By on January 30, 2013
I must have been a kibbutznik in a past life. Whenever I buy something of value, I never have the urge to keep it for myself.

Perhaps it’s due to too many bouts of suburbia. A neighborhood with twenty lawnmowers. Thirty The Lion King videos, and fifty to seventy vehicles. All this redundancy seems to be a bit much for a guy who hates to see things unused by my family 98+% of the time.

Yeah. I know that most folks aren’t willing to share their ride. Some won’t even loan you Simba. But if I lived in a place where we all put a smaller chunk of our change into a ride, I wouldn’t go cheap . . . except for possibly an old Volvo wagon.

These would be my top picks. All used of course!

1st Gen Honda Insight
: These things are amazingly overengineered. The ride is surprisingly nice, mpg’s are 55+, the rear hatch can house an amazing amount of materials, and let’s face it, many rides require little more than two people these days. Did I mention these things only require two and a half quarts per oil change? Gotta love that.

Ford S-Ma
x(Euro-Spec Version): There’s something about a small diesel with superb handling, seven seats, and a shape designed for the wind that’s hard to turn down. I’ve heard so many good things about the Ford 2.2L that I would have to at least test this one. For the greater good of my fellow kibbutzniks of course. I’ll just have to make sure Baruth never gets the keys.

Toyota Land Cruiser
: I’m not thinking of the nice cushy ones that make Lexus seem unnecessary. I’m thinking about the ones that help fight wars. Heck. While we’re at it let’s throw in a couple of Toyota Hilux diesels into the mix as well. I relish the idea of buying utilitarian vehicles and not worrying about replacing them for a quarter century. Plus, if my neighbors ever have the misfortune of getting attacked by a few stone throwers, I want something that can hold a gun turret. Perhaps we can sell it as a Farago edition.

1st Gen Mazda Miata: 
Every kibbutz deserves a fleet of convertibles that can be thrashed about during odd hours and Sunday afternoons. Chryslers are definitely not my cup of tea for that purpose. Fords? I like the Mustang. Since Sajeev is still in love with a long list of old Fords I guess we should spring for just one of those. But no more! As for the Miata, I’ll take three. Preferably a 95′ to 96′ model with a stick and a long list of Murilee modifications.
Hmmm… I truly wonder what can be jammed in that four square feet of trunk space? Maybe a nuclear powered roto-plooker?

1970’s Malaise Era Whachamacallit:
 The type that can hold enough beer in the trunk for 30 odd friends and their associates. The type that sounds like a Harley once you saw off the catalytic converter. The type with a crappy cheap top that’s easy to replace, and a hood big and flat enough to serve as a bed for two at a moment’s notice. Throw in some thick leather interior adornments and a quartz clock (for Murilee’s sake), and you would have one hell of a vehicle for beer runs and random hooning.

Then we should consider all manner of bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, airplanes, golf carts, buses and catapults. A nice pair of running shoes. A lake. A river. A rowboat. A canoe. A kayak. A catamaran. A schooner. A tugboat. A yacht. A battleship!

Perhaps it’s time to start my own country. What about you? What transportation aplenty strikes your fancy in that, “Nice to have around… but I don’t want to own one.” kinda way?
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22 Comments on “Hammer Time: Ramblings Of An Aspiring Kibbutznik...”

  • avatar

    Great article! I’d nominate a late-90s GM H-body with the 3800 motor. It can be passed around without fear of it being ruined, and the whole neighborhood can enjoy the plush ride. (The one I used to have was often lent out to friends and relatives with no ill effect).

  • avatar

    Got to include a (relatively) modern Panther.

  • avatar

    I can recall when you said the car to have for 20 years with certain guidelines in place was the Versa. I just rented one and liked it a lot. If I could only have one, I already have it. Y’all can throw stones but my choice for only car would be the stick shift Nissan Cube I have right now. It’s a versa platform with a box on top. It is very versatile, comfortable, fun to drive, and draws the ire of those illiterates who would smack it with a shovel. Haters will always hate and hate to be refuted. All in all, that makes it perfect. I have a feeling the scion would work just as good but isn’t quite as strong.

    I also have an old pickup. My hilux is an old S10 with a 4.3 and 700r4. I know that with a small trailer the cube would do it all but the wife won’t stand for me doing some things in the family car.

  • avatar

    I have a particular soft spot for the first down-sized Gran Prix and their corporate siblings. Specifically, the SJ. Or for weirdness, the Phaeton models of Coupe deVille with that absurd fake carriage roof and the last real Cadillac V8. Those were always cars that would approach birthday status in the dealer flooring inventory, so if I put one into demo service, at least we’d have the benefit of the write-down on paper when the inevitable loss came at sale. So it was win-win as I came to appreciate their character and, on paper anyway, a profit wasn’t impossible. Remember. the pickings were pretty slim in those days,as we could sell a 4spd. TA with an Olds engine as a sports car.

  • avatar
    George B

    Why no minivans Steve? Minivans are incredibly useful vehicles with a negative image. I could even see people sharing minivans so as to avoid admitting ownership. “That’s not my minivan. I’m just borrowing it for the day.”

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Minivans are the most practical people-focused multipurpose vehicle made. No kibbutz should be without one.

      Adding a fleet of Miatas would make for a pretty awesome kibbutz. Do they let atheists with a subscription to alldatadiy into kibbutzes?

  • avatar

    When I went to college in Des Moines, Iowa, there was a ’47 Ford convertible named Pinky for its Pepto-Bismol paint job. It seemed that a different town guy would be driving it every time I saw it. One guy I knew said that it had been sold or traded so many times that the title was four or five steps behind.

    A lot of car guys went to school there those two years – I remember when the street department put up No Parking signs by the church across the street. These signs were mounted on posts made of 1 1/2-inch galvanized pipe. One of them disappeared shortly afterward, and a day after that one of my fellow students was showing around a towbar he’d just welded up, largely of 1 1/2-inch galvanized pipe.

  • avatar

    Kibbutzim have changed a lot. Long gone are the days of shared underwear ownership.

  • avatar

    An AM General Mail Jeep. Can’t explain why I want one, much less need it. But I’ve always wanted one. Maybe with an extended rear deck to fit a motorcycle or couple of bikes.

  • avatar

    For some masochistic reason, I’ve always been drawn to the VW Phaeton, particularly the one with the W-12 engine, which is mechanically-identical to the Bentley Continental of those model-years…

    • 0 avatar

      Phaeton is a nice looking ride, I fancied it myself. Trouble is IMO its just doesn’t make sense for the US market, its too Audi like. If VW were to sell it for a tad more than Passat (but under an equivalent A6) it might make sense, esp as a value buy. But IIRC it was priced to the sky.

      • 0 avatar

        The Phaeton was a luxury car bargain, in that it is a Bentley for people who don’t need to scream at the top of thier lungs “I’M RICH!!!”. By far my favorite large-barge luxury car, if I had any need of such a thing I would have one. If they only made a Phaeton wagon…

        Afterall, “Audi’s are driven exclusively by cocks”.

      • 0 avatar

        Isn’t part of owning a luxury car the fact that you don’t need it?

        My minivan as so comfortable that I literally can’t imagine how to make it any more comfortable, and the NVH first-rate. I can’t see how a luxury cat could be meaningfully better on the creature comforts side of the equation. But luxury cars do have style and exclusivity.

      • 0 avatar


        As I have said on here before – if the things that make a more expensive car worthwhile are meaningless to you, rejoice, because you just saved a ton of money.

        Loaded minivans are perfectly nice, but they don’t even begin to compare in terms of the tangibles like ride and handling and performance to a $120K (10 years ago!)W12-powered German Uber-sedan. And that doesn’t even touch on the intangibles of the smell of the leather, the feel of the interior bits, etc.

        Ultimately, I am a pretty practical person. For a car to join my little stable it needs to have a very good reason to be there. My BMW wagon is rapid, comfortable, amazing to drive, and very practical. A Phaeton would be far bigger than I need, I almost never have back seat passengers. Also being a sedan it is less useful. It would be better on a trip, but at the cost of much higher fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

        I sort of have a mini-version of Steve’s car Kibbutz going on – I have the BMW which is my practical but very entertaining daily driver, a 4×4 Jeep Grand Cherokee Tow Beast/Winter beater, a Porsche 924S which will get autocrossed and do the occasional track day along with being a longer trip fun car, and my Triumph Spitfire which is a classic convertible for sunny days in the summertime. Also an Alfa Spider, but that will likely get sold as I bought the Porsche – I try to keep the fleet to four. All do get loaned out to friends on occasion.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why ANYONE would want to share a car? I worked at a car wash in high school, and I couldn’t BELIEVE how bad the interiors of some cars got! Cigarette ash EVERYWHERE, butts in the ashtray (this was in the 90s), empty fast-food cups full of butts. There were ALWAYS dried french-fries anywhere and everywhere…

    Rental cars are no better. I’ve only had ONE experience where the car was reasonably clean. All others were stained on the seats and carpet, soda residue on the plastic panels. Absolutely disgusting.

    Keep your hoopties and jalopies. I’ll continue with pride of ownership. Both my current vehicles are over a decade old.

  • avatar

    I think an older pickup would be best. It can be beat up, single cab with vinyl and metal interior, 2WD, 6 or 8 with an auto (don’t want a burned out clutch). Everyone needs a truck on occasion, no one needs a truck everyday in the suburbs unless it’s provided by their employer. Perfect for combined dump runs, picking up soil or wood, etc… Cost little to own, operate, and insure.

    Or a utility trailer, which is what myself and 2 neighbors have done. Same with a wheelbarrow, oddly enough. Hey, it works for us in our small cul-de-sac.

  • avatar

    I recommend a Leyland P76 for your 1970s Malaise Era Whachamacallit, the one that could hold a 44 gallon drum in its trunk.

  • avatar

    Those older Insights were pretty neat cars when new, the only thing is that the batteries don’t quite hold up over time.

    As for 1970’s Malaise cars, I’d only touch the unibody Chrysler from that time. I’ve tried sitting in a few (such as a 5000 pound Ford LTD wagon) and the seating was pretty cramped, especially compared to the outside of the thing.

    Heck, I’ve sat in a Honda Z600 in better comfort than that LTD!

  • avatar

    An 84 lifted Suburban, primered, with monster truck tires, a push bar, safari rack and expanded metal welded over the windows.

    You know, for when the zombies come…

  • avatar

    A shared horse has a dirty back.

    But to play along, I’ll say a plain wrapper Grand Caravan with tow package and utility trailer.

    • 0 avatar

      The dirty back is kinda the point of the question. Which car is durable enough and easy enough to fix to be able to lend without concern, and yet awesome enough that someone who loves driving can lend their enthusiasm along with the car?

      I agree with your recommendation, though. A basic minivan with a tow package is cheaper and much more versatile than a 4-door F-150, just so long you drive mostly on public roads.

  • avatar

    I’ve firmly entrenched myself in the ‘old volvo’ camp with a 940 turbo wagon for myself and a stick ’87 240 sedan for the girlfriend – her first car & the one she bought without having ever driven stick before.
    But one summer I decided I wanted a 4×4 – So I began cold emailing people with cars up to $2,000 though my budget was $1200.
    Bam. Truck from out of the area couldn’t pass smog, so the guy drops the price on his $2,000 1994 K1500 Suburban to $1k firm because he cannot park it in Kitsilano on the street – too big! And while it was wicked fun to hoon that beast, and while I had a ticket literally thrown in my face because it outraged the cop ticketing it with its awesomeness, it couldn’t carry any more people or any more cargo than my mom’s 2001 GMC Safari could, all while being easier to park, and twice as easy on fuel.
    By the way, for anyone considering these trucks – the ’94 K1500 with the 350SBC is a one year only exhaust design. Mine was a mangle of weird terrible welds and as soon as a real exhaust piece was put in place the power came on.

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