For 14 years I have owned a 1998 Ford Windstar Northwoods Edition with the indomitable 3.8 Liter engine. I love this van! It’s been so reliable. $38,000 and 4 transmissions later, and old rusty is still trucking. Only had to do 4 head gaskets.
AAA absolutely loves towing my vehicle. The tow truck operator and I are nearly best friends now. The autoparts store employees know my vehicle year/model immediately as soon as I walk in the door.
This Windstar is a known commodity in my town. When I turn right, everyone knows now to move out of my way before the vehicle stalls and I lose my power steering. My bottom is permanently embedded into the comfortable 1/4″ padded seat.
My question is, “Where can I find another car with such outstanding reliability?” Here are a few highlights of my Ol’ Reliable…
- 4 transmissions.
- 4 head gaskets.
- 2 engine overhauls.
- Umpteen O2 sensors.
- Various engine sensors.
- Cupholders are perfect!
- Body panels are non-existent as of 5 years ago (rust).
So what should I get? As you can tell by the $38,000 I spent, I am more than happy to invest in the right vehicle. Thanks!
Gosh, this answer is as easy as rebuilding a Northstar V8. A job that only takes about three days and a fervent level of prayer.
Come to think of it, I would focus specifically on the late 1990′s vehicles since you apparently have a soft spot for them.
The Cadillac Deville and Seville of that era would easily offer the same fuel economy and comparable mechanical longevity. Oh, before I forget. Ignore the Escalade and everything else with a 350. That engine is pure junk!
Then you have the game changing late-90′s Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde with the tough as nails 2.7 Liter engine. I once bought a 2002 model that was owned by the Salvation Army since day one and had the oil changed religiously every 3,000 miles. It lasted exactly 95,000 miles. Apparently they take to longevity the same way that Richard Simmons takes to pussy.
I think a 1998 model would be about as good as it gets. They rarely go for more than $600 at the auctions and you see them at every auction here in Georgia. A very popular vehicle and surprisingly affordable.
Perhaps you want a more sophisticated car. Maybe something a bit more rare and exotic. How about a Daewoo? I don’t see too many of them out and about anymore. I’m sure the lucky owners must be keeping them in the garage in the hopes that they become the next Barrett-Jackson collectible.
There was a beautiful white Daewoo Nubira wagon at an impound auction in my town a few years back with only 41k miles. The bidding was downright furious that day. In the very last minute, the guy who started the bidding at $100 was outdone by yours truly. Thanks to an intimidating wink of an eye which raised the bidding to a stratospheric $110. I remember that I gave him a wry smile with a wink that showed no mercy. He never made eye contact with me again.
Anyhow, I went to try to find an engine for it and you know what? None of the junkyards will sell one to you! It’s that valuable! I think the guys hording those engines are the same ones that won’t let me find a transmission for my 5-cylinder 1993 VW Eurovan.
So if it were me, I would go for the 1999 Daewoo Nubira wagon. Make sure you get the automatic.
Steve has this all wrong: how can someone that made me laugh hard enough to cry while typing in WordPress trade up from that sweet-ass Ford Windstar?
You need a BMW 7-series (E38), Mercedes S-class (W140 or W220) or Audi A8 (Type 4D) to really max out your “bang for the buck.” By “buck” I mean the money you give people in your community who thrive by fixing horrible vehicles, horribly. And by “bang” I mean any of the popular component failures that make doing a motor swap on a 3.8L Ford look like child’s play.
The fully depreciated–yet top drawer–German Sedans have it all for you!
- There’s the air of sophistication and class of a Northwoods Edition Ford product, but more of it!
- The imminent failure of sensors and modules, at prices exponentially higher than O2 sensors!
- A single engine/transmission wear item that leads to a rebuild or replacement: costing as much as a not-shitty, fully machined, replacement 3.8L long block from Jasper with enough money left over to replace the radiator and water pump.
- I have no German counterpoint for FWD minivan transaxles. Any of them! How sad for me!
But, ask yourself, what’s the icing on the cake I’m offering you?
The Windstar’s cupholders are fine, but it’s a safe bet these uber-lux sedans have non-functional beverage holders!
Now do us all a solid and make sure you buy one from the creepiest person on Craigslist and insist on a complete lack of service records too! BAM SON, you done won at the Out-Windstar-My-Windstar game!