Hammer Time: The 'Almost' Car

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang


hammer time the 8216 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.

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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 VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.
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