By on December 8, 2012
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My pants still fit me from college.

Well, they are sweatpants after all.

They were given to me by a friend of mine who is known as a “Datsunaholic”. He keeps a few old cars. A few of those models have been written up by Paul Niedermeyer who now keeps a lot of houses along with his new web site. He invariably finds ‘keeper folk’ from all walks of life. But most of the people he finds are not car enthusiasts at all.

Why do they keep these cars then?  Are they perhaps hoarders? Do they suffer the afflictions of the wantless?

Or is this just another write-up inspired by Kevin Bacon?

No, they are just keepers. They find what they need. A car about yay big. In blue. There. Done. They then go on about their lives avoiding the debt and the down payment in a way that gives guys like Dave Ramsey so much sanctimony. In rich times they’re sometimes looked up as hermits and miserable misers. In poor times they lead by example. But most of the time they are just ignored and blend right in. But that nagging question remains. Why do these people not buy cars?

Well… the keeper of old cars comes in many forms.

The Junkyard Dog - He can tell you the exact locations of every vehicle he uses at the junkyard to keep his ride going.

“The Volvo 740 right next to the 940 SE at Jason’s Junk Emporium  is a white wagon with the removed engine and no seats. What a beaut! I removed all the bulbs off of that one and even the wiring harness which looks to be nearly brand new . The flex disc came straight from Groton and…”

This guy is into his ride like Elliot Spitzer is into hookers.

The Quality Guru: The shocks are from Bilstein. The wheels are AMGs. The brakes are Brembos. The oil is Amsoil and the oil filter can also be used as a breathing apparatus in the event of a major disaster.

Yes, the car we’re describing may be nothing more than an under-engineered Mercedes from the seventh circle of hell. But hey! It is dealer maintained. The sheetmetal is given a full regimen of Mother’s every month. The seats and carpet are steam cleaned at the local auto spa.

Usually these folks are either hopelessly divorced or terminally single.

The Tinker-er-er-er: The inside of his garage is an endless maze of gondola board and special tools that were designed only for one car and one purpose. That is to enable this owner to install anything he wants whenever he wants.

This guy has a custom lift, four jacks, a pair of aces, three welders, and several bookshelves loaded with manuals. When you want something done cheap and right, he’ll be able to help you…. once he completes his projects. In a few months or so… if you’re lucky…

The Tightwad Husband: This is the guy who spends an evening or two a month performing spreadsheets and budgets. He inevitably breaks down the cost of nearly every automotive expenditure to it’s finest elements.

“Motor oil you say? Why, take the $10 Quaker State online rebate and find the nearest Autozone that’s doing $1.99 / quart closeout for synthetic. Then…”

Oh damnit! My wife wrote this while I was replacing a compact florescent upstairs. I’ll keep it Susan. Thanks!

The Broke: The tires may be more bald than Mr. Clean and all the leaking oils make the car smell like Seacaucus. But hey, it runs.

Often times these cars will have half empty bottles of fluid wedged under the bonnet for easy access. There is almost always a paper cone next to the coolant resevoir, and what’s that wire hanger there? Oh, that’s to help keep the duct tape in place so that the front of the car… still attaches to the rest of the car.

The Bum: He hasn’t done a damn thing since 1987. When the parents, brothers, and relatives are nearly done with their car but don’t quite want to sell it outright, they give it to him.

Within a year or two the creme puff turns into a pile of refuse destined for China.

The Content Folk: They don’t know much about cars. Oil for them should be changed every 3k at most and if the mechanic advises them about a defective Johnson valve, they go “Uh huh!” and write a check.

Thankfully these folks enjoy two unique qualities. They find good independent mechanics and they tend to be easy going with the machinery. Since the car fits them like a good pair of, sweatpants, they go about their lives without thinking about cars. Pity the fools.

The Conserver: His slogan is, “Better dead, than revved.” This is the owner who pulses, glides and coasts to nearly every stop sign and red light. Regardless of the manical driving habits that surround his frugal ride.

The engine for their car will never see the north side of 3000 rpm’s, and the exterior is always given cover from the elements. Even if the car is now old enough to order its own tall one. The conserver wants to get just enough out of it so that their kids can have a cheap ride, and maybe his future grandkids too.

The Conserver also knows how to time his daily commute. Right down to the changing of the traffic signals, and the unyieldable momentum needed to put the car in the same parking space with minimal pressure on the gas and brake pedals.

Grands: As they say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “ I’m not dead yet! “ Of course the double yellow line is a mere suggestion and the nearby shopping cart haulers at the supermarket keep a wide perimeter when ‘they’ come around.

The car is driven about 35 miles a week and it’s all dinged out.

Dings from curbs. Dings from doors, walls, and at least a dozen people. Constant ding sounds from keys left in the ignition. Ding sounds from the door left open. In fact, the car has encountered so much dinging over the years that the ding buzzer doesn’t even work anymore.

For those honored elderly who still drive classic Cadillacs and Lincolns, please replace the ‘ding’ with the ‘dong’.

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60 Comments on “Hammer Time Remix: The Keeper Culture...”


  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Not sure where I fit. Probably has overlap. Drove my 57 chevy for a while and it’s parked now because of the price of gas. Driving an ecobox and loving it and have an old truck for heavy lifting. There is stuff I would rather drive but not stuff I would rather pay for.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    In modern times, there’s another version… the “It still goes” Keeper.

    Lots of modern cars will go to 150k with ordinary maintenance and maybe a water pump or alternator, or tie rod. So there’s no need for meticulous maintenance (DIY or otherwise), no junkyard scrounging, just turn the key and drive.

    When I started driving, cars were pretty well washed up by 60k, and the Keepers might make one last to 120k. Now anybody can get a 150k car right off the lot and drive it until they get bored of it.

    The Keepers can maybe get 300k out of a car these days. I suppose that’s fine, if you want to drive the same car for 25 years.

    • 0 avatar

      in the 1950s, my father had a friend drove very gently, got 200k out of cars in that era.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Keepers for the win.

      If you buy a car that YOU LIKE (or love), and spend a relatively small % of money on preventative maintenance (oil/filter changes, coolant changes, air/fuel filter changes, belt/hoses replaced, etc.), and you keep it for 10 years or more, you’ll most likely save 2k to 18k versus the person that leases or buys a new car every 3 to 4 years.

      If you keep the same vehicle for 15 years, you’ll save 20k to 30k versus the “frequent” buyer or lessor.

      Plus, if you like or love the vehicle, and it’s being good to you, there’s at least a fair chance that the generation of cars that are introduced afterwards may have more cheaply designed/fabricated interiors, will lose key attributes (like double-wishbone suspension, IRS, better motors – in order to get the build cost down or meet CAFE standards).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Correction because of typo:

        Above should read that “and you keep it for 10 years or more, you’ll most likely save 12k to 18k versus the person that leases or buys a new car every 3 to 4 years…”

        …not “2k to 18k..”

        Consumer Reports did a pretty realistic job of breaking down the numbers for the 15 year “keepers,” and their numbers in terms of savings compared to the every 5 year years new car buyer/lessor shows a savings to the keeper of $30,000 and up.

  • avatar
    beach cruiser

    “four jacks, a pair of aces”, nice touch there Steven.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Well done, Mr Lang.

    I’m a keeper of cars for various of the reasons you mentioned, but also one that you did not: I love hunting for The Car, but would lose interest once said Car is obtained. Having learned that lesson a couple of times, I now hunt frequently, but buy rarely.

    You must hate customers like me!

  • avatar
    sco

    Funny and painfully true. But one can be a different guy with each car. With my Peugeot 504, I’m definitely The Junkyard Dog, but with my 98 Civic I’m closer to The Tightwad. And although I’m headed toward Grands, I still have dreams of being The Quality Guru.

  • avatar

    You forgot one…”The Conserver”. This is the guy who tries to reduce wear on everything he owns or uses. He’s the guy who’s more concerned with cycles than miles or time. He combines trips to save wear and tear. He carefully sets down in his seat rather than plops down to reduce wear. He lowers the hood and presses it shut rather than slamming it. He will leave a house light on, even if it won’t be used for a couple of hours because everyone knows that on-off cycles do more harm than leaving it on. Same goes for computers.

    I hate to say it but I fall into this category, along with some overlap with the “Quality Guy” (if you’re going to replace something, replace it with something good), “The Tightwad Husband” (I research everything before spending money) and “The Broke” (because I am).

    I think I became “The Conserver” when I was a little kid and my Mother did an unintentional burnout at a stop sign. I thought was great and said “Do it again!!”. She said “no..I probably left 50 miles worth of rubber back at that stop sign”. Guys like us usually aren’t a lot of fun, but we can get over 400,000 miles out of our cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Excellent suggestion and story! I added it to the list.

      All the best.

      • 0 avatar

        Not bad, but I never pulse and glide. That’s more about conserving gas than the car itself. I do use the cruise control religiously, however, and don’t mind coasting to lights as long as I don’t drop below the speed limit while doing so to conserve the brakes. I also take my TDI up to 4K RPM at least once or twice a week (redline is only 4.5K RPM BTW).

        Also, my kids will never get my car until I die. I’ll keep driving it! Besides, my oldest son just bought himself a brand new BMW 128i the other day. I’m jealous.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        When it comes to cars, “cycles” are very important. High cycle cars that are used near every day for just a few miles have many times the the start/stop cycles than a high mileage car that sees 100 miles of daily commuting. Since folks obsess over mileage, those high mile/low cycle cars are priced cheaper and are better mechanically as well. The true good buy.

        Lights and computers? On/off cycles do shorten lamp life, but the cost of the energy saved so far outstrips the cost of the lamp that anybody “saving” bulbs is wasting a lot of money. And the new LED lamps have zero life loss from high cycles…As for computers, they are obsoleted long before they experience failures. Where I work the IT guys had to set all the monitors and computers to go to sleep after 7pm. A notable drop in energy costs was realized. This reminds me of the old saw that starting florescent lighting uses more energy than leaving them on for 5 minutes. Even if the surge to start was 10 times of what it takes to run, which is not even true, you would break even in 10 seconds. The “conserver” is anything but “conserver” if that’s how he runs his house. Maybe he saves enough combining trips to cover his waste…..lol

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    The only thing I lack to be any one of these guys is SPACE. Now in my head I have three or four vehicles in use at all times. Lots of space up there but cars sure are a great way to idle my time and brain.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m probably closest to being the Tinker-er-er-er, although I’m not much of a ‘keeper’ of cars anymore. The longest I’ve had a car is 12 years. But I have an on-again off-again desire to keep my beater 2001 Elantra going, although I’ve only had it 3 years.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I used to be the type of owner who wanted to keep the car running as good as possible and spent more than I should have to keep my 98 Corolla with over 300k miles like if it was new, or close to it, now I ignore noises, groans and oil leaks, I just add a quart per week now and I need new mounts and axles and fix the leak but I am not willing to spend more than the car is worth, so as long as it runs, I will just keep on chugging along, singing a song!!!

  • avatar
    chaparral

    The “Bought Right is better than Bought Twice”.

    Tried out everything in the general size and price range, bought it at the bottom of the depreciation curve, goes through it every year or so and fixes what’s broken and what’s coming up, and hangs on to it because it’s cheaper and easier to keep it than get another. Eventually something big will go and it’ll be time to start all over again, but till then…

  • avatar
    readallover

    I guess that makes me `Calendar Guy`. I keep cars 10 years. Why ? I have no idea, it sounds like a good, round number. Why not 9 or 11? Again, no idea. I should have dumped the Sable at 9, but I was waiting for the new Mazda 6, so I kept it another year. Now the 6 is 9 and there is not a thing wrong with it, tight as the day I took delivery and not a dime in repairs in all that time. Yet, I`ve got an itch…..

  • avatar
    mikey

    Four years ago I retired. I tried to be a “keeper” of the “Quality Guru” type,with an Impala and a 08 6cyl Mustang convert. Life threw me some curves, some good,some not so good.

    Today I have a 2011 Camaro SS2, the Mustang, and as a daily driver,a Cobalt LT 2dr Coupe. My wife no longer drives. Road trips we had planned with the Impala, are now flying trips. My former “man cave” is where the Camaro sleeps beside the Mustang through the winter/salt months.

    I thought about trading the Cobalt in, on one of those hugely discounted trunks. The bath I would take on the Cobalt, the dent in my savings, and the 4.60 a gallon gas, killed that idea.
    In my part of the world rust is the killer of all things automotive. With a lot of TLC, and whole lot of oil spraying, I can make that Cobalt last a long time.

    I’m 59 years old.I may sell a car,or not. However I don’t see myself ever “buying” another vehicle.

    Yeah I like this idea of being a keeper.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +10 on the salt thing.

      I did some rough math which told me a regular car loses about $3 of its value per day of salt exposure, and a larger minivan/SUV loses about $6/day of its value.

      This has induced me to become a bit OCD regarding salt, so my garaged vehicles get a water spray bath on all 6 sides every night (at home) after being exposed to salt. This way I can prevent at least half of the corrosion.

      Water and dirt are not the enemy; salt is. Warm garages only make it worse by permitting the snow/ice to melt, which aids the salt in its evil actions.

  • avatar
    markholli

    These categories are not mutually exclusive. I have a very close friend who fits several of these categories. He thought his 1995 Saturn SL2 Twin Cam was just God’s gift to the automotive world. (That reminds me, maybe you should add “The Fan”, for those people who think certain terrible cars are the amazing).

    Junkyard Dog: Knew exactly where the Saturns were at the Pick ‘n Pull.

    Quality Guru: Was absolutely convinced that the 1995 SL2 was the apex of engineering and build-quality achievement. “Once you get into the ’96s everything is crap…”

    Tinkerer-er-er: undertook to rebuild the engine from the ground up with no prior experience. Created special tools for the job. Got it all back together after months of littering his parent’s garage and it blew blue smoke.

    The Broke: There’s a reason why people roll around in the dirt at the junkyard instead of buying new parts. ‘Nuff said.

    The Bum: inherited the car from his dad while living in his uncle’s basement. Later moved into in-laws basement for free rent and finally sold the car when his in-laws gave him their used up Geo Prizm.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    You should ad one for people who keep obscure cars that don’t have any support in a country.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Righto, I’ve been that. Call him “The Exile,” or “The Car without a Country.” Though his task must be infinitely easier now in the days of instant international online correspondence and marketing. Around 25 years ago, I Parked my rare but delightful NSU 1000 TT, one of a few dozens in the country, for the lack of a replacement master cylinder. The poor car rusted away at it sat. Today I can go online and purchase almost every part to rebuild one, except, of course, the body.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Being in that position in a country with currency exchange control, it was painful, but worth every “headache”.

        I like “The Exile”, although I’d call it “The Quirky”.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      After 10 weeks of driving a Leaf, I’ve yet to see another on the road. I think I might be “The Exile”. :)

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Ack! I’m a Quality Guru….Ack…………………………..ack!

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    To add to the list, the Time Freeze. Like my dad, I usually drive a car until the tires come off. (In one case literally.) Unlike my father, I’m able to see the effects of time. When he finally traded in his truck he was insulted by the first offer. When he got home I pointed I could see the road when I pulled back the floor mat. The bed was held on with rust and gravity. And the engine shot flames. At night it looked like we had a strobe light under the hood. I believe he never really noticed these things. To him it looked the same as the day he bought it.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The “Holy Grail”. I have a theory that for every person out there, there could be some vehicle with the ideal blend of characteristics. It may or may not have actually been made, but if it was and you can find it, hold onto it because you will never find another car as perfect as that one.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    The MANAGE BY WALKING AROUND style.

    Every weekend I check all the fluids, tire pressure, and visually inspect.
    Change it before it goes bad.

    Be one with your car. When something changes go figure out why. Why is the temperature running higher. Why does is pull to the right? What is that noise? Blah, blah, blah
    Change it before it goes bad.

    Keep maintenance on or ahead of schedule based on what you establish is good for your car. Use brand name parts even if they cost more. Not because they won’t be made in some other country, but because the brand name company will probably validate their products better.
    ========================
    My best tip for the keeper… I add a drain plug to my automatic transmission pans when I buy a car. I make them myself so that they do not protrude into the pan. This allows the particles to drain out also. Then I drain the transmission fluid every oil change. It is cheap to add 2-3 quarts of transmission fluid at the time of each oil change. Fast too. Change the trans filter every 3 years or 50,000 miles. It never needs a flush and I have never had a bad transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      “Be one with your car” I like that. Even with a new car it takes me months to “bond” with it.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Excellent advice.
      The “Be One With Your Car” is very zen.
      I try the same to do the same with maintenance, although I contract most stuff out. I have a lot of regular work (which I enjoy, thank you God!), so I’ll pay for all but the most minor repairs.
      My best keepter tips: Buy cars with 3 pedals, rust proof with oil treatment (I live in a snow belt / road salt area).

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Been all of them.

    Perhaps you should add the Know-It-All. His car choice is THE only one that makes sense. He also spends a lot of time being ‘right’ on the internet, mostly pointing out grammar and spelling slips.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Too many of them on here. Refuses to respect any who doesn’t drive exactly what they do. Gets to levels of near sexual frenzy disparaging other readers, Must win each and every argument on TTAC. Doesn’t understand he’s arguing with anonymous people on the internet. His lack of respect becomes predictable and tiresome. Loves to throw in stupid comments like Corvettes only have V-8 to make them go fast. Lives for arcane arguments like a 1978 Rabbit and new Nissan Sentra; which is faster? Doesn’t understand most of us read TTAC for enjoyment; it’s a freaking internet blog. His mom makes swell cookies and stirs the chocolate syrup in his milk.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    My daily driver is a 78 Chevy Malibu sedan. 3.3L v6, 3-spd auto. We have two newer cars, a 2012 Mustang I’m making payments on (for her) and a newer SUV for when I leave town. She also has a 01′ Jetta with ungodly miles for her beater and I have a few other cars…… (Collector… Car Hoarder?)

    I just don’t see the point in buying a new car, then running it straight into the ground. Save the nicer vehicles for day trips, vacations, nice nights out, and run the old stuff into the ground. Oh, and I’m a mechanic, so that and all of the tools that I of course helps.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m most of them at the same time, just depends on the car:
    Triumph Spitfire – have had it 18 years now – keeper and conserver
    Alfa Spider – fixed it up mechanically, don’t really care cosmetically
    BMW – try not to even drive it in the rain, it’s always immaculate and gets the best of everything
    Porsche 924S – currently in the “gets the best of everything” quality mode while I resurect it
    Jeep GC – total beater, don’t care about it much at all as long as it is safe to drive, pretty much gets the minimum care necessary

  • avatar
    raph

    I reside somewhere between the quality guru and the tinker-er-er.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Of course , somebody’s compulsion to hold on to one or more POS or derelict cars might make more sense depending on their living or parking space . I live in a house in a marginal neighborhood at the end of a dead end street with a 100 ‘ driveway and garage / carport space for 5 cars . If I lived in a tiny overpriced 400 square foot condo in San Francisco or Toronto with no parking and police handing out parking tickets or nosy neighbors or nitpicky condominium bylaws complaining it might be a little different .

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I used to work with The Broke. He was such a cool guy and way smarter than his pay grade. Sure enough, every single day after we got off work he would spend 10 minutes or more with his hood propped up, “topping off” everything that had leaked out during the work shift. I can’t remember what car it was, but I know it was old, and it had bungee cords doing the job of multiple failed latches.

    The car finally gave up the ghost for good around 2 years after he started working at my shop. I think he just went and financed a used Camry which allowed him to get home sooner after work.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    Hey,didya ever wonder if people named after other kinds of breakfast meats will ever end up having any sort of impact upon culture? It’s like there’s some kind of Baconesque hegemony or something. As for all the above mentioned marketing constructs,well I say be them only if you have to,which I have to.However,I’d rather be The Car Slut.Sorta in that Isabelle Huppert sorta way from that movie Amateurs.You know,where the character played by Martin Donovan,in response to Huppert’s character stating she’s a nymphomaniac whose never had sex,asks her how could she be a nymphomaniac (She’s an ex- nun,who writes erotic novels to get by.)if she’s never had sex,whereby she replies, “I don’t know,just choosy,I guess.”

  • avatar
    waltercat

    Great topic, Mr. Lang! Not exactly by intent, I became a Keeper. My daily ride is an Acura TL that’s closing in on a quarter million miles, and my weekend Miata is coming up on age 10. I think I fit into a new category of Keeper: if the daily ride is the right tool for the job, and it is mechanically robust enough to keep running well without undue cost or inconvenience, what’s the real value of shelling out big money for something new? Everything on the Acura continues to work well, it’s perfectly dependable, and I keep it maintained and looking good. Some day I’ll replace it, but I’ll miss the TL when I do. After a certain number of years, it’s no longer a car – it’s a force of nature.

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    And then there is my wife, who keeps her car because she can’t decide which new one to buy. I, on the other hand, am constantly looking for something different (very used and cheap, I should add).

    In the twenty-five years we’ve been together, she has owned four cars, one of which (VW Jetta) does not count since it was so unreliable that it forced her to sell it sooner than she wanted to. I, on the other hand, have owned twenty-one (two or three at a time) in he same time period.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I think a lot of people realize that owning a vehicle is a money losing game and become keepers to make the game more fair. This doesn’t apply to the poor who need any car to get to work; including a POS; or the very rich who can afford to write checks for their cars. I don’t condone those who like to trade a lot. It’s their money and their decisions; not my place to judge. Or you could fall in love with a car. Talk to me oh little red Z3;)

  • avatar
    Chewbacca Pup Barker

    Isn’t Murilee Martin among the “Junkyard Dogs”?

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    How ironic that this was published the very day I left the Keeper Culture. Saturday I purchased an ’09 VW GTI, meaning that my venerable ’02 New Beetle TDI is up for sale. A few months ago, I was proclaiming that I’d drive the Beetle to a quarter-million, at least. It was cheaper to keep her, said the Tightwad. I had so many upgraded parts on it, including a just-installed rear spoiler, said The Quality Guru. Sure, it smoked and clattered more than new, but I was still getting 44 mpg, the Conserver reminded me.

    But then I did a spreadsheet of all my repair bills over the life of the car. Each of the past two years had seen $3000 in service and repairs. and there was a big tire purchase coming due. There was an even chance that the clutch or turbo would demand attention during the next year. Replacing either one would wipe out three years of my diesel fuel cost savings. Averaging $225/month, my repair expenses were looking like a car payment– only more regular, and easier to budget. And interest is so cheap now, and you’d never know if you hadn’t bought your first GTI at 14% interest in 1986.

    So I took my mechanic’s advice, and bought just what he advised: one of the most reliable vintages & models of my chosen brand, with less than 35k on the clock. With this trade, I remove seven years of age and 160,000 miles of wear from my driveway, and all the mechanical and financial responsibility that entails. This year, swapping out two old cars, we’ve traded away a cumulative 400K miles and 14 years on the road. That includes a trustworthy Subaru Forester that hit us with $1600 in repairs during the last six months we owned it. I wish I had sold it six months sooner!

    Now, our car payments will be high (see that New Tiguan beside the GTI, the same car, but bigger?). But they;ll be predictable budgeted expenses, not credit card emergencies, and our chances of using our cars hard every day and arriving at our destinations on schedule are increased.

    I loved my old stinkbug. It’s a sleeper, even with its faded Cyber Green paint job. But despite its cheap ‘n cheerful image, only the latter was true. I couldn’t afford to operate my own paid-off but aging car. I hope it goes to someone who makes a project of it, or drives fewer miles and relies on it less than I do. But I write just to testify that there’s hope for a chronic Car-Keeper, just look at me.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I think that if you are going to drive a car like that into the quarter million club you really have do your own work to include removal and replacement of major driveline components. I did the short block on the Land Cruiser and aside from busted knuckles and destroying a couple pricey knock sensors it was reasonable cost wise. Paying a mechanic? Forget it…Probably be like an 8-10k bill.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Steve,

    I would like to add the category experimental taxophobe to the list which describes me to a T. The experimental part refers to someone who is willing to buy a new car just to see how it will hold up. The taxophobe part is keeping said car longer than originally planned to avoid the taxes replacing the vehicle bring.
    After a 15year respite from GM cars, I decided to test the waters again in 2004 when I purchased a Saturn Ion for a commuter car. My goal was 150K miles at which point I predicted (from past experience) that the car would not be worth fixing anymore. Well, 150K miles came with no unscheduled repairs whereas I could never get past 50K miles with previous 80s GM stuff. Every six monts after reaching the 150K mark, I would start shopping for a replacement. However, When I calculated the six percent sales tax, I would lose interest and stop shopping. This has been going on for about 3 years now. So the post 150K experiment continues with 210K and climbing. I’m stuck paying high income taxes, but I can take some comfort in sticking to the state!

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Every Saturn I owned (S series cars and an Ion) performed flawlessly and was running well over the 200k mark) They all either were wrecked or stolen, still running. I have a soft spot for them now

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      The sales tax slapped me hard, about 8% here in Colorado. But half that $1600 bill comes back to me at federal tax time. Here’s the scoop; might be the most important info you’ll hear today. As my tax guy explained, a vehicle bought in 2012 and used for business purposes can use bonus depreciation for a big tax break. You can deduct $11,000 for a new car, less for used. For my middle-class joint return, I’d get 2012 deductions worth $3000 in reduced income tax, and about $800 for a used car.

      This is, no doubt, one of the loopholes that will be plugged by tax reform. I’m glad I got a little bit of what the big corporations have been enjoying. The only catch is, I can’t go joyriding until the New Year! The deduction is proportional to the amounts of business and personal mileage. I figure that for every 100 miles I drive on jobs, I’ll get to fool around with the car for ten. Tonight I just sat in it and relaxed and listened to the stereo. All good things in their time…

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Ha! 6%!? Try 13%. And you think YOU’re a taxophobe.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    No Welder (though I’m working on it), but I have 2 chests full of Mazda, Kawasaki, and Toyota Special Service Tools, an engine hoist and stand, air compressor, parts washer, and one big ass socket I modified to get the spindle nut off the Land Cruiser every 60k. I suppose this makes me the tinkerer, however I do have conserver traits as I have a very specific ritual for getting in and out of both the Land Cruiser and the Miata (250k on the Cruiser, 190k on the Miata) to preserve the still pristine and untorn seats in both and have been known to operate vehicles in a manner that conserves the parts thet are extra painful to change.

    I think also if you have modified tools to perform one specific task (I have the socket for the spindle nut as well as a cut, bent, and welded wrench for removing the countershaft nut on the Kawasaki among others) you have moved into the tinkerer realm.

    When a keeper does buy a new car he is the salesman’s worse nightmare. He’ll be the guy trying to special order something with hand crank windows. Maybe he splurges on AC and a CD Player. He cares not when confronted with the fact such a car will cost more after the incentives he wont get are factored in than a nicely optioned auto with powere most eeverything already on the lot. He doesn’t see the car pretty and new as it sits on the lot. He sees it in 12 years and 200k miles sitting on jackstands in his garage and that feature, though it may cost little that day will give him hours of frustration down the line.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    DELAYED LUXURY MAN. This one thinks a 30 year old luxury car is still as prestigeous and as cutting edge technology as when it was new. Hey these things are 100,000 dollars new! Never mind that he paid 500 dollars for his 1982 S-class, or that it runs on seven sylinders. It “looks great”, “commands respect”, “chicks love it” and it is “the best damn car ever built”.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Hey – I resemble that remark…I want to fix up a W123 Benz for the wife. Bicycle guys are the worst for that. Yes, your Cannondale was cutting edge in 1983 and no, it is not worth 3 grand anymore.

      As for the W123 for the Wife…well I know of at least one chick who doesn’t love em’

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’ve seen technology. I’ll take the W126 as a long term toy.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m definitely a combination of the Tinkerer and the tightwad husband.

    Wife: “But YOU spend money on your garage tools and stuff”.

    Me: “Yes, but it was bought cheap, and it’s an investment. Shoes and purses are not investments.”

  • avatar
    brettc

    I guess I’m a combination of things including the keeper. I just bought a new car for myself in August because I was starting a new job that required more traveling between work sites and I wanted something that I wouldn’t have to worry about. It’s been great not having to be concerned about things breaking. I plan to have it for a while since I bought it new and will know everything that’s done to it during its life. I don’t like the car payment, but eventually it’ll be paid off. Got 1.9% financing from VW so at least I’m not paying too much interest.

    My wife’s car is 12 years old but she still likes it and wishes she could buy her 2000 Jetta new (I told her she needs to move to China for that). I need to do the front brakes soon but $150 worth of parts is pretty reasonable for that. I have several VW specific tools to keep her car running. I’ll also be buying a new copy of VCDS to interface with my new car.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I just recently bought a new desktop because our old one, at 10 years old, was finally dying, after years of being obsolete. I might have been able to fix it, but it wasn’t worth it anymore. Anti-virus and system tune-up tools, maintenance, is the key to keeping anything alive.

    I am the Quality Guru to an extent, but I do my own maintenance and detailing. I plan on treating our Mazda 5 like our old desktop, keep it alive until it’s truly not worth it or I’m truly bored with it. Going out of state to buy it was one of the last adventures the wife and I did before kids, so it has some sentimental value to it too. Plus, it’s not a common vehicle where I live, so it’s nice not to see yourself coming and going. So there’s a bit of Keeper mentality.

    But, I buy what I like, keep it if I want and keep it in the best shape I can for my time,resources and ability. My job for the foreseeable future, can involve being called last minute for work, so my leased Altima works for being reliable. Once the lease is up, the 5 will be paid for, so it’s mine and the wife gets a new or newer Oddy or Chrysler van. I’d like to get a “fun car” at some point, which means becoming a Tinkerer and/or a Junkyard dog.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    My DDs are a rusting pair of 528es. They are 25 yrs old They have constant minor issues, They are roomy and comfortable. They handle very well. I am several types of characters portrayed.
    To the fellow mourning his rusty NSU . Be advised, that the practice of boring brake cylinders and lining them back to size is a very common and old practice.


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