition, it won't really be ready to go. The coolant system will be having problems, or it will consume oil as lustily as Vikings drank mead, or the paint will be starting to flake off, or a few minor rust points, or the alignment will be horribly off, or...you get the picture. A 20-year-old car that wasn't lovingly restored to new condition is going to have some issues. So right off the bat, I will budget $2000 per car to get it up to speed. That might go to a tune-up, or a paint job, or a replacement door + paint, or an alignment, or a new radiator, etc. That might be an underestimation, but we are starting with a "clean retail" example, so I think an average of $2000 will work.
That leaves me with $60,000 to get 20 cars. So I'm looking for cars I can get for averaging just about $3000 each.
That's the rules I have. Let's see what I come up with.
When Cookie the Dog's Owner proposed the $100K Fantasy Garage challenge, I was immediately intrigued. Who among us has not dreamed about which cars we'd purchase if only we had the funds available? This challenge is a license to mentally catalog our old and new favorites, weigh pros and cons, and show our tastes and brand loyalties through the creation of a carefully curated collection.
The genius in this challenge is the $100K value limit. Without that, we wouldn't have anything to keep us tied to reality. After all, why add a Mazda to your list when you could add a Maybach? Why add a CRX when you could add an FXX? But the $100K limit, combined with the requirement to include one brand new car, is almost perfect. A cool hundred grand sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go as far as one might imagine. I could easily concoct a scenario in which two very nice but still fairly ordinary vehicles consume the whole budget, so turning this into a true fantasy garage requires some creativity.
I chose to put my own spin on this challenge by laying out a series of tasks that I want the cars in my garage to fulfill, and then picking the cars I thought would best fill those roles. This required a lot of revision, as I shifted resources from one bucket to the next, and leaves me without some of my all-time favorites (omitting the Porsche 928, E28 BMW M5, and GMC Typhoon was pretty painful). Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with the results.
Since in some cases I'm linking off to listings on Craigslist and eBay there's a chance that those links will be dead fairly quickly. My apologies for that, but I'll try to capture some of the pertinent details in the text so that the story doesn't suffer too much.