By on January 30, 2018

2019 Ram 1500

John Le Carre’s superb A Perfect Spy opens with a curious quote, attributed to “Proverb”:

A man who has two women loses his soul. But a man who has two houses loses his head.

I’m not so sure about the first part of that. The virtue of dating two (or more) women is that you don’t expect that any one of them will fulfill all your requirements, which prevents you from becoming overly demanding or difficult with them. As to the second part, all I can tell you is that when I’ve owned rental property I’ve found it to be more hassle than it was worth. I suspect the original author of the proverb was not talking about that situation. Nor was he referring to our blessed above-one-percent crowd who frequently own domiciles on both coasts, or vacation homes in sunny spots. Rather, he probably meant that a man who operates two separate families will lose his mind. This sort of thing was more common in the days before Equifax and cell phones, mind you.

The question becomes: Is owning two cars like loving two women, which is often a good thing, or is it like maintaining two households, which is almost always a bad thing? Before we fall back on the truthful but unsatisfying “it depends,” let’s consider today’s questioner and see if we can’t keep him in sound possession of both soul and head.

Nick writes,

I drive a lot. I live 35 miles from my place of employment and split commuting between a three-banger, 70 mpg Honda Insight and a loaded Charger R/T currently on Yoko IceGuards. My son may get deep into karting, and I race in my spare time, which means I will eventually find a 24-foot trailer and a race car or two in my life.

As I get older, the Insight’s lack of safety is starting to bother me. I’m thinking about reshuffling cars, as I may need a tow vehicle, and am considering an Accord 2.0T 6MT (as I really liked my ’14 Accord Sport 6MT). Or a Civic Si. For a tow pig, I’ve had a soft spot for Ford 300 inline-sixes and you can still find them in decent F-150s roaming around here.

But old trucks require a lot of work and I wouldn’t want to wreck one. Do I split the difference and get a new-ish work truck and a cheap-ish sedan? Or a really nice truck and see if I can find an old Miata? The race car goes on the race track so I wouldn’t be ‘tracking’ anything. Total budget is $40-50k, and I would like something that isn’t a truck to handle daily commuting.

Knowing Nick’s situation personally, I’d start by advising that he not plan too much around the idea of a future 24′ trailer and/or race car. Right now he’s doing enduros, and with an enduro team it almost always makes sense to rent a truck and/or trailer because you can split the expense a few ways. It’s not until you are pulling your own car to weekend after weekend — or pulling your son’s kart plus a complete toolset and kart stand — that the self-owned truck/trailer starts to make sense.

Let’s put that aside for now, though, and move to the second part of the question, which concerns the appropriate divvying-up of between forty and fifty thousand dollars between truck and car. This is the sort of hypothetical situation which gets a lot of play on the kiddie-oriented forums and always ends up with a bunch of people suggesting the unbeatable combination of perfectly-restored Grand Wagoneer and V8-swapped Miata. The problem with that combination, and similar make-believe fantasy exercises, is that it’s not terribly compatible with reality.

The real world has a few immutable laws. One of them concerns resale value. Some vehicles retain value well; you should buy those new if you can afford them. Some vehicles retain value poorly; you should buy those used, if you can deal with the hassle.

In $THE_CURRENT_YEAR, we see that pickups retain their value absurdly well, while sedans and (most) sports cars do not. This suggests the combination of a new pickup and a used car, regardless of one’s fondness for the 300-cubic-inch straight-six that disappeared with the arrival of the “aero” F-150 in 1997 and the discontinuation of the “F-150 Classic” later on in that year. Only a loon would tow a race car with a 20-year-old truck, and only an extremely optimistic person would put his young son in one for a freeway trip. I say this with some self-awareness because, for quite some time, my race team used a 1995 F-350 with a PowerStroke for towing purposes. It ended as badly as you might imagine, hundreds of miles away from home.

It’s been pretty well established that $40,000 will get you a well-equipped half-ton crew cab with a reasonable level of equipment. Which crew cab would be up to Nick; I’d personally want to see that 2019 Ram on the road before I spent my money. That leaves between $0 and $10,000 for the car. You can get a lot of Miata for ten grand, you can get a lot of used Mustang for ten grand, you can get a lot of W-body Impala for ten grand. There are plenty of deals to be had at pretty much all levels of the marketplace above the buy-here-pay-here fodder.

The best part is that owning a brand-new, completely reliable truck relaxes some of the requirements for that second car. If you want to try something that’s unreliable but relatively safe, like a W210 Benz, you could do that, secure in the knowledge that you could always tow it home on a U-Haul with your truck and then drive said truck until you get around to fixing it. It could be a labor-of-love type car like a 1.8T-powered Volkswagen or Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. Last but not least, we could add a third vehicle into the mix, spending six grand on a recent Hyundai Accent “or similar” and four grand on a motorcycle. Having one completely reliable vehicle in the stable gives you options.

That’s my generic advice. If I had to spend the money myself, I’d do a Ford F-150 XLT 2.7 Ecoboost for the truck and… hmm… a New Edge Mustang Cobra for eight grand… and a Yamaha FZ-1 like the one my pal Sidney and I own together for two grand. That’s a fairly aggressive lineup that should have a little something for everyone. In the end, however, this is one of those infamous “80/20” situations. Get the 80 percent correct with a brand-new truck, and you can afford to be lackadaisical about the other 20.

I truly believe that, heart and head.

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152 Comments on “Ask Jack: Tryin’ to Love Two...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Believe it or not, you can buy a lot of truck for 30k in the CC 4×4 half ton variant with less than or equal to 30k miles on the clock. The rational behind this…too many are sold year in and year out for there not to be. If one is patient you can find what you are looking for, especially if you are paying cash and can go private party. Saves a lot of sales tax and dealer handling fees.

    As for the other 20k..if a commuter car is what is needed, why not find a C6? They too can be had in the sub 25k range with less than 50k on the clock, again if one is patient and willing to take a one way flight somewhere.
    Reasonable F.E, as good as a Miata almost, super reliable, quite a bit of fun, and they carry pretty decent resale as they approach 90k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      No one mentioned 3/4 ton SUVs either… they depreciate a lot faster than trucks, and if your just pulling a race hauler which is not a 5th wheel, there’s no reason not to seriously consider them.

      I see 2011 2500 suburbans in the mid teens?

      My neighbor hauls a huge trailer with a 2500 suburban diesel, but they haven’t made the diesels in a while.

      • 0 avatar

        Kind of funny here in Southern New England the full size SUV’s have better reasale then the pickups reverse in the midwest. I have noticed I could save 20% on a Sub by buying in the Illinois area vs here in CT. I have 3 kids so when I have the cash to go back to 2 cars a 2500 suburban will be high on the list.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          You might consider going a bit more west to avoid anything that resembles rust.

          Wyoming, CO, UT, NV & NM will have a decent selection with none of the inherent MW salt implications. Just beware the 2×4 in NM, AZ, & NV.

          Wyoming is hard as everything up there seemingly has 100k miles on it almost instantly.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      It would be rather easy to find a decently priced new truck even in Canada where prices are higher than the USA. I noticed a dealer in the interior of BC with some extremely good deals on 2017 F150’s. The town was evacuated for close to a month this summer due to forest fires so I’m betting that had something to do with their pricing. A well equipped EB2.7 clubcab F150 4×4 is 35k and a supercrew EB3.5 10 speed going for 40k. Both have 15k discounts.

      No need to buy used to find a good deal.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Honestly a well kept W210 would probably get you to and from work pretty reliably, I don’t think there’s much going on in them that would actually prevent one from starting and running. And an E320 would actually get pretty palatable mileage on the highway, and be comfortable/secure driving to boot. being a DIYer with one of those would keep running costs within the realm of affordable as well. If my cousin can keep one that’s been subjected to half a million kilometers of Siberian infrastructure going strong, I don’t see why a babied American one would not work decently well for a while yet.

    • 0 avatar

      My father was looking a W210’s recently and a friend of my sons mom has one I have helped on. In genral not bad they have rust issues bad some have flaky wiring harness issues too. Biggest thing to watch for is coolant leaks and transmission fluid leaks. Lots of cars have had to have their heads done and trannies rebuilt because they leaked over time and the owners didn’t catch it. From my research it seems these leaks often started happening under 100k miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        A friend inherited his grandfathers’ well-kept and dealer-serviced W210. It worked out reasonably well for a while, then running costs started eating him alive.

        I do like the idea of the W-body 3.6L Impala. My dad is on his 4th Impala (seriously); 3 W-bodies and 1 new-fangled version, so maybe there is some Stockholm syndrome going on here, but it is nice to have ready parts availability at any store or junkyard anywhere. I think the 3.6L timing chain issues were fixed as well.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I keep a 1998 W210 E320 with close to 250k miles running mostly by checking the fluid levels every month to compensate for leaks. Under the luxury accessories and flaky electrical, a W210 is a tough taxi cab with rather large fluid capacities so keeping up with leaks isn’t that hard. RWD and reasonable fuel efficient with the 3.2L V6. The negative of the W210 is it has rather slow and imprecise steering and isn’t that fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      This one has my eye. Some refreshing (paint, new headlights, and “breaks” lol) required to get it like-new, but for the price, I like it:

      https://gulfport.craigslist.org/cto/d/2001-mercedes-benz-c240-stick/6468231493.html

      The miles don’t bother me too much, especially since it wouldn’t be my only car if I bought it.

      Given my fondness for German hatchbacks (I’m an unashamed 318Ti fan), these have come to my attention as well:

      https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/cto/d/2002-mercedes-c230-kompressor/6477770703.html

      Its a lot further away than the sedan is, but it looks great IMO. Suspicious minds may rightfully point out that it has an almost too-good-to-be-true price/mileage combination.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I will always associate the Kompressor hatch (in lipstick red) with a certain trophy wife I knew. She was from Southeast Asia and had the aura of a mail order bride and gold-digger wrapped up in one.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I assume that any price that’s far too low for the mileage is a scam. And it seems like most of the time when I see a listing like that, not long after I find the legit listing the pictures came from.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I agree Dal, only a couple things contradict that in this case. First off, despite being a Mercedes, its hardly a car that would appeal to a wide ranging cast of potential scamees, and second, I am on Craigslist so much, I see repeats of the same scam car in multiple cities (I have seen the same 4Runner, Acura TL and Ford F-150 from coast to coast).

          So far, that’s the only example of that car I found on CL. Googling the VIN, I did find a couple other ads for that car, but they’re all in the same location in Florida, which tells me the owner just posted it on different sites in an attempt to garner interest from a variety of sources. The older ads list a slightly higher price ($3k+), around the same miles, and mention of the SRS light being on, as well as some recent repairs.

          I’m going to declare this one legit, but of course any mention of going through eBay, or shipping to my address, etc will end it right then and there.

          I’m not in a position to buy right now anyway, but I do think it’s legit. That doesn’t mean it’ll be a good deal upon inspection, of course, but I don’t think its a scam ad.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That one does look pretty legit, price aside.

            I’m suspicious of the gaps in front. Seems like the car may have been in a front-end accident, which could explain things. (And if it looks OK otherwise, for $2200 maybe that’s not a problem!)

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            That could explain the SRS light being on. But, if it drives well and a good look underneath doesn’t show any major damage, I’d be fine with it. But, I’m not like most people. A lot of times, I might be willing to buy a car for myself, but unwilling to recommend the same car to someone else. That has a lot to do with my experience in keeping old cars alive and knowing what to expect from a car with issues or prior damage.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I’ve never owned 2 running cars at the same time but I have owned multiple road-ready motorcycles at the same time and I find it generates a fair amount of guilt. You feel like you need to spread your ride time around to all the bikes and when you don’t you start to feel like you’re neglecting some. There’s no logic in why you should feel that way towards an inanimate object but I find that it’s a common thread among motorcyclists.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’ve owned three running motorcycles at a time, all technically had their purpose (’77 XS500 for sentimental purposes, ’77 GS1000 for mile burning, ’99 KLR650 for fun back road exploring) but it did get to be a bit much.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That’s a lot of iron in your driveway.

    I had 4 transportation devices titled to me at one point (1967 Mustang, 2004 F150 Heritage, 2008 Roketa Scooter, and 2010 Highlander) that was a little too much insurance and yearly registration fees for me. Didn’t feel right making those outlays when I had better things to do with my money.

    I’ve cut down to just the Highlander and Mustang. Considering a truck when it’s time to replace the Highlander. Just a personal thing but I feel better just having one hobby vehicle + daily driver in my life.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      You sold the flatbed?!?

      Mods – can we ban him?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Remember you guys said it was “party up front, business in the back” a “reverse mullet”?

        Well I found a guy with a fat wad of cash who wanted to haul bales of hay on that flatbed for his ranch.

        I was driving it so little that I have to remind myself to take it for a spin to keep the battery charged. And the “hood” I’ve moved into I was worried about a vehicle that sat outside too much getting vandalized.

        Life goes on. To me it means more money to devote to the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I’ve got 3… it was 4 for a couple months until the Altima sold a couple weeks ago.

      I had briefly debated signing the 19 year old’s title over to her now that the Soul is paid off. But her boyfriend (who is also her first boyfriend and they ARE SO IN LOVE AND IT’S GOING TO LAST FOREVER, YOU’LL SEE) is a total dud with money so it’s not going to happen.

      The last thing people who can’t make good financial decisions need is the title to a vehicle worth 6 or 7 grand. So I’ll just keep paying the annual registration and she will just keep paying the insurance.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    If you’re serious about the 24’ trailer (I’m assuming enclosed), you will feel more comfortable pulling that with a 3/4 ton truck. Work truck spec gassers are not much more expensive than equivalent 1/2 ton trucks and have better brakes, cooling, suspension, etc for a trailer that size. They have the added advantage of being available in longer wheelbases for better stability when towing.

    If you’re buying a car to commute in anyways, there really isn’t much downside to having a more capable truck available for when it’s needed.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      OP here – this is a very valid point. For a big trailer, I’d definitely need airbags or helper springs on a half ton.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        A properly set up weight distributing hitch should be mandatory for anything over 4k-5k lbs. WD hitches are sized to the trailer weight and proper setup aligns both the trailer and tow vehicle roughly level.

        Helper springs or air bags level the tow vehicle when excessive tongue weight causes sag. This makes the truck look better, but despite raising the rear the trailer tongue has still removed weight from the front axle and transferred it to the rear axle. The WD hitches use leverage between the hitch and trailer to transfer that weight back to the front axle improving braking and steering control, plus additional grip on the front axle reduces sway.

        Any trailer load that does not exceed the GCWR or frontal area ratings of the truck manufacturer with a proper WD hitch should not need rear axle overload springs.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I pulled my race trailer with a weight distributing hitch… made all the difference. Didn’t need airbags at all, and I couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made on the road. Lot more control.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My former FIL had a 2006 F150 extended cab short bed Fx4 5.4 V8. He towed a fairly long travel trailer with it and had a weight distributing hitch. Given that he was an over the road truck driver I figured he new best on how to safely and comfortably tow.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That weight distributing hitch makes a world of difference… as long as you hook it up correctly. Not everybody does and it becomes quite obvious from profile when they haven’t. Problem with air shocks and airbag suspension however, is that they end up leveling the vehicle even when the hitch is incorrectly hooked up so the operator often never knows the mistake they make until it’s too late. (Hint: If you’re replacing shocks/bags on a regular basis, you’re making a mistake.) How do I know? My own father was one of those. Used to tow with a big Caddy deVille and had to replace the air shocks every year. Even after I showed him his mistake, he continued to do it.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Negative, Ghost Rider.

        We pulled a 24′ from Atlanta to Columbus with an E34 and a full race setup inside with a Silverado LTZ Max Tow. Not a problem at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Current 1/2 ton trucks with factory tow packages are more than up to the task of towing a 24 ft trailer. People forget that any newer “max tow” 1/2 ton is more capable and better built than any 3/4 ton from 20 years ago.

          1/2 ton, 3/4 ton and 1 ton designations are nostalgic vestiges of a bygone era and have virtually zero correlation to a new truck’s capability.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I agree with the 1/2 ton brakes, but you can find them with the towing package already installed from the factory so you will get upgraded cooling system and trans cooler.

      As for the brakes, I finally upgraded my suburban brakes to drilled and slotted rotors and the difference is off the charts. The GM half ton brakes suck and you get serious pulsing and brake fade coming out of the mountains with or without a load/trailer. I need front brakes anyway, and had never swapped the rotors, the pads and rotors shipped to my door was $106 and change. My point, you can upgrade braking considerably for not a lot of money these days.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Correct. Get the right tool for the job, and leave plenty of spare performance in reserve.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    ” If I had to spend the money myself, I’d do a Ford F-150 XLT 2.7 Ecoboost for the truck and… hmm… a New Edge Mustang Cobra for eight grand… and a Yamaha FZ-1 like the one my pal Sidney and I own together for two grand. That’s a fairly aggressive lineup that should have a little something for everyone.”

    Eerily similar to my path, except my Mustang is a ’68 and my FZ-1 is an Evo. And because I’m a punishment glutton, an LH Chrysler for fun.

    A nice pickup is one of those vehicles that works in most situations. I can drop my renovation supplies off at 8AM, pick up (heh) the boss from the airport at 3, take the missus for dinner at 7.

  • avatar
    relton

    There are 9 cars in the garages, including the 2 I built myself.

    There is 1 wife in the house. 1 wife has 1 car of her own.

    The balance seems about right to me.

  • avatar
    arach

    I literally don’t know how anyone can possibly live with LESS than 2 cars.

    Its like trying to use a computer without 2 monitors- life SUCKS.

    In fact 2 cars is a struggle. How do you haul a cord of wood if you don’t have truck? How do you haul 4 people comfortably with good fuel economy if you don’t have a car? How do you have a blast on the weekend if you don’t have a sports car?

    Fo the last couple of years I’ve been wavering between 4 cars and 5 cars.

    1- The DD – Fuel efficient, reliable, cheap to maintaion
    2- The Truck – Brutal, beatable, can carry some serious load
    3- The Fun Car – If your a car guy, how do you live without a fun sports car?
    4- The Offroader – The Fun car gets you 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, but what about the offroad trekking?

    5 (sometimes) – The Race Car. Your fun car is too expensive to put into a wall, so this is a good car that can compete in racing but a wall won’t put you out

    Anything less than that and I’m SAD.

    But while some people don’t care about sports cars of offroading, in which case you still need at least 2! Its the CHEAPER more practical option.

    For example, If I only have ONE car, what do I do if it breaks down? Cry mercifully? Go rent a car? have it towed to a high priced repair shop? That sounds painful. If I have TWO cars, then when one breaks down I can fix it at my leisure, saving thousands of dollars! I can figure out how to fix it myself, order my own parts, and shop around for the best repair prices. I don’t miss work, I don’t get largely inconvenienced— it works out great.

    So how do people handle having only 1 car? I’ll never know. (In fact I have 5-6 if you include my spouses…)

    I find having multiple cars is CHEAPER than trying to make 1 car fit all needs. For example, a Hyundai Sonata + A Corvette is a lot cheaper than a Chevy SS, and both are better at their respective jobs!

    I love the example that the author cites in the book “Car$- The Ins and Outs of Buying and selling” where he actually does a comparison between the cost of buying a new vette + new CTS compared to the purchase price of a new CTS-V, and its cheaper to buy the two vehicles instead of the one. I find that so true in my experience too.

    So for Nick, I’d say don’t go blow a bunch of cash on a new truck. In theory they hold their value, but really not as well as people make it out to be. Go buy a used truck- and a CPO car- AND go get your miata. You could have all three! You have no problem with your budget making that happen. Really good used trucks are 12-20k, and if your only using them for hauling a race trailer, than 12-20k will also get you a extremely low mileage CPO sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      First-world problems for the very affluent. Most people get by with one or two vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Why can’t the truck and the off-roader be the same vehicle? ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          @PrincipleDan- I’d support that.

          Unfortunately most offroadable trucks seem to cost way more than a Jeep + Full size truck…

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @arach – “Unfortunately most offroadable trucks seem to cost way more than a Jeep + Full size truck…”

            I disagree.

            I am lusting after a Colorado ZR2 diesel. In my part of the world a fully loaded ZR2 Colorado costs less than a fully loaded Wrangler Unlimited. Ford is releasing a Ranger Raptor soon.
            A base trim Power Wagon is on par with a loaded Unlimited Wrangler.

            It does depend on the kind of off-roading one does, so I’ll add that as a caveat.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        @Cactuar. Not sure if thats true in the US. According to Experian, the average US household has 2.28 cars, and 35% of US households have 3 or more. I wouldn’t call that the “affluent” unless your comparing it to the world-wide economy.

        The poorer I was, the more I’d feel I needed two vehicles… I’d much rather trust two $800 cars than one $1600 car!

        I didn’t set the budget, the person asking the question did. For me, $40 grand would definitely have me driving at least 4 cars… that would get me a nice DD, a suitable truck, an offroader, and a sports car with cash to spare…

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          You just described my college life. I commuted 50 miles to work, Wyoming…
          Anyhoo. I had two cars an 86′ Crown vic Wagon and a 78′ Rabbit. The combined value of both, with a full tank of gas of course was somewhere around $1600 – $2000.

          When one broke, or was acting up, I could still get to work and class and solve the glitch in the evening, as I certainly did not have the cash to pay anyone to fix anything.
          I pretty much have had 3 cars for my spouse and I for the last 15 years.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            ^this. I’ve never been what could be even remotely considered “rich” or “affluent”, but I have owned up to 8 cars at one time. They were just old and low-value cars. I didn’t care. If the car I like well enough to keep going is worth $1k, so what? My current Taurus fits that bill, its old and its value is low, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it nor that I’m ashamed of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For me, a car has to earn my trust. If it does, then I’ll keep that car until I lose trust in it OR the need changes enough that I’m forced to change vehicle types. Under normal circumstances, I never keep a new car for less than ten years but I have been forced to trade sooner due to loss of trust. My worst-case scenario under ‘trust’ was just over four years from new while it was less than two years after purchase for one of my used cars.

            Trust, for me, means reliable and fully functional. It means that it tracks straight and doesn’t worry me with constant repairs (major or minor). When repaired, said repair doesn’t reveal a new and more serious issue likely to cost more than the initial repair (I may have some skills under the hood but newer cars are a lot harder to work on than older ones.) My 21-year-old truck cost roughly $3K to fix some issues after effectively sitting un-used for 11 years. A small part was shocks and tires but a big chunk ended up being a complete rebuild of the hydraulic system for the clutch due to dry rot of boots and flexible hoses. Since then, solid as a rock, just underpowered. Better than I can say for a couple of other used vehicles I’ve owned.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            The right number of cars for me is a daily driver and one extra at least capable of the drive to work and back. The extra car makes DIY repairs less time critical. It can be a hobby car or an old beater, but it needs to be running. I used to have 3 cars and it was difficult to take the time to make sure all 3 cars got weekly exercise.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The trick to owning less than brand new cars is having one more than you actually need at a minimum. A couple more than you need is even better, takes away most of the stress. And the additional cars can be tailored to more specific tasks than one car that has to do it all.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You need a minimum of two, Arach is brilliant in his analysis.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Two, I’ll agree with, more than that depends on circumstances. One is almost never acceptable unless you can totally trust it for your most common needs. And that’s if you’re single; two is minimum if you’re partnered/married.

          Thing is, those two should be able to meet most, if not all, ordinary needs. If one of them has an open bed and you’re a home owner (not a renter) then even better. That doesn’t mean you have to have the biggest truck on the market though, you can get by with smaller if that truck is also going to be a daily driver. Most here already know my feelings about most modern pickups and their size. That’s why I’m driving a 21-year-old Ranger and not something newer. (Unfortunately, that will have to change in another couple of years but that doesn’t mean it has to be bigger.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My mechanic wants me to buy one of those late 80s small Toyota I4 pickups as he loves his.

            Now you’ve got me thinking Vulpine.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            28-cars the yotas are cool, but functionally speaking not really any better or more durable than something like a Ranger, IMO. And I say this as a dyed in the wool Toyota truck fan. You’d be able to buy a lower mile Ranger of the same year for less money, a simple matter of supply and demand. My overall takeaway from my foray into small truck shopping and subsequent ownership of my reg-cab/std bed’97 Ranger XLT 2.3/5spd/rwd is that the ’93+ Rangers are just about the most rust resistant out of all the small trucks taken as a sum of body+frame corrosion. The spots to check are the spring hangers, rear shock mounts, and the radiator support by the body mounts. ’95+ Toyotas (1st gen Tacoma) have remarkably rust resistant painted body panels but the frames are obviously notorious for failure. The older Toyota pickups have physically stronger thicker frames that generally do better in terms of rust, but the beds rot. S10s of all years are horrible rusters, most of the other small Japanese trucks are pretty close to the ‘yota.

            Powertrain wise, I will go out on a limb and claim that the 2.3L Lima is every bit the 22RE’s equal in longevity and durability, without the latter’s timing chain guide wear issues at higher mileage. Toyota’s automatics are longer lasting than the Ford’s, 5spds I guess are a wash. The Ford’s mazda-sourced 5spd has an internal slave cylinder, hence the high cost to repair as Vulpine mentioned. Pre ’98 Rangers ride kind of poorly, but the Twin-I-beam front end is stupid-sturdy. The SLA front end that followed is notorious for premature control arm wear (but is pretty cheap to get replaced). Pre ’95 Toyota trucks use a sturdy torsion bar front end, Tacomas use a nice riding but potentially failure prone inverted lower balljoint that can fail suddenly and with little warning at higher mileage.

            Where the Toyota beats the Ford is on quality of things like the HVAC system and interior trim and various buttons, leaking fewer fluids maybe, some electronics like the RABS module on my Ranger. My Ranger had a litany of small things that had been neglected for years by the PO, but it was mechanically sound, cheap to buy, and those issues were fairly easy to correct.

            That’s a whole lot of info, it basically boils down to individual vehicle condition when they get to be this old, but the Rangers tend to be cheaper owing to their widespread availability, and parts both new and at the junkyard are everywhere and cheap as chips.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            gtem: Your description of the ’97 Ranger is an almost twin to mine. I’ve got the 2.3/5-spd/rwd with the dual electronic distributor modules. Very, VERY clean, though I had an aftermarket radio installed to give me a bluetooth connection to my phone (hands free calling.) Have the original AM/FM/Cassette in a box indoors. (Yes, the radio worked and the tape heads are fine… didn’t try out the tape drive itself since I’m certain the belt was dry-rotted.)

            At 112 hp it’s not the strongest truck in the game but as a daily driver and true light-duty truck it’s quite serviceable.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thank you for the lengthy post gtem. I want to say he said he knows someone with a late 80s 22R in WV or somesuch who may part with it. His is a 5spd and has actually been redone both bed, interior, and doors. Since it lives outside its got tinworm but he fights it as best he can. I would probably put mine in the garage when unused and leave a Saturn outside. If I did acquire a nice one, it would be Krowned and garaged in winter.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @gtem

            Whats an 87-89 Toyota 22R RWD pickup worth in your estimation? Assume decent body and rebuilt motor. Thanks in advance. I can’t get a good valuation on one, 4x4s seem to be money though in the internets.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            A really really clean truly rust free one with no outstanding issues… some nostalgic could probably pay up to $4k-4500 for it here in the salt belt. A functional one with repaired rust (it will never truly be defeated) and running/driving condition, something like $2500-3k. When someone tells me rust was “repaired,” I am highly skeptical.

            To contrast, I see decent 93-’97 Rangers pop up in the $1500-2300 range all the time. I paid $1700 for mine as a one owner truck with 126k miles, although in hindsight I should have inspected closer for rust. The body looked great with just a bit of bubbling on the very bottoms of the doors and the bumpers weren’t great. Well know I know what to look for on Rangers, I would have walked. The radiator core support on mine was literally rusted off at the body mounts. Doesn’t affect how it drives, but the front clip is literally banging metal on metal over large bumps. The sheetmetal to repair it is cheap, but the replacement is fairly involved and requires drilling out a bunch of spot welds and then rewelding. I ended up putting way too much into it ($1500 parts and labor) to fix a ton of little things right before selling it for $2500. I drove it all summer without doing much more than an oil change. Should have just left it alone and resold it for the $1700 I paid.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @gtem

            Thanks. Based on what I see in CLs around (WV and OH) as well as Ebay, the RWDs aren’t worth much in any shape and 4x4s are money. I’m not sure if this one is RWD or 4×4, but I believe its RWD. I was just quoted 1,500, and my guy thinks it will need a grand for inspection, Supposedly good body, 5spd, again now sure on RWD/4×4. My bro seems to have talked me out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’d say they definitely get snapped up quick around here, hispanic immigrants really respect them, seeing the sort of abuse they were subjected to down in rural Mexico I can understand the admiration. And in general, the “Toyota tax” does indeed apply, just based on relative rarity.

            Here’s a very clean local 3.0L+auto rwd for $3850 asking, and there’s a good chance they’ll find a buyer:
            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/1989-toyota-pickup/6475989119.html

            I really don’t care for that powertrain combo, seems really out of character somehow for a compact truck like that.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Must be nice to be rich enough to own 5 cars/trucks and have the garage/property to keep them in/on.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        @Vulpine – gotta be where you live, right?

        I live in the midwest. Around here, a minimum wage mcDs worker will have 5 cars and enough land to put them on.

        $40 grand will buy you a house with a 2 car garage and overage land, and I’m sure TTAC’s very own Corey can vouch for me that there’s plenty of $30-40 grand houses with 5+ cars in their yard/driveway.

        So to say “rich enough” makes me chuckle… I had 4 cars when I was a college student living off of a 20/hr a week Teachers Assistant job and living in a 200/mo house rental. (Which you could never do in NYC… I literally had a 1000 SF house with a garage and yard for $400 a month which I split with a fellow student)

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Where you live” may be a part of it but not all by any means. And by no means would a “minimum wage McD’s worker be able to afford 5 cars unless four of them are not drivable, no matter what part of the country you live in. $7.50/hour only equates to $15,000 per year before taxes and you can only barely afford to buy and drive a Fiat 500 for that money. $10/hour only adds $5K to that annual amount. Please show me how somebody can buy and own a house AND five vehicles on that amount of money–unless they’re working something under the table?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I didn’t own a house, but I paid rent when I owned 8 vehicles and made under $10/hour. They just weren’t very new or valuable cars, such as 1994 Aerostar Sport, 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7, 1993 Ford Taurus, 1993 Ford Tempo GL, 1992 Ford Tempo LX V-6, 1994 Ford Thunderbird LX V-8, 1998 Chevrolet Lumina. Most I bought for very cheap and fixed them (or got them good enough to drive as they were, such as the $200 Aerostar that lacked 2nd gear but was my most-often driven vehicle for quite a while, or the Zephyr I paid $100 for, put another $250 into it and drove the hell out of it for over a year).

            My only regret is that there are some that I wish I still had, namely the Zephyr and the Tempo LX.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            OK in Ohio Minimum wage is $8.15. Despite McDs paying 8.50, we’ll go with $8.15.

            A $40k house with a bad interest rate (4.5%) runs you about $203/mo. We’ll assume two things for a moment: That taxes + insurance make it $400/mo, and that there’s 2 wage earners living in the house, so the per person cost is $200/mo. Now its realistic to assume they DON’T have insurance (making it $300/mo – or $150 each) but I don’t want to take worst case scenario.

            Assuming no overtime, that would net the person around 16,952/yr at McDs, or $1,412/mo.

            They may or may not pay taxes, depending on their total situation, but lets say they pay worst case scenario- 15%.

            that nets them $1200/mo in income.

            $1200/mo minus $200/mo house payment = $1000 a month remaining. Assume $250/mo- an excessive amount around here- for food, and you still have $750/mo. Yes you probably have utilities- another $150, and maybe car insurance (lots of people don’t even have that), and your now somewhere around $400. Cable TV? Clothes? yeah I know there are other expenses you have to deal with, but I don’t feel a lot of “that is not reasonable”, especially if you have a second wage earner cutting into the costs

            Heck, did you know if their credit score is in the 500’s and their rate rises to 6.9% (current rate for those 500s around here), their payment only goes up $63/mo? ($31.50/person)?

            Now I know people who have bought houses for $25-30k, but I looked about 5 miles from me to the edges of Middletown Ohio for several houses in the 40-50k mark. Found one for $41k that has 4 cars in front of it.

            OK so that shows me $41k house + 4 cars = provable. Can’t claim all 4 run, but that kind of comes with the territory. A lot of people with 5 cars in front of their house only have one or two that run- I know from experience. One of the guys that lives a few houses from me has about 8, including two classic muscle cars and a vette, but his house cost $90k so thats too high for my comparison.

            Just look around google maps a bit. There’s LOTs of $30-50k houses with a multitude of vehicles, and working minimum wage can easily buy you that house and some beaters to spare.

            I bought a CJ7 from some guy in middletown a couple of years ago for $200 cash ;)

            Looked up the zillow house I rented in College. Zillow claims it is worth $42k today! that wasn’t a half bad house… with a decent yard too! Some of the outlying towns… 2500 SF for $28k! with a yard! #TheDreamIsReal!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Too many assumptions in your argument are unrealistic; just as an example, you can’t even guarantee full time in a McD’s unless you’re a manager and a manager ain’t going to be working for minimum wage. And the last time I saw a house on the market for $50K, it was about to fall apart and would have been a money pit just to keep it up, much less any attempt to fix the cause of many of its issues. Worse, if no insurance, then your entire ‘investment’ is lost with the first tornado that takes it down, much less a one of those straight-line windstorms that blows through there on occasion. Not only is it lost, but you have to KEEP paying for it even though you can’t live in it any more.

            Look, I know you’re trying to make a point and yes, I am aware some people can get by on next to nothing. But unless you’re living illegally or off the government food bag owning multiple vehicles in itself can and will eat a big piece of that low paycheck. License, registration, taxes, fuel, parts… everything is going to eat into that vehicle budget even (or especially) if they’re all crapwagons barely held together by duct tape and chicken wire. Don’t laugh, either; I’ve seen people try to take a car through inspection in exactly that manner, covering up rust penetration and simply trying to hold body panels in place. I parked next to a Ford Ranger just yesterday with half the back window covered with duct tape because it had no glass on that side.

            But again, keeping that many vehicles alive and legal, even if they were obtained for free, is a nearly full-time job in itself. Just keeping one such could eat half that McD’s worker’s paycheck each month.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Wow. Around here $40k will only get you about halfway toward building that garage, let alone any house or land.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excellent post, sir. I have always followed the primary/secondary strategy (or, good car/beater) and until recently always had the “fun car” in my stratagem. What I concluded was, it was much cheaper for me to collect the grilles of the cars I loved than to actually purchase and care for them.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I got no use for a truck or off-roader.

      1. Muscle car
      2. PLC
      3. Convertible
      4. Some other car from ’77-’95.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “I got no use for a truck or off-roader.”

        Bikes are more fun offroad anyway. Side by sides too, but then you need something to tow them to the trail.

        • 0 avatar

          While I had fun wheeling all my trucks and my XJ was the best for grip offroad if I were going to have a dedicated wheeler up here in the Northeast it would be a Samurai. I had one for a while. Pretty much all the advantage of a side by side with a better heater more articulation and roll up windows. That said I haven’t gone busting down tight trails in several years now so I’m more interested in the overlanding style of mild offroading and camping where a fullsize truck works a bit better.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Hubcap – “Bikes are more fun offroad anyway.”

          Agreed until all of those crashes/wipeouts start taking their toll on your hide.

          @mopar4wd – I see a lot of Samurai’s during hunting season. They cost less than a side-by-side and are fully legal on the road. Some hunting areas ban quads but not street legal vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “Bikes are more fun offroad anyway.”

          Unless your idea of off roading includes what we call “mud riding”, which typically takes place at night on a logging trail, often during or right after a heavy rain storm. I prefer to be in an enclosed cab, I would not consider taking a bike down such a trial.

          Sure, you’ll get muddy anyway, but sliding off the edge into a ditch means a dented door/fender, not a broken leg or worse. The types of trucks we use for such are no beauty queens to start with, so battle scars are almost welcomed…so long as they’re on the truck and not someone’s body.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      @arach

      Enjoyable read. We are fortunate to live in this space time where so many people are perpetually carrying 84-month rollover car notes. It makes the prospect of multiple vehicle ownership a reality for many of us, depending upon storage space. I personally have 3 cars for myself at the moment.

      We must enjoy it while it lasts.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert

      There are limits to how much thin slicing you can do. Some combination of personal economics, garage space, local HOA nannies, and self image all impact that decision.

      For me, the answer is two cars for myself. Four for the household of a teen and a long-term lease with a walk away clean clause girlfriend.

      A Tacoma Double Cab does a remarkable enough job for #1, #2, and #4 on my list, where offroafing is limited to the poorly maintained fire service roads of the PNW. It is the only vehicle I’ve bought new, and the only one I will drive into the dirt.

      The other is a recurring progression of toys: Corvettes, BMW’s, Porsche’s, currently an SL550. Never new, always looking for the crossover point where deprepreciation shallows and before the inevitable “I can afford the payments, but not the maintenance” ownership cycle tanks the quality.

      For me, that balance works fantastically.

      #

  • avatar
    danio3834

    You DO NOT want a 4.9L Ford to tow a 24 foot trailer. I’ve owned that truck, and I own a 24′ enclosed racecar hauler. There are plenty of great cheap truck options under 10 grand that will tow that rig far better, and safer. Any mid 2000s V8 Detroit 3 truck, or even a well cared for 7.3L Powerstroke are better 3rd vehicle options.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Completely agree. If I did get an older truck, it would only be a temporary ointment for small loads and trailers.

      Though the 300 was used in big dump trucks and I still see a lot of them on the roads during harvest time severely overloaded with corn or hay.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      The 7.3 Powerstroke isn’t a bad bet. They are reliable, easy to work on, and affordable as long as it didn’t rust out.

      The 5.4L Ford isn’t bad. Everyone gripes about them because of the spark plugs, but change them every 60k miles and you’ll have no issues with them. That irrational fear helps drive the price down on them to rediculously low levels even for good condition ones.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’d avoid the 3V 5.4L not just because of the spark plugs, but because of the oil pressure problems that they tend to have. Like most Ford modular motors, the timing chain tensioner gaskets or VCT phaser valve bodies leak and bleed off oil pressure creating the dreaded clack. If left this way, cam journals and crank bearings get ruined. Personally, if it were me looking for a cheap 3rd truck to be used strictly for tow duty of a 24 foot enclosed, I’d probably go with a gas 2500/250 series truck from the mid 2000s. While half tons retain good value due to their desirability as daily drivers, used gas HDs become practically worthless. You’re gonna get sh1tty fuel mileage pulling that brick no matter what, and the added up front and maintenance costs of a diesel don’t make sense as a casual toy hauler.

        I pull the same trailer with a 3800lb car in it with a 2017 Ram 1500 Laramie that doubles as my wife’s daily driver. It’s gentle and efficient enough to be used as a daily but will tow that trailer without complaint. Though, it sounds like the OP doesn’t want to DD a truck, so if he’s not going to spend that much time in it, why spend $40k on something that will sit most of the time?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Agreed with Danio on the Mod 5.4. They have some expensive-to-fix common problems. The cam phasers and chains, the spark plug debacle, and the cracking exhaust manifolds. Having said that, Mod motors are incredible at clinging on to life even when it a completely neglected and horrid state (not something relevant to OP, but relevant to the scrap pickers trolling my neighborhood).

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Those old 300 cid dump trucks likely have 2-speed rear ends and granny-gear trannies. But I wouldn’t rule out the 6.0 Super Dutys. Before you buy, you do have to know a few things about 6.0s and diesels in general, but they’re just much better diesels, in more up-to-date trucks with a much better trans.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      One guys opinion. The 7.3 Powerstrokes bring all the money, unless they are beat to death. And I live by the ‘Just say no to the 6.0’.

      My FIL has a CC 4×4 2000 F350 dually with the V10. Yes, it drinks gas with abandon. But, he can let it sit in the barn for 5 months and the stupid thing starts up just fine. He puts about 3k miles a year on the thing. He bought it 10 years ago with approximately 90k, now it has something like 130k. Had to replace a coil pack once and an injector if I recall. not bad for part time work.

      Diesels don’t do well sitting around. If the OP is going to use the truck part time a big block gas engine will most likely provide much better long term headache free service. If driven sparingly, the FE is not an issue.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    This gets a lot better if you make one decision.

    Take the racecar idea out back and shoot it.

    No street-car-based machine can compare to the violence of a sprint kart on a tight track. Get a kart for your kid, another kart for yourself, and tow them behind the Charger.

    If you want an energy-efficient new car, get one. Don’t tie up $30,000+ on a truck, $5,000+ on a trailer, $10,000+ on a race car, and a fortune on a garage and shop equipment just to go fifteen seconds a lap slower than ten grand’s worth of KZ2.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I hear you on karting and have not done it myself. The thrill, however, of taking the kink at Road America or Turn 12 at Road Atlanta is also something to experience.

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        Yes. Others include Turn 10 at Grattan or practically every corner at VIR.

        Also consider the thrill of being side-by-side through Turn 1 at Oakland Valley NY or threading the needle to make a pass at East Lansing on a 300′ straight coming out of a kink.

        If you’re operating out of the Midwest you’re invited to any trackday or race day I’m on.

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        They also race karts on road courses – everywhere from Indianapolis to Road Atlanta.

  • avatar

    Trucks hold thier value but I was shocked when my wife showed me some wholesale auction prices for them from work. Half tons were cheap 3/4 ton and in particular diesels not so much. Used car lots must make a fortune on those halftons thou the prices she had wholesale were 30-40% under what the advertise them for around here.

    For me I would only buy the new truck if there were very specific options I wanted. Other then that used. I miss having two vehicles. (right now I have a a car and the wife s has one oh and a project truck) But I used to have a v8 dakota and compact car which worked well. Someday I hop to go back but most likley with a full size SUV and a sportier compact.

    I think mid 30’s buys you plenty of truck. If I was towing alot and had a daily driver I would be looking at a 6.4L ram 2500 the coil springs in back make it ride better then the other 3/4 ton while leaving you plenty of payload and towing capacity. Going with the hemi saves you a bunch over a diesel for initial costs.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “The virtue of dating two (or more) women is that you don’t expect that any one of them will fulfill all your requirements, which prevents you from becoming overly demanding or difficult with them.”

    Testosterone – the struggle is real.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, some assumptions have to be made here:

      1) All the parties are clued in to the arrangement (if not, then the testosterone AND estrogen struggles both get real).
      2) All the parties are OK with all the other parties having someone else on the side. That’s only fair.

      Possessiveness aside, it sounds f*cking exhausting. I’ll stick with one woman, thanks.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    I will go with Jack on this one, a reliable new(er) truck with a fun car that is good for commuting. Modern trucks do not murder you on gas are reasonably comfortable and as capable as ever.

    I would budget 30-35 for a truck the rest for the best 3 series you can get for the leftover money.
    I do not recommend it to others but I would personally get a well maintained W221 instead of 3 series.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Just wait for the RWD Explorer based Mustang, then you’ll have a pony car that meets all of your towing needs.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I would absolutely drive a turbo ‘barra’ powered Territory if that’s what Ford makes. There is some outfit that allegedly legally converts utes and such to LHD — lefthandutes.com

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Firstly, I’m opposed to buying any truck over about 10 years old (despite my own luck in finding a 20-year-old Ranger with only 20K miles on the clock.) The older trucks have a tendency to be light in the tail, making them questionable as far as traction in bad weather. Towing a trailer isn’t going to improve it all that much since only about 15% of the trailer’s weight is carried by the truck, only marginally improving traction while potentially pushing the tail of that truck around instead. I’m also quite opposed to any pickup truck towing more than twice its own weight around… and that INCLUDES the Class 2 and 3 (¾-ton and 1-ton) models. Sure, they CAN do it, but is it really safe?

    That said, $40K for a truck to me is a ridiculous price for something as relatively basic as an XL Ford or WT GM (both priced just under $40K but VERY basic packages outside of 4×4 (recommended) and crew cab.) Problem is, with so much money put on the hood of trucks as of late, it’s cheaper to buy new than used UNLESS it’s a basic model. Still, the question arises as to whether or not you really need such a truck. You might do better with something else.

    As for cars, my personal luck with used has never been great. Whether purchased off a dealership lot or roadside used-car lot they’ve been total crap. The best used car, almost unbelievably, came from CarMax–despite their reputation for reselling rental fleets. Everything else I’ve purchased has required thousands of dollars in repairs within the first year of ownership, one way or another (and no, I don’t mean in wrecks.) It’s up to you to choose the brand you trust/like but a sedan is likely to give you a better price than a CUV/SUV in the current market. I would again recommend new over used and used only if it’s less than 3 years old AND comes with remaining warranty.

    And despite the reputation so many people seem to hate, don’t be afraid to look at FCA products; they’re far better than most want to believe. Outside of Jeep, you’re likely to get a pretty good price and even within Jeep their prices could be worse.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      That said, $40K for a truck to me is a ridiculous price for something as relatively basic as an XL Ford or WT GM (both priced just under $40K but VERY basic packages outside of 4×4 (recommended) and crew cab.)

      MSRP on a new truck means NOTHING. I’d suggest that the OP go one step up from “base” to get the goodies like adjustable lumbar and I slightly nicer stereo etc.

      I’m seeing XLT, Big Horn, SLE, LT, SR5, SV etc. full size trucks being advertised at low to mid $30s for 4×4 extended and crew cab models in 1/2 ton. That would be roughly $10K to $12K off sticker price.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      38k will buy you a NEW 2500 Ram SLT. Thats where I’d go if I were buying a new truck. 33k will get you a 2500 tradesman which is a great value, but you’ll be disappointed at what little comes with the tradesmans…

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Interesting Vulpine, I am almost of the 100% opposite belief. I think the 10 year old, or older truck is the best value out there.

      Here in CO on CL you see countless 200k + F150 super crews for sale. You can also find one with at or near 100k for sub 14k dollars. I believe the facts are clear, if you take care of your equipment 200k on a domestic full size truck is zero problem. So, 14k for a 100k F150, put 100k on it and sell it for 5k. Hard to beat that value proposition.

      Full disclosure…I DD a 112k 10 year 6 month (in-service) Suburban. Starts. Every. Time.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Experience is what has turned me off on 10-year plus vehicles, especially trucks and especially in snow country. Why? I can’t trust the ABS system to be as functional as newer ones and trucks in particular are light in the tail, meaning any bad weather could get you in trouble. I’m a good driver and yes, I did own a compact truck in the Denver area which served my needs, but I also tended to load the bed with snow shoveled from driveway/sidewalks to put weight in the tail. Over 40 years of driving in nearly every kind of condition has me a lot more careful about what I buy than many would think. Today’s cars and trucks are much better than older ones in so many ways but you still have to have the skills and experience to know what to do if any of those nannies fails or you have to somehow bypass those nannies.

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          I slapped a ’91 Toyota Pickup into a guard rail last month because I hadn’t realized I wasn’t looking at wet I was looking at ice. I tapped the brakes to check traction and immediately lost the ass end of the truck and didn’t manage to recover the fourth oscillation. An up to date ABS (or any ABS) would have helped and modern stabilization systems would have made it recoverable.

          I think it’s a great, rugged little truck but man it is not the safest thing to drive around in and unforgiving of mistakes.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So you think its wise to buy a 100K F-150, which will be an MY08 or earlier btw, then put another 100K on it in seven to ten years, to then resell for 50%?

        Trucks are not infallible. Seals, hoses, water pumps, transmissions, alternators, and even engines can all go in that time. If you play the game correctly, you’re not in it much and can afford these large repairs or DIY. But to be 14 in and the tranny blows at 125K because someone towed a motorhome with it once too often? Pass. Trucks are a buy it new and deal kind of thing, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Those 04-’08 F150s just don’t seem to hold up very well, same rotting bodies and same engine concerns as the “jellybean” trucks. Again, some have racked up stupid high mileages on them, and they will keep running in an absolute horrid state, but in that same era I’d gladly take the GM half ton, rotten body and all.

          If I had the money, I’d rather buy new or lightly used and own a basic fleet spec F150 and then leverage the strong resale to sell it on to whoever eagerly wants to take over ownership at 100k.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A rental fleet car is not a bad thing. Fact is most people don’t trash rental cars, they just want to get to their hotel and/or meeting and back to the airport. Sure they may have a few more scrapes and scratches than someone who pampers their car but usually nothing that bad.

      If you have had to spend thousands on repairs of your new to you used vehicle then you aren’t doing your due diligence when your purchase it in most cases. Sure you can have a freak engine or transmission failure, but a close inspection will reveal how soon you’ll be needing to replace the tires, battery, brakes, timing belt ect. Careful selection and research of the specific model should also alert you to common pattern failures that you might expect to see and when to expect them.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I seem to luck up and get the “freaks”. An Air/mass sensor that keeps breaking every six months; a timing gear that shreds itself and destroys the engine, fuel injectors that fail one after the other, etc. All these on cars about 8 years old at the time of purchase and are VERY clean (absolutely loved the Buick LeSabre “T-type” and the Toronado Sport (with Corvette-style transverse rear springs). The last ‘used’ car I bought was a CarMax Fiat 500 that was remarkably good and only about 6K on the clock; a lot of fun to drive, great economy and superior in many ways for me and my wife’s needs. Kept the rear seat folded and had a surprising amount of space for a once-monthly Costco run. The Ranger is inherited and still needed that much work before I could even take it in for pre-registration inspection (passed). Got called in for 2-year emissions check in October and again passed.

        My point is that even with due diligence and KNOWING the obvious replacement items, I get caught out by things you would not expect that occur 6-8 months down the road, almost always without warning.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          Vulpine, your history is just nuts to me.

          I have bought some 40 used cars from CL, dealers, and the last one Ebay.

          I have never had issues like you describe the few that pop up, I fix them myself and move on. But, never have had issues over and over again on a used car, I reserved those the one time I bought a new Subaru, total turd. The only good news was I worked at the Subie store, so they could fix it while I was at work. Even that got old though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ve never had any real luck with a used car until my last one. My very first car (bought used with my money by my father (because he drove one himself) had a cracked engine block that had to be replaced within one week of purchase… Oil got into the cooling system which meant I had constant cooling problems with it until I could replace the heater core… from then on the car was pretty good.

            From that time onward, it was always something, though back then I could do a lot of the work myself. My second car was also used but my third was brand new… and never once gave me a problem. My fourth and fifth cars were brand new, the fourth traded for the fifth because it couldn’t handle Colorado mountain conditions on pea hail. Sixth was used, and a pure dog… ran poorly but couldn’t afford to replace it until it got to the point that maintenance alone was costing me half a month’s pay… every month. The two after that you already know and from that point on, except for two very specific cases, I’ve only purchased new.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I had 3 vehicles at 1 point (Z, Civic, motorcycle)…. oddly, Z got driven the least. I suppose if you have needs that are too broad to be covered by 1 vehicle, having 2 makes sense. But having multiple just to have them? Dealing with shuffling cars around in the winter alone is enough to dissuade me.

    As for the OP I’m with Jack- an F150 EB will probably return like 20MPG without a trailer, and aside from the sheer size is not a difficult vehicle to live with. Question is, can you equip beyond poverty spec for $40K or so? That’s to be determined.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I currently have 4 (Land Ark, GTO, Legacy, Regal) and based on where I live I am at my limit. My wife also has 2.
      By not driving the Land Ark or GTO in the winter it makes shuffling easier. But in the warm months it is more of as hassle. Especially on the very rare occasion the Land Ark ventures out of the garage and sees the light of day.

      When we need to move things around I call it “the Circus of the Cars.”

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I am on 1/3 acre with a 2 car garage and 1.5 car driveway…. so just logistically 2 is about the limit. No street parking allowed either. Going to be interesting once our daughter starts driving but that’s a good 16 years off

        Living in NYC taught me how to pack densely so I have my motorcycle neatly tucked on stands on the side of my garage.

        Truthfully, I cannot even think of a 3rd vehicle (for me) that I want, primarily because I simply have to time to drive it. All that makes sense to me right now are fleet replacements.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Around my house we call it musical cars though the way my driveway is set up you can park so 6 or 7 vehicles can be driven w/o the need to move others unless I want to get something in or out of the garage. Still when both kids come home we occasionally need to play musical cars.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have 2 cars and it really is a PITA, I have a sedan and a summer convertible, I wanted something safe so no mazda for me, great cars but for the idea of having a suv hit me , no thanks, if the OP wants out of his Honda bc of safety reasons , you gotta take that into consideration. I live in NJ so ins is a bit** especially with a teenage driver on your policy, and lastly I do not own a garage so my vert sits in the elements or needs to be stored, plus little crap like inspections, but on a nice summer day I put the top down on the 5 speed saab 9-3 and I forget about all of that.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      the insurance thing is interesting depending on where you live. For me I pay $250/yr to insure my truck, and when I lived in NY, it was like $2400 a year. I don’t know how the heck the prices can differ so much by where you live…

  • avatar
    OzCop

    If he has 50 K to spend, I don’t see a problem here. Jack’s suggestion of the 2.7 turbo F 150 works, particularly while some dealers are still saddled with 17 models, and they can be had for under 30 K for the base or just over for an XLT. Depending on what he wants to do with the “race car,” I would suggest a new, or left over 2017 Focus ST if track days and autocross is his intention…not so much if he wants to get into wheel to wheel stuff. But right now he can purchase that ST for around 18 K, plus have money left over for a set of tires and wheels for the track stuff. In addition, he can drive that ST as a daily driver for work or whatever, and get upwards of 28 mpg if driven with fuel mileage in mind. It all depends on what his intentions are.

    Personally, I am done with the “old” track and autocross cars. I no longer have the desire to constantly work on and repair them between competition weekends, and believe me, there is work to be done, whether it’s an old ACR Neon, a Honda Civic Si, CRX Si, or Miata. I don’t do bikes anymore, so that’s a non starter for me, and if he steps up to a 4 WD PU, that can be a decent off roader, again depending on the depth of his commitment to it…and the son’s kart can be hauled in the back of it, or attach a small trailer and go…

    All that being said, that “40 to 50” K will be decimated quickly. I know from experience that as time goes by, what one considers just enough money to cover initial expenses is never enough.

  • avatar
    gtem

    With cars, I’ve got a self-imposed limit of 2 (plus my wife’s car), at least for the time being given our current house/parking situation.

    At a minimum, I need something that can get me to and from work reliably as well as serve as a long-trip vehicle (including hauling our two dogs that long distance), and something that can at least tow a trailer in a pinch, and fit various home improvement supplies and ideally smaller furniture items. The ’96 4Runner technically has all of these bases covered, but does not excel at any, with the bonus of having incredible offroad prowess (not an absolute necessity, although the rugged suspension and fat tires are saving my bacon with our pot-holed roads right now).

    The “open spot” is typically filled by something that I can commute in to keep miles off the 4Runner and especially keep it out of the salt. Then on top of that this flavor-of-the-month car may have some sort of other “bonuses:” A truck that can help with projects (’97 Ranger), a car that I especially like for aesthetic or other personal reasons (’96 ES300), or something that falls into my lap for an incredible price (’03 Pilot). I have the Pilot now and it has a lot of crossover (no pun intended) with the 4Runner in terms of functionality, better in some ways, worse in a few. I’m definitely drawn strongly towards getting another older pickup, especially given the margin I have on the Pilot in terms of a profit to be made by flipping.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I currently have two cars, and wouldn’t mind a plain old two-door truck for those times when you need one.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      ” plain old two-door truck for those times when you need one.”

      Once I got a taste of such truck ownership last summer, it’s been a siren song ever since. Now, it’d be miserable to try and use an older RWD one year round here, but plenty of people do. We’ve had some really bad ice this year, our side streets are not treated or plowed unless there is 6 inches of snow. But for the other three seasons, I gotta say I recommend it highly. Aside from actual utilitarian use of which there was plenty, I genuinely just liked bumbling around town in my old Ranger.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        A RWD truck would be fine for me – I’d just need it for errands and such. I’m not going to go pick up that new mattress or mega-sized TV if it’s crummy outside.

        Maybe something with a six cylinder and a stick. When I was 16, I had a job working in a nursery. They had an old F-150 with a manual that I had to drive, so I learned how to drive a stick the hard way. Loved the feel of that shifter – so direct and mechanical.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          A 4.3+5spd GMT400 as at the top of my list, although I’m not being choosy on specs, any clean halt-ton at the right price will be a candidate. The Ranger was right-sized for daily driving and bopping around town, but I’d really like the bigger bed capacity next time around (both payload and volume).

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            @gtem – I learned to drive stick in one of those Fort Wayne built 4.3L stick shift GMT400s. It was an 88-89 with the orange bar that would creep up the 85mph speedo and had about 250,000 on the clock and a worn hole in the floor from where a boot heel rested while shifting.

            Fantastic truck.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Nick the GMT400 is in my eyes the “sweet spot” for a older used truck: they’re modern enough to be comfortable and practical commuters and everyday haulers, old enough to be easy to wrench on and nice to use (low bedsides on the 2wds), and they look fantastic. The styling is just clean and timeless IMO. Sturdy mechanicals on the whole, yeah the 4L60E will start to slip in 3rd and 4th as the miles get closer to 200k (maybe sooner) but rebuilds are well understood and affordable. Or find a rare(ish) 5spd and enjoy. I suppose a well kept clean 2500 with a 7.4L and 4L80E could be used as a tow rig in your situation, but even something like a GMT800 HD with the 6.0L (or 8.1L as others have recommended) would be that much better. But for everyday use, I think the half-ton GMT400 is just distilled awesomeness. I respect the F150s, but the pre-97s just feel like very crude and old fashioned, rough driving things by comparison, and the jellybean trucks… well they just don’t seem to hold up as well (but will just keep barely alive to stay functioning no matter what).

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You’d probably like my little Ranger. Make offer.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Jack wondered about the quote

    “John Le Carre’s superb A Perfect Spy opens with a curious quote, attributed to “Proverb”:

    A man who has two women loses his soul. But a man who has two houses loses his head.”

    I think Le Carre was referring to a double agent who must have a “home” (position) with two competing agencies.

    “In the field of counterintelligence, a double agent is an employee of a secret intelligence service, whose primary purpose is to spy on a different target organization, but who, in fact, is a member of the target organization.”

    That might cause you to lose your head both figuratively and in the worst case literally

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    He’s concerned about the safety of an older Insight, but considering a Miata? Anybody with an understanding of physics see a problem there?

    Don’t misunderstand; I loved my Miata right up until it got hit and killed by a big old lifted truck in a parking lot. But I knew what I was getting into when I bought the car.

    If you’re that concerned about safety, don’t buy a sports car at all, or go buy a Camry or larger sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah going from the Insight to Miata is not exactly a move to a safer vehicle, and neither is a F-150 old enough to have the 300-6 engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Agree to a point. If I got a Miata, it wouldn’t be a first gen. The ‘ND’ platform has head/side airbags, stability control, and solid crash performance. My Insight – and early Miatas – have nothing of the sort.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Do you really mean it with the racing?

    If so, put the truck first, as Jack suggests. And prepare to never have any money or time ever again.

    If not, then I’d go the other way. Spend some money on a fun street car, and keep a ragtag truck around, although preferably one with a bit more oomph and less propensity to rust than an old 300-powered F-150.

    ***

    I’m in a sort of similar situation. I have a 2008 LS460 that currently handles everything our leased C-Max Energi can’t do, including carrying larger objects, taking road trips with the kids, and getting me to and from business meetings away from the city in a hurry. Although it’s in near-perfect condition and drives beautifully, it’s really only suited for the last of those tasks. I bought it when I had one kid, and the second kid (who was, well, unexpected) changed the equation quite a bit.

    I’ve been thinking of replacing the LS460 with two cars: a real family hauler and an actually fun car that both I and my young kids can enjoy (so no two-seaters).

    I need space inside more than I need the ability to carry or tow heavy stuff, so I started by looking at minivans, especially the Pacifica Hybrid and lightly used Siennas. But newer minivans suffer horrible depreciation and I’d miss the interior refinement of the LS460, so now I’m looking at used early-model LX570s instead. An LX570 with 100K miles for $28k has about the same expected useful life as a $40k new minivan and will suffer about a third of the depreciation over time. I don’t really need 1000 pounds of off-road hardware with me everywhere I go, but such is life, and I won’t be adding enough miles to suffer meaningfully from the fuel economy deficit.

    For the fun car what I really want is a manual 330Ci ZHP convertible. Good ones cost around $10k. They are hard to find in non-abused condition, but I’m in no hurry, so I just keep perusing the listings nationwide.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Last year I did 6 enduros and have been part of a team for 3 years now. If I continue to meet our savings goals, I could see myself starting my own team, but that won’t be in the near future. My son getting into karting is much more likely in the near term. There also may be a #3 added to the brood, which would further decrease the chance of being an actual team owner.

      I don’t want to tow with our Odyssey or stick a stinky 2-stroke kart in the back to travel long distances, which led me to consider a truck. Naturally, scope creep dictates I plan for a remote outcome even if it is not probable during the time I’d probably own it truck.

      For your family haulage needs, consider adding an 18+ Odyssey to your list. We just got one and it is most excellent for families, though I do miss the stow’n’go in our old Caravan from time to time. They don’t depreciate much, and EX-Ls can be had within the ballpark of the used 570s. We also frequently take cousins and a widowed mother in law places and appreciate the third row livability and ease of access offered by the van.

      There is a 2017 Civic Si in my work parking lot that I like more and more every day, but I do need to test drive an Accord 2.0T Sport 6MT.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Thanks. I haven’t driven an ’18 Odyssey; maybe I should. I have a weakness for “all the toys” that makes me look at high trim levels with worse depreciation, but if I did the math on a lower trim level van it would probably be better.

        I really like the Civic Si on paper, although I haven’t driven one. It seems like the closest thing Honda’s made in a while to the affordable everyday fun cars it made in the ’90s and early ’00s.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          The higher spec Siennas and Odysseys command a premium on the secondary market.

          We went with a gussied-up Odyssey based on the fact evidence indicated we would get a premium when it came time to sell. It was true to a lesser degree on my Caravan R/T.

          My guess is families looking for used vans think they’re saving enough by not buying new so feel better about moving up a few trim levels.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          dal, if manual is not a deal breaker – and if I were looking for such a car it would be, even though my daily bmw is automatic – I’ve noticed a single owner one in Delaware where my parents in law live. he’s been posting for months.

          https://delaware.craigslist.org/cto/d/2004-bmw-330ci-zhp/6465881501.html

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Manual is essential. I’ve missed having a manual car around. (So is a convertible top.)

            It’s too bad because great automatic ZHP convertibles are around. The manual ones got used up much more. I have a feeling there were far fewer “old guy who putters around on the weekends” owners of manual cars.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I’ve driven the Type R, Sport 1.5 6MT, Sport 2.0 Auto, and the SI. I really liked the R and the SI.

        To me, both sports were kinda anodyne. Perfectly competent and provides lots of value but just didn’t do it for me.

        If you don’t need the extra space of the Accord, I’d pick the SI. It’s a much more eager driver.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      dal, is the LS460 really too small to travel with your kids? We’ve been comfortably packing our two in a midsize sedan for years. The LS460 is a special vehicle. The thought of turning one in for a minivan seems like a innate wrong, even if you do get a used Bimmer convertible in addition.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        We’ve taken a few long trips in it. It sort of works with ingenious packing, but we have to choose between the cooking supplies and the outdoor paraphernalia, and we can’t take bikes anywhere (I’m not willing to butcher the valance to put a hitch on). We’re basically limited to what we can fit in the trunk and at the kids’ feet.

        Modern car seats and sedans just have a difficult relationship.

        I agree that it seems like sacrilege to trade it for a van, and especially feel that way when gliding serenely through ancient potholed city streets. Trading it for an LX570 doesn’t seem quite so sacrilegious.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I understand. Our sedan trips have been to VRBOs and such. Camping trips involve the cooking gear and outdoor stuff and then the 4Runner comes into play.

          A roof box and strap on trunk bike carrier may solve this, but then the trunk is difficult to access and it just seems…rather undignified for an LS to be employed this way. I’d still do it, though. Special car.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I plan to own a “fleet” again when I go back to work. I’ve got my eye on a 5MT/4wd 1st gen Explorer for a camp/mud vehicle, a nice car with a manual, and possibly something I can use for Uber and/or a truck I can use for hotshot driving. The last two are a way to provide me income when there aren’t any jobs like the one I’m going on available. I think I’d rather go with the truck/hot shot job because I can steadily feed my car addiction. Take a load of generators to Texas, come back with this on the flat bed: https://austin.craigslist.org/cto/d/1973-toyota-corona/6469462277.html

    In other words, I’m all for owning multiple vehicles if you can swing it. For me, loving older cars, its best to have a backup or two. If the Taurus had a major issue, right now, I’m stuck at home or with borrowing cars. Also, my back requires an automatic be available to me, yet I long for driving a manual again. The best way to accomplish this is to have an automatic car (Taurus) and a manual car I can drive when I feel like it (likely a Honda product, but maybe something like the Benz I posted above). I also go camping and fishing a lot, so having a 4wd truck/SUV in the stable makes sense.

    When I had a lot of cars, I normally rotated through them and drive them all fairly often. I also loan them to friends and family (most often the 4 cylinder Tempo and the Lumina on the list I made above), so that keeps their wheels turning and their battery charged.

    I love it, and I miss having a variety to choose from. Reminds me of a lyric from an old Eminem song: “never know what kinda car I’ll be in…” (the second part about “follow you around to every bar you attend” doesn’t apply, lol).

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’d say a lot of it depends on how much you’ll actually drive the truck for regular driving and how soon that 24′ trailer and race car are in the future. If you don’t plan on using the truck as a commuter and that 24′ trailer is in the near future then I’d lean to a 3/4 ton extended or crew cab 8′ bed truck. It will be a better tow rig and if that is making up a large percentage of the use then it would be a better long term choice.

    If you do expect to use it as a commuter then the 1/2 ton will be easier to live with on a daily basis and will tow the load.

    Either way while the depreciation is low on trucks I couldn’t justify the purchase of a new one for occasional use. You’ll make out just fine purchasing a slightly high mile 3 year old truck, using it lightly and then have a truck with only “average” or low miles in 2-5 years.

    For the commuter car since you’ve been doing the Insight the two choices that come to my mind are the C-Max and Prius. You can’t beat the Prius’ mix of cost of ownership, durability and reliability, but it not exactly a fun to drive car. If fun to drive and good MPG is a concern then the C-Max is a good choice. It has a competent chassis and ditching the factory LRR A/S tires for a set of UHP A/S or summer tires (with winter tires for the winter) will really allow you to get the most out of the car. So you give up a bit in the MPG for a much better drive all around. Because they are unloved and many were leased they are very cheap 2-3 years old, and they have proven to be reliable and durable.

    If you want something a little more fun to drive then a used Miata or Mustang is hard to beat in the fun per $$ factor but I’d pair it with the 1/2 ton crew cab to have a comfortable vehicle for carrying more than 1 passenger and 4wd for when the snow gets serious.

  • avatar
    TW5

    There is an old proverb for buying work trucks: Don’t put your money in a work truck, unless your money comes from a work truck. In other words, unless towing/hauling is your hobby, don’t get silly with your money.

    If Nick wants a “tow pig”, he should type 2500/3500 or 250/350 into Craigslist. Personally I like the GM 6.6L Duramax diesels with the Allison transmissions. They will go 300,000 miles without breaking a sweat, and 5 year old examples with 100,000 on the odometer will go for $20,000-ish. Some of them are even gooseneck-ready so they can handle intense heavy-duty towing. Plus, the long beds are so large, you can fit at cart setup in the bed, and still have enough power and payload to pull a large trailer.

    Anyway, everyone has their own preferences, but I’d be looking 3/4 ton, and I wouldn’t bother myself with accoutrements. Plus, these trucks are really easy to jettison b/c dealers know how to swamp them and get rid of them. Weary-looking half tons that have been strained by tow-duty are less interesting, though it may depend upon the local market.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    It sounds like the truck will only be used to tow the race car and/or transport the karts.

    If that’s the case, why not look at a late model van. An E350, GMC Savana, or Chevy Express will do everything you need it to and should be cheaper to buy. As a bonus, tools and other sundry items can be kept behind locked doors and in a pinch you can sleep in it.

    It’s also possible (I haven’t checked) that the newer style vans have fallen enough in price to make them feasible as well but I’m not sure how much they can tow.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I love me some vans – particularly the Transit – but it would be more of a co-daily driver than a tow pig.

      Passenger Transits top out around 5500; Cargo Transits top out around 7500, so it would make a nice tow vehicle (Winding Road Racing uses one). On the forums, no one has a clear answer for why Ford de-rated the passenger version as suspension and drivelines are interchangeable.

  • avatar
    baggins

    Have 3 cars.

    2017 Accord Hybrid – Leased, drive to work everyday. Looks professional yet modest. Quiet (except up hill) and comfortable. Gets 42-48mpg. Price was 25.6K and 0.9% interest on lease

    2014 Odyssey EX for my wife. Carries a lot of kids and kid stuff. Cost me 28.8K new. Good deal

    2004 Toyota Sienna – Spent first 10 years /100k miles of its life as kid hauler and family ride. Was retired to hauling and 3rd car duty with purchase of the 2014 Odyssey

    Great versatility:Middle seats are permanently stowed underneath house, so in 10 seconds to fold the 3rd row I get a covered space to haul 4 by 8 plywood, sundry home improvement stuff. Hauls bicycles either inside (1 or 2 bikes) or up to 4 bikes on rack on 2 inch trailer hitch. I can also carry 4-5 people easily when a main car is in shop.

    Having an old minivan around is better than a truck, in my view, unless you need to tow toys or carry heavy loads often. The ability to have your stuff covered, and not have to unload right away is nice, as the ability to flip to passenger duty. Plus its an 8 foot long space in the back, not many trucks with 8 foot bed these days.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m at two houses and five cars and extremely happy about the situation. Maine winters suck, and Maine taxes suck even more. Florida summers suck, but being a Florida resident feels like a gift from Dog in the tax department, and the winters are delightful. So a modest place in FL to be based from 9 months a year, and summers in Maine when the weather is nice. My job merely requires I be reasonably close to an airport.

    Driving back and forth sucks, so my BMW wagon stays semi-retired in Maine with a new GTI Sport living in Florida. The toys, Land Rover Disco I and Triumph Spitfire, will stay in Maine until I have more garage space down South. When they will probably STILL stay in Maine and some other toys will take up residence in Florida. Finally, Mom wanted to spend winters in FL too and can’t drive a stick anymore, so a dirt-cheap Saab 9-5 Aero autotragic was acquired for Mom and airport beater service, since I don’t want my GTI spending 3/4 of its life sitting in the FL sun at RSW.

    The tax savings vs. being a Maine resident more than pays the mortgage on the place in Florida. Two housemates in Maine nearly cover the mortgage there, and it’s almost paid for anyway. My master plan is to build the garage with detached house of my dreams in FL in a few years when the Maine house is paid off, and keep my current FL place as a rental property. I hope to have it paid for in about five years as well.

    For the question at hand, IMHO trucks should be trucks, not Cowboy Cadillacs. If you can’t hose it out you are doing it wrong. So buy the least most basic truck that will get the job done and buy something else nice to drive everyday. My Disco pulls a 6500lb+ boat every summer just fine. It just doesn’t pull it quickly. I wouldn’t tow it any faster with a diesel dually anyway.

  • avatar
    Robert

    There are limits to how much thin slicing you can do. Some combination of personal economics, garage space, local HOA nannies, and self image all impact that decision.

    For me, the answer is two cars for myself. Four for the household of a teen and a long-term lease with a walk away clean clause girlfriend.

    A Tacoma Double Cab does a remarkable enough job for #1, #2, and #4 on my list, where offroafing is limited to the poorly maintained fire service roads of the PNW. It is the only vehicle I’ve bought new, and the only one I will drive into the dirt.

    The other is a recurring progression of toys: Corvettes, BMW’s, Porsche’s, currently an SL550. Never new, always looking for the crossover point where deprepreciation shallows and before the inevitable “I can afford the payments, but not the maintenance” ownership cycle tanks the quality.

    For me, that balance works fantastically.

    #

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I had two cars in my 20s… three in my 30s… and 4 in my 40s… in my 50s, I’m back to three… but that’s because I got a dog & have less time to care for my “other” babies. It all depends on your priorities. I seem to rotate through vehicles constantly. Currently, my “daily” is an ’08 Mercury Grand Marquis (34k miles)… a sentimental purchase (my grandfather’s last car). For hauling the dog/camping/towing duty, I have a ’16 Ram 2500 crew cab short bed 6.4L hemi. My weekend toy is a 2004 Corvette Z06 with 9300 miles on it. I’m always on the lookout for my next purchase. Would love to have another ’86 Mustang GT convertible, but a Focus ST would also be fun… will just have to see how the finances work out.

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