Hammer Time: The 'Almost' Car

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
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hammer time the almost car

“You know, I always wanted a…”

Those words are about as common as kudzu at my Georgia car lot.

They aren’t usually reserved for the late model vehicles though. When it comes to the primary drivers, customers are always willing to fork out the money for their dream car.

It’s the second older dream car, or third-string beater dream car that slides down the scale from want to nothingness.

You know what the most popular ‘almost’ car is these days?

Big cars.

The shape or form doesn’t really matter. You have everything from full-sized luxurious chrome ridden mastodons, to bare bones rugged rock climbers whose only real weekend exercises will come in the form of jumping curbs and cutting out the Mini Cooper at the Starbucks.

If it’s big and old, a car lover won’t want to drive it every day. But they will certainly love to have the dream of owning.

Folks love to have the space, utility and luxury of a vehicle that can handle all their 1% jobs. Even if the money is not there… for now…

An older Silverado or F150 that could handle the towing of their imaginary boat. The minivan that can help them become collectors and hoarders. Even the once reviled, but now older SUV, is finally at that price point where car shoppers can kick the tires, daydream, shrug, and walk away.

As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer of those ‘good’ older wonders to buy. For example, up to a few years ago, I used to get anywhere from three to six older 240’s a year whether I wanted them or not. Now it seems like this next year may be my one last good chance to own a well-kept Volvo 240 now that the youngest one is a mere whisker away from the drinking age of 21.

For folks in the car business, the rear view mirror of longing for us long-timers is fading into the firmament of long lost glories such as the 1st gen Lexus LS400 and the Mistubishi Eclipse GSX. When we find them in good shape, we often pay a pretty penny just for the privilege of temporarily owning it.

I have been lucky as h-e-double hockey sticks

A drop dead gorgeous 1995 BMW 540i that I recently bought. Another ‘almost’ car that is still looking for a good owner.

to have the pleasure of taking out near immaculate 20 year old rides, and giving them a few days worth of personal sentimentality before unleashing them to the next owner. Then again, I haven’t sampled everything quite yet.

For some strange (healthy?) reason, I never had the pleasure of buying an early 90’s Range Rover or, on the opposite side of the ledger, a Lotus Espirit. I am sure that either one would be a complete money loser for yours truly. But that doesn’t mean I won’t blow my financials brains out in the near future by buying one.

If it was on a bedroom poster back when I was a teenager, I want it, and chances are you’re in the same exact boat of old-school contentment.

So what out there represents your ‘almost’ car? We all aspire to the right lottery jackpot and a one of a kind Ferrari. But given your current means and ends, what out there makes you say, “Hmmm… just maybe… someday, that will be mine.”

Just not today.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Andy D Andy D on Jan 06, 2014

    Late 30s GMs,business coupes and sedanettes. A 47 Dodge business coupe. A '47 GMC pickup. A series 3 XJ6 in dark green metallic and tan leather. A hot, rust free BMW E 28 tuner. A 6 cyl, 3spd, Jeep J10 PU. My latest Ute is a 94' Ranger long cab. 245 cl of push rod Ford Cologne V6 part time 4wd . Dubbed, the Rat. It is a total heap. There isnt a good panel on the whole truck. It runs reasonably well for a 20 yr old Ford. I.m a function over form guy so its ratty appearance doesnt bother me. Over time the wet dog aroma has faded and the 70$ Dual stereo comes out of 3 speakers. In terms of time and money , I should have taken about a 3oo$ loss and driven it straight to the crusher. Instead, I spent too much time and money on the clutch, brakes, frame, Pickups are code for muscle cars. A single seat pickup is a 21st century 3 window coupe. I have the larger more common 5 window coupe. The Rat's OK running engine has 2 1/2 times the HP of the 60 hoss flathead V8 of the 30s. Mechanically, it is fine,mostly. It is my first standard shift in 30 yrs. So I would love a Ranger long cab, 4wd/5spd twinstick in much better shape than the Rat.

  • PandaBear PandaBear on May 16, 2014

    I wanted a 1st gen Honda Insight with Manual transmission, those are real cool, also the last gen Supra (although doesn't have to be TT), and an RV to park at work for a lunch time nap.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.