By on October 29, 2015

1

She seduced my soul.

She is a a 1989 Jeep Wagoneer with just over 200,000 miles and a fantastic maintenance history. With beautiful, thick leather seats and a working A/C system which is a huge deal here in Georgia, the old woody Jeep could only have been better if it had a stick and a four-wheel drive system mated to its iron-block 4.0-liter inline-six.

I started the bid at $700, a dealer who specializes in the Latino clientele bid it at $800, and then another fellow jumped in at $900. By the time bidding was at $1100, I waited a few seconds, and did a slicing motion with my hand which knocked it up to $1150.

Would I get it?

Hell no! Someone jumped it at $1250 and I walked out gracefully to find something else worth my time.

2

For me, the numerical equation was simple: Could I make a good profit once I threw in all the costs that come with running a dealership along with the hopefully minor mechanical repairs and fixing little things such as the headliner and the interior carpet? The short answer was probably not, and probability is the one factor you always have to weigh beyond all else when buying at auction.

On the nostalgia side, I already had an ace up my sleeve: a 1994 Jeep Cherokee Sport with enough patina on it to look like anything from the 1980s.

94Jeep

If I had bought the woody Wagoneer, I would have one more vicious reality to deal with in the movie business. They don’t want white cars. Ever. White and red cars are considered too distracting for a background scene and are usually avoided at all cost. I’m not sure if this Jeep would have squeaked through that rabbit hole thanks to the fake and fading wood, but the risk of it was just too much. Plus, with four cars now pulling heavy duty at the movie shoots — a ’79 Caddy, a ’92 Volvo (that looks old), a ’94 Prizm, and this ’94 Jeep — I already have my hands full with not quite ’90s cars that can help impersonate a Reagan era parking lot.

4

But this whole experience brought me to a lingering thought that has revisited my mind over the years: How old is too old for a daily driver?

Back in the ’90s, I used to believe that a 20-year-old daily driver was an ancient, black and grey, smoke-belching turd. God knows I saw thousands of 10- to 15-year-old cars at the auctions that were usually worth more dead than alive — but these days cars hold up. The best examples in long-term quality seem to hold onto their bodies better than most folks keep up with their own bodies.

So for you, personally, how old is too old?

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189 Comments on “Hammer Time: How Old is Too Old?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Late 80s is as far back as I would go for a useful DD. Earlier 80s stuff has goofy kinds of early fuel injection and some still carbureted. Oddballs and some German/Swedish/Japanese of the period is worth dealing with, but I’d avoid the domestic as a DD prior to MY87.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I think mainstream domestic RWD would be fine. caprice,Malibu,LTD, etc. If your in an area that deals with snow it might be problematic but so will anything pre mid 90s. The Germans will be expensive to maintain and the japenese will have rusted out.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Depends on where the car has lived for condition, I saw an 88 Acura Legend earlier in the summer which looked brand new. Sure its a unicorn, but stuff like that is out there. Some German stuff is expensive (Mercedes) and some not so bad (late 80s VW products). Personally at this point I’m not going to run mid-80s or earlier B/G-body or Panthers as a DD. Ten years ago I would but not now. I also personally would not run a truck from that period or earlier as a DD, but there are some who do.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      100% agree. Late 80s is as old as I would go and no motorized seatbelts. They are the tool of the Devil,

    • 0 avatar
      Ralph ShpoilShport

      While I think where you live, and the availability of parts factor in, the late carb, early fuel injection era is not to be trifled with. I stuck my neck out recently, purchasing, in Vermont, a 95 Camry with 99K on the odo. It’s my new commute vehicle and has rolled over 100K since. The timing belt and water pump are going on tomorrow. BTW, nice read again, Steve.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Entirely dependent on condition, and what I want to use it for. At this point, there is not very much from 15 years ago or older that I have any interest in daily driving even if it is perfect. But for toys, sure.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I could probably daily drive anything newer than the like 1950 assuming I inherit it in a reasonable condition.

    But, I’m kind of weird with cars and have tons of Baruth-style “privilege” at my disposal.

    And what’s the story on the ’79 Cadillac?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Oh , well .

    My daily drivers are all older than 30 years so I’m out .

    I like the looks of this Jeep .

    What would the retail price have been ? .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      $2000 to $2500 with a ton of hyper-critical observations by automotive idealists and annoying tire kickers. That alone isn’t worth the profit.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        “hyper-critical observations by automotive idealists and annoying tire kickers.”

        I take it thats normal with higher mileage cars?

        My DD Volvo 740T is just approaching 200k, I’m sure once its time to sell that turbos going to trigger some skeptical faces.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If the undercarriage was rot free and the tranny shifted, I would say it would have been a retail buy @ 2 + ttl. We had I think an 87 ten years ago with some rot underneath that we still retailed at the time here for like 2,5 or 3. AMC I6 + 4×4 = win in Western PA.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Nathan, all my DD’s are at least 17 years old – and my wife refers to it as the “new Lincoln”. After this summer she also has learned to appreciate anything that has a removable roof – even a 26 year old GT. I agree with all the commenters that qualify the basics by condition and potential. Both of my drivers once were almost abandoned by their previous owners. One had flat air bags and the other a convertible top torn by a vicious wind and rain storm. Her cars are a different matter. I can walk and/or wait for AAA.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I just bought a 1-owner, 114k mile, 1990 Acura Integra LS sedan.

    Never been serviced anywhere but Acura of Bellevue, and the CarFax is sparkling. I paid $2500, and drove it home from Seattle to Las Vegas.

    It was never intended to be my DD, but then I sold my actual DD, so now the Acura is my only car and DD.

    It is a lovely $2500 car, and needs nothing.

  • avatar

    I’ve a couple older vehicles that are 25+ or so like the ’89 in my avatar graphic. I no longer DD them due to the length of my commute. Not because the cars can’t handle it, but because I’m in asshole traffic and am more worried about someone hitting me than anything. And that’s not because of a safety issue either, cars this old won’t get anything from the insurance even though they’re fully covered, it would be more out of my pocket than anything, unfortunately, and I do not want to total them.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      That’s a good point, BlueBrat. I was starting a road trip once at about 5:45 on a Saturday morning and spotted a man out for a drive in a showroom-looking ’70 or ’71 Barracuda. My inference was that he only drives his car after the drunk drivers have fallen asleep and before the texters have woken up.

  • avatar
    wagonsonly

    I’m with 28-Cars. Right now I have a 140-mile round trip commute, which I’ve been doing in, depending on the day and the weather, a 2000 Honda Insight, a 1994 Volvo 850, or a 2000 Chrysler Grand Voyager. These cars have, respectively, 260k, 371k, and 152k miles. With proper maintenance, I haven’t had any issues in getting to work and back reliably with the exception of a tire failure. I will say that with my current commute and the location of my office in an inner city, I’d rather drive something older and grungier I actually prefer the Volvo – even with the highest mileage of the three, it’s the most comfortable, it’s a manual, and it’s of low enough value that I really don’t worry about thieves or vandals.

    Conversely, I cringe when driving my wife’s car to work. Too nice for my parking lot, and not terribly comfortable for me.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Wow, at that rate you will have half a million miles on that 850 in short order. I might look for a rough looking 940 to eventually replace your 850 (which I presume you already fixed everything in).

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        That’s the goal. I feel like I’m cheating, though; I just picked it up last month with 367K on it. The previous owner already fixed everything – it’ll be due for its sixth timing belt soon (380k) but it came with three file folders of maintenance records, emissions test results and oil change receipts.

        It’s a nice middle ground between the Honda (tiny, rides like a buckboard, and doesn’t work in the snow) and the Voyager (which is wonderful for full loads, but I can’t justify and don’t want to drive it 140 miles a day unless I need to move something to/from/before/after work).

        And, to be honest, I am enjoying the novelty of having, by far, the highest-mileage car in the parking lot.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The 850 isn’t like contemporary Volvos though, it can really bite you. You eliminate some of that by having a manual but they can have fidgety electronics and other motor issues. Look at whats in those receipts and then compare against a list of known 850 issues from your favorite search engine.

          • 0 avatar
            wagonsonly

            All I have into it is a set of floor mats and the cost of the registration. Amortized over 4k miles, I’m already ahead (I realize that this is not typical).

            The receipts are pretty benign – there was an oil leak and rear main seal replacement around 250k, and the heater blower motor was replaced at 280k. Some small electrical stuff (power windows and cruise control), but other than that it looks like regular maintenance and many timing belt changes.

            Are you saying the 850 is better or worse than the current lineup? I ask because my wife drives an ’11 XC70.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            About MY99-03ish in the car lineup should be avoided, the XC90 is a whole other problem child till around MY08ish depending on configuration. Supposedly Volvo got their sh*t together in 2005 and the P3 and P1 cars are very good. Resale is certainly much higher MY06+ than on say an MY04/05. I would think an MY11 Volvo that isn’t rough condition/high high miles is probably going to be better than a squeaky clean 850 because of age and product improvements alone.

            The 850 is simply a mixed bag. KRhodes knows a bit about them as well, and essentially the 850 was designed to be cheaper to manufacture than the Volvo 244/5 it replaced. Paint, steel, and some materials are good but there were issues with auto transmissions and some issues with the engine (intake maybe, I can’t remember). The 850 is simply not a “bulletproof” model such as 200/700/900.

            Here is a list of common 850 problems:

            http://www.ipdusa.com/blogs/105/top-10-most-common-problems-with-1993-2000-850-c70-s70-and-v70-models

            http://www.volvo-forums.com/t6200-common-problems-are-85039s-reliable-cars-.htm

            My thought is if you purchased an 850 in good running condition with those miles, its probably good to go from a general standpoint. Internal parts are prob 3x as expensive as a 200/700 so get friendly with junkyards and start stockpiling parts. Personally I would keep my eye out for a 940/manual that isn’t destroyed as a long term solution. Its not as if any of these cars are particularly expensive or valuable at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I was just window shopping late model XC90s (2011-2013) as they can be bought for about $23-26k with 50k miles or less these days. A very interesting proposition. A Swedish Luxury SUV with comfortable seats for new Outback 2.5i money. I figured that playing it safe with the simple naturally aspirated 3.2L I6 (gear driven cams!!!), and a vehicle that’s been in production for over 10 years I hoped it’d be a reliable option.

            Nope. The 3.2L is a notorious oil burner, culprits include the PCV system, piston rings, people have gotten whole short blocks installed. WTF volvo. I really like the form factor and interior of the original XC90, much moreso than the Explorer that was more or less based on it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I did not know the Ford/Volvo 3.2 I6 burned oil.

            There goes my S80 choice.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I was really disappointed too, I thought I had found the holy grail vehicle for my specific wants and needs. And with an easy to service inline six with gear driven valvetrain sounded like the safest bet in the world!

            They’re also pretty hard on suspension components, it’s a 4800lb vehicle with “carlike handling,” something’s gotta give. Oh well.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The XC90 never particularly impressed me, even if it did help spawn the current fake truck madness. Even if the motor was solid, I’m still not looking at one.

          • 0 avatar
            Beelzebubba

            Contemporary Volvos can be a real pain in the ass (and wallet) as well, especially after the 100k mark! That’s the reason I leased my new 2015.5 S60 T6- it will be under warranty and have free scheduled maintenance the entire 3yrs and/or 36k miles that I have it!

            Now the Volvos prior to the 850 were actually indestructible tanks! The 240-series, 700-series (740/760/780) and the 900-series that replaced the 700s (940/960). I have always wanted a red 940 Turbo.

            The 850 is a mixed bag, but it got better with each new model year. The earliest ones were the nightmares….and my ex-wife had one from early in the first year of production! It was an early ’93 model (built in mid ’92) and she (her dad, rather) spent well over $10k on repairs in the two years and 22k miles following the warranty expiration. The transmission failed twice, it had godawful squeaks in the dash that they couldn’t fix, some interior plastic pieces were prone to falling off at random. The A/C needed a new compressor and several related parts at just 62k miles. It used a half quart of oil every 500-700 miles when I met her and it only had 33k miles on it. That didn’t get too much worse over time, amazingly. But the head gasket blew short of 70k miles and the motor on both the sunroof and driver’s side seat failed just one week apart. After those two motor failures, the electrical gremlins moved in…I finally talked her into cleaning it up and we traded it on a Honda Accord. After we divorced a few years later, she traded the Accord for a Volvo S70….which was just a rebadged 850! Some people never learn.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        Over three cars, the mileage should at least be kept down a bit. My commute is 80 miles, so you definitely notice the miles. Almost doubling that daily- now that’s a commute!

        I couldn’t imagine doing that in a little Honda- that sounds like a punishment compared to the Volvo!

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Compared to a spacious solid Volvo, a Honda will feel refreshing to drive but you’ll hate the thin sheet metal.

          And the turning radius

          And the rust (Theres a reason most have aftermarket exhausts)

          And the lack of options (Civics in particular)

          And the weak suspension (but its so sporty!)

          850s can be hit or miss, body-wise they’re notoriously durable. ’94 Was an earlier year so you didnt get all the extra electrical crap of the later examples.

      • 0 avatar
        aTelBrad

        Wise advice – Those 940s seemingly run forever… What’s more in my opinion it’s s great car (for what it is of course).

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      I have the same issue with our parking lot at work. I don’t like to drive the wife’s Avalon to work; I always worry about something happening to it. The Sienna, on the other hand, I could leave it run with the windows down and nobody would bother it. Plus it already has a few dings/scratches associated with a 130k vehicle. It’s good to know I can park the van anywhere and not worry about doors being opened on it, people parking close, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        We had a customer with a 1986 300SDL that had a flawless interior, and was exclusively serviced at our dealer. He fixed everything functional, or cosmetic on the inside. On the exterior he would only repair things the minimum to prevent rust. When asked why he put so much money into the car that looked so clapped out, he said that it drives nice, gets decent fuel economy, and doesn’t attract any attention in Detroit where he works.

        • 0 avatar
          wagonsonly

          That’s exactly what I’m aiming for. We’ve had a couple of break-ins in our parking lot, and last winter a couple of kids thought it would be fun to climb up a snowbank and up the hood, windshield and onto the roof of my Voyager. That was the end of driving anything remotely nice to work for me, especially when I know I’ll be leaving after dark.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Depends on the car and where you live.

    20 year old Jaguar DD, no thanks.

    Clean 1995 Park Ave? Sure would work fine as a DD.

    There are plenty of pick ups of all size and make still being used every day that have been on the road for 20 years

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      I have a 1994 Chevy Silverado that I bought new. It is sometimes a daily driver whenever my wife or I need it. It gets driven at least once or twice a week.

      I probably wouldn’t seek to buy a 21 year old vehicle, but since I know the history on this one I am very comfortable with it.

      I see many 20 to 30 year old Chevy pickups in daily use in my araa. Vehicles here don’t rust out.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        20 years is just a baby pickup. 30-40 years are still very common to be seen running around with a bed full of lawnmowers.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah trucks are different. I agree with 28cars I would drive a car from 85 on up daily in the right condition but for trucks i would go back even further.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I *still* see those late 70s early 80s F150s (351? 460?) with the whale mouth grille and F-O-R-D across the top. Trucks are indeed a different animal.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Yes to both those engines, although quite a few F-150s would also have the 302 or the venerable 300 Six, and the 460 was not available in anything smaller than a 250 after 1976.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Those are big trucks to be motivated by a smog strangled 302, I’m guessing the torque monster 300 or a 351 in many cases… or a swap to a 400+ as I have seen done.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The late-70s ones, yeah (the 302 was only available on F-100s anyway until 1980). The 80+ “bullnoses” got a little lighter, so you’re more likely to see them with a 302. The 351 and 400 were options on both the 100 and 150 after the “engine swap” of 1977, replacing the old 360 and 390.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting. My knowledge of Ford in the period is limited, my knowledge of Lincoln is better.

  • avatar
    gasser

    As I only handle the most minimal of service jobs, I want something that doesn’t require a lot of attention. Fifteen years or so is my maximum. I don’t want a mechanic scratching his head when he opens the hood. I live in Los Angeles and don’t put on a lot of miles, but its ALL in traffic. For me transmission trouble is the most often cause of dumping a ride.

  • avatar
    Balto

    I Daily Drive a 1995 Taurus Wagon that has been babied and garage kept for its entire life (until now, no garage currently). It had a mere 60k miles as of 2013 when my uncle purchased it from the elderly couple who had owned it since new. My uncle commuted in it for an additional ~40k, smooth highway only and continued its meticulous maintenance. I own it now and hope to own it for much longer as it fits my needs perfectly, I love the big wagon body style that sadly no longer exists. With 111k I think its perfectly reasonable to use as a DD, and although the Gen 2 taurus has mostly disappeared from junkyards around me, they still show up from time to time, enough to be useful. Still have not seen a wagon in a junkyard, so hopefully I am not in need of any wagon only parts any time soon.

    I’ve thought to myself that it would make an excellent movie car, it is super period appropriate, and in a condition where it could still be a new-ish car in 1992 or so. Maybe it has a future career in show business.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I had a car that was 12 years old last year. I’d say I kept it about two years too long. If you have to pay retail prices for repairs, and you’re buying and driving modestly priced new cars, the repairs and maintenance vs depreciation calculations start to narrow past about age 10. I found I was only saving a few hundred dollars per year by keeping the old one.

    I’ll buy new, drive it for 10 years, turn it loose and someone else can drive it five years more. Past 15 years, I don’t think it’s worth keeping as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    4.0 liter V6? You’re the guy that always used to advertise BMW 325i V6s, aren’t you?

    Speaking of BMWs, I ran an E30 as my sometimes-daily-driver for 17 years. At that age, things that one might not expect to disintegrate were disintegrating. Switches wore out, even though I only had 155K miles on it when I sold it. The body had lost its starch and handling was suffering. Our E36 was past usefulness as transportation after only a decade, as was a friend’s E46, even though it was relegated to occasional use after seven years. If you want to run something old, simpler is better. Avoid any car that is marketed based on its recyclability too.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The 4.0 on that Jeep was the 1987 AMC 242 CID inline six, one of the few AMC engines to continue in production after AMC was bought out by Chrysler. It had a reputation for durability, and nagging oil drips from the base of the oil filter.

      • 0 avatar
        Beelzebubba

        It was an awesome engine. My mom bought a ’95 Grand Cherokee in 11/94 with the 4.0L I6. She drove it for almost 11 years, then my step-dad used it as his daily driver for four years and then it served as my weekend (Home Depot,etc.) vehicle for more than two years. We had it for over 17 years and racked up 278k miles on the original engine (and to the disbelief of my mechanic) the original transmission! Despite my sister and I owning almost 20 Honda and Acura vehicles between us, that Jeep was still the most reliable vehicle my family has ever owned. It was a rock.

        It was replaced by the utterly forgettable 3.7L V6 in the 2005 Grand Cherokee. It was up 15hp over the 4.0L but peak torque was the same and the 4.0L hit that torque peak at 3000rpm (1000rpm lower than the 3.7L). My sister has an ’07 Grand Cherokee with the 3.7L V6 and it’s a dog in comparison, IMO.

        The 4.0L may have lacked refinement and polish, but it pulled like a locomotive as soon as you pressed on the go pedal! And it never let us down.

        BTW, one of the main reasons they dropped the 4.0L was because the tooling was simply worn out. There was a lot of backlash from Jeep lovers.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          Worn tooling was not the reason for the 4.0L’s demise – the 4.0L block got some major changes in the late 90’s and the head was redesigned as well, both requiring new tools.

          What killed the 4.0L was the loss of the XJ and WJ volume, now being just relegated to the Wrangler, which was a slow seller (even with the LWB “Unlimited” model launched in mid-2004) before the 2007 redesign. It also didn’t help that crash standards are not conducive to long/tall inline-6 engine designs*. The last nail in the coffin was a healthy dose of “not invented here” amongst the Chrysler powertrain engineers, who turned their nose up at the old “legacy” AMC engine. Yes, this still goes on in this town, irrational though it may be.

          *Bonus nugget: Ford built mules of the 1997 F-150 with the old 300 I-6, but alas, no matter what they did, engineers couldn’t get acceptable test results for lower body injury. The engine just simply wouldn’t break away under the chassis without smashing the bulkhead and pushing the heater box into the test dummy’s legs. A real person would have been rendered wheelchair-bound or in need of prosthetics.

          • 0 avatar
            Beelzebubba

            No offense, but according to Bob Sheaves (former Chrysler Engineering and Manufacturing Expert Consultant), worn tooling was part of the reason!

            Most Jeep afficianados and the folks at Jeep would have preferred that the WK-series (2005-2010) had the 4.0L instead of the 3.7L V6.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Bob Sheaves spouts a lot of nonsense and was not really in the know. He is also quoted as saying the 4.0L couldn’t meet emissions much further into the future past it’s demise in 2006. Also patently untrue – the calibrator who worked on that engine (and now works at Ford) said he could make it pass emissions for the foreseeable future given the standards known at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Steven corrected his text. He initially referred to the engine as a V6 rather than an inline 6, which prompted my reply. I’m quite familiar with most engines Jeep has used through the years.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        The 2.5L AMC four also carried on through 2002.

  • avatar
    amancuso

    Right now I am currently DD’ing a 1997 328i sedan with all the appointments and 5 spd manual. I bought it in May for $1200.00. It needed new front brake calipers, rear shocks, a rear trailing arm bushing and a few fluids changed. It’s currently got 188,000 miles on it and it drives like it’s got half that.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Interesting timing! I just recently parked my ’91 Cherokee which has 323,000 miles. I has finally gotten “too long in the tooth” to drive everyday so it is parked for now. I really don’t want to part with it, I just don’t want to drive it anymore.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    My current only car is a 14-year-old E46 330Ci. As recently as 2011 I had a daily driver from the 1980s (1989 Volvo 240). These days, if I needed to drive every day to get to work, I’d get another red-block RWD Volvo in addition to my E46.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      Ha, want to but mine? Wife says two work cars, a weekender, and a truck are too many vehicles. What does she know. Love my ’92 240 but ready for my first Vette.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Very pertinent question to me, as I debate keeping my 1996 4Runner as my primary long distance/road trip vehicle when I go somewhere with dogs or in the winter. Low mileage (for a 4Runner), and all of the common maladies have been addressed, 100% up on maintenance. But there are always small lingering doubts, and always small things cropping up that fill me with doubt. For me it is a combination of sentimentality and frugality: a brand new 4Runner wouldn’t have all the awesome memories associated with it, and it’d mean going back to a car payment. I get into my ’96 and catch whiffs of campfire smoke from our last primitive camping outing, a bit of sand from Hatteras NC from when we drove all over the beaches there, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Keep that 96! We had a cherry 95 (last of the 2nd gens). 22RE, 5spd, slightly underpowered but oh so bulletproof.

      She got rear ended and ended up in the crusher…. :’-(

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Anything older than MY 1996, due mostly to OBDII. It also stays on the good (cheap) side of R-134A/R-12.

    With exceptions for early adopters, of course. A 1995 Mazda Protege would be fine.

    • 0 avatar

      This. The OBDII helps with trouble shooting issues and the electronic engine management is much better than cars from the 80’s or early 90’s. 1997 was the year they mandated side impact standards, so for safety reasons, plus the OBDII, I’d only DD something 1997 or newer. I’m partial to the 4th/5th Gen Maximia/Infiniti I30 because they normally run more than 200k miles and cost less to buy than a Camry or Accord while being more fun to drive IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      Yep. The lack of OBDII and R-12 refrigerant were definitely my two biggest complaints about keeping my ’93 Ranger DD in service, at least for the short haul. Then it just started falling apart in other ways that kept me too busy to deal with the CEL and AC.

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      Agreed. another plus for 1996 is that the 4.3 got much btter heads and fuel injection. I daily drive a 96 S-10 with 397,000 miles on it and going strong.
      I chuckle when people in hondas brag about making it to 200k.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Indeed! My DSM (1995) is an early OBDII adopter and it is NYS emission exempt. It just turned 219k miles. I’m bored of it but I can’t justify getting rid of it! It does its job yet has zero trade-in or FMV. :-(

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    DD a 01 Jeep Grand Cherokee up until last year. Bought it 4 years ago with 48k on it, now has 87k. Would have been cheaper to lease a Fit or something cause of the gas prices at the time, 13 mpg hurts. But plenty of life left in it, now it is the weekend car for family fun. Commuting wise it was replaced by an 04 BMW 325IX wagon with 87k miles too. When I get bored of one I switch to the other and this way never tire of them.

  • avatar
    matador

    For me, I wouldn’t buy something older than 20 years as a daily driver, but depending on condition, I’d be willing to keep it longer.

    I do own older pickups, but I don’t daily drive my 1986 Dodge truck. There is a difference between something that’s used once every couple of weeks and every day. For a work truck, I won’t go with another carburetor-equipped vehicle, so that limits me to 1987ish and newer.

    For a main car, 1995 is the cutoff. A mid-to-late 1990s Buick or Lincoln with lower mileage can make a perfectly nice daily driver- by my standards, at least.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I drive a 1994 Buick LeSabre left to me by my mom in 2008. At that time, the car was pristine, garaged, and had about 24K miles on the odo. Since then, I’ve put another 80K on the car and issues such as engine sensors and a rebuilt computer have been attended to along with normal maintenance stuff. It’s my only car and it gets driven about 3 times a week. It still looks good (light metallic blue with blue cloth interior) and I get compliments about it, and not just from oldsters either. I plan on keeping it as long as it’s a reliable driver.

  • avatar
    spudenater

    My daily (and only car) is a 1980 Toyota Corolla Wagon. It was nearly 13 years old when I was born, so it’s not like I even grew up around carbureted, airbagless, tiny a-pillar’d cars. Honestly though, as long as it’s Japanese I couldn’t care less how old or young it is, especially if it’s Toyota. I’ve got a sweet spot for malaise-era J-Tin for some reason, and can hardly be bothered to think about driving anything newer than like 1991 at latest. I suppose that’s because I have a good mechanical knowledge and a wealth of free time to use it, and as I get more responsibilities and less free time, my needs will change, we’ll see what happens.

  • avatar
    pbr

    didn’t IHS Automotive report the average age of a car on the road in the US is 11.5 years? So there’s that vote, from all of us. Not surprised to find answers on both sides of that here.

    For me, it’s highly model-specific. Some OBD-II cars are more onerous to own than the last of the OBD-Is b/c a lit check-engine light fails emissions inspection here, regardless of the fault. you can appeal/workaround, but it’s a hassle.

    My dd is 13, newest thing I own is 8, bought that one new. 11 year old motorcycle. The oldest car I tell people I want to do actual car stuff with is a 91-96 A-Body GM wagon. So 19 years, minimum for that. In the last couple of years I’ve looked at XJ Cherokees as far back as 91, too, so I guess if I have to give one year, 1990 Is Too Dang Old!

    … thinking … ordinarily this is a good sign that I should ST%U, but …

    I might be on the verge of Too Dang Old myself. Lately I’m not excited by much of anything new on the market, either. I hate the idea of paying new-car money for anything with nav, touchscreen, bluetooth anything. Airbags at least are out of sight. ABS, traction control and stability control are at least out of sight most of the time, but I can do those jobs so … meh. Same for new motorcycles, ABS/TC/etc make sense if you commute daily, but mine is a weekend toy. Guess my next fleet will be a new Miata and a Rubbermaid-spec work truck. And I’m keeping the aging bike.

  • avatar

    I have had a weird history with these XJ Cherokees

    Sold an ’85 Jeep Cherokee/Wagoneer for $4900 to some guy who drove it back to Colorado. It also had 189k miles and was a 5-speed 4×4. Weird car. Nice guy. Can’t believe he DROVE to to Denver from Florida.

    I also skated a trade-in ’96 Cherokee from the dealer I used to work at six years ago and gave it to my best friend. We drove it off the back line with like a half quart of oil, a cracked windscreen, probably three ounces of transmission fluid, no coolant, no brake fluid, and no power steering fluid. We immediately spent like $35 at the nearest Circle K just to drive it more than three miles. He kept it for two years and didn’t do much aside from oil and gas. Then his whore sister wrecked it.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    My DD is an 98 Acura RL. Older than I was looking for when I bought it, but it was garage kept and had full dealer service records back to 02. I’d be nervous buying a car more than 12 years old, but would accept a truck/SUV significantly older. Maybe it’s just perception, but they seem to age better.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      I’ve seen Ford trucks and Jeep grand Cherokees from the 90’s pull some impressive mileage numbers over the years. A friend has a ’97 JGC with 290K and still going strong without too much drama over the years.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m sitting here waiting for the closing time for some state owned Escape Hybrids to come. Right now they have 25 of them with scheduled closing times within 1hr or so of each other. So I’m hoping the prices are lower than they normally go for. Digging around on the state site I found something interesting in their new vehicle purchase system. I lays out the minimum mileage requirements before a functioning vehicle can be replaced. For sedans it is 100K miles. For Hybrid vehicles it is 120K miles while for trucks it is 150K. If it has been seriously wrecked or needs major work they occasionally replace them before they reach the specified replacement mileage.

      On the other hand I’ve seen vehicle come through with just a few thousand miles on a brand new set of tires. I’d love to be one of the approved tire vendors for the state because they replace the tires at 5/32″-6/32″ of tread. That means lots of sales and a supply of tires that can be sold to the used tire dealers.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Anything I can keep running without needing to rebuild it once a week is DD worthy for me, though reasonable brakes and acceleration are a must, no nonturbo diesel compacts for me.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It depends on the manufacturer and condition, but this is a rough guide for myself:

    European: Anything before 1995 is fine enough, after that you have to deal with a million emissions sensors.

    Asian: Anything AFTER 1994, before that you’re looking at rust galore, automatic seatbelts, small bodies, wheezy engines, cheapskate interiors, small brakes, oui.

    American: Anything pre-90’s or after 1999, For a while it was nothing but strange space inefficient jellybean sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ahem someone is forgetting about the Series I 3800 cars, the 4.9 Cadillac’s, and the 4.6 Panthers. These were kinda the best domestic cars of the era, not to mention some of the good truck choices 1990-99. Otherwise I agree to the list.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        That is true, the 3800 cars are quite sturdy if oddly styled for that time, I know little of 4.9 Caddys beyond them being fine luxury bargains.

        I’m mixed on 4.6 Panthers, the Town Cars looked good but had some hiccups and weren’t all that fast for being V8s. “Fat” Vics only looked good before the goofy tacked on grille, so the first two years.

        If I had to buy a truck it’d certainly be something from ’90-’99, before the stylists eliminated any “utilitarian” from the cosmetics.

        Then theres always the GM A-Body line, dated but dirt cheap and okay-ish styling. The closest thing GM had to an older Camry as they hold up surprisingly well.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Cadillac 4.5 and 4.9 were real runners who could go the distance unlike virtually every Cadillac motor since. Not particularly powerful or fuel efficient vs 3800 LN3 or Series I, but the motor was much older having originally been developed in the late 70s and debuting early in 1983 (wasn’t supposed to until 1985 and was to be used only in FWD applications). I don’t think LN3 even came out until MY88 with the TBI “3.8” being its immediate predecessor.

          FWD A-body are cockroaches similar to the N-body, but at this point F them. In 2015 its pretty much 3800 or bust on anything less than Cadillac, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            The 4.5 and 4.9 are interesting to me. They provided a functional overlap with the 3800 that echoed the days of more autonomous GM divisions. They stemmed from the much-maligned HT-4100 yet were themselves very reliable. A great-uncle had two good experiences with Sedan de Villes of that era, one with the 4.5 and the second with either a last-year 4.5 or a first-year 4.9. Zero problems with either car. The first was traded in for the second, and the second gave a decade of great service before getting totaled by a drunk driver.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You make an interesting observation on the overlap between FWD Cadillac 4.x and 3800. I think this is what happened:

            -HT 4.x engine development and probably 3800 began before the 1984 reorganization and thus were still “in competition”.
            -HT 4.x development was rushed due to the failure of the V4-6-8 (368ci) for MY83.
            -Cadillac *had* to have its own exclusive motor due to the internal and external standards of the time.
            -GM as a company wanted to experiment with aluminum as a material for engines, and purposely incorporated it into the Cadillac motor.
            -By the time the LN3 debuted Cadillac had already fixed the 4100 and released it as 4500 even if it was redundant, it was paid for and exclusive.

            FTR the 4.9 was released for MY91 and MY88-90 used the 4.5 and the C-body was refreshed for MY91 but not E who has been refreshed in MY89.

            I would be personally interested to know if any knowledge was shared between the two engineering teams over the course of each engine’s development and enhancements.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Panthers were (and are) impossible to kill, but the driving experience is horrible. Any of the GMs you listed is more satisfying to drive if in decent repair, despite FWD. I’m a fan of 3800-powered H-bodies.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The power of H compels.

          I’ve driven many a C-body both Buick Series I 3800 and Cadillac and I always liked them, but I think the 94-95 K-body Cadillac is the cat’s tats. Unfortunately I’ve never driven one other than moving it around the lot. K, C, and H are all related so its probably not much different but the redesigned Deville looks so smooth.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Drove my buddies 2004 Grand Marquis LS last night with 142k miles. I would hardly call the driving experience horrible. In fact it made a shocking revelation how bad many so called large cars really are today with the piss poor visibility, blocky generic styling, massive over sized hard riding tires, noisier 4 cylinder engines and much more road noise, less width and what I call cinder block hard seats. Not only that it’s much easier to slide in an out of, has real space for 6 passengers which is a pipe dream in any mid or full size today and the trunk dwarfs cars like the Avalon and Chrysler 300 in space.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      My Taurus (5 passenger console shift- feels just as roomy if not more so than the same year Camry. And my 3.0L V-6 is rated for better hwy mpg than a 4 cyl/automatic.

      In fact, I was unable to find a comfortable position in a mid 90s Camry. My head was up against the roof, my knees touching the console and the door panel. The Camry’s V-6 sounded harsh, the ride was jittery and the trans was jerky. He floored it at one point, it certaintly didnt feel quick. My Taurus is not Mustang GT, but it has decent pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        My family has a history of murdering Taurus’s so I kinda try to avoid them.

        At Dal: After driving a ’99 Cop-Spec Vic I agree about the driving experience, I’ll take a RWD Volvo instead with its better paint, rear cargo room, and semi-better steering.

        At 28D: If A-Bodys have two weaknesses its rust (remember what I said about Camrys?), and they aren’t exactly champions of safety either. Those Caddies are better on gas mileage than I expected.

        • 0 avatar
          guy922

          Hey! My family too. Over the years we killed a 1986 Sable LS Wagon, A 1992 Taurus GL 3.8 Essex, a 1993 Taurus GL wagon, a 1997 GL sedan, and currently we have a 2004 SEL. We have also had a 1992 Camry since we had the Sable in 1995. That Camry is still my daily driver with 195k. I have a soft spot for Tauruses and Sables, especially wagons. But I usually end up killing the tranny. The ’86 Sable had low mileage from sitting in a barn for a long time. Caught on fire due to electrical issues. My Camry is beginning to frustrate me only for the lack of OBD-II and R-12. I will try and get another year out of it. 20 years out of that thing so far, but the Utah summers are miserable in a dark green car with no ac. One thing I will say i definitely prefer about a Taurus is the much stronger HVAC systems. I always felt like my Camry has had weak output with both A/C and heat compared to a Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Someone with a Vulcan Taurus calling a Toyota 3.0L (1MZ I assume) sounding harsh and having a jerky transmission, and not being quick?

        You do realize that when Ford was engineering the ‘jellybean’ DN101 Taurus, they bought a 1992 Camry and it quite literally sent them back to the drawing board in terms of how well handled the NVH was, how smooth the transmission shifted, and how quiet and vibration-free the engine was? Read Mary Walton’s book, “Car.”

        Even a 2.2L 4cyl camry or Accord would probably eke out a win over a Vulcan Taurus away from a light, a V6 camry would leave you for dead.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Youre not giving credit where it is due. The Vulcan has a lot of low end torque, it will pull hard from a stop. The only advantage a 4 cylinder Camcord would have would be less weight, but I still doubt they could take it off the line.

          I never said the Vulcan was the smoothest engine, its a pushrod OHV with a timing chain, of course its a little harsh. It would be more fair to compare the Duratec. Despite also using a chain, it is quiet and smooth with excellent power, reliability and mpg.

          The Camry sounded like an angry pencil sharpener. The Vulcan sounds like a 3/4 scale small block V-8 (especially with the intake silencer removed).

          I was not impressed at all with the Camry’s acceleration. That is not to say the Vulcan is faster, I just expected more from the Camry’s top engine. The Vulcan was an entry level engine, the Camry V-6 was not.

          You two can put words in my mouth all you want, but I stand by my observations. There was nothing I found impressive about the Camry whatsoever, and given how much parts and repairs cost on it, there is no way in hell Id give up my Taurus for one. I had an older Camry and I hated it. It remains the only car Ive ever traded in at a dealership just to get rid of it. Everything that went wrong on it cost 10x what it wouldve for any American car. Paying $250 for a friggin sensor on a 10 year old car is hillariously stupid, especially when the same sensor for a Taurus or Tempo is $40.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Just for yooouu…

            /watch?v=DkiwXXfYMTs

          • 0 avatar
            Beelzebubba

            Being a pushrod 2-valve per cylinder design, the Vulcan V6 is going to have an advantage in low rpm torque compared to multi-valve SOHC/DOHC engines. But in overall performance, the more modern multi-valve engines are superior.

            In all fairness, the Vulcan V6 was designed as the V6 option for the 1986 Ford Taurus. Compared to domestic V6 competition, it was more than adequate.

            Ford made a few errors in judgement with the engine after that, though. Installing it in the Aerostar and later Windstar minivans- they couldn’t get out of their own way. By the time the 2000-2007 Taurus/Sable came along, it was outdated, underpowered, slow-revving and noisy compared to the competition. A 2000 Accord 4cyl would leave it in the rearview miirror by 30mph and much further behind by 60mph. The same goes for passing power and transmission performance. The Accord was also smoother, quieter and more fuel efficient.

            The 2000+ Taurus with the optional 3.0L Duratec was all the proof needed to show that the Vulcan engine was outdated and inadequate. Aa 2000 Taurus with the Duratec felt like a totally different, much quicker and more modern vehicle.

            A side note- the Vulcan V6 served very well as the small V6 option in the Ranger pickup. If you’ve ever driven a Ranger with the 2.3L/AT combo and the 3.0L/AT, the difference is amazing. Considering how many 1st generation Tauri and Rangers that Ford sold with the Vulcan, I think it’s fair to say that it was a successful, if completely unremarkable, engine.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    We have a 05 pilot no issues and will last another ten years just past 100K, My daughter has my old 01 Volvo XC wagon that has 180 k , an 04 saab 93 vert w 85 k and my 11 VW TDI wagon with 120k, I would jump in any of them and drive 8 hours, the volvo is the oldest but still drives great tranny was replaced before it was given to me. Old cars hold up really well these days as long as you stay on top of them, we never let a problem fester. Only the Pilot and VW are dd.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I just retired my ’93 Ford Ranger 2.3L w/ 5-speed after pulling 80 mile round trip daily commutes. It has just under 170K on the clock. It did the job, but didn’t like it.

    I figured that it would save the wear and tear on my newer car, but the commute made it deteriorate quickly.

    In less than two years, I replaced an alternator, fuel pump, two starters, coils, battery, IAC sensor, and MAF sensor. Now its developed a radiator leak, leaks copious amounts of oil on my driveway, and needs the alternator and coil pack replaced again.

    Al in all, it probably would have been better (and less of a pain in the ass) to get a slightly newer work car, even if more money up front.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Sounds like you buy the cheapest (crappiest) parts you can find otherwise you would not be replacing them again. Tip spend the extra money on the new or at least the “premium” fully remanufactured alternator or starter from a place like Napa. Fact is that the cheap standard “rebuilt” starters and alternators just have the currently failed component replaced are cleaned up and put back together. If it is a part that is declining in popularity they sometimes just piece units together with all used parts. The premium units have all the wear parts replaced. Also spend the money for a name brand coil pack and don’t buy the cheapest one you can find. Both cases are assuming of course the plan is not just to fix it good enough to trade it in or sell it.

      Years ago a friend had a Trans Am that he had purchased a reman water pump from the discount parts store. He did pay the extra $20 or so to upgrade it to the lifetime warranty. It failed about every year like clock work. After it failed the second time I was aware of I told him to through the warranty away and go buy a new one. That new one lasted the rest of the 10 or so years he had the car.

      Also 90%+ of the time a “bad” Ford MAF can be cleaned and returned to proper functioning condition. 50% or more of the time the IAC also just needs a proper cleaning to restore proper function.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Agree, Scoutdude (love that screenname!)

        MAF sensors should always be cleaned before being replaced, same with the IAC. Just because it gives a code does not mean it must be replaced.

        Two starters? Several coils? Gotta be cheap ass parts. Ive had 90s Fords with well over 200k on the factory coil.

        My neighbor with the 97 Taurus Ive mentioned on here with nearly 260k on it has had nothing but trouble since she replaced the original coil pack (230k miles or so). Every one she has bought from autozone has failed. All replaced under warranty, but if the OEM coil pack can work for 230k miles, why cant you get more than a few thousand miles out of new ones? The one that is on it now (less than a year) is already messing up. I hope she will let me order a high quality (Motorcraft?) coil pack this time instead of another stupid autozone one.

        I learned my lesson when rebuilding the steering/etc. (tierods, ball joints, cv axles) systems on my 91 Tempo GLS. You buy cheap $#¡Г and itll either not fit or will fail quickly. It does not pay to go cheap on parts, and that includes most of the crap that autopart chains sell. I had four harmonic ballancers fail on another car before I finally bought an OEM one. Had a Mazda truck that took four starters before I finally got one to work long enough to sell that pos. The list goes on.

        You cant blame the manufacturer of a 20+ year old vehicle when cheap aftermarket parts keep failing. You get out of it what you put into it. Cut corners and skip the good stuff? You will pay for it eventually.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I’d try the wrecking yard for the coil pack. On the Taurus we used to have I went the wrecking yard route for it’s alternator. It had a “rebuilt” one on it when I got it that I suspect Sears sold the guy on as to why his 8 year old battery failed. It was about 2 years old when it started acting up on me. The $35 wrecking yard unit lasted us another 40K+ and 4 years.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          I remember going through a total of 3 driver’s side motor mounts on my dad 1982 Cutlass equipped with the Buick 3.8 V6 all from the auto parts store. The 4th time we ordered an OEM mount rom Delco parts and never had a problem again well over 100K miles!

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      +3. My experience with my previous car was that if I couldn’t find a part from a brand name I trusted, was to always get the factory part. I’ve seen the cheap no name parts fail in as little as three months.

      That does raise the cost of maintenance and repairs, and makes replacing the car more attractive. I spend way too much time in the car to drive something that’s not in good repair.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well it is cheaper to replace a part once for $60 than twice for $40. Even if that cheapo part has a warranty the time to replace it a second time is worth something. So yeah unless it is a car that is for certain going up for sale in the real new future I spring for the quality part and if that is too expensive I’ll take a part out of the wrecking yard over a cheapo brand.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          This.

          I think at times people will tell the world about what a POS their car is and swear to never buy brand X again due to multiple failures of the same part, when the owner of said vehicle is really the one to blame. The parts you put in your car matter. I think older domestic cars suffer this fate more than imports, as import owners in some cases assume parts are more expensive.

          Owners pack their older ford and GM product with knock off parts that fail at exponentially higher rates than OEM, then walk around for the rest of their life telling everyone that their first car was a used V6 mustang they bought for 3k and it was always broke down. Perhaps yes, the car was a sled. But maybe, just maybe, the crap replacement parts you bought exacerbated the problems further.

          My old man as a Mopar man. Seriously, he would get 150k out of them each and every time, as a kid and young man his cars were 77 Plymouth, 87 dodge, 00′ dodge. He never walked once and owned what the pundits claim are the worst cars ever made. He had one mechanic, and always used factory replacements and changed the oil very 3k. Each unit was the same drivetrain, 318 with a manual trans, save the 77′ which was I presume a torque flight.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Sometime around year 15ish decent parts start being a lot harder to find. I was starting to run into that point with my ’89 Taurus SHO, which I sold in 2003.

    That said, I’m arguing with a guy right now on price about a ’95 Acura Legend. 105000 miles and very good shape, but he’s too high. But it wouldn’t be a DD, just a fun nostalgic toy.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Oooooo coupe? Manual?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        No, unlike everyone else on the planet, I like the sedan’s shape better. And to be able to justify the purchase to the family my mom has to be able to drive it occasionally (long story), and she’s a bit old to drive stick, so it’s an auto. But it’s a fully loaded GS with the Type II and that nice medium brown color that looks super-deep when polished well.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I liked both generations of Legend but the gen 2 sedan seems like it was a coupe and they simply grafted on rear doors as an afterthought. I’d love to have a shot at either coupe or sedan as those were long gone by about 6 or 7 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I love the FWD longitudinal layout of the G2 Legend (either coupe or sedan) and the resulting proportions. I also love the build quality and precision feel — it’s the best car from the best era of Honda.

            But the details of the sedan make the difference. The greenhouse is just right, not too formal and not too swoopy. I find the sedan proportions actually better than those of the coupe, which looks a bit too long between the wheels for my taste. The sedan has Mercedes doorhandles of the type that everyone is using today, but in 1991 they were way ahead of their time. (The coupe has Accord-style flaps.) The rear seat is cavernous, on a car that’s smaller than an Accord or Camry today. The GS suspension is still a bit demure for a sport coupe, but it’s perfect for the sort of semi-sporty but comfortable sedan that few makers make anymore.

            Now I just have to convince the guy to part with it for $1000 less than he’s asking.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’d worry about headgaskets, these things were notorious for blowing them.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep. Confirmed no history of overheating before even bothering to look at the car. First thing I look at will be the oil. Any evidence of coolant, or any white smoke coming out the tailpipe, and no sale.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal20402

            The Devil is in the details, in my experience.

            How much does dude want?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Price started at $6750 (way too high), now down to $5600 (still too high). Although there’s a big gap between prices for most Legends and what the really good ones are getting. A pristine ’95 LS sedan with 75k recently went for $7000 on eBay. But your average runner with under 200k miles is down in the $2k-$3k range.

            There’s one unicorn out there with 22k at a dealer. Dealer is asking $17k for it?! Looking for a sucker…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Personally I think all of those prices are entirely too high, but out West everything is more expensive than here. The unicorn is the one worth 7-8K with your example being in the 4-5K range max IMO.

            When I get home I can look in my MMR printouts (seriously) from 2004-5 and tell you what they went for then.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            At that age, prices are higher out here because cars last better out here than just about any other part of the country. No Southern-style killer sun + humidity and no Midwestern/Northeastern rust. The car I’m looking at has been in the PNW its entire life and looks like it. It’s also got an excellent interior, which is very rare.

            But I entirely agree with you the asking price is still too high. NADA values it at $4600. I still want the car and I’m still arguing…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Five is still $400 over N.A.D.A. and that’s usually fiction to begin with, dude needs to put the crackpipe down and take fifty Benjamins else he might incur the wrath of the Church of 3800.

            Additional: A trick I have seen used is to carry the amount you want to spend in large bills with you. You show someone your cash and then just walk if that’s not enough (or a variation go up 100 or 200 and then say nope after too long and walk). Most people will jump at actual cash in hand, but these days I would have a second visibly armed person with you when doing this.

  • avatar
    Type44

    Depends on the brand: ours are carefully chosen to be in the sweet spot-
    1985 Benz 300TD turbo wagon is the backup car, and the last W123
    1995 BMW 540i/6 for me, the last year of the e34
    2003 Jag XJ8 Sport for the wife, the last year of the x308.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I have owned little else but older, higher mileage cars. My Taurus is 20 years old and is rapidly approaching 200k, abd shows no sign that its ready to give up on life. It uses very little, if any, oil. Other fluids are fine 9 times out of 10 that I check them. I have noticed that after 3-4 months, the coolant level is just below the neck of the radiator, and so I top it off whenever I see that. Wherever its going, its certainly not worth worring about at this point. If it used more, I might investigate further, but honestly I think its fine.

    I replaced the voltage regulator on the original alternator a week or two ago. It didnt outright fail, it has just had this annoying issue ever since I bought it. Whenever increased electrical load was put on it, lights would dim for a second and the whirr of the fuel pump would change for a second or two. New regulator stopped that.

    Little things (sometimes big things) will go wrong on an older car. If, however, you take good care of the car and keep on top of things, there is no reason why you cant daily drive a 20+ year old car.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you have the 3.0 and it isn’t the water pump leaking it is a bad timing cover gasket.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Thanks man,
        I suspected the timing cover at one time, but I have only known those to be an issue on the revised version of the 3.0L Vulcan in 1996 and later cars. Im not by any means saying it isnt possible, but I have heard that it is more common on ’96+, and either my old 93 Taurus 3.0L already had it done (was nothing to indicate that in its service records, was a two owner car) or it was still not leaking when I sold the car with around 300k on it. Ive actually had quite a few 95 and older Vulcans (a Tempo, Ranger, lots of Taurus/Sables and several Aerostars). Havent had one of them go bad either.

        The water pump was replaced just before I bought this 95. Close examination didnt reveal any leaks, and usually with timing cover leaks, you can smell coolant on that side of the engine. I used to smell it on this car, but found that there was a tiny crack in the coolant recovery resivor, so I replaced it (thanks again parts car!) and no more coolant smell since (it was leaking a bit from the crack, but not a lot).

        That was last summer when I replaced that (and flushed the system at that time). Its only needed a sip or two of coolant since then, and as I said, it never gets real low, just below the rad filler neck is the lowest Ive seen it since replacing the resivor (I usually check all fluid levels at least every month or so). It has never over heated to my knowledge, runs very well so obviously it isnt leaking into the cylinders (as in head gasket failure).

        What ever it is, either itll get worse and require me to find and fix it, or itll stay the same/be just fine as it is. Im not worried about it, I just keep an eye on it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I realize D186 and DN101 Taurus are worlds different than the D3/4, but will we see you in a new Taurus eventually?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        @28
        I borrow the parents 2012 SEL from time to time, and I absolutely love it. I dont care much for the 2013+ front end, nor the gauges. The 10-12 is the best D3 in my opinion.

        I found the 2012 for them, sold the 2008 Grand Marquis they bought against my advice, and negotiated the price of the Taurus. Basically everything but pay for it lol. Ive also done all but two oil changes.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Then perhaps we’ll see you in an MY10-12 eventually then.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            The 2012 will be mine eventually. Though, Im in no hurry to get it as it would require loosing both parents (both in their 70s). But, its known in the family that it will be mine when the time comes. Ill probably end up with dad’s 330k mile Super Duty as well, because no body else would bother keeping it going more than likely.

            I brought home an 09 Taurus for my mom to drive when they still had the Grand Marquis. She said it was “okay”. It simply made no impression. She then test drove a new 2012 and loved it, so when I found this one, she was sold already. Same drivetrain, just that one has style, the other seems purposely devoid of style, as if they said “lets make a car that will offend nobody” and it ended up so forgetable that it made no impression whatsoever, good or bad. Some people dont like the 10+, some people love it, but at least nobody forgets it as soon as it leaves their field of vision.

            We have gotten so many complements on the Taurus, it isnt funny. I had a guy in a new Range Rover walk up to me at a gas station to ask about it. That would never happen with an 08-09. Even a guy I know who hates Ford told me how pretty it was. “Pretty” isnt the most flattering word, lol, but you get the idea.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like the 08-09 Taurus and Sable. Cheap now and the greenhouse was not smushed. The 2010+ version is a fine car though. I’d buy a used one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh me too. No CVT or wonky things, 3.5L and lots of space. As long as it’s got the dark wood option, and not the silly pine effect. And the Sable with the chromed wheels in a dark color carries additional dignity and HiD lamps.
            http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/34846266.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The 08-09 will be 6-speed and 3.5L. No CVT!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    My newest car is a 2000 Lexus GS400, which is only just showing a little patina, but drives as new. Nest is 97 Volvo wagon, in some ways bullet-proof tank, in most other ways absolute junk. Next up 90 Cressida, drives as new, interior looks as new, one big ‘Yota rust spot (waaaah!) DD all of them on a rotating basis, save the Lexus for trips. If you told me in 1995 that I’d have a fleet of old cars I wouldn’t have believed it. But, they’ve been reliable and I like them, all told I spent $20,000 CDN to buy all three, not bad.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I agree fully. Circumstances in my life left me with no choice but to find something cheap that I could pay cash for. It just so happens that I found a car that I love with an issue I could fix on the cheap (bad PCM). I have always loved the second generation Taurus, and now that this one has provided me with independance and freedom for going on three years, I doubt you could offer me enough to buy it.

      I dont care if the transaxle craps out tomorrow, Ill either learn how to rebuild it or have it rebuilt. At some point, I plan to have the (few, minor) dents/dings removed, the bumpers, headlamps and marker lamps replaced and a new coat of Indigo Blue (with some pearl added for additional beauty :) ).

      What’s that? Ill spend more than itll possibly ever be worth? Lol okay, fine. I like it, its what I want, Ill enjoy it so therefor itll be worth every penny. Besides, some one probably said something similar to guys who owned muscle cars in the late 70s and 1980s before they came raging back. Im not saying my car is a 1990s Hemi ‘Cuda, lol, but even mundane and boring cars eventually become worth something. Think of 1960s Falcons, Fairlanes, Chevy IIs, etc. In good condition, they’ll fetch a pretty penny today.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I very much like your “fleet”.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    I can’t get over how pristine the interior looks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s rather hideous in terms of design and materials, but it’s still so clean! I much prefer the later, single-headlight Cherokee to the Wagoneer. I also prefer the Cherokee’s dash and exterior which isn’t covered in woodgrain Contac paper. But as long as you keep oil in the 4.0L and don’t overheat it, those things will run forever….

    To answer the actual question posed by the author- The maximum age that I would consider for a daily driver is something that has changed over the last decade and continues to do so. Prior to 2006, I owned 12 different vehicles over a 14 year period and never kept any of them to the 3-year mark! Now I own a 2006 Mazda3 s 5-door that I purchased new in December 2015, so it will be 10 years old in a matter of weeks and I have no qualms about it.

    But I also have a leased 2015 Volvo S60, but I use the Mazda to drive for work (I’m an insurance auditor, driving from client to client) to keep the miles down on the S60.

    So I would say 10-12 years is my max comfort zone at this point, but there’s even an exception to that. I consider the Acura Legend (especially the 2nd generation, ’91-’95) to be one of the best vehicles ever made. They were over-engineered to the point that they will last far longer than almost any other vehicle if properly maintained and babied. To wit, I also have a 1995 Acura Legend GS 4-door 6MT with 332k miles on it in my garage! I would not hesitate to drive it from my home in Georgia to the other side of the country tomorrow! I am still amazed by how tight the car feels after 20 years and one-third of a million miles.

  • avatar
    davew833

    Until 2 months ago, my DD was a 1989 Honda Accord SEi coupe with about 172k miles. I sold it to a relative, but I’ve got another ’89 Accord LXI coupe in the garage with only 69k miles. Aside from being somewhat underpowered, my only argument with that particular generation of Accord (which is routinely found to go 250-300k miles) is the R12 AC and the failure-prone Kehin(?) AC compressor which is not suitable for conversion to R134a. I love the way they handle and the flip-up headlights are a novelty these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      Wow, an ’89 LXi Coupe with only 69k miles? That is a find! I’m curious, what color? Is it manual or automatic?

      My 3rd car was an ’88 Accord LXi 4-door with 5-speed manual. It was Frost White with (as Honda called it) Brown-Red interior. With the 5MT, the LXi (or SEi) would do 0-60 in about 9.0sec. The 4AT versions pushed it closer to 11.0 but they were still fun to drive.

      I loved the way that the dash was set low and back from the driver, it made it feel a lot bigger and roomier inside than it actually was. I even remember how the meaty 4-spoke steering wheel felt and how much fun it was to wind it all the way to the redline (or a little past, I was a teenager)….the sound alone was worth it!

      I got my ’88 LXi in ’92 and I remember looking at an SEI 4-door. If it had been a 5-speed, I probably would have bought it instead despite the less-than-attractive brown/bronze color (Tuscany Taupe, as Honda called it).

      The ’86-’89 Accord and the ’90-’93 Accord were some of the best mainsteream vehicles ever made. My step-dad put 388k miles on his ’92 Accord EX 4-door before seling it. And the only reason he sold it was because a friend sold him an ’04 Accord for half the book value. He’s well past 350k miles on it now.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Very neat! My unicorn old Honda would be a 3 door liftback Accord LXi with a manual transmission and a maroon interior. I somehow missed even ever riding in one of these growing up, a family friend had a 2nd gen accord (’84 I think). I have much more familiarity with the 4th gen (90-93) cars, and yes to me they might very well be the epitome of Honda. Incredible longevity and build quality, fantastic interior ergonomics and fun to drive, and simple styling that looks great 25+ years later.

        “I loved the way that the dash was set low and back from the driver”

        This is one thing that I enjoy very much as well. Even my 2012 Civic has these same basic concepts incorporated, albeit to a lesser extent. I have more knee room in my Civic than just about any other new vehicle that I’ve dealt with.

        • 0 avatar
          Beelzebubba

          Not maroon…..Brown-Red. =) Seriously, that was how the brochure described the interior on my Frost White ’88 LXi. There was one other exterior color that had that color interior, it was a silvery-champagne (I don’t remember if they called it Seattle Silver yet, but it looks the same as Seattle Silver that was available on the ’90-’93 Accord LX-EX). I personally HATE red interiors, but the only red I could see was the dashboard under full sunlight, then the reddish hue was noticeable. But the carpet and seats always looked like a very rich, high quality dark brown. I loved that interior.

          I loved the 3-door 3rd gen Accords. Even after the Coupe came out in ’88, I still preferred the hatchback. One of my best friends in high school had a bright red ’88 or ’89 DX 3-door 5-speed. He upgraded the wheels and the black bumpers, door handles and mirrors on the DX actually looked good paired with the red. I think it had black interior.

          As for the ’90-’93 Accord (4th gen), my sister bought a new ’91 DX 4-door (Frost White with Blue interior) then traded up to a ’93 EX 4-door in Arcadia Green (teal) with Ivory interior (both 5-MT). My high school graduation gift from my grandparents was a mostly-paid-for ’92 Accord EX 4-door (Frost White w/ Blue, 5-speed, had been the GM’s wife’s demo). I owed $5k on my’88 LXi 4-door and they put something like $11 or $12k down on the ’92 EX so I’d have the same exact loan balance. I freakin’ loved that car! I really liked the variety of interior colors they used to make, even if Honda was very rigid in their exterior/interior color combos. I thought the dark blue interior in my’92 EX looked great. Then some colors had Brown-Red, others had Ivory, and a couple had Gray interior…..but only the White had Blue.

          My dad had a ’92 Accord EX 4-door (the only automatic in the bunch) and the transmission had to be replaced at 280k (very impressive, in my book) and the valves were getting pretty loud so he had a valve job at 360k. It was Bordeaux Red with Gray and it never spent a night in the garage. In 2009, after 17 years of the Georgia weather, he had my brother-in-law (a Honda/Acura paint guru) do a $1500+ repaint and it looked like a brand new car! He sold it in 2011 with 392k miles on it for $3200!!! And the guy still drives it every day to work. Amazing cars!

          My sister and I both tried a 5th gen Accord, actually we both had ’96 4-door models but mine was an LX and she had an EX. Her’s was Heather Mist (champagne) but mine was a leftover after the ’97 models were out so I took the only color they had- Eucalyptus Green with Green-Gray interior. And yes, the interior was as unattractive as it sounds, I don’t know what I was thinking! I ended up hating that car with a passion and wasn’t exactly upset when I was driving it home in the ice and snow in 1999 and started skidding! Let’s just say I didn’t try too hard to recover, I just hoped and prayed that I’d hit something softer than a tree to stop me. A steep embankment did the trick but I hit the incline so hard with the underbody that it pushed the engine back into the firewall and deployed the airbags (not nearly as soft as they look, btw). Still, I got rid of that damn car!

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The 4th-Gen Accords are still my benchmark! My 9th-Gen 2013 Touring comes ever-so-close, despite being newer and loaded (Adaptive Cruise and LED headlights FTW) — even the switch from MacStruts from DWB isn’t the killer.

        What lets it down just a tad is interior quality.

        I’m careful, and tell my passengers to be the same, but the plastics feel like they could scratch if you looked at them funny. They FEEL good, but….

        And the carpeting (or felt-like material masquerading as such): you need a WeatherTech or other all-season thing to go over it! The OEM mats are worthless, whereas the OEM mats in my Dad’s 1991 Accord EX looked as good the day he turned that car in as the day he leased it! (The interior was also as tight and rattle-free as the day he picked it up! One more thing: the stereo in that car was better than the so-called “premium” system in mine, a retrograde move from the 8th-Gen Accords (2008-2012), arguably the low point of the Accord, despite being the last one with DWB — a whale of a car!)

        That car was a thinking-man’s BMW, back when Beemers were worth something. (I’m reminded of an auto show I went to with my parents around 1990 or so, and a Honda salesman remarked that a couple had traded the man’s two-year-old BMW for TWO 1990 Accord EX Sedans. IIRC, this salesman wasn’t known for BS (although his dealer was..he recently moved to MY dealer to finish his careet).

        • 0 avatar
          Beelzebubba

          Back in the early 90s, the largest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Southeast (located in Atlanta) bought a fleet of Accord EX 4-door sedans and wagons every year to use as service loaners! That speaks volumes about the Accords from back then.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Stage one is driving old cars because you have too. Stage two is driving new cars because you get to. I have no wish to revisit stage one.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      As ususal, I couldnt disagree more. There was a time when I had the money and the credit to buy a new car. Instead, I had eight older cars. I drove a different one everyday, some had a specific purpose, others were just because I liked them.

      Im not saying that Id never consider a new car, but I dont believe one is required to have one just because they can.

      If I bought a new car, itd probably be an Accord coupe (4cyl/manual), an F-150 4wd, or maybe a Transit diesel chassis cab (to be made into a pickup with an aluminum Ute bed). If the purpose was for commuting/city driving and I couldnt deal with a manual, itd probably be a C-Max Energi. If it was all highway, a manual CRZ or a Fiesta 3 cyl EcoBoost.

      Yes, a CRZ. I typed it, you read it. I dont understand the hatred for that car, I think its fantastic.

      • 0 avatar
        Beelzebubba

        I don’t understand the hatred for the CR-Z either. My problem with it is that tries to be a sports car and a fuel-sipping hybrid and it doesn’t do either very well. They need to focus on or other other and, as a former CRX owner, I think they should dump the hybrid and shoehorn the Civic Si engine (maybe with a turbo) under the hood!

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I would say 80’s, but only if it’s a very popular model you can still get parts for. Think Toyotas, Hondas, Olds Cutlass with tje 3.8…things of that ilk. Get a weird one off thing like a Reatta? Good. Luck. It will find itself in the wrecking yard the second that $900 “Antilock Brake Module” decides to fail. Thank God my Toronado is only a project car.

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      Can we aim just a tad higher, maybe a Cutlass with the 307 (5.0L) V8 instead? =) The 3.8L V6 (in the 2-barrel, RWD version) was a 105hp weakling that could hardly get out of its own way and wasn’t known for longevity. The 307 with a 4-barrel upped it to a whopping (not) 140hp but increased the max torque from 175lb-ft to 255 @ a very low 2000rpm. So it felt much more powerful around town. And when you floored it the 4-barrel sounded like a jet taking off!

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The 3.8 Buick V6 made 110-115 hp during the 1980’s and 190 torque at a low 1600 RPM with the factory C4 2BBl carburetor. That right there makes this engine a popular swap out on many older Toyota pickup trucks and even older Jeeps. I have seen so many that have made this conversion and the jump in available torque is considerable. The 307 make even more torque but some of that advantage was lost with GM’s economy 2.14:1 rear gears vs the 2.41 or 3.08 that was used with the Buick 3.8. I clearly remember driving these cars when they were new or very low mileage. Dad owned a pristine 1982 Cutlass coupe with the Buick 3.8 and I owned a 1985 307 Cutlass coupe handed down from grandpa. The 1982 did 0-60 in 13 seconds and the 1985 did the same run in 12.2. In everyday driving there wasn’t a big difference in performance between the two. The 307 felt a tad sharper in throttle response and the 231 seemed to wind up a little quicker. Were one did notice a difference was hill climbing. The 307 car felt less winded going up steep hills and carried around more people better than the V6.

        • 0 avatar
          Beelzebubba

          The 307 also had the benefit, if the buyer wanted, of a 4-speed automatic transmission in place of the standard 3-speed. With the 4-speed in my mom’s ’86 Cutlass Supreme with the 307, I managed to do 0-60 in 11.2sec (and I was a teenager at the time, might could do even better now). She traded it for a 1987 Cutlass 442 with the HO 307 and it could do 60 in just over 8.0sec.

          Back in high school, a friend’s mom had a ’85-ish Buick Estate Wagon (think Caprice relative) and it had the 307 V8. The poor 307 was gasping for its life trying to move that massive beast.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    I think that all depends. Back when I lived in MA and drove a ’94/95 Miatas in the summer that would be as old as I’d ever go.

    But now I live in California and there are tons of car that are waaaay older than I am. I putt around San Francisco in my ’72 Super Beetle and it certainly isn’t too old for a city car. Although I do keep a newer car for freeway duty.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. I’d daily drive a Duesenberg so long as it didn’t strand me.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Wait it has 200K miles and isn’t a Toyota or Honda! How can this be? Maybe somebody needs to explain to the buffoons at CR and Yahoo that keep producing these false articles that the only cars/suv’s that can go 200K or more are from those two brands. We routinely see 200-300k mile Jeeps, W/A/B/C/G body GM sedans, Panthers, Silverado’s/F-150’s/Explorers and even Rams go through the auctions with this type of mileage and surprise they still run very well and are quite drivable. Some are even rust free and in very clean overall condition. There are few vehicles made today save maybe a few Fiat/Chrysler vehicles that should easily see this kind of mileage with just the minimum of repairs. Fact- there is a 4-1 ratio of these types of vehicles still on the road in the Upstate, NY area as daily driver’s reaching back into the late 80’s compared to any Asian brand vehicles which mostly have disintegrated back into the earth. Fact- many of these have in excess of 300-400K miles. Fact- if you service and keep your vehicles up it should last for a good many more years to come. Yes there are certain vehicles that have there fair share of issues from that era but the 2000’s on up seem like they are all playing on a more level field with the minor exception here and there.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m from Upstate NY, everything rusts and there is absolutely nothing magical about domestics outlasting Japanese cars made in the 1990s, they all rust, it’s simply a matter of where and how structurally. Saturns get scrapped all the time for subframe rot, as do Subarus. For every old Accord or Civic with rust rear quarter panels I will show you a Taurus of the same era with equally bad quarter panel/dogleg rust, and some rusted apart rear springs to boot. All W-bodies prior to the mid 2000s no longer have rocker panels, they have crumbled away entirely. 90-93 Accords are still a bread and butter part of the car landscape there, I can’t say the same thing for early 90s Luminas, Corsicas, Taurus, Acclaim, etc. Not to say they’ve disappeared, but there’s still a TON of Accords, rusty as they may look. Hondas of that era are exceedingly reliable to begin with, and are actually easier to wrench on than most domestic vehicles. Parts are every bit as cheap, and a crucial factor here: you actually want to invest the time and money to fix issues when they crop up because the car has treated you so well up until that point, and is nice to drive, interior has held up well. Think of it this way: a Honda Odyssey of the notorious 98-04 generation may have needed a transmission at 120k miles, but it will now keep driving well and feel like a nice car well past 200k. A U-body venture will commit death by a thousand cuts in terms of engine sensor issues, lower intake gasket issues, interior falling apart, body rusting out. Those 98-04 Odysseys are insanely rust resistant, much more so than ANY domestic van of that era.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        In areas of the country with higher temperatures, Honda Odysseys continue to require periodic automatic transmission rebuilds until the cost of repairs exceed the value of the minivan. The Odyssey transmissions fail due to an inherent design defect. Clutches wear out prematurely, clogging up internal filters.

        2001 Honda Odyssey B7TA Transmission

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Depends on the brand/car. I’d be fine with my wife daily driving our 2014 Rav4 for a long time as it has a very reliable drivetrain and seems to be a well built vehicle. Her 2005 MINI, on the other hand, is too old to be a primary “out of town” driver.

    My general preference is vehicles designed in the mid-00s and newer, though. Huge strides have been made safety wise through the 00s and you still had some of the safety trainwrecks like the aero F150 for sale through the early 00s.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This jeep would make a great 2nd or 3rd vehicle for hauling things. I would not want to use it as my primary vehicle but for weekend trips to Home Depot and parking it at the train or bus park and ride this would be great. I do this with my 99 S-10 which I have owned since new. Not too many thieves are interested in an old vehicle and if you haul stuff it is better to use an older vehicle than mess up you newer one. An older vehicle like this can be used for many years. I plan on using my S-10 for many years especially since it only has 106k miles on it and I put very little mileage on it.

  • avatar
    George B

    Steve, I’d set the daily driver limit at newest units of a vehicle model < 15 years old. That's new enough to be able to get parts without waiting. You can afford to wait for parts for an old hobby car, but you need to be able to do same-day repairs on your daily driver.

    The other limit is occupant safety. Cars have been getting safer over time. Why risk your life by commuting daily in a 20 year old car when the cost of driving a 10 year old car isn't much higher? Retire the older car to occasional weekend driving when there are fewer cars on the road.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Anything earlier than 93 would be too old.

    Style wise I don’t like sharp line and edges, computer modeling wasn’t used until around 93 on some models and 96 on all models.

    I don’t want to deal with carb as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Agree. The 92-93 timeline was when Japanese cars became modern and well-made, with current parts availability to date. Now, would I DD a 92 Taurus, Continental, or Dynasty? No.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Y U no die nasty?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It was dreadful, with failing AC and that lousy Mitsu engine. And formal styling but without any appropriate gingerbread of the upper models.

          Even as a kid I realized that car was sh!t.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I went out with a girl once who had a Mark Cross Fifth Avenue K-car and gigantic boobs. Both she and the seats were soooooooooooo comfy.

            That’s how you’re supposed to die nasty.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Any Fifth after the M-body one is a big disappoint and makes me haz a sad.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Son, you would have been smiling that day.

          • 0 avatar
            Beelzebubba

            I had a friend in college who drove a 1989 Dynasty and it was awful. White with burgandy interior, crank windows, not even a cassette player and it had the (not so) mighty 2.5L Chryler 4-cylinder and 3-speed automatic under the hood. You coud outrun it on any riding lawn mower.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    True/False:

    There was one MY of a Grand Wagoneer on the new ZJ Grand Cherokee body for 93.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    Geography/weather have a lot to do with how long I’ll keep a DD. I have a 2002 Wrangler Sahara and a 2006 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, but they are summer toys and do not come out once the salt hits the streets.

    I got rid of my 2003 Stratus R/T after 10 years and 127,000 miles due to some body rot and a desire for something with newer “tech”, but it never gave me any trouble in those 10 years. I sold it to a co-worker who needed a cheap car with airbags and ABS for his daughter – she’s still driving it last I heard.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I’m craving a 90-93 Accord for a DD/beater car…simply because of their million mile reputation. I’ve also beel looking at early LS400’s for the same reason. Here in Phoenix, there are plenty examples of both vehicles…as well as others, you never thought would still be on the road. Older Corollas, Civics, and Sentras are everywhere on the freeways.
    My Accord and LS400 desire keeps flip flopping. One day Accord, the other LS400. I guess it will depend on condition, price, and lithium levels that day. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      kmars, contact the folks at Avondale. They can get you anything automobile you want, if it exist on this planet.

      They have ALWAYS treated me right in any transaction, and I’m from out-of-state.

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      If you go for the Accord with 5-speed manual, you’ll get a lot further for a lot cheaper! The transmission lasts forever, the clutch is good for up to 200k miles if you baby it and, as long as you feed it synthetic oil and timing belts at proper intervals, the engine will go well past 300k without needing a thing. The valves tend to get noisy around 250-300k and a valve job before 350k is not a bad idea. Otherwise, they’re good to go.

      The most fascinating things about the ’90-’93 Accords to me is how well the interiors hold up over time! Even after 300k miles and 22 years, you won’t see faded plastics or cracks. The seat fabric looks great but somehow has the durability of Kevlar. It doesn’t wear or fade….ever….even the dark colors. Love those cars!

  • avatar
    aTelBrad

    I still have a 1995 Acura Legend Coupe. Purchased about 9 years ago… I have about 238,000 miles on the odometer. It was purchased with all service records by Acura in as pristine condition as one could expect. I have kept up the maintenance (though at a local Japanese Honda/Acura specialist)

    I have to say I can’t believe how well the Legend has held up – It runs and preforms and looks as new with minimal effort. I very often get asked if its for sale by strangers when I am out. There are so few out there it’s hard to gauge but my mechanic tells me it’s more then likely actually increased in value considerably in contrast to what I paid.

    And of course it’s subjective, however really think the design of the Legend Coupe has, if anything, kept pace and looks better then most brand new designs. Additionally, most people I know are quite surprised to hear how old it is.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      We just discussed the Legend and how it is IMO the great survivor.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/11/junkyard-find-1980-mercury-capri-2/#comment-6705281

      • 0 avatar
        aTelBrad

        Thank you for the link 28cars I must have missed it. – I’m new here (that was literally my second post to the site)
        Cheers

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          No problem, Dal is a fan as well and I wouldn’t turn one down myself in the right circumstances.

          The gen 3 Legend/RL is an interesting beater proposition based on wholesale price and potential mileage alone. I was always told to be weary of them due to the odd transmission and driveline.

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