Question Of The Day: Have You Ever Loved A Vehicle For Its… Inner Beauty?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I still have hundreds of old cassettes and compact discs.

When do I use them? Whenever I drive an older car.

There is just something truly enriching and authentic about taking a decades old cassette, that still works, and listening to it in an old Miata or Town Car. Just cruisin’ around town and enjoying the depth of an artist’s complete work.

Cars and trucks also have an artistry all their own. It may be the door hinge on a 1st generation Lexus SC400. A masterful work of engineering brilliance, which is in fact a four-bar linkage that is mostly hidden, and keeps the luxury coupes’ doors perfectly aligned for decades on end.

Or it can simply be a beater that is ugly as all get out, that somehow stays on the road well past it’s due date. A Steenkin’ Lincoln Mark VI (click for the story) my wife had back in our dating days used to be held up with an amazing assortment of materials. Duct tape, thumb tacks, staples, bathroom mats, all adorned the feline trashed interior while an ancient boom box occupied the passenger seat during her travels. Even SUV’s would get out of her way, thanks to an exterior that would have done a LeMons driver proud.

Did you ever love a vehicle for its… inner beauty? Today is a Friday. So a good story would be quite welcome.

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4 of 55 comments
  • Geozinger Geozinger on Jun 23, 2012

    I've had three so far. All from cars that I thought wouldn't last long with me. #1 was my 87 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo, a midsizer (for the 80's) with a hatchback, during the time we were raising kids, this car mostly kept us out of minivans. When I originally bought it, I thought, I'll keep it through the payment book and then look for something else. I kept it 10 years, 160K miles... When the boost kicked in, it went from a 1980's version of the DeSoto Traveller to a four door Daytona Turbo. It was fast, generally reliable and could swallow a lot of cargo (especially kid stuff, diaper bags, strollers etc.). I traded it for a Dakota pickup, which I liked, but not nearly as much as the Lancer. (Attn: Chrysler/Fiat! Build me another Lancer!) #2 was a 1986 Yugo GV. In the early 90's, we lived on the south side of Atlanta, but ended up getting a job on the north side of town, so I needed a commuter car. I didn't have a lot of cash, so my wife found a Yugo for $1000, and I grudgingly went for it. I thought if it lasts me a year, I'll be happy and can move on to something else. I had the car two years, would have kept it longer, but it was totaled in a wreck. Other than a few minor repairs, the car was reliable, economical and utilitarian. It had a folding back seat that you could turn into shelves (in effect) which allowed you to stuff more cargo in there than I ever imagined. The car was so worthless, I never even locked it, and no one ever fiddled with it. The A/C worked flawlessly, which is the only car that has ever done that for me. The best part was merging into traffic, the 1.1L 4 banger wailing out it's highway song became a favorite of mine. When it was totaled, it was like losing your dog. I was bummed. #3 is my current beater, a 1997 Chevy Cavalier coupe. Again, I bought this car for $1000 thinking if it lasts a year... Here I am eight years later, and still driving the thing. I've had a few more issues with this car, but they were caused by me (or my children), and it too is economical, reliable and utilitarian. I can fit my drum kit (5 piece Ludwig, jazz sizes) into the car, and still have the passenger seat open. It starts every time, gets 27 MPG in mixed driving and can swallow 10 bags of bark mulch every spring. I kind of think of it as my mechanical dog. I'll be bummed when I finally junk it...

  • Andy D Andy D on Jun 23, 2012

    The Borman 6, My first 1988 BMW 528e . I bought in '96 with 150k miles on it and drove it for 12 yrs and 350k miles. Underpowered, but a great driving sedan. After, I got laid off, I was working out of it. One job had me driving 140 miles a day, another 200. It loved highway driving.

  • AJ AJ on Jun 23, 2012

    As crazy as it sounds, yes, as it's inner beauty was it's rotary engine. Kind of a love hate relationship, but we got along very well otherwise.

  • Nikita Nikita on Jun 25, 2012

    '66 Dodge A-100 van certainly had no outer beauty. The inner beauty, other than the 8-track, was its Conestoga wagon simplicity. There was not a square inch of curved glass for one thing. The A-727 Torqueflite easily outlasted three E4OD transmissions in our '94 Ford. Current fleet includes a 1st gen Tundra regular cab, also no beauty queen. It just gets the job done with no fuss, unlike the Ford.