By on March 1, 2009

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’74 Ford Pinto Station Wagon – Hand me down from one of my two older brothers, with over 60k on the clock. When it was later revealed that Pintos exploded upon rear impact, my immediate thought was “And…?” Anyone who drove one knew the car was a POS. Slow, gnarly to shift, horrible handling, non-functional HVAC, etc. My father, A Ford man at the time, bought the car for the same reason everyone else did: they were cheap.

Ford Pinto Station Wagon – Yup, same again. When “mine” died from heat exhaustion, Dad simply did the hand me down thing again. No. 1 son got a VW Golf, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. A lifelong insanity was revealed as I shod the Pinto with Pirelli P3s in an attempt to get it to handle. Oh, and put a Nagamichi cassette player in the glove box. Peter Frampton lives!

Mercedes 230E – Dad bought a 300 SEL 6.3 on European delivery and went mad for the brand (a madness that evaporated with breakdowns and bills). The 230 was another hand me down, this time from Mom. Solid. I mean stolid. Anything was better than the Pinto. Much better. Again with the tires. Killed the car when I was showing-off the Merc’s cornering prowess to friends- understeered straight into a curb, snapped the front axle like a toothpick.

Mazda RX-4 – My first car, really. Velour seats, gauges inside plastic housing that looked like… tits. A real sleeper in terms of thrust, although the cool factor was slightly limited by the fact that one my high school friends also had one. A bit of a gas pig, burned through three clutches. OK, I started messing with the transmission, sway bars, lightweight wheels, etc. 12B spin like a sewing machine. Some epic late night runs.

Mazda GLC (Great Little Car)- The RX4 pretty much wore out. And then I bought this 1.5-liter POS. God knows what I was thinking, something about fuel economy, practicality, college. it was just like my Pinto, except it didn’t break. I didn’t upgrade anything. Why would I? It eventually died in a head on collision on the access road next to Storrow Drive.

Mazda RX-7 (SA22C) – Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes! Great looks (white helped hide those hideous bumper strips), sharp handling, discs and LOADS of upgrades. Put one of those weird louver deals over the back window, ‘cause I’d moved to Hotlanta. The A/C couldn’t cope, and dropped power by 30 percent (ish). Push the A/C button in the middle of the fan knob (turning OFF the A/C) and struth! Mad Max’s turbo. Well, kinda. Sorta. Not.

Loads of motorcycles – Mostly Hondas – Moved back to Beantown and didn’t see the point of owning a car. Did see the point of having massive power on tap.

Mercedes 300CE (black on black) – After many years in London, swapping bikes on a regular basis, bought the little Merc for trips to the country. Solid as a tank, creamy six-cylinder power and plenty quick. Handled like… a Merc.

TVR Griffith – Yeah Baby! Although its looks were superbly, sublimely British, this was as close to a American muscle car as God ever let a foreigner get: superb engine note (5.0-liter Buick job) and unbelievably, ridiculously, unconscionably, tire smokingly quick. Hideous long distance cruiser: noisy, leaked, drafts, crap radio, the world’s heaviest clutch pedal, etc. And it didn’t like to start. 

Mercedes 500SL – Yes, the TVR was so much of a PITA that I swung towards its polar opposite. A boulevardier’s boulevardier. Quiet, smooth, reliable. Speed limiter detached, Autobahns dispatched. With the right tires (here we go again), I was able to keep up with the new Aston through the twisties. Not much point to that really, but hey, we were both headed in the same direction.

Jeep Cherokee 4.0 – My first born arrived. The right hand drive Jeep was a rattly thing with awful brakes and dodgy handling. The ONE TIME it snowed, the car was in for service. Still… nope. I got nothing.

Volvo 850 T5 – World’s fastest station wagon, with Volvo safety as standard. What else did I need to know? Someone might have mentioned that it was a torque steer monster, and the turbo came on all Saab-like. But it was a bit of a hoot with lots of luxury and it never let me down.

TVR Chimaera (5.0-liter) – Once bitten, twice stupid. Scared the SHIT out of myself on many occasions. What’s not to like? Also didn’t start more often than not. I mean, than did.

Ferrari F355B – Nice, if you like that sort of thing. Me? I used the Ferrari as my daily driver. The smell, the sound, the handling. But my GOD did it cost me money; the F355B spent at least half its time with me without me– in the shop. (I used to call myself a Ferrari visitor.) Rust? In a modern car? Yup. Ran up the miles, spun it twice and had to get rid of it before the catastrophic bills became cataclysmic.

Ferrari F550M – I loved the way it looked and LOVED the in-gear acceleration. And they were on sale. But the car was damned. First, the entire transmission had to be replaced. Then, everything else. When I, uh, danced with an Subaru Impreza Turbo on a series of long sweepers, I realized the Ferrari’s high speed stability was dubious. I decided to get out of the car before I killed myself.

BMW 540i Estate – Bought it for her indoors. Easily the most luxurious car I’ve ever driven. Heavy? Very. Thirsty? Extremely. Lovable? Thoroughly.

Porsche Carrera 4 – I bought it from the Ferrari dealer. I remember saying on the test drive, “Why the Hell did I ever buy a Ferrari?” I drove the snot out of that car and never, ever had a “moment.” I could do epic, ungodly things with the C4. OK, IT did them. But I loved it. Turns out the bastards sold me a crashed car, though.

Jaguar XK1200 – Decided to have one built from the ground up by Guy Broad, using a 4.2-liter six and a breakaway steering column. Gorgeous car that needed a lot of work (uh, Guy, the seat’s just come loose). Just starting the fettling process when I drove her on a snowy afternoon. Took out an entire English village. Divorce prevented me from pursuing perfection. The one that got away.

BMW M5 – Separated me from the family hauler, I had to get something more kiddie friendly. Phenomenal car: smooth, quiet, powerful, graceful, comfortable, understated, elegant, burbalicious. A luxury car around town, a supercar in the twisties, a ‘bahn burner on the open road. The M5’s Achilles heel: recirculating ball steering; almost had a [another] head-on whilst adjusting the HVAC. Other than that, perfect. Just perfect.

Audi S4 Avant – I forget why I got rid of the M5. A painful time in my life. My internet career started very badly indeed when I revealed (on that I didn’t know the difference between an S4 and a RS4. Oops. Never mind. The S4 had the best seats I’ve ever sat upon. It was comfortable, luxurious and semi-sporting. Well, sporting enough to lose my license, anyway.

BMW M3 (E36) – Moved back to the states and celebrated with this masterpiece. Custom ordered in Estoril blue. Another perfect car, save the fact that the back seats were too cave-like for the kids. This became a REAL issue when Sam fell pregnant.

Porsche Cayenne S – I knew Porsche’s truck was a brand abortion, but I wasn’t going to let professional prejudice stop me from getting a great deal on an all-American SUV (for us, anyway). The throttle lag drove me NUTS. Sad to say, the Cayenne was nothing special- except when it snowed or we went off-road. Holy shit, what an unstoppable machine. I think we left the pavement twice.

Porsche Carrera 4 – Something for the weekend sir? Excellent car, but the thrill was gone. Can’t explain it. Water-cooled engine’s OK with me. Handling just as foolproof as before, only more so. Fast? Yes, very. But it just didn’t feel special. No… fun.

Honda Odyssey – Finally embraced the minivan, and why not? On those occasions when all four girls are in attendance, or carrying big box items, or bikes, or dogs, or girls, stuff AND dogs, it can’t be beat. Poorly-built: creaks and rattles, things break. But the V6 is perfectly adequate, the tranny shifts like a dream and the drop-down TV is a godsend. (The art of conversation is dead. Long live the art of conversation.) Only real beef: bought it before MP3 compatibility. Seriously. That sucks.

Porsche Boxster S – World’s best sports car. No complaints. Well, it’s too damn noisy for long distance travel. Considering a Bentley Arnage T, a Maserati GranTurismo S (when the new one arrives and then depreciates) or a F360.

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330 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Your Entire Car Owning History Please...”

  • avatar

    1987 – Vauxhall Nova SR (1.3)
    1989 – Vauxhall Nova SR (1.4)
    1990 – Vauxhall Nova GTE (1.6i weeeeeeeee)
    1997 – VW Golf GTI
    1988 – Ford Fiesta XR2 (summer/weekend use)
    1997 – VW Golf VR6
    1994 – Subaru Impreza WRX (Jap import, crashed on the Isle of Man, badly!)
    2001 – VW Golf GT TDI (current car)

    Too much spent :(

  • avatar

    Oh god, a Volare. You have my unending sympathy.

  • avatar

    I’ve only owned four cars (but have been responsible for the upkeep of others).

    1989 Toyota 4Runner — V6 SR5 5-speed, Canadian gray market model. Super rusty, got it for “free” (needed a clutch and brakes). Died of a severe headgasket failure within 6 months, with nearly 200K on the clock.

    1995 GMC Sonoma. The most basic of base models– it didn’t even have carpet! Inherited it from my dad in 2001 at 63K, after the 4Runner died (he got to go shopping as a result). It grew slowly more and more troublesome (read: expensive), until it started trying to kill me every few months through structural failure. Ditched it the week it rolled over to 100K. Good on gas, and the bed was mostly filled with garbage and beer bottles.

    2005 Subaru Impreza. Also a base model, though not at all spartan like the GMC. Leased in fall of 2004 after getting my first Real Job. I never really grew attached to this car, since I mostly just fretted over every single rock chip and scratch in the paint. Traded it in (since in NY, you don’t lease as such– you get balloon payment financing) right before the lease was up about a year ago with 44K on it– I wasn’t upside-down!

    2004 Scion xB. Bought used a year ago, and I love it to death. It’s pushing 75K on the clock. It has a patina. It’s roomy, sensible, efficient, entertaining to drive (in a driving a slow-car-fast way), and gets lots of attention (mostly positive). I’ll probably hang on to it until it dies, in 25 years. My girlfriend’s 2000 Intrepid with similar miles on it is a nightmare to maintain– the xB will likely be trouble-free as cheap Toyotas are.

  • avatar

    Mr. F., I thought you would have had cooler cars than that.

  • avatar

    Man, how do you remember this stuff?

    I remember my first car, a NSU Prinz.
    A Borgward and few Citroens, Peugeots and Fiats

    When I came to the US a 69 Mach1

    Most of the time had various older Mercedes and one BMW2002 for getting around and GM duallies to tow.

    Now I would only consider Japanese cars, had various Honda, Nissan and Toyota. If you count the ones for the wife and daughters, more then a dozen.

  • avatar

    1993 Ford Escort GT – I was 17 and looking for something cheap and reliable to I went looking for an Escort. I stumbled across this one for $1200 and grabbed it, without even realizing how neat the EGT really was. It was the only car in which I’ve recieved a speeding ticket, and after giving it a couple years worth of good old teenage vehicular neglect (including killing and replacing the engine and tranny), I sold it to an acquaintence for $150. He later went on to sell it to a guy from California who flew out to northern Maine to drive it all the way across the continent. I’ve never stopped wanting another Escort GT or wishing I’d appreciated mine more.

    1987 Olds Cutlass Ciera – A friend of the family passed away and his wife gave me the car. It had the 3.8L under the hood, which was more than enough oomph for a granny-mover and also sounded pretty sweet when it sprung an exhaust leak. I had it for about 6 months before the timing belt broke and wrecked the engine. It was free; I can’t complain.

    1995 Honda Civic Del Sol – I got this Civic “Of the Sun” from my future sister-in-law for cheap after the Cutlass died. I liked it because girls liked it, and that was about all I liked about it. Cramped, cheap interior, a terrible lack of power, and crappy handling do not a fun car make.

    2003 Mazda Protege5 – I got a new job, so I got a new car. Shortly thereafter, I lost said job and therefore said car. It was hella fun while it lasted though; I miss it.

    1999 VW Passat – I was actually shopping for a B5 Audi A4, with no luck at all, when I stumbled across this little lady. Close enough. It’s a very comfortable car, it’s quick enough, it’s a 5-speed, and it gets 32mpg on the highway. My only beef is the lack of AWD like on the A4. Oh well.

  • avatar

    1981 Chevrolet Citation X-11 MTX: fun, crude, awful build quality

    1984 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo convertible auto: much more fun than you’d think, but muy flexible, burned through spark plug wires, and lost the auto trans at 24k

    1988 Toyota Celica All-trac Turbo MTX: very fun on the road up Pikes Peak and unpaved surfaces, relatively boring on pavement

    1985 Ford Escort MTX: bought to leave on the streets of Chicago for weeks at a time without getting stolen; a success

    1996 Ford Contour SE V6 MTX: severely under-rated car, very fun to drive, great-sounding V6; but engine lost compression at 66k because of known design flaw

    2003 Mazda Protege5: classic good looks and very agile. But not as solid as the Contour, and deserves an engine with more of an urge to rev.

    2000 Lexus GS 400: we needed a third car and my father didn’t get offered much for it as a trade in; seamless power delivery, squishy suspension, feels almost like new even with 105k

    My wife’s cars:

    1989 Nissan Maxima GXE: looked good back in the day, wife hated dark gray color, squishy compared to the SE

    1998 Olds Intrigue: I liked the styling, she liked the features but never really loved the car partly because it was white; less refined than it should have been

    2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Dream Cruiser (bright gold): she wanted something more fun; engineered to last 50k

    My old man’s cars:

    1983 Pontiac 6000 STE: Pontiac had a hit with this one. But before they figured out how to improve the handling without killing the ride. They failed to keep up with the competition.

    1986 Lincoln MkVII LSC: beatiful styling, strong V8, excellent seats

    1990 Lexus LS 400: he was wowed by the level of refinement; I had less input on this one

    2000 Lexus GS 400: see above, since I now have it

    2003 Nissan 350Z, second car: bought on a whim with no involvement from me. He liked looking at it, hated driving it, ride way too busy. Sold it after a year and a half and only 6k for almost as much as he paid.

    2005 Mazda RX-8, second car: bought when I was considering one. Far more livable than the Z, he ended up driving it more often than the GS 400.

    2008 Cadillac CTS: bought because he loved the styling, and because different than anything his friends own. Now telling me the ride is too harsh and that he hears various little noises (fuel pump, etc.) that he never heard in the Lexus.

  • avatar

    Excluding all but one of my wife’s vehicles….

    1977 Buick Le Sabre: Technically my mom’s car, but it was the first car I drove on a regular basis.

    1980 VW Rabbit Diesel: Became mine in 1983, changed my driving DNA forever. Lasted ~180,000 trouble-free miles.

    1986 VW GTI: First Real Job Car. 94,000 trouble-free miles.

    1989 VW Vanagon: Got married, had kids, played hockey. Lasted 110,000 miles, engine replaced under warranty though @ 65,000.

    1973 VW 1303: Super Beetle. Commuter Classic Car. Had 365,000 miles on the clock when I sold it.

    1996 VW Jetta TDI Wagon: Never owned it, but was a long-term rental when I first lived in the UK.

    1994 Volvo 440td: The wife’s car in the UK, but I loved it and it was our only car there for most of our time living in Old Blighty.

    1999 VW New Beetle: Wife bought it for me upon our return to the USA, mostly to shut me up about my old ’73 Beetle selling regret. Sold @ 120,000 trouble free miles. Still running fine last I heard, in Juneau AK.

    2002 VW Jetta TDI: 130,000 trouble-free miles, my current daily driver.

    1965 E-type Jaguar: My father’s old Jag. He restored it as a retirement project. It will stay in the family forever, I hope. Yes Farago, when winter ends and it comes out from under the covers again I’ll write a review for you.


  • avatar

    1974 Datsun 120Y Manual – Given to me by dad. It was the family car for years before being replaced by his 1985 Volvo 240GL. Was a great car. To think my first car was an FR. Then all the rest were wrong wheel drive.

    1995 Honda Civic EX Coupe (EJ2) Manual – Bought used. Became a tuner car. Cross drilled slotted rotors, adjustable coilover, strut bars, rear ties. 17 inch rims with 215/40/R17 tires, pulleys, intake. Nakamichi CD head unit and infinity speakers all round. Eventually became too stiff for me, and the tranny was starting to go out. Traded in for next one.

    2005 Mazda 3 SP23 Automatic – Bought new. Never modded it. Came with GPS and the full leather package, Bose, ABS, TPMB and xenon lights of the Special Edition. Loved it. Was a nice change from the Honda. The only thing to ever go out on it was one of the speed sensors so ABS and TPMS would not work.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR – Absolutely love it. Has everything I ever wanted in a car.

  • avatar

    (in order)
    1978 Honda Accord – Decent enough for a teenager, but it was tempermental at times.

    1990 Toyota Corolla – A well-made car. Probably the best Corolla they’ve ever made. Unfortunately hobbled by a 3 spd AT.

    1993 Ford Ranger (current) – Hands down the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. It’s like an old dog; always there when I need it, but not worth anything to anyone but me.

    1978 Datsun 280Z – A money pit.

    1992 Mazda Miata – An attempt to retain the excitement of the motorcycle I sold to get it. Had to sell it against my will, but will forever have fond memories. Some day, I’ll have another.

    (wives cars)
    1989 Ford Probe – Decent car, but always suffered from “pop-eye”.

    1997 Mitsu Eclipse Spider – You’d think a convertible would be exciting. This one wasn’t.

    2001 VW Passat – Most luxurious car we ever had, and got great MPG with the 1.8T. Traded for SUV. A mistake, imo.

    2004 Toyota Highlander (current) – A disappointment. If this vehicle were more boring, it would require electrified seats to keep you awake. And while it hasn’t had major failure, it’s got a lot of nagging little things that go wrong, that would add up to big $$ if I got them fixed, or didn’t fix them myself.

  • avatar

    Ok my car history is minor and I’ve only owned two, driven extensively 4:

    1989 Ford Taurus: Not the best car by any means, but it got me around in high school. Given away at 10 years and 120K miles.

    1997 ford Contour: Yes my parents were still convinced Fords didn’t suck. met its doom with a tranny failure at 100K miles.

    1999 Honda Accord LX-V6 2 door: Used but lovable. Blew a hole in the piston at 127K, argued with the dealer until I was blue in the face since he had just performed a service on it, just junked it instead.

    2007 Lexus IS250: Slow as hell but trouble free so far. Did the recalls and no problems yet.

  • avatar

    My entire history:

    1. 1973 Opel GT (my first car, passed on to my younger brother when I graduated high school, he restored it then sold it several years later.)

    2. 1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa turbo convertible (purchased one week after I graduated high school in 1987. It was my college car, at least for my first couple years in college. I still own this one. No idea how many miles, the odometer broke sometime in the 90s. I love this car, easily outhandled my next car, car #3…)

    3. 1983 Toyota Supra (purchased during college, has about 150,000 miles on it when it was traded in on car #4…)

    4. 1987 Porsche 944S (purchased a few months prior to graduating from college in 1992. I still own this one. Has about 175,000 miles on it now. Been very reliable, cost of ownership stretched over the 17 years I’ve owned it is very low.)

    5. 1997 Honda Civic HX (leased with the intention of selling the 944S and owning a “sensible car”… needless to say, I kept the 944S and turned this in at the end of the 2-year lease. My least-favorite car I’ve owned.)

    5. 1982 BMW 528e (handed down from my parents, must have been sometime in 2000. I still own this one, it is my winter beater car. It has about 210,000 miles on it. This thing will run forever, until the body rots away. Inredibly reliable.)

    6. 2002 Porsche Boxster (my first–and most likely last–car I purchased brand new. I still own this one. Has about 45,000 miles on it. No problems with it yet, if I could only keep one car this would be it.)

  • avatar

    1967-1980 – Saab 95 – still running, my neighbor now owns it, 4 cylinder version, perhaps oddest looking car ever made

    1980 – present – Volvo 240 estate – i have 2 of these durable if ugly

    2006 – present Maserati Quattroporte GT nice car, hellish expensive in Finland, appropriated by my wife after the first time she drove it

    2004 – present – Aprilla 250cc scooter – i take the ferry daily then ride this in Helsinki, two have been stolen, so much for law abiding Finns

    Wife has owned a series of Mercedes until stealing my car (see above)

    Edited to add: While at university in England I had some type Ford, I wrecked it into a tree the night I graduated while quite intoxicated thus losing the car and driving certificate in UK. My father was not awfully pleased I recall.

  • avatar

    I lived in NYC for most of my adult life, so I didn’t really need a car. I often took care of my girlfriends’ cars so I usually had a ride when I needed one. 1st car I actually bought was a 96 auto integra in Feb. 2005. Paid $6k cash. I wanted a stick, but when I found that one with such low miles, I had to get it, as it was a once in a lifetime type deal. (Well maintained by father of daughter who had left the car behind when she went to college.) It was great and served me well and I sold it for $500 less what I paid 2 years later with 30k+ miles on it (I was commuting to Long Island every day for 6 months and that really racked up the miles).

    My next and current car is a 91 300zx manual, NA, 2+2. I love it and it loves me back. Not exactly cheap when parts need replacing, but it is reliable and I drove it across country from NYC to LA with no real issues. I often just go for a drive for no reason at all. It’s just a pleasure to own.

    To add some history of the cars I’ve known, but not owned… Mom’s 80s something crap brown b210 station wagon. It was very reliable, slow, handling was “interesting”. Learned how to swing the rear out in the rain delivering pizzas. Used to love it when it rained.

    GF’s 86 Audi 5000 – pure awesome. Loved that car. Died an heroic death when she hydroplaned it under an overpass returning home to Jersey early one Sunday morning at around 5am. I had begged her not to go, had a bad feeling. Fortunately she walked away without a scrape. The car was in tiny tiny pieces. Didn’t even resemble a car. I don’t know how she survived, much less, came away unscathed.

    Another GF’s 85 Toyota Camry. Excellent, albeit slow. Great handling, a real trooper. Transmission finally died at 350k miles. Cost too much to replace, so we got rid of it.

    Her next car, a 2001 or 2 Elantra. Terrible car. Just awful. I hated hated hated it. Tried to talk her out of buying it. It was uncomfortable and handled like crap. Would become dangerously unstable above 70mph. For all I know she still is driving the POS. Worst part about it is it will probably last forever. Not worth anything to sell or trade in, so you are stuck with a car you can’t stand, but can’t think of a real reason to get rid of.

  • avatar

    It’s a fairly short history, but…

    1978 Ford LTD Country Squire – the famous battlewagon, for years my dad’s daily driver and the family car, eventually relegated to spare status and finally handed over to me when I turned 16. Great car that finally expired after nineteen years with 230,000 miles on the clock.

    1985 Ford LTD Country Squire – Mom’s wagon for a long time, mine after the battlewagon died. Not as good a car as the ’78 – it only lasted about 180,000 miles.

    1992 Ford Thunderbird – have owned this car for almost eleven years. Bought used when I finished high school and needed a car for college. It’s had the usual Ford problems of that vintage – head gasket in the 3.8-liter V-6 at 100K, transmission rebuilt several years ago – but has never left me stranded. The odometer broke several years ago, but it’s got to be north of 200K by now. The transmission is acting up again and I probably won’t fix it this time, but it’s given me great service and I’ll miss it when it goes.

    1997 Mazda Miata – just bought a few months ago. So far so good!

  • avatar
    Jim Zellmer

    1978 Ford Fiesta – Orange

    1980 Ford Fiesta Sport – Blue

    1986 Toyota MR2 – Red

    1993 Toyota Camry – Red

    1996 Toyota Camry – Green

    1990 BMW 535i 5 Speed – Silver

  • avatar

    I bought my first car in 1998, if I recall correctly, with some help from the ‘rents…

    1996 Ford Aspire, red – first car, bought it from my girlfriend’s dad for $3750 with only 19,000 miles on it. The car was a total stripper, 2-door, heat & keys, manual trans, and I loved that little bastard except for the fact that the “Aspire” logo on the back was in a stupid pink font. First thing I did was buy a CD player so I could have a radio & clock. It shook like crazy at anything over 62 mph, if I recall. I only drove that little guy for a year before totaling it in a no-fault wreck involving a deer. Now I own a motorcycle with a 1400cc motor, a full 100ccs larger than the Aspire’s four-pot, which I find funny.

    1992 Chevy Cavalier Z24, green – replaced the Aspire, I said, “No cars with less than 6-cylinders” and bought me a cool little coupe on the cheap. The auto trans was kind of a buzzkill, but I managed to wring the fun out of it. I did all sorts of kiddie stuff, painted the interior bits red, drove it like hell. The damn thing rusted out, broke down & basically fell to pieces during my sophomore year of college, which allowed me to meet the love of my life, a…

    1994 Subaru Impreza, white – ‘Twas my dad’s car, I gave him my Aspire to use as a trade-in instead of the Scoobie when he got a new car. 5-speed manual, and without a question the most fun car I’ve ever owned. I loved that car like crazy, it put a smile on my face every time I got in. AWD got me through MN snow without a second thought, manual trans & low center of gravity kept things fun & sporty, reliability was spot on at 168,000 miles. I basically lived out of it during the summer between sophomore & junior years, sleeping at various places. Some jerk hit me with a Caddy in Minneapolis when the gf (now wife) & I were visiting. Drove it back to school (75 miles) despite major front-end damage & the shop totaled it. I was so, so sad. I loved that car so much.

    2000 Jeep Cherokee, maroon – My current car, though I seldom drive it due to carpooling to work with the Mrs. Got it because another Subaru would be too much $ and I still wanted winter capability & hauling space for all the post-college moving. It’s a fine car, but doesn’t inspire me like the Subie did. Auto trans, thirsty I6, noisy ride, meh. It’s capable, that’s for sure, but there’s something wrong with driving a car you don’t love… driving, like sex, is special and one should choose partners wisely to get the most out of it.

    I’m getting a new job that’ll require me to commute on my own, and I’m excited to replace the Jeep with something more fuel-efficient and fun, with a proper manual transmission and sporting character like a Honda Fit or something. Maybe an Impreza. WRX. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

    Wife’s Cars:
    1992 Chevy Lumina, red – former rental car, got rid of it in ’05, holy god what a hunk of junk. Shouldn’t complain, though, ran pretty good even when we got rid of it and replaced it with a fabulous and fun…

    2001 Chevy Lumina, green – grad gift from Mom & Dad. Soul-sucking boredom. I drive this thing every day and it makes my heart beat slower & my eyelids droop. It’s a reliable little goer, though, 145000 on the clock and only cosmetic issues… and a transmission hiccup now and again… and the gas gauge doesn’t work, forcing us to use the trip odometer… and the interior is more or less falling apart (broken glovebox, squeaky doors, cracked knobs, etc.). Still, the 3.1 V6 is a gem & we’re driving it till the wheels fall off, which is well on it’s way to happening (recently lost a hubcap).

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    2001- 1980 Mazda 626. RWD, 5-speed, AC, power sunroof and cruise control for $400 plus $100 in parts and a few hours of dad’s time.

    2004- After a “few” more hours of dad’s time, a brake job on the Mazda were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Instead of pumping and bleeding etc, we gave the 626 back to St Vincents. I decided the only car I could both desire and afford was a Ford Focus ZX3. Bought a red one new, and loved it. Drove it as far north as Vancouver BC and as far south as Reno in the three months I had it. Lost my job, couldn’t afford payments and had to sell it back. I was in college by then, and a car wasn’t practical or necessary. Five years later I still don’t own one. This won’t last.

  • avatar

    bought my first car when I was 24
    2005 vw ‘new’ jetta – value edition, 5 speed with esp.
    a great car for 18k.
    sold it 3 years, 43k trouble free miles later.

    now, no car – just ride bianchi steel, the bus and the train…

  • avatar

    1970 Olds 442
    1965 Mercury Monterey spray painted black with silver sparay paint steel wheels like the deathmobile in Animal House
    1974 Pontiac Grand Prix
    1982 Datsun 310 (spike)
    1985 Suzuki Samurai, my first new car, $2,700
    1984 Audi 5000
    1988 Audi 80
    1992 Audi 90
    1999 Audi TT
    2002 BMW M3
    2002 BMW M3 vert
    2003 Audi Allroad
    1985 BMW 635
    1994 Mazda Miata
    1999 Mazda Miata
    2006 Audi A4

    current cars:

    2000 M Roadster
    2004 Audi Allroad

  • avatar

    1996 – ’84 SAAB 900 (8v n/a) @ 290k miles.
    Family hand me down since bought new in ’84, bullet proof until dropping the tranny halfway between Burlington VT and Albany NY just shy of 300k miles. Sad to see ‘er go. This car led me to the discovery of the old saabnet mailing lists in the mid 90’s. A great early online community that helped me keep that tank running her best.

    1999 – ’89 SAAB 900 Turbo, died @ 175k miles.
    Purchased used, hoped for same reliability/greatness as prior 900. Was a money pit, engine, clutch, tranny all crapped out. Rebuilt with transplants from a totaled SPG and a custom built Garrett turbo. Fun to mod and went like stink. 3 years later lost the clutch master and slave on road trip to Boston, sold it for the cost of a long tow to a dad and his 16 yr. old son who wanted a project car.

    2002 – ’02 Audi A4 (1.8t quattro/sport) @ 100k miles.
    First car purchased new. Best foul weather car ever driven and great highway hauler. Fun and easy to ‘lightly’ mod, and a great modder community around the marque. Reliability and maintenance ‘surprises’ accrued quickly after warranty was up, but the metal is too young to give up on ‘er.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    i also would have expected more interesting history for Mr Farago. I now feel slightly superior, its an illusion though. Thanks anyway RF.

    Why did you avoid japanese?

    I think this would query would be enhanced if people also indicate year it was experienced.

    in 1980, a 68 beetle, rusted out when I bought it, knew no better. Breathing exhaust, peering through mist.

    1982, a 75 convertible beetle, nice for what it was, I ruined the engine by not noticing cracked intake manifold rubbers, and then ruined the second paint job with blowtorch under fender, working on frozen tie rod ends. Sold for 60% of what I paid after 3 years.

    It was 1980 before I understood how to adjust drum brakes. I survived by wild pumping at every stop.

    1984, 1980 jetta 3 speed auto. Had leaky OEM headers whole time I owned it, bought aftermarkets when I was cleaning it up for givewaway to neice. It got quiet. Everybody told me they all sound like that. Leak was halfway down one of the oem tubes. New fusebox made it run better and lights brighter, old one took on water and rusted. Otherwise a very fine nicely balances small car and I would buy one new today if galvanized.

    1986, an 84 olds omega. New door lock switch every six months, dealer said he never sold them except to me. I thought he was lying,but maybe I was only one who repaired it. “Noiseless” cam gear ground away like a mini cement mixer whole time I owned it until it sheared teeth. Gave away.

    1989- 89 jetta 1.8 8v. paid 9,999. OK for then, tinny but had that VW sweet feel they have when all is well. Put 4-1 headers onto it like an ass, it was designed for low rpm short shifting.

    94-94 city golf. Had to argue with local dealer to bring last one in across state. He clearly did not want to sell me that car. Rochester NH. I cannot imagine how it is that they are still in business except its a family shop and they have nowhere else to go. Put 70k on it. Nice car. 8v, think that was 2.0 by then.

    99-99 rav 4 fwd 4 door. Sucky oem tires, I went 20mm larger with 400/a/aa rated michelin allsports and it transformed that car. 20 mph faster at same NVH and effort level down rt 153 in NH. HArd to get it past 70 on highway.

    01 protege, 2.0 lx. nice but boring. Gave to mom.

    01 jetta 1.8t wolfsburg. Badly set up car. Leans and lurches and had turbo lag. Felt it depreciate as I drove it. Endless hassle getting original alignment fixed, finally it steered straight with out of warranty repair. Learned that Quirk in Quincy is pure evil. “We have no record you ever asked for alignment repair before.” “I told you to write on the repair tag, alignment” “no you didn’t”

    02-94 sentra. B13. Wonderful car. 1.6, putheaders, undersize crank, lower control arm brace, upper and lower rear braces, it was a zippy little wonder. Gave to sister.

    03- 91 mr2. wonderful car. A yamaha.
    moon roof not-top. Had wrong engine, by design, an american only 2.2 low rpm mill meant for auto, borrowed from Camry and corolla. Otherwise a miracle car. Nephew as gift, he wrecked it in 3 months.

    05-2 A4. Wonderful. This is living. Refined and solid as a tank.

    08- 99 miata, 15k on the clock. Appears to be a new car. Wiggly jiggly little thing, no real structural integrity, uncomfortable with roof up. Love it. California emissions, which means close coupled cat on a small sports engine, does nto like to rev. This was fixed for 01 forward. CARB is a good thing overall but they are prone to doing things wrong on purpose like most governments.

    I hate selling cars because there usually is a lot more value in them after I own them than book value would indicate. So I give away to keep the value in family.

  • avatar

    1999 Ford Escort ZX2 Sport 5 speed manual, 130 hp I4: Cheap, loud, reasonably fast and fun, reliable, well assembled. Parents drive it now hitting 100,000 shortly.

    2004 Honda Accord EX-V6 Sedan 5 speed automatic, 240 hp V6: Very fast, reasonable handling, some assembly oversights, rough ride, BORING! Traded in for…

    2006 Acura TSX 6 speed manual, 205 hp I4: Reasonably quick, nice handling and ride, well assembled, smooth and free revving engine, the perfect size and packed with features. Still currently own.

    2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata 5 speed manual, 166 hp I4: cramped, noisy, hard seats, terrible stereo, lots of rattles, and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Awesome little go cart on wheels. Still currently own.

  • avatar

    What the heck…

    1981 Ford Escort – a problem child of a car. I got it after the first owner tried to drive it with a blow timing belt, there was always something not quite right about that car.

    1974 Opel Manta Rallye – taught me the improtance of fixing breaks promptly, I will always miss that little thing

    1981 Ford F150 – 300 straight 6, it took a rouge tire on the highway to kill that wonderful beast

    1988 Chrysler Lebaron GTC – 2.2Turbo, I scrapped the vehicle when it blew the head gasket a second time… too much money to sink when I had another car available at the time

    1981 Ford Futura 4door – 200 straight 6, bland beater with a heart of gold

    1979 AMC Concord – 254 straight 6. God, I miss those wonderful straight 6 motors. Another vehcile lost due to no money on hand, transmission blew and unfortantly I couldn’t afford to fix it.

    1981 Dodge Ramcharger – not the best year for Dodge sheet metal or drive lines

    1999 Jeep Wrangler – 4 banger until the motor decided that the #4 cyclinder was not needed. Managed to sell it for what I owed to someone that wanted to build a rock buggy

    2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee – say what you will about ChryCo, but this is one outstanding vehicle, 96k on the clock and still running strong… well will be after I get it back from the shop due to some moron who ran a red light…. idiot drivers suck.

    1979 Dodge Power Wagon – emergency transportation / weekend fun.

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    2000–Ford Tempo GL:

    High School car hand-me-down from the parents right after I learned to drive. Terrible, terrible car but I was thankful not to have to ride the bus to school anymore.

    2002–Tempo went to the graveyard, got a Ford Escort ZX2 used before I went to college. Again with help from parents. Still got it. Useful as a grocery getter when gas prices are high.
    2005–Ford Crown Victoria used (’97 I believe), such a great car for what it is and bought so cheap! My primary winter car/highway cruiser. I’m gonna drive it into the ground. First car I paid for on my own.

    2006–Mazda Miata, bought used. Primary fun/warm weather car, love it to death.

    That’s right. Never gotten a new car thus far.

  • avatar

    1985 Plymouth Horizon-fits 15 highschoolers somewhat comfortably, gets airborn with only minimal damage, enjoys taking a beating

    1984 Plymouth Turismo-the hatch made it great for loading and hauling crap around

    1997 VW Jetta-awesome car if you don’t mind the repair bills

    1999 Jeep Cherokee (current)-everyday reliability and durability, tows, hauls, rwd goodness

    2009 Jeep Patriot(current)-decent on road manners, off road ability that a CRV could only dream of

  • avatar

    1978 Toyota Celica GT – bought used for cheap, put 150K mi on it, sold for cheap. Great car.

    1970 Porsche 911T coupe – great car.

    1970 Porsche 911S Targa – great car.

    1986 Porsche Carrera Cab – great car.

    2008 Tesla Roadster – worth the wait. Farago you said I would never get it … more than once, I think. Great car.

  • avatar

    1990 Pontiac Bonneville- Bought this in 1999 for only $600 off an elderly neighbor. The radiator was bad, and causing it to overheat. I swapped that out and the car ran fine after that. It was one of the most robust vehicles I can imagine. It never spent a moment of its life not outside. In 2005 I left it in a pasture in central Florida for 9 months. When I was ready to take it back, I put the battery back in, and it started right up and ran good. Engine and transmission were always great, but the paint did start to fade on the trunk and hood. The tape deck jammed up and the key didn’t work for the trunk after awhile, but everything else on the car never broke. I sold it in August of 2008 with about 200K miles on it for $500 because I didn’t need three cars. I still kind of miss it.

    1992 Pontiac Grand AM coupe 3.3- Also bought in 1999. I got it because I like Pontiacs and it was kind of sporty. It was an alright car. The 3.3 had decent torque and a lot better reliability than a Quad-4. The passenger side window fell of its track quite often, and the cladding faded on it. I had some exhaust issues too due to the undercarriage rusting on Michigan roads. Sold it to my sister in 2001 and it blew up this January as a rusty heap with 220,000 miles.

    1998 Jeep Wrangler 4.0 5-spd- Bought this off my uncle in 2001. I learned to drive stick in this car. I lived in the Michigan Upper Peninsula at this time, and it was a lot of fun to take off road up there. I crashed it into a fence when I took my eyes off the road while I was fiddling with the shifter, but other than scratches, the accident didn’t seem to hurt it. I traded it in when I bought my Grand Prix.

    2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP sedan- Got it off a used car dealer in 2005 when I moved to Florida. I had wanted a supercharged 3800 Pontiac for years, and decided to pick it up because I didn’t know how often I’d be able to off-road the Jeep in my new home. It’s a decent car. The supercharger sounds cool, and it has really good torque. The auto is pretty good for a 4-spd as well. However, it doesn’t win any handling or interior quality awards and the black paint is hard to keep clean. I still own this car and try to keep decent care of it.

    1999 Pontiac Firebird Formula WS6- Bought this in July of 2008 off the internet. It has a SLP intake and exhaust installed. It sounds awesome, and is fast enough to get me arrested. My only problem with it is that the seats aren’t very sporty, and, if I didn’t have the loud exhaust, you would hear a million rattles while driving. Still own it.

  • avatar

    1999 Ford Escort ZX2 Sport 5 speed manual, 130 hp I4: Cheap, loud, reasonably fast and fun, reliable, well assembled. Parents drive it now hitting 100,000 shortly.

    Relatively trouble-free with mine, too. I don’t know why Ford stopped building it, it is a nice little sport econobox.

  • avatar

    Re. the speeding article, I saw your reference to your site and went there to read your fine ticket-avoidance article … where you declined to disclose the identity of your ‘unmarked daily driver’ (beyond non-descript, slow, 4-door diesel sedan).

    Just read your list of rides above … among them a “2002 VW Jetta TDI … my current daily driver”…

    I guess your cover is blown (thanks for satisfying my curiosity). ;o)

  • avatar

    My GM (mostly) history

    1979 Bonneville Brougham, royal blue w/ light blue landau roof and velvet-y plush interior. hand-me-down from the ‘rents. A total boat – you could barely tell you were steering as it had one of those tiny (in girth) steering wheels, but hey, it got me through senior year of high school. Never did get to use the ample backseat….anyway, the whole damn engine about fell out roughly year after I got it.

    1984 Cutlass Ciera – maroon. Had a sweet all-digital IP which at the time was very futuristic. Unfortunately, I rolled it about 6 months after I got it. Fortunately, I walked away from the accident and got more in insurance $$ than I paid for it.

    1985-6 Grand Am. 4-door. Bought used. ran out of gas the first night I had it – that’s how I learned the gas gauge was a little mis-calibrated. Had that goofy diagonal speedometer. this was a decent car, but it had its fair shar of problems. Sold it to a buddy at ~80k miles, then it completely died on him.

    1993 Pontiac Sunfire. Black. My first new car. Had the 3.1 V6. Man did that thing go. Since it was my first new car, I completely babied it and had the oil changed every 3k (hey I was 21~). No problems until a transmission replacement at 80k. By the time I traded it in at 105k, air didn’t work, etc.

    2000 Olds Alero. Silver. The start of my leasing phase . Best car I’ve ever owned (or leased actually). Loved it. Of course, I only had it for three years. No problems besides a recall for warped rotors.

    2001 Toyota Camry (wife’s car). Not one problem and sold it after 2 years for $3k more than we owed.

    2003 (?) GMC Envoy. Silver. Beginning of kid phase…I actually really liked this vehicle – perfect for a new homeowner and parent.

    2005 Buick Rendezvous. Decent vehicle for a ridiculously low lease price. Rear hatch weighed about a thousand pounds, and the huge swing of the doors caused damage to everyone we parked next too. But hey, Tiger Woods drove one!!!

    2007 Saturn Relay. Biggest POS ever! 5 times in the shop in two years – once the guide wheel on the sliding door just sheared off. To make matters worse, we had to buy it because the lease rates on anything big and GM were through the roof. So we’re stuck with it for more years. Ugh.

  • avatar
    IC Turbo

    In order of ownership:
    1987 Hyundai Excel – paid $350 for it. I got ripped off.
    1986 Saab 900 – Non turbo 8V. Beat the daylights out it, 200k miles when I sold it mechanical sound. Longitudinal engine meant sophisticated dual A arms up front, so it handled great. Lots of cargo room with a flat load floor. I miss this one.
    1995 Dodge neon – fun car. Handled great. Remember when these had their own race series? 40 mpg HWY though eastern PA going 75mph with the AC on. Totaled by some elderly lady who doesn’t know how to turn left.
    1997 Plymouth neon – bought at 160k miles. Beat the daylights out of it, spun a rod bearing at 207k miles due to poor oil pan design, finally threw a rod through block at 215k. All on the original clutch. I kinda miss this one.
    1987 Ford Bronco II – 1st winter beater. Broke a manual tranny. Silly Mitsu tranny.
    1995 Ford Explorer Sport – learned to double clutch downshift on this out of necessity. Broke a Mazda tranny.
    1989 Nissan 240SX – SR20DET. This is the summer toy. Lots of fun, garage kept in the winter. The question isn’t what is done to it, it’s what’s NOT done. (still have this one)
    1994 Dodge Shadow V6 – super rare 5 speed manual. Ran like clockwork. Totaled by some 80 year who couldn’t see a stopped car at 2pm on a day with no clouds.
    2008 Toyota Camry SE – 2.4L and 5 speed manual. Excellent road trip car and NOT boring every day due to the SE stiffer springs and dampeners and additional chassis bracing. (still have this one)

    After losing the first neon, I learned the value of winter beaters. After doing about all you can to FWD, I learned the benefit of RWD for sporting applications. After driving the 240 with virtually no sound deadening, coilovers, manual everything including steering, no cruise, no AC, I learned that good track cars don’t make good street cars. I also learned that you don’t get to use a fraction of a car’s potential on the street, hence the Shadow followed by the Camry.

  • avatar

    Very simple, really:

    1985 Honda Accord LX hatchback, 5-speed. Versatile, comfortable, competent. Age-related carburetor problems eventually wrecked its fuel economy and driveability, and it was written off after TWO serious collisions (rear-ended by a Ford Explorer, then T-bone by a 1990s Thunderbird).

    1991 Honda Prelude Si 4WS, 5-speed. Very attractive, very comfortable, superb handling, wretched stereo. Learning to park gracefully with four-wheel steering took practice, and the sunroof leaked in the rain when parked on an incline. Adequately quick, but the engine was a little too buzzy, given its modest output, exacerbated by stupidly short gearing. Before I sold it, I had a number of frustrating problems with the A/C (intermittent electrical short that took forever to track down), and some a-hole backed into the right front fender without leaving a note.

    2005 Mazda3 s 2.3, 5-speed (current). Good-looking, rides and handles well, excellent brakes, lots of kit. Engine is torquey, very refined, but it struggles with the car’s weight at times, and its fuel economy leaves something to be desired. Apparent build quality is superb, but there are some obnoxious interior rattles. Mediocre A/C, and total lack of solar control in the glass is painful in the summer. Still a great design and a really good value.

    If we add the two of my parents’ cars that I used extensively, that would be:

    1983 Volkswagen Rabbit, 4-speed. Bereft of any options, with manual steering and no radio. A chore to park, but fun to drive. Cheap to run, but expensive to fix, and my parents suffered for years with a problem with the oil pressure warning buzzer that would both inflict periodic shrieks and periodically drain the battery when the car was turned off.

    1990 Geo Prizm, 5-speed. Superb engine, amazingly good gas mileage. Utterly bulletproof reliability, but the stock shocks and tires were inadequate, and the interior trim none too sturdy. Good highway ride, but lackluster handling — it didn’t ever do anything wrong, it just did it without any semblance of enthusiasm. Met its end in a collision with a Cadillac Cimarron, a truly ignominious fate it did not deserve.

  • avatar

    Re. Tiger W., truth be known, it is probaby more a case of “I’m not a real GM-driver, I only play one in commercial endorsements.”

  • avatar

    OK, let’s see what I remember…

    ’78 Mazda GLC. Actually owned by my mom, but I was the driver. Her purchase rationale – the least expensive new car available at the time. Had the 4-speed – would have preferred the 5, but she bought it as a ‘city car’ and didn’t expect highway usage. Thrashed it as only a teenage male driver can.

    ’77 Jeep Cherokee Chief. My first vehicle purchase, and a reaction to the small car. 401 V8, Quadratrack. 12mpg. Got tired of paying upwards of $25 to fill the tank each week. That seems like a bargain now. Replaced with…

    ’84 Toyota 4Runner. My first *new* vehicle purchase. I may be the first person in North America to have a rollover accident in one of these, at 3 months into ownership. The fiberglas top cracked, and Toyota had to ship one from Japan as there were no spares in NA. 3 month wait. Put over 90,000 miles on it before…

    ’91 Nissan Sentra SE-R. Fun, fast, relatively thrifty. Kept for 4 years, and still miss it sometimes.

    ’92 Jeep Cherokee Limited. Capable offroad (especially after I put proper tires on it), relatively civilized onroad. Lost to a flood.

    ’95 Saturn SL2, described in an earlier post re: Saturn. Later replaced by ’86 Audi (below).

    ’89 Toyota 4runner. Last year of production for the first generation. Drove for several years, running the odometer past 153K. Now languishing in the garage on jackstands, awaiting restoration.

    ’86 Audi 5000CS turbo quattro. Fun, fast, but had a habit of breaking in expensive ways (didn’t help that it was well on in years and mileage). Decided after a couple years that as long as I was effectively making a new car payment, I might as well drive a new car. Replaced by…

    ’00 Subaru Outback wagon. Would have preferred the Legacy GT wagon, but was overruled by my wife. Good car, needed about another 50 horsepower. Sadly totaled by an idiot running a red light directly in front of me. On the day I’d had the tires replaced. Insurance weasled out of reimbursing for that.

    ’03 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Wife didn’t like towing our camper with the Outback, so this replaced the ailing 4runner. Wouldn’t buy again. Liked the downsized Cherokee better.

    ’02 Saturn SL2. Replaced the totaled Subaru, and again the story has already been told. Short version: not as good as the ’95.

    Somewhere in between, also had a couple older domestic vans as cargo haulers (’66 Chevy, ’69 Dodge).

    Hmm…for a car enthusiast, I sure have owned a lot of trucks.

  • avatar

    1966 Mustang Convertible – My first car, a restoration project that I bought my freshman year in high school (1990). Never again will I restore a car that lived its life in Maine. I still have it to this day.

    1986 Olds Cutlass Supreme – Not the most reliable car but I got it to 265K on two transmissions. At the end it was running on 7 cylinders more then 8 and going through a quart of oil every other fill up. Best highway cruiser I’ve ever driven. It got me through college.

    1987 Bronco II – I bought this car in CA and drove it back to the Northeast. I loved this car but it chewed through the (Mitsubishi) transmissions. It had a total of 4 transmissions before I retired at 250k. The engine still ran like new and I sold it to a guy who was going to use it as his hunting vehicle.

    1990 Bronco II – I bought this to replace my ’87 Bronco only this time with the automatic transmission. Best vehicle I have ever owned. If they made the same one today I would buy it this second. The ’89 and 90’s had the same modern interior that would sell 400k a year in the Explorer introduced in 1991. It had a tighter turning radius then any other vehicle I’ve ever driven, including a jeep wrangler. In 2007, at 187,000 it blew a head gasket and I decided to retire it.

    1997 Lincoln Mark VIII – Another car I bought in San Diego and drove back to the northeast. This is now my standard summer car and I garage it for the winters. A good car, though if it was a couple hundred pounds lighter and a foot shorter it would have been a great car. It just passed a 100k last summer and except for a bad wheel bearing, it has been trouble free.

    2007 Ford Ranger – In 2006 I moved back to Maine and I needed a truck. Since every other compact truck became a midsize, the Ranger was my only choice but I’m happy with it. It’s a simple truck that does what I need and nothing more. With the 4.0L V6 and the manual transmission it can actually be quite fun to drive, for a truck at least.

  • avatar

    Fun times:

    1979 VW Bus – I was 18 and needed a van to haul the band’s stuff in. Because of this vehicle, I can change the engine in a VW bus in just about an hour. Sold to a VW guy who probably parted it out.

    1979 Citroen CX GTI – Still have very fond memories of driving this car, and not-so-fond memories of repairing it. You try to push-start a car with hydro-pneumatic suspension after it’s been sitting for a couple of days. I drove this one to the scrapyard after the German police told me I couldn’t drive a car with no inspection or registration.

    1989 Fort Escort GT – this was owned by my wife when I first met her. I hated this car as much as I loved her. I had to drill a hole in the fender well to change the timing belt, the throttle body would ice up and strangle the engine when it got humid outside, and impossible front-end alignment meant it ate tires like a drag racer. This one got sold for $500 to some fool.

    1979 Chevy C10 cargo van – hey, it had orange shag carpet covering the inside walls. The 3-on-the-tree shifter broke and I spent a while with only 2nd and 3rd gear available. If I needed reverse, I had to put it in neutral, crawl underneath and push the linkage into reverse…then start the motor and back up. Then park, go back underneath and take it out of reverse. The big upgrade was when I met another guy with the same problem and he helped me cut a hole in the floor and weld 2 rods to the linkages so I could use all the gears while remaining inside. This one got traded at a BHPH for:

    1979 Olds Cutlass Calais. If you watch Repo Man, my car is the first one Emelio Estevez steals. Mine was white, just like that one. It had a 350 and nothing else going for it. I made my payments to the buy-here-pay-here place twice a week when I got my tip money, and the car was stolen from my driveway 48 hours after I paid it off and asked for the title. Interesting coincidence…

    1968 Plymouth Fury. I bought this car for $500 from a guy who had just graduated from mechanic’s school. This was the car he had worked on to learn, and it had a 440 with a 4-barrel carb. When it ran, it was frightening. When the brakes failed, it was even more frightening. I spent so much time working on this car that the girls who lived at my apartment complex just called me “the mechanic.” I sold this one to a guy who pulled the engine to put in a Belvedere.

    1994 Saturn SC2. My first brand-new car, and I still think it was a good one. I had it 2 years and put a ton of miles on it and never had a problem. We traded it on a VW to be mentioned soon…

    1988 Ford Bronco II (Eddie Bauer, baby!). Look, I know most people think this was one of the worst things Ford ever made. I really loved this little truck. It was comfortable, took a huge beating, had good 4WD, never gave me any trouble, and turned on a dime. I may have had the only good one ever made, which is what kept me from getting another. I traded this in when I leased…

    1996 Ford Explorer. I got a fantastic deal on this because it was blue with a blue interior. Remember the blue Ford interiors on trucks? This one was an albatross for the dealer and sat on the lot for almost a year. I got a good lease deal on it (well, good for a lease anyway) and it was reasonably reliable. It was the XLT, so it had power seats, CD changer, sunroof, and lots of goodies. I liked the blue, but apparently I was in the minority. I walked away from it at the end of the lease…buyout was $25k and book value was $16k. Oops.

    1996 VW Cabrio. I traded the Saturn on this one. It was a cool convertible, but I paid too much for it. It had the normal allotment of VW mechanical and electrical problems, and I still don’t understand why they used vacuum hoses for the power door locks. Fools. True story: I parked this car in my garage, and kept food down for my dogs in there too. Apparently, an enterprising mouse had eaten through the screen on the air intake and started stashing food in the box where the air filter went. When I went to change the filter, I found about a pound of dog food under it. I had a picture at one point, but it’s long gone…like the car. I traded it in for…

    2000 VW Jetta TDI. This was the new body style, and I was commuting 60 miles each way to work. After I addded the Wetterauer chip, it was a fun little car to drive. Never had any serious problems with it, and sold it a couple of years later to a guy who still drives it.

    1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. OK, I hated this truck even before I bought it. But my wife REALLY wanted it and I’m a sucker. It was the Limited with the V8, and it did have a pretty good stereo. But it got about 13 MPG on average, handled like a semi in a strong crosswind in all conditions, leaked fluids all over the place, and I now hold a serious grudge against Chrysler engineers for the placement of the distributor up against the firewall. Dicks. I later traded this for my Saab.

    2003 Mazda Protege5. Man, what a fun little car. Best handling of anything I’ve owned, and not bad looking, either. Road noise was really an issue here, and I needed something with AWD that was reliable so I traded it a year later for…

    2004 Honda Element. I still have this one, 100k miles later and it just kicks ass. It’s ugly, slow, and spartan, but it’s the most useful vehicle I’ve ever owned. I have not been gentle with this car, and it just keeps going. All I do is regular maintenance, and I expect I’ll get another 100k out of it. It it had more towing capacity, it would be perfect.

    1968 Mercedes 250S. Have you ever placed a bid on Ebay that was so low you knew you didn’t have a chance of winning it? So I bid $1300 for this car, laughed a little, and forgot all about it. So it was a bit of a surprise when I got a phone call a week later from a guy asking when I was planning on paying for the car I had won. That was a fun conversation with the wife, I tell ya. In the end, it was a cool car but had more problems than I had time or money to fix. I sold it to a co-worker for $1200 and considered myself lucky.

    1998 Saab 900 Convertible. This isn’t a turbo, so it’s slow. But it’s a great cruising car. Put the top down and got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and life’s good. This was a $33k car new, and I got it for $7k with 65k miles on it. I’ve learned a great deal of patience in working on this car – repairing the tonneau cover actuator and re-syncing the roof motors was kind of entertaining, I guess…

    So I’ve got a baby coming soon and will probably end up getting something else. Can’t keep a car too long, and I’m way overdue.

  • avatar

    1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse: My first car. I bought it with around 80K miles on it. It was great until the timing belt went. Fortunately, it didn’t destroy the engine… until 3 years later.

    1999 Ford ZX2 (what is this, the 3rd or 4th on the list): I loved it. It was cheap, quick, efficient, and cheap. I put around 50K miles on it in about 2 1/2 years with no problems. My sister now drives it as her winter car.

    2008 Volvo C30: Absolute… love! It is my first powerful car, also my first car with safety features (wow, ABS is great). The styling is unique, and I have only seen about 3 others in a year of ownership.

  • avatar

    IC Turbo, those Mitsubishi transmissions were junk! But you had to love the turning radius in those mini-bronco’s.

    ScottMcG, I’m with you on the Bronco II’s, they were a great little truck. I still keep an eye out in hopes that a mint one will show up on Ebay.

  • avatar

    1965 TR4A (sigh)
    1975 Mustang II (sigh, for a very different reason)
    1976 VW Bug
    1972 VW Bug 1776cc engine (actually fun)
    1976 VW Bug
    1967 Sunbeam Alpine series V
    1985 Mazda GLC
    1989 Toyota Camry
    1991 Honda civic
    1996 Infiniti G20
    1995 Infiniti G20
    2000 Infiniti G20

    1973 Honda 350F (smooth, boring)
    1980 Kawasaki kz700 (smooth, boring)
    1984 Kawasaki GPz 1100 (fast, killed by a Maxima)
    1990 Yamaha Fj 1200 (Scary fast, comfortable, great bike)
    2000 Kawasaki ZRX 1100 (fast, smooth, great handling)

  • avatar

    1993 Ford Escort GT – I was 17 and looking for something cheap and reliable to I went looking for an Escort. I stumbled across this one for $1200 and grabbed it, without even realizing how neat the EGT really was.

    I bought one new in 92, loaded for about 12 grand. It was a fun little car with the DOHC 1.8 Mazda motor. Mine was totaled at 38K miles. :(

  • avatar

    Y’all’r a bunch of youngsters, eh?
    1957 Chevy 4-door wagon…fast, loud, the judge made me sell it
    1966 2-door Chevelle…traded above for what was left of this poor primer-gray hoopty
    1968 VW bug…from a friend, great car but ate pistons (the one by the oil cooler)…drove it where 4 wheelers wouldn’t venture at the time…
    1972 Monte Carlo…my brother took in trade at Toyo dealer he worked at…fun car
    1971 Monte Carlo…why not have 2 of the same?
    1974 Datsun B210…4spd beater, can you say mileage?
    1978 Caprice 2-door…old FBI ride, heavy duty everything, 2:73s got best mileage at 80MPH
    1985 El Camino…bought ‘new’ from a not very reputable dealer…hecho en Mexico, disintegrated at 90k
    1972 Datsun 240Z…unfinished project the ex got
    1989 Celebrity 2-door 2.8l V-6…traded Elky for this…bad TQ, just disconnected lock-up solenoid and drove another 80k, still got 30mpg
    1991 Pontiac Bonneville SE…used with 50k from another not so reputable dealer…handled better than my girlfriends 1990 Bonny SE
    1992 Nissan 300ZX…one owner creampuff got at 50k…drove it off a cliff inadvertently, was never the same
    2001 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe…bastards came out with 40 more HP next model year, mine devalued to nada
    2003 Chevy Siverado 1500 LS 5.3 2WD…Black Beauty was a really crappy truck…trans, windows,steering,yuck!
    2006 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE 5.3 2WD…traded above at 50k for this…after trans leaks and steering fixed under warranty, maybe a keeper? 20+ MPG averaged to date

  • avatar

    1988 Audi 5000 – This was my first car. I was a teenager. I had never had a car. My parents forced me to go to a used car dealer. I remember thinking something about how I didn’t want to participate in society or something. I looked around. Something caught my eye. There it was – a Bauhaus slab of somber silver subtle gloom and non-conformity. The German Leadsled. I drove this quite well in my teenage years. Not even one traffic ticket, no accidents, tapped a bumper. I remember going to Hastings to purchase CD’s in the 90’s quite a lot with that Audi. I purchased weird music, like Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 2. The car had a few electrical problems, however, on the whole, was a nice ride.

    1992 Honda Accord – People often mistakenly think this was my first car. Absolutely wrong. This was my second car. After driving the leadsled, the Honda seemed spry and alert. I drove this to my early dj shows at KUOI. I had some fun times. I played a ton of FFXI while I had this car. It is lightweight and for awhile, it seemed like it was without fault. Then, it got STOLEN (Grand Theft Auto – real life edition). Then, I found out that Honda’s are very easily stolen and that their security system is, well, weak. With the value drained and no airbag in the Honda I decided to get a …

    2007 VW Rabbit – This is the best car of them all (so far). It is fun, practical, neat, cute and yet aggressive. It is so fun to drive that I obtained my first speeding ticket with a personal vehicle while I was smoking a Dodge Neon on Trent Road. It is deferred. This is also the first car that I have “modified” to make stronger. Hi there, naturally aspirated torque. Rabbit, you’re my fave!

    Fun Fact: All my cars are manual transmission. The only automatic I will ever consider is a DSG style.

  • avatar

    Lada Sputnik ’87 – bought used with unknown number of miles, because odometer resets after 99,999. I can imagine it could be a huge number. Had it for two years but it was most troublesome car I ever had (but cheap to repair). Rust was everywhere you can imagine even inside the roof (which was not protected –exposed metal!) and floor inside cabin (yes I removed all interior to fix the problem but it was mission impossible – you had to replace the whole body). Replaced almost everything it had by myself starting from brake booster the first week. Everything was leaking – engine, radiator even brake cylinders (replaced them too). It was most uncomfortable and noisy car I ever drove. But it was most fun to drive – it had quick rack-and-pinion not powered steering and had 4-speed stick. It developed the habit of stopping in the middle of freeway for variety of reasons so I was also forced to develop habit keep to the lane closest to the shoulder. Remember cleaning carb or replaging pump on the freeway – no fun.

    Toyota Carina ’86 – bought it with ~100K miles. Most boring car I ever had. I was looking at Accord owners with jealousy. After Lada steering was extremely slow, car was wallowing like typical American car so I was afraid of making quick lane changes which were so fun on Lada. Body was flexy and creaky. In other words it was a Japanese car – not in same league as Audi A4 or even Opel Vectra. Ford Mondeo would be God sent but was too expensive. Toyota was difficult to sell (after three years) typical reaction– or it is Toyota? (means cheap and not as durable as German car).

    Ford Taurus GL ’94 with 120K – 160K miles (true mileage unknown because odometer was broken)– bought because was cheap. If I knew better… It was comfortable car but had crude and weak V6, could hardly call it V6 – rather very bad executed and thirsty I4. After two weeks I had a trouble – transmission was terribly leaking. After rebuilt it lasted about two more years and the same thing started again, there was some unrepairable structural damage to transmission. In the end I donated it to war veterans.

    Mercury Sable Premium ’02 – bought new. Very comfortable and reliable – did not have any problems with it during 110K miles I own it. The only thing replaced are tires (stock Continentals were very bad, replaced with Yokohama Avid something). No fun, agree, but reliable and well appointed – has even double visors. Leather of course. Commuting forth and back 60 miles every day with no worries. I want to replace it this year with something smaller (like Milan) with tighter suspension. Soft but not as bad as Toyota, no Maxima for sure but no Toyota either But it is reliable – why spend money and replace something reliable and paid off?

  • avatar

    @ ConejoZing:

    Fun fact: me too! Of course, TTAC commenters are probably not a good cross-section of society. I HATE driving automatics. It sucks the fun out of every car.

  • avatar

    1987 Chrysler LeBaron coupe auto. Graduation gift (if you can call it a gift). Garbage, garbage, garbage. Nothing good about it. Got rid of it as soon as I could.

    1987 Volvo 240 sedan auto. Great car. Solid, and nice to drive once it got some suspension upgrades and good tires. Most comfortable seats of any car, ever. Durable and not too expensive to fix either, but then I had a good mechanic. Totalled when I rear-ended an Acura CL. If I had been a better driver, I would still be driving this car.

    1996 Volvo 850 wagon auto. Nice. Had the spirit of the 240 but much (MUCH) more taut and modern. And then…front axle broke at 75mph and nearly killed me–had to cross 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder, and left a black stripe on the road all the way from the right front tire being ground down to almost nothing. I’m still amazed I avoided a collision. Over $2000 later it was back in business but it was never the same. Before and after this incident it was always horrifyingly expensive to fix, and this ultimately led me to trade it in for a…

    2007 Honda Fit Sport manual. Just awesome. It’s fun, it’s thrifty, it’s spacious, it’s blue. Only thing I don’t like are the driving position and seats. Everything else is a delight.

    Next car: 1987 Volvo 245. Okay, I’m mostly kidding here. Mostly.

  • avatar

    80 international traveler – Dad bought it new in 80, i got it in 88 when i turned 16. I loved this pig, what a great vehicle. Lost 3lbs everytime i took over train tracks when the rear wheel wells defoliated. I’ve been chasing the essence of it ever since (see below).

    82 Subaru 2wd sedan – kinda fun, but expensive to own. It’s how I learned to drive a stick, drift, double clutch, and drive without a clutch. Damn clutch cable wouldn’t stay intact.

    87 Mazda 323 – hand me down from my mom when I graduated college. Really, really good car. Unfortuantely my mom had a broken right hand when shopping for it so it was an auto. Trouble free if you ignore the fact that the stereo I installed somehow messed up a plug to the fuel pump which resulted in almost a thousand of wrong repairs before finally spotting.

    90 4runner, 22re + 5spd – ahhh, the spiritual succesor of my scout. Loved this thing. Bought it from some friends after we took it on a road trip from denver to LA. It was like a 2000mi test drive. They had kids almost 16 so i gave them the 323 free. Drove the 90 to almost 250k and kinda wish I still had it. I think I’m still watching craigslist hoping to see it pop up

    97 4runner – Such a nice ride. had the hard to find 3rz 4cyl + 5spd under 100k miles. Looked like new when I got it at 8 yrs old. Looked and drove like new when I sold it last spring. I wasn’t hardly driving it and it was way too nice to just sit in the driveway.

    85 4runner – supposed to be a cheap project, I flew to PA and gave a guy 750 then drove this a thousand miles home. After the divorce it’s my daily driver. The tires cost more than the truck. I dig it. There is nothing on this vehicle I can’t fix/swap for less than 1k. I learned to weld and do body work because of this truck. Rebuilt the front solid axle. I’ve finally learned my lesson I think, keeping this one.

    86 2wd toyota pickup. – Got this as a backup vehicle to be free to sell the 97 while the 85 was still on jackstand in the garage. Almost 300k on it, and it burns some oil. Get it on the highway and it just cruises though, runs great. Planning to fix it up a bit and probably keep it.

    so that’s it for me in 20yrs of driving. In the 8yrs i was married to my ex she had a
    99 ford ranger – leased, nice truck really
    2001 miata se – really nice, took a huge hit when she traded it on the…
    2004 mini also very nice
    1997 infinti – meh, failed attempt to stop the car payments, she kept it 6mos
    2006 xb – freaking awesome car, almost bought it from her after the divorce. This is what 80% of america should drive.
    2004 mini-s – ok so she got this post divorce, still got to drive it once, fun stuff

  • avatar

    Not counting cars that were ‘family’ cars….

    1968 Mercedes-Benz 230 (with 1971 280 engine) – This taught me a *huge* amount about cars. A friend of my father’s gave it to him in 1982. I drove it 7 years, 150k miles. Rebuild the bottom end twice, replaced the head gasket about 6 times.

    1980 Volvo GLE (V6) – bought it with a coolant leak. Turned out to be a separated cylinder liner. But I paid $2k and traded it for $500 9 months later, so I got my use out of it.

    1989 Honda CRX Si – The car that informed my philosophy about cars. Terrific steering feel, good performance, great fuel economy, surprisingly versatile. I never should have sold it.

    1994 Acura Integra GS-R (sedan) – Great car, but not involving enough during normal driving. Sold it to my sister, she’s still driving it.

    1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R – A fun little car, but disappointing fuel economy, build quality, and comfort. My wife hated riding in it.

    1996 Mazda MX-6 (M-edition) – Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Smooth, good handling, decent economy. But the wife wanted a house, so we got rid of it to cut our expenses.

    1988 Acura Integra LS – My dog hauler. Amazing performance and economy given its pedestrian underpinnings. Ate CV joints at an amazing rate.

    2002 Mazda Protege5 – Bought this to replace the Integra, but suffered a financial setback, so I only kept about 6 months. Underpowered, but a remarkable handler.

    2004 Mazda3 – Perhaps the best car I’ve ever owned. Took all the good things about the Protege5 and fixed a lot of the drawbacks (room, noise, power). Financial considerations prompted me to sell it.

    1996 Toyota Tacoma – I bought this off of my ex-wife because she wasn’t using it at all (800 miles in one year). Not fast, not exceptionally fuel efficient (23-25mpg), not exceptionally comfortable. But very versatile and it cannot be killed (227k and still running strong).

    1995 Honda Nighthawk 750 – My first motorcycle. Bought it cheap. Not exceptional at any one thing, but a good (and reliable) ride.

    My next car:

  • avatar

    Over a short period of time. I have owned

    1989 Ford Probe GL automatic – it still runs to this day (the motor and transmission are the only good things left on the car). It developed a gas leak, broke the left rear tie-rod while driving, and the rear right brake line blew up while driving. Bulletproof!

    1999 Honda Prelude base automatic – solid car but a few squeaks here and there (never could find them). Only had one problem during 2 years of ownership bad O2 sensor gave check engine light (easy fix). The new owner loves the car and its still problem free.

    2005 Subaru Impreza Wrx STi – Hands down the best car I have owned so far, extremely fast and very loud. Not exactly trouble free, rear struts went bad at 32k miles along with muffler being replaced. It was traded due to a job change(foreign cars are a no-no). However I might be in the market for another in the near future depending on the status of my employer.

    2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS – It was quick but the interior was a squeaky, rattling, hard plastic puke fest. However, the LS2 V8 was an absolute gem (but very thirsty when poked). This vehicle let me know that I can never go back to automatics.

    Currently a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS turbo – I have personally always thought the Cobalt was a good looking car on the outside, but the interior squeaks and rattles so loud I shake my head anytime I start the car. Its pretty quick but it doesn’t feel like it. (will never own another fwd car again)

    I love fast cars and hope to own plenty more.

  • avatar


    Two Volares AND a K Car?


  • avatar

    80 Ford Fairmont – hand-down from my parents soon after i got my license… great first car for a teenager to learn on, RWD, 3-spd auto, inline 6, blue 2dr that i learned oversteer winter control on… drifting long before it was trendy!

    88 VW Jetta Slalom – yet another blue 2dr car… bought used in 95 as a reliable car for college… this car helped develop my love for german cars and for modifying VWs… still own it after all these years, its now my summer tinker fun car

    87 VW Golf GT – winter beater with 300,000+ kms.. fun to beat on!

    99 VW Golf TDI – amazing fuel econ… lousy dealer service dept… got to learn about some of the early MK4 problems

    2000 BMW 325i – leasd with an ex-partner… nice car, got to enjoy RWD again

    2001 Mazda Protege sedan – great little commuter car, swapped lease to a girlfriend because the next car hit the market

    2002 Protege5 – had to have a hatch again… hella fun to drive, slow but handled like a go-kart and looked great

    2000 Jetta – current partner brought into relationship… 2.slow+auto made for the most boring car i have ever driven… got to learn about the rest of the MK4 problems… hated it so much… happy to sell that lemon

    2004 Mazda3 hatch – swapped the P5 for the MZ3, yet another enjoyable Mazda for commuting

    2007 Mazda3 hatch – same as the 04 but with more toys and tech stuff

    Don’t know what’s next… 2nd gen Mazda3? MINI? GTI? Golf? we’ll see in another year or so!

  • avatar

    I started in the era of steel dashboards:

    1957 Chevrolet 2-door V8 (lowest trim line). Crude. Used. It worked fine. Sold it for $800 when I was about to be drafted.
    1962 Simca sedan: Great paint job; horrible auto.
    1963 Rambler 2-door. “Car of the Year” Rustbucket.
    1965 VW Microbus, top trim level. Dangerous. Great resale value in the Hippie era.
    196? Used VW Squareback. Incinerated, sold for parts.
    196? Dodge conversion van, new. Abandoned at about 60K when engine seized up
    1973(?) Honda Civic CC hartchback. Nice auto, but needed major transmission work at 50K miles. Sold to Asian guys who specialized in rehabilitating Ur-Hondas.
    198(?) Ford conversion van, daughter named “Too Tacky for Words”. Sold to a guy from France who was going to cruise USA.
    197(? ) Saab 99L two-door, used, lime green. Had wonderful free-revving engine.
    1985 Saab 900 sedan, very nice, comfortable, & fun to drive.
    (lost in subsequent divorce)
    1989 (?) Ford Explorer. Transmission blew up once, still in warranty, otherwise a useful machine.
    1992 Dodge Intrepid. Was an affordable, largish sedan. Ran well and handled OK. Build quality not so good.
    2003 Nissan Murano, new. Has been a good machine with few problems. Quick enough, build quality OK, Still running fine at 87K.
    2003 Toyota Tacoma. Simple machine. (You can look under the hood and see the engine and ground below.) A second vehicle, very simple (crank up windows, etc.)

    I only miss the “57 Chevy and two Saabs.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I’ll try to keep it brief…..

    1970 Mustang Boss 302….man, I hate to think that the most exciting car of my life was my first one, and it is downhill, excitement wise from there. Grabber Blue, gorgeous car. Bought it used in my junior year for $1,050. Drove it for a year and sold it for $1,300. Hate to think about what it would be worth now, had I kept it and restored it. Fast, fast car, and I lost my license in 6 months. Drove anyway, no way was I leavin’ that baby parked.

    1973 Mustang Mach 1….young and stupid, I figured if a ’70 ‘stang was great, a ’73 would be better. A horrid car that spent more time in the shop than on the road. But during my Senior year, with that fold-down back seat in the Pony interior, and that long rear deck and window, a pretty cool place to party… having sex under a big skylight

    1971 Dodge Charger. 318 V-8, bought used for $1,500. I liked it, but it had electrical gremlins.

    1979 Chevy Van….black, shortbed, my first new vehicle and and I customed the interior with grey shag. Lot of memories, very reliable. I have already posted the story of the trip to Florida for Spring Break in ’80. Had to sell it to pay for tuition.

    1971 VW Super Beetle….yellow, of course. Chicks dug it, bought it in 1981 for $1,950..the restorer did everyting but the heater boxes, so I froze during the two winters I drove it. Lots of fun in a driving-a-slow-car-fast way. Learned alot about cars from this one. Got me laid ALOT.

    After that there was a brief hiatus while I got serious about school, so for four years I was a pedestrian, except for GF’s 1976 Mercury Bobcat. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, it got us where we needed to go.

    After college, I went on a buying spree of new Ford’s….between my first wife and I, we bought or leased:

    1984 Escort…60k and never had a problem
    1985 Tempo GL Sport….I thought it was a decent car…5 sp, good size, rode reasonable and gorgeous blue paint. 60k miles and only stranded me once….an electrical short covered under warranty by the dealer.
    1988 Ford Ranger XLT…again, a great utility truck after I had bought my first home. Put 75k on it without a single problem.
    1991 Ford Escort GT…after my son was born, I needed something with a back seat. Wanted a 4-door, but unbelievably, the only Escort with a center arm rest was the GT. An under-rated car, IMHO….I put 21k on it, then traded it to my sister for a…

    1990 Plymouth Voyager, which I drove for seven years and put 140k on it, only having to replace a radiator. That Mitsubishi 3.8l V-6 was damned near bulletproof. Great family hauler.

    In between these cars, I had two “toys”….a 1976 ‘Vette, which my wife bought me for my 30th birthday, maroon. I loved that car. Not the best example of a ‘Vette, but most fun I had since my Boss 302…but old ‘Vettes will $20-buck you to death with maintenance. Sold it when I got divorced.

    Also, I had a 1966 T-Bird 7-litre Businessman’s coupe, Robins egg blue. I could put a cup of coffee on the center console and do 100mph+ on I-94, and not spill a drop, the ride was soooo smooth. Loved the guages. It, too, was a hole in my pocket, but I loved that car.

    Moving back to my main rides: After the Voyager got a wee bit long in tooth, I traded it for a:

    1992 Honda Accord EX Wagon. Sweet. bought used with 70k. Sold it to my niece when it had 205k, ran for two more years for her. That car was a mule…reliable, cheap to run, and smooth and fast enough to do the Kazoo to Monroe, MI, run in one hour, 40 minutes.

    When the Accord grew weary, I bought my current car, a 1997 Audi A-6 Quatro Avant. Got used from Chi with 73k, have driven for 3+ years with no worries, no failures. Love the interior, body style still relevant. I love wagons.

    Also, 2nd wifes cars: (She’s from Kyoto, so she won’t drive anything other than Japanese cars, although she’d let me buy her a Mercedes-Bens, if I wanted. Lately, I don’t want.)

    1985 Honda Prelude (the reason I bought my Accord.) Great fun to drive. Rock reliability.

    1992 Toyota Celica GT…Red, lovely, coupe. Loved in particular that the front suspension sounded just like a ball coming off a tennis racket. Wife put 120k of HARD miles….she’s brutal on cars, but we never had a problem and she then traded it for..

    1995 Toyota Corolla EX….probably the most rock-solid reliable little sedan value in the auto history to that time. A little limousine, IMHO, again she put 100k on it and we traded it for a

    1997 Toyota Camry EX….I liked it, despite the boring appliance ride. Those Toyotas of the 90’s were really screwed together well. But when the grandkids came, she wanted an SUV (didn’t like vans) so…

    2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport EX bought used with 68k on it, have driven it through three Michigan winters. Not a whisper of a problem so far, comfortable, and MUCH cheaper than a FourRunner.

    I don’t know why so many people have so many complaints about their cars….since I got out of college, all of my cars (save the ‘Vette and the T-bird) have been reliable, whether bought new or certified used. I have had ONE failure that left me stranded, in 24 years of driving, and by my estimate close to a million miles of driving between me and my wives. Maybe I am just lucky, or maybe just careful about what I buy and how I maintain ’em. And I never overpaid for a used car, always got great deals.

    Of course, maybe my Audi will blow up tomorrow, but I kinda doubt it.

    I am already scopin’ out our next vehicles…..the A6 should last me 5 more years, according to my mechanic, and when it’s time is up, I am thinking about a 2006 or 2007 Audi A4 Avant 1.8T…want to go a bit smaller and more efficient next time. For my wife, I have promised her that in 2011, I’ll trade or sell the Montero and get her a 2006 or 2007 Nissan Murano, although the Rogues are nice, too. Plan ahead, I always say.

    My wife buys cars that catch her eye, she’s an artist and likes a car with a good line and the right color. I just make sure that what she wants makes sense from a condition, safety, reliability and value standpoint.

    Me, on the other hand, I like utility and reliability, hence my love for wagons, and Hondas. And while I have read many unflattering things about Audi reliability on this site, I have had nothin’ but love for my A-6. Everytime I get in that car and start it up, it affirms that I made a good decision.

  • avatar

    Vehicles my family had when I was a wee laddy up to my current ride:

    Vaguely remember two early ’50’s Studebaker Commanders both dark blue. I seem to remember the starter switch was on the dashboard, seperate from the key.

    56 Ford Fairlane V8 coupe. Black w/ black & white interior.

    Grandma had a ’60 Studebaker Lark. She let me pick the color– green; that was replaced with a 66 Lark (yes they did make m/y 1966. It got totaled after about 5 months (not her fault). That was replaced with a white w/ red interior ’66 Plymouth Fury III 4 door hardtop. 318 V8– pre-smog, quite peppy. I got to drive it on my learners permit in the early ’70s, then it went to relatives where it served duty until about 1975. Very well put together.

    ’62 VW Beetle. Dad bought new: $1900. Grey with sunroof and redish-orange seating. Family kept it ’til replaced by 69 Buick LeSabre Custom 4 door. 350-4bbl. Flip over the air cleaner cover and it’d roar like a muscle car.

    72 Plymouth Duster, 318 V8, post smog–decent but the Fury was much faster. AWFUL drum brakes. You never know which one would lock up first– caused two accidents. Beginning of the end as far as build quality.

    76 Buick Regal 2-door w/ landau top & velour interior. “Rally” suspension option. Lead sled. Comfortable but no fun.
    Replaced by 89 Accord DX. 102k miles still running. Biggest (and only major expense: A/C compressor at 90K.)

    A Datsun B210 beater. Rust resulted in the nickname “Old Herpes”.

    A Datsun 510, maybe ~75 or ’76 (I think it was– how forgettable can a car be???). Auto trans hatchback. True facts: 0-60 MPH, 32 seconds. I think it was slower than our beetle.

    ’78 Scirocco, Champagne ed (refrigerator white w/ black tape stripe. My first new car. Extensive engine & chassis mods brought it up to Euro GTI standards. More fun than Disneyland.
    ’81 320iS, black/black. Wonderful balance. Didn’t realize how great it was until I sold it and went to lesser vehicles.
    87 Corolla GTS. Twin cam, hatchback. WONDERFUL 7500 RPM engine. Primitive chassis.

    87 Carrera Targa. Bought used. Stranded me more often than any other car I’ve ever owned. But when it ran, it WOO-HOO. (Euro ECM chip installed.)

    87 Sable wagon. Chronic electrical problems, ~80k miles became a big time money pit. Prior to that, it wasn’t a bad ride though– served its purpose.

    97 Explorer XLT. Great vehicle for its design mission. Reliable as an anvil. Got totaled. I wept.

    03 Explorer Eddie Bauer. POS. BIG Disappointment. Thank God I bought the extended warranty!!!

    And the beat goes on…

  • avatar

    Oh boy, there was a time when I’d be able to put model years to all of them but I’ve forgotten quite a few. It all started in March 1962 with a 2-year-old sports car that I’d seen sitting in the snows for a couple of months.

    1960 MGA, red: That car taught me all about the meaning or floor boards, yes, made of plywood under the carpets, to say nothing of synchronizing SU carbs and pouring water over the fuel pump that just kept on ticking without delivering fuel. It taught me to never again buy a British car; raincoats yes, cars no.

    1962 VW Beetle, off white, in September 62: Amazingly comfortable and totally reliable for 4 years on the most atrocious roads and worst weather Alberta could provide.

    1966 Volvo 122S, dark blue: This was my first “real” car, one that I loved to drive and took out just for fun. It also had a great heater, perfect for Edmonton winters.

    1968 Volvo 142S, beigy yellow; This one was softer than the 122S and probably not as much fun but it was more comfortable. Unfortunately I got rear-ended on the highway two months after I got the car, before I’d even made a payment, and while it did all the Volvo things it was supposed to so the four of us were protected from serious injury, it gave up its own life and after limping along with its creaking and paint flaking off the repairs, it was gone.

    1968 Mercedes 250SE, off white: This was an amazing car, especially for its time. There really was nothing else on the road quite like it. I’ve never had seats as comfortable as in that car and still remember blasting through Washington state at 100 mph for mile after mile on almost empty freeways with rock-steady stability.

    1971 Mercedes 250C, cream: I’d always wanted a hardtop so this was it. It looked great but wasn’t as good a car as the previous S model.

    1974 BMW 3.0S, copper; This was a wonderful highway car with amazing visibility and every bell and whistle imaginable for its day. It was my first car with A/C and a cassette player. I was working for the government then and was driving all over the province so it was perfect except that it had no traction on snow or ice.

    1977 BMW 320, copper; I don’t know what possessed me to get this with an automatic, especially after the big sedan, but there it was. It was an okay car but I shouldn’t have bought it.

    1978 Audi 5000, more copper; Underpowered but very comfortable. I had to try a front wheel drive. I bought it before I moved to Vancouver so I could avoid paying the huge sales tax in BC.

    1980 Audi 4000S: a huge mistake. The worst car in the world. I had it for less than 9 months.

    1981 Nissan Maxima, silver & gray; This was the first of the new, square Maximas, still with rear wheel drive. It was everything the previous Audi wasn’t and I stayed with the Japanese for many years afterward.

    1983 Mazda 626 Coupe, silver; Shouln’t have bought this underpowered thing either and kept it for only a year.

    1984 Nissan Maxima, silver/beige: This was their first front drive Maxima and I really liked it for its power and comfort.

    Acura Legend Coupe, silver: Great car but it was almost totalled in a collision so it was replaced by another one.

    Acura Legend Coupe, second-childhood red! What a fun car this was; I should have kept it. I changed jobs and this was the car that helped me through the change.

    Acura Vigor, burgundy; Mistake. The Legend was much better but I missed having 4 doors.

    Nissan Maxima Brougham, pearl white: I still think this was the best looking Maxima of all time and I loved it.

    Infiniti I30, burgundy: Essentially a Maxima in everything but name and price, this one had the beam rear axle. It was a wonderful car and I had it for 5 years.

    2000 Nissan Maxima GLE, light blue: Another great car. I sold it to my best friend who kept it for years.

    2003 Nissan Maxima GLE, pearl white: I loved this one too but it had a much larger turning circle than the 2000 model because of the larger wheels.

    2005 Kia Amanti, pearl white: Yes, I know, but I wanted something cushy. It turned out the driver’s seat gave me sciatic pain so I traded it after two years for the new version with different seats.

    2007 Kia Amanti, white; they decontented this car for the Canadian market so I got rid of it in protest but with its firmer suspension and nicer front end it was a pretty good car all told. This is one I put the Korean Opirus grille on; it improved the looks 100%.

    2004 Mercedes E500 4-Matic, mystic blue: This is the current car, my first lease, and also only my second ever used vehicle. It had a full new car warranty and only 35,000 km on the clock, a car my salesman had originally ordered and sold so he knew the owners well. It came with the designo package interior, the only one that salesman had ever ordered, so I took the plunge and haven’t regretted it at all. It’s a superb car and I now wish I had taken a longer lease than only two years.

    I have to decide what to replace it with this coming December. I’m thinking Genesis, Maxima, Avalon, ES350, LS460, or another E-class Benz, maybe the E350. A lot will depend on who has the best lease deals by then, I guess.

  • avatar

    You have got to be kidding me.

    Pinto? Pacer? Volare? Lada (x2)?

    And you write about cars?

  • avatar

    The list is getting mighty long, but I think that was the first CRX on the list. What a great car, I’ve had to willfuly ignore a couple of craigslist. My buddy in college had a 91 si that he just sold a few years ago and I still remember how much fun that was to drive.

  • avatar

    1965 Dodge Dart with Slant six new. Sold at 105,000 miles when I fell in love with 1969 BMW 2002.

    BMW kept until 1985 at 189,000 miles when traded on 1985 Porsche 928S which I sold at 14,000 miles for 1989 5.0 Mustang LX Convertible which I still have. I always worried about parking lot dings on the Porsche and really didn’t use as a daily driver.

    Wife started with 1970 Datsun 510 (good match for my 2002) replaced in 1983 with 1972 MBZ 280 SEL 4.5 as a family car. That was sold in 2007 with 270,000 miles on the clock.

    When Children were in high school early 2000’s one got used 1985 Volvo 245 (now 290,000 miles) and the other 1993 Volvo 945T (now 230,000 miles). They each still have those cars.

    Restored a 1955 VW Type 1 ragtop in early 2000. It had been in my family since new and was the car I learned to drive in. Total miles since new on that car 48,000 miles. All OEM original.
    Sold that car in 2007

    Other cars along the way included:

    1995 Windstar Van sold at 213,000 miles. Great family hauler.

    1980 Rabbit Cabriolet (only new convertible for sale in those dreary Carter years).

    Currently Wife has 2007 V6 Accord and I drive the 89 mustang.

    I feel very lucky to have lived through the automotive eras that I did. In addition to the cars I owned had friends with many exciting cars that I got to drive and work on.

    Most of our cars we have kept for over 10 years and many over 200,000 miles. My definition of dependability starts at 10years/100,000 miles. Only the Windstar had major mechanical problems all of which were covered under warranty

  • avatar
    The Walking Eye

    1953 Chevy Belair – given to me and my siblings as a gift from an uncle who just wanted to get rid of it and didn’t feel like selling it. I didn’t get to drive it much at all.

    1988 Chevy Astro – first full time car of mine, family hand me down. Fond memories of whipping the steering wheel back and forth while friends attempted to stay standing in the rear compartment. Thought I knocked one of ’em out once as he went down hard.

    1985/6 Cadillac Fleetwood Broughm – sweet pimp ride, really wish I still had it. Timing chain went out on it and then the stereo and climate unit were stolen while trying to sell it.

    1986 Accord – wrecked it when went over a median after racing someone out of a neighborhood. I was 12 years younger and an awful lot stupider.

    1991 Olds Cutlas Calais – another hand me down. Did me well til the engine seized.

    1990 Ford Escort – POS that had a “new” tranny that was toast when bought. Buy here pay here dealer… Brother and I replaced every bit of vacuum hose on that beast and I managed to drive it from IN to Austin, TX and back before it died completely. It was raining on the trip back and I had a soft luggage carrier on top. Got about 1/2 a mile from home when the damn thing decided to nearly die, causing the luggage carrier to slide off the roof and onto my windshield forcing me to replace it in the rain at a gas station.

    1996 Geo Prizm – not much to say other than it was loud due to lack of sound proofing.

    1999 Pontiac Grand Prix – first car I bought after graduating college.

    2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP – splurged and with GMS and all I financed $10K less than MSRP. Fun car.

    2008 Chevy Cobalt – current car which I will keep til the wheels fall off. Plan on this to be my daily driver after graduation and will get a fun car once paid off.

    I’m only 30, btw, and I’m rather surprised at the number of cars I’ve owned already. And I feel like I’m missing one or two.

  • avatar

    1985 Camaro Z28 – I purchased this car in 1995 when I was fifteen and sold it two weeks later–while I was still fifteen and without a license–for a $2,500 profit. It was in beautiful condition, and god I loved how it would chirp the tires when it shifted into second.

    1995 Cutlass Supreme Convertible – Red with chromed factor five spoke wheels. It was my older brother’s car. When it had it’s top down, it didn’t look half-bad.

    1970 Chevelle SS(396) – I purchased this car when I was sixteen! I convinced my dad to let me by a muscle car be telling him I wanted to find his old 69 Chevelle SS and restore it. I knew that would probably no pawn out (which it didn’t, but once I convinced him that it was alright to get his old muscle car, it was smooth sailing to convince him that not only getting his old muscle car was a good idea, but getting any muscle car would be a good idea. I spent a year restoring it and then another year working out all of its mechanical quirks. I ended up replacing its original 396 with a GM Performance Parts 502/502 crate motor. I eventually sold it on Ebay in 2006 to pay for law school.

    1997 Silverado regular-cab stepside–Fun truck. It had a 350, and I remember beating all of my friends’ Mustangs and Cougars with it.

    1999 Silverado LT extended-cab – The first true luxury truck. It was two-tone white with gold on the bottom. I loved that truck.

    2001 Trans Am WS6 – FAAAAAAAAAAAST

    2002 Avalanche – Good truck; horrible visibility out of its tiny rear window.

    2003 Lincoln LS – I really, really liked this car.

    2005-present various nondescript GM and Ford SUVs, and a brown Grand Prix *shudders* or two months *shudders”

    My family owns dealerships. Oh, and for a reference point, I tuned 18 in 1999.

  • avatar

    too all the folks asking about rf’s cars.. he hasn’t posted a list, it started with menno’s list. I’m curious to read rf’s list.

  • avatar

    1988 Chevy Astro –

    My parents had a mid-80s Aerostar when I was growing up. I miss RWD, truck-based minivans.

  • avatar

    1970-72 1962 Falcon had the kind of power where you floor it and it feels like anotgher person is pushing
    fall, 1974 1963 Chevy Impala

    1985-1993 1977 Toyota Corolla 1.2 liter 5 speed. Very cheap transportation, drove it 70,000 miles, from 91k to 161k, spent 10k on it for everything including parking tickets.

    1993-2004 1993 Saturn SL2 5speed.

    2004- 1999 Honda Accord LX 5speed. Very nice car

  • avatar

    Ha ha ha Many fond memories. Wow have I had that many cars???
    1963 VW Bug. Huge canvas sunroof, held 6 teenagers and all the necessary beer and other stuff
    1970 Karman Ghia. Really nice one, Simple, fun the drive…..Killed by a red light runner. I should have fixed it, but I was young and dumb so I took the insurance money and….
    1972 Karman Ghia This one taught me about rust. I think all that held it together was the paint.
    1972 Karman Ghia A friend of a friend had it in his back yard not running, dead so he thought. Basically gave it to me, I adjusted the points and timing, gave it a squirt of fuel, and drove it home. I heard later he was very pissed off.
    1969 Karmen Ghia Don’t know why, just thought I needed it. This one left pretty quickly. But 1969 was definitely a sweet spot for Ghias.
    1984 Rabbit GTI. Fabulous car, fast, handled great, reasonable MPG, pretty easy to work on AND it had a heater/defroster (see all of the cars above). I drove the snot out of it. Killed a set of tires in 9500 miles. It may be nostalgia, but I think this car would stand up to many of today’s cars. There are times I wished I still had it.
    1974(?) GMC Jimmy, can’t even remember the year, $400, it ran, the only V8 I’ve ever had. It had 4WD, and the whole damn fiberglass roof unbolted and came off. One day I took off the roof and the doors wouldn’t open because the body sagged. So we just left the doors closed and climbed in over the back bumper. Later I used a couple of jacks to lift up the body a little so I could put the roof back on. I gave it to a buddy who promptly trashed it.
    1986 Isuzu Trooper, 4 Cyl, 5 Spd, 4WD. My 1st New Car The definition of a SUV. Cheap, go anywhere.
    1988 Toyota Tercel Really, my wife’s car. She wanted to buy it by herself. It was really hard, but I sat on my hands and this is what she came home with. It was a good car, but the clutch started to go pretty early.
    1995 Subaru Legacy Wagon. 4 Cyl 5 Spd The AWD is great and it got reasonable MPG. My 1st vehicle ever with AC.
    1996 Isuzu Trooper 6 Cyl, 5 Spd 4WD AC/PW etc. Thought this was the best it could get, no matter what Consumer Reports said.
    2001 Subaru Legacy Wagon. 4 Cyl 5 Spd Power everything. But this one never felt a solid as the 1995. I was always waiting for something to break, even though it never did.
    1999 Mazda Miata. IT IS NOT A FUCKING CHICK’S CAR!! So there!! It is red.
    1981 Porsche 911 SC Coupe…….Barn find, basket case. 11 of 12 exhaust side studs were broken, but eBay and I put it back together and it became my fair weather driver for a year or so. I ended up selling it, because the next step was to follow in Stephan Wilkinson’s shoes, and my wife is not that understanding nor do I have that much gold. I still have a pair of ugly seats and other spare parts laying around.
    1994 Ford F-150. 4.9L Straight 6, 5 Spd, crank windows, radio, A/C. The perfect car for a 16 year boy to learn on. And, I am amazed at how handy it is to have a truck around.
    1988 Porsche 911 Carrera (Targa, sorry Stephan). Salvage title, father and son project, this is a sweet spot year for 911’s. This summer, look out world.
    2008 Toyota RAV4…..welcome to the dark side, but MY WIFE LOVES HER CAR, so all is well. This is the first car either of us have ever owned that is an automatic transmission.
    2009 Toyota Matrix XRS 5 Spd. I really wanted to see what Subaru had to offer, the the F’ing Subaru dealer here is so bad I just couldn’t do it.

  • avatar


    1960 Ford Falcon
    1963 Buick Skylark Convertible
    1965 Ford Galaxie
    1966 Ford Mustang
    1968 Pontiac Firebird
    1972 Opel 1900 Rallye(Manta)
    1972 Mercury Capri
    1973 Ford Country Squire Wagon
    1979 Ford Mustang Turbo 3-Door
    1980 Toyota Corolla DeLuxe Liftback
    1982 Nissan Maxima GL 5-Speed
    1984 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE
    1986 Mazda RX-7 Luxury
    1988 Mazda 323 Hatch Still in possession
    1989 Mazda MPV
    1992 Mazda MPV Still in possession
    1993 Ford Probe GT Still in Possession
    1999 Mazda Miata Still in Possession
    2007 Mazda5 Still in possession

  • avatar

    here’s mine:

    circa ’72 dodge dart v8 –
    in inherited it from my granddad at promptly drove it into a ditch and earned a dwi 3 weeks after i passed my drivers test

    ’79 fiat 124 spyder 2000 –
    my dad’s actually but it’s the one that i learned to drive a stick on

    circa ’72 dodge dart slant 6 –
    bought it for $500 from autoworld and sold it a year later when i moved to nyc to carcash for $50.

    ’83 benz 240d w/ 4 speed manual. –
    loved this car but it was a money pit. sold it in 6 hours on ebay.

    ’02 volvo v70xc –
    bought it in 2006 on ebay. the perfect family car. so far it just works.

    truth is i dream of a maserati bora…

  • avatar

    63 Ford Falcon Futura 2dr 6cyl 4spd bucket, sister sold it to me for $50 due to the needed trany rebuild. Simple car to work on. Reliable. Comfortable after I moved the seat back a couple extra inches. Predictable low performance.

    65 falcon hardtop. 3 in tree bench. Got fantastic highway mileage 30+ mpg at 60 mph. Didn’t do well in the city! My own collection of cobbled together ford parts.

    63-1/2 Ford Falcon HT 6cyl 200 4 spd bucket 5 bolt. Had for decades. Great car entirely rebuilt by me. Every nut and bolt. Beautiful paint and bodywork. Went through 3 engine rebuilds and more trany rebuilds. Many parts came from 63. No blind spots!

    ? early Honda Civic, Small! Economical.

    1961 Ford Falcon 2dr 3spd, Rear ended by truck on first day. Solid enough that we survived.

    78 Toyota Celica hatchback stick. Fantastic car. Super reliable compared to American cars of the same age. Economical!

    1980 Audi 5000 stick, Handled better than all the rest of my cars. Good looking. Interior build was good. I got it with lots of miles so it was expensive to keep up.

    88 Dodge Dakota stick, Useful for camping. OK

    96 Dodge Dakota extended cab stick, reliable, could reuse camper shell :).

    1988 Volvo DL 4dr stick. Most reliable probably best mechanical car I have ever owned. The engine purrs after > 230K miles.

    1984-1/2 Volvo 240 Turbo Intercooler 2dr M46 4spd w od sunroof power everything! A blast to drive on the highway. Lots of leather. Pretty luxurious really.

    1982 Volvo 240 Turbo 2dr like above but with automatic out of a 740. Smooth. Not half as fun as the 84-1/2 was. My wife likes it.

    1993 Saab 900S hatchback. Handles well enough. Might replace my Volvo when the next GMC Envoy goes out of control. Seat not so comfortable as I’d like.

  • avatar

    Michael Karesh: I regards to the V6 Contour… I agree 100%. I actually wanted the Contour V6 manual as my first car instead of the ZX2, but got the ZX2 very nicely equipped for a good deal. I drove loaner Contour V6’s when mom’s Taurus was in the shop, and even with the automatic it was a blast to drive. Pity it didn’t get more respect.

    BDB: Who knows why our ZX2’s were so trouble free. I know the Escort was based on the Mazda B platform, so that could have something to do with it. The ZTEC engine, however, was a Ford creation. Hence its noisy, unrefined nature.

  • avatar

    Now I understand the overall dislike for the domestic autos on this site.

  • avatar

    Fun topic! I’ve owned cars for 22 years now, for the past 15 years I’ve always had more than one, usually three or more, so the list is a bit long.

    ’82 Subaru GL – gift from the Grandparents, beaten on as only a 17-18yo gearhead can, wouldn’t die, but they couldn’t figure out why it needed tires and brakepads every 15K

    ’76 Volvo 242 – motor blew up after owning one month

    ’85 VW Jetta 2dr – fantastic car, bought with 17K, sold with 125K to best friend, who sold it to another friend, who sold it to another friend….

    ’84 VW Jetta GLI – even more fantastic – bought with 150K, passed back and forth to best friend to over 315K when retired due to tinworm. Still ran perfectly.

    ’87 Volvo 744GLE – unkillable. Bought with 230K, sold to friend’s Mom at 325K, finally retired around 425K due to rust.

    ’82 Volvo 245T – complete and utter piece of crap.

    ’91 Volvo 245 – drove for a year sold to best friend (see a theme here)he kept it for a decade.

    ’74 Triumph Spitfire – too rusty, parted oout for…

    ’77 Triumph Spitfire – still have this one (14 years now) GREAT little car, many parts from the 74 in it now.

    ’89 Volvo 745T – sleeper – dark gray with plastic wheel covers

    ’85 Peugeot 505S Turbodiesel – lovely, comfortable, and rusty. Started my love affair with Peugeots

    ’79 Peugeot 504D – absolutely beautiful car from Palm Springs, completely rust-free(!). kept for many years, sadly had to sell when I was laid off from my job.

    ’92 Peugeot 505SW8 – one of the vary last imported into the country, quite possibly the best most reliable car I have ever owned, still kick myself for selling her.

    ’85 Saab 900 Turbo – a sexy black seductress who nearly bankrupted me – I sold the ’92 505 for this!?!

    ’02 VW Golf TDI – only car I ever bought new. Bought due to constantly driving long-distances for work, sold when I no longer did that. But a lovely car, and utterly trouble free for the several years I had it.

    ’69 Saab Sonett – in need of a total restoration, that I did not give it.

    ’90 Volvo 744GLE 16V – good car, sold to roommate

    ’92 Volvo 745T – GREAT car – added Saab APC, suspension mods. Fast and discreet, but bumpy and thirsty.

    ’00 Saab 9-5 SE V6t – Also a great car, but a bit big and bargy, and I did not like being so tied to the dealer. Trouble-free, sold to Saab Club friend.

    ’90 VW GLI 16V – only sold due to increaisng interest in BMWs. Nice car, no major issues.

    ’91 BMW 318is (x2) First one was super cheap and rusty. Second one was nice but a money pit. Sold because I couldn’t really fit in it due to the sunroof. Would buy another one (without sunroof) in a heartbeat, if I could find one!

    ’88 Mercedes-Benz 300TE – Nice old Benz. Traded to Saab Club friend for another ’69 Sonett

    And this brings us to the current fleet (yes, I have a garage with a detached house):

    ’95 Saab 900SE 3dr – fast, fun, all the pluses of the 9-5 but not so big and bargy and not as tied to the dealer for servicing. Very, very reliable so far, only has 74K miles on it.

    ’94 Volvo 945 – best $1600 I have ever spent on a car, utterly reliable. Also slower than col molasses, so being sold to roommate.

    ’93 Volvo 965 – looks just like the 945, but with more chrome, and 60% more horsepower. I don’t expect it to be quite as anvil reliable. $2000, have put another $2000 in it so far. Lovely, smooth, quiet and rapid.

    ’92 Saab 900 Convertible – doesn’t everyone need two convertibles? Bought cheap, had it painted, won an award at Carlisle with it. :-)

    ’86 BMW 535i – only 91K miles, 5 speed. At the point where I need to either spend a heap of money on it and make it perfect, or sell it. Vintage German musclecar.

    ’77 Spitfire – as previously mentioned, owned for 14 years. I plan to be buried in it. :-)

    ’69 Saab Sonett – MUCH nicer than the first one, bought as a 90% complete restoration project. Plan to have it on the road this summer.

  • avatar

    I think Menno deserves some sort of award for having had the most interesting cars. A Lada, a Corvair, a Citroen Dyane, and a pacer (which I think is a very cool looking car). . .

    Oops! krhodes1 is also a contender

  • avatar

    Ooh, this will be a fun one. These are cars that I actually bought, not cars that say, my parents gave to me to drive. I feel like I’ve owned more cars than this…

    1984 Toyota Corolla SR5 Coupe – Never ran. Bought it for $400 off someone front yard near a friend’s house. It had a blown head gasket and $400 of back-registration on it. My friend sold it for me for $300 but I got only $168 of that back.

    1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S Coupe – A friend of mine bought it in Portland and drove it down. One day, it ran funny and he didn’t want it anymore. He offered it to me for the cost of labor for putting a DOHC motor into his Mazda 323. I paid $50 and a latte when all was said and done. Had a stuck engine valve, so it drove funny, and the gas gauge didn’t work, but the low gas light did…should have kept it. Traded it for a 240SX.

    1991 Nissan 240SX Fastback – Replaced the Corolla with it because it ran well (or so I thought) and working HVAC. It had 235k miles, the springs were cut, the shocks were dead and the clearcoat was sanded off. I thought I’d found a keeper, but the “Rebuilt” engine suffered from timing chain failure and the new motor would overheat if it idled for a long time. Plus, I lost the paperwork. Sold.

    1994 Mazda Miata – Replaced the 240SX. Great car, handled great, got it cheap off a friend because it had umm…some crash damage. Got stuck in stop and go traffic in it for 4 hours, with no radio, after my laptop had just broken, and the HVAC was dripping on to the passenger side carpet, on the day I bought it Sold it back to the guy I bought it from a year later. A transmission bearing started going out 30 minutes before I got to his house.

    1995 Infiniti J30 – Bought it from a friend who wanted it gone, for $250. Tires needed some air and it needed a battery. Sold it to a good friend who was looking for a car for $350. It had $550 of back-registration due on it that my friend paid. he didn’t mind because it was still cheap.

    2008 350Z – Clamped down on my spending after selling the miata. Saved up some dough, bought the Z after contemplation over a number of different cars. This car lacks cruise control and makes me drive like a twit.

    1992 Mazda Miata – Bought it off a friend for the hardtop. It has the crank snout wobble and it’s a bit rough. Unlike the ’94, the body is quite straight, despite having 4x the mileage.

    Lessons Learned:
    – Pull the dipstick when you’re looking at old cars
    – Call the DMV with the plate numbers and they’ll tell you if there’s any back registration and how much.
    – If you get a Corolla GTS with japanese front and rear bumpers for and OEM LSD for $50, keep it.
    – Don’t deal with manipulative sociopaths if you can help it
    – I’ve never owned a car that got much better than 27 mpg.
    – When buying a project, get one with a dead engine over one with a huge dent under the driver side doorsill.

  • avatar

    Unlike Menno and his Volares, I learned rather quickly, despite my upbrining in an isolated small town in the middle of nowhere:

    1989 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE, white with wood-paneling. Not so cool until your friends realize you can pile them all in for a trip to Taco Express. My only car for high school

    1998 Saturn SC-1 (new). 100bhp, but I didn’t care, I had a two door “sports” car for college, it rocked as far as I was concerned.

    1966 Corvette Stingray Convertible, with the 454 and side pipes. Blue paint, and complete awesomeness… too bad its in Ohio… in storage…

    1998 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro. First car I actually bought. It was blue, a manual, and awesome. And great in the snows of Colorado. Too bad it broke down after a year

    2003 Mazda 6S. When it first came out, it was the coolest looking sedan you could buy. After a year, I couldn’t stand the automatic.

    1985 Audi 4000S, gold, bought as a commuter car for Albuquerque traffic

    1985 Mercedes-Benz 190D. Bought for $500 in Salt Lake City, and towed back to New Mexico. Sold for $1500.

    1978 Audi Fox GTI. Project car… still a project…

    1981 Mercedes-Benz 240D. Another project… still another project

    2004 Jeep Wrangler X. Loved it. Took it off-road everywhere. Moved to Florida towing the old Audi 4000. But had nothing but problems with it, to where I would evacuate hurricanes in the Audi, and not the new Jeep, lest I break down in the middle of a storm surge

    2005 Ford F-150 Crew Cab. When I moved to Oklahoma, I thought I needed a big truck. I was wrong. Very good, but boring

    1986 Audi GT. Bought as a commuter car for OKC, to keep from high gas bills in the Ford. Totaled when a girl pulled out in front of me

    2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Replaced the Ford with this one… best move EVER. Few problems at the start, then smooth sailing

    2001 Porsche Boxster S. The finest car I have ever owned

    1990 Audi 90, dismantled for parts… which ultimately ended up on the much older Fox GTI.

    1984 Audi Quattro, red, we call it Trogdor, because it “burninates the interstate”

  • avatar


    Hence its noisy, unrefined nature.

    Hey now, the four-banger in my Tempo made the ZX2’s engine look smooth as silk by comparison!

    Anyway I almost got rid of the ZX2 but I’m glad I kept it, it probably saved me tons of money during the $4 gallon gas summer. The Crown Vic ate too much gas, and the Miata’s trunk limits its usefulness at grocery getting/errand running.

  • avatar

    1995 Nissan 240SX, 5 speed manual

    1995 BMW 318i sedan, 5 speed manual, POS

    2001 MR2 Spyder, 5 speed manual

    2003 Isuzu Rodeo 2.3 liter, 5 speed manual

    2005 Infiniti G35 sedan, 6 speed manual

  • avatar

    I passed my license test in late 1997.

    1994 Infiniti G20. Great idea for a first car, but it was my father’s idea… I wanted an Alfa Romeo GT V6. The G20 was Happy little car with a miserable automatic gearbox. Had to sell it because I figured out how to drive a manual with some instructions from the internet and a borrowed Jeep. I should have bought the higher mile G20t not the one I did… I regret that decision to this day. The G20t would have been a great car to get me through college but I chose poorly.

    1988 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4×4. After learning how to drive manual on it by myself and teaching a friend how to do the same I took to driving the jeep a whole lot. Had lots of fun with it, while technically I didn’t own it I did borrow it for long periods of time as my only means of transportation. Sure the old jeep ate an alternator every now and again but I put a decent stereo in it to mask the worn out Dana axle.

    1983 Porsche 944. Terrible idea, one of my ideas. I actually wanted an Audi coupe GT but those were hard to come by. I did become infatuated with the 944. It had odd options like manual steering, factory konis, fuchs and a factory alarm. Cost me a whole lot to maintain… things like axles, clutch etc. I bought it because it had really low miles like 30-40k in 2000. Besides the terrible upkeep I did like how it drove. Stupid thing had water leaks in two places, glad it is gone… but I miss it.

    1996 Audi A4. Bought the A4 quattro as a reliable daily driver to get to class and go skiing etc in the winter. The car was NOT reliable, it came with an extended warranty through carmax and it was at the dealership frequently. Problem was I started wanting more from the car so I modified the car a lot and started tracking it. Still own the 96 but it is largely a weekend track toy and project car for which I devise/develop new parts for.

    1998 Audi A4 Avant. Bought the Avant not long after I started tracking my sedan because I was told I’ll eventually go off and it is only a matter of when and how badly I’ll damage the car. The Avant was cheap and came to me in need of body work, now the body work is all fixed but I hate the automatic… so I bought up all the parts to convert it to a manual… a year ago. Need to get that done this spring. I didn’t like the suspension so I swapped in some parts from an S4. Didn’t like the brakes so I installed larger ones both front and rear… then when my sedan was immobilized due to engine damage and an engine management conversion… I tracked the Avant… only three days worth tho.

    I don’t think the past eleven years have been what I’d have hoped they would be. I look back on myself in many ways with utter contempt. Sure when I was 17 I wanted to do an engine swap on my G20… anything seemed possible at that age. Today having done an engine swap on an A4… I’m a little bit wiser, but obviously not when it comes to spending money on cars.

  • avatar

    2000 GMC Sonoma – Bought new 4cyl 5spd. Horrid sounding engine, but surprisingly reliable put almost 107K on it before ditching it. Had a bunch of problems and horrible service from the dealer while under warranty. But once the warranty was up it got a better mechanic (me)

    1985 Dodge Omni GLH turbo. – Loved it, bought too late in its life to really comment on it. It was a couple hundred dollar rusty POS in 2003.

    1988 Suzuki Samurai – Still have it and Love the little guy. Bought as a beater and then found it surprisingly reliable, since then i’ve done nothing but throw money at it to make it better off road or fix its rusty body.

    2003 Jeep Liberty Freedom Edition – Hate its fuel economy, hate its off-road capability, hate its girly image, hate its 3speed transmission(yes i know its technically a 4 spd), but somehow i like the thing, its had okay reliability.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    BTW, you guys dint read the article….the list in the text ain’t RF’s cars, they are Menno’s….

    It is interesting to have read so much opinion from regular contributors and posters to the site, such as Menno, and then see the rides that inform their opinions about cars.

    Menno, now I can understand why you seem to be a bit peeved with the D2.01….

  • avatar

    1962 Studebaker GT Hawk (1981-89)
    1976 Fiat 128 2dr. sedan (1985-86)
    1979 Plymouth Horizon (1986-88)
    1985 Dodge Aries 2dr. sedan (1988-95)
    1996 Chevrolet Cavalier coupe (1995-2000)
    2000 Chevrolet Camaro (2000-03)
    2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS (2003-06)
    2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (current daily driver)
    1967 Ford Thunderbird 4dr. sedan

    The Studebaker was gorgeous, but too old and fragile for a daily driver. The Fiat was worn out when I got it and suffered a fatal timing belt failure a year later. The Horizon was inherited from my parents and almost worn out when I got it. The Aries gave years of good service. The Cavalier was fine until the warranty expired, then the repair bills started piling up. The Camaro was cheap fun, but too unrefined for a daily driver. The first Jetta was trouble free. The current Jetta is also trouble free, though service for the diesel engine and DSG transmission are expensive. The Thunderbird is my toy.

  • avatar
    IC Turbo

    trk2: Yeah the turning was nice, but the 900’s was better. The BII had a turning radius of 32′ I think, but the 900 was 30.5′. However, the short wheelbase and subsequent short turning radius made the BII very twitchy in 2WD in anything more slick than rain. It was virtually undriveable in the snow unless you locked it in 4WD, in which it was an absolute beast, though had a slight tendency to pendulum under acceleration a bit. The additional 14″ to the wheelbase of the Explorer Sport made it a drift machine in 2WD in snow conditions. Both vehicles had open diffs, but I liked the Exploder more. Both also had what I refer to as “Ford truck power steering whine”. I swear every Ford truck made before ~1995 whined like it was low on fluid.

    Some additional thoughts, my first 3 cars were kind of odd (list above). I had an Asian car that wasn’t Japanese, a European car that wasn’t German, and an American car that wasn’t Ford or GM. I have also never owned an automatic, and I will do everything in my power not to.

  • avatar

    1971 ford maverick with the engine from my mother’s wrecked 1973; got me through last 2 years of h.s.–graduated 1986 as a frame of reference)

    1983 ford escort (used; got me through college)

    1984 ford escort (inherited from my mother when she bought a 1992 dodge spirit)

    1995 dodge spirit (new; a relatively good car that had only a couple issues and that i traded in at 89,000+ miles)

    1999 ford taurus lx (new; traded in at 1500 miles because i found out i couldn’t live without power door locks and cruise control–still baffles me that a car would be offered with power windows but not door locks)

    1999 ford taurus se (new; relatively trouble free up until it was totaled by some college chick in a grand cherokee at 98,000+ miles)

    2002 ford taurus ses (used w/12,500 miles; replaced my ’99 and was also relatively trouble free for 4 years until i made the mistake of letting a local branch of a nationwide auto service center change my oil, transmission fluid, and coolant–all three started leaking within a day and it took $1200 to fix; after that it was downhill and i finally traded it in with 102,000+ miles)

    2007 honda accord se (new; a pretty good car but was in the shop twice for rattles, twice for breaks before their time; at least in terms of initial quality, no better than my tauruses; wrecked by another college chick at 26,000 miles and traded in)

    2009 honda accord lx-p (new; build quality of this generation a notch below my ’07–already considering taking a look at the 2010 fusion when it comes out next month)

  • avatar

    Here we go, a long list of cars I’ve owned since 1974 when I started driving (the first 1/3 or so of the list I had one at a time, they were only cars and daily drivers, after that I had 2 or 3 of these at a time (no more than 4 at once):

    1965 Ford Mustang convertible – 289 V8. green, my first car ($240 in 1974, a little rusty, but I’ll never forget it…)

    1972 Ford Pinto – I don’t know what I was thinking, especially after the Mustang. Trying to be “practical”.

    1969 Ford Mustang – after the Pinto, had to re-boot my brain and get another Pony Car. A 302 V8 Fastback (“Sport Back”), in light grey with a maroon interior. A beauty (fro a high school kid).

    1970 Z-28 Camaro – I thought I hit the big leagues. 350/350 V8, big 4 barrel double-pumper carb, headers, 4 on the floor, Mickey Thompson F-50 rear tires. I averaged 4 mpg in street racing.

    1972 Opel GT – trying to get something more economical after going through 4 tanks of gas a week with the Z28. I liked it, but…

    1972 Camaro SS396 – big block fever bit me. I didn’t like it as much as the small block Z28, and started learning that I was more of a horsepower guy than a torque guy.

    1970 Opel GT – some obvious manic-depressive illness going on, back-and-forth between the Camaro’s and the Opel GT’s.

    1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – I just loved the styling. Big honking 455 V8 with front wheel drive. And 7 mpg.

    1960 Porsche 356 Cabriolet – a sweet car, but full of rust, which I vainly tried to keep up with bondo and patches. I lost the fight…

    1968 Corvette – a 327 small block convertible, 4 speed. Not the best example (hey, it was what a college student could afford). Had some of the same characteristics of GM cars today – fantastic styling, killer engine, cheap interior and bits that constantly fell off.

    1965 Corvair Corsa – with a mid-engine hopped up 289 Shelby Cobra V8 mounted where the back seat used to be. Built by a guy who raced it at Lime Rock CT in the 1970’s, it was a pure race car, huge roll bar, numbers on the doors, and I tried to drive it on the street. It worked out real well in the winter (it was my only car). It was an incredible drive, and so much fun to suck the headlights out of unsuspecting Trans Am’s. Sadly, I couldn’t to keep up with all the repairs to keep it as a daily driver.

    1958 Jaguar MkIX – I just had to do it. It looked just like a late 1950’s Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and I felt so cool driving it. Not so cool trying to keep the engine running.

    1972 Porsche 914/Laser 917 Kit Car – another gotta-have-it car (for a college kid). Someone put a 1970’s vintage Laser 917 kit-car body (a replica of a Porsche 917 racer) on a poor Porsche 914 chassis. It looked like the bomb, but unfortunately, kind of drove like one too. I tried to drive this year round too. Also worked out real well in the winter, with no heat, no defroster, no wipers…

    1970 Fiat 124 – one of the great coupes. I pretended it was a low-rent Ferrari. Taught me all about “Fix It Alla Time”.

    1974 Fiat 128 – I didn’t learn my lesson, and had to get another Fiat, one of the little coupe gems. What a ballet dancer to drive though.

    1965 VW Beetle – started my gotta-have-it VW craze. I souped it up, put on a “Baja” kit from JC Whitney and a megaphone muffler, painted it gold and black.

    1968 VW Camper Bus – my Grateful Dead days. Full of bondo, heater that vented engine exhaust into the car, but hey, I could sleep in it.

    1966 Ford Mustang Convertible – bought it on a whim. Just a sweet little 6-pack 3 speed.

    1960 Alfa Romeo Spyder – one of the cars I will always regret selling. It was flat-out GORGEOUS, in ruby red, in beautiful shape. Another attempted daily driver, it was about as reliable as the Fiats that came before it (but looked so much better).

    1974 Mustang II – I don’t know what I was thinking. It was a “V6 4 speed”, but it was still just a Pinto in drag.

    1971 Renault 16 – I always wondered what it would be like to own a French car. After this one, I should have stopped wondering…

    1968 VW Beetle – senior year college, graduating, out of money, this was all I could afford. Rebuilt the engine one weekend in a friend’s garage. Never did figure out what all the leftover parts were for. Patched a rusty floor with a “Do Not Enter” sign (it was the right size).

    1961 Buick Skylark – a real beauty, with a sweet 215 cubic inch aluminum V8. Same problem again, an only car and daily driver and parts were getting scarce.

    1974 Pacer – bought it during an LSD flashback, had my own “Wayne’s World” experience. I thought it was cool, funky styling, but what a piece of junk.

    1976 Pacer X – I thought the design of the Pacer had potential, so I had to try it again, this time with the “X” version (3 speed stick on the floor). Wasn’t much better than the first one.

    1974 Opel 1900 Coupe – not the Manta, but the square 2-door coupe that looks a lot like an old BMW 318 of the same vintage. It was a blast to drive, 4 speed stick of course, sort of a poor man’s (graduate student’s) BMW. Until a deer in I-81 outside of Binghamton NY at 3:00 am one night on a 16 hour drive prematurely ended it’s life.

    1968 Volvo 144 – after experiencing hitting a deer at 70 mph in a pre-air bag car, I thought I’d try safety (but with a 4 speed). Not a bad car at all, but kind of boring…

    1969 Volvo 164 – the Swedish experiment continued, with a 6 cylinder version this time. Surprisingly, it wasn’t much faster, or more interesting, than the 144. I painted it myself in a friend’s driveway with a borrowed Sears compressor.

    1972 Mazda RX4 – my first fling with a Wankel engine, and I still love them (despite the blue clouds and oil burning).

    1973 Renault 17 – 2 door coupe (the “Gordini”), still had a thing for French cars. Man, what a problem this one was, but I put thousands of miles on it. Those old French cars were pains, but there was just something about the way they drove. So smooooothhhhh….

    1969 Buick Skylark – old school American quasi-pony car, 350/350 V8. It was a great cruiser, drove it cross country a couple of times and it was perfect for that job.

    1968 Karman Ghia – another sweeeetttt car. Yeah, I know, no power, but what a beauty. Fully restored, absolutely perfect, bright red. The courtship car in which I dated my wife (and we’re still together after 26 years). I’m still looking for another one (a Karman Ghia, not wife).

    1976 Datsun 260Z – I couldn’t quite afford a 240Z, so I thought this was the next best thing. I learned all about what happens when a car is built with scrap steel bought from the Soviet Union.

    1970 Saab 99 – a sweet drive. “Restored” by a backyard Saab enthusiast, it looked fabulous, but unfortunately, his mechanical skills were not as good as his body work. It was a blast, but I couldn’t keep up with the breakdowns. Still, it started a love affair with Saabs.

    1978 Plymouth Horizon – 2 door hatchback, 4 speed, the “sporty” one (right….). It was cheap, and within a week, I found out why. My first experiment with suing a car dealer for misrepresentation – and I won.

    1978 Toyota Celica – looked like the Horizon, but so much more reliable. Showed me what it was like to own a car that needed absolutely nothing except oil changes.

    1978 Subaru – sold the Celica for a good profit, so I thought I’d try another Japanese brand. This one was the “sporty” 2 door GL “fastback” coupe (that looked a little like something heavy fell on it). Only had about 10,000 miles on it (at 7 years old) when I bought it, but it still burned it’s valves.

    1980 Renault 5 Le Car – back to the French cars again. I was smitten by the full canvas roll-back sunroof. Which was good, because I had a lot of time to sit looking out of it, waiting for a tow.

    1985 Firebird – my first new car. And my last GM product. In the first year it was back to the dealer 46 times. Not the pinnacle of GM’s engineering.

    1980 Datsun 280ZX – I didn’t learn my lesson from the 260Z, so I needed another dose. This one’s Soviet-era steel didn’t resist rust any better than the 260Z did. But, a Maaco paint job held it together for a while.

    1973 Datsun 510 – this was another sweet drive, a 5 speed hatchback coupe. It was a blast, a great “beater”.

    1984 Honda CRX – started my love affair with Honda. I absolutely LOVED this car, which is why I then bought…

    1988 Honda CRX Si – my first new Honda. Red, of course, 5 speed. I loved this one even more than the 1984. I’ve been looking for something like this ever since, but, no one makes it. It was perfect for me. I should have kept it…

    1984 Nissan Sentra – wife’s car, but since I bought it and maintained it, I take credit for it.

    1965 Sunbeam Alpine – the continuation of an awful relationship with British iron. I only managed to drive it 4 times in the 2 years I owned it (and not for lack of trying). Almost ended my marriage….

    1988 Mazda 6 Coupe – my wife’s car, the “snazzy” 2 door coupe.

    1968 MGB – had enough of Rootes (Sunbeam), had to go with the classic MGB. Easy to work on, which was good, because I was always doing it.

    1965 Triumph TR4 – I thought that maybe the “upscale” Triumph would be more reliable than the MGB. Wrong.

    1972 MGB – I thought the problem was that I should have bought a fully restored car, instead of trying to restore one myself. Wrong again.

    1990 Miata – enough of marriage-stressing British cars, I went for a reliable Japanese version. The Miata richly deserves all the accolades it gets.

    1992 Nissan SX2000 – after many happy miles with the CRX, I replaced it with this as the daily driver. It was a surprisingly good car – fast, cheap, reliable, different. I should have kept it longer.

    1994 Honda del Sol – I thought this was the return of the CRX. It was fun with a very clever targa roof, but, it was no CRX.

    1995 Saab 9-3 Convertible – back to my Swedish mistresses. And my first experience with suing a car company under the Lemon Law (successfully).

    1995 Saab 9-3 Turbo Coupe – I still loved Saabs, so I tried again with a beautiful 2-door Turbo hatchback coupe. There’s something about the Swedish Saabs (not the GM perversions) that just makes them very satisfying and special to drive. I put 85,000 happy miles on this one. I still miss that hatchback, we used to be able to fit furniture back there (just like on the old magazine ads). What car can you buy today that gives you performance + economy + luxury + the practicality to literally carry major furniture in back? If Saab survives and ever brings back a 2 door hatch, I’ll be the first one in line to buy one (or two or three).

    1995 Saab 9-3 Coupe – for my wife (she liked mine so much, we got her a red coupe).

    1999 Saab Viggen – after the 9-3 got too many miles to be reliable, I tried again. I really miss the Viggen. It was everything the 9-3 turbo was but even more. I should have kept it, deeply regret selling it (but was concerned by some worrisome hints at reliability problems – I found too many parts in it stamped “GM”).

    2000 VW Turbo Beetle – yeah, this is what replaced the Viggen. I know, I know, but at least it was a turbo, and it was fun to drive.

    1998 BMW Z3 – my next experience with suing a manufacturer under the Lemon Law (again successfully). BMW’s aren’t what they used to be. They build them to a price point, not a quality standard, because they know there are enough blind people who will buy anything with the blue and white propeller on it. After this lemon, I’m never going back to BMW.

    1965 Plymouth Valiant – I had to do it. It was 25 years old and only had 9,000 miles. I literally bought it from a little old lady in western Pennsylvania. Who literally only drove it to church on Sundays. It was the same pale blue as her hair. It was an as-new time capsule. I drove it for 10 years, put lots of miles on it, and nothing ever broke. Oil changes only. Should have kept this one too, but, with no seat belts and a solid steering column, it wouldn’t have been the safest thing in an accident.

    1993 Porsche 911 – found it used, 5 years old with 4,000 miles. Kept it for 6 years and NEVER should have sold it. I will regret selling this one for the rest of my life. After my wife had a serious accident and only lived because of airbags, I started being more focused on safety, and worried about those paper-thin doors on the 911…

    1999 Miata – the first Miata worked out so well I bought another one, and it worked out just as well (much better than the Z3 did). Many happy miles on this one.

    2001 Acura CL-S – back to Honda, still hoping for a “CRX-like” experience. This wasn’t that, but it grew on me, it was a satisfying drive (if a bit boring).

    2001 Acura CL – again my wife and I bought the same car (mine was red, hers in black). It worked out great, until a kind in a clapped out Integra ran a red light and T-boned her at 50 mph. She walked away, only because of air bags (otherwise it would have been very bad). I’m not obsessed with “safety”, but after this experience safety has been much more important to me.

    2003 Acura CL-S – Acura finally came out with a 6 speed stick for the CL-S, and I had to get one. It was a great car. Not flashy, but classy, and superb quality. Smooth, fast enough to be fun, reliable, very comfortable. I definitely should have kept this one longer, but, my head was turned by another hussy…

    2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe – replaced the Acura CL-S 6 speed. It was faster, snazzier, but not as comfortable. Still, I loved it – except for the seats, which were designed for 5’4 135 lb Japanese drivers and not 6’0” 200 lb Americans…

    2004 VW Beetle – being a strange mix of old 1960’s hippie and hard-core car maniac, I still had (and have) a thing for Beetles. So I tried again with a Turbo Convertible (stick, of course), did a few mods (chip, exhaust). It was a fun car. And I’m confident enough of my manhood to drive a car that some wimps would call a “girl’s car”. Unfortunately, VW’s aren’t what they used to be, so it was another trip down Lemon Law lane (successfully).

    2004 Mazda RX8 – bought this used, as an “interim” car while waiting for the G37 Coupe to come out. But I fell in love with it. It rekindled my love of Wankel engines. The RX8 has been lauded here on TTAC, and it so deserves it. It’s such an agile, flingable, communicative car. When the G37 arrived I sold it and got the Infiniti, but I kind of wish I didn’t…

    2006 Porsche Boxster S – I tried to recapture the magic of my old 911 with what I thought would be the best of all worlds – a convertible, plus a “safer” car with airbags. Sadly, Porches aren’t what they used to be. Porsche is a hedge fund with an attached metal fabrication plant. Their goal is to be “the most profitable car company in the world” – and they do it by cutting costs and building things cheap, to a price point. The Boxster was an absolute blast to drive, but not so much to live with. 1) The engine was ‘sealed’, there is no hood – the only access is from underneath, after removing the belly pan. As a hands-on car guy, that wasn’t for me. 2) There isn’t even a dipstick, just one of those absurd ‘electronic’ displays. Mine showed the oil level increasing – was it really happening, or was something amiss electronically? 3) Maintenance was ridiculous – $230 for oil changes, which were impractical to do myself because of the aforementioned sealed engine compartment. 4) Cheap materials – the seats had holes wearing through them after only a couple thousand miles. But, the deal breaker was 5) all of the water-cooled Porsche Boxster engines until 2009 have a major design flaw, with the possibility of premature, and unpredictable, failure of the IMS (intermediate main shaft) – which results in total destruction of the engine. It seems that about 10%-20% of Boxster engines are experiencing this premature failure, and Porsche is starting to balk on covering them under warranty. I think this is atrocious, so, the Boxster went. Though it’s a blast to drive, I think it’s more a car for orthodontist’s mistresses than true car enthusiasts.

    2004 Volvo S60 – currently own, wife’s car, replaced her totaled Acura CL. Been totally reliable for 60,000 miles.

    2006 Honda S2000 – currently own, replaced the Boxster. Now this is what I’m talking about. This is a true enthusiast’s car. Agile, nimble beyond belief, high-revving, absolutely reliable, easy to work on (hey, it’s a Honda). As has often been said, they don’t call it the Honda MOTOR Company for nothing. It feels directly hard-wired to your central nervous system. In street driving, it’s comparably fast to the Boxster (I’m not talking about tenth’s of a second on a track, but on the street), much more reliable, and about half the price. This one’s a keeper, I’ll be hanging on to it for a loooonnng time (unless I feel compelled to buy one of the last new 2009 S2000’s, now that they’ve been discontinued).

    2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe Sport – currently own. It’s an improved G35 Coupe, more comfortable, seats fit me (after modifications), plusher, faster, more refined. But, I still miss the RX-8….

    Also thrown into the mix were a few motorcycles along the way – 1970 Honda CB350, 1972 Honda CB450, a 1960’s home-made Harley Davidson chopper, a rare 1975 Suzuki RE5 Wankel engine motorcycle (that was a trip!), and a 2001 Indian Scout.

    So what’s next? Well, the S2000 is a definite keeper. Strange as it sounds, if/when the economy improves I’ll probably sell the G37 and get another RX8, it’s just more my kind of car (even though the G37 is objectively a “better” car, more power, more luxurious, better built, more reliable, etc., I just can’t resist a rotary). I always keep my eye out for another late 1960’s red Karman Ghia coupe, if I ever find one close enough to check out in person (I don’t trust buying old cars sight unseen on e-bay) I might get one. And, I think I’ll have to start looking for another older air-cooled 911.

  • avatar

    1979 Mercury Bobcat 2.3L MTX: (1982) My father and I fought about what my first car should be (I always wanted something faster than he was willing to let me buy. He sold me his 3 year old Bobcat for $2500 even though he was only going to get $1500 in trade for it. I totaled it after 4 months, due to hydroplaning on a flooded street. I got $3600 from the insurance and my father kept $1100. Nice one, dad!

    1976 Ford Mustang II 2.3L MTX: (1982-85) Dog slow, unreliable, but looked good in white with a matching white interior that I kept immaculate. Was tired of it after 2.5 years and traded it in for $400.00

    1980 Toyota Celica 2.2L MTX: (1985-86) Much more fun to drive than the Mustang. Needed a brake job, muffler and a new clutch within the first 6 months. It got rear ended by an inattentive teenager who bent the frame. Ever the resourceful one, I put the mini spare on it, so I could drive it home without it having to be towed.

    1982 Nissan 200SX 2.2L MTX: (1986-87) Faster than the Celica but didn’t handle as well. Flawless. Only sold it because I graduated from college, had my first professional job and was itching to buy a new car. I should have kept it as a 2nd car.

    1987 Mazda B2200 2.3L MTX: (1987-1991) Another flawless vehicle. I put 107,000 miles on it in 4 years. By ’91 I wanted to go back to a car again.

    1990 Dodge Daytona 3.0L MTX: (1991-1996) A fun car that I got on the cheap for $6500. After 4 years the paint had faded, the doors were sagging, and the head lights were stuck in the up position. I liked the new Contour/Mystique and at 120,000 miles I felt I had gotten my money’s worth.

    1995 Mercury Mystique GS 2.0L ATX: (1996-2001) A “grown up” car. My first automatic, 4-door, with A/C and power windows. A blown head gasket was the only major problem with it. Unfortunately, at 128,000 miles someone backed into me and the car was totaled.

    2000 Ford Contour GL 2.0L ATX: (2001-2002) Decontented compared to the Mystique, but still fun to drive. Didn’t have it long enough to have any problems. I sold it because I needed to tow a pop-up camper. I hated to part with it so I talked my mother into buying it from the dealership. The salesman was reluctant since I knew what I traded it for, but I negotiated a price that allowed him to make a couple of hundred dollars profit. She kept it until 2007, and it slowly fell apart on her.

    2000 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCab 3.0L ATX: (2002-2005). Except for one failed sensor it was fairly reliable, with much better fit/finish than the same year Contour or my wife’s ’00 Voyager. However, it was lousy in the snow, and the interior was a little cramped for a family of five. Also, it was OK towing a pop up, it was pushing it to tow a travel trailer, even a 2400 lb. Starcraft 17CK. Bought it for $5000 plus trade and traded it with 105,000 miles for $3000.

    2005 Dodge Dakota SLT 4.7L ATX: (2005-present) A $30K truck that I got for $20K plus my trade. It is comfortable, roomy enough for multiple offspring, and a good tow vehicle. Except for one failed brake caliper, it has had no problems so far. Had I not checked under the hood the day I brought it home from the dealership, however, I may have had a disaster. It was extremely low on coolant!

  • avatar

    1968 Olds Cutlass Convertible $650 high school ride. The same age as I was. Needed a transmission seal. Passenger side floorboard/cowl so rusted you could move the windshield by pulling up and down on the open passenger door. Olds V8 sound + dual exhaust + droptop on a spring day made up for all that.

    1981 VW Rabbit Yellow 2dr stripper. 4-speed, fuel injected gas engine. No air, manual steering. Purchased with 96,241 miles on the clock, drove for 12 years. Had well over 220,000 when sold, still ran great. Wiring was getting flaky due to rusty aftermarket replacement fender and antenna positioned over the fusebox. Observed 40mpg on the highway as long as I had it. Still probably my favorite car.

    1984 Pontiac 6000 Future wife’s car. Nice riding, good road trip car initially. Ended up with weird vapor lock/no start issue and auto transmission solenoid that would stick in high gear when warm.

    1993 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD Wife’s car. Nice little truck, but underpowered with 4 cylinder engine and clunky 5-speed manual. She refuses to consider a manaul trans on her cars now. :-( Traded when a tiny person joined our family ;-).

    1995 Plymouth Neon Wife’s Car. Fun, zippy car with huge interior. Had the stupid chrysler 4-cyl head gasket problem, compounded by lazy mechanic who didn’t read the TSB on replacing the cam seals when replacing the head gasket.

    1995 Mercury Villager LS Bulletproof, comfortable cross country cruiser. Fantastic Nissan V6/auto trans. Interior wore like iron. Only problem in 5 years of ownership was a stuck thermostat. Great for hauling kids & their friends or piles of home project supplies.

    1991 Nissan Sentra Replaced the Rabbit. Another stripper with a 5-speed. Beat up from the previous owner, but ran like a top.

    1998 Nissan Maxima GLE Wife’s current car. I had wanted a Max since a twisty ride in one in the early 90’s, but I’m willing to let her have it as her daily driver if I can pilot it occasionally ;-). We have owned for about 7 uneventful years. The GLE handling/ride is a little soft for my tastes, but she thinks the car is fantastic.

    2001 Nissan Quest SE My current ride, this replaced the Villager. Strange for a minivan, but I think it handles better than the Maxima. The SE came with stiffer springs/wider tires than other trim levels & it seems to make a difference. Has a slightly larger version of the bulletproof Nissan V6 in the Villager. Not stylish, but law enforcement seems to ignore it unless I’m way over the speed limit. Hard to beat the combination of capacity when needed and good MPG in daily driving. Only downside: Has more squeaks and rattles than I really care for.

  • avatar

    49 GMC 6 window Half Ton – totally shot. No money , no job. Sold for food.I was young ….

    70 Beetle – was a rebuilt wreck. Everybody should have one so they appreciate a real car not
    one designed between two world
    wars . Gas heater would half the gas mileage during -40f and would fail to ignite for first 180 seconds, then cut in. I had no hair on my legs for at least 3 years.
    Taught me about the threshold limits of swing axle
    suspension and rear engine layouts.

    79 VW Rabbit GTI -79Hp, Tape and
    label version. Was pretty abused when I got it. Loved the heater..
    First car I modded, each mod made it worse. Traded in on …

    83 Rabbit GTI –
    best car for me at the time . Car was air borne more than twice and was hooned around
    on three wheels for 10 years..
    Caused permament hearing damage due to
    gearing on highway,. 200 miles at 80 mph felt like completing the 24 Heures du Mans. Replaced alternator and shocks in entire time of

    74 E-Type V12 Coupe – Firing this thing up was like starting a bit of the Battle of Britain. It would catch in banks of three cylinders.
    The smell of it firing up with the gas fumes, old oil, musty wiring, treated leather will stay with me forever. Usual story of old exotic and
    under-funded and under experienced owner.
    A whole book of stories on
    restoring a E Type on the street or dirt floor garage at very cold temperatures
    Sad to see it go but had to buy a house with garage to fix the Jag.
    Sold to a lunatic who was going to splice the front end off my car to the back of a E-type convertible wreck. I broke even on the car,
    must of been one the six people in the western hemisphere to do so.

    Miata 93 – supposed to replace my GTI for driving fun . Not sure why I hated
    the car everybody else fawned over.
    Notchy shifter, no torque, twitchy
    handling . My first car mistake and dumped it to pay for new house payments.

    87 Audi 4000 quattro – supposed to keep for one year till I got my finances straightened away. Seven years later..
    still driving it sideways on every snowy corner. Parts harder to find than a early Ferrari
    but luckily the interweb was just
    getting going for car parts. Would of
    been the perfect car with 220hp and sport coupe body with space for bigger tires..

    95 Audi 90q V6 – tried to recapture the 4000q. A virtual money pit and performance parts harder to find than car above,.
    Finally got it sorted the final month of ownership but it was sold to pay for

    02 MB 230
    Coupe – solid as a rock , good mileage, practical hatch and paid for.
    upgraded suspension to fix wafty feel.
    Hard to dump it for any logical
    reason other than boredom and not bonded to it.

    Screw it , life is short. I need a V8…

  • avatar

    1966 Dodge Coronet that only drove in reverse. After a used $50 tranny and a Chilton manual it was great for about 2 years.

    YR ? Pontiac Astre: Was fun and cheap when I wasn’t putting a new head gasket on.

    1974 Gremlin X with no air or radio. An old family hand me down. Had more fun in that car then any other.

    1972 Plymouth Satellite. I got this from a widow of a Chrysler line worker who had parked it in her garage for 17 years. The car literally had 0 options. Slant 6 with 3 on the tree and drum brakes all around. That car was beautiful to ot and was pristine. Put cragers on it and it even looked fast but boy what a dog and a bitch to drive with no power steering.

    Fiat X-19. Crap car but girls like it.

    Dodge Aspen RT. It did the job. I think you could watch the rust grow.

    Volare RS. Had cancer but was a stick.

    1979 Capri RS. My all time favorite. It got me through college.

    1994 Pontiac Sunbird. Went 114K with no problems. Not great but reliable. 14% interest from the local Pontiac dealer.

    Geo Metro. hey it was free

    1995 Mustang GT. Just for fun as a spare. Wife hated the idea.

    Chevy Celbrity. Another freebie but it did the job.

    Chevy Lumina. I actaully missed that car. Sort of a gift.

    Geo Prism. A $1000 bargain tat was rock solid. Sold it for the same price.

    Saturn SL. It is was it is.

    Numerous 1 year GM leases for my wife and the I moved on to company cars.

    Now with Nissan and all my cars and trucks have been great so far. Yes even the CVT’s.

  • avatar

    1985 Honda Accord hatch
    1988 Honda Accord hatch
    1982 Mazda 626 coupe rear drive, came in brown
    1985Mazda 626 4d
    1991 GTI 8V
    1995 GTI VR6-stolen and found after a month but insurace paid for a new one.
    1997 GTI VR6-stolen again and found but as scrap metal.
    1989 Audi 80 4cyl My insurance co. would’t let me buy another VW, so the Audi was$3k and banked the rest.
    1988 Audi 80 4cy great cars! Picked this one up for $1K…a steal and then sold it 2 years later for over $2k
    1993 Audi 90Cs V6
    2008 Astra XR 5d presently, the only thing it needs is a 6th gear!

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    I generally buy new, keep the car a long time, and simply drive it every day. No winter beaters, no garage queens or trackday specials. When I was married, we had 2 cars and replaced one every 3-4 years. New purchases unless otherwise noted:

    1971 Saab 99 – Bought used in 1975 w/ 40K miles from a yacht broker. I learned that parking by salt water will shorten a car’s life. One of the most practical cars I owned: the 99 was just over 13 feet long, but could haul 10 foot lumber with the trunk lid closed (and the front passenger seat removed).

    1980 Audi 4000 (new) – Replaced the Saab. Dr. Piech lead the 4000 project back when he was an engineer. It was very light and tossable. Low gearing for 1.6L 75 HP engine meant 4000 RPM at 65. Can you hear me now?

    1979 VW Camper – Wife brought this with her. Also versatile, but the heating system always smoked (they were rear-engined, air-cooled then), and driving on Interstates was “exciting.” Especially bridges on windy days.

    1986 Ford Taurus wagon – Replaced the Camper. A very good car, until at ~70K miles the brake booster broke and lost all fluid entering town. Weee! Ford claimed it was not a safety issue. We didn’t keep it long after that.

    1988 Acura Integra 5-door – Replaced the Audi. Wonderfully light, flickable car. I had to sell it because my 6’1″ frame did not really fit, and I could not drive more than 2 hrs a stretch in it.

    1991 Saab 9000S – Replaced the Taurus. The most versatile car I have owned: luxury long-distance hauler for 4 adults, short enough to be easy around town, “3 body trunk” Farago’s Providence pals might say. Integra with space. Let down in late life by all manner of strange glitches. One month after selling it in 1998, it made the front page of the local paper when it caught fire on Main Street and burned to the pavement.

    1995 BMW M3 – Replaced the Integra. Absolutely sublime. I would drive out to the countryside just to blast around for a couple of hours. My reliable daily driver for 8+ years. I sold it for 30% of what I paid, making it possibly the most economical car I’ve owned. Why sell? Mini stole my heart (below).

    1998 Audi A6 – Replaced the Saab. More luxurious, less versatile, and ultimately just as flakey. Weird stuff: 4 fuel senders in the first year, all suspension bushings failed after 3 years, the list goes on. But, a fantastic interstate cruiser and best interior.

    2003 Mini Cooper S – Replaced the M3. After 6 years, still a hoot to drive. Every empty parking lot becomes an autocross. Who needs cones? At 127K miles, you better have some spare change, though. It’s getting “old German car” syndrome. Still have not found a replacement that better fits my needs. Suggestions?

    2005 Volvo V50 T5 – Replaced the Audi. Wife picked it when we were still married (no, the events are NOT connected). We both really liked it. Last year she had to get something bigger, and tells me she regrets not being able to keep it.

    I track gas mileage on all the cars I’ve owned. Before electronic engine controls, mileage (and checking the oil frequently) was a good way to track an engine’s overall health. My daily drive has always been a mix of interstate, “country roads”, and some “in town.” The wife did more local driving. Here’s what I have for mileage (US MPG):

    21: VW Camper
    22: Taurus, Audi A6
    25: Saab 99, Audi 4000, Saab 9000, BMW M3, Volvo V50
    27: Integra
    28: Mini Cooper

  • avatar

    1973 VW Bug. Paid $1200 for in 87.Sister wrecked it in 2 weeks.
    1974 Pontiac LeMans. Big comfy thing. $150
    1976 Grand Prix. Really nice. Paid $500, and sold 2 weeks later for $1500
    1976 Mercury Cougar. $150. Got better gas mileage than oil mileage. But had nice new wheels and tires. Comfy back seat.
    1979 Pontiac Sunbird. With a 305 V8. Til we swapped it out for a beefed up 350. A total of $500 into the whole thing. Ran like hell. Aways started, and ran. Rusted away.
    1981 Honda Prelude. Nice looking, clutch burned out. Twice.
    1983 Honda Accord. Great car. Drove for many years.
    1994 Hyundai Scoupe Turbo. First new car. Like a turbo roller skate. Great fun. Michigan roads killed it tho. Rattled it to death.
    1997 Nissan Maxima SE- Loved it to death.
    2000-Oldsmobile Achivea. Not that bad really. Got repoed when i had some money problems.
    1995 Ford Probe. Ran flawlessly for many years. Put 100000+ Miles on it
    2008 Nissan Altima Se. Like it quite a bit. Wish I had known I was going to get laid off 10 months after buying tho.

  • avatar

    1977 Ford Mustang II Mach 1 – All my friends had Chevelles or Novas. I bought it to be different. My friends dubbed it the “Pintang.” This car enrolled me in a crash course in auto maintenance and repair. On its good days, this overstuffed Pinto with a saucy 302 was ball of fun, though.

    1979 Chevy Monza Spyder – My only GM. First gear was to the left and down, somehow channeling the 196 cu. in. Buick V6’s 105 hp to the posi traction rear without buckling. On rainy days, the [closed] sunroof would sluice gallons of water directly to the passenger’s lap. I actually bought a 4 barrel intake manifold and Holley carb for the car, likely bumping the hp to 112. The Monza is my sentimental favorite for all time. It was my cheapest car and tough as nails despite the regular beatings. Parts were dirt cheap, too.

    1993 Ford Ranger – NEW. My wife bought it six months before we got married. I’ve done all the maintenance in the subsequent 16 years – it may as well count as mine. I still throw the mountain bike in the back a couple times a week and drive it to the trailhead. This truck is a testament to what kind of vehicle Americans COULD build all the time. It visited the shop zero times through the first 100,000 miles. At 235,000 miles, the Vulcan 3.0 V6 uses no oil and still achieves decent fuel economy. The damn thing doesn’t even drip oil on the driveway. This is my project 300,000 mile truck.

    1995 Ford Thunderbird LX – NEW. My first new car. After a few niggling issues the dealer finally got around to correcting, this car was also stone cold reliable. I loved the smooth power of the 4.6 V8. The Thunderbird was a great highway car.

    1970 Ford Mustang – Impulse buy. This yellow fastback had Boss stripes and looked badass. Alas, the 302 was but a wheezy Windsor, but I knew that going in. This is my favorite Mustang year, styling-wise, which probably explains the purchase. It lasted 6 months as a third car until I sent it on its way.

    2002 Ford Mustang GT Convertible – NEW. Another impulse buy. The wife and I were kicking tires at the Ford lot one day, looking to replace the Ranger, when we spotted this True Blue beauty with medium parchment top. This was truly a DINK [Dual Income No Kids] lifestyle car. It lasted three years before a couple of kids hastened its trade-in. Not as reliable as my previous two Fords.

    2005 Ford F-150 Supercrew – NEW. Okay, it’s not that I’m a Ford fanboy. My wife’s uncle used to work at the KC plant, and thus we’d get the A-Plan, which knocks off an astounding amount off the sticker price and renders the salesman’s bullshit useless. “Best Vehicle We Ever Bought,” we used to say when it was new. As time passed, the F-150 missed the dealership more and more, coming up with an interesting array of issues: leaking rear axle, broken motor mount, cracked and leaking plastic fuel line, water leaking under passenger carpet, stuck fuel injector, kaput ignition coil and chattering cam phasers. Good thing the Ranger’s still around to fill in time for the full-sized.

    1999 BMW 540i – My first foreign car, although it was for my wife. It was for sale on the side of the road for a week ’till I stopped. Her first reaction…”I like the action of the gas pedal.” A year and a half later, she’s in love. In fact, this morning she told me before she drove off, “I love my car.” I love it, too, with exception to the drink shelf they call cupholders. This is a serious sleeper car. I love driving it on the weekends. With luck, it won’t break my wallet.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive in my parents’ 1986 Vauxhall Astra 1.2. and my driving instructor’s 1985 Nissan Sunny 1.3. Despite the Astra having only 55bhp and needing 17.6 seconds to hit 60mph, I still left several feet of rubber in the parking lot my dad took me to for my first driving lesson. He was not happy. My instructor was similarly unchuffed when I inadvertently attempted to stuff his poor Sunny into reverse instead of 3rd at 30mph.

    After passing my test in 1987, the folks promptly (and very sensibly) took me off their insurance and said if I wanted to drive, to go buy my own car. Something that took me 3 years to achieve. From then on it looks like this:

    1980 Mini 1000 – My first car, it had to be a Mini, it was 10 years old and knackered when I bought it, but I drove it for 3 yrs and 40000 miles. I adored it despite the constant breakdowns (I used to carry bottles of coolant in the rear seat side bins).

    1980 VW Golf 1100 – Built like a tank, horrid engine. Dumped it when I moved to London. Hated it.

    1989 Vauxhall Astra 1.3 Merit – My Mum and Dad’s old car. It was 6yrs old when I got a ‘deal’ on it after I haggled on their behalf with dealer on the vehicle they were replacing it with -something they would never have done. A decent enough car, just tragically unhip. 30% more power than the Astra 1.2 I learned in meant it would do 105mph on the M54 – frequently.

    1996 Nissan Micra 1.3GX – Bought as a 6month old ex Barclays Bank fleet car with 9k miles on it for a steal. Not a driver’s car but very livable. I left it with my parents, who came to think of it as theirs, for several years after moving to the US before eventually selling it not all that long ago.

    1991 Honda Civic 1.5LX sedan – My first car in the US. Bought from a co-worker who had looked after it lovingly. I wasn’t as kind.

    2002 Subaru WRX Wagon – My first ever brand new car. I said if Subaru ever brought the Impreza Turbo to the US, I’d buy one, in 2001 they did, so I did. I still own it and love it, but it’s time for it to go.

    2005 Mini Cooper S – After test driving one in the UK, my wife was smitten. The Honda Civic was in need of replacement, this was it. A hugely fun little car but plagued with little niggles. With the warranty about to expire I just traded it in a couple of weeks ago.

    2007 Toyota RAV 4 V6 Ltd – The pitter patter of little feet meant we needed something sensible, safe and reasonably sized. The petrolhead in me couldn’t resist the V6 which is, for the category of car, quite barking mad. Ours has the rare and extremely tiny (but still sometimes useful) 3rd row. Despite being stupid quick for a family hauler, it does not like being hustled through corners at all.

    2009 Mazdaspeed 3 – Alarming turbo-nutter car that will, if I’m not very careful, get me arrested.

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    1984 fiat x1/9 – lots of work – but lots of fun to drive – great first car

    1972 cadillac sedan deville – bought for 100 bucks – worked on for one summer – never registered given away – ice cold AC!

    1987 honda civic wagon – bought from my dad for 100 – under the term that I never brought it home and left it there. Not because we didn’t love it – but because it wouldn’t die – had 300k plus at that point. It did die – on way to Montreal, in Quebec farmland – I gave it to the tow truck driver for the cost of the tow.

    1987 honda civic 4dr sedan – reliable boring.

    1989 mazda rx7 convertible – was mint when I got it -had been pampered . bought it in late 90’s for 6k. Probably my favorite car ever. Was totaled on the 405 from San Diego to Los Angeles.

    19?? Volkswagen jetta – the worst! Bought it for 2k – gave it to charity.

    1987 nissan pathfinder 2 dr – I loved the wheels on these original pathfinders – on the se-v6 models.

    1989 volvo 780 – my second favorite car. was in awesome condition. had some alternator problems and I wanted to buy my first new car – so I sold it cheap. Best leather seats I’ve ever owned.

    2004 honda accord ex v6 – nice car – I bought it mostly cause of the nav system. gave it to my wife.

    2005 toyota tacoma – my current ride. great utility truck. got the most stripped down version possible. has only 30k but the bed is permanently bowed outward from all the hauling it’s done. Super economy – super utility – but boring.

  • avatar

    ….sheez, I can’t remember them all, here goes, in no particular order:

    63 Corvair Spyder Convert, white/red gut

    57 Plymouth Savoy 4dr sed, black, oil burner champion

    56 Chevy BelAir Convert, Baby Blue/White top

    63 Pontiac Lemans Convert, Bronze/white gut, 326 V8 3Spd on the floor, my first new car, Paid about $2,700 OTD.

    64 Impala Convert(not an SS), Maroon

    66 Olds Dynamic88 4dr sed, green

    66 Buick Riviera, loved this car.

    67 Opel Kadett, beige, great economy car for the day

    63 Chevy StaWgn, Beige, Manuel Steering…Wow

    65 Triumph Herald Convert(Wife’s car when I met her)

    65? International Travelall, White(we used to car it the “Ice Cream Wagon”) – money pit

    70 Ford Galaxie 500 4drSed, Brown

    73 Plymouth Duster, Slant 6, yahoo

    75 Ford Pinto SW, rat

    70s – 80s I worked for dealers during this period and always drove demos. At one dealer I also got a demo for my wife when I was the GM.

    83 Camaro Z28, Red

    84 Plymouth Voyager

    85 Chevy Caprice Classic 4dr, Gray

    86 Jeep Comanche PU, Blue

    87 Plymouth Voyager, Woodie

    89 Merc Sable White

    91 Merc Sable, Gold

    93 Ford F150, White

    95 Isuzu Rodeo, white, good truck, hit a deer going 60 MPH, nearly totaled.

    99 Jeep Cherokee, Red

    2000 Accord SE Dk Red, 4cyl auto, my 23 year old son now owns and drives this car daily, 160 K miles going strong. Gets 30 MPG on trips. Was my wife’s car new.

    2002 Chevy TrailBlazer, Black, no complaints

    2005 Merc Mountaineer LTD, Black loaded, hated it, loud tires(road noise), very truckie. Actually liked the Trailblazer better.

    2008 Subaru Forester, Red, 5Spd, love it so far. Fun to drive.

    2002 Buick Century, 46,000 miles, my current daily driver, very comfortable and squishy, 30 MPG on trips, great radio. Stole it from a little old lady.

    A couple of my brothers cars:

    58 AH Sprite Bugeye, he has owned for about 40 years.

    67 Pontiac Catalina, was my Dads car, it is in storage, we plan to restore it, has 63K miles.

    67 Olds 442 Convert, his first new car.

    55? Chevy Woodie Truck

    66 VW Kombie, yes he went to Woodstock.

  • avatar

    First car was a 1989 Camry. Bought it in high school with my sister. Then she went to college and one rainy summer day I learned the hard way that it didn’t have ABS…or airbags. My dad, my friend, and I spent the whole summer debrieding the twisted metal and broken glass from the front end and searching the junkyards for parts. You’d be amazed how hard it is to find junked Camrys. We finally found one and we managed to get a hood, a fender, and a piece of the unibody to weld in place of the part that was too mangled (I know, I know, dangerous). After we fixed it the CV joints went bad. Then the exhaust system started to go but by that time I had left for college.

    Next came my dad’s 1994 4Runner. It was rugged yet comfortable, although the tailgate window mechanism rusted out. After 250k miles the transmission and the exhaust system started to go. Had to junk it because it wouldn’t pass emissions.

    Next came a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder. More powerful than the 4Runner but felt like driving on spring loaded stilts. Also the accelerator wouldn’t go down sometimes so I’d have to mash the pedal to get it moving (not fun when commuting to work with dad and he’s drinking coffee). Gave it to my sister when she went to grad school.

    Currently on a 2001 Civic. Decent car, but the CV joints are going bad again after I just had them replaced a year ago (what is it with me and CV joints? I blame Michigan roads, they’re one giant pothole). Drove it to Atlanta and back a few times and managed to get 35-38 mpg while goin 80 or so most of the way.

    My only regret is never getting the chance to drive my dad’s 1984 Monte Carlo. He sold it before I got my license. Sure it only had AM radio, and sitting in the back seat during road trips to Florida as a child are the reason I hate coupes to this very day, but it just looked so classy. I loved the spoked rims, the front bench seat, and hearing Ernie Harwell call Tigers games on the radio.

  • avatar

    Boy you have had some crap….

    1978 Chevy Malibu Classic
    1975 Cutlass Supreme
    1986 Buick Skyhawk
    1988 Dodge Omni
    1992 Dodge Spirit ES (2 transmissions! Last Chrysler I ever bought)
    1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT
    2001 Chevy S-10 4×4
    2003 Pontiac Vibe GT (best car I ever owned – no problems ever)
    2003 Saab 9-3 (went to the dealer for repairs 15 times!)
    2007 Pontiac G5

  • avatar

    1991 Ford Escort – A Ford that was mostly trouble free. Must have been a fluke. It only left me stranded once.

    1996 Pontiac Grand Prix GT – Never a days trouble. Sold it with 180K on it.

    2001 Ford Crown Vic – Left me stranded and had numerous problems because Ford uses the lowest quality materials. Never will I drive a Ford again.

    2006 Chevy Silverado – What can I say…it is perfection. Ford and Dodge, eat your heart out!

  • avatar

    1980 Chevrolet Citation: 5-door, V6, automatic. Built in April 1979 and purchased by my grandparents, I not-quite-inherited it in 1993. It was the sort of car that gave GM the awful reputation for POSery it so richly deserves. The hard foam interior panels were crumbling, the engine stalled when I used the brakes and turned the steering wheel simultaneously, parts broke on it regularly, and so on. Ultimately, something in the transmission let go and emptied fluid all over the exhaust, so off to the junkyard it went at just over 80,000 miles.

    1988 Nissan Sentra: 4-door, 4 cylinder, 5 speed. I bought this in 1995 with over 190,000 miles. Proceeded to drive it for the next seven years and another 100,000 miles. I never changed the oil or coolant, it got hit several times, slid into the ditch several times, and so on. I was mean as hell to this car, and the worst thing that happened was the alternator dying because I let the leaky power steering reservoir drip into it. Eventually that sort of neglect caught up to it, the head gasket gave up in 2002, and this one also went to the junkyard. Multiply this sequence by 150 million or so to understand why Detroit is in the casket today.

    1991 Isuzu pickup: regular cab, short bed, 5 speed, carbureted 2.3L four with 95 or so. Bought this at the end of 2000, since by then I knew the Sentra wasn’t going to live forever and I needed something with an open bed. Got 27 mpg or so in regular driving, and once cracked 30 on a full highway drive. Sold it with 115k in 2006 since I never drove it anymore, I needed some parking space, and it had an intermittent vapor lock problem in the warmer months (turns out the fuel filter was plugged up).

    2000 Hyundai Accent: 4-door, 5-speed, purchased in 2002 after the Sentra died. Had 48k on it, rode around in it for six years. Replaced one hood hinge early on, an O2 sensor around 75k, and three sensors on the intake manifold around 110k. I replaced all four struts and two front tires before selling it at 124k, and actually entertained brief notions of hanging onto it anyway.

    1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R. The only SE-R worthy of the title, bought it from an ad in the paper in 2004. Had about 223k on it and a folder full of maintenance records. So far it has a full IHE install, urethane motor mounts, blue LEDs in the cluster, and various age-related replacements. It’s in the driveway right now awaiting a time when I’ll install the pile of primarily suspension parts I’m gradually stockpiling for it.

    1966 GMC 1502 pickup: 3/4 ton wide longbed with the oddball NP435 nongranny 4-speed and the even more oddball 351 c.i. V6. Somewhere along the way I developed an admiration for the GMC V6, so I bought this puppy in 2004 with presumably 102k. It’s approximately stock except for the later GM 14-bolt axle somebody swapped in (which makes finding rear end parts a lot easier). Currently sitting until I finish installing new brake lines for the dual MC conversion.

    2000 Honda S2000: black, purchased solely on a whim when I saw it at the Chevy dealer in 2006. Had 46k on it then, has 49k on it now. Came with a CAI and Flowmasters(?!), now has a hardtop and the JDM lightweight factory wheels, plus some HE stuff pending.

    2008 smart fortwo: bought it as an orphan in May, since my ordered car wasn’t due for another six months. Put an exhaust on it a month later and have been enjoying it ever since. Currently pondering various other mods while waiting forlornly for the mythical Bluetec smart to be announced in the US.

  • avatar

    1982 Volvo 240DL, 4speed manual w/ pushbutton overdrive – Parents bought it new. Learned how to drive on it (in ’95), as did at least five of my sister’s friends. Family sold it in 1998 with 212,xxx miles, still on the original clutch. Vermont rust made it into a super-lightweight.

    1991 Ford Escort LX 5-door, 3speed auto – Could not kill it, though I tried as hard as any high-schooler ever did. Took it off jumps, through snowbanks, even broke an ice rink with it doing donuts. Three trouble-free years (96,97,98). Sold it when we moved cross country.

    1989 Saab 900 turbo sedan, 5speed manual – The love of my life. Dad bought it used in ’97 with 70k, handed down to me in 2000. Have been modifying it over the years, currently has 173k. Will never part with it by choice.

    1992 Ford Explorer XL, 5speed manual – Parents bought it new. It’s still alive at their summer place with over 200k. Mazda tranny rebuilt at 160k. Otherwise very reliable.

    2006 VW Jetta 2.0T Package 2, DSG – One year lease (first contract I signed). The ultimate transmission, sweet 17″ wheels. Dangerously inadequate brakes, sloppy handling, poor visibility with those A-pillars. Turned it in w/ 11k.

    2006 Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi, 6speed manual – First new purchase. I added the ice-block taillamp lenses and BSR reflashed the engine management system (280hp/354lbft). Insanely fast. Traded in with 16k for…

    2008 Saab 9-5 Aero 5speed manual – I prefer leasing, and got back in before it was too late (last May). Also a BSR reflash, but still with the 4-cylinders for better MPG. Love it, currently has 7k.

  • avatar

    1981 Volvo 240 Diesel – my first car, gift from parents in 1986 In retrospect, the perfect first car to have. Was hit by a fuel oil delivery truck. It gave its life to save me and my then girlfriend.

    1981 Caddalic Sedan DeVille V-8-6-4 – Gift from grandmother to replace dead Volvo when she got a new caddy. The most fun car a high school kid could have. By the time i got it, the car was beat, but it had a back seat the size of a sofa and gas was cheap. I had the car for a number of years and actually never had a problem with it at all. I miss it.

    1979 E21 BMW 318. Total POS but loved it. Had it for the summer before college, then ditched it.

    1986 Chevy S10 Blazer 2 wheel drive I bought in 1998. It was what cute-utes should be today, aside from the habit of eating transmissions. That car got me most of the way through college. I have very fond memories of it; as a matter of fact I proposed to my wife in it (she obviously said yes despite the cheesy Chevy). A simple car that got decent mileage and more or less did its job without complaint. Having a 2 wheel drive it drove like a tallish wagon. Don’t get me wrong – it was a roughly constructed car, but it was lovable.

    1988 Volvo 240 DL, 5 speed – once the Blazer died, I went back to the Volvos. That particular car was what I kind of wish I could find in a European car (any car really) today. Bone stock, simple and reliable. It was a slow, dull, underpowered and dim-witted, but it was distilled to the essence of basic transportation. I sold it to my brother when I moved to Manhattan – he wrecked it.

    Many years later, I bought a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee from my father. It was a decent car with a very torquey V8. Was not one of my favorites, but it was okay.

    2003 VW Jetta Wagon 1.8 Turbo, bought new – the car I use today as my daily driver. It has never given me any real trouble, but every little switch, bracket and cover has broken on it. It is a very entertaining car to drive, provides good mileage and utility, but I am beginning to loose trust in it. We may be coming to the end of our relationship.

    1988 E30 M3 – bought to use as an autox car from an eBay auction. The seller lied – it was rusty POS with a rear clip – even though it had a strong rebuilt engine, I sold it about 9 months later. I’ll never buy anything like that on eBay again.

    1995 E36 M3 – this is my current toy. It has about 160,000 miles on it and still runs strong. I bet if I were a better driver it would be fairly competitive in my class in my region. I plan to hang on to it for the long run (for now) – and take more racing lessons.

  • avatar

    1st car – 65 Olds F-85. Got me through high school. Probably the fastest car I ever owned. Seated 6 comfortably, 10 less so.
    71 Mustang fastback w/302. Very fun, rear window was nearly horizontal.
    68 Camaro. Used rust bucket with immaculate interior. 10 MPG.
    76 Toyota Corona wagon. Big mileage improvement from Camaro. Had to sell to eat(College).
    64 Beetle – 6 volt, gutless. Loved it.
    73 Super Beetle – perfect condition. wrecked it in a snowstorm taking a coworker home. No good deed….
    86 Accord – first new car. Elegant, smooth at the time. Sold it to get a mortgage.
    87 Sentra – new, wife brought it to marriage. Very solid. Sold it to keep eating and keep house.
    82 Sentra wagon. Put 100k on it in 2 years. Indestructible.
    86 Colt Vista wagon – Turd from the get-go. Mechanic brother in law said it would die at 100K. Died at 108K. I showed HIM. Mitsubishi is on permanent banned list.
    95 Voyager – 9 years with 4 small kids. VERY good thing we got the extended warranty. Ironically, the problems stopped when the warranty ran out. Who’d a thunk?
    94 Geo Metro – No problems, no feeling of safety, though. 36 mpg seemed disappointing.
    96 Ranger – 4 cyl. Gutless POS. Dangerously so. 19 mpg?? [email protected]$1K AC repairs. Lost faith in Ford forever.
    03 Century – Rock solid. Zero problems. Still going strong. Boring.
    07 Hyundai Santa Fe – wife’s car. She loves it. Whatever.
    06 xB – Gutless but trouble free. 1st car w/MP3 plug which should be standard on all vehicles. CD slot is now obsolete.

  • avatar

    1971 Opel Manta (Yellow!)
    – My trippy highschool car bought for $200. Spent a lot of time in the shop with electrical and carburetor problems.

    1977 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
    – A salvaged job welded together from two Corollas. Love it.

    1980 Toyota Corolla Coupe
    – Great commuter car. Blew the tranny up, literally.

    1988 Dodge Dakota Pickup
    – My only brand new car. And my only American car… the experience lost me as a Chrysler customer for life.

    1989 Mercedes-Benz 300E
    – My favorite car. Bought it for my then wife… she got it in the divorce. Ce la vie.

    1995 Ford Laser Wagon (a rebadged Mazda 323)
    – Was fantastic, until it developed a leak somewhere and I ended up with 2 inches of water on the floor after every rain.

    1999 Volvo V70 Wagon
    – So far, so good. Got it cheap for $4k.

    And a handful of motorcycles from age 13.

  • avatar

    Mazda GLC -1980 (or 81..can never remember)
    Yellow (well mostly brown) hand-me down that I stickered up good with snowboard company logos ;-)

    Mazda 323 -1991 – Purchased in 1995 for $4800 bought right after a Summer working in Ottawa after I graduated from university. Served me well as I used it to move to Quebec and survived Winters there no problem. I moved with hockey gear and a few clothes and dishes – handed down to my sister and lasted to almost 300,000kms before the tranny went

    Mazda 626 – 1994 – Purchased in 1998 for $7000. the good Mazda 626..manual with the 4cyl. Prices were ridiculously low on the 626 due to the bad rep for the autobox and 6cyl. I avoided both and had a good ride in it for years. The Mazda back end load parts pricing finally caused me to get rid of it at 12 yrs old. It still had NO rust.

    Mazda Protege 2001 – Purchased in 2004 for $11. That car handled really well and was rock solid. I sold it 4 yrs later for $7000 and only regular maintenance was required. I always thougth that with another 30 or 40hp it would have made a fun track day car

    Mazda 3 – 2006 – Great car. not enough leg room as described earlier on the what to choose as a replacement post on TTAC.

    Mazda 6 wagon – 2006 – Nice wagon but there are obvious North american sub-par parts in this vehicle. Rattles, poor brakes, poor trim quality etc

    Mixed up in there was a 1989 Accord SEI. The car I have the fondest memories of despite the two moonroof replacements (ended up as a duct-tape moonroof).

    As an update to the thread on finding a replacement for the Mazda 3 with better legroom.
    So far it has mostly been a process of elimination.
    Subaru – out
    Honda – out (nothing appealing anyway)
    Mazda – out (even the new 6)
    VW- in (except for relaibility concerns – lots of legroom)
    BMW – in (great legroom – I thought at one point I would get a used 5 series but didn’t like it – mostly not a great value proposition)
    Mitsubishi – in (was surprised by that)
    Volvo – on the fence many recommended them on this site but I didn’t find them extraordinary in any way – especially the S60 – what a crapola interior. S40 smelled worse than a Kia by the way
    CTS is probably the frontrunner right now

  • avatar

    My first time posting here it goes…

    1.87′ Saab 900TC stick Red 290K paid $800 rusted out floor

    2.92′ Saab 9000T let go at 210,000 paid$2200 TCS issues forced sale- My favorite Saab ever. Rapid Mid-range pickup.

    3.91’900TC tepid auto 160K paid $500 sold for $500

    4.87 9000T auto 310,000 Got for free used in winter till it just quit. Parted out on line.

    5.96 9000CSE Burgundy Auto paid $1950 from carigs list needed new starter never a problem sold later on for $2800 Ran great never a issue just hated the auto. 170K

    6.1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen. Cosmic Blue paid 9,000 went like hell, drove ok I loved it for about a year I was in high school and maintance cost was too high. Sold for 7,800 with 187,000 miles

    7.2001 Saab 9-3 SE HOT paid 4,600 with 74K Got down the road good, ALWAYS in the shop. rear tire blew out just after I paid it of and I hit a tree backwards car still ran and I was fine but was totaled.

    8.9. With insurance money I purchased a 87 900SPG in buffalo Grey with the louvers. Great car solid engine working on interior paid $500 didnt run needed a ingition switch.

    1992 900TC five speed one owner 65K miles White with Burgundy interior runs great and since I moved to FL love the convertible!! paid $1900

    I owned a 92′ Mercedes 300E that I got for 1300 but i didn’t bother too include it because it was such a crap-shoot.

  • avatar
    Jeff in NH

    2008 Honda CR-V – Purchased new as my first-ever car. Recognizing a depreciating asset when I see one, I spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for this purchase. The CR-V had the requisite reasonable price, decent fuel economy, stellar safety and reliability ratings, family vehicle utility, and corrosion resistance design features (I live in the salt belt) for what I intend to be a 20-year relationship. It doesn’t hurt that it has pretty respectable handling for a raised station wagon and a sweet, sweet K24Z1 under the hood.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    1966 Plymouth Belvedere – $15, and well worth it.
    1966 Ford Ranch Wagon
    1969 Ford Galaxie
    1973 AMC Hornet
    1970 Ford Torino
    1969 GMC Van
    1969 Pontiac Lemans
    1973 Ford Pinto
    1973 AMC Hornet (another)
    1981 Toyota Corolla SR5
    1966 Rambler
    1979 Audi 5000
    1988 Nissan Truck SE-V6
    1981 Plymouth Horizon
    2001 Isuzu Trooper
    2004 Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible

  • avatar

    1st Car – 1973 Cadillac El Dorado. Smoothest car I have ever owned and with a 500 Cubic inch, 8 cylinder plant by far the most powerful. Never had a lick of trouble with it. Wish I still had it. Got tired of trying to parallel park the beast so I sold it for something smaller.

    2nd Car – 1980 Dodge Aspen. One of the last cars ever built at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Never had any trouble with it but it was exciting to drive as a fish sandwich.

    3rd Car – 1989 Chevy Beretta. My first new car when I got my first job. Was fun for awhile but soon tired of it. Battery went bad after about 2 months of ownership but no trouble.

    4th Car – 1991 Ford Ranger. Best vehicle I’ve ownded. Put almost 300,000 miles on it in the 12 years I had it. No issues. Hauled tons of crap in it and it just did it’s job. Truly ‘Built Ford Tough’

    5th Car (Wife’s) – 1996 Geo Prizm. A Toyota Corolla in disguise. Steady, Boring and pretty reliable. Only issue was a transmission seal leak – right after the warranty expired. Died a horrible death after being center punched and totalled.

    6th Car (Wife’s) – 2000 Mazada 626. A true nightmare. Worst car by far I’ve ever had. A rattle machine. The knobs kept falling off. That funky swing vent on the dash died. The radio stopped playing CD’s. 3 of 4 electric windows broke, head gasket leak, transmission would slip when it got cold. The Cruise Control busted. Seems like we put a jillion dollars into it just to keep it going. I wouldn’t touch a Mazda again.

    7th Car – 2001 Buick Century. Smooth, decent mileage for a 6 cylinder. Hate driving it as it is about exciting as watching paint dry. Goes through light bulbs like mad – I don’t know why.
    If there is a bulb on it, I’ve replaced it – twice.

    8th Car (Wife’s) 2007 PT Cruiser. Had the turning radius of an Oil Tanker which could be a pain in the arse at times. Super design – take the rear seats out of that baby and you can haul some stuff. Had the wonderful Chrysler lifetime warranty but sadly lost a battle with a Cement Truck when it was still just a baby and was destined for the scrap heap. Only beef was the turning radius and it sure was a thirsty 4 Cylinder.

    9th Car (Wife’s) 2008 Ford Fusion. So far so good. No issues after a year of ownership. I have the feeling that it will last as long as we want it. Just not so sure how long that will be. It’s kind of an ugly spud and once again not a thrill mobile.

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    In order of purchase:
    1965 Mercury Comet Caliente
    1974 Datsun Pickup
    1976 Ford Econoline
    1977 Toyota Celica
    1978 Ford Fiesta
    $ Toyota Corona
    1977 Pontiac Firebird
    1968 Ford Mustang
    (2 Years carless while in college)
    1982 GMC S15 Pickup
    1984 Renault Fuego
    1986 Mercury Sable
    1982 Renault LeCar
    1989 Subaru XT
    1989 SAAB 9000
    1976 Chevrolet El Camino
    1984 VW Scirocco
    1991 Jeep Commanche
    1982 Dodge CrewCab
    1995 Mitsubishi Mirage
    1977 Dodge Pickup
    1994 Ford Thunderbird
    1991 Olds Custom Cruiser
    1998 Mitsubishi Galant
    2003 Nissan Murano
    1995 Mazda Miata
    1996 Toyota Previa
    2005 Ford F150
    2005 Nissan Murano
    2005 Chevrolet Silverado CrewCab
    1994 GMC K1500
    2007 Ford Focus
    2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Current stable below:
    1994 Lincoln Continental
    1951 Olds Delta 88
    2008 Ford F150 SuperCrew
    1989 Volvo 760 Turbo
    2002 Ford Focus ZX5

  • avatar

    1968 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe – used, MT5, disks all around, twin cam I4 (remember, its a ’68)- great fun to drive, but you couldn’t outrun the rust
    1974 Fiat 124 Spider – used, a great convertible, not so much fun to drive – plowed like a tractor – terrible emissions plumbing, puked oil like an old Triumph or Harley
    1978 SAAB 99S – new, great car, comfortable, practical, safe
    197something Opel Rally Wagon – much used, a beach car and backup for one or the other Fiats when they, you know
    1984 Chevy Celebrity Eurosport Wagon – new, Eurosport description was a stretch. Eventually totaled when a guy in a Cherokee ran into me and took out all the glass.
    1986 Mercury Sable – new, bought one of the first ever made, great utilitarian transportation, reliable, snore
    1988 Merkur Scorpio – used, think 5 door stretch SAAB99S. Liked it, didn’t like the know nothing dealer. Sold it for a
    1992 Pontiac Bonneville – new, I can’t remember a thing about it, like an anesthetic
    1991 Alfa 164L – new, wifes car, MT5, payment for having to drive the Sable, later on, kid totaled it 30 days after (obviously prematurely) getting his license
    1991 Alfa 164S – used, replaced the Bonneville, much more fun than the
    1992 SAAB9000CD – used, built on the same platform, but trust me, you’d never know it. 164S eventually rusted at a suspension point, 9000CD blew out its head gasket, again. No more Alfas or SAABS, thanks.
    1991 Porsche Carrera 4 – used, had it for 13 years, reasonably quick, handled well – for a Porsche that understeered – made the right air cooled noises, but there are trucks with more delicate steering and braking inputs. Wife hated it.
    1999 Audi A4 1.8T – new, MT5, still got it, 137K on the clock – whoops, need to do the timing belt and waterpump service. Ouch.
    2004 Audi A4 1.8T – CPO used, MT6, daughter’s ride, made her learn on the stick – which also keeps her friends from driving it. 85K, no issues, fun to drive and I can get 30mpg in suburban stop and go on my commute, if I can get it away from my daughter.
    2002 Audi A6 2.7T – CPO used, eventually lunched both turbos – with two months to go on the warranty. Suck it, Audi. Still have it, but nervous about it.
    Lastly, 2007 Porsche Cayman S – CPO used, traded in the C4. I know about the IMS, but I got almost 4 1/2 years left on the CPO warranty and I just love to drive it, like tonight, even in a heavy rain. Effortless handling. Guards Red like the C4. Wife still hates it.

    Oh, car I wished I bought from my college roommate when he eventually got around to selling it. 1969(?) 302 Camaro Z28 – the one they homologated for racing. Guy who did buy it wiped the main bearings in short order

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    This one’s easy:

    First Car: ’99 Honda Civic EX Coupe. 5sp, nice to drive, engine sounds great, gets 33-37mpg, but tends to oversteer when I push it in a corner, which is strange because it’s a front-driver. I thought that if I pushed it too hard it would just plow forward, but it understeers a little initally and then I’m facing the other way. I find it a strange handling trait.

  • avatar

    1984 Chevy Citation HO-V6: Crude, ugly, poor build quality but a great first car. Semi-quick. Four-speed, very unforgiving manual tranny, not the easist car to learn to drive stick on. Stalled >20 times while driving off the dealer’s lot. Sideways stereo: WTF? Horrible run-on, I had to stall it in first gear to turn it off. Sophies choice: have embarrassing run-on for 30 seconds, or look like I stalled/lurched the car in first gear while in a parking spot. Owned 3 years.

    1986 Subaru XT Turbo/ 4WD: Dog slow but looked great. Awesome car for snowy Orono winters (I believe it had 13″(!!) tires, 4WD, and that air suspension that would lift it two inches; could go up a vertical ice wall if needed.) Ate a quart of lifter-quieting-oil every month. Owned 2 years.

    1993 Ford Probe: I loved the exterior design, and was a very comfortable interior. Bulletproof, served me well for 5 years. Only repairs: alternator and muffler. Nice, very smooth-shifting 5-speed.

    1994 Toyota MR2. Nice car, but I should’ve held out for the Turbo. Accelerator got stuck, fried the tranny. Entire transmission destroyed, waiting for replacement from Japan for 6 weeks sucked. Very bad car for Detroit winters. Owned 1 year.

    2001 Ford Explorer Sport. Nice, very comfortable interior. Great stereo. My tires didn’t explode. Miss that car. Owned 1 year.

    2002 Honda S2000. My first post-residency car. Awesome car. Needed more torque (cliche but true.) My only convertible. Owned one year, should’ve kept it.

    2003 Infiniti FX35. Another great car. Very bad in the snow. Full of great tech in the cabin. Cool dubs on this (20″ rims)! My first car with GPS. Good traveling car. Owned two years.

    2002 Porsche 911 C4S. Beautiful exterior and interior. Those wide 911 S hips are to die for. Very loud sport exhaust. The bright yellow exterior was beautiful but may have been a bit much. Awesome black and yellow interior. Owned one year.

    2006 Acura RL. Underappreciated. Relatively quick, plush interior, great electronics. Generic exterior. Would’ve killed if it had a V8. Owned two years.

    2008 BMW M3. By far the best of all. Four point one to sixty still feels damn fast. Beautiful, baby-soft full leather interior. V8 sounds great. Second gear a little hard to smoothly hit at full acceleration. Close to perfection.

  • avatar

    My two cents..

    1984 Volvo DL post 240 Awesome car drove it all over the country, very reliable. Except the overdrive button was very moody. Faster than you’d think in 2d gear. Trust me, I know.
    Sold it to a girl who claims to have driven it several thousand miles with NO OIL!

    1980 Chevy full size pickup. Eh, her name was “Lucy”

    1991 civic. Total utility. 75-140k miles no problems, none. Sold for $2100.

    Nissan xterra. It was OK.

    2001 Honda accord. Boring. Had to sell from boredom.

    2005 Subaru Legacy GT 75000 miles put on. Cylinders kept stopping firing. Other than that, trouble free, very fun.

    2008 BMW M3 sedan. HAHAHA AWESOME!

  • avatar

    1972 Chevy Nova – Air Shocks, looked like Homer’s teenage car, my first car
    1984 Buick Somethingorother
    1984 Camaro Z28
    1985 Camaro Z28 with T-Tops
    1973 Dodge Valliant
    1969 Dodge Satellite
    1969 Roadrunner
    1973 Beetle
    1972 Ford Mustang Fastback
    1986 Ford Mustang
    1972 Stingray Conv.
    1995 Mazda Miata
    1984 Mazda RX7
    1995 Mazda RX7
    1984 Ford Escort
    1998 VW New Beetle
    1995 BMW Z3
    2003 Ford Explorer
    2004 Corvette
    1998 Audi A4
    2003 Honda S2000
    2004 Cadillac CTS

  • avatar

    1st.91 Accord ex auto. first car I saw, first car I bought, 160k, a lot of fun, reliable, and comfy at the time. Very proud of myself, I think.

    2nd.92 Integra auto, 181k fun reliable, kinda fast, comfy, good styling and build quality. Traded for a motorcycle at 192k.

    3rd. 88 Yamaha YSR50, fun while it lasted, its was stolen, from my basement. I cried for a while.

    4th. 91 Corolla, 163k $300, rusty reliable wonder car. Really not exciting except that it did everything I could ask for without complaints. Gave it away.

    5th. 89 240SX, It was fun while it lasted. It was stolen the same week as my motorcycle, I cried.

    6th 91 240SX, fun, responsive, rattled like hell, and broke a few things, my most unreliable car, but also my most fun till then.

    7th. 88 325is auto. Car did so many things well, reliable while I wasn’t doing donuts. But ride was too busy and auto was limiting. Blew the head gasket while making a snow angel with it. People still call me from craiglist to buy it.

    8th and current car – 90 525i, same engine as 325is with a manual and great ride, busy but in a good way mostly. Fun, stable, perfect power to weight ratio perhaps. Most balanced and comfy car all round I’ve ever driven perhaps. I feel blessed. Know I need to fix a few things. 117k for $2k.

  • avatar
    Matthew Sullivan

    1973 Saab 99
    (ca 1987 – 12/1988)
    Cool and fun. Disastrous ownership experience.

    1989 Geo Metro
    (12/1988 – 03/1998)
    Wanted Japanese reliability, and this was 75% of the price of a new Civic. In hindsight, a Civic would have been cheaper to own over the 9 years I had the Metro. Almost instantly regretted not buying a Suzuki Swift GT instead.

    1985 Toyota MR2
    (07/1992 – 08/1992)
    2nd car. Wanted something fun. Lost it in a car-jacking 6 weeks after I bought it.

    1998 Nissan Maxima GXE
    (03/1998 – present)
    Nice car for the time. 3 times the horsepower of the Geo. Uber-reliable. About to sell it.

    2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
    (05/2004 – present)
    Fook me, I think this might be the best car on the planet. Seriously. I’ve gotten seat time in a lot of badass cars (M3, M5, S4, 911 Turbo, Boxster, F430, Vette, Viper, etc) and the only car I would rather take on a cross-country trip would be the F430. And then I’d only pick the Ferrari if the roads and weather were good, and the trip wasn’t too long (because of the lack of luggage space). The Evo really is that good.

    Next car….
    2005 Lotus Elise
    My current plan is to sell my Maxima, bank some cash, and try to buy a pre-owned Elise later this year or early next year. Low-mile examples are down to about $30k US. I’ll keep the Evo. Should be a cool collection.

  • avatar

    1984 Dodge Ram Pickup (/6!): First car, bought at 17 with every red cent I had. I spent the next 2 summers using it to build houses and pay my savings back. Great engine, everything attached to it broke. Learned to really wrench on that one. Sold it when I bought the college car.

    1978 Fiat Spider: Got her cheap and spent my college years getting her all fixed up. Was finnally looking and running good when she was killed by a truck while parked outside my house.

    1978 Fiat 128: Previously butched electrical system spoiled an otherwise entertaining car. Sold when I deployed to Japan after college.

    1978 Lancia Beta: If you own an italian daily driver, its best to own two. Suffered a dropped valve fatality. I still have half of that valve in my toolbox.

    1993 Daihatsu Hijet Pickup (660cc!): Bought for about $500 on the side of the road in Japan. Ran for 3 yrs, got 50+mpg, A/C was cold, heater was hot. Paid for itself in free tanks of gas everytime i loaned it out. Sold to a friend for $1 when I had to move across Japan (not highway capable even in Japan).

    1998 Suzuki Works Alto RS-Z: Again 660cc 3 cyl but this time turbo/intercooled/DOHC/AWD moving only 710kg. The love child of a WRX and a go kart. Still gets great milage, excellent mountian road hoon-ability.

  • avatar

    Y’all are forcing me to show my youth here.

    ’92 Camry I4. My stepmom’s old commuter car, received as a gift. Extremely boring, but rock friggin’ solid. Had more mileage and wear than I was comfortable with, though, so when I had a chance I headed to the used lot and bought…

    ’02 Accord LX. Brilliant, brilliant car, maybe pound-for-pound the best commuter/family hauler ever made. The steering’s a little twitchy and the suspension is very rough, but those things actually make it better when you put the thing in its natural environment (namely, a North Carolina highway). But then I moved to the city, where this 16-foot galleon of a sedan simply didn’t work. Which just recently led to…

    ’05 9-2x Aero. A surprisingly good city car if you can forgive the crappy mileage – and unlike, say, a Fit or a SX4, it doesn’t rev up to the stratosphere once you get it to highway speeds. I do feel a little guilty using a WRX with a nose job for my usual pedestrian errands but it’s just so damn good at it. For city driving purposes, the nice thing about turbo lag is that it’s literally impossible to accidentally go fast in this thing (unlike, say, my dad’s new Camry, which could reach a hundred without the driver ever noticing). When you do decide to put in the codes, turn both missile keys, and stomp the pedal – good lord does it go. As for the handling, I’ll chicken out long before this thing even thinks about losing grip. It’s a car with many personalities, and that’s what I like about it.

    The obvious thing: I’ve never owned an American whip, and I’ve worked on/played around with enough of them (relatives’) to think twice about ever doing so. Of course, some part of me would still love to own a Mustang (especially since, if TrueDelta’s to be trusted, the things almost never break) or a Caddy XLR. I’ll probably be happy with the little Saabaru for a good long while, though.

  • avatar

    Ok, these aren’t in order, too many years have passed.
    First car, in 1956, my old man bought me a 47 Chevy Fleetline fastback. Slipping clutch, no front shocks.
    35 Dodge sedan, shiny black lacquer with dull black enamel fenders. Nice old pot, automatic choke still worked.
    46 Ford 6 4-door
    47 Ford V8 2-door. Built engine, 283 ci flathead. Fun ride.
    61 VW bug – 70,000 miles in 2 years, father traded it plus $750 for a new one. Those were the days…
    50 Ford convert. An old rat.
    55 Merc Custom 2-door, 3-speed. My first of these…
    46 Merc coupe
    …various projects etc. during this time: 48 Stude conv, 49 Stude 2-door, 53 Stude hardtop, 51 Stude Land Cruiser to get motor and trans for the 53, 40 Ford standard coupe, 50 Ford pickup, V8-4-speed, ratchet rear end, would climb anything the tires would stick to….
    Back to main drivers
    65 Barracuda, 273 2-barrel 4-speed, new. Had rear end replaced or worked on seven times under warranty, sold at 50,000 miles.
    58 Plymouth Belvedere convertible, red. I owned this from 1966 to 1998, still all original – paint, trim, etc – when sold.
    67 VW bug, red- T-boned 49 Plymouth that old codger turned in front of me. Got fixed, traded for…
    60 Mercedes 220S sedan, column shift 4-speed. My mechanic referred to it as a Bosch.
    …plus playtoys, 53 Cad sedan, 55 Dodge sedan…
    55 Merc Montclair 2-door ht, overdrive – second of these
    52 Ford 6 pickup, a cherry with 60,000 miles, old gov’t rig. Painted it Aztec bronze, put chromes, sold it for more than I had in it.
    67 Barracuda 383 4-speed. This car would flat haul ass, and handled reasonably well considering its front-heavy weight distribution. Bought in 69, drove 2 years, traded on:
    71 Opel 1900 Sport Coupe, forerunner of Manta. Great handling, but I hated it. German Vega. Traded for:
    72 Celica – this was better in every respect than the Opel except handling.
    Somewhere in this period I found and bought back my old 48 Ford 2-door, still had the big flathead. Found a buyer not long after to fix the rear end. Also project 53 Merc 2-door hardtop, overdrive; 57 Plymouth Belvedere 4-door sedan; 58 Belvedere 2-door hardtop; 59 Chevy pickup; 56 Olds 4-door hardtop
    57 Plymouth Fury, factory 3-speed, metallic blue
    57 Chrysler New Yorker 4-door hardtop. This and my 58 Plymouth made me a fin-car fan. It was a second car for about ten years and was utterly reliable.
    62 Lincoln convertible. This was a second car for several years too.
    55 Merc Monterey 2-door hardtop, automatic.
    60 Chevy pickup. My only long-box pickup. Swapped a V8 into it, traded on:
    64 Mercedes 230SL. This had 160,000 miles on it and needed everything, but was running and driving well enough.
    60 Lincoln Premiere 4-door hardtop; the only 60 Lincoln I ever saw with wind-up windows. Huge, but handled better than the 62.
    68 Lincoln sedan. Gimp flywheel gear on 462 engine, nylon power window gears. Need I say more?
    68 Chevy pickup, old Forest Service truck from eastern Oregon. 6, 4-speed, short narrow box. Straight and dependable. Painted lime gold and eventually sold at a profit.
    66 Rover 2000. Love-hate relationship. When it was working well it could take Volvos, Mercedes, etc. Wonderful handling, lovely red leather seats, but vastly unreliable.
    75 Chevy Monza 2+2 fastback, 262 V8, 4-speed. Bought new, drove off showroom floor. This car had great performance and handled well, would run 80 at 2000 rpm. Thoroughly enjoyed it even though it had a few issues with gimp GM parts, nothing earthshaking.
    80 Honda Accord 4-door, 5-speed, burgundy with burgundy mouse-fur seats. Typical Honda reliability, 120.000 miles no problem.
    82 Accord 4-door 5-speed, 210,000 miles on original engine and clutch.
    76 Chev Cheyenne short wide box pickup, V8 auto. Beautiful red truck.
    77 Plymouth Gran Fury…the model that looked like a 72 Buick. Full power and air, 318 engine. (I think) Wife needed a real estate car. This rig would strand her without warning by failing to start, then I’d come to troubleshoot it and it’d start fine. Finally got po’d and sold it. I have to say that it had excellent body integrity, solid as could be.
    87 Accord 4-door 5-speed, another trouble-free Honda. 160,000 miles or so…
    65 Dodge Dart 270 coupe, 318 auto
    57 Plymouth 2-door hardtop
    69 Valiant Signet 2-door, factory 318 4-speed. Fun little car, surprised a lot of people.
    76 Dodge Dart police package, everything heavy-duty from the 360 4-barrel with factory dual exhausts (in 1976!), 6×14 steel wheels, oil cooler for the power steering pump, heavy front springs and sway bar, rear sway bar, and a dome light the size of a pie plate. This rig would handle as well as my RX7, but it was a blunt instrument while the RX7 had some finesse.
    83 (or so) Chrysler New Yorker, inherited from father-in-law. Plastic radiator. Immediately traded for:
    84 RX7 5-speed. Bought for daughter for 16th birthday. Had problems insuring (ooh, sports car), so she got a Civic hatchback with tinted windows, mags, and tape deck, and I got the RX7. Still have it, a thoroughly enjoyable car. I love the way it handles. Note: These cars have NO tolerance for being driven low on water. When the beeper goes off, stop NOW and put water in it!
    92 Accord 4-door 5-speed EX, do you see a trend here? Bought this one new, 240,000 miles on the original engine and clutch when we sold it.
    99 Accord 4-door EX automatic. Still have this, it has 177,000 miles, almost ready for 2nd timing chain. Workin’ fine, but I sure wish it was a 5-speed.
    And finally, 03 Chevy regular cab short box pickup, black, V8. Pretty truck, gets just under 19 mpg, not bad for a truck. It’s kind of a garage queen, about five tanks of gas a year. Now has 48,000 miles.

    I’m certain that I’ve probably forgotten a car or three in there somewhere. Going over this list, you know that there are at least eight or nine I wish I could have kept.

    hey, I remembered a couple more: 80 Firebird Formula, my only Pontiac. 301 automatic. Nice driving and handling.
    71 Dodge pickup with complete drivetrain and front clip, gas tank, instrument panel, and steering column from 74 Chrysler. The only 71 dodge truck with full power, cruise, and air.
    400 4-barrel. Smooth riding, well-handling, still as good a load carrier; used it to move to our present house.

  • avatar

    2001-2006: 1993 Honda Accord EX. Quite a fun car, drove it a little hard… replaced the clutch, CV joints, head gasket, and a few other things here and there… lasted for about 160k miles, gave it to my sister, and now the car has trouble starting

    2006 – Current: 2007 Subaru WRX STI Limited. Absolutely wonderful! A lot of power (ECU flashed to around 335 HP) , works great in the snow, AWD, and decent gas milage. It drives how I wanted the Accord to drive, without being pushed hard. Only three bad things: It’s on my third set of tires, second set of brakes, and 3 speeding tickets (oh well). Currently at 47k miles.

    2008 – Current: 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250. Mostly used as a commuter bike and for play in nice weather. Only one electrical problem. Gets around 65-70 MPG. At 6k miles.

    Future: Kawasaki Ninja 650 and a beater/commuter Subaru Outback.

  • avatar

    First cars as a teenager: 1967 Pontiac Bonneville coupe, 400 automatic, a/c (formerly my grandparents’); 1967 Pontiac GTO, 400 automatic on the column, a/c (formerly my mom’s). Crashed both in daytime hydroplaning accidents on rainy New England highways within a year of each other, sorry to say. The Bonneville was drivable afterward and was donated to a community college for repair training. The GTO would have rusted out within a year or two anyway; anyone who owned that generation of GM intermediates at the time would know how quickly their bodies deteriorated.

    In late 1974 I got for $800 a 1966 Bonneville convertible (leather-and-vinyl bench seats, power seat and top, a/c, standard 389 4-barrel motor) with 36,000 miles on it. By now radial tires were generally available in the US and I finally wised up and got some – although one tire’s tread totally stripped off on a well-paved highway a year later (luckily no one was close by). The tires were BF Goodrich “Golden Lifesavers” – seriously.

    I sold the Bonneville in August 1991 after having been weaned from it by a 1983 Honda Civic 1300 three-door with 4-speed and 12-inch wheels, donated by my brother who’d bought it new and put 90,000 miles on it. Soon I learned the value of agility (those little roller-skate wheels) versus brute forward thrust.

    When I first met my wife-to-be at a mutual friend’s, she drove up in a six-year-old (front-drive) Subaru GL 5-speed wagon that she’d purchased new. We’ve had at least one Subaru wagon ever since, including a ’90 first-year Legacy LS AWD and our current ’03 Legacy L 5-speed, the Special Edition version with 16″ alloys, dual sunroof, fog lights, etc. The latter has been great since new, although I’m about to shop for its third set of tires (counting the crappy original Bridgestones); I like to take corners fast on dry roads, so it’s probably my own fault.

    Our other car, also bought new, is a 5-speed ’99 Chevy Prizm (the Corolla twin made at NUMMI in California). Only options were a/c (which became standard the next year) and rear defogger. Car feels like it will last forever; indeed I still occasionally see running examples of that factory’s first-generation product, the “Chevy Nova” of the mid-1980s. I do have to get new front struts soon, but otherwise it’s a great power/economy combination; we can still get 39 mpg on highway trips.

    The Civic was donated long ago – an 1800-pound car isn’t so desirable when you start having babies – but still ran fine after more than 140K miles. I hope we get long service out of what we have now, especially since no comparable new Subaru exists or will be built (for US sale, anyway) to replace the Legacy wagon.

  • avatar

    1977, 1977 Ford Cortina (3.3l 6)
    1978, 1972 Rover Three Thousand Five
    1980, 1974 Ford Fairlane
    1987, 1977 Ford XC Falcon
    1994, 1984 Ford XE Falcon
    2004, 1991 Mitsubishi Magna Station Wagon
    2008, 1995 Ford Fairmont Ghia

  • avatar

    Since I always buy mine for cash and drive them until wheels fall off, the list is not too long.

    1976 Toyota Corolla E30, bought used, auto. Small, maneuverable, low top speed, noisy, still fun to drive (as opposed to much later Corollas)

    1973 Hot-rodded V8 Ford Maverick, bought used, auto. That car could burn tires and dance in place uphil from standing start. Too bad whoever hot-rodded it didn’t upgrade the cooling system sufficiently.

    1976 Pontiac Astre, bought used, auto. Slow as mollases in January, sweet, charming, but slightly creepy. Sold it for $20.

    1985 Toyota Corolla E80, bought new, stick. Comfortable, good visibility, trashy sounding engine, underpowered.

    1981 Toyota Celica GT, bought used, stick. Great car, wonderful & forgiving shifter, reliable. Not as fast as it looked.

    1994 Ford Probe SE, bought new, stick. Jewel of a car. Ended its life prematurely on Hwy 101, aged less than 100K mi. Will be missed. Why has Ford ended a production of this car? I would have bought a new one in a heartbeat.

    1999 Kia Sephia, bought new, stick. Reliable, comfortable, bigger inside than one would guess, subpar assembly, squeaks & rattles. So far no major repairs. Alas, it is a sedan, and after the last two hatchbacks, I find sedans lacking in utility. My next car will definitely not be a sedan, unless it has a cavernous trunk with easy access like Lincoln Town Car (none of those useless “you have to slide in head first” trunks, please).

    Plus countless rented cars all over the globe (such is life of a road warrior – you drive more in a rented car than your own).

  • avatar

    1982 Plymouth Reliant
    This one sat in our driveway before I got my license, but it was technically mine. Gave it my sister when I got the truck and never drove it myself. This car was indestructible and was passed down through various family members before being traded for something that hadn’t been crashed fifty times. This is the only automatic i’ve ever “owned”.

    1974 Chevy C Pickup
    V8 4 barrel, 4 on the floor.. this pig loved gas. 3000+ RPM on the highway didn’t help it much.

    1978 Toyota Corolla
    The electrics in this car were butchered and it blew several alternators and regulators. Completely rusted out, but the engine was 100% perfect even after 400,000km or there abouts. Got more attention than most Ferraris (the exhaust system was also nonexistant). It was “Grabber Yellow”.

    1986 Hyundai Stellar
    Had this for a couple of months. Blew the alternator on its first drive after I got it, clutch was cooked and it spun all the time, pulled hard to the right when I put the brakes on. Went back to the Corolla and sent it to a wrecker.

    1984 Toyota Supra
    Amazing car, perfect handling, comfy and smooooooth, not very powerful and wasn’t the best on gas though. Bulletproof, even with 300,000 k on it and it looked like new underneath. Fullsize spare on an alloy wheel, different times.

    1983 Toyota Pickup 4×4
    Liked gas as well, could go anywhere but couldn’t stop. This thing got me into a lot of accidents in the winter and I got rid of it partly because it was completely rusted out and because it would have eventually killed me. I got it up to 135 km/h once going downhill. Also completely reliable, rebuilt the starter once but otherwise there was no killing this truck.

    1991 240SX SE
    Spooky, the S-Hicas made this thing scary to drive fast. Otherwise it was one of the few 240sx’s left that hadn’t been molested and had a 5 speed. It was no where near as predictable as the Supra though handling wise and the interior was pretty fragile. Not a fast car either, I still miss it though and at 8/10ths it was a lot of fun. Without the s-hicas and with a LSD this car would probably have been the perfect cheap coupe.

    2001 Toyota Tacoma 4×4
    Impulse buy, got soaked when I traded in the 240sx for it. Nice truck but very cramped though still comfy. The only option it didn’t have was the extra set of doors.

    1991 Mazda Protege
    Basic transportation with no options, or so I thought.. This car was a blast, pedals were in a perfect position to heel-toe, just enough tourque steer to be entertaining, beat up enough I didn’t care about it and it was suprisingly roomy. Despite my abuse I couldn’t kill it, it didn’t have a tach so I did a lot of investigating to see where it would start to wheeze at high RPM.

    1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
    Interior in perfect shape, till I broke the storage lid in the console. This car is a lot of fun, but difficult/tiring to drive and it’s full of motorcycle sized blind spots.. Holy hell does that LT1 sound good though. Seems to go fast enough and now that I am used to it the handling is very predictable even in the wet. I will never push this car to its limits though, to do so would be to invite certain death or a gigantic speeding ticket so I can’t really say how flawless the handling is. You certainly feel the live axle back there over uneven pavement.

    As an aside, I test drove a 2006 Mustang before getting the Camaro. The new Mustang doesn’t have near the same kind of character that the 4th generation Camaro has. The Mustang was just another car, it felt sanitized somehow and safe.

    The 4th gen Camaro though? It doesn’t like you, doesn’t care how comfortable you are, and will kill you if you don’t give it your undivided attention. Personally, I’m having second thoughts. Maybe a Mustang would be more my speed?

  • avatar

    First car- 1990 Ford Taurus, it was a beast. I bumped my friends cars at traffic lights and dented their bumpers, then felt like a jerk. It was burgundy, and had the faulty wiper motor so the wipers stayed vertical.

    My dad worked for ford, ford bought mazda, I got an A-plan miata two years in a row, starting when i was nearly 17. Lift off oversteer, power oversteer, burnouts and donuts. Those cars were SO FUN. Tires lasted 12k miles.

    My dad then gave me his 1984 honda interceptor. I drove it 10k miles over the next 10 years, and it’s all i had while i was in college.

    Working at a volvo garage in college, I spent $300 on a 1981 volvo 240 with 220k on it. Put a 180k odometer in it and it felt years younger! scrubbed off tons of grime, got new tires, ipd swaybars and other stuff from a few other cars laying around the shop, some 6x9s, and drove it for 3 years. Loved that sucker, and sold it for 800.

    Then i bought a smart 451 with a loan, got a check from the bank for the car in NYS tax, but registered it in michigan, the dealer wrote me a check for the $400 difference. I had the $400 in my hand when i left, and sold the car for a 4500 profit a month and 1k miles later. Interesting car– not actually a very small car, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the tranmission, but hugely likable. Just not able to afford $450 a month and living in Manhattan at the same time.

    Now I have a 1974 CB550 with 13k miles, two Honda hobbit mopeds (which are at the foot of my bed as i write this) and a 1982 Honda C70. All I really want is a Factory Five Roadster, a Superbike, or a big supermoto. Something FAST for once.

    Through out this i’ve been in my dad’s 275 gts, Fiat Dino Spyder, C43, SHO (yamaha), AC Bristol, (he only had one of these at a time…) and various other interesting cars. Mine are always so tame in comparison. I’m terrified to lose a dollar on a car, so I never end up with anything I want, even though he had that 275 when he was my age, bought it for 20k and sold it 4 years later for 30k.

  • avatar

    1993 dodge caravan: I was 16 and happy to be driving anything, wheel barring went bad.

    1995 ford taurus: parents leased it for like 60 bucks a month or something, I destroyed this car, I’m sure it was a 35K mile time-bomb for somebody.

    1991 pontiac grand prix gtp: sexy car, not as fast as it looked, injectors got gummed up all the time, actually a pretty good car.

    1997 ford taurus SHO: poor mans Q-ship, pretty slick other than being horrible in winter, had to replace fuel rail do to never using the recommended premo, sold it before the engine blew up at 70k like all the SHO v-8’s did.

    2002 Explorer V8: great in the snow, could hold a ton of shit, gas mileage was terrible (and I don’t even care about that kind thing usually) started showing signs of rust at 50K

    2007 Dodge Charger RT awd: first new car, almost 25K and the honeymoon isn’t over yet, I love this car and I love that some people hate it. Maybe RF feels the same way about his prius (puke).

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Many owned concurrently:

    1969 Triumph Spitfire MkIII, bought used with 88,000 miles. The body was moth-eaten. Fortunately my Dad was a sheet metal craftsman, so new rocker panels and some floor pan repair were within my scope of repair. Around road salt in Pennsylvania and New England, this car parked sounded like an Alka-Seltzer left out in the rain. I loved this car. The 1196cc tractor engine and 4spd manual tranny with electric overdrive in 3rd and 4th (6 Speed transmission!) were bulletproof. Dropped the pumpkin to replace bearings. Carried two extra fuel pumps at all times. I had already mastered the fine points of setting points in the distributor, and my SU carburettor tuning skills were finely honed. Never stranded in this car and it got 40+ mpg driven hard.

    1969 MG Midget, bought used with 90,000 miles. Also bulletproof with judicious maintenance. Body was also water-soluble, but not nearly so much as my sister’s Fiat Syder. I mostly got this car to see how much fun it would be to drive something even smaller and dartier than a Spitfire. Truly a car I wore.

    1971 Saab 99 4dr, bought used with 74,000 miles. oxidized paint but tight, corrosion-free body even though it was a road-salt New England car. After Brit go karts, seemed limosine-roomy and luxurious. Loved the curved panoramic windshield. With a little preventive maintenance, this car was reliable and seriously competent in snow. Blew a head gasket in visually spectacular fashion, shrouding a mile of trailing traffic in steam, on Route 128 near the I-93 interchange at 80 mph in November 1980.

    1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500. My first new car. British-Leyland announced cessation of production forever, and I just had to have one that would accumulate *my* patina exclusively. Teething problems with Lucas’ early electronic ignition module which some bonehead in engineering decided to mount on the distributor body itself. The car spontaneously shut down in moving traffic at any speed when the ignition module got too hot. Recall! Ah…the new solid state brick gets bolted to the firewall. Never a problem after that. Geeze, how come my ’69 Spit felt more powerful? Oh, yeah…..look at all the extra plumbing. Still, as faithful as a dog.

    Other people hit this car eight times in the first 2-1/2 years I owned it. I was not faulted in any of these accidents. They just couldn’t see the damned thing. Plus it was stolen, joyridden and recaptured. I put 125,000 miles on this car, and the only drivetrain service was to replace the differential bearings at 75,000 miles. Also had the 4+2 manual transmission. 3rd overdrive was the perfect snow gear.

    1984 Jeep CJ7, bought new with the 2.5L four. I was working in advertising and had to deliver an ad to the Boston Globe during a hurricane when Morrissey Boulevard was flooded. I bought the Jeep on my way there. Perfect.

    1984 Ford Tempo, bought new for wife. Beautiful, affordable car in the context of the time. 2.3L four with 5 speed manual. The car was flawless and bulletproof. 150,000 miles with nothing but oil changes, tires, brakes for service.

    1987 Suzuki Samurai hardtop, bought new as a foul-weather vehicle. CR was dead wrong about this little ute. It drove like a sports car. I drove it like my Truimphs and you could feel every aspect of the car’s dynamic behavior through your fingers, heels and butt. Abosulutely indestructible. 125,000 with no service other than fluids and tires. During a Peace Corps assignment in the central Pacific in the ’70s, I had seen the predecessor ute-let with a 600cc motorcycle engine stuffed under the little bonnet. They were the only vehicles that didn’t rust in the tropical salt soup marinating Micronesia. Everything else from Japan was Swiss cheese within 3 months of arrival, and AMC Jeeps began wearing oxidation quickly.

    1988 Mazda MX6, bought new for wife. She turned 40 and wanted something FWD and “sporty.” Flat Rock, MI Mazda, trouble-free, completely, over 150,000. She didn’t want a Mustang in the snow.

    1988 VW Jetta Carat, 1.8L 8v, bought new. I needed a long-distance runner but still wanted something small. While the Carat name was attached to Jetta for a few years, the 1988 was the only year for the real one. Priced a little above the 16v GLI, the Carat had a swankier interior and used a 105hp version of the 8v mill, for its more usable torque. Relaxed high-speed cruiser. This car was made in Germany. I moved to California in this car; made two cross-country trips with long intervals of triple-digit speeds. Later that year, I sprinted a midnight run to Vegas from Santa Monica. 300 miles and I arrived at the new Mirage 3 hours and 1 minute after leaving. No problems with this car in 130,000 miles. Front wheels ate Pirelli P600s like a 6 year old eats Fruit Loops.

    1993 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4.0L inline six and 5 speed, bought new. Got bored with sedans. Fantastic. 110,000 miles and indestructible. Got rear-ended once by an Accord that hit me (dead stop on Route 101 in Mountainview). The Accord’s hood was peeled back to the windshield, it’s front clip shattered, and the engine was dislodged. I only had to replace one $19 steel loop “bumperette.”

    1993 Ford SVT Cobra, bought slightly used; SVT massaged 5.0L. This is the car on which I prototyped my formula for building a sports-car Mustang. Light, punchy, immensely entertaining car. Completely trouble-free despite six-digits worth of hard driving, much of it up and down California.

    1994 Mustang GT Convertible, bought new, 5.0L V8 5 speed. I got tired of not having a convertible. Completely trouble-free.

    1996 Ford SVT Cobra convertible 5 speed, bought new. Cut my prior GT ownership short to get the 1st-gen 4 cam Cobra mill. Modded this car to sports car handling standards, very sharp and incisive. Fabulous. 10 years and 150,000 miles, anvil reliable. A “built” car; shouldn’t have sold it.

    1998 Ford SVT Contour, 5 speed of course, bought new for wife. Outstanding small sleeper, competent at sustained high speeds. A nine year six-digits keeper. Still perfect when we sold it.

    1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8, bought new. Last year, just wanted to try one for long-distance running. Elegant, relaxed car that punched above its weight. Zero service.

    1998 Lincoln Mk VIII LSC, 4.6L Intech 32v V8, bought new. Last year for the big coupe and had to have one. Loved the Starship Enterprise interior and the car’s excellent composure. Piled up miles intensely quickly, no significant problems.

    1996 Chevrolet Corvette CE LT4 convertible, bought used at 30,000 miles. Wanted a dedicated car for weekly drives between L.A. and San Jose. Had the underrated LT4 high-flow mill with 6 speed ZF manual. I wanted the Corvette experience and was completely sold. Old-school in-the-asphalt race car feeling, with clamshell hood (reminiscent of my Spitfires). Did the intake gasket repair and that’s it. Bulletproof in 100,000 miles. I once booted this car to an indicated 169mph on a vacant public highway with 10 miles of visibility, and it was smoothly composed.

    2001 Ford Harley-Davidson F150, bought new. Sensationally-accommodating four door with home-owner utility and Latin street cred. Perfect record.

    2001 Ford SVT Lightning pickup, bought used. Just had to have one for the sheer fun of it.

    2003 Mercury Marauder, bought new. Loaded with emotion. Old school Blues Bros. car with a modern 4 cam mill and firm-shifting auto with a high-stall torque converter, performance kdW rubber and Konis all around. Highly competent, fast, accommodating, comfortable, confounding to everyone else who couldn’t figure out what it was and why they couldn’t shake it. I should have kept it. Sensationally entertaining for a big sedan and far more engaging and visceral than an A8 or E Class. Direct, cheap, durable, fun. Zero issues.

    2006 Cadillac CTS-V, bought new for wife. Current and continuing. Engaging, exciting and bulletproof with a giddy-goosing LS2.

    2006 Cadillac XLR-V, bought new. Current and continuing. A gem of a car, with composure and muscular shove; highly distinctive and scarce. What an SL could be if its surplus quarter ton of useless mass wasn’t bloating the ride. Sterling reliability, run-flats are unforgiving but it’s your choice every time you need a new set.


  • avatar

    Wow, lots of Saab folks here. Impressive. I do miss seeing one car that I LOVED growing up and wished I was old enough to drive – a Mitsubishi Starion. Well, that and the mid 80’s Saab 900 Turbo’s.

    1985 Olds Ninety Eight – I bought it with 85k miles, but since it had the 3800 V6, I figured I’d get a few good years out of it. I got two years before it started leaking gasoline… on top of the engine… in Tucson during the Summer time. Sold it for $1200 and was glad I didn’t catch fire.

    1994 Nissan Altima – My only new car so far. I liked to pretend it was a mini Infiniti J30, which it kinda looked like. My first car with a manual transmission and it’s spoiled me since. Sold it 6 years later with 96k and never had any problems with it. Sold it to get a….

    1994 BMW 530i – I LOVED this car. I loved it’s classic looks, I loved it’s (underpowered) V8, I loved the sounds it made, I loved how it handled, did I say I loved how it looked? I missed having a stick shift though, and I missed not having steep repair bills, so I bought….

    1998 BMW 528i Sport – My current ride. I’ve been really happy to have a stick shift again, it’s been a great car with impressive mileage considering how I drive. Other than the freaking window lifts and door locks that stick, it’s been pretty reliable and I still love driving it. I do miss the V8 torque and stomp, but it’s still a great car.

    Have been considering getting a Pontiac G8 GT, as I now have a family and would like to have a bigger back seat, but still want something fun. If GM goes DIP and the dealers start dumping the G8’s in the low 20’s, I’ll probably jump on one. Plus, a G8 means we wouldn’t have to take my wife’s XC90 so much. The Volvo is nice, but it’s a truck and no fun to drive.

  • avatar

    Goodness I’ve had a bunch of ’em in my 29 years. Lesseee, here goes…

    1995 Plymouth Neon 3A
    Fun car to drive, lit itself on fire. Extinguished fire, repaired under warranty, then the brakes failed.

    1998 Saturn SL2 5MT
    Plenty of pep, good mileage, surprisingly excellent steering feel. Everything rattled.

    1999 GM EV1 NiMH
    Lots of power, good range, fairly nimble. Excellent conversation starter. It peed condensation on the garage floor while it charged. Terrible stereo and windshield wipers. Noisy air conditioner.

    1999 Mercury Cougar V6 5MT
    A real kick to drive, arresting styling for the time. Steering was numb and the brakes were grabby.

    2000 Saturn LS1 5MT
    A lemon (literally), but surprisingly pleasant when it worked properly.

    2000 VW GTI 2.0 5MT
    Solid chassis, great features, everything broke. Thankfully destroyed in a collision after 8,000 miserable miles. Horrific dealers. Never. Again.

    2000 Honda Insight 5MT
    A remarkable engineering feat with amazing economy. Fun to drive aside from lack of power. Excellent clutch and gearbox. Clock radio-grade stereo. A friend is storing it in his garage. One of my favorite cars.

    2004 Toyota Prius CVT
    Snoozemobile, but dead reliable. An honest 45 MPG in dense LA “driving,” better described as sequential parking. Gargantuan interior space for cargo and/or passengers. Killer air conditioning.

    2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R
    Excellent around town, loads of midrange torque. Excellent fuel economy, reasonably competent at the track. Comfy seat and riding position. Agitated lawnmower exhaust note.

    2006 Mazda Miata 6MT
    The only car that could always improve my mood. Delightful engine, gearbox, steering, clutch, suspension, seats, top mechanism, instruments, exhaust note, etc. Stereo and floor mats sucked. Loved bouncing it off the rev limiter down Mulholland Drive with the top down on a warm, starry evening.

    2007 Honda CBR600RR
    Amazing in the twisty bits, just unflappable. Steering dampener doesn’t interfere at parking lot speeds. Power everywhere, with plentiful torque down low and quick screams to 15k RPM. Relatively comfortable and reasonable fuel economy, but requires premium. Shifter is a little clunky and I’ve yet to warm up to the tail styling. Zero defects. Killer exhaust note.

    2008 Mazda3s GT 5MT
    Fun to drive for its class, lots of features for the money. Hatchback configuration was versatile yet it didn’t suffer the oil can resonating structure of the Prius. Excellent ride/handling compromise and steering feel. Comfortable, supportive seats. Clutch was miserable and the shifter was vague. The worst electronic throttle calibration I’ve used thus far.

  • avatar

    This is great I think I am almost done reading them all. I won’t bother too much with a lot of commentary but I’ll throw mine in there:

    1983 Buick Park Avenue – Started my wierd relationship with GM and Buick and got me used to big cars.

    1986 Plymouth Horizon – The luxury Omni, with remote mirrors, and center armrest.

    1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 – The worst.

    1990 Pontiac Sunbird – They fixed the overheating and other problems by 1990. Bought it looking like new at 101k, drove to somewhere over 210k I can’t remember exactly. It was so cheap to run.

    1987 Buick Regal Turbo – Awesome sleeper for a 19 year old. lost my license only once.

    1983 Mazda RX-7 GXL(5-speed) – Bought on a whim from a friends neighbor moving up to a Miata, cuz hey who doesn’t need 3 cars and it was so well cared for, even if it was creamy beige with brown leather.

    1997 Buick Regal GS – Sold my fleet for one sensible car. This one was just ok, nothing like a Turbo Regal.

    1988 Mazda MX-6 GT Turbo (5-speed) – I swore off car payments ever again so out with the Regal. A surprisingly quick, durable and capable old car that everybody forgot about. This is the one I should have kept.

    2001 Acura Integra GS-R (5-speed)- This was the last year in rare Silver and I got a screaming deal private sale. Seriously though the 88 Mazda was a better car. I know everbody raves about the Integra but I found it cheap and not much fun. At least I traded it for more than I paid for it.

    2004 Dodge SRT-4 (5-speed) – Traded the Acura on this after owning it only 4 months. Damn the resale value, bought as a left-over new in ’05, paid cash, and I am having fun and driving it until it dies anyways. It is Mopar stage 2’d and I take it everywhere. The Neon was not as bad as its reputation suggested. Only a bad speaker in the fancy Kicker stereo in 70k miles, and an updated control arm bushing design needed. And plenty of brakes and tires chewed up on the track…

  • avatar

    1988 to mid90s – 70 Chrysler (Hillman) Hunter Royal. Basic reliable student transport. Marginal tyres made it, umm, entertaining in the wet.

    1989 to date – 69 Sunbeam Imp Sport. Bought as a restoration project, completed in 1992. Easily the most fun car I’ve ever driven. I couldn’t ever bear to part with this one.

    1990 to date – 63 Sunbeam Alpine. Another resto, completed in 2001. Lots of fun – when the electrics aren’t playing up.

    1993 to 1999 – 78 Chrysler (Talbot) Alpine GLS. Pretty unreliable, but I was very fond of it all the same for reasons I can’t explain. The wife-to-be made me get rid of it.

    1995 to 2001 – 84 Peugeot 505 STi. Lovely car and very reliable. I only traded it in because rust problems were developing and I didn’t want another restoration project.

    1999 to 2002 – 98 Honda Civic. Reliable. Boring.

    2001 to date – 01 Peugeot 206 1.6XR. Fun to drive and very reliable, despite what people say. I should have traded it years ago, but it just keeps going and going.

    2002 to 2005 – 05 Suburu Impreza RV. Reliable, but gutless. 0-60? Don’t know, I’d usually fallen asleep by the time it got there.

    2005 to 2008 – 05 Honda CR-V. Surprisingly fragile for a Japanese car. Bits started falling off the day we got it. It always got us where we wanted to go though.

    2008 to date – 08 Mercedes-Benz C200. Just lovely. I’d still rather drive the Imp though.

  • avatar

    1990-1992: 1973 Chevrolet Caprice 2 door hardtop, avocado green/black vinyl top, 400 small block V8. My first car, given to me by my aunt. It was formerly my great aunt’s car and suffered from 10 years worth of neglect and limited use, which made it rather trouble prone. It was an absolute handful in snow, had my first and so far only accident in the snow…that thing taught me the finer points of winter driving! 88,000 miles when I got it, 115,000 when I sold it.

    1992-1995: 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Landau 2 door, light green/white vinyl top, 305 V8. Underpowered as hell, but nice looking and fairly reliable. Paid $900 for it. It was totally unlike the ’73 when it came to snow; this one was great in winter. Purchased with 80,000 miles, sold with about 138,000.

    1995-2005: 1990 Buick LeSabre Custom 4 door, silver. Great car, very reliable. Unfortunately, age and rust caught up with it. I loved it so much that I bought another one (’91) before I parted with this one. Before I sold it, I scrapped it for parts so I’d have spares for the ’91. Purchased with 102,000 miles, sold to the salvage yard with 169,000.

    1996-1998: 1984 Mercury Grand Marquis 2 door, white. This was my wife’s car when we got married. I thought it was merely okay at first, but it really grew on me. Pretty reliable, although the engine was rather tired and had a lot of blow-by. Purchased with 64,000 miles, sold to my sister with 91,000 miles.

    1998-2002: 1986 Pontiac Parisienne 4 door, brown/beige 2 tone, Olds 307 V8. This replaced the Mercury. I loved the car for what it was but I hated all the issues we had with it. Purchased with 76,000 miles, traded in with 104,000.

    2002-2008: 1991 Buick LeSabre Custom 4 door, maroon. This replaced the Pontiac. Every bit as great as the ’90 LeSabre was. Traded it in last fall because age and rust had caught up with this one too, otherwise I would have kept it. It still ran great. I really miss it. Purchased with 99,000 miles, traded in with 162,000.

    2003-present: 1995 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado extended cab, teal green, 350 V8. Average reliability, some cheap interior bits, but it does what I need it to do. I’ll never be without a truck again…I don’t know how I ever got by without one. Purchased with 83,000 miles, currently at 119,000.

    2008-present: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, silver. This replaced the ’91 LeSabre. I love it, although I’ve had to stick a little money into it already. I purchased it at a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealer, from the same sales associate who sold it new. Purchased with 85,000 miles, currently close to 91,000.

  • avatar

    Robert, good to know other car buffs tend to find themselves with fairly pedestrian rides. However, your ownership history is a case study on why Detroit is where it is.

    A Volare huh? My cousin had one and not too long into her ownership the front subframe broke in two while crossing a set of railway tracks. A 75 Charger? Goodness.

    My ownership experience is very boring. Year of purchase and model year same unless otherwise noted.

    1989 Old Cutlass Ciera with 3.3L V6. We kept our company vehicles for 80km, never had a problem.

    1992 Ford Taurus a V6 (I think). Something came loose in the front suspension early on, Ford fixed it in about 5 minutes and everything dandy after that.

    1994 Dodge Intrepid. Quit not too long after to go back to school, so can’t say much.

    1992 (1994) Nissan Pulsar, I know it is a chick car but it fit my 6ft4 frame. Died of rust at 225km. Previous owner had abused the hell out of it which cost me dearly. Nissan deaker SUCKED.

    1967 (1997) Dodge Charger, formerly a 383-4bbl converted to 69 440 engine rebuilt by speed shop. It looked great and could easily spin the wheels at 40mph, fishtailing past doddlers. Tended to overheat. Great in straightline but frightful at high speeds. Front end lift and overboosted steering; you never knew were you were going next. Sold when I was laid off.

    1995 (2000) Mercedes Benz C220 – more problems than all the other cars I have owned combined. Abysmal quality and the worst dealership experience. Took MB to court twice and forced them to settle. Served court papers on Dieter Z himself. Fixed a bunch of crap and sold it.

    1992 (2002) Ford Crown Vic, piece of crap except for the 4.6L V8.

    2000 (2002) Toyota Solara – I fit and it was purple, my wife’s favorite color. Very reliable but paint is strangely soft and scraches easily.

    2002 (2004) Toyota Solara – fabulous deal on demo. Great car if only people would stop running into it (4x so far, all while stationary).

    1995 (2001) Thunderbird 30th Anniversary edition, inherited. Very good car but same problem as the RF’s 6000…corners well but sacrifices ride.

    To make up for my boring list all me to just say that my father, up until he became a family guy, owned a variety of interesting cars…starting post-war.

    Jag SS100, sold for 100 pounds.

    Several XK120s and XK150s bought and sold on whims (one of which is still owned by a friend of his).

    MGA, a vehicle specifically designed to be the opposite of what you need in southern Ontario (at least as year round car). Good test of whether or not he and mom were going to make it as a couple. She helped pushing it many times without too much complaint. Traded in on…

    Austin Healey 3000, stunning car, bright red with black leather interior with white piping. My favorite car ever. Sold to some guy for a pittance some day when he got fed up fixing the carbs. Still know the guy who bought. Said owner recently treated it to a correct, nut and bolt restoration. A jaw dropping beauty that stops people dead in their tracks. Daaaaaaaaaaaad, why the hell…?

    Everything else is boring after that. At least nothing to make me want to yell at my dad for getting rid of it.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    I got my license in 1998, then I got my mother’s old car:

    1. ’89 Nissan Sunny 1.6 hatchback. When I got it, it had done 30,000 km. I sold it in 2003, because insurance and tax were eating too much into my university budget.
    All in all it was good fun – 900 kg and 88 horsepower, manual windows, no a/c. Nearly trouble free, except for normal wear and tear.

    2. ’08 BMW 118d hatchback (new), “First real job” car. Gets very good fuel economy even at top speed, handles well and is practical.

  • avatar

    [1981] 1975 Mazda Capella 1800 (a.k.a. Mazda 618) – first car. Used to be my mum’s. Very reliable but deeply uncool for a student. Had to go. Was totaled in an accident that is still not talked about.

    [1983] 1980 Fiat 132 2000 – used to be my dad’s. Much cooler but kept me poor in maintaining and repairing it. Quite fragile. Was totaled in a hail storm.

    [1985] 1977 BMW 520 – the 6 cylinder model. A bit slow and heavy on fuel, but very nice to drive. Was reliable until it started overheating. I gave up on it after nearly being ripped off by a dishonest mechanic who wanted to overhaul the engine. Sold for next to nothing in barely running condition. The next owner fixed it cheaply by replacing the thermostat. You live and you learn.

    [1987] 1980 VW Golf GLD – my first and only diesel. Got it from my sister who drove it without oil. It was got back into running order and served as a stop gap for a few months. Was very hard to start in winter. Some days I had to take the bus. Traded in – the dealer called afterwards to ask why it wouldn’t start. What did he expect for the money that he paid for it?

    [1987] 1985 VW Golf GTi – wheeeeeee! What a great little car. Went like a bomb, handled like a dream. Was quite reliable too. I spent a fortune on wheel, suspension, brake and engine upgrades. Was sold to a friend who lost it to a car thief.

    [1991] 1991 VW Golf GTi 16V 2.0 – my first new car and not the masterpiece I hoped for. The heavy 2 liter engine meant that it handled like a pig. Had a cold start problem that took numerous visits to the dealer to sort out. Traded in.

    [1994] 1994 VW Jetta VR6 – my second and last new car. Was quite nice. Lots of underbonnet heat soak meant that batteries lasted until one month after the warranty expired. Burst a radiator hose. A/C recirculation valve broke. Quite expensive to keep on the road. Sold privately.

    [1998] 1997 BMW 328i – what a car! One of the best I ever had. The performance took my breath away. Was very reliable as well. It only had to go when it became too small to fit the entire family. Traded in.

    [1999] 1989 VW Golf GTi – bought as a second/third car. Very nice. Just as good as the previous GTi but better. It had A/C and I kept it standard. We had it until it started falling apart last year. Sold to the same friend who bought the other GTi. He still has it.

    [2001] 1997 BMW 528i A/T – my first and only automatic. Was a real dog. A so-called BMW Approved Used Car. Lots and lots of faults – only some of which were fixed. Traded in.

    [2002] 2001 BMW 325i – bought from the same dealer because he gave the best trade in (might have felt guilty because of ripping me off with the 528i). Great car, we still have it. Has everything that opens and shuts. After 150 000 miles most of them still opens and shuts, even if the electric windows broke one by one. The sunroof also needed very expensive plastic bits to keep working. Also had a few expensive cooling system issues, but I forgive it.

    [2008] 2003 BMW 530i – the greatest ever. My daily driver. I am still amazed about how quiet, refined, fast, economical and spacious it is. All this for less than a second hand Toyota Yaris!

    So, in my experience:
    Japanese – reliable but uncool
    Italian – cool but unreliable
    German – very cool and mostly reliable

  • avatar

    1966 VW Beetle – With the 6-Volt/Get-Out-And-Push-To-Start-Engine feature…Apparently when you check this option the “Heater” option is deleted…Must have been a software bug in the Wolfsburg order-entry computer back in 1966. This 1300 seazed up solid after a lifetime of redlining…err…”over-dotting” it…Excellent car for $250.

    1968 Volvo 145 – Another $250 car that had a $400 stereo so I could not pass it up. Had it Customized to a convertible with the help of Frat brothers, keg-o-beer, and a chainsaw. Put a hole in a piston at 200K+ miles and sold it for parts ($50) to a Cornell Uie.

    1978 Toyota Celica – Thought I was a Rockefeller and paid $1200 for this. Had this car for 140K absolute trouble free miles. It rotted off it’s frame from NY salt and finally started leaking coolant…junked it.

    1981 Mercedes 300D – Still with the Rockefeller complex and paid $6500 for this with 140K miles. Trouble free until 280K miles when I gave it to a friend and left for Europe… She didn’t know about engine oil and blew it up a couple years later…Junked.

    Ford Escort – Sucked.
    Ford Fiesta – Excellent.
    Ford Mondeo – Excellent.
    Ford Scorpio – OK.
    Opel Corsa – Excellent.
    Opel Omega – Excellent.
    A good friend had an Opel Calibra – Outstanding!

    2002 BMW 540 6-speed – Nancy Pelosi will have to pry this car from my cold dead fingers.

  • avatar

    I’ll just stick with the rides I’ve purchased new:

    1991 Acura Integra GS – My first new car. Like a first love, it was perfect in my eyes. Thus began a long on and off again love affair with Honda products that continues to this day.

    1994 Acura Integra GS-R – The perfect follow up. However, chinks in the armor began to show torwards the end of ownership as my automotive tastes matured – Too small, noisy, and too few gadgets. This would also be my last coupe.

    1996 Nissan Maxima SE – Briefly left the Honda fold. Stay with me cut short by accident.

    1997 Honda Accord EX – Great car, not overly luxurious. I still think this body style was the high water mark for Accord styling.

    1998 Audi A4 Quattro 2.8 – Probably best car I’ve ever owned. Spotty reliability is really the only thing that kept me away.

    2000 Nissan Altima – Purchased for wife – Exceptionally comfortable and reliable.

    2002 VW Jetta VR6 GLI. I love the idea of shoving a big engine in a small car.

    2003 Honda Accord EX V6 – Another great car, life cut short by a tragic accident.

    2006 Chrysler Pacifica – I long resisted SUVs, but finally succumbed after needs of wife and kids. My first and last Chrysler product.

    2006 Mazda 3 GS – Exceptionally well equipped and fun to drive.

    2008 Lexus IS250 AWD – Spiritual successor to the Audi.

    2009 Acura MDX. Pacifica replacement, far superior in every way.

  • avatar

    I’ve only owned 3 cars myself being only 28. They are:

    1984 Ford Tempo – I was given this for painting a house.

    1991 Toyota Tercel – Bought it used but rebuilt from the ground up by my mechanic. It turned out to be the worst car I will ever own. Thats a mouthful considering I owned a Tempo. And I don’t talk to that asshole anymore.

    2002 Honda Civic Si Coupe – Bought it new after the Tercel boondoggle. It’s a top-of-the-line fully optioned 5spd manual. It’s not perfect, but its a fantastic city/commuter car. I got a good deal on it at the time making it probably the best new car available for 19 grand Canadian. But to my chagrin, It has been run into 4 times. Every time while I was at a complete stop. I tried to get a new car a while ago but no dealer would trade it in.

    My next new car will be a Mini.

    Some of the family cars I used to drive around in were:

    1987 Mercury Topaz – This one caught fire 3 times.

    1987 Dodge Caravan – This iconic machine drove for over 600,000km before quitting. It was a vehicle that almost never made it beyond its first year when my mom spun it on the 401 on an icy bridge and hit a guardrail. The van should have been totaled, since it had 14,000 in damages. But they fixed it anyway.

    1994 Pontiac Grand Prix – What a great car this was. Solid, comfortable, stylish, reliable. The black sedan met its end when it was rear-ended by a pickup truck.

    I hope my car buying future is more interesting.

  • avatar

    Starts in 1979,

    66 Chevy Chevelle 283, powerglide, bucket seats. Rear quarter panel rusted out. I couldn’t keep anything in the trunk.

    69 Mercury Cougar 351W, Merc-o-matic, Inherited from my Dad

    68 GTO 400ci His/Her Hurst. Sold this for my next BRAND NEW ADULT car.

    83 Ford Escort GT Orange/Black trim No air (couldn’t afford $18 more a month)

    85.5 Mitsubishi Starion ESI. Piece of SHIT! 2 turbos and 2 transmissions.

    87 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo HOT HATCH BABY! (wife’s daily driver)

    1st Generation Ford Fiesta with air. I miss that car

    Early eighties second Generation Sube wagon. That was a scary car.

    Early 80’s Olds Cutlass another Scary Car

    Chevy Blazer 4 door (1st year) great truck

    Acura Legend 4dr (2nd Gen) with 5 speed great car (wife;’s daily)

    87? Honda Civic Hatch Si. ANother Hot hatch, great revving engine

    1st Gen Acura TL Dependable no soul and not as good as the legend (wife’s daily)

    Dodge Caravan Stripper. I loved this. 4cylinder

    Isuzu Topper 2nd gen. (wifes daily driver great truck)

    1999 Potiac Grand Prix (company Car)

    2000 AudiTT (wifes daily driver and company car)

    2001 Ford Taurus (company Car)

    2003 Dodge Durango (not aging well) wife’s daily driver

    2003 Ford Taurus (company Car)

    2005 VW Jetta (new style) 37 months 75K miles ROD KNOCK

    2008 Honda ELement. Bright Orange and black (like the Escort), but it reminds me of my stripper caravan. 8 months old and 26K miles already and HONDA quality exudes confidence.

    Oh and of course the motorcycle

    2006 Yamaha Stratoliner. 113 engine. Has more horsepower than my 1st “new:” car (the escort) and cost almost twice as much!!

  • avatar

    Hi All,

    Interesting article. Here’s my list (many of them my parents’):

    1955 Chevy Bel Air – My Dad’s daily driver for decades. 4 door, 6 cylinder, “3 on the tree”. He finally gave it away in the 1990s.

    1960 Rambler – My Mom’s car for a couple of years in the ’60s. The front seats reclined all the way, forming a handy bed with the back seat. It was fairly reliable, but quirky. The “3 on the tree” shifter would often hang up shifting from 1st to 2nd, so she’d have to stop, open the hood, free the linkage, close the hood, and get in and try again. One headlight would go out going over bumps.

    1969 Chevelle – My Mom’s for a couple of years.

    1970 Pontiac GTO. My Mom’s car when I was in HS and college. 400 CID, “350 HP”, automatic. I loved that car. The original engine threw a connecting rod driving through Indiana as it overheated. (Turns out the water pump impeller was eaten up by a cooling system cleaner that ate aluminum.) I replaced it with a used 455 CID engine that had an an astounding amount of torque. Unfortunately, she loaned it to a friend who wrecked it. :-(

    1966 Olds F-85 (the lower trim version of the Cutlass). Given to me by a friend. 330 CID auto, 2 speed automatic, manual steering. A very light, very simple, reliable car. No A/C. Top speed of about 90 mph (tested driving on a new asphalt road in Oklahoma when it was about 110 F outside). Given to my Mom who had it for several years before I gave her a used 1988 Olds 98 (she put about 300k miles on that before it disintegrated).

    1974 Ford Galaxy 500 2 door. Given to me by an uncle when I was in grad school. A comfortable car, except for the out of balance wheels created by a service tech who used a sledge hammer to try to get the rusted wheels off the axles. Had terminal rust problems (said uncle stored rock salt in the trunk for too long) – even the gas line rusted out.

    1987 Buick LeSabre T-Type. 3.8 litre V-6, 30 mpg highway, 20 mpg commuting. Given to me by my step Mom who had it as a business lease. It was a reliable car and I put over 130k miles on it (about 185k total) before giving it away. Had the tranny replaced under warranty, and the usual maintenance, but it was cheap to run. The paint went to hell after about 7 years though. I had to replace the harmonic balancer shortly before I gave it away – I had to use a 10 foot long lever arm to get the bolt to budge!

    2004 VW Jetta TDI Wagon 5 speed GLS. Bought new in late 2003. I wanted a small wagon that got at least as good highway mileage as the LeSabre and had very few choices. It’s been quiet, fun to drive, good stereo, and very reliable. I get 45 mpg per tank average commuting to work (I drive like a granny) and up to 51 mpg on the highway. I love it.


  • avatar

    Here we go:

    1) 1986 Saab 900 turbo- any car that you can sleep confortably in is a plus
    2) 1986 Alfa Spider graduate
    3) 1993 Toyota MR2 turbo- no soul
    4) 1984 Posrche 928 euro S- aka bankruptcy
    5) 1993 Lexus SC300 5 speed- boring
    6) 1987 Alfa Milano verde
    7) 2001 Mazda Miata
    8) 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege- grea handler
    9) 1973 Alfa Berlina- Giusepe’
    10) 1999 VW Passat
    11) 1976 BMW 2002- attention getter
    12) 1989 BMW 325 IS- great car
    13) 1991 Nissan Sentra Se-r current driver

  • avatar

    From the time I learned to drive-

    85 Mercury Capri, 4 cylinder engine I believe from the Pinto. This lump made MAYBE 90hp in a car that was weighted and designed for a V8 (was the Mustang’s brother). Taught me how to drive rear wheel drive in the snow.

    88 Oldsmobile Calais, V6 – torquey little front-driver, pretty quick.

    89 Saab 900 Turbo – definitely the most interesting car so far, handled well, was quick, had nagging vaccum and electrical problems

    91 Plymouth Colt (aka Mitsubishi Mirage) – junkyard 5 speed to replace the 4 speed improved both the gas mileage and made it slightly quicker, friends always thought it was funny that this had a phantom 5th gear (not on the shift pattern), started leaking oil *badly*, oil pressure light not working, BANG! Replaced the engine and got another 4 or 5 years out of it, until my sister hit a guardrail and totalled it.

    86 Volvo 740 – slow as glue, but dead reliable. Got it to 198K with no signs of stopping, got rear-ended and it was totalled, not because of damage, but because it would cost more than the car was worth to fix.

    88 Porsche 944S – Fun, Fun car. Great handling, reasonably quick for the vintage, usable trunk for two, and long-distance comfortable. Closest thing out there to a “cheap” Porsche, but still horrifically expensive to repair, especially when the cam belt broke. I *still* have the Porsche bug because of this car, but I’m waiting until I can really afford it before I buy another.

    2002 Nissan Altima 3.5SE – First new car, replaced the Porsche since the Volvo was still soldiering on. Quick and fun to drive with the 5 speed. Lotsa torque steer. Wish I had waited for the SER, but otherwise loved it.

    2004 Acura RSX Type-S – Replaced the Volvo. Best steering wheel and shifter of any car I’ve ever driven so far. Light and tossable, spiritually similar to the Porsche, but even when you’re winding it out, it just wasn’t powerful enough. Sold it to my sister, who still has it.

    2005 Pontiac GTO – Replaced the Acura, and current car. What can I say, C/D says no “gotta have it factor” but I beg to differ. It’s a little overweight, but Corvette brakes, Corvette engine, 4 seats, for $35K? Sounds like a good recipe to me. And the factory exhaust sounds better than the ‘Vette to boot!

    2006 Saab 9-3 Aero – Replaced the Altima. Fun, if a little small for a family sedan. Stable at triple digit speeds, handled well, shifter was weird. Was a lease and we needed a bigger car, or else we’d probably still have it. Wife L-O-V-E LOVED this car.

    2002 Audi S6 Avant (aka wagon) – Replaced the Saab and current car. This is the A6 wagon with the 4.2 V8 and quattro AWD from the C5 era S4. Darn quick for a grocery getter, very luxe. Needs a louder exhaust, and I’d give my left arm for the 6-speed from the S4. This one is a bit less than dead reliable, and expensive to fix. File this under “I still haven’t learned not to buy used German cars”.

    So, I’ve owned two GM vehicles that weren’t really what people would think of when they think of GM vehicles – an Aussie import with the ‘Vette drivetrain, and a Swedish car that shares a German (Opel) platform and an Australian engine. This isn’t to say that I didn’t look at others, just that these were the only ones that impressed me.

  • avatar

    Cars, trucks, and motorcycle owned since 1971

    1965 Chevrolet Impala SS
    1966 Ford Mustang
    1971 VW Super Beetle
    1975 GMC Van
    1975 Pontiac Formula Firebird 350
    1977 Pontiac Trans Am
    1979 Pontiac Trans Am WS6
    1979 Pontiac Trans Am (403 Olds engine)
    1981 Honda Civic Hatchback
    1981 Honda Civic Wagon
    1982 Honda Accord
    1984 Honda Accord
    1986 Honda CRX
    1988 Honda Civic
    1987 Dodge Raider
    1989 Mazda 4×4 pickup
    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse
    1990 Toyota Supra
    1992 Honda Accord
    1993 Ford Ranger Super Cab
    1995 Infinit G20
    1998 Ford Ranger Super Cab 4 door
    2000 Nissan Maxima
    2005 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE
    2005 Nissan Titan
    2007 Honda CRV EX-L
    2009 Honda Civic EX

    1983 Honda CB 900
    1972 Honda XL 250
    1978 Honda CX 500
    1979 Honda CX 500
    1982 Honda VF 750S
    1983 Honda VF 750F
    1984 Honda VF 1100S
    1981 Honda CBX
    1971 Honda CB 100
    1971 Honda SL 125
    1969 Husky 250
    1972 Suzuki TS 125
    1972 Suzuki TS 125
    1972 Suzuki TS 125
    1973 Suzuki TS 125
    1973 Suzuki TS 400
    1973 Suzuki TS 185
    1973 Suzuki GT 380
    1972 Honda 750
    1973 Honda XL 350
    1974 Honda 750
    1975 Honda CB 750F
    1976 Honda CB 750F
    1977 Honda CB 750F
    1974 Honda CR 125
    1974 Honda CR 125
    1975 Honda CR 125
    1974 Honda CR 250
    1975 Honda CR 250
    1976 Honda CR 250
    1979 Honda CB 750F
    1982 Honda 750 Sabre
    1978 Honda CB 400A
    1971 Honda CT 70H
    1989 Honda GL 1500
    1990 Harley FXR Superglide
    1996 Harley FLHR Roadking
    2000 Harley FLHTCUI Electra Glide Ultra Classic
    2001 Harley FLHTC Electra Glide Classic
    1990 Kawasaki KLR 650
    1993 Kawasaki KLR 650
    1995 Kawasaki KLR 650 sold 02-01-04
    1986 Honda XL 600
    1992 Kawasaki KDX 250
    1976 Kawasaki KZ 900
    1991 Suzuki DR 350S
    1984 Honda VF 700F
    1985 Yamaha RZ 350
    1983 Honda XL 200R
    1981 Honda Z-50
    1993 Honda ST 1100
    1992 Suzuki DR 350S
    1995 Suzuki DR 350SE
    1999 Suzuki SV 650
    1996 Yamaha 535 Virago
    1997 Honda XR 400R
    1988 Yamaha YSR 50
    1987 Yamaha YSR 50
    2000 Kawasaki W650 Retro
    2000 Kawasaki KDX 220R
    2003 Honda ST1300ABS
    2003 Honda ST1300ABS
    2002 Kawasaki KLR 650
    2003 Suzuki VStrom DL1000
    2004 Honda ST1300 Standard
    2000 Kawasaki KDX220R
    2007 Harley Road King
    2003 Suzuki DR-Z400S
    2008 Kawasaki KLR650
    2007 BMW R1200GS Adventure
    1999 Kawasaki KLR650

  • avatar

    1973 Datsun 240K (aka the Skyline C110)
    One of my favorite cars – retro fitted with the twin carb 260Z engine, it was a fantastic drive.

    1995 Golf GL
    My (ex) wife really wanted this car and it was junk. Had it for only two years and during that time it spent 6 months in the shop.

    1991 Peugeot 405
    It wasn’t fast or handled all that well but this was a sweet ride. Great stereo, sports seats and an awesome sunroof.

    1998 Holden Vectra
    This was a re-badged European made Opel Vectra and it was a snooze and not a very reliable one at that.

    1999 Mazda MX-5 (Miata)
    One of my favorite cars ever.

    1993 Faurd Taurus SHO
    Fast, comfortable and the most unreliable car I have ever owned. Great AC when it worked

    1999 BMW 323is
    Everything a car should be.

    2005 BMW 330Ci
    More refined and better specs than that the E36 but only half as much fun.

    2008 Mazda3
    A fun commuter car until I can think of something I’d rather drive.

  • avatar

    First car:

    March 2005
    2005 WRX STi: Before that I borrowed one of dads cars (’79 mercury monarch, 89 chevy blazer, ’77 monte carlo). This is my weekly driver (drive 2-3x/week)

    June 2005
    2000 Plymouth neon, 124k miles; Still running today. The thing works almost flawlessly. No major problems between 124k & the current 167k miles. This has been handed off to the wife due to proven reliability & it being an automatic.

    November 2005
    2005 Suzuki GSX-R 600. This is my daily driver in spring/summer. 35mpg city + regular fuel vs 17/premium in the STi makes it a no brainer. As as a bonus, I pay $0 for parking vs $6-$10 for the STi.

    Current status of all 3:
    GSX-R: 10,000 miles
    STi: 27,000 miles
    Neon: 167,000 miles

  • avatar

    1974 Toyota Corolla 2 dr – first car and rookie mistakes in the purchase but I still loved it. Couldn’t go over 80 mph but it *felt* great! After 10 months the frame finally rotted out behind the front wheels and the only thing holding the front end on was the shock towers. Had to junk it. :(

    1976 Merc Monarch – Inline 6, 3 speed auto, broken door hinge, broken bench seat. Was Dad’s car that he didn’t trade in and Mom wouldn’t drive. Had it for 3 years until the day it didn’t start. For a mid size it was a boat. Towed to the junkyard.

    1976 Dodge Dart – Slant 6 and 3 speed auto. Abosolutely best drivetrain around! Too bad the rest of the thing was a POS. Standard everything w/o w rear defroster. Twelve turns lock to lock on the recirculated ball steering. Assorted crap until slipping on the highway and running into a guardrail. Took almost a year for me to drive the full tank of gas out of it before it was towed away. Friend of the family’s cast off, bought with the advice of my Dad and came to the realization he didn’t know shit about cars.

    1987 Ford Tempo – 2 door. Basic transportation for a cheap price. Not a bad car. After 2 years the tranny was slipping and I got worried. Took a friend to a dealer for her to get a new car and bought one myself using it as a trade in.

    1989 Ford Mustang – Met my criteria, nonFWD, standard. The usual Ford appliance, basic transport with options larded on. The 4 cyl was crude and got poor mileage for the size. Had all the Mustang liabilities, piss poor ergonomics, light rearend with live axle, heavy clutch and no virtues. Couldn’t get out of it’s own way with that pavement rippling 88 hp on tap. Still was reliable enough and cheap to fix. Had it for 10 years. 198k km on the clock but the rings were shot and it wouldn’t have passed the inspection. Traded in.

    2001 VW Golf TDI 2 door – first new car. Probably my last. Didn’t like the “dealer experience”. Absolutely great car. Best one I’ve had. Standard everything besides a/c. 50mpg. Total love affair. Great until I ran it into a guardrail 4 years later. Sad day in Mudville. 162k km. Head on and walked away without a scratch!

    2004 VW Jetta TDI Sport – No way I was going back to anything but a TDI after that! This one is loaded but none of the toys have broken yet. Still the same reliability as my Golf. Super car but just a hair less that the Golf but it’s a very near thing. 48 mpg. 157k km and climbing. Hope to take it to the junkyard when it dies somewhere around 600k kms.

  • avatar

    Here’s the list I recall:

    ’74 Ford Mustang II
    ’78 Monte Carlo
    ’79 VW Dasher Diesel — 54 MPG!
    ’84 VW GTI
    ’85 Ford Escort
    ’85 VW Golf
    ’85 GMC S-15
    ’87 Chevy Nova
    ’89 Isuzu Impulse
    ’89 Jeep Comanche
    ’91 Honda CRX
    ’91 Honda Civic Wagon
    ’85 Audi Coupe
    ’89 Mazda 929
    ’86 Nissan 300Z
    ’86 Mazda B2000
    ’79 Datsun 280Z
    ’87 Isuzu Trooper
    ’91 Isuzu Trooper
    ’92 Honda Civic 2dr
    ’92 Honda Civic 4dr
    ’92 Infiniti G20
    ’95 Toyota Tercel
    ’01 Honda CR-V
    ’03 Toyota Tacoma
    ’05 Honda CR-V

    Best of the bunch? The ’91 Hondas. The CRX was always as much fun as a barrel of bunnies; the Civic wagon was a terrier on wheels.

    The one that got away: Cherry 1986 Porsche 944S, Aqua green paint over white leather interior — $6,000 in 1992.

  • avatar

    1983 Alfa Romeo 33 Hatchback: Terrible understeer, great engine & sound. Student car

    1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Gt Veloce with “1750” engine transplant, original Mille Miglia wheels & bucket seats, barely streetlegal Yokohamas and open Weber 40s: Brilliant! Tought me how to drive. The looks the sound, the smells…

    1977 AR Spider 2000 Iniezione: Not like the GT, but fun, nevertheless.

    1988 Toyota Tercel: cloth seats, AC, snow tires on it all year, perfect beater, 3rd car with Alfas. Cornering: brake like hell, turn-in quick – corners like in a computer game.

    1991 Honda Civic: handsome just-above-beater, 3rd car with Alfas.

    1991 Merc 300TE: perfect highway cruiser, great winter-ballet car with studded Nokians, 3rd car with Alfas.

  • avatar

    Year Car — Demise
    79 Chevette — gave to brother
    80 200SX — Totaled
    81 RX-7 — Sold, unhappily (‘too many miles’)
    80 Fiesta — Impounded after failing to lip new windshield
    84 318i — Sold to neighbor
    90 Accord 2Dr — gave to friend
    94 Gran Cherokee — gave to charity
    02 325i — Fixing the niggles
    06 Scion TC — Under warranty

    Summary — One of everybody’s, except 2 BMW.
    All run into the ground, all were largely shade-tree maintained, all were outstanding in their purpose of the day.

  • avatar

    1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham – gray 2 door – great car, dead nuts reliable, never left me stranded, even on the coldest Vermont mornings or the hottest Texas afternoons. Parked it with 208,000 miles, still running great but needing some money spent on the front end. I still own it, but it hasn’t been driven in 7 years.

    1947 Buick Roadmaster – black 4 door – great to look at and fun (in its own way) to drive. Blew the engine shortly after buying it, but that was my fault. I was so used to the reliability of the Olds that I failed to check the oil regularly enough. A few months and an engine rebuild later, back on the road with a massive hole in my wallet. Sold it for about what I paid for it three years earlier.

    1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – beautiful dark pearl red 4 door – bought it off ebay. Great car: comfortable, reliable, and surprisingly fuel efficient (at least on the highway). Traded it with my dad for his Corvette (see next).

    1990 Chevrolet Corvette – red automatic coupe – it was a Corvette, so clearly it was fun to drive. Reasonably reliable, but it did love to go through alternators. Also fuel efficient, especially on the highway. Drove it for 3 years until I moved to NYC. Sold with 144k miles after needing a head gasket replaced.

    1990 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup – white (with areas of gray primer) regular cab/short bed – this was a work truck originally. My pops bought it used from the electric company in Texas with 88,000 miles on it, and I stole it from him after he bought himself a new pickup. It’s been very reliable, but there’s also not much on it to go wrong. Now it has about 168k miles.

  • avatar

    1968 Olds Delmont 88 from my aunt.

    1972 Impala, three years old from a dealer

    1976 Fiat x/19, new, the anti-impala

    rambler american sedan of indetermitate vintage, from a litle old lady in my grandmom’s old age home.

    1985 Mustang, three years old from a dealer.

    mid 80’s GM sedan of indeterminate vintage and make, from a women from my dads church.

    ’76 Ford Granada, was my mechanic’s mother’s.

    95 VW Golf 3 GL, two years old, curently at 230,000 miles.

    i think thats all

  • avatar

    Out of all the great vehicles mentioned in these lists ( I do envy many of the people’s lists, and I also envy the pure sense of adventure many of you have in your purchases), you have perhaps the most singular vehicle on the list–the1975 Suzuki RE5 Wankel.

    While only a brief footnote in history, this was a beautiful bike, and it showed that the Japanese manufacturers were willing to push expectations, just at a time that Harley and the British manufacturers were choosing to feature tradition over innovation.

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    1989 Honda Civic DX Hatchback – trouble free

    2002 Honda Civic DX Coupe – (Current) trouble free

    2004 Honda Accord LX V6 Sedan – (Current) trouble free and great engine

    …. and they wonder why I recommend a Honda

  • avatar

    Glad to know I’m not the only one with a problem. I’ve only been driving for 18 years (I’m 34).

    1980something Renault Fuego. My first car. Got used for $2800, it was nice and spiffed up on the dealer lot. It looked real good, and my family didn’t know anything about cars. But I enjoyed driving it, 5 speed. It had a lot of character, but it was crap. Had it about a year.

    1989 Mazda 323 (hand me down from mom). Great little car. No power steering, brakes, or anything. A simple tool that worked great. 5 speed 1.6 liter. It was a blast, and indestructable.

    1989 Mazda 626 (hand me down from dad.. the 323 was traded in on his new car) Same as the 323, with more HP and power brakes and steering. Excellent, absolutely indestructible. Handed to my sister who took it past 200K and only replaced the muffler.

    1993 Chevy S10, my first new car. 5 speed with the 2.8 pushrod 6. I beat the piss out of this truck, and never had any problems.

    1997 Mazda Miata. Traded the S10 in on the Miata. Awesome car. Came close to dyin’ in this one more than once. Insane fun. No problems with this car.

    2000 Ford Ranger. Another great car. Longbed version. Put on camper shell and spent a few months touring the West. Went everywhere in every condition, with 2wd 5sp. Great, economical highway cruiser. Stable on hiway.. longbed version. 4 cyl, cruise control. I’ve seen the most places in my life in this truck.

    2003 Subaru Forester. Stupidly traded the Ranger in on this. Nice car, it just wasn’t me. I hated the flimsy frameless windows, wiggly highway lack of stability, and the auto trans.

    2006 Toyota Tacoma. Even stupider. Got the reg cab, 5sp 4wd version. It was a nice truck, but the clutch really sucked and I had some problems with the plastic bed and suspension. Went to dealer about 10 times for fixes. Real surprised, considering my previous experience with GM and Ford trucks. Got rear-ended in a year, and they never fixed it right. Sold it to Carmax. Beware Carmax, I told them about the accident and everything and they still gleefully bought it from me, and put it on their lot for $4K more than what they gave me for it.

    1991 Nissan D21 “Hardbody” rustbucket beater pickup. Automatic 2wd regular cab. I f**king loved this truck! Kept it for a year, enjoyed not having payments, not bothering to lock it up, and not caring about it at all in general. Power steering went out but I kept driving it for another 6 months.

    2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover AWD. With stability control this thing is unstoppable in snow. Better even than the Forester. Fun to drive. I really like the plain interior. Not much fake bling. Got a good deal. But the huge A pillar blocks to much vision on left turns and is real annoying.

    I miss the Nissan Hardbody. But, I guess it’s nice to have airbags, ABS, and a body structure that won’t crush like a tin can. Payments and full coverage insurance are a drag tho..

    Oh, and I had 5 motorcycles in between and alongside some of these cars.

    1978 Yamaha 750 special (heavy beast)
    1998 Honda Shadow 600 (wuss cruiser)
    1980 Honda CB 750 (heavy beast but faster than the Yamaha)
    2003 Kawasaki KLR 650 (best bike of them all, shoulda kept it)
    1974 Kawasaki KZ400 (cool little runabout.. sold it after getting a flat while riding)

  • avatar

    I’m 36, but my car history is brief because I tend to keep them (when possible). Living in Canada makes this a little hard because the weather is hard on cars.

    1987 Nissan Pathfinder SE (new) – I drove this for 13 years, hardly anything ever broke, it finally rusted through and I had to junk it. A sad day.

    1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP (purchased at 3 years old) – Bought it for the supercharged engine. Everything broke. Trunk lock. Ignition key chamber. One of the anti lock brakes just randomly died. What didn’t break, squeaked or rattled. Pretty sure the interior was rejected Rubbermaid factory pieces, put together with child’s glue. Transmission exploded while my wife was pregnant and we had no money, $3800 I didn’t have. Fixed it, never drove it again until I sold it to pay the debt the repair brought on.

    By the end we were terrified of the car, because touching it = $$$ Local dealer was pure evil. Will never own a GM again, and I currently laugh while the company burns.

    All this happened in a mere 1.5 years of ownership.

    2000 Chrysler Neon (new) – My wife’s car. It was purple, it had a 3-speed auto, but actually it wasn’t bad other then the farm-tractor acceleration. Steering felt great, was really agile. Lots of room inside for a small car. It got us through the baby years without us needing to upgrade to a bigger vehicle, so I appreciate that. NVH was kind of high, like all Chryslers I’ve ever been in. Was only medium reliable (some little stuff, some early rusting), and at seven years of age (196k km’s), the engine mounts disintegrated and the repair was more then the value of the car. AC died around that time as well. Traded it in for whatever we could get. I don’t despise Chrysler to the extent of GM, but I can’t own another one.

    2002 Nissan Maxima SE (purchased at 3 years old) – Current vehicle. My GM and Chrysler experience drove me back to the warm arms of Nissan. Fantastic vehicle, other then the 4-speed auto (wife refuses to own stick while she commutes in traffic to work). Black leather interior still looks new at 8 years of age. Looks pretty good all around, actually. No squeaks, no rattles, feels rock-solid. Winter package of heated seats and steering wheel makes it a great Canadian vehicle. Could easily drive this for 20 more years and be happy, if it would magically last that long. Starting to burn some oil, though (common with this engine I hear).

  • avatar

    Didn’t own many vehicles, only been driving for 12 years.

    Was given my mom’s 90 Mercury Sable wagon, she got another Merc out of the deal…M-B E320 (I-6 model) wagon. The Sable was a great cruiser around Houston and the gulf states, still rode and looked good after 7 years.

    Once the headgasket killed the 3.8l, my dad said it was time for me to buy my own vehicle at 18…neighbor was selling a 92 Integra GS-R for a great price. That car lasted me for quite some time and many, many miles (about 75k in 6 years) with 3 moves and several road trips. Got me through some wicked snow storms in the Rockies and Great Plains(living in Utah at the time). It’s still going strong with it’s 3rd owner.

    Went back to a Ford product, currently driving a 06 Mazda3 wagon…great vehicle in the GT trim and no complaints as it now holds a family of 3.

    Finally, I inherited the joy and pains of an 84 760 Turbo…I drive it to work and back in the winter (when I can’t drive my Cannondale) and it trucks along just fine but the turbo, oil pump, and thermostat are on their way out.

    I have been happy with both Ford and Honda products. If I had to replace the Mazda today, I’d probably go with a previous-generation 02-06 CRV or buy my dad’s 05 Explorer Eddie Bauer.

  • avatar

    1989 Camry Alltrac DX
    1995 Nissan 240SX non-SE
    1991 Plymouth (by Mitsubishi) Colt
    1987 Subaru GL station wagon
    1987 Dodge Aries
    1990 Plymouth Acclaim
    1997 Pontiac Grand Prix

    All above cars except 240SX (bought new) were purchased from family or friends of the family (an uncle loved him some Aries and Acclaims)

    Currently own:
    1999 Nissan Sentra
    1988 Ford F150 with just above 1400lbs payload.
    1988 Chevy S10 with 1625lbs payload.

  • avatar

    1970 Camaro 307-V8 (I wish I kept it)
    1974 Camaro 350-V8, 5-speed (no fuel economy, no performance)
    1976 Cutlass 350-V8 (T-tops)
    1977 Sunbird 231-V6, 5-speed (very leaky tranny)
    1978 Cutlass 260-V8 (best car of the late 70s-late 80’s)
    1982 Cavalier 2 liter-I4, 5-speed (big time junk, big oil leaks from engine)
    1983 Sunbird 1.8 liter-I4 (to fix Cavalier with total replacement of all parts, only car to strand me on the interstate)
    1984 Sunbird 1.8 liter-I4 turbocharged (the many $150 electrical problems car)
    1988 Beretta 2.8 liter, 5-speed (pretty good car ultimately $1500 tranny rebuild)
    1989 Grand Prix 2.8 liter (pretty good car)
    1996 Cirrus 2.5 liter-V6 (Mitsubishi engine failed)
    1999 300M 3.5 liter-V6 (very good car)
    2005 Acura TSX, 2.4 liter-I4, 6-speed (excellent so far)

    Cars in the late 70’s to late 80’s were not great (all GM)
    Noticeable improvements in the 90’s.

  • avatar

    1978-1980 1966 Plymouth Valiant, slant 6
    1979-1982 1969 Datsun 2000 SSS (four sidedraft Mikuni-Solex, not the Hitachi SUs)
    1980-1982 1973 Dodge Colt
    1981-1983 1966 Citroën ID19 – manual transmission, not Citromatic, thank God. Brilliant car.
    1983-1987 1973 Buick LeSabre.
    1984-1996 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan. I loved working on this car and that is a good thing.
    1987-1993 1976 Lancia Beta
    1988-1996 1968 Fiat 850 convertible
    1994-2002 1984 Honda Civic. When I finally found out cars could be reliable.
    2002-present 1993 Subaru Legacy (wagon)
    2005-present 2005 Subaru Legacy (wagon) GT 5MT

  • avatar

    1992 Honda Civic CX – 70 hp, 175/70 R13s on steel wheels, vinyl interior, no AC, manual everything. It was a great car. Looked more expensive than it was, dead reliable, handled well, 48 mpg. Loved that car.

    1991 Honda CRX Si

    1998 VW Jetta GT – another great car. Put Neuspeed chip, exhuast, airbox (smallish dual tips, not the stupid coffee can type), cam and strut tower brace on it, along with an ignition system whose manufacturer I’ve forgotten. The car sounded great and was signigicantly quicker than a stock 2.0.

    2003 Mazda 6 S V6 w/ 5 speed manual – another great car whose tenure with me was only shortened by its inability to tow my motorcycle trailers.

    2004 Nissan Titan – bought to tow the motorcycles. Not bad for a truck, but proved too big for DC. Motorcyles sold I moved on to…

    2005 Subaru Legacy i Wagon – bought certified pre-owned. A complete POS. Car was such a pain that I sold it after 8 months of ownership.

    2008 VW GTI – I’m in love with this car.

  • avatar

    1985 Olds Cutlass Ciera
    1998 Buick Century
    2000 Kia Sephia
    2003 Hyundai Sonata

    Currently Own and Drive:
    2000 Cherkoee Classic
    2008 VW GTI W/DSG

  • avatar

    My own history with cars is not that long. Actually, it’s only two cars long, plus my mothers beater, that she is kind enough of lending me nowadays when I need it. I don’t need a car of my own on a daily basis, so I don’t keep one.

    1967 Volvo P210 Station Wagon. The family truckster for many years. Handed to me on my 18th birthday. While it had remained in the family for many years, it sadly rusted away in just a couple of years, due to the moisty climate in the part of the country we had moved to. It had a swapped engine to a B20 from a Volvo 144, with that engine it was actually quite nimble.

    1975 Citroen DSpecial. Current project car, not roadworthy at the moment.

    1993 Chevrolet S10 Blazer, said beater. I think the frame is bent, because it leans to the front right. Actually quite fun to drive.

    Family history: My mother had owned a number of Saabs, Volkswagens and Renaults in the 50’s and 60’s. When I was born, they where heavily into Volkswagens.

    First, in the early 70’s, a late 60’s VW Crew Cab Pickup, as family hauler. Then, a VW 412 Variant, totaled with near fatal casualties. Then a red VW K70. Parents divorced, mother kept red K70. Father bought orange K70.

    Mother swapped K70 to Renault 4, stepfather owned said Volvo P210, bought new in late 60’s. The Volvo was actually the “first” car in the household, then traded down in the mid 80’s as second car, when mother sold the Renault and bought a new Mercedes 240D (W123).

    Father swapped orange K70 for a new 1981 Toyota Starlet. Very reliable, kept until early 90’s, swapped for mid-80’s Toyota Corolla 4-door. Father totaled the Corolla, bought similar-sized Mazda 323, kept until father passed away.

    The Merc stayed in my mothers household as first car until 1998, when it was replaced by a new two door Toyota Corolla. The engine on the merc was blown up, because it was running low on oil, and the “check engine oil” lamp had malfunctioned without anyone noticing it.

    In between, the Volvo had been handed to me, and a string of Toyota Hi-Ace vans had been purchased as second cars. The family was obviously very heavy into Toyota now.

    Mother divorced. Kept The Hi-ace Van, swapped for new Toyota Yaris Verso in 2000, the car which she currently owns. Says it is the best car she has ever had. In between, a couple of beaters bought to drag the horsetrailer around. First, a 1985 Volvo 244, scrapped with blown gearbox. Swapped for current Chevy.

    Of all the cars, two stand out. The Volvo P210, in the household from the 60’s to mid-90’s. As trustworthy as a car can be, like an old horse. And the merc, quality and refinement on a level never seen before or after. The talk about it being tank-like is absolutely true. Never since have I felt that utter confidence in a car.

  • avatar

    What memories:
    57 Studebaker Silver Hawk
    62 Corvair Monza coupe 4 spd
    54 New Yorker HT with Hemi
    65 Impala SS
    69 Javelin 343 auto trophy winner at the drags
    69 AMX 390 4 speed wish I had it now
    74 AMC Hornet
    76 AMC Hornet X
    69 Olds Custlass S
    72 Olds Delta 88
    79 Olds Custom Cruiser w/403
    80 Mercury Zephr SW very bland car
    87 E150 Conversion Van
    91 Ford Aerostar minivan AWD Crude
    90 Taurus GL
    93 Mazda MX6 4cyl 5 spd very good car
    97 Mercury Sable GS zero problems
    95 Mustang Cobra I really miss this one
    00 Mercury Sable LS loaded, comfortable
    96 MB C220 what a wonderful car
    02 Mazda Protege LX 5 speed, great car
    03 Explorer V8 4×4 sold when gas prices rose
    04 Taurus SEL still have

  • avatar

    1968 Plymouth Belvedere: Trade-in at the dealer where my Dad worked; the proverbial “old lady” car. Less than 70k, slant 6. Perfect first car, thanks Dad.

    1973 Volkswagen Beetle: Another trade-in. Fun high school car, drove it to graduation with my friend Bart. Drove over curbs and on the beach.

    1980 Malibu: Green on green stripper. V6, rear windows didn’t roll down and the blower couldn’t be turned off. Hot air in August. Horrible lifter noise. Seemingly indestructable.

    1987 Mustang GT: First new car. Life in the fast lane. Totaled by an old man in a van. This led to a series of beaters.

    1978 Datsun 280Z: This was an extra car that my sister had sitting in her driveway. My brother in law put in a fresh motor. It ran great but was rusting away hence the name “Rotsun.” The engine eventually fell out when the cross member rusted. It still ran and drove, scary.

    1978 Dodge Aspen: Dad was still selling Chryslers and I needed a car. Another stripper with low miles. No power steering and a huge steering wheel totally built my arms, haha. Served its purpose.

    1986 Volkswagen GTI: 8v, bought used for $7500 from a surfer dude in Long Beach, LI. Great car, one of my favorites. Passed it on to my nephew who drove it to about 250k.

    1984 Ford Thunderbird: After I got rid of the GTI I needed something to get to work until I bought something else. My wheeler dealer brother came up with this gem for $500. 302, no grille, hubcaps or seatbelts. A true ghetto cruiser. I put it in the paper for sale and got a call from a man that needed a car for his daughter. I told him that this wasn’t a car for anyone’s daughter. He thanked me.

    1986 Chevy IROC-Z: Hey, I grew up on Long Island, cut me some slack. 305, 4BBL, 5 spd. Not a bad car but a bad choice. I kept it for about 6 months and decided to follow my girl to Ann Arbor for grad school. Sold it for what I paid, first time for everything.

    1983 Oldsmobile Omega: My first car in Michigan. Bought it from a grad student for $400. Fair price, rusted floorboards and all. 2.8. Replaced the windshield and was good to go for a while. Check engine light would come on occasionally.

    1993 Escort GT: Bought new, traded the Slomega. Good car for commuting, fun as an Escort can be.

    1996 Probe GT: Traded the Escort for this. The only car I ever custom ordered. Lots of fun, fast enough. Sold it to a British dude when we moved back home to NY. Didn’t need it in Manhattan. Kept the wife’s Paseo for city duty.
    2004 Infiniti G35x: Purchased new to replace the Paseo. Son of Rotsun. Kept it garaged and covered in the NY building we lived in. Paid the parking guys an extra $25/month to park it myself. Still in my garage here in Austin, wife’s dd. She loves it and going strong at 42k.

    2005 Mazda 6 Wagon: V6, 5 speed. Great car, a little flimsy inside. Kept if for almost 2 years but wanted something a little more luxurious. Traded it for…

    2007 Volvo XC90 V8 Sport: First SUV. Always hated them but I love this car. First Volvo, always wanted one but don’t know why. Will buy or lease another if Volvo makes it.

  • avatar

    1988 Merkur Scorpio – My first car at sixteen. It was only four years old and seemed incredibly luxurious at the time. I loved the space and its relative rarity in the U.S.
    1974 MG B/GT – A wonderful and practical first classic. It was a good car to learn on for a novice to auto maintenance.
    1987 Alfa Romeo Milano Gold – I bought it in Georgia and drove it to my fist Air Force duty station in Spokane, Washington. It never gave much trouble, but it wasn’t the right car for me as a novice driver in the snow.
    1976 Lancia Beta Coupe – Not a simple car to keep, but I loved the looks and the beautiful interior. It was my primary car until a Buick rammed into it at an intersection.
    1978 Triumph Spitfire – Easy to work on, but I hated the top design and its crudeness. It probably wasn’t worse than my old MG, but my standards were higher by then.
    1974 Saab Sonnet III – Fun and unusual, but crude and uncomfortable. It got great gas mileage. My only V4.
    1981 Lancia Beta Coupe – The fuel injected Lancia was powerful and fairly reliable. The car still looked great, but the redesigned interior was less special than the one in my first Lancia.
    1980 Fiat Brava – A wonderful car that I couldn’t stand to look at. It had been repainted safety green that clashed terribly with its blue plaid cloth/vinyl interior. I shouldn’t have let it go.
    1987 Alfa Romeo Milano automatic – Dreadful. The three speed automatic was completely mis-matched with Alfa’s 2.5 V6.
    1991 Alfa Romeo 164 – I loved it, but it was cheap and worn out when I got it. It gave me a lot of trouble, but I could forgive a lot because of its great looks and engine.
    1999 Subaru Legacy GT wagon – I needed a good snow car. It was attractive and reliable. I never loved it, but it was a good car.
    1975 Lancia Beta Sedan – I bought it from a friend in Spokane and drove it cross-country to Georgia. It wasn’t pretty, but it felt really special. Too bad more haven’t survived.
    1999 Saab 9-3 – Quite a nice car; fast, reliable and thrifty. I loved the hatchback’s space.
    1987 Peugeot 505 2.8 – Attractive and comfortable. I’d wanted a Peugeot for quite some time and was not disappointed. It was a very high-quality and reliable car. The PRV6 is underrated.
    1990 Peugeot 405 S wagon – Amazing interior space and comfort. The quality wasn’t up to the 505’s level, but it handled rather better despite the front wheel drive.
    2000 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon – A very well-resolved car with tremendous comfort and good looks. There is no question I’ll own another.
    1990 Volvo 780 Turbo – The Bertone body is discreet, but beautiful. The quality of construction in and out is immense. It isn’t as charismatic as my purely Italian cars, but it has a depth of quality they cannot approach.

    I’m not sure what I’ll go for next. I’ve always wanted a Lancia Beta HPE, but I’ve owned similar cars already. An Audi Coupe Quattro might be interesting, and it is altogether different than anything else I’ve had already. I’m also quite fond of the ’70s-era Lotus Elite.

  • avatar

    Let’s turn on the “Way Back” machine …..

    1968 Opel Kadett – First car, 1.5 liter “cam-in-head”. Topped out around 90mph.

    1972 Opel Manta Rallye – Fun car, yellow w/mat black hood. Killer on the slalom courses against the others in class(Celica???).

    1976 Monza Town Coupe – Got married, had to get another car. Had the small V-8, made about 120hp. No maintenance problems, but did require the block being lifted off the mounts to change the plugs. UGH!!!!

    1976 Vega – OK, was getting divorced, so bought this car “for the wife”. Never realized what she really got in the settlement…..

    1974 Fiat X1/9 – Handled like a go kart, not at all reliable. Got parts from Bayless Racing in Atlanta to get a bit more power. Wound up tearing the upper motor support out due to increased power, immediately looked into getting rid of it.

    1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT – Traded the Fiat for an Alfa …. what was I thinking?? Ran great (when it ran), beautiful body, great sounding exhaust, money pit to maintain. New rings at 35,000 miles. Two complete rear hatches due to rust. Second gear syncro twice, inboard rear calipers once, etc……

    1983 Pontiac 6000 STE – Back to GM. Was getting married (again), had to ditch the money pit above. Was really pretty impressive for the time. Wound up keeping it for 11 years until I had an idiot pull out in front of me. It was never the same after that, so it had to go (unfortunately).

    1985 Celebrity S/W – Company car, so who cares?? However, wouldn’t be caught by friends driving it.

    1974 Ranchero – Had to find something to pull the boat. 351 V-8, plenty of torque, great for the towing. No major issues, just little niggling problems.

    1989 Bonneville S/E – Big car, 3800 V-6, nice freeway cruiser. Again, no maintenance issues. However, the wife hated it, and since we had a kid, she wanted a minivan. Ugh ….. so traded the Bonneville for a ……

    1990 TransSport – Yep, that’s right, the Dustbuster. Actually wasn’t such a bad people mover. Was reliable in the drivetrain department, but the sliding door was a CONSTANT PITA. Must have had it in at least 10 times under warranty for that damn thing not opening or closing correctly. Finally they replace the sliding hinges, and that seemed to solve the problem. The wife actually loved this van, and to this day wished she still had it. They really weren’t as bad as folks thought they were, at least in our experience (outside the damn door…..).

    1994 GEO Tracker 4X4 – OK, the STE had to go (see above), and since we were now in the frozen northland, a cheap 4X4 seemed logical. Taken at face value, not a bad winter car. Also fun in the summer with the top down. Gotta be careful in fast turns with the short wheelbase and high CG, but overall a decent ride. Reliable too. Taught the kids to drive a stick on this one, and took them to the “parking lot” when the snow was fresh to teach them how to recover from skids.

    1998 Firebird – Enough of the slow stuff. Gotta get something with a little umph. This has been my car, and it’s still in the collection. Only 37,000 miles, but it has unfortunately been the most trouble of any of the cars listed here, with the exception of the Italian numbers. Just niggling things, but they are sometimes annoying for a car with such low mileage. However, the fun outweighs the problems, so I’ll be keeping this one for quite a while.

    1998 Sunfire S/E – Bought for the daughter in 2002, and she still has it today with 150,000 miles. Routine maintenance and no major issues. The biggest thing to occur was just recently when the A/C wouldn’t hold a charge. Just needed a new hose seal. Now she is reporting a slow coolant leak from a hose, so it’s time to replace the original one. As you can tell so far, we have had pretty good luck with the GM products we’ve owned.

    1999 Grand Am S/E – Bought this one in 2004 for the son. Like the Sunfire, it had the 2.4 liter I-4 and has likewise run well. However, the hardware issues have not been fun. Blower motor, blower motor relay, both power window motors, interior vinyl coming apart at the top of the door panels on both doors, etc. Runs great, but continuous issues with those sorts of things.

    1999 Pontiac TransSport – The new version minus the plastic and dustbuster look. Nothing remarkable, was a replacement for the original TransSport. Only kept it a short while since we actually bought out someone’s short term lease on it. No problems, but certainly wasn’t exciting. When the lease ran out, we got a ….

    2002 Buick Rendezvous – Traded the TransSport for this one. All things considered, this was a pretty good vehicle for hauling stuff. The rear was huge, was great for vacations. Quiet, but not enough power from the V-6. Again, no maintenance issues with this one. Just the usual oil changes and such. Nothing fell off, nothing rattled, and the Versitrak was really a pretty slick AWD system.

    1963 Dodge Polara – Well, we inherited this one. Hadn’t run in 8 years, so alot of work was required. It was in FL, we were in MN, so after some basic repair work in FL, had to flatbed it up here. Gotta love a 383 4brl with a pushbutton Torqueflite. It now runs great and is fun to cruise around town in and take to car shows. We had nothing in the stable to tow that beast up here, so the Rendezvous was traded for a ….

    2004 Buick Rainier – Make all the fun of the GM360 trucks all you want, but this thing has been bulletproof. Has the 5.3L V-8, AWD, and air suspension. It pulled the old Polara from FL to MN without a wimper. Even the hills in Tennessee didn’t phase it. This is another one the wife loves and wants to keep until the wheels fall off it. Just recently have been having a problem with the rear wiper not contacting parts of the glass, so that’s going to be replaced. We also had to have the ignition switch replaced twice — under warranty — until I figured out the problem. The wife had about 5 lbs. of crap hanging from the keychain, and that was wearing the mechanism out. Once she took the extra things off, we haven’t had that problem again.

    As you can see, I’ve owned mainly GM products with few exceptions. I grew up in a “Pontiac” family (Bonnevilles, GTOs, and Grand Prixs), so I continued the GM line. Other than some stupid issues with the Firebird, none of them have been problematic. I’m actually surprised by the reliability of the drivetrains in the Sunfire (150,000 miles) and the Grand Am (125,000 miles). The STE had 110,000 miles when I got rid of it, and the only reason I did was that after the accident I kept having things go wrong – due to that hard hit it took. It had been dead reliable up to that point.

    BTW, I find the lists published here quite remarkable … a very diverse group!!!! Where is your list, RF?????

  • avatar

    1989 Buick Century Coupe, 3.3L. Unholy shitbox. Phenomenally low build quality – just utterly astoundingly bad.

    1998 Cavalier Z24: Fast, torquey, good handling, and unrefined. Loved it. Loved the growl of the little 2.4 quad 4 engine – it was the perfect car after the false first start with the Century.

    2001 Jeep Wrangler 4-cyl: Decent mileage and the ultimate city car for Montreal – 4WD in the snow, convertible on scorching days, and short wheelbase made it ideal for the congested city.

    2004 Jeep Wrangler 6-cyl: More power, smoother delivery, much more fun to drive overall. Bad on gas but I drove 2 miles to work and back daily. MPG was never really an issue.

    2008 Jeep Wrangler 4-door: Overall a better vehicle, but horrific mileage in the city (10-11 mpg) and really shitty build quality. Creaks, rattles galore with 10,000 km on the odometer.

    Next car: Something by MB or Porsche. Time to live a little.

  • avatar

    1976 Chevrolet Malibu Classic sedan – Parents bought it new for mom, she drove it 8 years and then she got an 84 Delta 88 (worst car my parents owned) Dad drove it for 8 years and the ’76 was STILL more reliable than the Olds. I got the ’76 when I turned 16 and drove it with teenage indifference for a few years and finally started to fix it up. Learned how to fix cars with it, I kept it for 8 years out of its 24 years on the road. The build quality was indifferent, the ride was soft, the styling was polarizing, it’s performance was ok, the handling was average. What finally killed it was the day I shattered a steel wheel along with lots of parts that it needed that were made of unobtanium

    1986 Pontiac 6000-STE – Fun car when it wasn’t being worked on. Bought it with 90,000 miles on it and promptly blew up the 2.8, rebuilt the engine and discovered how to make it bullet-proof. I put 40,000 miles on it and it needed a front end, shocks/struts upholstery, the factory radio I paid good money to fix, the self leveling suspension never worked exactly right.

    1995 Ford Explorer XLT – Bought from my brother-in-law with 103,000 on the clock. Was very reliable and honest about what it was and still is despite advancing age and mileage (240,000 on it currently) Only just recently has it started to suffer any downtime.

    2000 Ford Contour – bought from a friend for a paltry sum when gas was climbing through the roof. It’s the newest and lowest mileage car I’ve owned yet, but a timing belt, A/C system repairs, and other odds and ends on a car with 80,000 miles on it is unacceptable in my book. I drive it to work when I don’t feel like getting beat in the Explorer. It’s gas mileage isn’t much better than the Explorer in town, I guess because I drive the Explorer much easier and not as hard as the 4 pot Contour

  • avatar

    Yeah, me again. For some reason, I forgot all my Chryslers. The best one was my 65 300L hardtop, bought in 1974 with 70,000 miles. Traced it back through previous owner, talked to salesman who’d sold it new. That car had a nice combination of power and handling and looked fantastic; dark metallic blue, white vinyl top, black and white bucket seats. A very solid car with few issues. I sold it in late 80’s in a time of not much money to Harold LeMay; it is still in his museum; maybe you’ve seen it.
    63 300 2-door hardtop, red on white/black.
    62 Newport 2-door hardtop, gray primer, factory 3-speed. Short-term car, never any issues.
    60 New Yorker 2-door hardtop, red on silver. “Big Red” Had in early 90’s, totally original and great runner and driver. Sold to LeRoi Tex Smith; maybe he still has it.
    58 Imperial 4-door hardtop, white on tan. Lots of unique high-quality trim pieces inside and out, nice driver.
    57 DeSoto station wagon. Bought cheap, cleaned four wheelbarrow loads of crap out of it, washed, sold for more than I paid.
    And…48 Crosley station wagon. Bought in Oregon while I was in college. Sold to my mechanic…what a guy.
    Oh yeah, 49 Plymouth 4-door. Abandoned in driveway one block over. Tracked down owner, bought for $25. Put in $6 supermarket battery, sold to farmer for $60 the next week. Ah, college days.

  • avatar

    This is almost therapeutic, seeing the lists of cars that other have owned… I guess I was in good company with some of theses purchases:

    > 1981 Ford Courier, more rust than metal, good first vehicle though.
    > 1979 Chev K5 Blazer… Black… Short lived…mmmm
    > 1978 Ford Fairmont. Ugh.
    > 1983 Chrysler New Yorker (K car w/ mitsi 4cyl). This one lasted long enough to get me through high school. Gutless, but the seats were awesome.
    > 1980 Mazda RX7. My favorite. Drove at the same time as the Chrysler, summer car.

    > 1988 Pontiac Bonneville- caught on fire… after I had already paid to have a nylon camshaft gear replaced. Of course.

    > 1991 Pontiac Bonneville SSE. Take two. Do you REALLY need heat in a MN winter?, Owned in conjunction w/ a 1988 Isuzu trooper. At least one of them ran, usually.

    > 1994 Chev Lumina APV van. Worst car of them all. Last GM to be considered in our household.

    > 1994 VW golf, replaced by 1997 VW golf. There is a special spot in my heart for each of these. I can say for the FIRST time in my life I owned a car that didn’t leave me (or my family) on the side of the road.

    >Currently own a 2000 Mazda MPV, and a 1998 VW golf. Both are great cars. Looking to replace with them a newer golf and a TaurusX this year.

  • avatar

    1971 Toyota Corolla – A guy my dad worked with sold it to me for $35 when I was 13. It was a rust-bucket with a bad head gasket. Fixed it up and traded it to my brother for a LL Cool J Boom-Box which I still have.

    1979 Chevy LUV – Got it when I could legally drive. Even after all the donuts, air-catching desert runs, etc, it’s still going. Been handed around the family for 25 years now.

    1982 Mazda 626 – Got it when I was 18. It was a nice car back in the day, great for trips cross country to college and back. Blew head gasket at 95k miles.

    1987 Honda Accord LXi hatch – Worst car I ever had. Constant brake problems, and tranny went south at 85k

    1991 Mazda Miata – All options except auto. LOVED that little car. Of course it was “cool” when I bought it, but became the chick car of choice. I put 250k miles on that little bugger, including a 15k odyssey around (literally) the country in one month one summer.

    1999.5 VW Golf – Great car, very reliable, sold it to my ex and it’s still going strong w/150k. It’s still solid and tight, which cannot be said of same vintage Toyondas.

    2001 BMW 325it – My company car which I purchased when I retired. 150k great miles. By far the best all-around car I could have asked for. Still going strong.

    2001 MB SLK320 – Still wanted a small convertible with a little comfort for my aging and widening body with a little more power than the Miata. Fits the bill perfectly and has also been trouble free and has 60k miles and you couldn’t tell it from new.

  • avatar

    Started driving in 1986.

    1978 VW Rabbit (Great beater, great first car)
    1970 VW Karmann Ghia (Still one of the prettiest cars ever made)
    1971 VW Bus (Fun to sit 2″ behind the headlights)
    1971 VW Beetle (Learned to drift in this car)
    1982 Audi 80 (Most reliable car I ever owned.)
    1985 Dodge Daytona (Pfft.)
    1986 Oldsmobile Delta 88 (junk)
    1988 Saab 900S (Still miss this car)
    1994 Lincoln Town Car (bought it at an auction for the goof. Sold it soon thereafter to a cab driver)
    1996 VW GTI (Slow but fun)
    1998 VW Passat (Great family car)
    1999 Audi A4 (Really really really nice car. Still looks better than any subsequent generation)
    1999 Saab 9-3 CV (Really bad car)
    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero SW (Excellent car, great engine.)
    2004 Honda S2000 (great driver)
    2007 Honda Odyssey (If you have kids, you have no business in anything else)
    2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 (Torque monster and looks great but too heavy)
    2007 Honda S2000 (Don’t listen to the “purists”, stability control makes this car better.)
    2008 Mitsubishi Evo X GSR – this might be the best thing I’ve ever owned.

  • avatar

    My list is short, as I am still new at the car ownership thing…

    1995 Toyota Camry LE V6 – My first car and it is still going strong with 246K on the odo.

    1974 VW Beetle – Not technically mine, but it is the car I learned how to drive standard.

    1997 Kawasaki Ninja EX500 – My first motorbike. Older neglected bike purchased on the cheap.

    2008 Saturn Astra XR – Because I’m just that weird.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    1971 Super Beetle, bought used in ’75. Good for a college student. Gave it to younger brother, who kept it until the bottom rusted out.

    1977 VW Rabbit, bought used in ’79. Also OK, fuel injection made it pretty reasonably reliable (hell, drove it cross country). Sold it to a fellow student eventually.

    1984 VW Rabbit GTI bought new. Most fun I ever had with one of my cars. Only 90 hp!

    1987 VW Jetta GLI, bought new. Great car until the dealer screwed up the electrics. Traded it in 1988 for the Saab.

    1988 Saab 900S. Wonderful, though underpowered (no turbo). Kept it almost 20 years, 250k miles. Built like the proverbial tank. Miss it, made us Saabers for good.

    1995 Toyota Previa (supercharged)–still have this one, mostly for hauling loads of people/things. Good, reliable. Don’t want to ever crash anything in this, though.

    2001 Saab 9-3 hatch. Just passed 150k, still has original clutch. Overall, more reliable than the ’88, though stuff that has gone wrong has been more $$ to fix. But a keeper, fast and 35+ mpgs on highway.

    2004 9-5 Linear wagon. Nearing 90k miles. We’ve driven this one all over, great mileage on highway, holds tons of stuff. Been good so far.

    1997 Buick LeSabre. Parents’ car, inherited by 18 year old son to tool around in. Good sturdy American iron; a teenager driving a Buick?! Cops don’t even notice him:-)

  • avatar

    Now this is fun,
    1976 Ford Capri My first car and I loved it despite it’s many problems. 4 speed manual and a 2.8 V6. This car was always in good condition because it had always “just been fixed”

    1982 Audi Coupe 2.1 litre inline 5 motor. A fun car to take to university and the car that introduced me to navex rallies and autocross. Stout drivetrain but the electrics were problematic. traded in on a…

    1986 Porsche 944 This was a great car despite never getting the respect it deserved. While the base 944 was not a powerful car the handling was fantastic even by todays standards. No problems what so ever on this car. Would have kept this car forever, unfortunately it was rear ended at an intersection by an inattentive driver. Written off.

    1975 Jeep Cherokee My beater vehicle as I garaged the Porsche over winter. This truck had Jeep’s inline 6 motor. Not powerful but very reliable. The vehicle eventually rusted away. Replaced by a…

    1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd Equipped with the 4.0 inline 6, Up Country Suspension package and a good set of all terrain tires this truck took my wife and I to lots of places off the beaten path. This truck was also my first vehicle with an automatic transmission.

    1997 VW Jetta Commuter car. This was a generally good little car. It did run into trouble with it’s coils which was fairly common but little else went wrong.

    Current automobiles

    1961 Land Rover 88 Series 2 What can I say, I watched too many episodes of Wild Kingdom as a kid and had to have a real Land Rover to play with. 2.25 litre gas motor, 4 sp, 67 hp. PTO winch, canvas roof.

    2002 BMW 325i I can only say good things about this car. Throughout the week this car fulfills commuter, grocery getter, school bus duties without complaint but find a twisty empty road and every BMW cliche comes to fruition. I love that a four door sedan can be so much fun to drive. When I replace this car it will be with a 328i or a 335i.

    2002 Mercedes ML320 The family car. This car was bought new by my in-laws and rather than trade it in when they bought their new one I offered to buy it from them. I was hesitant at first but the vehicle was well cared for and had not been troublesome for them. So far it has been a good vehicle.

  • avatar

    Well, let’s see…

    1968 Impala Wagon – Bought it from a high school friend’s Dad for $60 long before I had a license to drive it. Hit by a bulldozer in the rear quarter so it was no beauty. Neighbor was looking for an engine for his car and this wagon had one.

    1971 Camaro SS – Loud, ugly and fun car bought senior year in high school. Lots of go fast parts, very lopey cam, lime green with diamond flake. Got lots of attention and I quicky tired of being in traffic court. Ultimately TH400 transmission died after being abused and sold it.

    1975 VW Dasher – Fun car. Scared friends to death while learning how to make FWD cars go around corners quickly and how the handbrake makes for fun 180 degree turns. Especially on a two lane road with four people in the car and deep ditches on either side. Laughing the whole time while they turned white with fear. Good times. Rusted and abused it was sold to a family member who needed an engine for his Rabbit.

    1974 Audi Fox – Bought two of them for parts for the Dasher. Drove them for a while, stripped them of parts and had ’em crushed.

    1983 Yamaha Seca 900 – My first motorcycle and a great bike. Fast for its day and smooth with the shaft drive. Sold it finance a move to the South.

    1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta – My first Alfa and enjoyed it. Quite reliable actually and comparable parts were cheaper than those for the VW Dasher. Moved to the South where it eventually succumbed to the usual rust that began from it’s life in the Midwest and a bad injection pump.

    1979 Mustang – Got it cheap because of a broken flex plate and it came with a V8. Good transportation for awhile.

    1977 Datsun 280Z – Acquired cheaply because it needed alot of clean up. Decent car after the fuel tank was repaired which allowed it run for longer than a half hour or so. Found someone who wanted it more than I did and sold it.

    1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta – Liked the first one so much I bought another one. Was in pretty good shape and enjoyed this car as well. Ended its life when a high school kid pulled out in front of this red car with its headlights on. A 45 mph T-bone into the other car made the front end unrecognizable. I was mostly OK.

    1991 Alfa Romeo 164 – See a pattern here. Enjoyed my third Alfa. It just got tired and was kind of ugly after a slight run-in with a cow on a two lane road. Sold it to an Alfa club member for parts.

    1970 240Z – An almost 100% original early serial number car acquired in 1996. Sat in a shed for years and the original owner sold it when her son got to legal driving age. It took awhile, but Tim Suddard at GRM magazine finally talked me in to selling it to him and it has graced the cover of a couple of magazines.

    1991 Alfa Romeo 164 – Always have to own two of each model Alfa. Car needed engine mounts really bad and couldn’t justify paying the exhorbitant amount of money they cost to fix it. Not a bad car otherwise and was in pretty good shape. Sold to same Alfa club member who bought previous 164 for parts. Once he got it he turned it into a daily driver since it was too nice to part out.

    2003 Protege5 – Daily driver. Spent time working with a couple of World Challenge Touring Car teams racing Proteges around this time frame and grew to like the car. Not too bad overall. Some part failures early on and you get what you pay for. It is starting to rattle and creak more. And quite often I am reminded that it is still painfully underpowered.

    1974 Datsun 260Z – Project car. Wasn’t looking for another one, but this particular car was built as a track day car and has all sorts of goodies like a cage, coil-overs, huge front brakes and some local history. Needs more clean-up and assembly.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    My cars in Sweden

    1959 Borgward Isabella TS
    A classmate needed to sell, and I would buy any cheap car. Mine for $60, resale $120 two years and 30K miles later! No serious problems. During my military service, I made sixty-four long return trips to my regiment.

    1964 SAAB 96
    Two stroke engine, almost no horse powers. But good chassis, sporty touch. Sold with a crashed gearbox (I was aware) and that was the only problem I had, apart from rust (not my fault).

    1965 SAAB 96
    Another four horse powers (10 % increase). Also less sporty, more comfy. But rusty and noisy gearbox (how far…). But not $1 in maintenance! Remember, oil change was automatic!

    1972 SAAB 96 V4
    New job, new car (only some demo miles). Four stroke engine, and disc brakes! For the first time I could emergency brake (which I tried every day). Replaced the front tires every 5K miles, but they were only $35 a pair, balanced on car. Also 34 miles/g, two stroke was 22! Eventually, the paintwork fell off, and the Ford engine head gaskets also.

    1975 SAAB 99 Combi Coupé
    Family, prams. Which didn’t fit in the boot anyway because of the sloping hatchback. Looking at Volvo estate wagons, I got tears in my eyes. This Indian yellow crap was my worst car then, and still is. Paintwork and most other things fell off. The dealership could not find spare parts anywhere. Eventually, the transmission became so loose I could drive two yards before the car moved. Sold it to my neighbor, who thought it was a nice car.

    1965 DKW F12 Junior
    A friend on his way to the scrap yard stopped by — I have an old car here, don’t you guys need… Nice two stroke engine, but the rest… The scrap yard trip was delayed a couple of months. The scrap guy faded, but eventually found a reason to accept it. Take a deep breath, now exhale…

    1965 SAAB 96
    Just like the others, just older and with rust holes at inconvenient places. Traded in for an aquarium (no fishes).

    1972 Datsun 180 B
    Wife’s second car. BMW 3-series wannabe. Very cheap and very corroded, but not where it met the eye. Radiator cracked, wife drove home anyway, engine and husband also cracked. I learned that the best way to make an engine extremely nice running is to replace the coolant with oil. Was able to sell it to a guy who just didn’t believe me, because it looked so nice, and the engine sounded terrific.

    1983 Volvo 245 GL
    New job, brand new car. My dreams fulfilled. No trouble, no fun. Maybe a little slow and heavy? But all right in every other aspect.

    1984 Volvo 245 GLT
    Same job, new car! I should have kept this car forever, it was really that good. No troubles whatsoever. Ah, memory!

    1986 Opel Rekord Caravan GL 2.2i
    New job, with staff bean counter. Volvos were too expensive, Opels were not. This new car had almost no brakes and no heating. Totaled in Dalecarlia by a guy from Finland in a perfect rear hit. I didn’t smile because they tried to fix it up (I know a totaled car when I see one). The only way out of it was another Opel.

    1986 Opel Rekord Caravan GLS 2.2i
    In addition to the shortcomings of the first Opel, this also had a faulty engine control, which the dealership never could fix. But if I found a new job, I could leave this car behind, so I called the boss.

    1987 Volvo 745 GLE
    New car, again! But this was not the Volvo I had longed for. Strange slow and noisy engine, strange brakes, and an enervating rattling sound from behind which the dealership never could find nor fix. I was able to sell it on the phone to a dealer in Gothenburg (where old Volvos go to die).

    1986 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 CL
    This was my wife’s third car, and probably the very best of all we have owned. Instead of selling it at 155K miles, we should have buried it behind the house. We used it for everything, you name it and we have done it. A full TAMA drum set? Check. Nine interior doors with frames when redecorating the home? Check. Three weeks in Scotland and England by car? Check.

    1987 SAAB 9000 i
    Suddenly I was the boss, and had to drive the boss car. Quite nice, roomy, comfortable but somewhat slow. It had boss style low profile racing tires, (nice on the mall parking lot). When the dealership realized who was driving it, they tried to sell it to me. No way!

    1989 BMW 320i M
    If you’re the boss, what car? BMW. And M seats, suspension and spoilers, mmm. Unfortunately my wife liked it even better than I did. We used to fight for the key every morning, until she totaled it in Örebro, and called from the emergency ward. One policeman said she was lucky driving that car, and no crap – she was almost unhurt.

    1989 Ford Sierra 2,9i
    No BMW, but perhaps a small Ford with big engine? Actually it was quite nice, and I liked its big heart. But it was not easy to drive in a straight line, and deadly on snow and ice. Even in the summer, I had a nasty slide on a wet road. And the front discs warped. I left it to a younger guy on the job, which totaled this Ford big time into the woods. He’d only driven front wheel drives before (and maybe afterwards).

    1991 SAAB 9000 CD 2.3i
    This was a nice useful all purpose big car, with almost no weaknesses. It was used hard and long until it died at 220K miles when our younger son borrowed it without my knowledge, and not letting me top up the engine oil which rapidly drained out of some worn shaft sealings. No oil and 100 mph doesn’t go well together. There’s no denying this SAAB needed some maintenance, and we were stranded a couple of times, but all in all acceptable at the high mileage. A home mechanic picked it up, gave me some cash, found an engine and I still see the car now and then.

    1997 BMW 520i
    Very nice car, but this early series car should have been recycled at the factory. It had all the child’s deceases you could think of. Even the windshield wiper mechanism broke down (in rain of course). The dealership had to wait twelve days to get the spares from Germany. In mid-winter, I couldn’t close the door window. The engine wouldn’t start because of wrong oil. The front shocks leaked and froze. No handbrake. We were stranded four times. The engine was powerless but low on gas, how about 34 mpg on average? And it was a BMW, how could I hate it?

    2002 Golf 1.6i 2002 (present)
    My wife’s replacement for the old faith servant. Another German standard product with standard problems: coils and oil sludge. She’s been stranded three times. Hey, weren’t cars better in the old days? The old Golf was a much better car, although the interior quality and safety is better in the newer one (appreciated when it runs). Too noisy on the highway (preferring the older car). And I know who take care of the cars in Hell: the local VW dealership.

    2002 Volvo V70 2.4
    What can you say? No-nonsense safe transport. Nothing special, nothing bad. Not so fun to drive, but very comfortable front seats. Nice winter road holding. But if you once had a BMW…

    2002 BMW 520i Touring (present)
    Ahh, that’s better. Now they learned. This car had no weaknesses or problems whatsoever until my wife lost the brakes recently and rushed full speed through a crossroad. A freezing problem in the brake vacuum system. They fixed it, and we lost it once again. Stranded two times more, where’s my Borgward? I still try to look positively on this BMW, which is hard when I watch the brake repair bill. But I can’t hate a BMW, and they know it.

  • avatar

    Nothing real exciting for me.

    1981 Cutlass Supreme (Good first car. And Cheap)
    1991 Thunderbird (College commuter car.)
    1993 Grand Cherokee (Lemon by the time I got it.)
    1997 Ford F150
    1998 Harley Superglide (I know, not a car.)
    2003 Ford F-150 (Still have)
    2009 Malibu (Still have)

    The wife.
    1987 Mitsubishi Mighty Max truck (Absolutely amazed she survived this truck.)
    1998 Malibu (Finally died. Replaced by the 2009 listed above.)
    2004 Nissan Murano (Still have)


  • avatar

    1989 Pontiac Sunbird SE (1992) Early H.S. grad gift. Went 30,000 + without oil change. Needless to say it died. Did learn to make sure oil gets changed though.

    1977 VW Scirocco (1995) King of the beaters, lots of fun.

    1984 BMW 318i (1995) Favorite car. Learned to drive a 5sp on this one. Learned that BMW repairs cost $$$ too. This is the car I wished I still had.

    1986 Toyota Celica GT (1996) Forgetable car. Hit two deer in one week with it.

    1994 Saturn SC2 (1997) Worst car ever. Last GM product I bought. Craaaaaap.

    1999 Ford Ranger 4×2 (2000) Nice little truck. Couldn’t go anywhere in the snow and lack of AC made it okay to drive about 4 months out of the year.

    1996 Ford Explorer XLT (2001) Good SUV until the tranny needed to be replaced 3 times in 6 months. Got rid of that one with 500 miles left on the warranty.

    2003 Ford Focus SE (2003) First new car I bought. Lots of modifications to this one. Turned into a pretty quick and fun ongoing project.

    2008 VW Jetta SE (2008)

    My wife’s cars

    1984 Toyota Tercell (1990)

    1996 Toyota Corolla (1996) This thing still had the same clutch that it left the factory with. The first battery lasted 10 years. It was a freak of nature. Rust killed this one.

    2008 Toyota Corolla (2008)

    Nine cars to her three. The way it should be.

  • avatar


    1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – beautiful dark pearl red 4 door – bought it off ebay. Great car: comfortable, reliable, and surprisingly fuel efficient (at least on the highway). Traded it with my dad for his Corvette (see next).”

    No major problems? I’m asking because there is a ’96 for sale near me with 56k miles on it and I’m seriously considering getting rid of the Crown Vic and buying it, but wary of GM issues (and I’ve read some places not to buy old luxo cars). It looks like a great highway cruiser, though. And I’m a sucker for big, old school RWD V-8 powered American cars.

  • avatar

    racebeer :
    February 28th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Let’s turn on the “Way Back” machine …..

    LOL @ racebeer, or should we address you as Mr. Peabody…?

    In almost 40 years of driving, I’ve owned or used well over 100 cars, trucks, vans motorcycles etc. I couldn’t list them all here if I wanted to, but I’ve got a few highlights (or lowlights).

    ’66 Pontiac Stratochief – IL6, 2-speed auto, no PS,PB, carpet, no nothing, but it was literally bullet proof (it had actually been shot at, at the farm I bought it from, and had the resultant holes to prove it!). Actually I owned several late ’50’s and ’60’s GM full-size and mid-size cars, and all were reliable and easy to fix.

    ’57 Ford 3/4 ton short box pick-up with 400,000 miles on the odo, and two tons of garbage in the stake box when I bought it (know this as fact as the truck was weighed at the municipal dump when I unloaded those two tons by hand) IL 6 with a 3 speed on the tree, top speed of 68 MPH, and a quart of oil every 200 miles or so, as every seal was leaky. Holy shit that truck was fun. Oil breather carb, tube radio (I thought it was broken, until one day I turned it on and after warming up for about ten minutes actully produced some sound!)

    ’75 AMC Pacer top speed of 78 MPH, about 15 MPG, and a replacment window crank mechanism every 6 months or so, and replacement door hinges 4 different times in the 18 months I drove it. What a complete POS.

    ’78 Plymouth Fury Sport dealer modded extended range gas tank (70 gallons, took up most of the trunk) an HVAC system that allowed my wife to use the vents as a hair dryer when we went camping, and was cold enough to use as a meat locker in the middle of 100 degree summer days. Rusted out within 3 years. Loved it, but what a POS.

    ’79 Ford Fiesta maybe the most fun I’ve ever had in a car. Could lay rubber going into 3rd gear in the summer, topped out at the peg on the ODO at 220 KMH and 7800 RPM, and fried two sets of CV joints in two years (wasn’t the car, twas the drivers!). It was the German built version imported only into Canada (Americans got the crappy dumbed down British version) that went like a rocket. Still remember it fondly.

    ’86 Corolla the most boring car I’ve ever owned. Bought it brand new with 1.2 km’s on the odo, and sold it two years later for $200 less than what we paid for it. Boring, boring, boring, but the most reliable vehicle I ever bought.

    ’73 Pontiac Catalina wagon a tank. seriously, 5100 pds of abundant space and power. 400 CID, 4 bbl, turbo 400 tranny, if it hadn’t rusted out would have probably gone 500,000 miles. It was well built, durable, reliable and easy to maintain. It was the version with the disappearing rear window and tailgate, and could transport 8 people without even working up a sweat. Represented what GM could do right. Still one of the most memorable cars I’ve ever owned.

    ’86 Buick Park Avenue Limited Barge on wheels. Land Yacht. Luxo-liner. Use whatever moniker you want, but it was the epitome of what a Buick represented at the time. The rear seat was like a couch, the 305 CID powered us down the Trans Canada highway with nary a glitch on many many trips out west. It was the veritable lap of luxury. And when it started going bad, it went waaaaaaay bad very fast. It went from beloved family member to “get rid of this POS before I torch it!” in less than a year. Thankfully it was stolen and the punks did us a favour by totalling the car. Thank God. It represented how bad GM was becoming. It was a harbinger of things to come, for sure.

    ’81 Mazda GLC 4 door sedan Durable, cheap to operate, with a sunroof and amanual tranny it was fun to drive in the summer. Unfortunately Mazda didn’t know how to engineer a car for prairie winters. It was cold and tough to start in the winter. It was overall a really good car, and I was saddened when my son (whom I had passed it onto) was t-boned by a full size pick-up.

    ’78 Dodge Aspen/ ’87 Dodge Caravan/ ’92 Dodge Spirit/ ’96 Plymouth Voyager You would have thought that after the Sport Fury that I would have learned my lesson, but noooooo, we had to buy not one more, but four more POS Chryslers before the lesson was finally learned. After four more POS Mopar products, and many run-ins with Mopar dealers and Chrysler itself over transmission issues, I will probably never purchase another Chrysler product again. I grew up having a father who was, and still is, a Chrysler fanboy, so I guess that explains it, but still the worst vehicles I have ever owned. Period.

    ’05 Ford Focus ZX5 SES Jury’s still out (long term reliability), but so far it’s been everything I had hoped and more. It has every available factory option, leather, Bose sound system, traction control, sunroof, all of it, except it has a standard transmission. It’s fun to drive, aquits itself on the highway very well, and has had one minor service issue since we bought it. I run it with Blizzak WS-50’s on all four wheels during the winter, and it’s the first car we’ve had that my wife has never been stuck in snow with. We’ve travelled 400 miles (650 km’s) with four adults and luggage, and it was more than adequate to the task. We’ll probably keep it for at least 7 years and so depreciation was not a factor in the eventual purchase, and I’m very pleased with it.

    Many more to write about, but I haven’t got all day, and I don’t want to bore everybody.

  • avatar

    My cars:

    1985 2-door Jetta diesel – Appointments were required for passing on 2 lane highways, but peppy in the city. Had options like heated seats, but of course no A/C. Got rid of it when I moved to the US because I didn’t want to deal with swapping out the metric only instrument cluster and any other US DOT federalizing requirments.

    1989 Jetta Turbodiesel – Bought it off Ebay from a guy in Vermont. Paid $1250 for it in early 2001. Drove it until 2003 when I replaced it with a new Jetta TDI. When it was time to sell, I sold it on Ebay for $1225. This car had A/C and a little more power since it had a turbo, but the alternator belt kept needing to be adjusted, which got annoying. Replaced the starter and did some bodywork, but it didn’t require much maintenance beyond oil and filter changes.

    2001 Hyundai Accent – Not a bad car at first, until the Automatic transmission modules failed 3 times within 40000 miles. We traded it after 2 years on my 2003 Jetta. As a result of this, I don’t really trust Hyundai now. Service departments were great, but I like cars that operate reliably.

    2003 Jetta TDI, 5 speed – Bought new in June of 2003 for myself. Great car so far. Will be 6 years old shortly, and no major problems with it. Plus 50-55 MPG on the highway.

    1993 VW Golf – Bought this for about $2000 at a used car place for the wife since the Accent went away (she can only drive automagics). Bad decision. There were a lot of problems with it, including some sort of exhaust leak into the cabin that no one could seem to fix. Didn’t keep it long, maybe a year? Donated it to a charity just so we could get rid of it.

    2000 Jetta TDI, automatic – Bought for the wife since it’s an automatic. We first saw this car at a Toyota dealer in 2003, and they wanted about $14000 for it, which was way too much. The weasel salesman wouldn’t give us the name of the previous owner to even see if there was a service history. About a year later, the car showed up in the same city at a used car dealer. They wanted $10K, but I got them to sell it for $9K because of the lack of documentation for the last timing belt date, and worn out brakes on all 4 corners. The car has been surprisingly good over the past 5 years. Had to replace the A/C compressor about 2 years ago, but it’s been pretty routine maintenance otherwise.

  • avatar

    OOps forgot the 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan and the 1999 Audi A6. Both forgettable enough to be forgotten I guess!

  • avatar

    @ Monty ….

    I was wondering who would be the first to catch that one!!!!! Always been a huge fan of Rocky & Bullwinkle.

  • avatar

    1992 Chevy Cavalier VL 5 Speed—very good car
    2002 Chevy Cavalier LS Sport-bought new and sold after 28k
    1987 Toyota 4 Runner SR5 5 Speed—loved it—had a removable top, 22+ MPG, cheap to maintain, 4×4 when needed. I sold due to the rust. I miss it dearly.
    2003 Kawasaki ZX6R 636—Awesome, absolutely awesome.
    1993 Nissan 240SX—bought with 73k for $1200—blew the engine at 96k—–I miss that car.
    2004 VW Jetta 1.8T—wished it had a 5 speed—nice car—gas mileage sucked along with the dealer service—drove 15k in 9 months and sold it.
    1993 Mercury Grand Marquis—bought with 37k from family still had only 46k
    July ’08-Current—Dealer Demo—I typically drive 3-4 different cars home a week—its fun.

  • avatar

    2001 Saturn SL1 w/ a manual transmission

    This is the first car I’ve ever owned. Bought used in May 07 for $3800 and 88,000 miles. It now has 102,200 miles and I’ve never had to replace anything….nor has the previous owner according to his meticulous maintenance receipts. I am starting to get an electrical gremlin or two. I think the alternator may be going, which may be the first repair done to this car in its life. I get random ABS lights, and dim headlights. For a car that cost $12,000 when new, zero repairs in 102,000+ miles is nothing to look down upon.

  • avatar

    57 Dodge Crusader (313 V8)
    56 Plymouth Wagon (Flathead 6)
    58 VW Bug
    64 Plymouth Valiant Signet (w/273 V8)
    66 Plymouth Sport Fury
    69 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible
    69 Dodge Dart 340
    71 ‘Vette Convertible
    70 Datsun 1200 (‘Vette was totaled)
    70 Chevy Nova 350
    70 Duster 340
    73 Dodger Charger
    75 Chrysler Cordoba
    65 Dodge Van (mid engined with 273 V8)
    70 Ford Ranchero
    77 ‘Vette LT1
    82 Chevrolet Celebrity
    86 Honda Accord
    73 Cougar XR7 Convertible
    88 Audi 5000
    74 Caprice Convertible
    88 Jeep Cherokee
    90 Ford Aerostar
    96 Nissan Maxima
    96 Dodge Caravan
    84 Porsche 911 Targa
    00 Chrysler Town and Country
    03 Pontiac Montana
    01 Porsche Boxter S
    05 Nissan Murano
    06 Hyundai Sonata

  • avatar

    Wow finally got a password that worked!
    First car.
    1964 2 dr Mercury Maruader SS 390 4bbl.. Maroon, Tan Bucket seats… Those were the good parts. The power steering ram was taken off cause it was broken so the car “steered” like a drunken sailor on a stormy might, used 1 quart of oil and STP every 150 miles! engine ticked like a sewing machine… Looked sort of cool from a distance. I bought it in 1972 for $450.00 CDN.. sold it in 73 for 300 and bought a

    1966 VW Bug. On the level it could hit 60-70 MPH but reliable! Traded it for a new

    1973 Vega! Had this one for 2 years with no problems, Good looking car.

    Traded it for a new

    1975 Camaro – dark blue grey interior so cool but the biggest mistake was not getting A/C… We were getting married and I thought we could add A/C later as an aftermarket but who has the money “later”? We also had a 1966 dodge van with shag carpet, fat tires, dodge magnum wheels, cool looking but quirky sold it and traded the Camaro
    for a

    1976 or 77 Red Buick Regal 2 dr with white bucket seats and loaded to the teeth… Soo cool but… 2 distributor shafts later they discovered the engine block must be warped… then transmission seals leaked and finally at 12000 miles the rear end seal was leaking… no warranty left I traded it for a
    1977 2 dr Pontiac Parisiene… (A friend bought the buick and drove it for 10 – 12 years and only changed oil!)
    (I worked at a GM dealership hence all the GM’s)
    Nice car but it made me feel old… sold it to my brother in Law who drove it forever.
    1980 Pontiac Phoenix SJ or something – couldn’t afford the payments so sold it and bought a 1971 mustang for my wife to drive and I had a dealer car a Pontiac 6000.
    changed jobs and had a 1976 Ford something or other – small car but memorable for being white…
    Bought a 1981 Buick Skylark.. Nice car but too practical…
    Moved to Geremany in 1986
    1980 Honda Accord – very nice but gutless on the autobahn… at 140 kmph it sounded like a jet about to take off…
    then a couple of VW Passats form the late 70’s
    One was memorable because it wouldn’t start in the morning unless it was pushed. Fortunately we lived on a hill so every night we would park it facing downhill and the let the clutch out to start it. The hill was 10K long with 70 curves Sometimes it took about 5 K to get going but once it ran it would start for the day… usually, not always, but usually… it never left us stranded but in the middle of Bescanson France with my wife driving and my daughter and I pushing we got it going! Good thing we weren’t proud people!
    THen came 3 BMW’s! All used. Great cars so fantastic and a joy to drive. I will never forget them!
    Moved back to Canada and bought a new 09 Subaru Impreza sport 5 dr, 5 spd which has worked out great, we love driving it! It handles well and is comfortable. Being 55 years old it is sporty enough and we got a great deal on it. Hopefully it lasts for a long time.
    BYTW this is a great site. I’ve been reading for years.

  • avatar

    Finally some proof that the car churn at our house isn’t unusual (and almost prudent, compared with some of you). Interesting to see how gearheads make the kind of compromises life requires, like swearing off Italian cars when your kids start arriving. And even better to find a little secret love for my favorite losermobiles.
    Going backward, not counting kids’ cars …
    Current: 2008 Civic Si, 2008 WRX (next to go), 2007 Saturn Outlook (cheap!)
    Auto genealogy:
    2007 Mazda3 (stolen, recovered and bought back cheap for my daughter)
    2006 GTI (How many times will I fall for this?)
    2000 Escort ZX2 S/R (still doing track duty somewhere in the midwest)
    2005 CR-V
    2005 Expedition (stolen)
    2005 Mustang GT (disappointing … and sold after 1 month for $5000 more than I paid)
    2002 Focus SVT (sob)
    2001 Caravan AWD
    2000 Nissan Xterra
    2000 Focus ZX3
    1991 Civic Si (cherished by my father, inherited by me, then sold to an 18-year-old who had a fart-can and neons waiting. I figure my father would rather someone love it the wrong way than kill it delivering pizzas.)
    1999 Taurus
    1997 F-150
    1997 GTI (awful. just awful.)
    1996 Mercury Mystique (Viking funeral on I-5)
    1994 Toyota T100
    1992 Probe GT (frameless windows, hidden wipers and popup lights not a good idea in Alaska)
    1989 Ranger (hit a moose)
    1986 Renault Fuego (averts eyes)
    1985 Mazda B2000
    1984 Volvo 240 diesel wagon
    1984 Isuzu Trooper (top speed: 70)
    1983 GTI
    1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88
    1982 Alfa GTV-6 Balocco
    1979 Mazda RX-7 (two engines in 1,000 miles)
    1976 Lancia Beta HPE
    1976 Capri II (bought and rolled the day I got my driver’s license.)

  • avatar

    Oh yeah – and I don’t know how I could have forgotten – I had an 88 Cadillac Allante for a couple of years – really poor braking system. GM abandoned it for parts. POS really. Nice looking though.

  • avatar

    This is not my car-buying history, but that of my ex-father-in-law:

    1983 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – totaled
    1984 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed)- traded in
    1987 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed)- traded in
    1991 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – given to daughter
    1995 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – sold
    1999 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – traded
    2003 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – traded
    2006 Honda Accord EX (4-cyl, 5 speed) – driving

    At least he knows what he likes….

  • avatar

    This is a real memory buster but here goes
    50 Dodge Sedan (Inherited in 63 died in 64)
    64 Ford Custom 500 Wagon
    66 Ford Custom 500 Sedan
    66 Chev Biscayne
    69 Chev Bel Air
    73 Monte Carlo
    75 Ford Country Squire
    69 Ford Torino cherry to rust bucket in 2 years
    70 Ford Custom 500 (cheapest car of the lot)
    77 Chev Impala 2 door Hardtop
    82 Chev Caprice Classic
    86 Ford Tempo (first time purchase of a brand new car)
    91 Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue Transmission Eater
    90 Pontiac Grand Prix (totalled on black ice)
    92 Honda Accord (retired 2008)
    99 Toyota Camry XLE (absolutely the finest car I have owned)

    List wasn’t as long as I thought

  • avatar

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. I dont expect to every grow up. Now I will date myself.

    46 Ford coupe
    47 Ford 2 dr
    49 Mercury lead sled Olds engine
    26 model T coupe
    36 Ford pickup hot rod corvette powered
    47 chev fleetline
    63 Corvair Monza–bought new
    63 Impala- tried to tow race car didnt work
    66 chev pickup new, towed race car
    67 ElCamino SS 396– this really towed race car
    Got married had kids
    69 pont catilina
    69 olds toranado
    68 cad eldorado
    74 pont catilina
    77 pont cat.
    78 GMC pickup
    63 Jeep wagoneer
    80 chev caprice wagon
    86 pont wagon
    89 chev pickup
    91 olds custom cruiser wagon
    2001 chev X cab 4wd pickup
    2004 mercury grand marquis
    I must be easy to please because I enjoyed them all. The last three are my curent drivers but I still have the model T and the Eldorado plus a dozen motorcycles. The most fun vehicle without a doubt was the 36 ford pickup hot rod, a super dependably street machine that would out drag a new 63 impala 409 dual 4 bbl carb as long as the impala had street tires.

  • avatar

    ’70 Pontiac catalina – 350 CU, 8 MPG. Could slam into a frozen snow pile at 15 MPH with no damage

    ’68 Firebird 350 4 spd – Blue – Loved it. Drum brakes,no power anything including steering. Headers and cherry bomb glass packs , those were the days. Bought for $1600 and sold for $1600 but never should have

    ’77 Pontiac Trans AM 400 POS 4spd. I think it had 185 HP. Rear defroster would turn on the wipers, heater would turn the headlights off, etc. etc. Always breaking. Sold if after bondo and a paint job. Fun project.

    ’78 Toyota Celica – First foreign car. I needed something reliable and economical. Great car, had to replace axle bearings, and that was about it. Way ahead of American cars at the time.

    ’84 Toyota Celica 5Spd – Red. Loved it, loved it. Never even burned out a bulb of any kind. Never a problem. Sold it to a friend so my wife could by a camry. Dumb. Went over 200,000

    ’79 Plymouth Volare – Inherited from wife so she could buy camry. What was I thinking? The marriage and the car. Always broke, needed tranny at 35,000. Slant 6 stalled if it hit a puddle.

    ’84 Toyota 4WD pickup – Not bad, but underpowered. Cracked the block when it hit 20 below.

    ’96 Saturn SL2 – Boring, fairly reliable. Sun roof leaked from day one, dealer never able to fix.

    2000 – Saturn LS1 – Current car and probably the most reliable car I have ever owned next to the celica. I think I got the one built on the right day. 140,00 annd still runs like a top, body looks great and shines like a mirror.

  • avatar

    1964 Chevy II Wagon: my brother rolled it while taking it off road

    1962 Beetle: Great for getting around in Montana winters, Scary as hell when dealing with the draft of oncoming Semis in the other lane.

    1968 LTD first V8 Hot Rod for me.

    71 Ford Custom 4dr. bought it for $50 to get thru the winter. It worked.

    70 Maverick 6 cyl 2dr: Mom gave it to me because she didn’t think the Ford Custom was safe. Never understood her logic because the Maverick had huge holes in the floorboards and the passenger door flew open on hard left turns. Motor never quit though.

    77 Nova 2dr: This was 1979 so everyone thought I was crazy for putting headers 4bbl along with wheels and tires on it. It was cool enough to get my wife to go on a date with me and she’s kept me for 26 years so far.

    73 Nova hatchback: Complete rust bucket. Bought it for $250 took the wheels and tires off this and put them on the 77 Nova. Then a guy offered me $700 for the 73 Nova. I took the cash.

    Decided I liked this buy cheap sell less cheap plan so over the next year we went thru a 72 Torino, 77 Olds, 68 Renault, and a 62 Dodge pickup.

    73 Mustang coupe w/ Mach 1 options

    76 Vega Nomad when the 2nd son arrived

    77 Olds Cutlass 2dr for the 3rd son

    78 Cutlass 4dr with the 4th son

    86 4wd Vista wagon on the 5th son

    84 VW diesel Vanagon “Das Bus” was a lot of fun for us.

    91 Ford Aerostar. We drove this thing to death. Only major repairs were tie rod ends and a water pump in 230,000 miles. Taught 4 of our boys how to drive with this rig.

    76 Olds Cutlass, 77 Pont Grand Prix, 63 Chev 1/2ton, 84 Olds Cutlass Cierra Diesel, 68 Mustang coupe w/ 289 project and a 86 Toyota Corolla were our second car while the Aerostar provided the grunt work.

    2003 Mazda MPV was leased with the promise that the next car my wife drove would be a sports car.

    2004 Mustang convertible fulfilled the promise to my wife

    2003 Grand Am became my daily driver.
    2006 Saleen Convertible for Christmas from my wife because the kids totaled the Grand Am last winter.

    Have I got a great wife or what? She puts up with 6 gear head guys and their friends for 26 years and still buys me a Saleen because she says it’s my turn.

  • avatar

    1990 Ford Taurus – Silver
    1992 Nissan Maxima SE – Black
    1971 Dodge Dart Swinger – Light Green Metallic
    1999 Toyota Camry – Something like Beige

    One of these days I will join the 21st Century.

  • avatar

    And to think my dad only owned five cars his whole life! I’ve only one regret out of the whole fleet…

    ’64 Ford Galaxie 500 -Family hand-me-down
    ’67 Ford LTD- 390cid, fast AND bad brakes…
    ’71 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu-High school hot-rod
    ’78 VW Rabbit-a great car
    ’74 Opel Manta Luxus-nice till I hit that bus…
    ’74 Dodge Monaco sedan-Blues Brothers stunt car
    ’72 Mercury Cougar Convertible-ahh, top (and pants) down fun
    ’72 Jeep CJ5-traded a Honda 450 for it (bad move)
    ’78 BMW 320i-loved that car
    ’78 Porsche 928- bad-acid trip seat upholstery-$36 wiper blades.
    ’85 VW Jetta GLI-first NEW car, stealthy, soft spot for Vdubs after that.
    ’80 Datsun 280Z-the rusty rocket
    ’72 Lincoln Continental-huge back seat in the Boca Raton bomber
    ’82 VW Jetta-sensible, frugal fun
    ’86 Audi 5000S-manual transmissioned der doppel weltmeister
    ’89 Audi 90- topped it out @ 128 mph in Arkansas boonies
    ’90 VW Corrado-G-laderlicious
    ‘90 Audi 200 Quattro-pearl white great car
    ’90 Audi V8-awesome sleeper
    ’91 Pontiac Grand Prix-company car POS
    ’93 VW Corrado SLC-all time fav-cried when I sold it.
    ’87 Audi 200 turbo-bought for wife cheap, troubles o’ plenty, traded it in for…
    ‘90 ? Mazda MX-6 oscillating vents, but DULL, so we got her a new
    ’94 VW Jetta-it was a good car, she loved it.
    ’96 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro-wonderful design
    ’71 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible-many a beer and cig tossed from here…
    ’65 Chevrolet pickup-the only WTF was I thinking when I bought this…
    ’60 Ford F100-fun to look at, shitty to drive.
    ’57 Ford Thunderbird-the Hot Wheel I loved as a kid-that I could drive.
    ’98 VW New Beetle-fun for a year, then so glad to get rid of…
    ’94 BMW 325iC-one of the best cars I ever had-parked in winter (Son born)
    ’85 Volvo 240DL Wagon-clean winter hooptie. Had a stick-shoulda kept it.
    ’00 VW Jetta-Wife’s next new car. Good and fun. Sold it for…
    ’94 BMW 525iT-sweet design, twin sunroof, shoulda kept it.
    ’99 BMW 528iT-missus’ next family trickster, her favorite (daughter born)
    ’91 VW GTI-winter hooptie #2
    ’00 Audi A6 4.2-If this car had a stick, I’d have kept it.
    ’03 Saab 9-5 Wagon-was to replace the 528iT, but wife didn’t like it enough…
    05 Volvo XC 90-“Chelsea tractor” smooth family hauler.
    ’96 Audi Cabriolet-cheap summer fun, but a slug compared to the old BMW cab.
    ’06 VW GLI-Fast, fun, frugal, and totally bulletproof, but I’ve got the itch again…

  • avatar

    In more or less chronological order, although I owned some of these simultaneously.

    1962 Dodge Polara 500 (a ‘lot’ car)
    1966 Pontiac GTO convertible (junked when frame rusted out)
    1967 Chevrolet Caprice
    1973 Dodge Charger
    1974 Fiat 128SL
    1975 Dodge Dart Sport
    1972 Ford F100 4X4 SWB (plow truck)
    1972 Plymouth Satellite Wagon
    1975 Plymouth Valiant
    1972 VW Beetle (destroyed when kid down the street plowed into it)
    1972 Vauxhall Firenza (still have nightmares…)
    1972 VW Westphalia Camper Van
    1983 Ford Fairmont
    1984 Subaru DL
    1989 Ford Tempo
    1989 Honda Civic
    1995 Mercury Sable
    1992 Isuzu Trooper
    1998 Plymouth Voyager (junked at 145K miles due to corrosion)
    1989 Ford Crown Victoria (beautiful car- sob…why did I sell it?)
    1996 Ford F-150 (300 inch six, 5 spd, 113K miles daily driver)
    2004 Mitsubishi Lancer (wife’s car)

  • avatar

    – 1991 Olds Delta 88 Royal Brougham (My 1st car & one with the best memories. I sold the car to my Aunt & it’s still on the road! 472,000 Km’s! Original engine & tranny.)

    – 1991 Buick Riviera

    – 2001 Nissan Maxima SE 20th A.E. (my 1st & only brand new car)

    – 2001 Lexus ES 300

    – 2003 Subaru Forester XS (Wife’s ride)

    – 2006 Subaru Forester XT Turbo

    – 2005 Lexus ES 330 (My current ride)

    I’ve always enjoyed a 6 cyl engine over a 4 cyl or V8 personally.

  • avatar

    1959 Triumph TR-3. My dad bough an Alfa so he gave me this. Took me through High School
    1969 Rover 2000. Was my Mom’s. Drove it in College. Bad move, No one in Fredonia, NY could replace the clutch
    1978 Ford Fairmont. Really bad crap car — But it ran. Mom got fed up with the Rover & bought this and let me use it. She went back to the TR3
    1978 Ford Fiesta Actually pretty fun little car. Got totaled on New Years Eve coming back from a Ramones concert.
    1978 VW Rabbit. My aunt died and I got the car.
    1978 VW Dasher. My uncle boughts an Olds Diesal and gave me this.
    1986 Mustang GT. My first car of my own. Too many tickets and bad in the snow
    1986 Ford Taurus LX. 2nd car of my own. Pretty nice for me.
    1990 Ford Probe Saw it and wanted it
    1993 Ford Probe GT Ditto from above — Lost Job &
    Old Diesel Toranado Lease up on Probe (See above)
    1979 Honda Civic $500 beater Got New Job
    Nissan Altima It was ok
    1987 BMW 535 Dad died & I got this puppy
    1989 Audi A4. Loved it. NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN RID OF IT
    1960 Triumph TR-3. Tried to relive my youth
    2003 Miata. Reality.
    2006 Miata Love it
    If you want a TR as a daily driver buy a Miata. Let your partner ahve the practical car.

  • avatar

    -1989 Chevrolet S-10 pickup with extended cab. Ended up putting 297,000 miles on it. Only problem it had was with the emergency brake jamming up in that whole time.

    -1998 Plymouth Breeze. Piece of shit…had to replace the tie rods 3 times by 50,000 miles. Wrote a letter to Chrysler, where my dad worked….and some fucking top ranking executive actually called back and wanted my opinion.

    -2004 Toyota Avalon. Well, this was my aunt’s car that she lent to me while she was in UK for a year. This car was a disappointment to say the least. It had 2500 miles on it when she lent it to me. By 24,000, the thing had a new transmission, new tie rods, and suspension. This completely changed my viewpoint on Toyota and its “mythical” quality. Fuck them if they can’t build a car right.

    -2005 Jeep Liberty. This was a lease and a huge gas hog. Was excellent offroad, but the Goodyears were poor quality and too narrow. Interior was cheap and gray like most recent Chrysler products.

    -2008 PT Cruiser. Hey screw you, it’s all I could afford lol plus my dad worked for Chrysler so I had to get it. It was a corporate executive car used out at the Chrysler HQ with only 12,000 miles on it. Gets excellent gas mileage but the interior is so fucking cheap. I was actually shocked at how nice of a highway and long-distance vehicle this is. It sucks for city driving though.

  • avatar

    New member…just had to add to this thread

    1977 Buick LeSabre (coupe): Got used with 110K, commuted to school with it. Great car. The Pontiac 301 V-8 was way underpowered, but would do 20mpg highway. Sold to my brother, who drove the wheels off it, and then sold it to a neighborhood kid. Saw it on the road occasionally until a few years ago.

    1987 Honda Accord hatchback (5spd). Bought used with 17K in 1988. The PO fool had riveted a luggage rack to the roof, so I got a great deal. Fantastic car. Good power. Great gas mileage, point and shoot handling…never should have sold it when I bought the Jetta (see below)

    1970 Cadillac DeVille (yeah, a ragtop). Rusty and ugly as sin when I bought it in 92. Still have it. Mechanically sound (even the auto climate control still works). Still ugly (but I love it). Lucky to get 10mpg, but the 472 V8 has never worked hard in its life.

    1974 VW Beetle. Grandma’s car. Bright yellow automatic. When I took it over in 1995, it only had 20K miles on it and looked mint, but everything was dry-rotted. For a basic car, the ignition was an electrical nightmare. I usually started it by jumping across the solenoid with a screwdriver.

    1996 VW Jetta GLX (VR6, 5 spd). Bought new. What a POS car. It was fun to drive when something wasn’t broken. Great seats. Gas mileage not that great (26mpg hwy). Ditched it after fixing poorly engineered shifter linkage at 37K in 2003. It’s going to be a long time before I buy another VW/Audi product

    2001 BMW 330i (5 spd). Bought used in 2003 with 22K. I still have it, and still love driving it. Major systems have been rock-solid reliable, but I’ve had the typical final stage resistor, window regulator issues. Control arm bushings last about 30K. Thank goodness I do most of my own work. Funny thing is for a car with the zip that it has, it will deliver 30mpg highway.

  • avatar

    The Ladas are easy to explain.

    We’d been in the UK for less than 6 months, I’d gotten a “reasonable” job – and bought a very modest house we could afford (for less than renting).

    We had the Citroen, and a car was NOT a “necessity”. However, with a young child (and another on the way), FOOD is a necessity.

    Hmmm, lesseeeeee, do I get a new British Ford Escort for the equivalent price of a new Buick Roadmaster back home in the states? Or do I get a Skoda, Lada, FSO or Yugo, and eat, as well?

    The FSO was a 1966 Fiat 125 body shell with round cheap headlights, and a 1961 Fiat 1500 engine built in Poland. My buddy had one and before they were sold as FSO, they were sold as “Polski Fiat”. He called his the “Poxy Fiat”. (Not complementary, for you non-Brit speakers). OK next on the list…

    Skoda. Hmmm, rear engine. Pass….. (too many bad memories of that VW 411, maybe?)

    Yugo. Cheap, nasty, Fiat 128 built where? (Yes there was the same smaller car sold in the states available, too, but I needed a family car).

    Tried the Lada. Wow. It was kind of like driving a slightly updated mid-1960’s Volvo Amazon (which is exactly how the Canadian importer described them). Done.

    A new car (of sorts) AND food. Nice.

  • avatar

    My car history:

    1993 Ford Escort wagon. – Nothing but headaches, after I first got it I had to fix a hole in the floorpan, then the brakes failed on the first trip out. Replaced the lines and redid the rear brakes, then a rear spring snapped. Replaced the rear suspension, then transmission grenaded. Just got it back from the shop. One more problem and I am pushing this thing off a cliff. Even more interesting is that all while this piece of shit was breaking, I was driving my dad’s Dodge Caravan as my DD and I absolutely love it. If it were up to me I would have just shoved this POS into the Detroit river and taken the van. As soon as I can find another car that I can afford to buy, this thing will be GONE.

    (BTW, I am 16, which is why there is only one car listed.)

  • avatar

    First car: an 85 Nissan Sentra. A disgusting 4-speed little thing

    2. 89 Honda Civic DX Hatch- Red, 5-speed and awesome. Car was in immaculate condition! Rolled it into a ditch. That one hurt

    3. 91 Honda Accord EX Coupe- Green, automatic with like a million and a half on the odo. Everything creaked and groaned. But it had a sunroof! Got it to 130mph before the number two piston flew out the block

    4. 90 Honda Accord LX 4-Door- My little red baby. Automatic with only 130k. The car I hit a deer with, DJ’d campfires with, and worked on every waking moment. Taught me the lesson about changing your timing belt regularly when it snapped while on my way home

    5. 88 Toyota 4-Runner- An awful bright red with red interior. 5-speed coupled to the legendary 22R engine, so it was dependable at least

    6. 88 Ford Mustang- The odo conked out at 286k, so it was a complete eyesore and a bitch to drive. And automatic to boot

    7. 98 Honda Accord EX V6- Champagne with leather. Automatic with 145k and still going strong. I noticed today the right front rotor is shot. Guess I get to spend some QT with the lady

    8. 95 Honda Civic EX Coupe- Automatic unfortunately, with 130k. Light purple or something like that. No muffler or cat. Awesome.

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    1994 Chevrolet Cavalier 2-Door — My first car that my parents bought used for me when i was in high school. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! It had 134,000 km on it when i got it, and it quickly began to fall apart. Radiator broke, alternator died, tranny began to slip, windshield wipers would never work in the rain (nearly killed me), radio volume would surge randomly, suspension made loud crunching noises… the list goes on. None of the issues bugged me as much as those windshield wipers though. They are a basic safety feature, and the fact that even the most basic of systems was not reliable in the cavalier turned me off GM permanently. I have no pity for the state GM is in now. It is POS cars like the cavalier that have made people like me swear to never buy GM again. I had to get rid of the cavalier when the doors rusted so bad the bottoms would flap around when closing the door. it had 182,000 km on it when i traded it in for pennies.

    2004 Ford Focus ZTW — This car was bought new and saddens me because it was so wonderful in so many ways, and so rotten in others. The day I drove it, I was sold. The steering and brakes were fantastic for the price. It was roomy and comfortable, and incredibly practical. Soon after i took ownership, all sorts of build quality issues began to pop up. Creaks and rattles galore, rear trunk trim fell off etc. Then more serious issues: rear drums had to be resurfaced, sunroof motor burnt out, passenger side power lock motor burnt out, drivers side window motor burnt out, factory cd player replaced 4 times, cracked serpentine belt, needed new front pads and rotors, alternator died, fuel pump died…. the car was in the shop 13 times in my second year of ownership. I began to get worried as the car had just recently come out of warranty. So, as much as I loved the way it drove, I got rid of the Focus :( I actually still miss this car to this day and find myself checking used ones out online. I kept all of my repair receipts to remind me why i shouldn’t. It had only 84,000km on it when I traded it in.

    2006 Mazda5 GT — The Mazda has not lived up to its reputation of quality at all. It has been widely reported by owners that the Mazda5 has an issue with its front and rear suspension in cold weather. I can attest to this: my front and rear bushings have been replaced 4 times, the springs twice and the right rear shock once. The brakes are also defective in my opinion. I needed the front pads and rotors replaced at 17,000 km because the rotors were completely warped. I am needing another brake job at 72,000 km. This is simply ridiculous in my opinion. I do admit that I do a lot of city driving, but I still think that this is not an acceptable milage between brake jobs. The transmission had a glitch and had a really rough kick-down when cold, which was solved by apparently re-flashing the ecu. The volume and seek buttons on the steering wheel will sometimes reverse their functions. The drivers seat is loose, and squeaks and kind of rocks back and forth on its mounts, but the dealer claims it is within spec and that adjustments are not included in the bumper to bumper. want them to look at it? $98.50/hr. Lastly, this is not really a defect so much as a design flaw. The air conditioning and heating are really not up to the task of heating/cooling such a large vehicle. The heat is the worst I have encountered in a modern vehicle, and in the canadian winter, i am usually already at my destination before the heat has begun to actually get hot.

  • avatar

    Wow. Some of you have owned a lot of cars. Here’s my list:

    1976 – 66 Plymount Valiant (hand me down)
    1978 – 74 Pontiac Astre
    1985 – 85 Pontiac Fiero 2M6 *still have and drive
    1986 – 86 Toyota Corolla
    1990 – 90 Plymouth Sundance
    1999 – 99 Buick Century
    2005 – 05 MINI Cooper S * Still have and drive
    2009 – 06 BMW 525i

  • avatar

    My first car and ONLY car:

    1993 Honda Civic DX Hatchback. Bought new just as the ’94 models came out. According to my VIN it is actually a 1994, but still does not have a passenger airbag (the difference between a ’93 and ’94).
    I just hit 123,456 on the odometer a few weeks ago.
    This was my first car purchased/financed out of college with a teaching job, no money down, 5-year loan with MY bank. Got burned by the slick salesman as I pretty much paid the sticker $12,000 including A/C and all the “dealer options”. No power steering. Live/buy and learn…
    Been a great car, gets about 32-35 mpg with mixed driving here in central Florida, been replacing parts with aftermarket “mild” tuner parts so it seems sportier now than when I first got it: I put on OEM alloy wheels from a 2000 Civic EX, I bolted in some Integra front seats that have lumbar support(same platform). Big enough to hold my drum kits or mountain bikes. Used it to tow a small U-haul trailer from TX to FL. Even slept in it a few times (I am 6″ 2″, by the way).
    The tuner kids want to buy it but I hope to keep it much longer…. after all it is MY FIRST.

  • avatar

    I’m only 16 so I have a very short list…

    1989 GMC Safari – 4.3 V6 – 118k miles – POS, barely ran and didnt even have an interior

    1989 Chevy Astro – 4.3 V6 – A lot better than the Safari, only major repair it needed was a power steering pump. It had a bunch of electrical problems so mom finally made me scrap it at 148k miles.

    1993 Chevy Cavalier – 3.1 V6 – (Current Vehicle) Most reliable car in my household. Other than maintenance, a starter and ABS sensor, this car has given me no problems. It has 164k miles on the clock and still runs strong, and can squeal it’s tires. It has quite a bit of rust though, if only it looked better this car would be one BAMF. Hasn’t left me stranded yet.

    I was also promised 2 cars that I never got…
    1986 Chevy Caprice – 305 V8 – Mom’s old ride, I was supposed to get it when I got my license but the trans took a dump for the second time at 345k miles, so it was scrapped. Still ran when we got rid of it, just high miles and the bad trans.

    1996 Chrysler Concorde – 3.3L V6 – God did I want this car so bad, my bro-in-law was gonna buy it from his friend for me for $500 bucks. It didnt run and it needed suspension done. Anyway, his friend ended up trading it in at a dealer and never told him, thus I never got the car.

  • avatar

    Alot of fun to read..thanx RF

    1. Chevyvan 10, 1971 shortbox. Chick magnet.

    2. Buick Century coupe, 1974 Cool red interior.

    3. Chevette 1983

    4. Chev. Nova 1987. Toyota 4cyl. 1.6l gutless.

    5. Chev van 1977, One ton, tank was 6000 lbs.

    6. Chev. Lumina APV 1984. Always under repair.

    7. Chevette 1984, Cheap and reliable

    8. Montana Van 2003, Great mileage 3.4l V6

    9. Montana SV6 2007, Ugly and thirsty but comfy.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    I’ll post only because my first car has not appeared yet

    1973 Plymouth Cricket $50 – a uk economy car sold by chrysler. needless to say I overpaid.

    1979 Honda accord – good car, hatchback of course

    1984 Jetta GLI – fun car, went through expensive tires like a hot knife through butter. friend who owned a VW repair shop said it was the last good year for VW

    1985 Dodge Dynasty lived up to its nickname as it went through 3 tranny’s in 1 1/2 years. Company CAr

    1986 Ford taurus – ok but would lose power while driving down the road once in a while. Company car

    1989 Grand Prix -compared to the Taurus was better looking and quick. see them today and wonder what drugs I was on. Company Car.

    1989 Mazda RX-7. Hot damn. always liked the RX 7 and was very excited to buy. Even more excited to sell. Worse car ever.

    1993 Honda Civic Hatch. Good car, could fit a whack in there when back seat down. Drove “sporty” and quick compared to the RX-7

    1998 Chevy Silverado – Don’t know why but all of a sudden I wanted a pick-up. great no problems

    2002 Olds Intrigue – bought used for almost free with 50,000 miles. Think I am a convert to avoiding the cost of new vehicles. Problem free, almost.

  • avatar

    1968 GTO Convertible- fun
    1971 Camaro Z28- more fun, but alas stolen
    1980 Pontiac Grand Am- nice 2 dr V8 dual exhaust
    1985 Pontiac Sunbird 4 cyl stick
    1987 Pontiac Sunbird GT auto
    1992 Pontiac Grand Am SE 1st kid, 1st 4 dr
    1996 GMC Jimmy SLE nice but had appetite for frt brakes
    1998 GMC Jimmy SLS- brake prob solved
    2000 GMC Jimmy SLT- move on up to leather and a sunroof
    2003 GMC Envoy SLT pewter real nice truck
    2005 Chevy Equinox AWD LT- good cross over
    2008 Cadillac SRX- current truckster

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    2007 Honda Fit Sport
    2001 Honda S2000
    2007 Honda Fit Sport

  • avatar

    1983 Toyota Tercel – Base model 5-door with 3-speed auto transmission. Slow and boring and insanely reliable for 5 years and 150k, except that the roll-down window mechanisms would always break, sending the glass crashing down into the doors.

    1986 Toyota Camry – Inherited from my brother and parents before him. Comfy and powerful by Tercel standards, but few others. Still rather boring.

    1987 Mercury Grand Marquis – Landau top, crushed velour pillow-top seats, 5.0L V8. Big, sloppy ride that appealed to me at the time. Mileage was terrible but bearable with gas less than $1.00/gallon. A car that felt far more like 1978 than 1987, reliable and inexpensive to maintain.

    1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special – My first and last antique car. Only 30k original miles and in beautiful condition. Air ride and A/C were non-op, but it rode smoother and felt faster than my Merc. 8 power windows, 6 cigarette lighters, 20′ long and loads of character.

    1990 Ford Crown Victoria – Essentially the same as the Grand Marquis, but with a somewhat tighter ride and far less character. Flawlessly cared for, the car still managed to leak gasoline, destroy two transmissions and countless window motors with less than 60k miles on the clock. POS.

    1989 Acura Integra – The car I wanted in high school, but bought 12 years later as an impoverished grad student. Insanely fun to drive (5-speed) and immensely practical with a roomy hatchback. At 16 years old and 135k it was sun-bleached inside and out, but mechanically perfect and drove like a new car. I miss the rock-solid feel of that generation of Hondas.

    2004 Scion Xb – First one sold by Toyota Santa Monica and one of the first on the road. Felt as exotic as Ferrari those first few months. 6 years on, its a little loud on the highway and I would like something a little safer and more refined, but I haven’t found anything out there that’s a suitable replacement for its reliability, thriftiness, fun to drive (manual) quality, immense practicality and extreme reliability.

  • avatar

    1973 VW Super Beetle-wonderful
    1977 VW Rabbit-working heater!
    1981 VW Pickup-never mind
    1982 Subaru Wagon 4WD-also never mind
    1983 VW Gti-the original, still miss it
    1986 Honda Civic wagon 4WD-fabulous
    1990 VW Jetta-pretty good
    1995 Ford Contour SE V6-better than people admit
    1997 Honda Civic-frugal and perfect
    An orignal(small) Honda Odyssey, two Mercury Villagers, and a Mazda MPV-all good, but alas they were minivans
    2000 Honda Civic Si-superb till stolen
    2003 VW Jetta Gli 24V VR6-mature Civic Si, sort of
    1990 Volvo 740 GLE
    1994 Volvo 850

  • avatar

    1994 Escort. Ran fine up to 100K, then the brake MC started leaking and I didn’t want to put up with it.

    1991 Honda CRX Si. Picked it up with 150k, sold it at 202k, left me stranded on the BQE when the injector resistor went bad. Sold it before thieves had a chance to take it from me. Stolen from the guy I sold it to three months later.

    1998 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS. Tough suspension, I used to throw it at potholes that SUV drivers would steer around. Engine died from oil starvation (never saw the oil light come on), when sold, the airbag and horn didn’t work.

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD. Worthless beater. Alternator died, clutch died, starter fell off nearly caught the car on fire.

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX. Didn’t learn my lesson, but this was in much better shape. Sold it because because it attracted too much attention from street racer wannabes and the cops who want to bust them.

    1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. Should’ve never sold this one. Picked it up engine less, brought it back to life. A true sleeper, once flew past a cop at 90, never pulled me over (last time I tested my luck).

    Both Mitsubishis broke a lot, and for weird stuff too. Very maddening.

    1986 Toyota Corolla SR-5. Good engine, bad body.
    1987 Toyota Corolla SR-5. Good body, bad engine. Picked it up and got less than two blocks before I noticed it was overheating. Popped the hood to discover the water pump had split in half.

    1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R. Zippy little car, would love to keep it, but it fails the smog check horribly. Sending it off to a relative who lives in a state that doesn’t do emissions testing.

    1990 Mazda Miata. Good car, except for the lack of rear brakes, leaking radiator and missing muffler.

    1997 Saturn SW2. A most problem free vehicle. A damn shame that this car gets more attention from me than it ever got from GM.

  • avatar

    1970 Dodge Dart Swinger coupe- This was given to me in 1993 in rough shape when I was 16. It had a slant 6, no power steering, no power brakes. It was not very reliable and I eventually slid into a pole.
    1965 Thunderbird Landau- I had this at the same time as the Dart. It was a 45k mile original that sat outside which explained why the unibody was all rotted. It was a nice car I later sold but I wouldn’t mind picking up a convertible at some point in time.
    1987 Dodge Omni- I bought this after wrecking the Dart. It was a reliable car for the year plus I had it but by the time I sold it, it needed everything.
    1974 Coupe Deville- I drove this through college and it was a good car. I would average about 14 on the highway and it served me well until the engine knocked on the way to my last final exam.
    1994 Lincoln Mark 8- By far the worst car I ever owned. I decided instead of fixing the Caddy, I would get something nice. Big mistake, it just broke warranty due to time not mileage and everything started going. On top of that Ford installed defective timing chain tensioners and neither the dealer nor Ford would do anything about it. Then the tranny started to smoke, the alarm would go off in the middle of the night due to a defective sensor or module, the wipers didn’t work right. I only had it 3 months it was so bad.
    1995 Camaro Z28- This was a piece of shit also. I asked the dealer if the manifold gaskets were replaced. They said they were. I got it home and all this smoke was pouring out under the hood. The dealer took care of it but the car was a very poor design. The seats were unsupportive, the car would heat up in traffic all the time, and the suspension was a terrible set up. The car always felt unstable.
    1976 Coupe Deville- I bought this as a winter rat because of the Camaro and also because I wanted another true full size Cadillac. It is fully loaded and I still have it. I have been slowly restoring it.
    1997 Bonneville SE- I took a job far away from home and couldn’t take the Camaro anymore. The Bonneville was a nickel and dime car. Little things kept going wrong with it. I later totalled it on my way to a car show.
    1995 Roadmaster Limited- I don’t know why I bought this thing. At the time I wanted a rear drive V8 car again. It was actually reliable other than the LT1 heating up in traffic but it was the ugliest car I have ever owned. It was originally an upstate New York car and was starting to rust out.
    2003 Grand Am GT- I bought this new during one of GM’s many famous giveaways. I had the GM card at the time and with all the discounts, I drove it away for $15k. It was actually a decent car except for an awfully cheap interior and unsophisticated drive train. This was another nickel and dime car but was under warranty at least.
    2005 Mazda RX8- I got bored with the Pontiac quick and my financial situation improved so I bought a fully loaded RX8 as a left over in 2006. It is by far the best car I have ever owned and Mazda service has been excellent so far. By service, I am referring to a recall and some TSB work that had to be done. It was back once at the dealer for a check engine light but has been an excellent car so far.

  • avatar

    1997 Volvo 850 Sedan – green, automatic, base model with heated seats and CD player. had for 2 years. sold to sister with 80k on it
    2005 VW Jetta (MKV) 2.5 – 5 speed, esp, silver. Pimped out and beaten up. currently 73,000 miles

  • avatar

    Fun topic! I just signed up to play:

    ’71 Mazda rotary pickup for $100 @ age 15 that was really already dead(no exhaust gasket, etc.) But a 4-barrel hitachi! Lots of fun to learn on!

    ’71 VW Beetle; 73HP WooHoo! Had a lot of fun with the second hand “stinger” exhaust and learning to replace a generator. Really would like another… Sold it when I went off to the Navy after high school.

    ’71 (good year?) Plymouth Duster; Slant 6, power nothing, totally indestructable. sold it running with 225k on the odo.

    ’81 Yamaha Seca 750; 3 years of exclusive 2-wheeled joy. Glad that experiment is over.

    ’78 Ford F100; Loved it, traded it in (big mistake, could have gotten twice as much selling it myself) on…

    ’95 Nissan Truck; still driving it. 160k on it. What are you guys doing to these poor cars? Haven’t you ever heard of an oil change?

    Oh yeah, also ’02 Kawasaki ZR-7 for a yr and a half before the kids started pouring in, put about 10k on it though…

  • avatar

    1986 Honda Accord Lx-i (used, 10 yrs old w/86k)
    1992 Saturn LS1 (used, 6 yrs old w/60k on 2nd engine)
    1999 Daewoo Leganza CDX (new, company car)
    1996 Honda Civic DX Coupe (used, 2 yrs old, w/22k)
    2001 Mazda Protege ES2.0 (new)
    2005 Ford Escape XLT V-6 (new, company car)
    2005 Nissan Altima S 2.5L (new)
    2007 Subaru Legacy Limited Sedan (new)
    2009 Toyota RAV4 4×4 2.5L (new)

  • avatar


    Will you actually read all of these posts? Amazing lists that some have. My list is relatively short despite getting my license in 1969. I took the bus (or walked) to high school, and never had a car in my undergraduate college years. (I lived on campus, and there were 2 separate train lines that ran through the campus. Plus I never had trouble getting rides from friends or even borrowing their cars.)

    1975 VW Rabbit 2-door hatch, 1.6L, 4-speed manual (had from new until 1978)

    1979 VW Rabbit 2-door hatch, 1.5L, 4-speed manual (1978-82)

    1980 Volvo 240 DL 2-door, 2.1L 4-cyl, 4-speed manual (1982-2003 — yes had it for 21 years, ran it up to 245K miles, sold it for $550)

    1977 Chevy Impala 4-door, 5.0L V8, 3-speed auto (1985-89)

    1980 Volvo 240 DL wagon, 2.1L 4-cyl, 5-speed manual (4 forward gears + electric overdrive)(1989-90)

    1990 Mercury Sable GS 4-door, 3.0L V6, 4-speed auto (1990-2000)

    1997 Toyota Camry LE 4-door, 2.2L 4-cyl, 4-speed auto (1997-2004)

    1998 Nissan Frontier XE 2wd regular cab, 2.4L 4-cyl, 5-speed manual (1998-present)

    2004 Toyota Camry LE 4-door, 2.4L 4-cyl, 4-speed auto (2004-present)

    2005 Toyota Camry XLE 4-door, 2.4L 4-cyl, 5-speed auto (2005-present)

    Before we were married, my wife had a 1969(?) Opel Kadette, then a 1973 Chevy Nova, and when I met her, a 1975 Toyota Corolla 2-door hardtop with a 1.6L and 5-speed manual.

    Oh, and I temporarily own a 1959 Chevy Bel Air 4-door sedan with the 235 cu. in. six and a 3-on-the-tree. Runs and looks great, but this was an “undercover” purchase for my employer, who will take title soon. Nothing shady, just thought the seller wouldn’t want to deal directly with my employer.

    The above list represents only the cars I or my wife have owned. I’ve driven a lot more cars, including at least one from every model year from 1961 to 2009, plus the ’59 Chevy. 1970 has an asterisk though because I only moved this year car in our family driveway.

    Since our marriage, my wife and I have only traded in the two ’75s; all others were sold privately with no real hassles.

  • avatar

    1979 Mercury Capri – Had the Euro V6. Fun to drive Fox platform in the time of bad cars. Light and good looking for the era.
    1982 Mercury Capri 5.0L with 4 speed trans. Had those Michelin TRX 390mm diameter tires. After the warranty, the thing got a 4 barrel Holley carb and custom exhaust. Sub 15 sec. 1/4 mile. Better then sex for a gearhead teenager. Only tried to kill me twice in the snow.
    1986 Escort GT – Show room stock race car. Bad choice. VW Rabbit GTI better choice. Sold to to friend with the roll cage. He put a turbo into it.
    1988 F150 4X4 to tow the EGT to races.
    1990 Jeep Wrangler – Fun around town, killer on long trips. Soft top was like an engineering project to take up or down.
    1992 Ford Ranger 4×4 2.3L 5 speed – Bought it to stop getting speeding tickets from Honda 600 Hurricane and a 750 VFR. Worked like a charm. Tripled insurance rates can be killer.
    1993 Mazda Miata MX5 5 speed – Traded the Ranger. Funny thing about Miata’s the trunk isn’t as big as a Ranger’s. Still have the Miata at 41k original owner miles. Still love it. A pure car with no pretenses of being something else. Wind cranks and hand adjustable mirror never need to be serviced.
    1982 Ford Aerostar – Needed a non-Miata to drive during the Michigan winters. It drove like a brick on a broomstick.
    1996 Mercury Tracer Station Wagon – Get a wife and kid: need a kiddie seat and access. She got to keep her Camaro for awhile and I sold the Aerostar.
    1996 Nissan Quest – bought this used with the second kid. Boring and underpowered. Almost forgot about it.
    2000 Subaru Outback – Good traction and handling. Trans rebuild at 70k. Then the coolant & head gasket recall ‘fixed’ the engine. 20k later, the engine goes boom and the car goes to mechanic cousin. Bittersweet.
    2002 Dodge Gr. Caravan ES – ‘sporty’ yeah, right. Now it is self destructing. Every warning light has come on at some point. Not even worth fixing if it breaks any major system.
    2007 Mazda 5 – Three kids out of their seats. FTD and so far not one problem. Mazda seems true to the marketing and my 1993 Miata.

  • avatar

    A great topic. My history is a bit fuzzy as my father died shortly after I came of driving age, so I inherited a few of us for a while.

    1973 Volvo 144 Station Wagon. Not technically mine, but the car I took my driving test in. Stick shift, starting a long history of requiring manual transmissions in the bulk of my vehicles.

    1976 Honda Civic (Wagon). Bumblebee Yellow. Stick shift. Nice car until it blew a valve (who knew you could have valves that screw into the cylinder head?).

    1966 Volvo 122 Station Wagon. First car I inherited from my father. Someone had bolstered it with additional handling, but 70 or so bhp only goes so far and so fast. I lost interest after its oil pump failed, leaving me carless for quite a while. Plenty of room for stuff to and fro college, however.

    1969 P1800 Sports Coupe. This was my father’s pet project, and a beautiful car after he restored it. Virtually the same drivetrain as the 122 wagon, but in a much prettier form. Sold it for cash instead of driving it to and from college.

    1977 Toyota Celica. The last of the cars I drove that were in my family. A fun and sporty car that was reliable for the many years it was in my family.

    1987 Honda Prelude Si. First car I actually bought for myself. Made all those that came before it seem slow and underpowered. I truly loved this car–fun in traffic, good to drive on the highway, front wheel drive meant it worked well in bad weather (snow). I kept this car for nine years until my wife was very pregnant, as its two door state was not conducive to infant-hauling.

    1990 Honda Civic LX. This one I didn’t buy–I married it along with my wife. Another incredible Honda product–my wife bought it new just before she met me and drove it for 14 years before she decided she needed something different. An incredible amount of space for a compact car.

    1994 Ford Explorer. Moved to Colorado at the beginning of the SUV boom. Bought this one used and drove it for about 18 months. A woeful example of handling, every bump caused the vehicle to wallow to and fro. Nice seats and my first vehicle with one of those new-fangled CD players. Handed it down to my mother, who handed it down to my sister, so it survived in my family for 10 years or so, but nobody every really loved it.

    1996 GMC Suburban K2500. The first new vehicle I ever bought. Ditched the Explorer for a vehicle with a greater value on the Utility part of SUV than Sport. With a 454 big block, this thing hauls, with 290 bhp and about 400 lb ft of torque. Still in my garage 13 years later. People say that GM can’t build reliable vehicles, but this has survived many blizzards and other challenging situations.

    1998 Nissan Maxima SE. Traded my daily driver, the Prelude, in for this vehicle near the arrival of my daughter. This car was sporty and lasted nine years before I grew weary of it as well. Sporty and had lots of room, but never really became a part of the family.

    2004 Acura TL. My wife finally replaced her Civic LX with another Honda product. We’ve had it for 5 years with very few problems. Something around 260 bhp, it has more power than it can reasonably drive through its front wheel drive, but as long as you are going in a straight line, it’s darned fast. She loves it, it’s comfortable and as reliable as most of our other Honda products.

    2008 BMW 328xi. Gave up the Nissan and got something closer to my long time dream. Owned this car for a year so far, and it has been reliable and a true pleasure to drive. Not quite as much power as the TL, but will wildly out-handle the TL in anything that’s not a straight line. The AWD means that it avoids the problem the TL has with power-to-the-front-wheels. Small enough to be nimble while big enough to handle in the weather.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Awesome way to spend an evening reading this thread. Best one so far. I have never bought a new car foreign or domestic. I have sold only 1 car, the rest went for scrap.
    My 1st car was a 53 Ford. I paid 5 $ for it and had to fix a bunch of stuff to make it go. I was 11. This was followed in short succession by a 54 New Yorker, a 51 Ford,
    56 Citroen DS 19
    53 Packard
    bunch of 56 Fords
    After I got my license, I got into light trucks.
    40 Chevy
    54 IH walk in van
    47 GMC, best of the lot
    49 GMC panel truck
    57 Chevy ex Bell
    60 VW transporter
    62 F 250
    60 Ford
    This was followed by 18 yrs of 6volt Bugs
    Most notable of this group were
    66 1300 that we drove to Canada, Florida and after a fresh engine to Stockton California and LA.
    A 58 that I put my best parts into and painted
    71 Datsun pickup
    Parenthood brought on
    66 Valiant
    74 Dart
    73 Ford Torino wagon with a 351 C
    75 Country Squire 460
    My 1st toy car, 60 something Willys Overland do Brasil. 2months later we were pregnant with twins. So we took them to the beach in it. As parts rusted off, I replaced them with plywood and oak panels that I coated with spar varnish.
    This morphed into 5 Wagoneers, mom-mobiles. I still have the 5th, an 88 Grand Wagoneer. behind my shop, I have its predecessor, another 88 for parts. I spent more time wrenching on this beast last yr, than I did on my on my 2 DDs.
    84 Jaguar XJ6, beautiful car, great engine, total POS everthing else. Impossible to keep running reliably.
    A job change required a commuter car. I carpooled with my BIL who bought a 88 BMW 528e. I was so impressed I bought one in 96 with 150 k miles on it. I t had some middling parking lot rash on it, and the clear coat was going, but the car was reliable and I had a decent mechanic. He went into real estate in 99, so i started working on it. Been working on them since. Easy to fix, cheap on parts. I put 200k more miles on it. It was 100% reliable in 11 + yrs. The 528e is closer to a Valiant or a Dart than a 5er. It handles well, but is doggy off the line due mostly to its 128 hp engine. I bought 2 more 86 528es in 00
    in 06, another 88 528e, a 75k mile puff for spousal unit
    another 88 in 07, 117k, but biffed on the left front and rusty underneath. I paid 550 for it and patched it up. I also freshened it up with about 300$ worth of wires, plugs, belts, etc. It replaced the original 88, 12/07
    I am currently freshening the original 88 up for my son. My work isnt beautiful. but it is sound.

  • avatar

    1964 Ford Fairlane sedan – hand me down car from our folks. I tried hard to make it cool – it wasn’t.
    289 was tired -smoked badly – I killed many insects with the trailing blue smoke.

    1972 Chevy Nova – inline 6, automatic, a real POS

    1973 Opel Manta – 1900cc 4 spd. Actually a very fun and reliable car. Sold it when I moved south (no air). Sort of a poor student’s BMW.

    1976 Plymouth Fury – 318 w/ automatic. Large, hard on gas but otherwise OK. My future wife told me she was completely underwhelmed with my ride, but thought I had potential. Sold after 6 years due to rust, leaks and job change.

    1972 Ford F150- 360 V8 Bought from a friend of a friend. A nice truck – two tone green could have been better – really sucked the gas.
    Sold for my than I paid after two years.

    1979 Chevy Scottsdale – A big step up. Real A/C
    good seats, lots of excitement from gas tank sloshing behind the seat . Bought for 5,000 with
    22,000 miles , sold many years later at 135,000.
    The kind of quality Chevrolet trucks are known for. Bulletproof.

    1987 Ford F150 Lariat – best vehicle I ever owned.
    Bought new, not one return trip to the dealer . Inline 6 with a 5 spd . Excellent $ value.
    Dealer (Potamkin in Atlanta) were not good citizens.

    1984 Mercedes 300 Turbo D – can you say slow, I mean realllly slow? 0-30 in a few minutes.
    Ok on highway when the turbo kicked in. Later bought for my wife when we had young children.
    Still later sold to a local school teacher. I still see her driving too work most mornings
    in the same manilla yellow car.

    1988 Chevy Blazer – back to the construction business. 4WD 350 V8 Back braking ride.
    Two years was all I could stand

    1991 – Chevy Caprice – looked like a black whale.
    UGLY, UGLY , UGLY . I heard later the design team for this car was fired – deservedly so …….

    1992 – Olds 88 sedan – 3.8L V6. Bland

    1994 – Ford Taurus SHO – powered by Yamaha v6
    A blast, most fun car I ever owned. Quick,
    comfortable, good stereo, wolf in sheeps sheetmetal. I had 3 speeding tickets to show for it . A sad day when we let her go …….

    1999 Nissan Maxima- 3.0L v6. Well assembled,
    excellent quality. Smaller on the inside than I reliazed before buying. Only real problem is Nissan A/C could not keep up in the South (car was black). Sold to a friend for his daughter – I think she still has it.

    2000 GMC Yukon 4WD – another good Chevy (or GMC if you prefer). Durable, good on trips, effective 4WD, Decent mileage on the highway, brutal around town. Sold at 130,000 miles with only repair being one fuel pump. They should all be this good.

    2006 Mercedes E350 – smooth as silk. Wonderful seats. Overly complicated audio controls.
    Expensive service, expensive repairs, expensive everything. Bring your wallet ……

  • avatar

    Before owning any cars, I drove the following:

    1973 (I think) Dodge Polaris wagon. No air, only AM radio. Got me around.

    1969 Chevy Impala; 2 door, also no air.

    1969 Chevy Caprice; 2 door; an upscale version of the aforementioned Impala, but you would not have known it, due to the indeterminate layers of paint. The outermost color was something like a dull flat battleship grey, with red spiderwebs underneath. At least this one had AC.

    1973 (I think) Pontiac Bonneville. Mom’s car, but bears mention because banged up the driver’s-side fender and folded that corner of the hood. My father banged it out and we drove it for a number of years afterward.

    1978 Olds Delta 88. My first “my” car. Drove it for a year. No…strike that. I drove it for a month, then spent the next three months replacing the lifters and freeze plugs. The latter caused an overheat and a fire. I was lucky I didn’t lose the car. This was my first real disappointment in a GM product, because the car only had about 60K on the odometer.

    1983 Pontiac Trans Am. Red with T-Tops and an after-market Alpine car stereo. I was the shit. Until shit started breaking with only 70-80K on the odometer. Another real disappointing GM car. Why were we able to put hundreds of thousands of miles on our Chevys?

    1993 Mazda Miata. Red. Great car; I bought this one new and kept it for ten years and 150,000 miles.

    2000 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. Also red. Spent a lot of time getting things fixed, or arguing with the service people. Kept the Miata as a backup car. Used the Miata a lot.

    1999 BMW Z3 convertible roadster. Red! Sold the Vette to get this car. Excellent choice on my part. Sold the Miata about a month later, since I no longer felt that I needed to have an emergency car.

    2004 Toyota Prius. The Z3 was a wonderful car, but was increasingly impractical for my lifestyle and interests. So I sold the Z3 once my Prius came in. Also an excellent choice, but for different reasons than the Z3.

    I am still driving the Prius and I plan to keep it for another two to three years.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive in a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The “White Whale” had a green vinyl landau roof, electric bench seats, and a prow long enough to park a Chevette on. I never owned this car but my folks gave me my own set of keys on my 17th birthday.

    1975 Chevrolet Monza Coupe. Automatic, a three speed I think, vinyl roofed nightmare. In the height of 70’s Chevy color, babyshit brown with a tan vinyl roof. Ran like crap, stopped like crap, stopped running once it stopped stopping and slammed into the back of a Chrysler Newport. Dented hood and broken headlight = totaled by insurance company.

    1980 AMC Concord, Automatic, also in shit brown, but this was more northeastern black bear shit brown rather than babyshit brown. Also had a half vinyl roof. Straight 6 cylinder that always had a flaky starter solenoid to make fun grinding noises on cold winter mornings. Mom took this one over after someone T-boned The White Whale at an intersection.

    1977 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ, fire engine red with a half vinyl roof in white. This is the biggest car I’ve ever driven. And, like The White Whale, it had only 2 doors. Power windows, locks, and an under-dash cassette player made this beast the envy of my friends. The steering wheel play was so bad in this thing I could get almost a quarter turn before the wheels grabbed. But boy was she fast, just don’t try to turn her. I got smashed by a Ford Escort, loaded with drunk teenagers, who were on the wrong side of the road as I waited at a stop sign.

    1972 Toyota Corona, hands down the car I have the fondest memories of, probably because I almost literally rode in this car for my whole life. My Memere’ (that’s grandma) bought it brand new in 1972 in stunning Olive Green (gross). It had a 4 speed on the floor, and manual everything. By the time she gave it to me because she was “too old” for a stick, she was 75 and the car had 220k on it, original engine, original clutch, original transmission. The only thing not original anymore was the paint. I received this gem with a stunning white brush paint job. I gave this car away (two weeks before my Grand Prix went to the great crusher in the sky).

    1983 Chevy Chevette “Sport”. I do not know if there was an actual sport designation for this blue nightmare, but it had a “sport” decal on it. Anyway, five speed on the floor, stalled at every intersection ever, always, unless the engine was running so hot you could fry eggs on the hood. Ate cassette players like most people eat potato chips. Blew oil, smoked, stalled, sputtered, and at any speeds above 50 would threaten the car occupants with death by shaking. Traded this in towards…

    1988 Dodge Daytona “Highline”. Hands down the most fun car I have ever owned. Five speed, 4 cylinder, doors looked like they came off a Porsche from the inside. Flip up headlights were the bomb, and it had an Infinity stereo that kicked major ass. Car was “black cherry” AKA babyshit brown. Mom took over payments of this when the Concord’s engine exploded.

    1989 Volkswagen Golf GL. Coupe. Drove it off the lot with 12 miles on it. White with black accents. When I say black accents, I mean black plastic with wax swirls that, once accidently made, could never be removed. Car had bad engine ground and ate three top ends, three fuel injector systems, three sets of piston rings. Windshield wipers hurled themselves off the car in the rain. Doorhandles broke so often I started climbing in through the hatch, until that handle broke too. Thieves stole the stock Pioneer “theft deterrent” stereo after hammering my dashboard into little plastic shards. Three weeks later thieves stole my replacement stereo, then, realizing it was crap, left it on the sidewalk two houses down from mine. They also stole all of my cassette tapes, that they also left out on the street, these were helpfully unspooled for me. Seats tore. Seat handles snapped off. I replaced the CV joints four times on each side. Replaced front tires because it couldn’t hold an alignment. Steering wheel bent until it touched the column (user created problem) and was never right after being bent back into semi-shape. Emergency brake cable snapped. Returned this uber farhvernugen heaposhitten to the bank and let them deal with it. I still have nightmares about this car. I’ll never, ever, ever, ever, buy a VW anything ever again ever.

    1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Paid 300. Car was primer brown. Had a giant motor, for the life of me I can’t remember what godawful powerplant was in this. Car had “aftermarket” seats in the front. “Aftermarket” meaning, from a 1980 Ford Escort. I floored it on Thanksgiving day and the driver’s seat snapped off and hurled me into the back seat. Car came to rest against a tree. Doors “sank” and could not be opened by mortal man. Smoked so badly the car was a rolling EPA Superfund sight. Gas gauge, broken and the car had a talent for running out of gas when I was in the McDonald’s Drive Through. Replaced valves. Gave car to friend. Two days later car was consumed by catastrophic engine fire.

    1983 Nissan Sentra. Tan. Had aftermarket leopardskin seat covers. I paid $300 for the car. Passenger side fender looked like it had been used for machine gun practice. Five speed. Inside was more tan than the outside. Ran great though. First day I owned it someone threw a brick through the driver’s window. I replaced it with Lexan for a while, then with the window of a 1984 Sentra that didn’t quite fit. Had 200k when I bought it, had 290k when I traded it for a walkman.

    Walkman choked to death on a Too Much Joy tape one month later.

    1985 Chevy Cavalier. My then fiance, now wife’s dad found this gem for me. Painted in theft deterrent white latex and accented with duct tape and fist-sized rot holes. Interior was blue. Automatic. Quiet on the inside. I think that’s a GM trait, of all the cars I’ve owned (and those to come on this list) the GMs were the quietest. Could not get inspection sticker. Drove car through puddle. Car died never to be revived.

    1980 Ford Fiesta. Red. 4 speed. Webber downdraft carbeurators. Suicidal oversteer that would bite just at the apex of a fun turn at any speed above 30 miles an hour and slingshot the car head first into the guardrails if you didn’t wrench the wheel to the opposite. Cut the catalytic converter off because it was plugged solid (possibly with mice) and straight piped it to the muffler. Eventually the clutch let go. Used as a standard transmission trainer for my brother in law’s then girlfriend out in the back field. Scrapped not long after.

    1983 Renault Alliance. Car of the Year! 4 door. Automatic. Silver/gray with, you guessed it, half vinyl roof. Hood blew right off the car because I had to pull a spark plug wire sometimes before it would start. Wept fuel like a SR-71 Blackbird on the tarmac. That said, this was the most comfortable car I’ve ever driven and it had the best seats in any car I’ve ever owned. Traded it for…

    1989 Jeep Wrangler “Safari” edition. 6 cylinder. 5 speed. Almost as good as my VW Golf! The DAY I drove it home the clutch let go. Fixed under warranty. A week later, while I was on the way home from southeastern MA the clutch let go again. This time I split the cost. The heater controls pulled the plastic heating duct apart the first time I tried to adjust the temperature. From then on I would achieve “warm driving” by wrapping in several blankets. Radiator rotted out, replaced. Brother in law drove 100 miles with the emergency brake engaged. Lost second gear, then fourth gear, then my patience. Thieves broke into car and stole my theft deterrent CD player leaving me with just a faceplace that Sony would not replace because they thought I stole THAT PART. Thieves also broke into the center console (it wasn’t locked) then vented their fury on my meager CD collection.

    Wife traded this heap in towards her Nissan 200SX.

    I took over her 1991 Dodge Daytona “Highline”. 6 cylinder, 5 speed. This is the one with the redesigned dash. Was great in its day, that day was approximately 4 years before I received the keys. Smoked. Drank oil by the quart. Crappy on gas. Always smelled like dead something. Magnet for parking lot snowplows. Flip up windows in the “wink” position. Door fell off. Thieves broke in via smashed window, realized my stock stereo wasn’t worth potential jail time, and left without taking anything. Traded the “Silver Hornet” for…

    1999 Ford Escort. Blue Denim. 4 door. 5 speed. 108k and still my daily driver. Eats rear springs and struts. Other than that the car has been a pleasure to own and drive.

  • avatar

    1980 Ford Mustang. POS. Inherited from Mom. Looked good, though. One-barrel carb feeding a 3.3-l inline-six = Not Good. Thing kept stalling. Three-speed automatic, I kept it in 2nd most of the time just to get the sensation of motion.

    1986 Mazda 323. Great Little Car! (Hey, Mazda should use that!) Only 82 bhp, but great fun to throw around corners. Turned on a dime and gave a nickel’s change. Broken into three or four times, spent a lot of $$ on car stereos.

    1989 Toyota Celica. Bought it 50/50 with my sister, though she drove it 90% of the time. She dressed it up like a bordello, all kinds of wine red sheepskin inside. Drove OK, not fast, smooth 115-hp (?) DOHC four, though the dealer asked $800 to fix the power window switch. No thanks; we lived with it.

    1986 Mazda 626. I gave Grandma the 323 (sob!) and Mom gave me her 626 (as she got the first in a series of Lexus ESs). A world away from the 323: slower, softer, heavier, less fun. Well-built, though, especially on the inside. Sold it when…

    1996 Ford Probe GT. I miss this car. It was perfect, as far as I was concerned. Looked like a bullet, handled great, stable as hell at triple digits. Not blazingly fast (a turbo Mitsubishi Eclipse just walked away from me) but the smooth Mazda V6 just sounded good, expensive, turbine-like. If it wasn’t for Ford’s Attention Deficit Disorder… and my benign neglect.

    2007 Mazda 6. Fourth Mazda (counting the Probe), but probably last given the brand’s descent into hell. (No, Mazda, the 6 doesn’t need to match the Camcord inch for inch. Bigger is NOT better.) Also, future regulations likely to suck the fun out of cars. It is technically the best car I’ve owned, but it’s way too mature for me. If only Mazda still built the MX-6… Solid, quiet, refined, the 3.0-litre V6 gives a nice growl when prodded.

  • avatar

    great responses here…it’s cool to see the list of cars. I notice very few exotic or even expensive vehicles; most everyone here has some beater experience!

    My list:

    1) 1985 Subaru GL-10 wagon. 80hp 4-cyl, 2wd, manual. Great car. bought it at 120k for $500, drove it for 5 years. had to get cv joints, oil pump, and some other items replaced; but all in all it was a really good car.
    2) 1989 Chevy Astro. a beastly van, I loved it. brother totaled it at 120k.
    3) 1985 Renault Encore. bought for $250. got caught doing donuts at a construction site off road late a night. police took it away.
    4) 1983 Chevette. bought for $250. everything leaked, but drove it for over a year and a great college car to tool around campus on. we covered it in duct tape. it’s like a big go-cart…RWD, no power steering, kind of fun to drive, really. eventually leaked all the oil out while on a highway run and engine never ran again.
    5) 1990 Subaru Legacy. Awd, great station wagon, unfortunately tranny went at 130k.
    6) 1993 Chevy Blazer. Great truck. drove across country, down into Mexico, and back, very comfortable vehicle, and interior was high quality for GM. Really didn’t have too many problems until the tranny was about to go at 155k. Sold it then.
    7) 1998 Chevy Blazer ZR2 5 speed. daily driver still, 144k, powertrain is beautiful, otherwise it’s ok. dash board warning lights like to come on and off, so annoying things like that, but it has never failed to start and get me where I was going.

  • avatar

    1981 Ford Fairmont Futura V8 (really… you could get it)
    1985 Renault Alliance 1.7L 5-sp (this was a great but fragile car)
    1987 Mercury Lynx (totally base, including 4-sp manual (wrecked)
    1987 Nissan Sentra (had to buy cheap after wreck)
    1985 BMW 524td (has anyone else even heard of the E28 diesel?)
    1991 Dodge Spirit R/T (wow-fast, very bad otherwise)
    1992 Mercedes 190e 2.3 (solid, beautiful, slow)
    1992 Mercedes 190e 2.6 Sportline (faster, incredible seats, another love of my life)
    1994 Mazda Miata (one of the loves of my life)
    1995 Mercedes E300d (went almost 500K before being totaled in a flood)
    2002 Infiniti G20 (nice, slow)
    2004 Mini Cooper (lots of problems, rear ended 3 times… red was a bad color choice)
    2005 Mazda Miata (lemon law returned… body shimmy that would not go away)
    2006 Mini Cooper (white this time… never went back to the dealer)
    2007 Saab 9-5 (I like the style, awesome engine, incredible seats)
    2000 Porsche 986 Boxster 2.7 (the newest love of my life)

    (plus a 2006 Chevy Equinox company car… P.O.S.)

  • avatar

    Forgot one of my more unusual rides, a 65 Valiant Signet Formula S 2-door hardtop. It had been bought new and spec’ed out by a Boeing engineer, had the 273 4-barrel, 4-speed, posi, 14-in. wheels with Cuda Formula S wheel covers, woodrim steering wheel, PS, PB, vinyl top. White, black top, red interior. I was like the sixth or seventh owner. Drove it for a year, was planning to restore but traded it for my 76 Dart police package sedan.

  • avatar

    Sure, I’ll bite.

    1964 Rambler American 2-door. $300. Flathead six, three on the tree, heater, no radio. Burned oil like a Lawn Boy. I kept a case of motor oil in the trunk and put something like 40 or 50K on it. Sold it for $300. A fine car.

    1973 Plymouth Scamp, 2-door, 318 auto with dualies. I turned down my Great Aunt’s pristine 1964 Valiant and bought it instead because I had to have a V8…. stupid, stupid, stupid. The subframe and torsion bar mount broke when I went over a bump one day, a victim of Midwest rust.

    1976 Dodge Tradesman. The Titanic. Everything below the floor line literally rusted away. Year-round ventilation. One day, I looked in my rear view mirror and watched its rear inner fender bounce across I-75 after it fell off. Drove the thing cross country several times, over 50k. Rust in peace.

    1967 Plymouth Barracuda, white with red interior, absolutely cherry, only 47K miles. Scary fast, scary brakes, but gorgeous. Certainly the nicest and coolest car I’ve owned so far. Sold for a hefty profit when I was out of work and broke. Took proceeds and moved west. Makes me cry to think about it now.

    1979 Ford Econoline: What I bought to move west. Another terminally rusty van, but it got me where I wanted to be, all for $600.

    1976 Ford Econoline: A nice rust-free body that I put the engine from the 1979 Econoline in. I got another 50K out of that one before I sold it to a friend.

    1960 Rambler American two-door wagon, coral pink. What a cool ride! I loved that car, and it was a real chick magnet, believe it or not. Parts became too scarce, though, and I sold it. The one car I wish I still had… I’d hotrod it in a heartbeat. Like a miniature Nomad.

    1976 Triumph TR7. Go ahead, laugh, I did. But for $400, I put 45K on that car, used it as a commuter for three years with nary a breakdown. It must have been a Wednesday car. Zippy, cool looking and no one else had one.

    1960 Corvair Greenbriar van. Dumb, dumb, dumb idea. Neat looking but a deathtrap, no seat belts, crappy brakes and oil and exhaust gas leaks that couldn’t be staunched. After the tenth migraine or so triggered from CO poisoning, I dumped it.

    1967 Buick Wildcat 4 door, 430 V8, duallies, 4 barrel. $200, literally found in a ditch, only 68K miles on the clock. A carb rebuild later and it was rolling again. I put over 70K on that car and drove it all over the country. Hands down the most memorable ride I’ve ever owned, my signature car for over six years. Power Pig is dead, miss you, miss you. RIP.

    1960 Chevrolet BelAir Wagon, a barn find that I tried in vain to resurrect. What a steaming piece of crap. Sold for a big loss after spending way too much $$$ in vintage parts… just get it out of my garage, please.

    1985 Toyota MR2. What a fun ride! Beautiful car. Sold because I thought I’d need more than two seats, as a kid was planned. Kid never happened. Too bad… about the car, I mean.

    1988 Ford Econoline TV production van. Full bore extended E350 with a 4K AC generator built in. Roof platform, equipment racks, purchased for a song. Ran and drove beautifully, but only got 10 MPG, thus was of limited use. Kept it for a few years, then sold it, as it was real driveway blocker.

    1991 Ford Econoline. Straight six, auto. Bought to drive around the country. Engine trashed a bearing in Canada. Got it home, rebuilt the engine, still own it! 20 MPG highway. After fixing it, it’s now way too useful to ever sell.

    1967 MGB. Not a car so much as a deep pit of iron oxide to throw money into. Easily the biggest monetary loss of them all by a factor of 2. Only driven 500 miles before being torn apart for a never completed restoration. Sold off, a victim of divorce.

    1967 Buick Riviera, 430 V8. Ex-grandma car, low miles, cherry. Tan, white interior. Sexy as hell and fun to look at but a total numbassed drag to drive… to my disappointment, it was nothing like my Wildcat. Sold, another victim of divorce.

    1993 Toyota Pickup. Not much to say there. Started, ran, drove. Reminded me of divorce, time to go. The distinction of being the newest car I’ve ever owned.

    1969 Buick Electra. Very crusty, my post-divorce “therapy car”. $400. Cut the roof off with a sawzall and drove it around for a summer before the lifters went away. To the scrapheap.

    1987 Toyota Tercel. A faithful toaster, the poor man’s Civic. I sold it before the notorious computerized carburetor went south. But, a good little mule for 30K miles, I was actually kind of fond of it, very light steering and fun to flog.

    1965 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. 425 V8, dualies, clean, low miles. Love those sixties GM big blocks. Teal blue inside and out, ran like a dream, rode like your living room sofa. Very cool and lots of fun, but when I saw my first $3.00 a gallon gas, I sold it, as it got 14 MPG on a good day… you have to know when it’s time to leave a party.

    1971 Datsun pickup. An impulse “ratrod” project. After a short tenure, it revealed itself as death-in-waiting… bye-bye.

    1982 Volvo 240 Sedan. A true Frankenstein mobile, built from three different cars. I turned it into a convertible artcar, with a homebrew all-weather top! Doesn’t leak! My current daily driver.

    1982 Volvo Wagon. Bought for a pittance due to a leaky freeze plug. Currently in my garage being rehabbed.

    You can see a clear trend toward age and relative deterioration in my herd the last few years. Interesting how that works out, huh?

    I’m pretty sure I’m leaving out a car or two, but they would have been incidental and short-term and don’t really count.

    New cars are no fun at all! I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a car that I didn’t have to tinker with. But then, I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to automobiles.

    Where do you think I got my username from?

  • avatar

    1970 Ford Maverick (hand me down from Dad, ran rough and rusted out the trunk)
    1962 Corvair coupe (rust bucket and leaked oil like the Valdez)
    1966 Corvair convertible (not quite as rusty or leaky, but had other issues, however Corvairs are fun and I would like to get another one again)
    1980 Firebird (sold because it was incredibly impractical with new baby)
    1980 Subaru wagon (rear ended and totalled)
    1984 Buick Skyhawk wagon (cracked block at 23K miles)
    1963 Cadillac Sedan deVille (REALLY DUMB to have sold this one)
    1988 Chevy Celebrity wagon (absolute car from hell)
    1965 Buick Special (a $185 beater I got for the challenge of how long I could keep it running with no major investment)
    1971 VW Beetle (fun car, found odd and expensive ways to break)
    1977 Lincoln Town Car (9 mpg max, when it ran)
    1974 BMW Bavaria (these are way cheaper than 2002’s but watch out, they have overheating tendencies)
    1974 Buick Electra (LOVED this car, wore it out, would buy another one in a heartbeat)
    1963 Cadillac Sedan deVille (tried to replace the one I gave up, this one wasn’t as good)
    1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille ($450 beater, looked like crap outside, nice interior and ran well)
    1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham (great car totalled by trash truck)
    1977 T-Bird (OK, 1977 Ford products are crap, took me two cars to learn that)
    1977 Cadillac Sedan deVille (rear ended by semi and totalled)
    1975 Cadillac Sedan deVille (gave up on restoration due to horrible rust underneath vinyl top)
    1989 Cadillac Fleetwood Coupe (FWD model) (wonderful car until the electronics started failing)
    1976 Olds Custom Cruiser wagon (the clamshell wagon, sold before moving in 2005)
    1992 Lincoln Town Car (super comfortable, super reliable, 22 MPG, Ford got this one right)
    1993 Olds Cutlass Cruiser wagon (still have)
    1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham (still have)

    The ONLY one of those bought new was the ’88 Celebrity.

  • avatar

    1969 Nova with a Frankenstein 230 I6 with the head from a 75 250. It liked to stall out when the radiator jumped and stoped the drive fan. Junk yard after the headgasket blew

    1986 Chevy Cavalier. Worst car i’ve ever owned. Swaped O2 sensor and speed sensors 5 times…never got rid of the check engine light, or intermittent engine stutter. Stolen…can you believe it.

    1989 Ford Probe GT 2.5L Turbo. A rocket ship that couldn’t turn to save it’s own life. Totaled after blwoing a tire in hard corner.

    1969 Ford Thunderbird 428. Still my dream car. Couch for a backseat was great for a college kid. Engine exploded on the freeway at 130 mph.

    1991 Ford Taurus. Close competitor to the biggest POS with the cavalier.

    2001 Toyota Tacoma base model (new). Capable, reliable and very fun with high performance tires.

    2004 Toyota Corolla (new). Nice, Reliable and Borrrrrrrring.

    2005 Nissan Pathinder (new). Second best vehicle. Strong and capable. Towed anything and everything…went anywhere on and off road. Independent rear suspension was a brillient idea on Nissan’s part. Only let it go for the BMW.

    2006 Honda Accord 2.4L (new). Quick, tossable and very entertaining. X-wife couldn’t handle ddriving it in the snow.

    2003 Acura MDX touring. Should have been a Minivan…that way people wouldn’t get confussed. X-wife had to have it becasue it was loaded. I couldn’t stand driving it, happy to give it up in the divorce.

    2006 BMW 330i. This car defies the laws of physics and makes Newton role over in his grave. I find myself waxing it every weekend now just because it offends me to see it dirty. Everything about it was done on purpouse…no accidents like American or Japanese cars…and nobody in the development process said “well, just use that from the old parts bin.” From now on out, if it aint German…I aint driving it.

  • avatar

    1990 – 1974 Mazda RX4 – fun car, but it was not too reliable and sort of fell to bits in the end.
    1991 – 1984 Alfa Guiletta – A car which someone once described to me as good to drive and shit to own, which is close to the truth.
    1994 – 1988 Holden Commodore VL Turbo – Another fun car. Cheap (for Australia) loads of grunt, plenty of oversteer.
    1995 – 1990 Toyota Celica GT4 (Altrac in the USA) – Fun car and reliable which is a good combination. I still own this car and it has now become a track day car. You can see it at
    1997 – 1993 Subaru Liberty RS Turbo – As the Celica was modified more and more for the track, I needed something relaible to drive to work and back. Not a bad car with the standard Subaru bulletproof reliablility
    2001 – 2001 Nissan 200SX (Silvia in other parts of the world) Awesome car. Amazing handling. Car was even better when I added a couple of more pounds of boost. Looked good to. The only car I ever bought new.
    2005 – 2003 Holden VY SS Ute – A bit of a compromise car. I needed something that could tow as the Celica could no longer be road registered. The Ute had plenty of power – about 375HP after a few tweaks. Handling was pretty shit compared to the Nissan, but not too bad for a heavy car. Had some relaibilitiy issues, clutch, front brakes, and diff all needed to be replaced within a couple of years.
    2008 – 2005 Subaru WRX STI When I was recently layed off from Holden, i thought if they don’t want me I dont want their fucking car so I bought the Subaru. It’s the best car I have ever owned. A bit hard core for some people, but for me the balance is just right. Lots of power, grip and technology. It’s a real shame the new WRX has gone soft.

  • avatar
    jd arms

    I’ve been enjoying this thread two evenings in a row now. I guess I better contribute:

    1981 Dodge Colt (tan) – I can’t believe I actually navigated Hwy 17 to Santa Cruz in this.

    1986 Ford Mustang (black) – it was all good until it started falling apart at 50k. Maybe I should have maintained it properly…oh wait…I did.

    1986 Ford Bronco II (brown) – I traded the Mustang on it. It fell apart too, but I also beat it hard. Lots of good memories here. Still, the end of Ford for me.

    1992 Nissan Pickup (red)- a wonderful little truck that met all my needs through my early 20s to early 30s. Reliable. Started a trend. The “first real girlfriend, not just a lay” of all my cars.

    In ’96 I got married, so now I also had a….

    1989 VW Fox (silver) – Not a bad little car. Had to replace the radiator in Dec. 1998. Totalled 2 months later. This was a fun “slow car to drive fast.”

    1996 Nissan Maxima (dark red) – replaced the Fox. Wife’s first “have a real job” car. I talked her into it. She loved it. Reliable.

    2001 – had a kid….and also inherited a 1998 Mercedes E430

    1998 Mercedes E430 (black) – love/hate s and m car. Loved to drive it. Looked cool, prestigious (even if we inherited it), but service was too pricey, and the car had continual electrical issues. Last German car. So smooth. So effortless. So f-ing lame when the window rotors break repeatedly. A cold exacting mistress of a car: driving pleasure/upkeep pain.

    2001 Toyota Tundra with Cab (grey)- the little Nissan truck was just too small – sold it and the Maxima, and we got a big Toyota. Uber-reliable. I liked this truck a lot, but sold it for something more fun….an RSX-S.

    2002 Infiniti I35 (bronze) – Mostly my wife’s car. Not Mercedes but no broken window rotors in a rain storm either. Another reliable Nissan. Nondescript, sneaky fast car. I recommend a used one to my “non-car loving” friends.

    2003 Acura RSX-S (grey) – Maybe after the Tundra, I swung a little too far in the opposite direction; it was a hoot to drive, but I drove foolishly with this car – I just couldn’t help myself, and it was only a matter of time until I made a mistake. Too ricer as well. Only kept it 10 months, then sold it and got an Infiniti FX35 for my wife and took the I35. My time with the RSX-S was like a brief relationship where the sex is really good, but the other aspects of the partnership were lacking. Such a filthy little whore of a car…I still thought about our short-lived fling in moments of weakness…until a week ago.

    2004 Infiniti FX35 (grey) – I like it. We only have 1 kid and it fits us well. It gets us through the snow we encounter. Another reliable Nissan so far. Fast and handles for an SUV/station wagon on stilts. Wife absolutely loves it.

    2005 Infiniti G35 Sedan (slate blue) – I wanted a G ever since I decided to sell the Tundra, but I had to save for 3 years and I got it used in Feb 2008. (Most of our cars have been “slightly used.”) This is my favorite car of my lifetime thus far. Just a really satisfying car. I think the lines are understated and beautiful, and the car is powerful when necessary with proper handling. Another reliable Nissan so far.

    1999 Mazda Miata (twilight blue) – I credit the contributors of this website, moderators and readers alike, for my purchase of this car last weekend. For around 3-4 years, I kept seeing comments about this car on this site – especially in the top ten cars surveys. I kept thinking, “that little chick car? No way.” Finally, while contemplating which kind of “beater” to purchase with a portion of my ever shrinking investment portfolio (why not? depreciation? sheeeit. how much can a car depreciate compared to the market lately?) I decided WTF? Now I have a used but well maintained, soon to be garaged and flogged on the weekends little toy….my RSX-S without the need for a q-tip test or antibiotics. And just like they said….utterly hilarious to drive…my perky little 5’0″ 102 lb graduate assistant of a car….

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Wow!! 234 Auto-Biographies (so far). Fantastic reading. And what an endlessly repeating pattern of domestics followed by imports.

    Here’s mine:

  • avatar

    I suppose I’d better chime in with my woeful car history:

    1999: Rover Metro. I actually loved this car. It was a cheap, knockabout car. The parts were cheap and was suprisingly quick. It ended, when the head gasket started to fail.

    2001: Vauxhall Corsa. I hated this car. Heavy, the parts were too expensive and under the bonnet was too complicated needlessly. That gave up the ghost, when the cooling system broke, caused the engine to overheat and implode! Left me stranded on a road, in the middle of the night.

    2004: Toyota Yaris. Great little car. Cheap, parts are reasonable and loads of creature comforts. Still have it. Still love it.

    2006: Jaguar X-Type. The other of my babies! I can’t say enough good things about it. A joy to drive, relaxing interior and loads of comforts. I did have one incident, where the transfer box broke. But the dealership replaced it free of charge (cost £4K to the dealership). Apart from that, good as gold. A sensational car.

    Not as comprehensive as other people’s history, but just weird! :O)

  • avatar

    Height of 6’1″ eliminates lots of cars right off the bat. Can’t drive a car that feels like I’m wearing it as a hat.

    1981: ’72 Honda 600 Sedan, manual, pale yellow. Wasn’t ready to own anything larger or with more than 2-cylinders. Added stego-bumps to the roof to make it a Hondasaurus.

    1983: ‘76 Saab 99 5-door, manual, cat-crap brown. 4-cylinder non-turbo. My brothers had Volvos, blame it on Swedish black sheep syndrome.

    1986: ’75 Porsche 914 2.0, silver. 4-cylinder boxer, manual. Fun, & just what I needed after getting dumped by girlfriend. Got it running pretty good & then sold it when I moved to the city. Kinda wish I could buy a new one now. Concurrent w/ BMW R65 boxer bike (living @ home has its privileges.)

    1990: (year?) Fiat 124 Spider, manual, red. Drove this gift from Brooklyn to the ‘burbs w/ steering so loose you had to turn the wheel almost 180 degrees before hitting resistance. Wheee! Fixed it up to running condition, but mostly it sat in the garage while I took the Beemer or walked where I had to go. Owned it over a north-east fall & winter, but that didn’t stop me from riding w/ the top down, it’s a convertible, dammit! Sold it for repair cost put into it. Subsequently stolen while @ the mechanics & driven into a lake (unintentionally); think twice about stealing a car from a repair shop, what do you think your chances are that it’s all fixed up & ready to go?

    1992: (’80?) Volvo 244, automatic, green. 4-cylinder, tank. Another “gift”. Got passed a lot on Interstate 80 driving 50 m.p.h. Sold it for $99. The guy actually gave me $100 but I felt obliged to give him a single back to keep it to 2 digits.

    Having spent enough time broken down @ the side of the road, hoped to move up a notch or 2:

    1993: ’85 Saab 900 Turbo 4-door, white, 4-cylinder, manual. Starting out w/ 120k miles, it felt like a new car to me. Had to replace transmission & turbo along the line, but got years of rather faithful service. Then it died, parked it a few months. Towed it to the mechanic & bringing it back to life didn’t take that much after all. D’oh! Finally sent to the junkyard (2004) @ 230k when the Panhard rod attachment rusted away. *sob*

    1999: ’85 Mercedes-Benz 280TE gas wagon, white, 6-cylinder automatic,, euro grey-market model. Became the weekend car when the Saab was revived because it can fit two full-size garbage cans full of mulch standing up in the back, with just a bit of persuasion. A mere 140k miles, valued at whatever the last repair bill was. OK, so it’s no chick magnet, but I could live in it if it came down to that. A/C, cassette player, & radio antenna motor are dead, otherwise its solid. Down to this & the Cannondale. Parked in the same garage, the bicycle would be the one that’s not rusting away.

    Sometimes I ask myself, will I one day own a car from the same decade? Maybe, someday. Sometimes I ask myself, why exactly am I not driving a Boxster? Then I shop around & compare the price vs paying off the mortgage completely. Not to mention the repair costs. Oh well.

    What I dreamed of/shopped for/never got:
    MG Midget
    Lotus Europa
    Lotus Esprit
    Alfa Romeo Spyder

  • avatar

    My list is rather short, so, here it is:

    I learned to drive in a…..

    1987 Nissan Sunny: Ridiculously light bodywork was more raincoat than car, but, now that i think of it, it was not that unpleasant to drive. I don’t think they bothered to crash-test it. Long gone, thankfully

    1986 Mercedes 420 SEL: Project car. Used it for a while, then started the project by rebuilding the (rather complicated) alloy V8, the rest of the car is waiting. Someday, it will be ready.

    2005 Peugeot 307 HDI: Roomy, comfortable daily driver, not that good to drive (fast). Bulletproof engine, but the front discs wrapped easily and the electrics eated more than 30 bulbs in three years, replaced by a

    2008 Opel Astra 1.9 CDTI: (You get the idea, i like diesels) Not as roomy or comfortable, but much better to drive, and a lot faster too. Good high speed stability, very good brakes. Nice six speed manual transmission. Has been perfectly reliable so far.

  • avatar

    Got my license in 1992:

    79 Plymouth Volare- Hand me down from my dad who purchased it with 120k miles for 500 bucks. It was totalled out after an incident with a deer. Still, my father kept the car and never fixed the dent, which caused the passenger side front door to stick shut and gave my brother the nickname “the Hitman” for riding in the back seat alone as if being chauffered. An unredeemable piece of crap. Only hit on 5 of the 6 cylinders. Was the right color of brown to look like excrement on wheels. Died at unfortunate times. Worst car EVAR.

    1983- Plymouth Reliant K- Still not good. At least it waited until it actually ran.

    1985- Dodge Aries- Somehow worse than the 1983

    1993- Dodge Spirit- First car ever that I started out with under 100k miles. Joy.

    2001- Toyota Celica GT- Leased new, then bought outright. Still own it and drive it. Fun to drive. Good, but not great milage. Only regular maintenance. I’ll keep it for a long time. First car I got after I graduated college and got a real job.

    My wife drives a 2000 Civic ES, which isn’t bad, is extremely reliable and cheap to maintain. Gets better gas milage, but isn’t fun on interstate off ramps like mine.

    My parents have always owned domestics, from the old Sable station wagon to the ’77 F150 to the ’85 Crown Vic to my mom’s current ’00 Buick Century. They always have had and continue to have constant breakdowns and small problems like windows that don’t work, trim pieces that fall off.

  • avatar

    1963 Simca (from before Chrysler)
    1965 Corvair Monza (most fun-to-drivr)
    1969 Mustang Mach1 (fastest)
    1973 Cougar (smog controls hurt)
    1975 Pinto (fun to drive)
    1975-2006 E-Series (new one every year/ still have the 2006 / great long distance cruiser)

  • avatar

    1979 Mercury Cougar XR7, midnight blue with a white vinyl half roof – 351M V8, 400 heads, crane cam, edelbrock manifold, holley 4-barrel. Great car went 238,000 before it came off the road

    1994 Ranger STX 4×4 Supercab, green with the purple and silver stx graphics, 4.0L V6, Great truck, went 146,000 before I sold it to buy a 4 door to put the kids in.

    1996 Mercury Cougar XR7, black, 4.6L V8, the first cougar was so good I had to get another one. This one went 186,000 miles before I sold it to buy the other 4 door to put the kids in.

    2003 Ford F-150 Supercrew 4×4, 5.4L V8, it’s got 75,000 miles on it now, and has been great.

    2007 Dodge Charger R/T. Inferno Red, 5.7L V8, this car is just a blast. 4 doors, plenty of space for the family and does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds! You’ve got to love that HEMI. I’ve got 33,000 miles on it so far with no trouble.

  • avatar

    Here’s my history:

    1974 Datsun 100A – (bought used) I never drove this car, but it is the first with which I have great memories. It was a dark green 2-door coupe and I remember fondly the exciting trips down to London on the M1 hitting 80 and 90 mph and my father with his leather gloves grinning manically. Me and my little brother would jump around in the back seat counting all the cars we would pass. I remember it to be reliable, and my Dad meticulously maintained it, but when we left the UK, he gave it to his brother who totalled it within a week. I was sad; in fact I still am.

    1979 Dodge Aspen – (bought used) The first car I drove belong to my parents. A baby blue sedan with tired leaf springs in the back gave the car a permanently unlevel profile with the headlights pointing to the sky and the bumper perilously close to the road. I actually enjoyed changing the tires on this car because I was then amazed that the jack point was the actual bumper itself. There was a slot in the bumper in which we attached the jack and lifted the bugger up. They certainly don’t make cars like that anymore.

    1989 Pontiac Bonneville – (bought new) Again my parents car, but I got lots of driver’s seat time in it. Perhaps telling was on the day the car was delivered to our house, the salesman admitted that he was late because the AC compressor failed and the entire unit had to be replaced. This certainly raised our eyebrows. Over the course of ownership we did have numerous mechanical issues from failed alternators and transmission problems, but the power and fluidity of the 3.x L V6, the highway cruising comfort, the excellent bass in the stereo system remain high points.

    1995 Chrysler Intrepid – (bought new) Yep, still riding my parent’s vehicular coattails (or should that be bumper?) Nothing remarkable here except I noticed the interior plastics. Not something I remember for other cars, but I distinctly remember how scratchy, high gloss and cheap they were in this car. Mostly trouble-free, but towards the end of our ownership, the steering was more and more detached from the driving experience and funny noises were coming from the driveshaft.

    1992 VW Jetta Mk2 – (bought used) My first car, bought with my own money! At this time I am back in the UK and I utterly loved this reliable, but awkward looking tank. With a puny 1.3 L engine, it could barely get out of its own way. Forget about passing on the motorway, scaling any gradients or attempting to dart in-and-out of traffic in London congestion. It was solid. Heavy thunks as doors closed, ponderous handling, but an absolutely enormous boot (trunk). I could fit two large suitcases standing up in the back! Towards the end of the seven years I owned it, weird problems started propping up. First was some indeterminable suspension issue. Under certain circumstances (I could not figure out what), the car’s weight seemed to shift to the rear whilst driving with the net effect that acceleration, steering and braking were useless as the front tires simply spun as there was insufficient weight on them to effect any response. It was pretty scary at the moments it happened. One day the exhaust pipe simply snapped in half before the muffler resulting in race car sounds! It scared the kids and grannies on my street when I used to come home in the evenings! This is the only car in my history to date that has ever been vandalized: it was keyed on both sides, though separate occasions, and some asshole stole my CD unit in the dashboard. The bizarre thing with that is that nothing else was touched in my car, no windows broken, so I don’t know how they got in and I am very careful about locking the doors. And the CD unit had a removable face which was in my house at the time. So the doofus took the base unit which is useless without the face! And it was a cheap system too, only paid 20 quid. Still puzzling.

    1998 Ford Escort wagon – (bought used) Back in Canada now and this was an awesome car. The utility of the wagon is unsurpassed. I did have a lot of maintenance issues with it, seals, belts, radiator, tires, brakes, etc. I poured a lot of money into this, but it was still endearing to me.

    2004 BMW M3 (bought new) – So my wife is expecting our first child and what do I do? Yep, I go and order a brand spankin’ new M3! Everyone told me I was nuts. I still had the Escort and told them that is the family car and the M3 is my other baby! I’m pretty damned lucky my wife allowed me to realize a long dream of mine. I still own this car, take it to the track once in a while and commute occasionally with it. I have not had a single problem with it at all. It is awesome.

    2007 Honda Odyssey (bought new) – I sold the Escort and replaced it with the minivan. I never wanted to be a minivan guy, but you know, the Odyssey is one frickin’ amazing vehicle. With two kids and an extended family that we travel with, I needed a 8-seater that could still carry luggage and people in comfort and the bonus is that the Odyssey is surprisingly a driver’s car too.

    That’s the story thus far!

  • avatar

    86 F-250 w/mild suspension lift…the beast, it’s still in service somewhere upstate as a plow truck. I loved this truck, despite a second tank that would purge gas and 3 brake failures that all occured at speed (oh yeah and the high beam floor switch that set the thing on fire).

    64 Dodge Coronet, I didn’t “own” it but it was mine to drive for a while. This car is the reason I no longer find classic cars amusing and will never let my children own one…seriously, I’d rather see them on sportbikes.

    Olds Delta 88, year unremembered. Suprisingly smooth power (seemed like it at the time at least), but the most dangerous snow car I ever lived with. Terminal understeer at speeds formerly thought to be reasonable.

    92 Dodge Dakota, Oversteer Monster. RWD only, 3.9liter v-6, no weight at all (NONE) over the rear axle. All this when I lived (at college) on one mountain, and worked everday, 30 miles away, on another…in upstate NY. I still miss it, it taught me a lot about weight transfer. It took me to Colorado and back at near 200k miles without a hicup. Ended life when the frame rails completely rusted through; I also sheared the leaf springs on one side with all my sliding around.

    96 Ford Bronco (there were actually two of these). I learned how to drive in this thing (and survived a roll over in the other), it just left the family a few months ago. Defined snap-oversteer for me when I was 16. What a fantastic, even if dangerous, idea.

    96 VW passat tdi. My current daily driver it’s just shy of 160k miles. Plastics and electronics are failing and the door handles need replacement, comes with the territory I guess. Replaced the dampers with Bilstein HD’s at 150k which is so transformative it’s barely the same car. Had sport springs for a very little while, but that was laughably inappropriate.

    Recent family cars (not mine specifically)
    92 Dodge Ram 2500 (transmission fail x3)
    Dodge Magnum RT
    Honda Element
    list fatigue…I give up.

  • avatar

    1987 Olds Cutlass with a 3-speed auto and the 2.5 liter Iron Duke engine. This was my parent’s car bought used so I would have something to drive throughout HS and College. Was just awful in comparison to my friend’s Hondas. I swear that thing had 45-degree body roll going around corners. Highlights include the floorboards flooding in a carwash and multiple electrical problems with windows and doorlocks. The power locks would actually start buzzing while driving (usually while I was on a date). This was a miserable car.

    1997 Acura 2.2CL with a 5-speed. First post college new car. In retrospect I should’ve bought a 240SX SE or BMW 318ti, but I was in love with the Acura’s styling. Great visibilty. Good handling and an engine that liked to rev. Unfortunately I was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler less than 6 months after I bought it. But it wasn’t totalled. After 3 more trips to the body shop, only one of which was my fault, I decided that the car’s structural integrity was probably gone and I needed something new.

    2003 Honda Civic Si – nice car, both Japanese and European (built in England). Great shifter, good handling. No problems with it, I just tired of it rather quickly. The jump from 145 HP in the CL to 160 in the Si made me realize that the front wheels are not where power needs to go.

    2000 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro with a 5-speed and the Sport package. In a moment of weakness, I sold the Honda for this. Bought used with 50K miles. AWD is great, but this is a big heavy tank of a car. The only time it is fun to drive is in the snow or on a dirt road. Also, this will be my last VW product. Lots of little things have gone wrong. I recently replaced the oil pan gasket to fix a leak. A few months later I had a new leak, this one is from the “upper”!?? oil pan gasket, which is much more expensive!!! Would love to replace with a Genesis coupe 2.0 or something…..

    Wife/family cars:
    Dodge Neon – She had this when we married. But not for long. It was a tin-can with a 3 speed auto.

    2001 VW Golf TDI GLS – We loved this car. The wife loved only having to fill up every other week, I loved the torques. Small number of VW related electrical problems but not too bad. I had planned to sell my Audi and drive this as a daily driver, but she was rear-ended in the rain and it was totalled.

    2007 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5i – With a baby on the way, we needed something with some room. Very happy with this one so far. Not very sporty but at least the H-4 sounds good. The automatic transmission in sport mode is not too bad for an auto.

  • avatar

    1970 Jaguar E-Type 4.2
    1974 Alfa GTV 2000
    1974 Volvo 145
    1976 Mercedes 450SL
    1974 Alfa 2000 GTV (bought it back – anti-freeze in the olio and all!)
    1976 Jaguar XJ6
    1976 Volvo 245
    1977 Maserati Merak
    1978 VW Rabbit Cabriolet
    1981 BMW 320i
    1983 BMW 318i
    1984 BMW 325e
    1986 BMW 235ic
    1986 BMW 325ix
    1986 Chevy Cavalier (company Car)
    1987 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo (company Car)
    1989 Chevy Lumina (company car)
    1990 Ford Taurus (company Car)
    1992 Toyota Camry (company Car)
    1992 Subaru SVX
    1996 Subaru Legacy GT
    1992 Subaru SVX (second one!)
    2000 Subaru Outback VDC
    2006 Subaru Legacy Spec. B

    Dreadful mis-steps:
    1. Letting go the E-Type
    2. Selling, then buying back the Alfa
    3. Selling the second SVX
    4. Not having – and keeping – a Citroen SM

  • avatar

    Robert, it’s fair to say you have made a lot of bad car choices in your life, even without the benefit of hindsight 20/20. One of my college gfs had to have the engine replaced on her Neon at 45K miles. My coworker has a Dodge Journey and has it in the shop several times in under a year for unusual problems that shouldn’t happen on a new car. I will never ever buy a Chrysler product. I learned to drive on a ’87 Ford Taurus and my parents sold it 7 years later, having had few problems. Anyway, here’s my list

    1987 Ford Escort GT (used, low miles) – big lemon. My parents sold it after fixing it following the heads warping while driving on the highway on a warm summer day. That was one of just many issues.

    1993 Ford Escort GT (new) – Great car, very few problems. The only significant problem was the catalytic converter collapsing in on itself at 55K, which was covered under extended warranty. Extremely reliable otherwise. I sold it at about 75K miles to a coworker that drove it til 134K and donated it to charity.

    1999 BMW M3 (new, custom ordered) – What a blast, a few small issues. Driver door stuck (dealer lubed to fix), small coolant leak at radiator neck (wararnty fix), squeaky clutch (dealer lubed), brake light sensor replaced under warranty, sold at 53K miles after the company I worked for went under. The car was a blast to drive.

    1994 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 (LT1) former highway patrol car. Bought with 118K miles, sold at 155K. In between, I had rebuilt the transmission (and itw as acting up when I sold it), and had fuel pump issues that left me stranded 3 times in 2 months. There was an exhaust manifold leak that I didn’t bother fixing, but the stranding made me sell it ASAP.

    1999 BMW 328i (E46) – 70K miles to 157K miles (death by Xterra). Great fun to drive since I had replaced the suspension for autocrossing, upgraded wheels, put a cold air/software tune on it, and a short shifter. A few major issues: control arms needing to be replaced 3 times, yellow lights in gauges going out (necessitating replacement of the gauges), 2 window rear diff mount broke, and rear wheel bearing went out. Engine was flawless and had a lot of life left in it. However, the car was still rattle free til the day it died.

    As of yesterday, 2009 Pontiac G8 GT, 12 miles. The service at my dealer (Sewell Pontiac in Dallas) was better than I ever got at any BMW dealer. I was also looking at CPO BMW 335i, but was having trouble locating what I wanted. The value of the G8, especially at current offers is just too good to ignore. The car drives like a dream and is roomy (I’m 6’7″). It seems solidly built as well. It’s got a couple of quirks that don’t exist in the BMW (no memory seats, no HIDs, Blaupunkt stereo is kinda weak), but has a couple of other features not in the BMW. If more people knew about this car and drove one, they wouldn’t have so many on the lots and be cutting production. What a shame!

    My VW Passat owning sister that said I needed to stick with a German car before she sat in the G8 said she was impressed with the interior. For the record, she won’t buy a VW again after a lot of issues, including fuel leaking into the engine compartment.

  • avatar

    1959 Volvo PV 544
    1961 Volvo PV 544
    1965 Chevrolet Corsa Turbo
    1966 Chevrolet Corsa 140 4 BBL
    1964 Chevrolet Greenbriar
    1974 Honda Civic
    1972 Honda 600Z Coupe
    1978 Honda Accord
    1987 Honda Civic
    1984 Honda Civic SI
    1991 Dodge Caravan
    2000 Pontiac Gran Prix
    2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    RF….please find a way to leave this thread available for a while….it takes too long to read at one sitting. Also, it might be nice to refer back to this when evaluating “friends” posts on the website….knowing the vehicle experiences may help us understand and reply intelligently and appropriately to their musings….also, where is your list? Inquiring minds want to know….

  • avatar

    1980 Ford Mustang. POS. Inherited from Mom. Looked good, though. One-barrel carb feeding a 3.3-l inline-six = Not Good. Thing kept stalling. Three-speed automatic, I kept it in 2nd most of the time just to get the sensation of motion.
    I did the same thing with the transmission of my father’s 79 Chevy Malibu V6

  • avatar

    63 valiant
    73 duster (first new car– it took a year to have it properly assembled and 7 yrs to rust out)
    74 Fiat 128 (Need I say more)
    80 Accord (finally a decent car)
    81 Prelude (the white upholstery wasn’t such a good idea when we started to have kids)
    86 Acura Legend (first really decent car)
    95 Accord V6
    98 Suburban (to haul the horse trailer and kids)
    05 Lexus ES330 (snore)
    08 BMW 535i (finally a really, really decent car)

  • avatar

    I think I’ve now read this entire list. A couple things stick out:
    1) Most of us buy used. I’m with y’all. Late model used is where the smart money’s at right now. Let someone else take the initial depreciation hit.
    2) We must be getting older, and more established in life (I’m 44). Most of our recent rides are upscale.

    Now that we’ve gone through what we’ve had, what’s on everybody’s “next car” list? To start it, I want a BMW e30 convertible toy car (and maybe a POS old truck for hardware and car parts runs).

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Great Q…my Dad was a dealer and thus some vehicles I owned for brief periods or took on to fix up and drive for a while to sell later…..This list surely doesn’t represent other vehicles worked on or driven but here’s mine to date:

    67 Chevrolet C10 shortbox stepside – restored with Dad between 77 to 81 and still own it now
    74 Chevrolet Impala 2dr custom 400 small block 2V, strong runner, estate sale car
    80 Chevrolet Impala 2dr 267 small block, slow as hell
    81 Pontiac Phoenix 2dr 2.5L “Iron Duke”, perfect shape with all the bells and whistles, didn’t have it very long
    76 Pontiac Grand Prix….had this one two times, first to completely restore and sell, good mpg for what it was
    79 GMC Jimmy 2WD, 350 small block, clean as a whistle, headers / dual exh, strong runner
    65 Chevrolet Bel Air 4dr, 283 small block and a 3 on the tree, bought it for $15, was fun for while
    76 Chevrolet K10 4×4 Scottsdale shortbox stepside, 400/auto, dealership plow truck and occasional college trips
    77 Pontiac Bonneville 2dr 400 Pontiac engine, was my Aunt’s car, very nice roadtrip machine
    79 Chevrolet K20 4×4 Silverado fleetside, 350 headers/duals, frame up resto, beautiful, strong runner, sucked gas
    85 Pontiac Trans Am WS6, 305 TPI / 700R4 trans, spotless condition, loaded with options, was very good looking
    77 Chevrolet Nova 2dr, 250 6 cylinder, cheap nice shape college car
    78 Chevrolet Impala 4dr, 305 small block, excellent $800 car that never failed
    77 Ford LTD, 351…dirt cheap trade in we took for $400 that I drove for a while
    66 Chevrolet Bel Air 4dr, 283 small block, Powerglide and P/S. Estate sale car that I restored, low miles, very nice
    90 Honda Civic DX hatchback/ 5-speed, dealer demo car during short stint working for Honda dlr
    88 Ford Mustang LX convertible 4 cylinder, would have really been neat if….if it was a 5.0L, but it wasn’t
    91 Pontiac Sunbird LE 2dr 3.1V6 / auto, gutsy little bastard! Nailed it as a GM brass hat, sold it to my Mom
    88 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 convertible 2.8V6 / auto. Bought from my sis, my summer toy for years, gave to Dad
    93 Ford Taurus LX 3.0V6 company car given me due to sales job, good mpg, no complaints, price sure was right
    81 Pontiac 1000 4dr 4-speed, bought for $50. Best $50 giggle toy ever found, put a water pump in it, sold for $250
    95 Ford Taurus GL 3.0V6 company car again, 67k in 25 mos, not one single problem encountered with it
    97 Ford Taurus GL 3.0V6 company car again, no problems with it, just hated the design compared to the 95
    91 Pontiac Sunbird LE 3.1V6……I buy this one back from Mom, own for 2.5yrs, sell to friend, still going
    93 Jeep Cherokee Country 4×4 I6 H.O. / Auto, marriage dowry addition, sold to relative in 08, great rig, miss it
    00 Honda Accord EX V6 4dr, first new car ever bought/owned, still have it, very pleased with this one
    97 Ford Contour SE 2.5V6 /auto, good handling, nice willing engine, total, total P.O.S. Biggest $$ loser ever owned
    02 Honda Civic EX 4dr auto, second new car ever bought, sold in 08, was a very excellent car, sold to friend
    05 Honda CR-V EX 4×4 / auto, bought used in 08 with only 9k miles, good rig but terribly inconsistent mpg

    82 Kawasaki GPz550 / Kerker K2S header: sweet, fast, reliable and handled great
    85 Kawasaki GPz550 all stock, another fine ride, only had it for 8 months due to finding the one I wanted so bad..
    84 Kawasaki Ninja 900…brilliant, brilliant bike. Owned for 13 yrs, fast, comfortable, great all-rounder
    93 Suzuki VX800 all stock, owned twice, reliable as an anvil, easy to maintain
    85 Kawasaki Ninja 900, shouldn’t have sold my first Ninja, found this excellent specimen in WI with low miles
    85 Kawasaki Ninja 900, now have two of the same collectible classic superbikes! found this sweetheart in WI too

    “4 wheels move the body but 2 wheels drive the soul”

  • avatar
    Captain Tungsten

    1975 Chevy Caprice Classic, inherited from my dad. Great car, but too big for twisty Pittsburgh streets.

    1980 Chevy Citation – My first new car. One of the awful ones with locking up rear brakes, paint falling off, failed welds in the hood latch, etc. etc. Love/hate relationship with this one.

    1986 Audi Coupe GT – Red with black interior, most fun to drive until I got my Saab. The quality differences between this car and anything else I was looking at at the time (including Mustang SVO and Tempo GT) was dramatic, even in ths showroom. The only car I’ve ever truly regretted selling.

    1989 Toyota Camry LE Wagon – Purchased used as a second car for my new wife to drive. Another nightmare car, early wheelwell rust and an automatic transmission that ate itself every six months or so, requiring at best a new ECM and at worst a rebuild. Hated it.

    1995 Chevy Blazer – Competent vehicle, didn’t particularly care for the handling, but good power. Did what it needed to do.

    1997 Chevy Blazer – More of the same.

    1999 Olds Intrigue GLS – with the new OHC V6 engine that GM only produced for a few years. This car should have been the one that proved to the world that GM could make midsize sedans as good as anyone. The fact that it didn’t, as good as it was, is evidence of just how tough it is to change decades of public opinion about a brand and its cars. Still wish this car was around.

    2001 Pontiac Aztek – Don’t laugh. This car, one of the original crossovers, was cheaper than the the latest generation SUVs, got better mileage, was roomier, more comfortable ride, more versatile, it’s only (and i mean ONLY) downside was its butt-ugliness. The lesson from this car was just how much goodness a poor exterior design can mask.

    2003 Pontiac Aztek – told ya we liked it…

    2005 Cadillac SRX – got tired of being laughed at in the Aztek. THis car made driving an SUV fun. Plenty of power (in the V6 no less), crisp handling, though it had the typical GM numb steering, could have been roomier in the back end.

    2005 Saab 9-2x – Bought one of these during the “fire sale” in the summer of 2005 as my driving toy. Love this car, so much fun to drive, wish it were a little bigger, won’t make the same mistake I made with my Audi.

    2007 Saturn Vue Green Line – Underpowered, but gets 27 MPG under pretty much all conditions. It’s not clear how much the hybrid technology contributes to that, though, vs. all the other fuel saving characteristics (hard skinny tires, no roof rack, etc.)

    That’s it so far.

  • avatar

    Wow! Interesting lists. And some not so much! Being in Brazil and all, my list is totally different.

    1989 Fiat Uno CS Top 1.5 ethanol Hand-me-down from my father. Indestructible. Literally jumped it off a cliff and it came back for more. Kept it for 6 yrs (longest of any of my cars). Sold off to my ex-father-in-law.

    1995 Fiat Uno ELX 1.0 gasoline First one bought with my own money, and brand-new! Man, how my hand shook when I was signing the check. Served me well when I moved to Brasilia with my first wife. Totally basic, manual everything, sold it to get more confort.

    1989 Ford Escort XR3 1.6 ethanol Got it for the 1st wife. It had been my father’s than my brother’s car. Staid in the family for 10 years, but little things breaking took the shine off (in stark contrast w/ the Fiats where the little things just didn’t break). Never let me stranded though. Sold to buy another Fiat Uno, but after the next car.

    1998 Fiat Siena ELX 1.6 gasoline Had gotten married, needed a bigger car. First sedan, brand-new again. Excellent car (first w/air conditioning). Still going strong when I sold it 2 yrs later ’cause I got divorced and didn’t want a “family” car anymore.

    1999 Fiat Uno SX Young 1.0 gasoline Bought brand-new by wife to replace ageing Escort. Got divorced so don’t know how it ended, but while we were together absolutely no problems.

    1999 Ford Ranger 2.5 gasoline single cab As mentioned, I got divorced and needed a “single guy’s car”. Excellent. Used it to move all my stuff back to my hometown. Sold it off ’cause gas prices skyrocketed, insurance prices skyrocketed, and some bad situations due to driving “sportingly”, which shook me and got me wanting to drive a car ’cause of their better dynamics. In short, thrilled when bought it. Thrilled when sold it. Guess I got the pick-up SUV thing out of my system as it was just a city car (though it paid off when I didn’t need a moving company when I moved back home after the divorce. So I did get some utility out of it.)

    2001 Renault Clio RT 1.6 16v gasoline The best equipped car I’ve ever had. Hence, very confortable. And economic. And fast. Sold it off to sister-in-law after getting married again and needing some cash to apply in a new apt. Got her older car in the trade plus money. Their experience w/ the car was terrible. And it was the only car that left me stranded after sitting out for a couple of days in the heavy rain 300km from home in a cottage by a lake. When I tried starting it to go back home it shut itself down. Diagnosys: water infiltrated the hood and killed the ECU. Bad luck or poor construction? I think the latter, but oh my, I did give Renault a 2nd chance later on.

    1997 Fiat Palio 1.6 16v gasoline After a couple of non-Fiat products reminded me why I love Fiats so much. This car just fits me. I don’t sit in it, I’m involved by it. Everything falls to hand, the space is great. Had some trouble with it though. Temperature control and temperature-related starting problems. Fixed after some insistence. Fast and fun. Sold it off ’cause I read the writing on the wall that the Brazilian government was “suggesting” we all get flex fuel cars and run them on ethanol by manipulating the taxes on fuels and making ethanol artificially more economic.

    2006 Fiat Palio Fire Flex 1.0 flex-fuel Didn’t intend to buy this one, but the opportunity was too good to turn down, so I bought it for wife number 2. Fuel miser, surprisinly strong and fast for a 1.0L car, as all Fiats, fun and confortable to drive. Now it’s my daily ride and I intend to keep this one for a long time. Thinking something like for another 5 yrs. I just know it’ll go the distance.

    2008 Ford Ka GL 1.0 gasoline Bought it brand-new, thinking it would be more economic than the Palio 1.6. Wrong! It was just as thirsty! With 50% less power. Incredible POS. Left my wife stranded twice. After going back to the shop more than 8 times in a year, took the financial hit and sold it off. Though it was newer than the Palio 1.0, it was so crappy it got scrapped and not the older car.

    2009 Renault Logan Expression 1.0 16v flex-fuel It’s a big car. That’s the best that can be said about it. Rides like one, too. So it’s comfortable. The wife drives it and loves it. But it’s under-powered and you have to rev it all the time to get performance out of it, which gets tiresome. The seating is not the best for me either, though she likes it. It is well built though, and economic, and very roomy. So when the lease is up, I’ll definetly be looking to change it up to the 1.6 version. That one would give us all the benefits of the current one, but without the drawbacks. I mean, I like the car, but it does need more power.

    O there you have my history. 6 Fiats, 3 Fords and 2 Renaults. Not terribly interesting, but surely not too boring. And a totally different experience from your typical NA experience.

    Thanks for reading.

  • avatar
    Russ in Wyo

    1991 Ford Probe GL in twilight blue. Beautiful Mazda/Ford batmobile purchased new at end Gulf War with 15% off soldier’s discount. Much more sports car show than economy car go with Mazda 626’s 4 speed auto and 110HP 2.2L. AC always leaked South Florida humidity’s condensation into passenger side foot well, rear hatch leaked rain occasionally into jack compartment. Huge accident after 6 months took 6 months to repair, but kept for another 12 years with very few real mechanical problems. Drop dead gorgeous as a trophy wife and practical, too, just no adrenaline OOMPH.

    2003 VW Passat GLX 4Motion in anthracite blue. Moved to Wyoming and wanted tank-like traction for icy roads; the chrome-enhanced Passat sedan delivered. Huge scandal on engine coil recall in previous years’ models yielded another 15% new car sticker price discount. Could only get AWD that year on highest end model (everything but a W-8) with beaucoup gadgets. 190-HP engine and German suspension so fun to drive sometimes I would zigzag home from work block by block– never the short, straight routes. One O-2 sensor and an axle seal are only mechanical problems in 5 years/33,000 miles, but seat heater gadget burned marble-sized hole through leather upholstery once– and pinhole in pants! Made me want a Mercedes or BMW next…

  • avatar

    2009 Camry LE I4.

    Worst transmission.
    Uncomfortable seats.
    Soft suspension.
    Crappy interior.
    4k off MRSP.
    Trouble free at 7k. :)

  • avatar

    73′ AMC Hornet AMX
    75′ Pontiac Firebird
    77′ Pontiac Trans Am
    82′ Pontiac Trans Am (with WS6 package)
    83′ Olds Omega
    85′ VW Jetta Turbo Diesel
    85′ Hyundai Pony (the beginning of the ‘Hyundai years’)
    87′ Hyundai Excel
    90′ Hyundai Excel
    93′ Hyundai Scoupe Turbo
    94′ Hyundai Scoupe LS
    96′ VW Golf Turbo Diesel
    96′ Honda Civic CX
    02′ Honda Civic DX coupe
    05′ Pontiac Vibe

    Plus misc. VW’s and Hondas that never made it on the road.

  • avatar
    Russ in Wyo

    Next car? Mercedes C300 4Matic or BMW 335 X-Drive, but GLK and X-6 are wild cards. How long will it take Mercedes and BMW to build twin-turbo diesel hybrids that get 50 MPG? Global warming impact keeps me waiting.

  • avatar

    1975 Fiat 124 sport coupe – An ominous beginning after learning on the families 77 Cutalass. The Fiat was everything I was intuitively looking for with responsive handling, excellent feedback, and a potent enough high revving engine .. And all those Veglia gauges lining the dashboard were nice too! Sold it when a great opportunity presented itself …

    1967 Fiat Dino Coupe – Now we’re talking. This car was simply in another league from cars I have driven to that point, which included some pricey Germans. Still, 19 year olds should not own cars like these, however low mileage, mint condition, and being completely seduced by its many charms was more than the nominal price of admission could resist .. Hey, I still have it!

    1976 Fiat 128 4 dr sedan – Great package, no regrets, (other than the pea soup green paint) Loved the earthy European nature of this little jewel.

    197? Fiat 131 4dr sedan – Got it for a song, but had an automatic. It served a purpose that would have been better served by a domestic.

    1967 Fiat Dino Spider – How couldn’t I. I owned this beauty for 25 years before passing the privilege on to someone else. For me, this was the closest thing to a 275 GTB for comparative pocket change.

    1982 Alfa Romeo GTV6 – A neat car at the time. Could never connect with the Alfa’s for some reason. Rear ended by a drunk.

    1987 Alfa Romeo Milano – Though a bit more refined than the GTV6 I did not like this car at all after the first week.

    1986 Pontiac Gtand Am – First attempt at normalcy on 4 wheels. Yes the car was junk, but that was good!

    1985 Fiat Bertone X1/9 – When looking thru the ads for an apartment I spotted this for sale. Had it for a few years without issue. Fun as heck, frugal, and strong – was rear ended by a truck on line at NJ Turnpike toll station, the driver thought he was rear ended! No, he just forgot about that little car in front.

    1987 Fiat Bertone X1/9 – bought this as a new leftover 4 years after the manufacture date. Immediately added the cam, webers, campys, etc. Looked great, sounded great, and ran great – Just a bit to toyish for middle age …

    1993 Honda Accord LE – Complete surprise, bulletproof reliability year in year out for 200k miles until I sold it to a college kid who will get another 100k if he wants to. A nicely refined and agreeably lithe and nimble vehicle with excellent visibility.

    2004 Honda S2000 – Who says Hondas are boring! Fantastic machine.

  • avatar

    Reading Menno’s list, the number of headgasket failures astound me. Growing up in a Volvo household, I never even knew headgaskets existed till I started researching other makes, Volvo’s 4cyl OHCs simply never quit. Having never owned cars myself, I’ll list my father’s cars here, most of which I’ve driven.

    1974 Volvo 242 DL… Jogging my early childhood memory, pretty sure this was Canadian-spec, carburetted. I know it was a stick because dad let me change gears when mom wasn’t around. Probably scrapped due to rust.

    1976 Volvo 245 DL… same powertrain as above. Have childhood memories sitting in the rear-facing third-row seat. Only major issue was having the transmission replaced, well after 150k. The exhaust rusted away, and some nasty spring weather led to electrical issues that it never really shook off.

    1968 Volvo 142 S… this had the pushrod 4-cyl that was a close cousin to the OHCs we were familiar with. The interior was late-sixties funky, with a linear speedo, and the manual choke caught my interest. It was purchased for cheap, in the hopes that mom’s learner’s permit would lead to a full license. Alas, it wasn’t to be. She had a tough time learning on the ’76 245 and was afraid of anything with a clutch. The car sat on our driveway and slowly rusted away. By the time I was sixteen, the driver’s controls were completely seized. It was towed away when dad needed space for a second (working) car, I think he was somewhat relieved that I would take over some of his chauffeuring duties.

    1981 Chevy Malibu Classic… times were tough in the early nineties… dad picked up this car from a family friend for cheap. This was NOT a GM X-Platform, and it served us well for a couple of years until he could get his hands on another Volvo. This is one of the few cars that was sellable after he was done with it.

    1985 Volvo 244 DL… first one we had with power locks, EFI, A/C (which didn’t work for very long), and cruise control. This was the car I learnt manual on (and it drove like a tank). My hippie-highschool girlfriends dug it, all of them wanted to learn how to handle the stick (ahem)… The transmission was replaced after 150k. It also developed electrical gremlins toward the end, usually these would sort out on their own. The floor rusted away before we could kill it.

    1990 Volvo 744 GL… still used as our daily beater. First one we had with power windows and the 4-speed auto. Purchased at ten years of age, it was showroom perfect, but now the engine is getting tepid, the cold start system is failing, and a few of the powered features are wearing out. It has well over 200k on the odo, which stopped working last Christmas.

    1982 Volvo 244 GLT… this was the beater once the ’85 was gone and the 744 was still “new” to us. The first Volvo dad picked up from his trusty mechanic. After loving the manual 244, I hated this car for its 3-speed auto. But, the GLT was crisper-handling thanks to better suspension, mag wheels, and a sports tiller. The engine got a 20 hp boost and a flatter torque curve thanks to the Bosch K-Jetronic and a higher compression ratio. I coped with the auto simply by mashing the go pedal to hold gears… ultimately it was the most fun to drive. In 1990, it was totalled in a rear ender, but under our ownership, it never had any major maintenance issues.

    1986 MB 420SEL… Dad had his heart set on a 1990 BMW 750, but the Benz was cheaper to own. At twenty years of age, this car was still showroom perfect. After the GLT was gone, this Benz relegated the 744 as the daily beater. Driving this car was like pleasure boating on calm waters… simply magnificent. But, as it showed its age, one of its eight cylinders would die once in a while. Gas prices rose, and dad simply couldn’t justify the upkeep. It was replaced by…

    1998(?) Volvo S70 T5… Again dad was pining after a Bimmer (a 5-series this time), but he caved when he saw this car on his mechanic’s lot. We’ve only had this one for a few months, the original owner kept it in showroom condition with full maintenance records. Fingers crossed, no issues yet.

  • avatar

    67 Mustang 289 3spd man-fun first car
    73 Comet 302 lux pkg-nice car
    76 Corvette-at 20 years old loved it, couldn’t afford a Porsche, still can’t
    78 Lincoln MK V-at the time the cat’s meow
    73 Corvette 454 roadster-kept for 10 yrs, too little power too much front end weight
    81 Eldo Biarritz-loved it
    85 Eldo Biarritz-HT 4100 engine sucked
    95 GMC Sierra 1500-first pickup, loved it
    98 Ford F150
    99 F150
    02 F150 King Ranch Crew Cab
    05 F150
    07 Fusion
    77-95 many Grand Marquis, a Sable, a Topaz, two Cougars, a SHO and GS Taurus, two GMC awd Safari’s, a Windstar all current year models driven as dealer demos

  • avatar

    Ok here we go got my licence in 69.Bought a 62 Pontiac Strato Chief in line 6 with 3 on the tree.
    62 Pontiac rag traded for a 64 Parisienne rag.Sold the 64 and bought another 62.The cops took the 62 off the road for being unsafe I walked for a month.GM hired me in Sept 72 I saved up and bought a 66 Parisienne rag top 283 auto.
    I traded the 66 for a 69 Chevelle 307 rag top and traded it for a 70 Camaro traded the Camaro for a 69 Marquis.The dumbest move I ever made.

    My first car loan for a 1975 Parisienne{GM staff car}it drank gas and was huge In 198O kept the Pontiac and got a 81 Monte Carlo for the wife.Sold the pontiac an 83 and bought an 81 GMC Ttruck.Traded the truck for a used 84 Caprice[the best car I ever owned bar none}Traded the Monte for an 89 S15 4×4 [a complete piece of shit}It shook my faith in GM.Traded the S15 for a 96 Grand Am.I rescued my youngest daughter[I co signe
    a GMAC loan,I’m sure I’m not the only one]
    I ended up with a horrid Sunfire .I traded it for
    a 2000 Firebird rag top and still got it.Bought a new 2001 Grand Am GT Bought a 2003 Jimmy still got it too.I Retired from GM and took my
    retirement voucher and my Grand AM and I bought .
    a 2009 Impala LTZ loaded.Hopefully I will live long enough to buy another car.But not for a long
    long time.

  • avatar

    1985 VW Jetta – POS
    1988 Ford Ranger – Totaled at a Gas Station doing 5 mph.
    1993 Ford Ranger – Not near as good as the 88.
    1988 Mercury Cougar v6
    1995 Mercury Cougar XR7 V8
    1992 Saturn SL – Beat it all to crap and it held together. Traded at 180k miles for:
    1997 Nissan Truck – Last of the Hardbody, but I couldn’t afford it, so:
    1988 Ford Bronco II – Dad’s old car – 350k+ miles on the original 2.9 v6

    Then I moved to Italy and went through many disposable cars including:

    1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme…Too Big for the Naples Roads. Also required my monthly gas alotment for a weeks worth of gas, but hey…for 100 bucks…
    1987 Seat Malaga Diesel. It started shedding bolts after a drive to Paris and kept eating glow plugs.
    1984 Autobianchi A112. I miss that little car. 900cc motor, very simple.
    1987 Alfa Romeo 75 – Never got the twin solex carbs synced right. Also had an annoying perpensity to catch on fire. Fell asleep behind it’s wheel after a long midwatch.
    1992 BMW 318I wagon. Fun car.
    1997 Ford Escort (US spec) – Not so fun, but reliable
    1995 Escort (US Spec) – Less fun, but equally reliable
    1990 Chevy Astro LWB – Neither fun, nor particularly reliable.

    I bought the Van back stateside, and added:

    1968 Mercury Cougar, 302 4bbl, auto, factory AC…Never bank on a 30+ year old unrestored car to be your daily ride.
    1997 Saturn SL1 – See reason above.
    2003 Saturn Ion I. Traded the 97 because I hated the automatic. Boring, but reliable.
    2003 S-10 LS – Not as reliable as the Astro it replaced unfortunately.
    1991 Chevy Caprice Classic. only 40,000 miles when I got her. Too bad a ring land cracked at 42k. Ah well, the perfect chance to drop the hot 350 mill in. Too bad Katrina hit and gas went to 3.00 a gallon.
    2002 Saturn Vue – My only mediocre Saturn – Both kids wouldn’t fit well in the Ion.
    1995 Saturn SW1 and a 2006 Kawasaki EX250. Still have the wagon – 250,000+ miles, no oil use (rebuilt the motor at 215,000)
    2007 Kawasaki KLR 650 – Official Bike of the Libertarian Party.
    2007 Hyundai Tucson – Replaced the mediocre Vue for my wife before I came back in the military (Army this time).

    I guess you could say I had an RG-31, Buffalo, and 1151 uparmored Hummer for a time as well, though not really “mine” as I was responsible for them

    Wow, that’s a lot of cars for a 33 year old…

  • avatar

    1976 Ford Granada with a 302- I thought pretty cool but my dad sold it after a few months
    1977 Honda Accord hatch
    1980 Mazda GLC
    Had those simultaneously. The mazda ran better
    1980 Volvo DL- got it in 1987, sold in 1994
    1988 Audi 80 Quattro- 1994-2004 75K-210K miles
    1989 Acura Legend
    2005 Saturn ION

  • avatar
    red stick

    Great idea. I’m also amazed at the number of people who’ve owned a great number of cars. In my family we’ve tended to buy new and hang on to them for awhile. Our tally:

    1984 Mercury Lynx 2 door hatchback – The car my wife was driving when I met her, bought by her parents when she needed a car at college. She went to Rhodes College in Memphis, whose mascot was, yes, a lynx. Notable mainly for two things: electrical maladies, which my now father-in-law, an electrician, was constantly trying to keep ahead of, and a serious lack of horsepressure. With the three-speed automatic, this car was a terror on the freeways; if you had to brake it could be miles before you managed to get back into the flow of traffic. She replaced it with

    1990 Toyota Corolla DX station wagon – No electrical problems whatsoever, but with the 3 speed auto, not the speediest car either, so again several years of planning ahead on the interstates. Comfortable, reliable, fuel efficient, and sold at 160,000 miles, some 40,000 miles after it developed an incurable oil pan leak that got it nicknamed the Toyota Valdez.

    1991 Nissan SE-R – My first car, advertised as an economical homage to the BMW 2002, and the cure to the acceleration problems noted above. I loved this car, and sold it in 1997 at 103,000 miles when my daughter was on the way and a visiting friend and her small children convinced me rather quickly that a small coupe and rear facing car seats are a recipe for chronic back pain. My only regret is that only about 5000 of the miles I put on it were on roads where its combination of handling and acceleration could be appreciated–the rest was back and forth to work and interstate driving, where the thing you noticed most after a few hours was the need for a 6th gear, as 80 mph required 4000 rpm.

    1997 Ford Contour SE V6- 4 doors, and an automatic transmission. As several have noted, an underrated car, with superb handling. Compared to the Nissan, which occasionally could feel loose at the rear in spirited driving, the Ford stayed resolutely glued to the road. Sold at 22,000 miles in 1999 when I acquired a company car. The only car I’ve ever taken a bath on financially, but we really had no more need of it and nowhere to put it.

    1996 Ford Taurus station wagon (3.0 Vulcan) – Bought used in 1999 with just under 20,000 miles to replace the Corolla. A very comfortable highway cruiser, with enough electronic gadgets that we thought of it as our first Buick. And spacious, as we acquired a pair of six foot bookcases that we transported, one at a time, back home with the hatch closed. A competent handler too, for what it was. What is wasn’t was particularly well constructed. In the summer of 2002 at around 65,000 miles we took a series of four road trips, each of which required a service visit to deal with a variety of problems (thermostat, failed plastic water pump parts, engine computer issues, etc.) Following the last of these we returned to Toyota, and sold a car I hoped to drive to 100,000 miles at just short of 70,000. Hope to do better on my next used car.

    1999 Ford Taurus sedan (3.0 Vulcan)- My first company car. Like driving a rental car for seven years. Notable mostly because, unlike the Taurus I paid for with my own money, and with the exception of a failed alternator, this one never broke. Annoying.

    2003 Toyota Camry LE – Perfect car for the wife. Comfortable, economical, and bulletproof. Capable of sustained cruising all day at 80 mph while returning 30+ mpg with the 2.4L four, which we’ve done several times now on summer vacation trips of 2500 miles+. Numb steering, and not at all interested in taming back roads, but we’ll drive it until we can’t. Odd complaint–thin paint and window glass, compared to the Fords.

    2007 Ford Fusion V6 SE – Second company car. Light years beyond the Tauri. Comfortable, quick, and a decent handler, which puts it way ahead of the Camry. Vast turning circle, however. The best power to weight ratio of any car I’ve ever had, but doesn’t feel that fast–the 6 speed auto is evidently tuned for fuel economy. So far as dead reliable as the Toyota.

  • avatar

    In order:

    ’69 Dodge Charger, 318 automatic. Used.
    ’69 Mach I Mustang, 351 4-speed. Used.
    ’71 Challenger 440, 4-speed. Used.
    ’70 Triumph GT-6+, non-overdrive. Used.
    ’80 RX-7S, 4-speed. New.
    ’72 AMC Hornet wagon, 3-on-the-tree (worst $200 I ever spent). Used.
    ’85 Mustang GT, 5-speed. New.
    ’89 Nissan Maxima SE, 5-speed. New.
    ’93 Nissan Maxima SE, 5-speed. New.
    ’95 Nissan Maxima SE, 5-speed. New.
    ’96 Ford Ranger XLT, 3.0 V6, 5-speed. New.
    ’97 Nissan Maxima SE, 5-speed. New.
    ’98 Ford Ranger XLT, 2.5 I4 5-speed. New.
    ’90 Mercury Sable wagon, 3.0 V6. Auction.
    ’95 Mercury Sable wagon, 3.0 V6. Used, e-bay.
    ’00 Ford Taurus wagon, 3.0 V6 (Vulcan). Used, local dealer.
    ’03 Cadillac CTS, 3.2 Automatic. Used, CPO car.
    ’06 Cadillac STS V8. – Being picked up next week. Used CPO car.

    Then there are the motorcycles, but that’s another story for another time. Oh heck, why not?

    ’73 Honda CL-175. New.
    ’71 Suzuki GT-500. Used.
    ’72 Kawasaki H2. Yes, that 750cc triple legend. Hinged chassis, decorative-use-only brakes, but what fun smoking Camaros at stoplights on Long Island. Drove it across the country and sold it. Used.
    ’75 Yamaha RD-350. Aside from the fact that it was a total bitch to kick start, a great bike. It was stolen and burned an undeserved fate. Used.
    ’77 Suzuki GS-550. Inherited from a friend to repay a loan, it was an okay bike. Pretty reliable. Used.
    ’82 Yamaha Seca 650. New. Pretty as hell, reliable as a stove and a decent performer. Sold it for a song to make room for the next bike.
    ’84 Yamaha FJ1100. New. The first modern bike despite being an air-cooled UJM. Fantastic brakes and power. Decent handling for its size. Sold it when I injured my back. That hurt almost as much as the slipped disc.
    ’86 Yamaha FJ1200. New. I kept this one for 16 years. Fabulous bike.
    ’98 Honda Superhawk. New. Perhaps my favorite bike of all. Sold it after getting laid off.
    ’97 Triumph Trophy 900. Used. My current ride. Not a bad bike, but I’m seriously considering replacing it with a late-model Triumph Sprint ST.

  • avatar

    1991 Ford Taurus
    good car got me to high school, not that cool, but reliable enough..
    1988 Toyota Celica GT Coupe
    Fast, fun, lowered, good stereo, fun college car, i loved the design, with the wrap around rear glass and small nimble size.. very sporty with a 5spd manual. blew the engine 2 twice, so i sold it to the mechanic.. :(
    1997 Dodge Intrepid
    great styling, too bad it drove like a boat, not nimble or tight.. just lazy and very floaty.. i wish the car was 30% smaller.. the futuristic design was just so rad..
    2007 Honda Civic LX Coupe
    fun, light, nimble, quick, great on gas.. 5spd manual.. easy on the wallet, styling is out of the park.. interior is really techy, i swapped the steels for Si 17″ wheels with summer tires, so it feels more sporty.. may add a turbo and add a stiffer suspension.. love Honda!

  • avatar

    Ah, it’s always fun to talk about yourself…

    1961 Mercedes 190b – “Inherited.” Looking back, it was probably worn out by 50,000 miles. Cars have changed.

    1968 Dodge D100 – learned to drive on this; unintentionally explored a lot of rural ditches & fields; bed rusted out due to loading with midwestern snow for traction.

    1961 Mercedes 190b – if one’s good, two must be better. Will never restore a car again.

    1958 Mercedes 190 (parts)

    1972 VW Bus – sold to a guy doing mushrooms.

    1966 Pontiac Catalina wagon – “the Beast”; not well suited to pizza delivery.

    1973 Saab 99 – never, ever buy a used Saab. Probably had the most character of anything I’ve owned, though.

    1983 Honda Civic 1300 (new) – pizza delivery special. 50,000 city miles in two years; front end ruined by very low-speed impact with a curb (on ice).

    1986 Mazda B2000 king cab (new) – sold to go overseas. Mistake.

    197? Mazda (like RX-3 sedan, but pistons) – very used, purchased as temporary transportation when move overseas was delayed; lasted maybe a month. Appropriate color (ugly brown and rust).

    1974 Volvo 145 – replacement for the Mazda. Put into storage for a year, then sold to a friend who later traded it for a girlfriend. Ah, Northern California.

    1986(?) Nissan Patrol, late 80’s Nissan Cedric wagon, various Corollas – all company cars overseas. All white with orange stripes down the side. Now where was that?

    1990 Acura Integra RS (new) – utterly reliable, cool looking, dull to drive.

    1998 VW Passat 1.8t (new) – not dull to drive, and reliable until the steering rack imploded at 30k or so. Not covered by VW warranty. Last VW.

    1978 Dodge D150 king cab – ok, maybe this had the most character. Not reliable, lots of weird noises, etc., etc.; utterly charming. Became a one-season (four-week) vehicle when we moved to the mountains, so is now (supposedly) with Habitat for Humanity.

    1997 Jeep Wrangler – all around, best vehicle on this list. Took out the carpets and rear seat. Installed locking steel box in back to hold cargo. The closest thing to a sports car (..!) that’s still usable in the mountains.

    2000 Saturn S2(?) – self(?)-destructed while used by employee. Saturn completely rebuilt tranny and suspension under warranty. Too many cars, so it had to go.

    2004 Saab 9-3 2.0t – good car. Seats slightly uncomfortable on long drives, but fun to drive when pushing hard. No simultaneous room for me, spouse, and rear-facing baby seat, so it had to go.

    1990 Dodge W250 w/snow plow – you think your Hummer makes you a man?

    2006 Honda Element EX-P awd – excellent, practical, lots of room, and we really like the lack of carpeting. Windshields last about two months on average, though. Counteracts the excessive manliness of the plow truck.

  • avatar

    ’54 Monarch (Can. Mercury clone)2-door, two-tone maroon and beige, auto 160 hp V8, no power equipment, great-sounding exhaust, my first car bought privately Jan. ’57—had it for 4 years—
    ’59 English Ford Zephyr 4-door 90 hp. six, 3 on-the-tree column shift, baby-blue solid, comfortable hauler—bought used in ’61, enjoyed it for 4 years—
    ’63 Buick LeSabre 4-door auto, black with salmon interior, bought used in ’65, owned it for 8 years, great straight-line rocket!—
    ’71 Mazda 1800 auto 4-door, bought new in ’70 beautiful and comfortable car with weak brakes and a body that turned to ‘swiss cheese’, owned it for 8 years—
    ’76 Chev Malibu 4-door auto, bought new, very reliable, poor comfort, heating/ventilation, and trunk-space, owned it for 10 years—
    ’79 Volkswagen Rabbit (gas)bought new, 5-speed, 2-door, versatile hauler, fun-to-drive, drove it like a sports car, and enjoyed it for 11 years—
    ’86 Mazda 323 LX 4-door auto, bought new, 1600cc buzzy engine, aged badly, and overall poor quality, but needed it for 10 years—
    ’90 Volkswagen Jetta auto. (gas) bought new, terrific ride, tracking, seats, trunk, steering! Weak electrics, but otherwise my all-time favourite, had it for 12 years—loved that one~!
    ’95 Honda Civic 4-door auto bought new—only had it for 4 years and sold to daughter (still drives it), the highest quality vehicle owned IMHO—
    ’03 Honda Accord 4-door 4 cyl. auto—bought new, had a number of ‘first-year’ issues, had it for 4 1/2 years, traded it for—
    ’07 Honda Accord 4-door 4 cyl. auto—bought new, and vastly improved over the ’03—brilliant mechanicals, little harsh-riding and some body-flex (as the ’03 Accord)

  • avatar

    1. 1976 Chrysler Lancer (Australian licence-built Mitsubishi). Owned 2 years or so. My first car – paid $1500 for it and drove the crap (and the motor) out of it. It rusted and consumed oil heartily, but with RWD, 80hp and a four-speed stick, it was surprisingly fun to drive. I used it for drifting practice and advanced hoonage. Blew the head gasket heading home from university and limped it home 50 miles across the city in peak hour traffic; with my dad, rebuilt the motor in throbbing January heat, only to have it throw a rod on the freeway in peak hour (again), which was the killing blow (and how – there was a fist-sized hole in the block and a trail of metal shards for miles up the freeway…). It was a lawn ornament for most of a year as I fantasized about stuffing a 2.6 Astron motor and a five-speed in it; however, an impending move across country necessitated a quick sale. I sold the cassette deck to my flatmates for $45 and the rest of the car to a scrapyard for $50 – turns out the scrapper was only giving me $50 because of the stereo. He took the sheepskin seat covers instead. Oh well. I loved that little beast, but it was definitely tough love.

    2. 1988 Holden Astra SL/X hatchback. Owned three years. This was a badge-engineered Nissan Pulsar with a brawny little 1.8-litre Holden motor, and quite the pocket rocket. Bright red, five-speed, great economy, great handling – all it was missing was a tach. Had to replace the head gasket about six months before I upped stakes and moved to the States, which sucked, but sold it to my little brother, who put big wheels and tint on it and loved it nearly as much as I did. He sold it to some teenaged tool who plastered it with Nismo stickers and otherwise trashed it.

    3. 1997 Ford Taurus GL. Owned three years. My first car in the US, acquired from my uncle for nothing. Fleet-spec white/grey; I used to lose it in parking lots. Basic 3-litre V6/column-shift auto, got decent mileage and rode/handled surprisingly well for such a big tank. A great car to learn American driving in (and snow driving) – my first automatic, which really helped me concentrate on the whole left-hand-drive, reversed-controls thing. It survived a major wreck at the hands of my disaster-prone little brother, but a $700 repair quote for a failed O2 sensor and the typical creeping Ford decrepitude, coupled with a new job, led me to trade it for…

    4. 2000 Ford Contour SE V6 5MT, my ride for the past five years. I searched for this car for a year – this spec combo is tough to find. It’s fast, the engine is a sweetheart and sounds great when you wring it out, mileage is tolerable (it’ll get 30-32mpg in extended freeway running), the handling is excellent, but it badly needs a sixth gear for cruising. Plus, the interior is awful – the dashboard is separating and deforming (common fault with this model), the door and rear windscreen seals are useless and the carpet is disintegrating. It’s also expensive when things go wrong – just dumped $600 on a new alternator, it has an appetite for fuel pumps, and the clutch is approaching its (well-earned) retirement age, necessitating a $1,500 replacement. Thanks, comlex FWD V6 packaging! I really like this car, and now that I own it outright, intend to keep it until it starts costing me serious money; unfortunately, I don’t think that’s too far away now. Now that there’s no more Mazda6 with the V6/stick combo, there’s no real replacement for this car; I’ve been eyeing the Fusion with the 4cyl/stick, but I’d miss that sweet V6 sound and what little torque it has to muster.

    As for family rides I’ve had extensive experience with:

    – 1989 Toyota Corolla hatch. This was my mother’s, and gave me deep respect for Toyota quality. With a 1.6 and 4-speed auto, it wasn’t exactly a fireball, but it got the job done willingly and survived three kids learning to drive in it. Plus, the little bugger was just about indestructible; by the time it finally went to the scrapyard, it had 13 years and well over 200,000kms on the clock, and the only original panel left was the roof. The car survived two major wrecks, but getting T-boned by an ancient Volvo 240 was the final straw for this awesome little machine. Current Corollas just don’t have the same personality, unfortunately.

    – 1989 Toyota Tarago (forerunner to the Previa). My dad is a weird dude, and he ordered this eight-seat, forward-control family truckster with a stick. I learned how to drive a manny tranny with this workhorse, which similarly lasted through three learner-drivers and our heavy hooning years. My friends loved the dual-sunroof configuration, which allowed up to six people to stand up through the huge back moonroof. My brother and his girlfriend loved the “bed” configuration on the two rear rows of seats. I loved the torquey 2.2-litre four, and the way you could light the rear tyres up and drift around roundabouts (the family Great Dane was not so fond of this, however, and once got his revenge with an epic diarrhea bomb all over the cargo area). The Tarago had over 300,000 hard-lived kilometres on the clock when my dad offloaded it at the local Toyota dealer, and he still got $5k+ for it.

    My next car depends on where I move to next year. If I stay Stateside, I’ll be looking looking at used Fusion/Mazda6/Accord with a stick. If I head to the UAE, it’ll likely be a Chevy Lumina SS (aka Pontiac G8 GT), with a possibility of an Alfa 156 or Peugeot 206 GTi. If I wind up back in Australia, I’m tempted to say a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon, but it’s more likely to be a Holden Astra or Ford Focus, possibly with a diesel. Whatever it winds up being, so long as I’m driving, I’m happy.

  • avatar

    well, I’m 23 years-old and have had just one car yet:
    ’06 Peugeot 206 Feline, runs on both ethanol and gas, awesome car so far, economic, bought it with 2 years of use, 30k km, interior plastics make it a little noisy and maintainance can be a bit more expensive than competitors, for brazilian standards

    but my parents, on the other hand… the list may look different because i’m from brazil, so:


    1980-1985: 1978 2-door mk1 VW Passat
    1985-1988: 1984 2-door Ford Escort
    1988-1992: 1986 4-door VW Santana Quantum (Passat Mk2 wagon version) – first car he had i remember of, i used to love that car when i was a child.
    and then, after driving a station wagon for such a long time…:
    1992-1994: 1978 Dodge Charger
    1993-1994: 1973 (or so) Dodge Dart
    1994-2001: 1991 4-door Chevy Opala Diplomata (a variation of the Opel Rekord. very comfortable, no problems i recall, but it was a gas guzzler. the engine was a 4.1L 6 cyl)
    2001-now: 1958 Ford F-100 (with a brand-new 1999 turbodiesel engine from the F-250. he practically rebuilt it, even the chassis i think is from a 1997 Ford F-1000)


    1982-1985: 1979 2-door mk1 VW Passat
    1985-1989: 1985 Ford Pampa (small size pickup “truck”)
    1989-1992: 1989 2-door VW Gol (small hatchback – vw fox in the us)
    1992-1995: 1992 VW Saveiro (small size pickup “truck”)
    1995-1997: 1995 2-door Fiat Uno EP 1.0L (very good car, VERY economic, never had any issues, first car she had with a/c and electric windows)
    1997-1998: 1995 2-door Renault 19 Hatch 1.6L (made in argentina, worse car we EVER had, mechanical, electric problems all the time, the car dealer would keep it for weeks for repair)
    1998: 1995 4-door Fiat Tipo 1.6L (nice car, economical, but had some issues with the a/c and electrical problems as well)
    1998-2000: 1997 4-door Fiat Tempra 2.0L (nice car, we never had any problems with it, but it wasn’t that economical)
    2000-2007: 1998 4-door Chevy Blazer Executive 4.3L 6cyl AT – i LOVED that truck. reliable, fast, comfortable. pretty expensive to run, but it was worth it. I learned to drive on it.
    2007: 2005 Chevy Astra Sedan Elite 2.0L, runs on both ethanol and gas: It’s just not a good car. GM gave this car an engine from the 70’s and put a new name on it, Flexpower. Please. It’s a medium-size car that makes TWELVE MILES A GALLON on ethanol and 16 on gas. Oh yes, and gas in Brazil is 1 gallon = US$ 4,00 for the last four or five years, if i’m not mistaken. No wonder chevy-brazil relies so much on fleet sales, if you look at rentals and taxi cabs in brazil, the majority of them are from chevy. Sure, repairing it is cheap because any mechanic can fix it, as it is a 30 y-old engine, but c’mon… We got rid of it after a few months.
    2007-2008: 2003 Honda Civic Sedan EX 1.7L- best car we ever had. reliable, economic, comfortable… my mother went japanese this time and she’s never going back.

  • avatar

    1976 Ford Granada – gift from parents, 1980
    – anemic inline 6, all kinds of problems
    1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 – first car I bought myself (used), 1981
    – fun, but not so great in snow
    1983 Chevy S-10 Blazer – first new car
    – auto trans died @ 60K, it never made it to 100K
    1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo Wagon – new
    – fun, reliable , girlfriend said it was boring looking, so …
    1987 Mazda RX-7 Turbo – leased new
    – three tickets in two months, Allstate cancelled me
    1988 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si – leased new
    – swapped out vehicles under same lease, Allstate reinstated me, auto trans died @ 80K, $3K to rebuild it. unimpressed with supposedly superior Japanese quailty
    1988 Toyota truck – used, 1993 – zzz
    1994 GMC Sonoma – new
    – ran great until engine threw a rod @90K
    1985 Toyota Corolla – used
    – POS to drive during engine rebuild of GMC truck
    1998 Chevy S-10 Blazer – new
    – ran fine until 90K, then began deteriorating until 130K, dealer wanted $5K for new engine, traded it in instead.
    2005 Mercury Mariner – used, 2008
    – trouble free so far, more carlike handling than Blazer.

    From my own personal experience, I can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference in quality or reliability between domestic and Japanese vehicles. I was prepared to drink the Detroit-Haterade at one point, but the transmission failure at 80K in the Prelude was an unexpected shock, and Honda North America’s attitude was the warranty’s over, too bad.

  • avatar

    1940s Plymouth while I was in USAF flying school

    1951 Buick, formerly my father’s when he bought a 1953

    195? Jag 140. Rust flying formation.

    195? Austin Healey 100. For all it’s faults, I would still love to own this one.

    195? Nash Metropolitan

    1055 Studebaker V-8 coupe white over yellow. I still remember this one fondly

    195? Fiat Millecento (1100) Always something going wrong

    195? Fiat 500 as a second car. Trouble on wheels.

    1960 Pontiac Tempest station wagon with the droopy driveshaft. Not a bad car.

    1962 Pontiac Tempest sedan auto as a second car. 2-speed auto ad couldn’t get out of its own way.

    1967 3/4 ton GMC pickup.

    196? Chrysler Imperial. Electrical troubles on wheels, but the ladies like it.

    1973 Chevy Blazer. More trouble on wheels.

    1974 Datsun 260Z. Fun on wheels.

    1975 VW diesel Rabbit. Great fuel mileage.

    1981 Audi 5000. Reliable and good drive

    197? Nissan pickup used. A beater

    1984 Mercedes 190E. Worst car for the dollar I ever owned.

    198? Nissan pickup SEV-6 Nice truck

    1993 Acura Legend. Totally reliable, but boring.

    1998 Chevy mid-size pickup

    2000 Buick supercharged Regal. Poor build quality, but good road car.

    2003 Silverado diesel

    2005 Hyundai Sonata V-6. Great car. Liked it so much that I traded it for the next on the list.

    2006 Hyundai Azera Limited. great car

    2007 Silverado diesel

    When you get as old as I am, the list gets long. I still own the Azera and the Silverado.

  • avatar
    Ken Elias

    1983 Honda Prelude (manual)
    1988 Nissan Maxima (manual)
    1994 Eagle Vision Tsi (auto)
    2001 Lincoln LS V8 Sport (auto)
    2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP (auto)
    2007 Saab 9-3 2.0T (manual)

    Lincoln LS was the worst of the bunch, over hyped and under delivered. Saab is the best – super comfy, good ride, good gas consumption. Pontiac had the best sound system w/ the Monsoon, very reliable car, but definitely out-of-date as far as ride, NVH.

    Summary: 2 Japanese, 3 Domestic (GM, Ford, Chrysler), 1 European.

  • avatar

    Wow — “most comments ever,” right?

    I haven’t begun to read through everything — still snickering at some of the tales of woe.

    Mine is relatively short and sweet:

    1969 Toyota Corona. Bought used in about 1973, for about a thousand bucks. Four doors, ugly, pale-blue paint. 1900 cc engine, four-speed manual. Dad bought it for me in high school, and it was later passed along to my brother and sister — we drove that thing, trouble-free, for thirty years. The proverbial bulletproof Toyota.

    1970 Toyota Corolla. Bought used in about 1978, also for about a thousand bucks. Two-door wagon with 12-inch wheels. 1200 cc, four-speed manual. Drove it for twelve years, through the end of college and into my first working years. Also bulletproof, thought I neglected it horribly. Probably changed the oil once a year or so. Stupidly didn’t notice some pretty major oil leak, and wound up running it out of oil on the freeway.

    1977 Toyota Corolla. SR-5 liftback. Bought half-wrecked from a friend of a friend of a friend for $200. Drove it for a couple of years until I saved up some money for a “real” car. Was fun to drive, had an aftermarket “cut a hole in the roof” sunroof.

    1980 Ford Thunderbird. Best-looking thing on the used lot when I went looking for that “real” car. Nice leather seats, 302 V8, the squared-off “downsized” T-bird. Not bad, but could have been better with new tires, shocks, alignment, brakes, engine tune, and so on. Really helped me appreciate the little front-drive econocars I’d been driving.

    1991 Honda CRX Si. My last used car — bought with 50,000 miles on the clock, exactly. Utterly insane low-to-the-ground seating position — looking at the world at every other car’s bumper level. Great fun, but noisy and not too comfortable. All kinds of squeaks and rattles, including a huge whopper from the hatchback whenever I went over any substantial bump. I bailed after watching the driver seat padding dissolve into sawdust over the space of a few months.

    1996 Toyota Paseo. Rare, second-generation Paseo, essentially a Tercel with a sporty little body on it. Nice-looking, but just as econobox as you could get, with no headroom in the back seat, and a tiny trunk.

    2003 Toyota Corolla. LE, full-boat Corolla. It really would have done just fine, but I wound up hating the driver seat.

    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Coupe. Four-cylinder, fine powertrain. Absolutely the worst rattle-trap I have ever encountered in my entire life. Nothing in the interior of that car didn’t squeak or buzz or rattle or make some odd noise. Then there was the big honking rattle in the passenger side door on the big bumps. Dealer tried, but didn’t help at all. I spent every minute of free time I had for two years trying to kill all the rattles. Oh, then the display for the radio and the HVAC controls went out, the power driver seat wobbled, and the seat leather actually failed and cracked. I put about $3,000 worth of warranty work into that interior before 20,000 miles, then bailed out of what has been the worst piece of junk I’ve ever owned.

    2007 Toyota Camry XLE. Four cylinder, nice car. Like the Corolla, though, I just didn’t like the seat at all. I worked with an upholstery shop to make changes, but pretty much only made it worse.

    2008 Toyota Camry SE. Six cylinder, and I like the seat. The SE seat is a “sporty” one with lots of bolstering, which I guess is what I really want in a seat. The six-cylinder is smooth and powerful, and the SE handles well without giving up too much ride comfort. I really hope to do what I’ve really planned to do all along — drive the thing for a good twenty years or more. And it’s a very comfortable, competent, and practical car to do that in.

  • avatar

    ’98 VW Passat – bought new a few weeks before I graduated from college. All VW needed was a copy of my paycheck and no payments for 90 days. Great deal, loved that car.

    Went through front suspension pieces like crazy but VW always paid even after the warranty expired. Lost timing belt at 80k new engine from VW no questions asked.

    ’04 VW Passat – had 125k on the 98 and needed something new. Had an accident that did 15k worth of damage a month after I bought it and car never ran right again. Not, VW’s fault turns out body shop had no idea what it was doing.

    08′ GTI – VW made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. 0% interest and $1000 below invoice with $1000 in custom loyalty.

  • avatar

    I go back to a 1954 Ford with the then stylish light blue over dark. High School hand me down with big bench seats front and back. Almost made up for no AC in Texas. Wheezy 6 that threw a rod the week before I left to go to college. It did not get fixed.

    Three stand out.

    1964 Mustang with 289 and stick that would run to 55 in second without whining. Other than curing me forever of buying Firestones for myself or fleet purchases, it was a dynamite car. It was really fast, fun to drive and only an alternator failure (after 2 years) in Port Isabel, Texas, that then had no parts store or sober mechanic; it was a great ownership experience. Best $2400 purchase we ever made. Had to sell it in 1972 when 4th kid arrived. No room for 4 in back. Sold it to a friend for his teenage daughters to drive. We were in a small town. Saw it often as it got demolished week by week.

    Saabs (Pre GM) must be like a good woman. Hard to explain, come with strange problems but haunt you, singular appearance and you can almost recall every outing.

    900 and 9000 Turbo were special.

    Both bought well used and might still be running for all I know. 900 could carry washer and dryer, 5 suit cases, ice chest and two people in comfort, at the same time and run on fumes.

    9000 would jerk the head of the unsuspecting passenger when the turbo kicked in. On the Interstates of the southeast used to tailgate behind speeding state troopers, Corvettes and Porsches without getting it in a sweat. Both were passed down to sons who drove them for years before passing them on someone with metric tools.

    When shopping for wife’s car two years ago, it was obvious Saabs where junkified. No surprise. One of the great things about pre GM Saab was the seats. I read about a GM exec, right after the Saab purchase, quoted as saying GM was going to change the Saab seats to GM quality. They did.

    If I live long enough, I will evaluate my 98 Dodge PU with original engine and transmission that is pushing 180,000 miles. First 145,000 or so was as a hauler for a roofing company. Still going and everything works. Few minor repairs and replacements. Hauls my boats, dogs, kayaks and general stuff without complaint. Some Seafoam every 60 days and it does not even knock going up GA and Alabama hills, much.

    I have been amazed to read above about the happy owners of Neons and VW’s. Must be like the posters from Detroit area that never have 2.6 manufacturer problems.

    I can remember back to VW bugs when they were a curiosity up to the current models owned by people who cannot find anything else to buy and do not want to fit in buying a Camry or Honda. Breakdowns, awful service, long waits for parts and bad ride started with the Beetle and still a VW tradition. And people like(d) them.

    I have rented two Neons in past years and have two acquaintances that had PT Cruisers for awhile. ( I think PTC looked, and still does, look neat.) I returned both Neons to the rental desk before 10 miles because of greivous safety concerns (red idiot lights on and fading brakes) and horrible driving character. Desk people agreed in both cases. Friends’ PTC’s broke inside and out before 50,000 miles. Maybe it is just anecdotal so I will just express my surprise at some of the reports above.

  • avatar

    ’74 Ford Pinto Station Wagon – Hand me down from one of my two older brothers, with over 60k on the clock. When it was later revealed that Pintos exploded upon rear impact, my immediate thought was “And…?” Anyone who drove one knew the car was a POS. Slow, gnarly to shift, horrible handling, non-functional HVAC, etc. My father, A Ford man at the time, bought the car for the same reason everyone else did: they were cheap.

    Ford Pinto Station Wagon – Yup, same again. When “mine” died from heat exhaustion, Dad simply did the hand me down thing again. No. 1 son got a VW Golf, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. A lifelong insanity was revealed as I shod the Pinto with Pirelli P3s in an attempt to get it to handle. Oh, and put a Nagamichi cassette player in the glove box. Peter Frampton lives!

    Mercedes 230E – Dad bought a 300 SEL 6.3 on European delivery and went mad for the brand (a madness that evaporated with breakdowns and bills). The 230 was another hand me down, this time from Mom. Solid. I mean stolid. Anything was better than the Pinto. Much better. Again with the tires. Killed the car when I was showing-off the Merc’s cornering prowess to friends– understeered straight into a curb, snapped the front axle like a toothpick.

    Mazda RX-4 – My first car, really. Velour seats, gauges inside plastic housing that looked like… tits. A real sleeper in terms of thrust, although the cool factor was slightly limited by the fact that one my high school friends also had one. A bit of a gas pig, burned through three clutches. OK, I started messing with the transmission, sway bars, lightweight wheels, etc. 12B spin like a sewing machine. Some epic late night runs.

    Mazda GLC (Great Little Car)- The RX4 pretty much wore out. And then I bought this 1.5-liter POS. God knows what I was thinking, something about fuel economy, practicality, college. it was just like my Pinto, except it didn’t break. I didn’t upgrade anything. Why would I? It eventually died in a head on collision on the access road next to Storrow Drive.

    Mazda RX-7 (SA22C) – Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes! Great looks (white helped hide those hideous bumper strips), sharp handling, discs and LOADS of upgrades. Put one of those weird louver deals over the back window, ‘cause I’d moved to Hotlanta. The A/C couldn’t cope, and dropped power by 30 percent (ish). Push the A/C button in the middle of the fan knob and struth! Mad Max’s turbo. Well, kinda.

    Loads of motorcycles – Mostly Hondas – Moved back to Beantown and didn’t see the point of owning a car. Did see the point of having massive power on tap.

    Mercedes 300CE (black on black) – After many years in London, swapping bikes on a regular basis, bought the little Merc for trips to the country. Solid as a tank, creamy V6 power and plenty quick. Handled like… a Merc.

    TVR Griffith – Yeah Baby! Although it’s looks were superbly, sublimely British, this was as close to a American muscle car as God ever let a foreigner get: superb engine note (5.0-liter Buick job) and unbelievably, ridiculously, unconscionably, tire smokingly quick. Hideous long distance cruiser: noisy, leaked, drafts, crap radio, the world’s heaviest clutch pedal, etc. And it didn’t like to start.

    Mercedes 500SL – Yes, the TVR was that much of a PITA that I swung towards its polar opposite. And oh! What a lovely boulevardier. Quiet, smooth, reliable. Speed limiter detached, Autobahns dispatched. With the right tires (here we go again), I was able to keep up with the new Aston through the twisties– which was also an over-powered wallowing beast. Not much point to that really, but hey, I was in a hurry anyway.

    Jeep Cherokee 4.0 – My first born arrived. The right hand drive Jeep was a rattly thing with awful brakes and dodgy handling. The ONE TIME it snowed, the car was in for service. Still… nope. I got nothing.

    Volvo 850 T5 – World’s fastest station wagon, with Volvo safety as standard. What else did I need to know? Someone might have mentioned that it was a torque steer monster, and the turbo came on all Saab-like. But a bit of a hoot, lots of luxury and never let me down.

    TVR Chimaera (5.0-liter) – Once bitten, twice stupid. Scared the SHIT out of myself on many occasions. What’s not to like? Also didn’t start more often than not. I mean, than did.

    Ferrari F355B – Nice, if you like that sort of thing. Me? I used the Ferrari as my daily driver. The smell, the sound, the handling. But my GOD did it cost me money; it spent at least half my ownership in the shop. (I used to call myself a Ferrari visitor.) Rust? In a modern car? Yup. Ran up the miles, spun it twice and had to get rid of it before the catastrophic bills became cataclysmic.

    Ferrari F550M – Sure, why not? I loved the way it looked and LOVED the in-gear acceleration. And they were on sale. But the car was damned. First, the entire transmission had to be replaced. Then, everything else. When I, uh, danced with an Subaru Impreza Turbo on a series of long sweepers, I realized the Ferrari’s high speed stability was dubious. I decided to get out of the car before I killed myself.

    BMW 540i Estate – Bought it for her indoors. Easily the most luxurious car I’ve ever driven. Heavy? Very. Thirsty? Extremely. Lovable? Mightily.

    Porsche Carrera 4 – I bought it from the Ferrari dealer. I remember saying on the test drive, “I wonder why the Hell did I ever buy a Ferrari?” I drove the snot out of that car and never, ever had a “moment.” I could do truly epic things with the C4. OK, IT did them more than me, but I loved it. Turns out the bastards sold me a crashed car, though.

    Jaguar XK1200 – Decided to have one built from the ground up by Guy Broad, using a 4.2-liter six and fitting a breakaway steering column. Gorgeous car that needed a lot of work (uh, Guy, the seat’s just come loose). Just starting the fettling process when I drove her on a snowy afternoon. Took out an entire English village. Divorce prevented me from pursuing perfection. The one that got away.

    BMW M5 – Separated me from the family hauler, I had to get something more kiddie friendly. Phenomenal car: smooth, quiet, powerful, graceful, comfortable, understated, elegant, burbalicious. A luxury car around town, a supercar in the twisties, a ‘bahn burner on the open road. The M5’s Achilles heel: recirculating ball steering; almost had a [another] head-on whilst adjusting the HVAC. Other than that, perfect. Just perfect.

    Audi S4 Avant – I forget why I got rid of the M5. A painful time in my life. My internet career started very badly indeed when I revealed (on that I didn’t know the difference between an S4 and a RS4. Oops. Never mind. The S4 had the best seats I’ve ever sat upon. It was comfortable, luxurious and semi-sporting. Well, sporting enough to lose my license, anyway.

    BMW M3 (E36) – Moved back to the states and celebrated with this masterpiece. Custom ordered in Estoril blue. Another perfect car, save the fact that the back seats were too cave-like for the kids. This became a REAL issue when Sam fell pregnant.

    Porsche Cayenne S – I knew Porsche’s truck was a brand abortion, but I wasn’t going to let professional prejudice stop me from getting a great deal on an all-American SUV (for us, anyway). The throttle lag drove me NUTS. Sad to say, the Cayenne was nothing special– except when it snowed or we went off-road. Holy shit, what an unstoppable machine. I think we left the pavement twice.

    Porsche Carrera 4 – Something for the weekend sir? Excellent car, but the thrill was gone. Can’t explain it. Water-cooled engine’s OK with me. Handling just as foolproof as before, only more so. Fast? Yes, very. But it just didn’t feel special. No… fun.

    Honda Odyssey – Finally embraced the minivan, and why not? On those occasions when all four girls are in attendance, or carrying big box items, or bikes, or dogs, or girls, stuff AND dogs, it can’t be beat. Poorly-built: creaks and rattles, things break. But the V6 is perfectly adequate, the tranny shifts like a dream and the drop-down TV is a godsend. (The art of conversation is dead. Long live the art of conversation.) Only real beef: bought it before MP3 compatibility. Seriously. That sucks.

    Porsche Boxster S – World’s best sports car. No complaints. Well, it’s too damn noisy for long distance travel. Considering a Bentley Arnage T, a Maserati GranTurismo S (when the new one arrives and then depreciates) or a F360.

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    Menno’s List

    1966 AMC Ambassador – Well, okay, it wasn’t my choice; I worked hard for my dad and he thanks me with a green 4 door?! At least it had a 327 V8, factory Holley 4 barrel and 270 horsepower…

    1968 Pontiac Catalina (ditto) – Awful POS

    1975 Ford Pinto (new) – WHAT was I THINKING?

    1973 Fiat 126 (paintshaker with 2 doors) (only kept it a couple of weeks if that)

    1971 Volkswagen 411 – Automatic transmission detonated/took taxicabs for the next 10-11 months/still had a car payment, too

    1975 AMC Pacer – Absolute total drek; my LAST AMC

    1977 Plymouth Volare – Totaled thanks to a woman having a nervous breakdown, going through a stop sign. POS, tho’.

    1971 Cadillac DeVille – The only car I could buy for $300 cash I had during a major fuel crisis – not my actual choice. Considering it was nine-year-old and cost me what it did, it did the job as well as could be expected and was actually reliable.

    1967 Chrysler Newport Custom – A reasonably good car; Chrysler tricked me by building one good damn car. Saying that, the damn Chrysler starter went out twice in a row over three days, had to be replaced. “Oh no, oh no, oh no” – fail.

    1975 Dodge Charger – Absolute total and complete drek.

    1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon – Pretty damn poor. Left us stranded a few times. I think I was hoping Chrysler would come through, after the 1967 Newport.

    1975 Plymouth Gran Fury (our “first second-car”) – It wasn’t so bad, except that it started out life needing a water pump on the 400-big block.

    1984 Pontiac 1000 (new) – Chevette in disguise. It was an “okay” car solely because it was a rush-job and GMNA hadn’t fouled it up; it was a Brazilian engineered Opel, in reality )

    1979 Citroen Dyane – Fun but crude, old and worn out

    1987 Lada Riva 1200 (new) – Not as bad as you think but it needed five gears.

    1981 Talbot Horizon – Yes, a Plymouth Horizon built in France.

    1979 Renault 20 – A very good car; didn’t pass an MoT test so had to go away to the scrapyard.

    1979 Peugeot 505 – I liked it but it was slow; got clobbered by a massive truck/kaput.

    1977 Saab 99 – I liked it at first, then discovered it was an amateurmobile – what a POS – died when the head gasket detonated. While we were on vacation. NOT convenient.

    1990 Lada Riva 1300 (5 speeds, new)

    1983 Audi 5000 – Expensive to keep up, had multiple issues. Very “needy”

    1984 Plymouth K-car Reliant – I simply cannot tell you bad this car was after having to broom the Audi due to not being able to afford to constantly fix patch & repair with Audi-priced salvage yard parts. I only kept it about two months– if that.

    1984 Buick Skylark – Head gasket almost immediately went kerpow. Fixed and ran it since fixing was cheaper than replacing the damn car.

    1987 Dodge Spirit – My God, what an awful POS. You’d think I’d have learned from the Reliant K, but NOOOOOOO…. It didn’t break “a lot”– just enough to keep us poor, not enough to make me want to push it off a cliff. Then the head gasket started to leak….

    1989 Ford Taurus – Not great but also not awful – did leave a massive hole in my wallet once, subsequent to leaving us stranded

    1990 Lincoln Town Car – Oh…. My…. God….. Words cannot express how I wanted to shove this thing off a cliff after having it constantly nickel & dime me near to drink. My LAST Ford product.

    1997 Chevrolet Cavalier (new) – Nobody else would take the Lincoln in trade, and they offered 3.9% APR over 5 years… you obviously get what you pay for out okay, but rapidly became a skinking pile of continuous niggling problems which the dealer and by extension, GM, refused to properly fix. My LAST EVER GM product.

    1999 Dodge Neon (new) – Started out fun to drive and surprisingly capable, went completely downhill from there. Head gaskets 2x in under 70k miles

    1999 Dodge Neon (new) – Bought during the honeymoon period of Neon #1. Head gasket blew. Our LAST EVER Chrysler product)

    1962 ½ Chevrolet Corvair “Classic” – What a mistake, overall. Had fun with it for about 10 minutes, then it became a millstone around my neck. Leaky, stinking, troublesome, smokey, half-assed engineering…. GM at its “best.”

    2002 Hyundai Sonata – Took a gamble on this one: “Do they build cars even as well as Detroit?” It was better than average and when it had problems, the local dealer bent over backward enough that I gave them and Hyundai a second chance. Overall, better than virtually every car that preceded it, but thank God for that long warranty.

    2002 Daewoo Nubira – A COMPLETE gamble, bought it at half price “used” with 25 miles on the clock after Daewoo went bust (“thanks for nothin’ GM.) Actually, one of the better cars I’ve ever bought and I consider it a NEW purchase since nobody owned it/drove it before we did)

    We passed one of the Neons on to a college age son, needed something cheap as a second car. Subsequently it was passed on to son #2, still going like the energizer bunny at 80,000 miles with no major failures, only normal maintenance and small problems.

    2005 Toyota Prius – One of the best cars I’ve ever had. Traded it after 48k miles in 2.5 years. Virtually TROUBLE FREE.

    2007 Hyundai Sonata- Oone of the best cars I’ve ever had the privilege of owning with different positive attributes to the Prius. Again, trouble-free.

    2008 Toyota Prius- As good a car as the 2005

  • avatar


    Loved your list Mr. Farago! Interesting and good cars all (except maybe Honda!!.

    Glad you got the Lexus out of your head. I’m no expert (see my list) but in your position I’d get the Maserati or the Ferrari, of course.

  • avatar

    Impressive list, RF. Though, the nitpicker in me thinks that the six in your early Mercedes 300CE was a straight-six, and not a V6. I could be wrong, but to my knowledge MB didn’t make V6-engines until the early 90’s.

    And it must have been fun to use a Ferrari as a daily driver. I’ve always wanted to do that. My dream is to buy a used Bentley Turbo R, for the same price as a new car, and use that as a daily driver. What more could one get?

  • avatar

    Ingvar :

    Oops. Text amended.

  • avatar

    Not a full list, just the highlights. I seem to have had unusually good luck with GM cars. Note that most of these cost less than $1000 to purchase.

    1960 VW Beetle… learned to drive on when I was 12, it only had the first 2 gears and reverse so my father figured why not give me the keys?
    1973 Chevy Impala with a 283 ci motor swapped in by previous owner. My high school ride, enormous and very ugly. I painted it with machine paint and a foam brush. Stone reliable; wide stance = good handling; and very very fast, I scared my friends and myself many times. It eventually got tired and my dad junked it when I went to college.
    1972 Plymouth Valiant – hand me down from my dad. A great car with an unkillable powertrain. Eventually rust and general fatigue took its toll, donated to our family mechanic @ 220k miles.
    1980 Chevy Malibu wagon. Purchased for $100 from a friend’s family, it’s overheating was merely a bum thermostat. It was a tough car despite its chronic carburetion/emissions issues. Died in a wreck in Chicago.
    1989 Chevy Celebrity wagon with 2.8L V6. The newest (used) car I owned up to that time. Still the best overall car I’ve had in terms of utility, reliability, fun, and comfort. If it had been a manual it would have been perfect. Drove it for 180k miles with minimal problems, junked it at 240k when it was generally wearing out (motor still purred).
    1960 Chevy Brookwood wagon. My boss at the tow yard gave it to me after its owner died. Lime green. Straight-6. Bald tires. Immense. I was moving back East and couldn’t take it with me, sold it for $150. Arrgh!
    1982 Toyota Starlet. I loved this car. A tiny, loud tin can with a great engine and RWD. I sold it to a friend who needed a car. I wish they still made them.
    1986 Nissan 200 SX. What a great car. Light, tossable RWD hatchback with an awesome engine. Great engineering and easy to repair. Purchased for $400 with 140K and given to my wife’s co-worker at 170K, it’s probably still running.
    1993 Saturn SL. Reliable but cheapo. Twin cam engine wasn’t very fuel efficient, negating the point of the car.
    1990 Chevy Cavalier. The ultimate beater, as in fun to beat on. Crude, simple, reliable, sucked up city potholes. I changed the radiator once in 20 minutes. I enjoyed this car despite my better judgement, only owned it a year and junked it when the clutch blew.
    1995 Olds Cutlass. An unmitigated POS. 3 head gaskets?
    1993 Olds Ciera wagon. Very similar to the Celebrity, with a bigger motor and heavier feel. A great car, my dad still has it.
    1996 Olds 88. Extremely comfortable boat with the famous 3800 motor. Our road trip car despite its age-related quirks.
    2001 Mazda Protege. Our “new” car. Great handling and reliable. Gas mileage is a disappointment though, but seeing how little we drive I can live with it.

  • avatar

    Fantastic posts! Thanks to all!

    1984 Ford Econoline, I6 4.9 l engine, 4 spd automatic, ~70k mi at purchase (2002-2003) – purchased for $400 + raking the owner’s lawn. Owned for about 3,000 miles. I drove the snot out of this thing (4 wheel drifts ftw!). I earned quite the reputation amongst friends and their parents for driving like a complete a-hole. Ultimately decided to sell it because it never got over 8 mpg with my foot firmly planted. I still kind of miss it.

    1993 Ford Explorer (aka Exploder), V6 4.0 l engine, 5 spd MANUAL!, ~140k mi at purchase (2003-2003) – purchased for ~$4000. Owned for about 7,000 miles. I also drove the snot out of this car. Unfortunately, the vehicle was not appreciative of my antics – a couple of wheel bearings, poor fuel efficiency (gee, I wonder why?), a couple of suspension components, and problems with the transfer case led me to sell the car … and dub it the Exploder.

    1998 Honda Civic HX, I4 1.6 l engine, 5 spd manual, ~44k mio at purchase (2003 – present) – purchased for $7,300 and now have ~112k mi (at least according to the odometer … see below). I’ve matured a bit, so now I don’t go to redline all of the time. The car is fantastically economical (~40+ mpg on the highway), cheap to maintain, and seems to love it’s weekly beatings (yes, may I have another?). It has not been entirely trouble free … I’ve had an intermittent check engine light for ~30k mi, which I’ve attempted to cure with a new O2 sensor (expensive). More recently the speedometer and odometer have been working intermittently. Also recently the transmission/something has developed a rather nasty whine (anybody have any idea what it could be?). Considering how I drive the car, it has really been great.

    I hope (fingers crossed) to score a new job soon such that I can upgrade my whip. The Civic is great, but honestly, it is way too practical. At this point in my life (24 yo), I need something without a backseat (or at the least a seat that is wayyy too small), 300+ hp, no roof, and a candy red paint job. Oh, and Angelina Jolie in the passenger seat ;-)

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    1986 Toyota Tercel 4×4 wagon: first car, dad bought new. Sold to a friend in need with 147k, when i see one I want it back

    1967 Ford Mustang 289 coupe: Here we go, first car I bought, needed too much for its 18 year old owner, sold at a big loss with half a big lesson learned

    1982 Alfa GTV-6: Horrible example of a great car, the other half of a big lesson learned, traded for

    1978 Fiat 124 Spider: Had seen its best days but was reliable aside from a carburetor replacement

    1985 X1/9: Amazing fun to drive, too rusty and beaten up to save. Sold to a friend who got a year or so more out of it before it was sold for parts

    1984 GTV-6: Never drove it, sold to someone who could/wanted to finish it

    1996 Nissan 200SX SE-R: Best car I owned, bought with 60k, sold with almost 180, still in use I believe, still second thoughts but don’t like Japanese cars much

    1976 Alfetta GT: Rusty, clapped out piece of my favorite Alfa I’ve had yet. Will own another; will probably have to go west to get it. Traded for

    1980 Fiat 2000 FI Spider: Already had fresh Koni suspension when I bought it. Made mechanically right, but body needed major help. Sold to a cop who took it to the upper midwest

    1993 Ford Explorer 4wd 5 speed: Not sure why I bought it; I didn’t need it

    1991 Alfa 164L: three year long mechanical restoration, everything works, hit a deer, will probably fix it

    2001 BMW Z3 3.0i: Not so much got sick of the Italians as I no longer had the source of parts. Outstanding car, hoping to keep forever

    1995 Ford Explorer: Inherited from parents, this time I do have use for it. Hope the transmission holds up

    1991 Alfa Romeo 164L: Bought running after it hit a deer, swapped hood and headlight in, have parts source again, will drive it once it gets a thermostat

  • avatar

    Robert Farago:

    This is not a flame, I hope.

    As the supremo TTAC and all that stands for:

    Not a single Saab, borrowed or purchased in the history?

    It is not too late. Pre GM’s can be found.

    Several of us are one up on you.

  • avatar


    I’ll bite on the “what is your next car” question, because I am kinda looking right now. And in fact I am having trouble deciding. If you saw my eBay watch list over the last couple of months, you would see that it has been populated with candidates from this list:

    1977-1996 Buick full size wagon. Nothing else like it as a combination of luxury and utility if, like me, you will never voluntarily accept the keys to an SUV.

    1978-1985 Mercedes 300 diesel wagon. Probably the best wagon made that isn’t a Buick Electra/Roadmaster, or a 1967-68 Country Squire (which, sadly, have gotten too expensive and collectible to use as everyday cars). As you can tell, I like wagons.

    1986-1989 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham (RWD). Best of the last group of big RWD Cadillacs (another fave of mine as you can tell from my list). 1990-92 have those horrible GM door mount seatbelts (never again) and 1993-96 are overpriced in the used car market IMO.

    Lincoln Town Car, Cartier or other high option, just about any year 1992-2004 is ok if mileage is low enough and car is the right one. Why are all the ones for sale white or silver with baby poo tan interior. They made ’em in other colors!

  • avatar

    1982 Nissan/Datsun Sentra – 225K miles when I bought it.
    1953 Chevy Coupe – Gift from a well meaning relative, not the best vehicle for a 16 yo driver.
    1985 Chevy S10 – 4spd 1.8L Isuzu engine. No A/C, no carpet, no nothing. Perfect truck.
    1986 Mazda 626 – Great car, totaled by a crackhead
    1986 VW Jetta – Handled great, caught on fire a few times, alternators were $500 each and it ate them. Died with hole in a piston.
    1984 Ford LTD Wagon – Served its purpose.
    1990 Mitsu Eclipse GS-T – FWD, Turbo, faster than hell and fun. Replaced the engine once when the balance shafts failed. When they failed the next time, I didn’t have the patience.
    1993 Toyota Corolla LX – Truly excellent small commuting appliance. Sold it for more than I paid 2 years and 40K later.
    1996 Subaru Legacy Wagon – 5spd 2.2L, AWD. Would go through anything but could not get out of its own way.
    1998 Jeep Cherokee – 1st car I bought for my wife.
    2004 Pontiac Vibe GT – This car introduced me to domestic depreciation depression after an impulse purchase decision.
    1996 Geo Tracker 4 door – Beater, only suitable for in town use due to 85 mph absolute max white knuckle speed.
    2001 Audi allroad – I have never wasted so much money.
    2002 Olds Intrigue – Bought this for basic commuting 4 years ago and it is still kicking.
    2007 Subaru Tribeca – I like the flying vagina.

  • avatar

    For me:

    1991 Chevrolet Lumina Z34 – Ran well and it lasted forever. Kinda boring to drive because of its weight. Got rid of it with 241,000 miles. The 3.4L V-6 had a pretty cool exhaust note.

    2000 Saturn SC2 – As loaded as a Saturn could be. This car was really boring to drive, but started every time I turned the key. So, I couldn’t complain.

    1998 Dodge Neon Sport – Cool little car with the only option being air conditioning. Drove nice, looked great, but had a million problems.

    2003 Ford Escort ZX2 – Bought it with 28,000 miles on it. No options, not even air conditioning. 5 Speed. I love this car. Cheap, fairly fast, and fun to drive. I plan on keeping it a while.

    My old man (that I can remember):

    Mazda RX-3
    VW Rabbit Diesel
    VW Golf Diesel
    1969 Ford Mustang (restoration project that never got back on the ground)
    1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
    1986 Pontiac Sunbird
    1989 Plymouth Voyager Turbo
    1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24
    1986 Nissan 300ZX Turbo
    1991 Nissan Pathfinder
    1993 Pontiac Bonneville SSE
    1993 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible
    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
    2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT
    1995 Nissan 240SX SE
    2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
    2008 Subaru Forester
    2005 Subaru Forester

  • avatar

    K, here goes:

    1978 Ford Fiesta – First car. Parents bought. Defined “cheap” in every sense, but fun anyway. Beat it to w/in 1″ of its life (and it me).

    1969 Mustang Boss 429 – White, all stock early S/N car w/ #s matching “820S” motor. HS grad present from my dad, although I had to pay 1/2 the cost. That and every dime I earned for the next 4.5 years went into this monster. Rebuilt motor twice, second time w/ cam, headers, NASCAR spider intake. Auto-Xed it, open tracked it. Really tough to keep in tune, but when it ran right would nearly lift the front wheels off the pavement, and would smoke ’em in 4th gear. Owned it all thru college, then sold it for 2x what it cost after graduating/getting married. Aargh!!!

    1980 Subaru GL 4×4 wagon. Replaced Fiesta as daily driver during college. Silver, slow as shit, but dead reliable and ran like a mountain goat. Hauled numerous kegs to frat parties during last two years in college. Stank like spoiled beer inside when I traded it for a ….

    1983 Thunderbird Turbo coupe – With proceeds from Boss ‘9 and the Subie, bought the black T-Bird a month before college graduation/wedding. Great car, killer looks, quick for its day, my first “paid for it all myself” ride.

    1986 Bronco II – Traded in the Turbo Bird for this POS, underpowered, ill handling, crap bucket. Bad move. Oh well.

    1974 Porsche 914 2.0 – Needed second car, wanted sports car, found this in Orlando (living in P’Cola Fla at the time going thru Navy flight school) while visiting Disney world. Great ride, go-cart handing, though not real fast and had chronic vapor lock problem on hot days. Still, fun daily driver. Wrecked a few years later overcooking hairpin on a Chesapeake,VA back road at night. Repaired it and sold it, then bought a….

    1965 Shelby GT350 – Tired of slow 4 banger sports cars, fancied an early Shelby Mustang. Found this early S/N ’65 Shelby in MN, had it shipped to my home in VA Beach. These were still relatively affordable when I bought it in 1988, and only a year or two later the market started to go nuts on Shelbys (and everything else). No shit, this was my daily driver for next 3 years. Lots of open track auto-x action with this car, many wins too. Just an awesome machine – drove the snot out of it and it never broke (I maintained it very well, though). Sold this one too (after owning 10 years) – dumbest damned move I ever made. Aargh redux!!!!!!!! Between this and the Boss ‘9 I coulda retired to Tahiti!

    1989 Taurus SHO – Traded the Bronco II on this. Great car, wife drove this one daily and loved it.

    1992 Jeep Cherokee – Left Navy, moved back to midwest, needed 4×4 vehicle for wife’s commute, this was affordable. Original body style, kind of tinny and cramped inside, but reliable and decent power, plus good 4×4 system for the winter. Looked good in red, too.

    1996 Chevy Tahoe – Traded in Cherokee. Two kids by now, needed more room. Really nice truck. Wife’s daily driver.

    1987 Porsche Carrera Coupe – Black, whale tail, mildly modded. Great car, did numerous track days with this one. My daily driver for 3 or 4 years. Sold about the same time I sold my ’65 Shelby. Would definitely like another one of these. Someday.

    1998 GMC Suburban – Traded Tahoe and up-sized. Nice truck, always likes this gen Tahoe/Yukon/Burb better than the next gen.

    1999 Ford F250 SD 4×4 – Decided I needed a pick-em-up, so bought the biggest one on the market. Great truck, never broke, towed my 911 to multiple track days with ease. Owned it for 5 years.

    1970 Mustang Boss 302 – Had sold the Shelby a year or two earlier, and the 911, wanted another muscle Mustang. This one came out of Oklahoma – nice dry body, but need mechanical work. Motor, once tuned right, ran like stink. Awesome “Calypso Coral” color. Fun car, but never really “connected” with it. Sold it after 3 years.

    2001 Chevy Suburban – POS. Slow, ponderous, terrible brakes. Fuel pump quit on wife, stranding her in middle of nowhere on I-80. Traded it two months later on a…

    2003 GMC Yukon Denali – Big mistake. How GM could charge $50K for this POS is beyond me. “Exhibit A” of why GM is in the shit they are today. Traded this for a…

    2005 Acura MDX – Bought for wide, still own it. Great vehicle (for an SUV). Comfortable, quiet, well made, perfectly reliable. What a contrast to the GM SUV disasters.

    1963 Lincoln Continental “suicide door” convertible – Bought after selling Boss 302. Kind of a impulse purchase, but wanted a fun cruiser for the family. Still own it, but planning to sell (if I can) this spring. We call her the USS Lincoln – and yes, you really could land an F/A-18 Hornet on her.

    2004 Subaru STi – Saw one, decided I had to have it. Traded my F250 on this. Just a friggin’ great car. Felt invincible behind the wheel. Amazingly, no tickets with this little monster. Wish I kept her, but after 2 years decided i needed another truck, and had no spare room (with ’63 Lincoln in third garage). Sadly, traded her in on current ride (last entry below).

    2006 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Double cab- Decided once again I just gotta have a pickup, and this one fits the bill perfectly. My current daily driver and reliable go-anywhere hunting companion.

    …..And counting. Selling the Lincoln this spring, haven’t decided what’s next, but definitely going back to the sports car side of the spectrum.

  • avatar

    1962 VW Beetle – Top speed 80 mph when new. After 6 years and 100k miles, leaked a quart of oil every hundred miles and idled on three cylinders. Still went 80 mph.
    1968 VW Beetle – Top speed 90 mph. All round better car. Added Michelin XAS tires, heavy duty shocks, Empi camber compensator, front sway bar and shift shortener, Hella driving lights, JC Whitney exhaust.
    1962 Austin Sprite – Clapped out, but fun.
    1974 Volvo 145 wagon – Dumped after a year because it stranded us on the road every 3 months.
    1973 BMW 2002 – Much nicer car even though it had been trashed by first owner.
    1966 VW Beetle – Bought as winter beater. Numerous problems due to age. Gave away in pieces.
    1976 Isuzu Opel – Bought for SCCA Showroom Stock racing. Excellent handling that forgave clumsy driving. Crappy disc/drum brakes.
    1978 Datsun 810 – Solid car. Worked better than BMW but didn’t feel as good.
    1980 Plymouth Champ – Failure as next Showroom Stock car. Killed by teenager who ran red light.
    1984 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE – Top model of first generation RX-7. Fun to drive but rough and noisy. No major failures in 24 years and 180k miles. Gave away.
    1987 Honda Civic DX – No major problems in 10 years and 120k miles. Strained to keep up with 80 mph interstate traffic.
    1984 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon – selectable 4wd winter beater. Clapped out and gutless but good in ice and snow with 4wd engaged.
    1998 Subaru Legacy GT wagon – all wheel drive, enough power for the interstate, comfortable for a long day. Several expensive repairs. What happened to Subaru reliability? Still going at 187k miles.
    2008 Infiniti G37 6MT coupe. Retirement present to myself. Picked over Porsche Cayman and 911, BMW 3 series and Audi TT. Keep until all I can “drive” is a wheel chair.

  • avatar

    1985 Pontiac Grand Am
    1987 VW Fox
    1986 Volvo 240 DL
    1993 Pontiac Grand Prix
    1994 Ford Exploder
    1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
    1985 Toyota Land Cruiser (FJ60)
    2001 Jeep Cherokee
    1999 VW Jetta (TDI)
    1995 Chevy Caprice Classic (9C1)
    2000 Volvo V40
    1999 Volvo V70
    2005 Volvo V50 (T5)

  • avatar

    1991 Dodge Dynasty – first car, i was allowed to drive it to high school in my senior year. then i crashed it when the ABS failed and i just learned to drive. there was a recall but my parents never got the notice.
    1993 Chevrolet Beretta – my sister’s car that was handed down. it was bright teal and i got my only speeding ticket in it when i was driving home from my last of freshmen year of college. my parents sold it for almost nothing for some reason
    2000 VW Golf 1.8t – i guess it was to buy me this car. it’s pretty rare from what i hear, a 4-door with the 1.8t. sadly it was an automatic. when i got a job and bought my next car, my mom took it. it was totaled in 2006 when a license-less, insurance-less person hit a van that hit it.
    2004 VW GTi VR6 – this was my first car that i bought entirely with my own money. it put a lot of money into it modifying it but traded it in after a year to buy my dream car in high school, the Audi TT.
    1986 VW Golf 8v – this was a car i bought for a project that i never got around to and sold after a couple of years
    2001 Audi TT 225 Roadster – i had this car for almost 3 years, which is the longest i had any car so far. i only modified it a little but it was exactly the way i wanted it. it was green on green on green, which is also a rare combination.
    2004 Audi S4 Avant – but foolishly i traded in the TT for the S4. i had to try a V8 and S4 was in a very condition. The green car always bothered me a little. The S4 was black, which is my favorite car color.
    2002 Mazda Protege5 – I bought this car when gas prices went up. driving a V8 was making me spend hundreds every week. buying a smaller, more efficient car made sense at the time. unfortunately, there was a problem with my loan and i had to give the car back to the dealer. instead of trying to get a different loan, i decided to get the next car
    2008 Toyota Yaris – i only had this for a few months. it was fuel efficient alright but i could not stand driving this car.
    2008 Hyundai Elantra – This is when i knew i had a problem. I didn’t even get my first oil change and I traded-in the Yaris for the elantra. The thing that put it over the edge was power windows. I needed power windows. Of course it did not last long. I then found my old, green TT in an ad. I went to look for it and the dealer wouldn’t go lower than 16k, which is almost 2k more than what i traded it in for, 3 years ago, with 25k less miles on it. Then I got in the hunt for another one. So I decided to trade in the S4 for a regular A4 and trade in the Elantra for the TT.

    Which leaves me with the following cars:
    2005.5 Audi A4 3.2
    2001 Audi TT 225 Roadster

  • avatar

    First car, 1960 Volvo PV544 bought in 1967 for $367 with 136,00 miles. Had to do an engine job two years later when the camshaft drive gear came loose and it sounded like a diesel. New rings as well. $100 covered it.

    Went to the UK for 5 years in 1969. No car needed in London. Sold the Volvo by letter in 1970 to acquaintance back in NS. Received letter from purchaser’s mother berating me for so doing, as she was scared to death being driven to town by Ronnie at 85 to 90 mph every day. Last seen on trip back home in ’73 with pop rivetted rocker panels, and I assume 210,000 miles at my bro’s university when I went to visit. One tough old bird.

    1974 Audi 100LS. Not too bad once I learned to disable the emission system and rebuild carburetor at the side of the road. Sold to my brother at 90,000 miles.

    1980 VW Jetta. Piece of shit. Delivered with front springs for a Euro 1300 model, so with A/C had about 3 inches of ground clearance in front. Crap shifter. Couldn’t stand the thing, lasted only 18 months with me.

    1982 Audi Coupe. Lazy engine, poor electrics, absolutely superb handling, best of any car I’ve owned. Have not been able to duplicate my 110 kph (70mph) speed around a certain 270 degree exit ramp with any other vehicle since, though I have scared myself trying. High maintenance costs, mostly for mufflers.

    In 1988, sold the Coupe to one friend, and bought a 1985 Audi 5000 turbo cheap from another. Hated it.

    Still in 1988, using the $5k rebate because of unintended acceleration on the 5000, bought a new 1987 leftover Audi 4000 quattro. Saved my life when rammed from behind 18 months later. Cost almost $20K to fix. Never went back to 2WD drive ever again. Terrible maintenence costs as per the usual VW/Audi paradigm. Mufflers were $1100 each every 18 months.

    1990. Flush with bread, went looking at used Audi quattros, older Porsches, new Nissan 300 Zxs for a “fun” car. Bought a new Eagle Talon Tsi AWD turbo. Best of that lot, great fun, silly power for the time, no real problems at all. Summer car, now needs refurbishing.

    1994, tired of the ’88 4000 quattro and leased an Audi 90 quattro V6. Not very good, no fun to drive, just like a bus, ponderous, good in snow, poor mileage, terrible stiff ride. Audi had forgotten how to make a proper handling car.

    1995, lost job in corporate downsizing, had to keep paying the rest of the Audi lease. Soon as that was up, bought a 1988 Subaru GL Turbo wagon for $3k . The Warthog. Realized that the Audis had been nothing but pieces of overpriced crap, really. The Warthog was rusty, but every damn thing on it worked, including the A/C. The only car I ever owned where I was stopped by the fuzz for accelerating too fast away from a toll booth. Low gear was neat, but not that neat. Red-faced, perspiring, idiotic female cop pulled me over and lectured me. Sat in a daze, not listening, realizing I might have set a record. Has anyone else ever been pulled over for accelerating too fast in an 80s Subie wagon? Cop couldn’t charge me with anything, let me go.

    1999 Subaru Impreza, bought in late 98. Automatic. It soon became apparent to me that my Audi fixations were just that. Only warranty item, rubber gasket on side marker light. Great low speed handling, like a go kart, reasonable mileage, iffy in crosswinds, a bit noisy, but a thoroughly well engineered car. Battery lasted 8 years, needed a new fuel filler pipe and spark plug gaskets after same 8 years. Never required a single muffler in our climate. No reason to get rid of it after 100,000 miles, but hankered after something a bit nicer.

    2008 Subaru Legacy GT. So far, like the Impreza, but quick and quiet. Yes, it’s an auto, but I’m a pro on the paddle shifters, and I cannot stand Subaru manual gear shifters – tried many, rejected them all.

  • avatar

    I’ve kept my mouth shut because I haven’t owned (technically) too many cars. But what the heck:

    1965 Ford Galaxie LTD: black on black, 352, no a/c, inherited from my Godfather when I turned 16. Aside from the master cylinder failing (didn’t see that coming!) the car was pretty much flawless, which is pretty impressive for a 28 year old car. Had over 300,000 miles when I got it, which taught me the lesson about fixing what you own and reaping the benefits of a penny saved. Went to college, and sold it to some guy in FL who repainted it maroon to match his college Alma Mater. Who the hell would paint a black/black land yacht any other color?

    1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino: Hand me down from my Mom. Lots of sentimental value, plus its painted chocolate/caramel which is awesome. Stopped driving it in 1999 when the timing chain blew (thanks to Ford for not using metal gears!) and its been in limbo ever since. Total piece of crap these days. The rear end is sagging because of all the Fox body go-fast parts I’ve bought and threw in the shag-carpeted trunk.

    1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7: Hand me down from Dad. Huge money pit, mostly because I can’t stop throwing the aforementioned Fox Body parts on it. Probably a decent car for normal people if I just fixed things that were broken!

    1995 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC: Replaced a similar car which was handed down to me and got totaled. Drives sort of like a new car, and isn’t a huge money pit once you replace the air suspension’s rubber bits. Looks pretty new too, that’s what people tell me. And I certainly like the monthly payment.

    We’ll see how long I can keep up the charade before passers by call me out on my hoopty fetish. Whenever I get a car from the current millenia, there’s a good chance my current brand loyalty will disappear.

  • avatar

    1986 – Peugeot 205 GRD: Undestructable car. Still running as a “winter” car. Must be somewhere north of 300.000 km now.

    1993 190er Mercedes W201 1.8 liter: Undestructable as well. Is still running and only driven in summer.

    2000 Toyota Corolla 1.4 VVT-i: Most boring car I ever head. Mechanically solid, but bland and ugly. An olderly driver hit it in the back, it was smashed beyond hope of repair. On the autobahn the steering was horrible, you had trouble keeping a straight line when driving higher speeds. Also the engine noise was very loud. All in all it felt much cheaper than even the Peugeot. Never again a Japanese car!

    2001 Opel Corsa 1.0 Eco: My daily driver now. Will hit 100.000 km soon. Slow, but cheap to run.

  • avatar

    Here goes:

    1974 Chevy Vega bought new with the optional 2 barrel carb engine. Daily driver for a year before I started taking it apart for an engine swap. Car had 6 radios in it (I was selling hot stuff at the time.
    1968 FIAT 124 Spider given to me not running. Made it run
    1972 FIAT 124 Spider Got rid of the ’68 car for what I thought was a better deal. Blew the car up after 6 months.
    1976 Chevy Vega GT I liked my earlier Vega and this one was a GT with a 5 speed. I proceeded to mod the 4 cylinder instead of swapping out the motor. Was a good runner.
    1978 Chevy Van 10 3 on the tree and nothing else. Bought new for work.
    1978 Chevy Malibu Wagon bought new.100 hp V6 engine was so slow, I got out of a speeding ticket when the judge had the same car and swore it couldn’t go as fast as I was ticketed.
    1973 Mercury Capri V6 bought for $100. Great runner but no beauty to look at. Car to fool around with.
    1977 Mercury Capri II V6 given to me when the transmission wouldn’t shift. I really liked this car but never had time to enjoy it as I was constantly fiddling with it.
    1975 FIAT X1/9 bought used for $500 needing a little body work and tired engine. Drove it for a little bit before I decided to swap in a 2 liter 124 Spider motor into it. Project died and killed the car.
    1977 Pontiac Trans Am HO 400 “Black Bird” Bought new. “Smokey and the Bandit” car was a big hit with the chicks. This was the car where I started fiddling with custom sound systems (6 speakers, equalizer, and a Pioneer “Supertuner” AM/FM cassette).
    1979 Camaro Z28 bought new after the Trans Am started to give me trouble. My wife (girlfriend at the time) LOVED this car. Custom stereo had 6 speakers, dual amps, and a grafics light display that followed the beat of the music. It also had a tuned suspension with Minilite wheels.
    1980 Mazda RX 7 bought new. The start of my love of Japanese cars. I waited a whole year to get it and then proceeded to spend obscene amounts of money “fixin’ it up”. A great car.
    1974 Toyota Supra bought new. A great car, very reliable, but uninteresting to me as there were hop up parts easily available.Sold it after one year.
    1985 Pontiac Fiero GT bought new. Loved mid-engine cars (see X1/9) and here I thought was a great combination of reliabily, looks, performance, and price. Clutch pedal broke off at 7,000 miles and GM wouldn’t fix it under warranty.
    1977 Oldsmobile Starfire V6 given to me not running and hit on the driver’s front fender. I got it running and put a new front clip from a ’79 Starfire on it, but the suspension was shot and I didn’t have time to play with it. I actually sold it at a profit.
    1972 Toyota Supra bought at auction. Drove it for three months and sold it at a profit.
    1982 Camaro Z28 bought used for my wife. Crossfire fuel injection, cowl induction, and Lear Sigler multi-adjustable seat (only on the driver’s side), made this a rare bird. That cowl induction inducted a ton of water when it rained and that killed the motor in 11 months.
    1986 Pontiac Trans Am bought new or so I thought. Was to later find out that the car had 16,000 miles and GM wouldn’t honor the waranty after the car was laid up in the dealership for 6 months. Lawsuits followed.
    1986 Mazda RX7 GXL bought used. Great car, one of the best I’ve owned.
    1985 Chevy Celebrity Eurosport Wagon V6 bought used. Car got me through the Trans Am debacle. Ran good for a long time.
    1985 Chevy Van 20 bought used for work
    1984 Toyota Supra bought used with very low miles. Another great car that was fast and reliable. Gave it to my brother as his first car and had 140,000 before it needed any kind of service.
    1986 Nissan 300ZX Turbo the car that talked demo bought used. Although fast, hated this car. Sold it pretty quick.
    1993 Ford Probe GT bought new. I like this car, but it gave me trouble with the auto trans (my wife can’t drive a stick). At 18,000, the trans proble got real bad. The dealer service manager made a rude comment to me and we almost came to blows. A Ford rep was there at the time and went out of his way to make things right which resulted in…
    1995 Ford Probe GT bought new with every option and dealer cost and 0% financing. Loved everything about this car although it was a little slow.
    1997 Honda Prelude bought new. Another car that I thought was great. Interior could have been better, but I loved this car.
    1990 Mazda RX7 Convertible bought used. The auto trans killed this car. It was not a fun car to drive and there were reliability bug-a-boos I had to deal with.
    1993 Ford Econoline Van bought used for work. Great ride, not so good reliability.
    2000 Cadillac Eldorado ETC given to me by my dad. I liked the car up to a point, but I found it to be ponderous and the handling unispired. Car was reliable though. Had it for a year.
    2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP bought new. My wife loved this car when it came out in 1997, but the dealership experience more or less SUCKED, so we bought the Honda then. The Honda dealership took our business for granted so we went for the GP. The car came from the dealer feeling loose and I drove it for a whole year before my BIL discovered the car’s suspension was missing some bushings and that the bolts were loose. The car had a few issues which put me at odds with the Pontiac dealer over the waranty work he wouldn’t do.
    2001 Mercury Cougar V6 Sport demo bought used. Still have it and I find it to be an underrated car, especially at the price I bought it at.
    2000 GMC Van 20 bought used for work. Had some early trouble with it, but has been good overall.
    2004 Ford Focus SVT demo bought used. This car was great. It had everything including the Recaro seat option. However, my wife just refuses to learn how to drive a stick shift and I had to finally sell it. I still with I had that car.
    2005 Ford Focus ZX5 with auto trans bought used. I figured the auto trans would make my wife happy with the car. Nope.I gave it to my brother.
    2006 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe leftover bought new. Very impressive car. If anything, I find this car to be underrated. The car has great performance, great fuel economy (with a V6), and a luxurious, fully equipt interior. And no problems what so ever with it.
    2006 Cadillac STS V6 4 wheel drive. My dad’s car bought new that I’ve been driving for the last year. I hate this car. The handling is worse than the Eldo ever was, the car is slow, the interior is bland (especially in the black of this car), this car just sucks. At almost $47 large, I think the car offers nothing. His 2004 CTS (3.6 and Sport package)was a TON better.

  • avatar

    Let’s see here:

    1) 1984 Honda Civic MTX: Great car in high school, non power steering had excellent feel, hatch back and fold down rear seat held plenty of music gear.

    2) 1986 Chevrolet Camaro ATX: I was the coolest kid in school but the 2.8L V-6 was anemic. Suspension was total crap at 40K needed new tie rod end, bushing and struts. Paint didn’t last past 80K. Distributor was an issue and spark plug wire brackets often broke and caused them to rest on exhaust manifold leading to melted wires. Seat belts were prone to failure and safety recall was performed.

    3) 1993 Honda Prelude Si MTX: One of the best cars ever made hands down. The color keyed steering wheel was prone to flake away due to UV damage…plus it was BLUE!

    4) 1998 Ford Explorer XLT: I loved this vehicle. It was comfortable, plenty of V-6 power, good cargo room, decent towing capability. 4×4 electric engagement motor broke twice. Loud valve drive chain was replaced under recall. Radio had electrical gremlins otherwise a very solid rig.

    5) 1998 BMW 528i ATX: Uber solid, handles like a dream, good MPG, very expensive to maintain, needed new tranny at 90K. Thankfully this was the only major issue with this car. Minor other things like water pump, t-stat, MAF sensor nickel and dimed me to death. Catalytic converter was replaced twice. New front bearings were a surprise at 150K.Constant Check Engine light neediness. However car is till going strong with 223,000 miles.

    6) 1998 540i ATX: Same solid structure as the 528 with torque out the wazoo. Decent MPG for a V-8. This is actually my current daily driver with 97K. Never a problem other than ignition gremlin and Air Bag light which is an easy fix. Final stage resistor needs replacing for the HVAC – not a big deal. In my opinion the E39 is the very best of pre Bangle BMW design. and I keeping this car for as long as possible.

    7) 1999 Honda Accord EX ATX: One of the silkiest 3.0L V-6’s ever produced. Stellar handing and comfort. It is my understanding the ATX in this generation Accord is prone to failure about 60K…I didn’t keep it that long for a work car.

    8) 2001 Chevrolet 1500 LT truck: Excellent V-8, handled nice for a truck, comfortable, all around work horse. Blown head gasket at 60K. Gas went to $3 per and got rid of it.

    9) 2002 Honda Civic LX ATX: Very good MPG, handling was OK, otherwise noisy and fit and finish was not typical Honda. This was a very flimsy feeling car on the slab.

    10) 2003 Subaru Outback ATX: Solid structure, comfortable, excellent handing year around. The 4 cylinder boxer engine was wheezy and valve train was extra noisy with recommended 87 octane. Still going strong with 150,000.

  • avatar

    I’m young, so I only have a pair. I’ll include cars bought under my watch too, to spice things up.

    2003 SAAB 9-3 Linear – I wanted a safe car as my first and it was and remains the safest on the road. A Benz ML t-boned me after ignoring a stop sign and I was no worse for wear. For all the safety the SAAB had a lot of electrical demons. The engine warning light kept coming on, to the point that I think they disabled it to prevent me filing a lemon law claim. The outside thermostat died one day after jumping between extremes. Towards the end it started weirdly vibrating at 45 mph and became really unsteady at 70. And the repair bills were numerous and expensive. Still, there is a certain validity to buying the safest car available.

    2005 Volvo S40 2.4 – My mom fell in love with this little thing after driving Nissan Maximas for the longest time. It was small and handled well, despite being well down on power. Very cool floating panel in the middle. My mom liked it a lot, but like I said, it was small, and she’s a short lady. I’m over 6 feet tall, so I hated it. It was cramped on a good day. The gas and brake pedals were so close together that I couldn’t hit the gas without turning my wide foot sideways. And the brakes were awful.

    2007 Infiniti G35x – My current ride. The things that are bad with it first: the rear visibility is shitty, it has a giant turning circle and based on these fun features is a pain in the butt to park, especially in tight lots. Also, it’s a pig on gas, especially on my mostly town driving. The 5-speed auto really could use some more ratios, which they’ve added to the newer ones. I love pretty much everything else about it. When the lease expires I’m leaning towards getting the new G37x sedan. It’s a roomy car, good interior, great power, I can fit all I need in the trunk with an absolute joy of an engine (7500 redline), and it’s better in the snow than the SAAB ever was. I didn’t even look at the comparable BMWs, as the Infiniti is about the same car for considerably less money, without the questionable styling.

    2008 Honda Accord Coupe V6 – My mom’s latest car. She wanted something bigger after the Volvo and she got it. At over 6 feet tall I can sit comfortably in the back seat. There’s enough spare headroom to play a game of volleyball. It’s just a massive coupe. The interior quality is about in line for a Honda, and the handling is the opposite of the Volvo that it replaced. With that V6 up front it’s more of a cruiser than a corner carver. Somehow it exhibits no torque steer, which the Malibu we test drove when we were looking had it in spades. It’s a lovely car for what it is.

  • avatar

    A relatively short list:

    1992 Jetta Turbo Diesel (Agatha): 68hp. Woo hoo! Kept it for 10 years and 230,000km. Got rid of it because I wanted to move upscale, which was a big mistake.

    1989 Vanagon Westfalia (Bertha): 90hp. Bought in 1996 as second owner. Full camping gear. Went across Canada and the US twice in it and it has NEVER left me standed. Still have it. 240,000km. Second engine about 10k ago.

    2002 Audi A4 (Citron, as in Lemon): 170hp. Ignition coils, radio, wipers, steering rack, etc. etc. Total piece of shite. Ditched it after less than four years and 120,000km.

    2006 Volvo XC70 (The Daddy-mobile): 208hp. Not quite as fun to drive as the Audi, but I can rely on it. Best seats ever and tons of room for the stroller and all the other stuff that comes with a kid.

    2007 Volvo S60 (Einar): 208hp. My wife’s. Much the same as the XC-70 except that back seat leg room is laughably small, and the sloping roof-line means you bump your head everytime you extract your kid from the car seat.

    Next? Probably a Subaru Legacy or Outback to replace the S60. Waiting for the boxer diesel.

  • avatar

    1964 Corvair Monza, 8 years old, which got hit by school bus, whose crankcase/crankshaft and assorted parts moved into

    1965 Corvair Corsa 4 carb purchased with rod through crankcase for $75, complete rust bucket but fun; got stolen

    long pause, many bicycles

    1976 Mazda Cosmo (the RX5 version) 5 years old, fast and smooth promptly blew engine seals, new engine, got totalled (twice, long story)

    1982 Plymouth Sapporo, my only new car ever, remarkably troublefree and loyal for long time; eventually got cracked head disease, replaced with ported and polished head, HKS cam, Weber carb, lots of fun, still in great shape when it got totalled

    197? Datsun B210, purchased just to tide me over while waiting for Sentra SE-R (which never did get delivered), even at $100 I got completely ripped off, no brakes whatever and not enough functional parts left to repair brake sytem, leaked everything, but still ran reliably; used only to go to supermarket after 2 AM when there was no traffic

    1992 Honda Civic EX, “program car” one year old but with only 1000 miles, never registered; radiator troubles from birth, led to blown head gasket at age 10, led to swap of (badly maintained) Japanese DOHC 170 hp engine with limited slip transmission, great drivetrain chassis combo, still trying to pass emissions, body rusting, radio, heater controls, security system all defunct.

  • avatar

    Oh this is fun…

    1983 Mustang GLX – not a GT, but not an LX either, it was my first car so beggars can’t be choosers. It had the straight 6 which drank gas like a V8 but accelerated like a 4 banger. Automatic tranny with a cheap red vinyl interior (hot & sticky) and boring metallic tan (faded?) exterior. Thankfully it was stolen 8 months after I got for reasons I’ll never know. The thing was a POS, it often over-heated, there was an “information center” full of idiots lights that came on for no apparent reason at times, the gauges jumped around too. It got stuck in park if you were not careful… basically you had to stop, shift into N then P – if not the car would not start later as a safety lock out. Typical Ford junk (sorry oval fans), I guess ‘Stangs are popular because they are cheap for the power you get, but that’s it.

    1985 Civic S (1500) Hatchback – 5 speed, Red on grey (two tone) with black interior. Great car – awesome gas mileage, fairly quick, very responsive and handled great. While underpowered it was still fun to drive and felt very connected to the road. This hatchback had tons of room with seats folded down. This is the car I wanted when I got the Mustang but my parents said imports were too pricey to fix – but this car NEVER broke down. The car had 120K miles on it at trade-in and zeros problems other than a leaky value cover gasket, bad fan switch for the A/C and CV boots that were too easy to tear up (maybe my fault for taking corners too quick?). I liked this car SO much that I added power windows to it and an insane competition stereo system to it. I beat the crap out of this car by using it for a delivery van of sorts and it came back for more. I truly miss this car, I really loved it and wish I still had it to this day.

    1988 Chevy Caviler – wife’s 1st car (we were only dating at the time), black exterior/gray interior, auto tranny, biggest piece of sh!t ever! made my Mustang look like a BMW in comparison. No acceleration, top speed of 82 MPH (UGH), sloppy handling, cheap & horribly designed interior with typical GM junk: oversize Fisher Price buttons and wacky knobs in odd places. The alternator crapped out twice in 6 months and every time you drove thru a small puddle the power steering would stop working as the belt was too low on the engine. Luckily the car was totaled in accident. Even the factory paint was sub par with swirls and pits galore. This car alone is a prime example of why GM just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to designing and building vehicles. There was nothing inspiring about this car – it was basic transportation… nothing more.

    1993 Civic EX Sedan – wife’s 2nd car, metallic red with gray interior, sunroof, 5 speed. Bought after she drove my 1985 Civic and realized what a REAL car was. Never a single problem and held it’s value thought the years. Still the quietest car we’ve owned with triple door seals, amazing considering its reasonable price tag. Added 16″ rims with 60 series rubber and the thing cornered like is was on rails. Incredible gas mileage, but a little weak torque wise, snappy gear box with crisp shifts and a larger interior & trunk then most people think. This car was just right in almost every way, if only it had more torque it would been perfect, excellent road managers, very predictable with a solid feel – once again very impressive considering it’s just your basic, small import sedan.

    1989 Honda Prelude Si – school bus yellow color (with matching factory fog lamps), sunroof, 5 speed, black interior. Best handling car I’ve ever owned, this thing could take corners at insane speeds. Great seats, well laid out interior, awesome clutch takeup. The seats were perfect – firm yet supportive with lumbar and side bolsters, God I loved those seats. Brakes could have been stronger and the engine was typical Honda: great on gas and flew at high RPM, but low on torque when you needed to pass on the highway. Only problems were a bad clutch seal and it leaked brake fluid at times (could have been my driving style). I beat this car silly for years like my ’85 Civic and loved every minute of it, truly a joy to drive at the limits.

    1996 Iszuz Rodeo – green with gray interior, V6, 5 speed, roof rack & large 4X4 tires. Bad, bad choice… I should have never sold my Prelude! I though because Honda was selling this as the Passport it must be an OK vehicle – boy was I wrong. Typical SUV: crap handling and gas mileage, funky buttons on the dash and an under-powered engine for the vehicle’s weight. Too high for the wife to get into because of the 4X4 tires. Accessing the back was a pain since you had to lift the glass, swing the spare away and drop the tail gate, plus you had to remember which way the spare swung so you were clear on that side of the truck to actually load it – stupid design. After only 8 months and one near death accident I could no longer stand this ill handling SUV and went back to a small car. The only good thing about the lifted stance of this truck was that driving in the rain put you above everyone’s spray.

    1997 Eclipse GS-T – green with tan leather interior, sunroof, 210HP turbo! WHOOOSH. I loved this engine – tons of low-end torque (214lbs @ 2,000 RPM) and power to spare. It went from 30MPH to 90MPH in 3rd gear in the blink of an eye, but still got 30 MPG since it was just a boosted 4 banger. Able to toast Mustangs and out handle them as well. However this car had a horrible turning radius for some reason, I think the engine bay was too wide. I blew the #3 cylinder TWICE under warranty and it leak oil constantly. Leather was 2nd grade stuff and thus not worth the coin at all, interior was tight squeeze, it wrapped around you a little too well. However, just the sound and power of the turbo made this car worth owning! Wish I could have dropped this engine into my Prelude, it would have an unreal combo. I got rid of this car once the warranty ran out fearing the engine might blow up – something was wrong in there I tell ya – it was not my driving… well maybe.

    1996 Ranger Splash Extra Cab – we traded our 93 Civic for this… then wish we hadn’t. Black exterior with gray interior, sunroof and the 4.0l V6 (same as an Explorer) so I could tow my boat. OK for what is was, but the tranny was not optimized for towing it hunted for gears on the ruler flat lands of sunny Florida! Horrible I-Beam front suspension made it rock from side-to-side, questionable cruise control (sometimes it worked) and the A/C never worked even after dropping over $2K into various fixes for it over three years. The interior & seats were nice for a truck, but that’s about the only plus. Fit and finish overall was very sub par or typical Ford depending on your point of view. The 4.0l was not that powerful, fuel injectors were questionable as I had to keep my foot to the floor to hit 65MPH with my small (16 foot) boat in tow and while running the recommended 87 octane it pinged badly and got only 14 MPG – not impressed with that. Wife hated this truck even more then the Rodeo simply because the constant maintenance it required to keep it in running half-way decent.

    2000 VW Passat 1.8T – wife’s current car, blue with tan interior, sunroof, 5 speed, turbo. We traded my Eclipse for it after my brother raved about his ’99 Passat Turbo. Awesome German engineering, fit and finish above average, tight handling, trick stuff like windows that roll up when you turn on the alarm, cool blue & red gauges – this car felt (and looked) like it should cost more. I guess that because it really an Audi A4. Only gripes is a somewhat rubbery 5 speed, serious lack of interior storage (tiny center console and glove box) and soft brakes. However it had an impressive little engine – 150HP and 150lbs of torque. That does not sound like much but this car has some serious get-up-n-go and still gets 30 MPG thanks to the turbo. Great car for long road trips as it cruises smoothly, had comfy seats, accelerated quickly even in top gear and has useful trip computer than calculates all sorts of info. Only problem were that the interior literally fell apart after about 4 years: I’m talking about peeling plastic and fabric sagging on the door trim pieces. The left turn signal just feel off one day and the windshield wiper washers also gave up the ghost. It leaks coolant and any parts/service for it were way overpriced, a prime example was a replacement antenna = $300! Must be one those Audi parts! And why on earth did VW not put the cruise control on the steering wheel? And the most worthless cup holders on planet earth. Like all VeeDubs great for the first 3 years then it starts to sting you in the wallet.

    2002 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab – my current truck, 4.7l V8, limited slip diff, silver with chrome accents/bumpers (SLT package) and a dark gray interior. Not too big, not too small… this truck is sized just right! Engine has plenty of smooth power all over the curve. It’s quick (by truck standards), but still has the grunt to tow my boat. Plus it actually accelerates on the highway and does not hunt for gears while towing. Fuel mileage is the same as my old V6 Ranger which is not bad, but 13 mpg is nothing to write home about. Back seats have almost as much room as our old Civic 4 door. Interior could be better designed because the A/C vents are in bad locations and the seats are very uncomfortable, but the center console holds more cups, CDs & phones then most office desks do! Handling is not bad either (thanks to sway bars), much more stable then my Ranger, cornering has reasonable feedback. Exterior fit of body panels is below average, you can clearly see places along the doors and hood where the panel gaps are big enough to lose a #2 pencil in. Given how hard I worked this truck (90% of my mileage is highway towing) it has never given me any problems, best US domestic vehicle I’ve own by far! Only recently has the headline started to fall down, this seems to be a built-in “feature” of most domestic brands.

  • avatar

    Whew, heck of a comments list. Here’s mine:

    1990 Dodge Caravan Cargo, 3.3 L

    Ultimate winter beater, had 490,000 km on it when I finally retired it when the tranny started to slip and I didn’t have the money to fix it. Bought the van for $150.

    1972 Chevy Monte Carlo, 350/350

    My first “real car,” it was rotten but I didn’t care, I was young and it was a muscle car. Bought it for $700, spent a bunch of effort on small stuff on the motor, went through two trannies, learned a bunch, then sold it for $1000.

    1991 Nissan Sentra E

    Still the best compact I’ve owned so far, I loved this car. Fun to drive, tossable, slow as balls, bbut reasonably stylish. 215,000 on it when I sold it, for money for a trip. Would otherwise probably still have it.

    1969 Firebird, 350/350

    Baby blue, originally a 4.1 SOHc but the original owner kept the motor due to its rarety. Former drag car, I had barely gotten started on it when I had to move to London, ON. Sold it for that.

    1990 Honda Accord

    Easily the worst piece of shit I’ve ever owned, just about swore me off Hondas forever (still haven’t gone back.) Distributor, fuel pump twice, A/C didn’t work, handled like crap, cramped, couldn’t fit in it right, absolutely gutless. Solid it about 4 months later.

    1994 Chevy Caprice 9C1 (Police Package)

    Boy I miss her. Deep gloss black, cop wheels, all the cop goodies, loud exhaust, small 4.3L V8 but great on gas, tons of fun to drive, and everyone got out of my way. Only reason I sold it was to buy the wagon version of the car, to haul shit. I *will* own another 9C1 in the future–there is no better 4 door performance platform, in my eyes.

    1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate LT1

    Basically an LT1 Impala SS with a big ass, I still own it and love every minute of it. Runs 14 second quarter miles, handles good despite its size, gets 25 mpg highway, carries 8 people, and can tow my racecar. Oh, and 91 cubic feet of cargo space, more than most 1/2 ton pickups.

    1996 Chevy Cavalier, 2.2

    As much as I shit on it for being agonizingly slow and boring to drive, it was dead reliable. Only changed an alternator and a wheel bearing in three and a half winters.

    2003 Chevy S10 Pickup, 2.2

    My latest daily beater, former delivery car for Carquest, who I work for. We keep good care of our delivery vehicles, contrary to popular belief. 250,000 but in great shape. Should serve me well for a while.

    Chevy Monte Carlo Super Stock

    My racecar. About half-built, to compete in the Whelen Weekly All-American series. 350 with a Powerglide, direct-drive coupler (no torque converter), typical circle track stuff. With any luck, done in time for this race season.

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    1966 Ford Falcon 4-door sedan. Icebox white, blue vinyl interior. 170 CID 6 with an automatic. I wanted a ’66 Mustang, but it was $925…this was $625 and I was anxious to get on the road. Actually, a pretty good first car…built like a tank, a bit underpowered, with a great Ford AM radio (important since I lived in a remote area and lived for distant signals).

    1973 Ford Pinto. 9 months later, I traded the Falcon and some cash for a brand-new Pinto. Exactly three options…the 2000 cc engine, radio and heater. Manual transmission. Compared to the Falcon, it was quicker and handled better. I actually liked it. No troubles until a woman in a ’67 AMC Ambassador ran a red light in front of me and I t-boned her. The body shop put it back together, but it shook, rattled and groaned.

    1974 Capri 2800 V6. Traded the Pinto within a week of getting it back for a brand-new Capri with the 2.8 and a four-speed. Great car…but plagued with electrical gremlins. Had several friends who bought them 6 months earlier who said “it gets worse…get out.” I did after a year and a day. Now I wish I’d toughed it out and figured out how to cure the issues. Instead…

    1975 Ford Mustang II V6 2-door. See, I figured the electrical isues were part of that “foreign car” temperment I’d always heard about (hey, I was 19)…so I ran back to a domestic Ford. Same engine and transmission as the Capri. What a mess. Windows falling into tracks. Window cranks and door handles breaking in two. Transmission popping into neutral on deceleration (great fun in San Francisco) at 17,000 miles and speedometer cable shot at 40,000. Which is about where I bailed.

    1978 Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback. I liked the faux Volvo 1800 ES styling. I loved the reliability. 5 years, 70,000 miles. Not a single thing went wrong.

    1984 Honda Civic Sedan. Even better than the Toyota. 14 years and 144,000 miles. Still running strong when I gave it to a friend.

    1987 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo. My wife’s car when I married her. A lot of fun when the turbo kicked in, but a disappointment in terms of fit and finish compared to the Civic.

    1993 GMC Suburban. I don’t know why I loved this thing. Maybe it was because it was exactly what we needed with two babies needing a double stroller, a Pak-N-Play, two weeks worth of diapers and assorted baby stuff for road trips. But reliability? No…no…not reliability. We used to joke that the only thing original remaining on it when we sold it after 10 years were the door locks. Chronic ABS issues and a new engine (despite meticulous maintenance) at 43,000 miles.

    1988 Honda Accord sedan. My mom’s. Inherited when she died in 2005. Had 90,000 miles and you could eat off any surface. Sold it to a friend whose daughter is using it to commute between Phoenix and Tucson weekly.

    The driveway’s been filled with press fleet vehicles since 1997, so we didn’t replace the Civic or the Suburban, but we’ll probably buy one or two cars in the next couple of years. My wife loves the Tahoe, and my daughter wants an F-150.

    Me? If I had to go buy a car, it’d probably be another Honda.

  • avatar

    81-BMW 320i

    Bought it from dad, at end of lease, great little car…

    84-Alfa Romeo GTV6

    Loved it! (Unfortunately one of my best friends pretzeled it on an on-ramp, being squeezed by a Cosworth Mercedes that thought it handled better and created a Jersey barrier hamburger…)

    85-Mitsubishi Montero 2-Door 4-Cyl.

    Good truck.

    Moved to NYCin ’89, had no car for a while…

    93-Honda CRX Si, first New Car.

    Why Honda US didn’t sell it with the proper twin-cam engine I’ll never understand.

    Current stable:

    84 Alfa Romeo. Love it! It has the MOMO steering wheel of the first one…

    06 Saabaru. Looks better than the WRX. Got one of the last ones, stole it.. (second new car)

    69 Alfa Romeo GTV. Almost restored… Will be running this summer.

    95 Range Rover Classic. LOVE IT!

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    1972 Datsun 510 – Learned to drive stick on the car I ‘bought’ from my Dad for $1! I dreamed of turning this puke gold rust-bucket into a cool rally car…this dream died a quick death, which was good for all concerned.
    1979 Z-28 auto – Yellow POS, had a bad tranny, bad rear diff (“That fluid shouldn’t be silver, should it?”), but cheap. One year later, 3 days after making last payment, was T-boned by truck running a red light. RIP Z-28. Good old American steel though – I walked away without a scratch.
    1981 Z-28 manual – Fully loaded car, half paid for with insurance money. I put on so many old-school mods (Edelbrock manifold/Holley carb/Rancho suspension/Hurst line lock). The red monster…it ruled the streets of Calgary! My favorite car to this day. When it came time to trade it in, two salesmen took it for a test drive – they came back scared and shaken, priceless expressions on their faces. I bought this car for $9000, they offered me $6500 on trade in – I couldn’t say no. Sometimes I think I’d like to rebuild an old ’81 Z-28 someday and feel the power again. Nostalgia makes me forget that at the end it leaked every fluid known to man, including gasoline, freon, and brake fluid, and the timing chain ate a hole in the chrome cover.
    1985 Mustang 5.0 GT – Fresh off the showroom floor – a ton of fun in the summer. Come winter – the rolling deathtrap, even with winter tires and sandbags in the back. So many accidents…it seemed to suck other cars into it when it wasn’t spinning around in the parking lot.
    1989 Mercury Topaz – Financial dark ages…don’t ask. Yet another POS.
    1992 Mazda 626 – Moved to East Coast. Money still tight…a POS beater with half the sensors shot. Ran out of oil and seized up on the highway in less than 6 months. Cost of ownership – about $120 a month..not so bad!
    1993 Ford Escort – The sun starts to come out…at least this car was brand new, and red! I was actually impressed by a Ford product after being a Chevy fan for so long.
    1995 Ford Escort GT – I liked the old Escort so much I got a sportier one to replace it. It actually performed and handled well for what it was, went 10 years with no major repairs, and could carry a ton of stuff with the seats down.
    2002 Nissan Sentra – My wife chose this car for her own, since she doesn’t drive stick. Cramped, useless POS that practically lived at the shop. Swear off Nissan forever as a result.
    2003 Toyota Celica GT-S – The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades. Favorite modern car. It’s like a motorbike with 4 wheels and a roof. A blast to drive and can also hold a ton of stuff with the seats folded.
    2004 Chevy Impala – Sentra replacement for wife. The rolling living room. Good for long trips with guests, suitcases, etc. Bland but reliable. Couldn’t talk wife into SS model.

  • avatar

    1980 Dodge Maxivan – 360cid V8 / 3spd auto. Bright orange paint, captains chairs, rear seat folded to bed, shag carpet, wood paneling. Great for camping and such.

    1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 – 350cid V8 / 4spd manual. White on white without A/C or t-tops but with all the performance options. This car was great – I had headers on it so it sounded lovely and load. Sold it to buy our first house.

    1988 Ford Bronco II – 2.9L V6 / 5spd. 4×4. Rusted white exterior with red interior. Beater that I had for 6 months or so. Never took it off road as it had overheating issues.

    1998 Honda Civic DX Hatchback – 1.6L I4 / 5spd. Less said the better about this junker the better.

    1996 Ford Mustang GT – 4.6L V8 / 4spd auto. Traded the above Civic for this. Good fun even with only 215hp and a slushbox.

    1988 Ford Taurus Wagon – 3.8L V6 / 4spd auto. Bought it for cheap, fixed it up, wife refused to drive it.

    1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport – 4.0L I6 / 4spd auto. 4×4. Wife insisted on this one. Another dud.

    1974 Triumph Spitfire 1500 – 1.5L I4 / 4spd manual. Great fun little car! Cheap, easy to work (except for behind the dash) and handled well.

    2000 Chrysler Neon – 2.0L I4 / 5spd. Was a daily driver for years – very reliable car.

    1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE – 3.0L V6 / 4spd w/overdrive. Rare hand built British GT car. Project car that I never finished.

    1981 Mazda Rx-7 – 1.1L 12A Rotary / 5spd. Very, very nice shape – picked it up for a great price. Lovely rotary engine that just purrs. Totally rust free.

    1986 Hyundai Stellar – 1.6L I4 / 5spd – Intended as main locost donor.

    * 2004 Nissan Quest SE – bought for the wife. Has a gutsy 240hp 3.5L V6 and 4spd automatic. Has a DVD system built in to keep the kids amused on long trips.

    1986 Mazda B2000 – bought for hauling the engines and transmission for the Seven.

    1997 Ford Escort Wagon – 2.0L I4 / 5spd. I added Miata alloy wheels but didn’t own for long.

    1985 Mazda Rx-7 GSL – 1.1L 12A Rotary / 5spd. This car looked good but had lots of mechanical and electrical issues. Wasn’t unhappy to see it go.

    1998 Ford Taurus Wagon – 3.0L DOHC V6 / auto. Pure beater I bought off my brother. Was my Dad’s car before that.

    1988 Ford Tempo L – 2.3L OHV I4 / 5spd. Bought this one for $50 – put in a new battery and it fired right up. Rather dirty and lots of mileage but runs strong. Got it cleaned and it replaced a few parts with junkyard bits.

    *1962 VW 1200 – 1.2L flat four and foru speed. Neat car that is a rare Canadian Standard model.

    *Luego Locost – my Seven clone – still not done.

    *1989 Toyota Hilux SURF – rhd 4Runner

  • avatar

    Robert.Walter: I didn’t name the daily driver in my “leadfoot’s guide to avoiding speeding tickets” article because it is boring as hell, not because I’m trying to hide it. ;)

    Beyond the E-type Jaguar, I’ve driven in and around some amazing machinery (my father is something of a sports car collector and we participate in vintage rallies many times a year) so why show pictures of a dull commuter car when I can illustrate with eye candy?


  • avatar

    In Order of Appearance:

    1976 Plymouth Arrow 4spd 1.6 liter. Bought new when I was in college, with help from my dad. My other choice was a 1975 Dodge Dart, ’nuff said. My dads best friend was a Chrysler Dodge dealer. It was totaled when an old lady plowed into it, leading to:

    1976 Plymouth Arrow, 2 liter 5 spd. Big upgrade, even had air conditioning that occasionally worked.

    1981 Dodge Challenger, 2.6 liter, 5 spd. Graduation present.

    1977 BMW 320i, 4 spd. Can’t say enough bad things about this POS. Once it caught on fire; I pulled into the parking lot of a local watering hole and put fire out with the help of a few beers donated by onlookers.

    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE. 5 spd. Loved that thing. Totaled it by driving it upside down in drainage culvert.

    1989 Honda Accord LX. 5 spd Excellent transportation applicance. Sold when I got a

    1982 Mercedes 300 SD. Gift from my dad. Wife liked it, I wished we had kept the Accord

    1980 Dodge 150 4X4 Power wagon 318 V8 auto. Inherited from my dad. Excellent hunting truck, marginal tow vehicle. Later sold to my sister for $1.

    1992 Honda Accord SE 5 spd. Replacement vehicle for the RX7, had a kid by then, so no more sports cars for a while.

    1997 Lexus ES300 Bought for my wife to replace the Mercedes

    1997 Ford F150 extended cab 2WD 5.4 auto, replacement for the Dodge; much better tow vehicle, much worse hunting vehicle.

    2001 Ford F250 Crew Cab 4X4 V10, replacement for F150. Even better tow vehicle, tired of getting stuck in 2WD F150

    2004 Lexus ES330 Oak tree limb fell on 97 Lexus. Repaired the ’97 and passed it down to my daughter when I bought:

    2000 Lexus ES300 My current daily driver. Not very sporty, but comfy and reliable. Someday child will be out of college, and I’ll be able to afford something more fun

  • avatar

    1985 Volvo DL wagon
    1987 Toyota Supra
    1988 Porsche 944 Turbo
    1992 Honda Civic DX
    1986 Porsche 944
    1995 Honda Accord EX coupe

    2003 Mazda Protege 5 – current daily beater
    1988 Porsche 911 – track car
    2008 Toyota Highlander – wife’s car and kid hauler