By on April 12, 2012

After taking a look at product planning and marketing for new cars, it’s time to take a step back into the supposed domain of Generation Why; used cars. And not just any old CPO Audi or two year old Civic either. We’re talking beaters.

As a pure thought exercise, I wanted to see what kind of car could be had for less than the cost of a monthly transit pass in Toronto. An adult Metropass, purchased monthly, is $126 ($115.50 if you commit to buying one every month via a subscription). Assuming a budget of $1512, I hit the Kijiji, a craigslist-esque site owned by Ebay, but widely used for selling cars in Canada, to see what was out there. Yes, I know, gas prices, maintenance, insurance all matter. Thank you for that bit of wisdom. That’s not the point here.

$500-$1000

1989 GMC Jimmy: 342,000 km but supposed “very clean”. $500

1996 Honda Odyssey: Supposedly has 100,000 km and a new engine. Sounds dubious, but I like them because I got shuttled around in one for a lot of my childhood. It’s basically a tall Accord wagon with a third row. $500

1992 Ford Aerostar: That bitch made him take THREE Aerostars! $500

 1990 Suzuki Sidekick Custom Buggy: This is real Canadiana. Probably not road legal. $500

$1000-$1500

1999 Honda Civic: Manual, fairly low mileage, lots of new parts. Can’t go wrong. $1200

1994 Ford Taurus SHO: Oh yeah, my Grandma had one just like that! $1400

1997 Ford F-150: You may need a truck in your life. $1000

1997 Acura EL. The sub and amp are $150 extra. Remember that.

$1500 – The cream of the crop

1989 Volvo 240DL: The classic “beater” car. $1500

1990 Acura Integra GS: Lots of new parts. Automatic. $1500

1987 Ford Crown Victoria: “Senior couple selling their well pampered Crown Victoria.” It’s Brown. Paging Sajeev.

2000 Nissan Maxima: These apparently have automatic transmission failures. Get it checked by someone more knowledgeable than your friendly neighborhood TTAC writer.

This is just a small sample of what can be bought on the cheap. There are literally thousands of beaters available under $1500. Not all of them are crap. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see a man about an Audi 5000 Quattro Turbo with a 5-speed…

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73 Comments on “What Can You Buy That Costs Less Than A Bus Pass?...”


  • avatar
    Wagon Of Fury

    Purchase price =! Operating price.

    Did Golinski or whatever his name is steal your login and post this?

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Seems like we have a similar crop of crap-wagons over on the west coast, except with probably less rust. When it comes to the flexibility of mobility I have always chosen the car over public transport, even if it costs a little bit more.
    In British Columbia however it is more than just a ‘little’ bit more. We have a government run monopoly in charge of ALL insurance (ICBC), so even you manage to find the cheapest crap-can around (like my old $250 Dodge Aries) it will still cost you anything from $900-$1500 a year to insure. Add to that the extra tax you have to pay on gas for the privilege of living within the borders of the of Metro Vancouver, along with having to get your car ‘aircared’ every year, driving on the cheap becomes next to impossible. Believe it or not, I found that the overall cost of driving to be cheaper in the UK, even with road tax and silly gas (petrol) prices.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      I agree, the car insurance is a killer in BC. If a beater Dodge Aries wagon didn’t cost me $1200 just for a year of ICBC Basic Autoplan, I’d have one parked outside. I’d rather just pocket the $1200 + gas + tires + maintenance money and take my chances with the U-Pass on the cramped and delayed buses.

      Scooters aren’t bad to insure around here though. 49 cc bikes are about $220 a year, and safe driving discount does not apply. The next step up is $340-440/yr to insure a 110-399 cc motorcycle or scooter after discount. Collision and comprehensive is an additional $300 via third party.

      Past 400 ccs, and the insurance rates soar. ICBC doesn’t rate bikes by power to weight ratio, but by displacement.

      Maybe I’ll slap collector’s plates on an Aries wagon. Can’t drive to work or school though…

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        You only get cheap collector plate rates if you have another vehicle insured on normal plates.
        As for expensive, if you think that $1200 is bad, my current ride (Chevy Cobalt) being newish and still being paid for, the finance dictates that I must have full comprehensive insurance. Wanna know how much that hurts? $3000 a year. My last new car (similar price new as the Cobalt) in the UK cost me the equivalent of $600 per year for the same level of coverage. It’s absolutely f**king insane.

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        Are drz-400′s popular there? I’ve heard they are quite peppy (0-60 in 5.5 so I’ve heard…)

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        3K wow, whiskey tango foxtrot. There’s something really wrong with that, I’ve never been as far west as BC, but from what I have seen of Canada its pretty wide open and generally speaking a car is not an unnecessary thing. Most of that are taxes I presume, its not as if a Cobalt is a big money car to replace.repair if damaged.

    • 0 avatar
      cutchemist42

      Yep, it’s the same in Manitoba. The government run insurance is used to distort the market in my opinion away from older, polluting cars that my left-leaning provincial government hates.

      Our motorcycle insurance is way worse then yours though. It would be hard to get an under-500cc motorcycle insured in Manitoba under $900.

      Does BC have safeties as well?

      • 0 avatar

        Here in Quebec I pay 100$ a year to insure my Ducati.

        I pay 1100$ for the registration. Last year it was 1500$.

        Part of a SAAQ pogrom/cash grab against “high risk motorcycles”. Before 2006 all bikes were 250$ a year. Then they blacklisted anything considered sport from 1985 to present. And doubled the rates for non-sport at the same time (it’s 500$ for a 400cc+ bike that is not on the dreaded list, or for a naked sport bike, because fairings = death machine).

        Coincidentally this started at the same time that the SAAQ was given a mandate to turn around a major deficit before 2015.

  • avatar
    jco

    that Suzuki (?) looks like a garden shed with some headlights on it. i don’t even..

  • avatar
    M.S. Smith

    “Yes, I know, gas prices, maintenance, insurance all matter. Thank you for that bit of wisdom. That’s not the point here.”

    So you’re saying it’s cheaper for an old car to sit in your driveway than it is to take the bus?

    Interesting. But not very useful for going anywhere.

    • 0 avatar

      I was looking solely at purchase price. Insurance, fuel consumption and maintenance varies wildly.

      • 0 avatar
        M.S. Smith

        Yes. And I’m saying this is not very informative. Because those are all required to actually drive the car, and so while you can certainly buy a car for less than twelve bus passes, you can’t do anything with it.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        What the hades kind of insurance bill are you looking at on an old beater you only have to carry liability on anyway? I spend more on Netflix than I do insuring my Reagan-era Sedan de Ville.

        As for the list, sign me up for the Brown Vic. Low miles on a church cruiser 5.0 Windsor? That thing will be bringing down neighborhood property values for years to come.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    An ’89 Volvo 240 for only $1500? There must be something seriously wrong with it or some Swedeophile would be all over it already.

    Two tons of fun:

    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/wsh/cto/2927178584.html

    although it does need a bit of work:
    - bad O2 sensor (who cares?)
    - exhaust leak (readily fixed with extra-strength, high-temp duct tape)

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      That’s all those things go for around here (PA) at this point they all have 250K+, and I have a few Volvo-obssesed friends. Had a friend pick up a ’93 940 w/212K for $500 which ran rough and needed about $500 in parts. Those 80s/90s vintage Volvos are either garage queen classics or deep in beater territory by 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Most 240′s go for that much with a few issues, the thing with 240′s though is they’re very pricey to fix.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        How do you figure? They are about as complicated as anvils, and the parts are quite reasonable as European cars go. The only thing that kills them is rust and accidents.

        I expect that ANY used car that I buy will need $500-1000 worth of parts thrown at it immediately.

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      That’s about what an inspectable, not-too-rusty 240 with some missing trim goes for in New Hampshire – sometimes they aren’t even worth that. If you want a real shock, 740s are worth even /less/, as they’re mechanically similar but uglier.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I kinda liked the 740 look more personally. From what I was told though, they are mechanically similar if not identical but the interior/options were better on the 740. The 240 was designed to be as simple as can be in order to increase longevity. The 740 was a response to the tarted up luxo barges of the 80s with their fancy power windows, airbags, computers and whatnot. Evidently the interior plastic & door handles are more likely to break on the 740 as well.

  • avatar
    jogrd

    I looked at an F350 flatdeck for $500 Canadian last week. It seems there have been a lot of older trucks for sale here lately in the $1500 and less range in passable condition.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    For low prices it helps to look at long dead brands like Oldsmobile (sniff), Plymouth, GEO… soon Mercury and Pontiac.

    • 0 avatar
      pleiter

      Yeah weren’t Oldsmobile Achievena’s topped out at $300 not to long ago ?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I kind of want an Olds Aurora (Gen-1/Bomber) but only if I can get that garage kept one I drive by every so often when I go to visit my lady friend. I can see it every time tucked in this garage in perfect shape. I imagine it’s some old farmers “last new car” and he’ll hold it till he passes. Still I can imagine I can snag it for 1500 and enjoy that awesome mid-90s styling well into the 2030′s. It has aged more than gracefully thus far.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I do love the gen 1 Aurora’s styling, if only they didn’t try so hard to make it stand out and load it up with a junk engine you’d see more of them around. I realize the model debuted in early ’94, but by late ’96 with the 3800 Series II debut, you could have had a supercharged V6 with more torgue and almost identical horsepower (240@5200rpm) to the Aurora 4.0 V8 (250@5600RPM). That sort of thing was symptomatic of Old GM.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    That ’99 Civic is a steal at that price, even if the engine is probably getting a bit tired (D16Y7 most likely, not one of Honda’s longest-living powerplants).

    Ooh, but the color . . . a built-in theft deterrent?

    • 0 avatar
      RV1458

      I agree, that Civic is a steal. Around here that would be 4x that much. How hard is it to import a car from Canada? I’m going to start doing all my used car shopping north of the border!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The urge to own Barney the Civic cost the owner at least $2,500 in resale.

    • 0 avatar
      thesilence

      It’s a 1997, not 99.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Actually, that color isn’t bad at all and I’m assuming it has the immobilizer system as many cars got them as early as 1997-98 for most models and virtually all marquess were using it on some, if not all their models by then.

      I know the Mazda Protege never got the immobilizer but the 2004 Mazda 3 did as by then, all Mazdas had them.

      I like how the Civic’s color is a bluish purple, I can live with that very nicely (and I happen to like both blue and purple).

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    My picks of that list are the ’99 Civic, ’94 SHO, and the ’89 240 brick, in that order. The only thing I see killing you on the Civic would be rot or a timing belt (unless those are chain driven?). The SHO and 240 could suffer the same rot issues, and on the SHO possibly the transmission… mid ninetys Ford auto trannys were hit and miss IIRC. Pick your poison.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      IIRC ’94 was the first or second year of the autobox SHO. Prior to that they were all manuals. I think Ford had to work awhile to come up with a FWD transaxle and autobox that could handle the torque of the SHO engine. So, I don’t think it’s the same crappy box that the other Tauruses of the era had. Whether that’s a good think, I don’t know.

      I do know, as a 10-year owner of a 92 SHO that the clutch in that vintage SHO was pretty fragile. The throw-out bearing on mine failed at something like 40K miles. Supposedly, it was a clutch from a Mazda pickup truck or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      The advantage to the Volvo would be the engine is non-interference and the timing belt can be changed without pulling everything out, other than maybe the fan.

      Chicago uses so much salt each winter I can’t imagine any car surviving for fifteen years but there are a lot of beater 240s chugging around town, along with the occasional long-owned garage queen.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        ’86-on Volvos are fairly solid and well-galvanised, with ’90+ 740s (and 940/960s) being the most impervious to corrosion. I junked an ’89 244 (built 4/88) after the rockers and trunk floor disintegrated, but my other ’89 (3/89) has been luckier thanks to years of oiling – no rust-through that I know of, but a couple of surface patches I need to sort out.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Timing belts on Civics I know go for at least 90Kmiles and they are NOT that expensive to have done and it’s not that difficult to DIY even. I believe this iteration still uses belts as most OHC motors tend to.

      I don’t recall what it cost in my 1988 Honda Accord but it was well under a grand, seemed to me it was a $400 or so job back in I think 2004 or 05 – and that includes the water pump while one’s at it since you have to remove the timing belt to get to it when it goes so it’s usually done when you replace the timing belt and it actually costs you less to do it that way (less labor that is).

      At least it used to be that way, don’t know about Honda motors post 1989 though.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Around here in FL, the best deals to be had are on the “little old lady” cars that pop up fairly often. lots of mid-80s FWD American cars with 30-60k miles, garage kept, great shape, mostly have been parked for the last 5 yrs or so while granny was unable to drive, but didnt want to give up her wheels. They are usually gold or beige, if you get lucky silvery blue, no young person wants to be caught dead in one so they haven’t yet been destroyed with chrome wheels or Pep Boys accessories, but they are usually extremely well maintained. The sweet spot seems to be around $2500, though I have seen some as low as $1500 (they go real quick), or as high as $4k. The price is highly dependent on if granny is still alive trying to sell it herself, or if some greedy grandson is involved and hoping to get enough money off the car that was given to him so he can buy a clapped out Infiniti instead.

    I recently saw a 83 Camaro, mint condition base model with only 25k miles on it for $4k, probably a 4-cyl but seems like a steal to drop a crate motor in. The one I wished I had grabbed was a 85 Olds Calais coupe, white with a burgandy interior, in AMAZING condition, 50k miles, Quad4, auto, it even had brand new tires, not a dent or ding anywhere… they were asking $2k, my daughter HATED it, she said it looked like an old 80s car, which of course it was, but I think one of the better looking ones, not grandma like at all. She ended up with a 2005 Hyundai Accent for double the price, which she thinks is better. Cant tell teens anything…

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      I don’t know about the “young person not wanting” part. Here in Miami, I get all sorts of urban and Latino young men inquiring about my clean, light metallic blue ’94 LeSabre.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        That Lesabre is a bit bigger than the cars I am thinking of, plus newer. The urban crowd wants those big luxury cars to mount 24s on and lift. And prices reflect that here too, the mid-90s large American sedans tend to cost $3-4k+ for nice ones. I am talking about the Cutlass and Century sized cars. The Grand Am and Celebrity/Lumina would work too, but those are harder to find in nice shape, since they(esp the Pontiac) still appeal to young people. The elderly seemed to significantly prefer OldsmoBuicks. You see a lot of K-Cars too in that price range, they must have been popular too, and equally as (or more?) undesirable now.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        It’s getting hard to find clean A/G RWD GM cars down here, and the Grand Am/Lumina-type just aren’t “cruiser” enough for many young guys – too “rental car”. Seriously, I’ve had lots of guys asking me if I wanted to sell the LeSabre, and not just kids either – I mean people in the 25-30+ range, too, who are less likely to be in the dub culture.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Exactly, which is why those FWD small-mid sized OldsmoBuicks are the ones you get deals on. The big RWD American cars are highly desirable to many people, and even the bigger FWD cars have a big draw. I personally always loved the last two gens of Bonnevilles.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      Someone mention granny car?

      1993 Brown? Purple? Buick Park Avenue for $1500
      http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rds/cto/2927758636.html

      I didn’t like the styling of the later Park Avenue as much, with the curvy-ish late 90′s GM dashboard.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My first 3 cars were in the beater catagory. I had my 93 Aerostar, Betty, (and no the b—- didn’t make me take 3) with 150k miles was $750. This was 06 so it was ‘only’ 13 years old. I had a 93 Escort, Al, with an indicated 96k (but with the 5 digit odo) with a supposedly transplanted engine was $450. My last beater was a 91 LeSabre, Paul, with 130k miles that I got for $800 and change.

    Yes the insurance sucked. I was paying $150 a month for liability only. The generation Ys above 25 will have an easier time with insurance than those under that age.

  • avatar
    extraspecialbitter

    lol @ “sub and amp are $150 extra.”

  • avatar
    Marko

    You know what I really hate? Going on Craigslist, searching for “cars under $____”, and getting a ton of spam listings of cars that are double that price.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      The trick is to punch in the minimum price of $200, no matter what car you’re buying. That weeds out the auto parts sellers and the $1 ad spammers. Every once in a while, a car with a lease takeover appears though, but the list is much more manageable.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I go as high as $1,000 for a minimum price to weed out dealers spamming the monthly payment amount on new luxury cars. I haven’t seen anything worth considering at that price point, so I doubt I miss much by doing that.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        Around here (SF Bay Area), no matter how high you set the base price, your search returns are still heavily polluted with jackasses selling overpriced aftermarket bling in the “cars/trucks” category. Apparently, the same brain malfunction which induces the need for giant truck wheels on cars also affects the ability to distinguish bewtween a “car” and a “part”. And in the last year or so, the default abuse of choice seems to be simultaneously placing two identical ads for no apparent reason.

        Are you guys flagging the prohibited, duplicated, and misplaced ads? If you’re not flagging, you’re freeloading.

      • 0 avatar
        potatobreath

        How many flags does an ad need before it gets yanked?

        I’ve flagged many posts before, but they’re persistent like weeds.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I’m in the Bay Area as well, so I feel your pain. I hate using Craigslist to look for cars, but it seems more popular than Autotrader out here.

        I flag as well, but as potatobreath said, it doesn’t seem to help. Sometimes I see a whole page filled with dealer spam and I throw in the towel. Tagging everything takes too much time :-(

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        How many flags is a closely guarded secret. And it’s far more complex than a simple additive pile. It’s a constantly tweeked weighted algorithm.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Get the Civic and the Vic, those are the only 2 beaters that you’ll ever need.

    Though, if theres a fart-can on the Civic or some other kiddy modification than forget it.

    I have a Tercel that has some strange wiring somewhat thanks to some speakers that weren’t installed so well, they just bounced and dangled everywhere so I took them out.

    If you buy a used car its best to buy one stock, or one that was modified by someone who knew what they were doing, especially if its suspension work.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Sometimes you get lucky when buying used and it had an aftermarket head unit installed as I was. I bought an ’03 Mazda Protege5 with an Alpine aftermarket HU that was professionally installed – a nice, mid level unit too from I’m guessing the 2006-07 period and thus powers the stock speakers, including the stock Pioneer built sub that sits in the space saver spare, under the cargo floor.

      Otherwise, the car is totally stock and in excellent condition.

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    Volvo 240′s are appreciating because so many of them have been beat to death already. 740 is the ticket if you’re looking for budget wheels, and it’s a better car anyways as a daily driver. You can get an ugly one in the three digit range.

    If I’m picking something out of this lineup I’ll take the GMC Jimmy as long as it’s not so rusty that it will snap in half if I sit down too quickly. I prefer to have cash reserves to fix whatever is broken in it.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Last generation Mazda Protege. It was my grad school car and I’ve kept it 9 years past that. It has been great. (OK, engine light-O2 sensor– has been on for the past 7 years, and dents here and there, but it could probably get someone else through another degree– it is probably worth closer to $1500 than $2000)–might not pass emissions in atlanta.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    down here in austin tx, the CL pickings are very slim. recently i saw a 96 neon with a cracked block go for $500, i’m sure thats more then scrap value. heres to hoping it will get running sometime.

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    One thousand Canadian for a 97 F-150 4×4 with just over 100,000 miles?
    Maybe it’s just Texas, but I thought the floor for pickups that ran at all was well over that.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The rust we get up here will more than likely have eaten holes in that truck by now. 3 year old trucks with 150k+ go for more than 10 year old trucks with 50k-.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I belive Top Gear beat you to this one. They had a challenge to buy a car for less than a train ticket of 100 pounds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Gear_challenges#.C2.A3100_Car_Challenge

  • avatar
    Feds

    1990 Suzuki Sidekick Custom Buggy: This is real Canadiana. Probably not road legal. $500

    You, sir, overestimate the comprehensiveness of the Safety Standards Inspection..

    Lights? Windshield? Horn? No parts likely to fall off before the vehicle clears the hoist? Ready to roll!

    I’m currently driving a $1200 first-gen MPV. As far as I’m concerned: The ultimate in minivan technology.

    http://ontario.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-trucks-1996-Mazda-MPV-Minivan-W0QQAdIdZ346351488

    http://ontario.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-trucks-1998-Mazda-MPV-Minivan-W0QQAdIdZ368189040

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I know its double the budget here, but I sold my wife’s 2000 civic EX for just over $3300 2 years ago with 150k on the clock in average condition for its age. Some dad bought it for his 16 year old kid.

    Some of those prices sound off, too high, and too low to me. Must be a regional thing.

    You can buy a garbage car for $1000-1500, and generally get something decent for $2-3000. This is a price range where doubling your money really does make a big difference.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      You’re lucky (well, maybe not if you’re unemployed) if you live in an area where you can still get a decent car for under $3K. In my area, anything semi-reliable (ie not requiring at least $2-3K worth of repairs and deferred maintenance items) starts at $4K and goes up from there.

      But you’re absolutely right about there being a narrow threshold in price between crap and nice, and I always advise people to work OT or save longer to get above that threshold, whatever it happens to be in that locality.

  • avatar
    elmwood

    Here in gorges, Volvo-crazy Ithaca, it’s hard to find any rust-free 240 under $3K, regardless of mileage or age. I’ve been tempted to take a trip to Portland or Seattle, buy a rust-free 240 like this (http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/2953491804.html) or this (http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/2954062305.html), drive it back, spend a few hundred bucks on PDR and detailing, and sell it for $3K to $4K. 240 arbitrage won’t earn you enough to make a living unless you have a big trailer and a lot of time, but it could pay for the trip with a few hundred left over.

    740 arbitrage? Not worth it. They don’t have enough crunchy cred. The co-op shopping crowd will settle for nothing less than an original Brick.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      240s are probably too desirable (though very common) in Portland and Seattle thanks to their “hipster cred”. The cheapest place to find a rust-free example would (theoretically) be somewhere in the South, away from hipsters.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    My bus pass is subsidized by my place of employment and only costs me $10 a month. So the answer for me would be nothing is cheaper sans a crappy bike maybe.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    UHHH…126×12 = 1512 not 1612 according to my calculator and cell phone.
    But anyway…My 1988 528e auto (with working AC)and brand new goodyear aquatreads was $1600 last December. The crook auto mechanics told the lady owner it needed a head gasket..it has a mildly leaky valve cover that drips on the exhaust which I will fix one day.
    Look for previous owners that are affluent, and/or detailed service history if you can.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    At least here in the People’s Republic of the United States, Camcords can still be had for between $1000-1500US. It all comes down to how many miles and condition.

    I just got $1200 ON TRADE for my ’97 Accord with auto and 2.2, that had been hit by two deer and Certifit-ed back together. With 190k miles. It wasn’t even one color.

    In stark contrast, a coworker of mine just got offered $5k for his 2000 Civic with stick and about the same mileage. Needless to say, that’s in a bit better shape.

    Hard to beat a Camcord if on a budget. Or, bite the bullet and buy a Hyundai/Kia (with the added benefit of low payments and 40mpg HWY).

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I still see old 240′s here plying the roads and there have been several parked near my apartment on Seattle’s Capitol Hill though some look to be well past their prime by the looks of them.

    Hondas, Toyotas, Mazdas, Nissans, Hyundais, they are all popular here along with just about everything else to one degree or another.

    I got $1000 trade for my 1992 Ford Ranger with issues and just shy of 237K documented miles but the body, interior were still in very decent shape for its age. Heck, even the paint was in great shape as well, no peeling clearcoat on it anywhere, not even the matching canopy and the body was mostly straight too, what dings/dents were very, very minor at that. Yes, it still ran, but like I said, it had its issues. Leaking oil badly, the AC didn’t work, leaky cooling system, a loose wheel bearing, a loose U-Joint, worn out serpentine belt and a battery on its last legs and had a dying idle air controller valve, but it ran! :-)

    Bought a Mazda Protege5 to replace it.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I’ve managed to keep my 1986 Audi 5000 Quattro Turbo alive since 1999. However, it has cost me significantly more than the $1500 purchase price. It is a labor of insanity…

    • 0 avatar

      Can you elaborate? I doubt I’d keep the car for 13 years but I’m interested to hear what it takes.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It’s a strange story. The Audi was my first car at 16. I owned the car throughout high school. During that period of time I fixed many electrical problems. Other issues included cv joints, door handles, new air conditioner, power steering overhaul, and new window regulators for all 4 windows. There was never a month where something didn’t break or go crazy. The 5000s have a propensity to eat some sort of special mineral oil and v-belts.

        In 2003, while I was in the Army, my parents donated the Audi to charity (without my knowledge). Three years later, I received an impound letter about the Audi. The Michigan Secretary of State(DMV) still had me as the listed owner. I paid $250 to tow it off the impound lot and its been my project even since. How many people get a second chance with thier first love or first car?

        It still has the original engine, but most other things have been replaced. I do the work I can, and have a local shop do more complex work. I still drive it once or twice a week, and it is more reliable than when first purchased. My 5000 Quattro breaks down less than the Quattroporte down the street. Hopefully my wife won’t donate it while I’m at work.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        13 year car ownership isn’t a bad trip depending on where you live. If you live somewhere that rots cars with winter salt, I’d dump cars as often as I could afford to and always buy used. All of my current cars have been long term ownerships. It’s not that I don’t like an ever changing stable of cars but simply that we chose not to invest much money in cars over the past 15 years.

        I did a driveway oil change yesterday and my car remains rot free underneath at 230K miles and the original CV boots are intact.


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