QOTD: What Was The Worst Beating You Ever Took?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
qotd what was the worst beating you ever took

Yesterday I talked about the worst kind of subprime lenders and how they misused the courts to collect their profits. There was a broad spectrum of reader response, including a few people who felt compelled to discuss the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and therefore won the presidency. (To which I can only respond: that’s like awarding the Super Bowl win to the team with the most rushing yards.)

Here’s what we didn’t discuss: our own experiences with subprime loans and/or bad car deals. I suspect that there are some members of the B&B who have never so much as walked by a subprime lender; I also suspect that there are plenty of readers who are currently in a subprime situation right now but don’t want to admit it.

So for today, let’s consider two topics: a) What’s the worst car deal you ever made? and b) did you ever use a subprime source? I’ll start, of course.


Looking back at the twenty-five or so new cars I’ve bought since 1990, I have to say that most of them were bought as close to the proverbial bone as possible. Which makes sense; after years of selling cars and financing them, I should have a pretty good idea about how to buy one. That doesn’t mean that I was always perfect. In 2005, I decided that I wanted a VW Phaeton. My local dealer didn’t have one in stock and the best deal they were willing to make me was $1,500 off sticker for a dealer-traded example. That was a garbage deal, to put it mildly, but I didn’t think too much about it. The second Phaeton I got was capitalized at $54,000 against a sticker of $65,600 for a lease payment of $510 a month. I’d say that balances it out but in the final analysis I was still dumb enough to have two Phaetons.

When it comes to motorcycles, I haven’t been quite as sharp. In 1996 I decided that I wanted a new Yamaha FZR600. I was pretty tapped-out, credit-wise, at the time and I didn’t have a ton of income. I did have a paid-off ’86 Jaguar Vanden Plas but like most twenty-four-year-old men I felt that I was entitled to a new sportbike and a Jaguar. So I went to the shady Yamaha dealer in Grove City, Ohio and told him to get me bought no matter what. He came back with a purchase price of $4,999 and 36 months at 24.59% via “The Loan Zone”.

“Sounds good to me,” I said.

“Absolutely not,” my wife at the time said. So much for my Yamaha dreams. I had to wait until April of 2000 to buy a new sportbike, and that time I did it with cash. Still, I kind of wish I’d taken the Loan Zone deal. I would have had three more years to ride a relatively decent bike instead of suffering with my 1975 Honda CB550, which at the time did not yet have any hipster credentials. It’s bad to lose money on a deal; it can be worse to lose time.

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  • PJmacgee PJmacgee on Jan 02, 2018

    Biggest beating is going to be forced on me in about a year with my 2014 X1. Not due to financing, but because I'll be forced to sell it about 40,000 miles earlier than I planned, due to the ticking N20 timebomb under the hood. Warranty for failed timing chain guide extended to 70,000 miles by BMW, then it's a $17,000 gamble for the remainder of your ownership! I made money or broke even on all my mid-90s sportbikes. Bought and sold in college (early 2000s), using the miracle of eBay/Paypal + 0% credit cards. Good times.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 02, 2018

    They only got me once. I leased a 1988 Saab, my first grownup car. My wife was pushing for a Jetta GLI, and in retrospect, mama was right. This was before leasing was big, and I was wrong in calculation of the money factor. At some point I realized it was 17%, and my credit was much, much better than that. The beating continued when a leaf spring on the highway punctured the bottom of the transmission, and the same dealer rebuilt it, a major dealer on the Ramsey NJ auto strip. A year later, the transmission puked. Another shop rebuilt it, and the car went back at the end of the lease. I sued the dealer, and got some money, but nowhere near my actual repair bills and lost time. I am not a fan of the Ramsey Auto Group. I've been OK since...although my current CTS has eaten every "they all do that" part-wheel bearings, a throttle body, and an alternator, but as the price was right, and I bought it knowing that shocks, etc were going in the hopper, I'm not upset-I mod all my cars in some way. At 30k per year I can't lease and all of my cars end up eating parts, so the Caddy was cheap to get but no different to run than an off lease German, but with reasonable part prices and a lot less bizarre over engineering. I bought another Saab, later, but never got beat in the showroom again....

  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.
  • Lou_BC How to Fix Auto Media? Stop fixating on soft touch plastics and infotainment systems. I did quite a bit of research on my ZR2. There was no mention of the complexity of putting the transfer case into neutral. (9 step process). They didn't talk about how the exhaust brake works with tow/haul mode. No mention that the exhaust brake does not work with off-road mode. Nannies only stay turned off with the lockers engaged. Only one review mentioned the tail pipe as a vulnerability.
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