QOTD: Overspending Overtures?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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qotd overspending overtures

It happens to the best of us. Entranced by bigger tires or more horsepower or louder sound, we gearheads are susceptible to bouts of fiduciary myopia. Plugging a stereo system worth two grand into a knackered old Cavalier? Sure! Paying handsomely for a lift kit even though the old Silverado has rust holes like swiss cheese? Let’s go!

We’re all prone to the odd bit of automotive profligacy. Mine, perhaps surprisingly, involves a Ford Escort and some subwoofers.

In years prior to the likes of Ram pickups and GMC Sierras darkened your author’s driveway, a series of terrible Ford econoboxes passed through these hands. One of them was a then seven-year old 1992 Escort station wagon, resplendent in faded blue and sporting a five-speed manual transmission. I can’t imagine they made very many of them in that powertrain configuration, even in the 90s. Regardless, it was mine. Or at least partly mine. I went halves on the purchase price with my father.

After taking possession of the ignition key with a strange triangular head (remember, this was the height of the Ford/Mazda mashup), I marched down to Future Shop — think Best Buy before that company bought the place — and was sent into immediate sticker shock by the cost of Sony subwoofers and Alpine decks. A hasty trip to the local pawn shop revealed prices that were much more my speed.

Sure, it was a terrible waste of money but I was promptly able to shake the license plate off that little Escort and trigger car alarms in the tight confines of the streets of downtown St. John’s. The wide-open nature of a wagon, instead of having the woofers tucked away in a trunk, ensured that I now ask most people to repeat themselves. Remarkably, nothing ever got ripped off.

How about you? What was your biggest automotive waste of money?

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Sep 24, 2019

    The only audio upgrade I've ever done was swapping a CD player Ford factory radio into my CVPI, that cost only $12. Good music doesnt need fancy audio systems. Plus, I don't want anyone breaking into my car.

  • Newenthusiast Newenthusiast on Sep 24, 2019

    I'm probably going to get criticized for this from those of you who seem to hate all season tires, but when I lived in Delaware and had the Q7, I had good all seasons, but still put on real winter tires. It was such a beast in the foul cold weather (and it helps that most od Delaware is flat). So my all seasons were really 3 season tires. But that wasn't the waste of money, since it was the family car and road trip vehicle. No, the waste of money was on the UHP winter tires (plus the -1 size on rims I needed to buy, plus installation fees, etc) that my wife's 135 needed. She was a convert after seeing how they helped the Q7. She demanded the best winter tires we could afford......and promptly drove my Q7 to work every day there was snow or ice or rain in the winter. And since school was usually cancelled (my kids took the bus anyway), I was always home with the kids and the 135 stayed in the garage. I think those winter tires had a total of 1500 miles on them when we moved to a place where we didn't need them (now in Hawaii). And all those miles where on dry days where a good all seasons would have sufficed in the winter. $1500 for all 4 (plus installtion) and barely used. I think in that situation, all seasons for that car year round was probably the better bet.

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6.https://www.cars.com/research/toyota-camry-2005/I even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.