This essay on Delicious Tacos, about the life and death of an $800 Mercedes-Benz diesel sedan, drove home one of the unfortunate realities of living in a snow climate: it’s nearly impossible to find anything for $800 that hasn’t been completely consumed by oxidization.
Take a look at this piece of…
272,522 miles. No fooling. This 1996 Volkswagen Passat 5-speed sedan has traveled a distance nearly equal to 11 times the circumference of planet Earth.
It also visited the dealership well over 50 times during that time period as well. Which is just barely good enough for…
I haven’t recommended a new Lincoln in well over 20 years now.
With rare exception, the brand never lives up to the hype of whatever a Lincoln was supposed to represent at various times in recent history. The ultimate luxury coupe that was the Mark VIII. The import fighting LS. The Lexus/Mercedes wanna-be that was the Lincoln Zephyr. All of them were flops in the new car marketplace for a long list of good reasons.
Even the Lincoln SUV’s, then and now, seem to be little more than overpriced Fords with razor thin chrome accents. While the current alphabet soup of names makes it nearly impossible to recommend any new Lincoln without delving into a smartphone for confirmation that the MK-whatever is indeed an MK-whatever.
There is only one Lincoln truly worth it. The Town Car. An old one. A well used one. But maybe not as used as this one. (Read More…)
I’ve enjoyed for a couple of years now the articles you’ve written for TTAC and the insight you give on used cars and the business you work in. Since you do provide your contact information, I thought I’d write to ask a question relevant to my used-car-shopping situation.
The bidding kept going down and down at the inop auction. A sale where all cars are usually either dead or dying.
“$200! would-a-give-me $200! $100! $100! How about-a-hundred!”
Pretty soon the bidding went all the way down to $50. For a whole car! No takers. No sale. Until…
You have just bought yourself a vehicle that may be worth more dead than alive.
Did you follow my car buying advice? Of course not! You wanted cheap to the extreme and now you got it. Bald tires. Doors that may be lovably ‘scrunched’ just a little bit thanks to those pesky inanimate objects. But hey, at least the ashtray still works.
Now you just have to figure out what to do with it?
I picked up a Forester for a song and a dance ($500) this past summer, and did brakes and an oxygen sensor. We have less than $750, total, into it. It presently has 256K miles (another reason I don’t really want to use it as a daily driver!) (Read More…)
What sort of upgrades would you recommend for a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited? I bought it to replace my 300CE, which was the feature of a previous Piston Slap. I am planning on keeping this one for the foreseeable future. The only problems with it right now are broken fog lights, the rear window wiper is frozen, and God-awful gas mileage. Aside from the wiper and the fog lights, is there anything you would recommend? (Read More…)
There’s a liberating feeling when you have to fix some interior component on a beater transportation car (e.g., my destined-to-become-a-track-car 1992 Civic DX) and you don’t care about color matching. Item #3,491 on the list of Parts Whose Failure Doesn’t Stop You From Driving, But Still Drives You Crazy: the glovebox door latch. (Read More…)
I have two essentially unrelated questions but both seemingly require something that I greatly lack: money. I’m a 22 year old engineering student in New Hampshire and have been around cars my whole life. Over the past few years, I’ve purchased several older motorcycles on craigslist very inexpensively, sorted the mechanical issues, cleaned them up and sold each on for a solid profit ($500 to $1000 profit per bike). While this has been fun, cars have always been my real passion. Working on motorcycles has given me the confidence to tackle a project of a larger scale, so I am seeking advice to realize two long awaited desires. I am currently working and making around $1000 per month and can play with about $200-$300 every month. Furthermore, I have access to my grandfather’s a large garage with pretty much every tool needed to do any automotive work. (Read More…)
I’m a university student completing their honours degree in screen production. My project for this year is making a short drama/comedy about a young man and his car (surprise, surprise!), so I’m looking for old, tidy cars with character.
My search has come down to a yellow 1983 Volvo 244 GL 3sp auto, offered to me for $500AUD with no registration – the pictures I’ve been given shows a very straight, tidy old brick, but it could respond well to a good polish. The bad? The car has been sitting around for at least a few months (could even be closer to a year…), which causes worries. I’m told it drove quite well before it was put away and the owners in question are quite mechanically minded and love their bricks, so I’m lead to believe it will be a good car. However, if I buy this car and it doesn’t work, suddenly I’m out of money and I don’t have a car for my film. So is there anything I should be wary of and check to ensure clean health? Any brick nuts want to chime either?
For you brick nuts, it’s an ’83 244 GL with the B23 and the 3 speed automatic. It’s done 280,000 kilometres/170k miles. I’m from Australia so I’m sure someone will school me on how we got the better bricks and USDM got shafted or something along those lines!
Speedy response would be lovely before I loose my money! (Read More…)
Mark V. writes:
I was wrong, I thought I could drive a 370z touring on a daily basis to work, a 75m round trip on the highway mostly, but I can’t. Its to loud and its becoming unpleasant to drive. I don’t want to get a beater for a 2nd car because spending almost 2 hours a day in it would be a major quality of life loss and probably not any more pleasant then my 370z.
I need a commuting yin to my 370′s sporty yang, but I don’t think I can afford the expensive of a 2nd car, technically 3rd if you count the wife’s car.
A hooptie is a once-semi-luxurious car that’s depreciated down to just-above-scrap value and is getting its final owner some quality, low-buck miles before being crushed. The Buick Electra 225 was the archetypal hooptie of the 1980s and 1990s, but how about today? More importantly, which current models will be the hoopties of 2025? (Read More…)
Sajeev and Steve,
My buddy is in college and needs a used set of wheels. After 2 years of depending upon Baltimore’s awful public transportation system and the generosity of friends, roommates, frat brothers, and total strangers for car rides, his school work is starting to suffer and he’s decided to buy a car. Unfortunately, his budget is about $2000. His living situation and total lack of mechanical skills rule out anything German, Swedish, or otherwise maintenance intensive.
His criteria for the car are reliable/durable, fuel efficient, and cheap to run. Working AC and heat would be a bonus, but he really only intends to drive the car about 15-20 minutes per day for school. He has absolutely no pretensions about the car’s badge, perceived coolness, sporty driving dynamics, etc., but he probably won’t spring for a total crapcan like a metro or echo. Also, he’s currently unemployed, and I don’t think he intends to find a job due to his course load.