Follow by Email


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Extremely Cheap Cars

I once bought an old Dodge wagon with the 318 engine for fifty dollars because the junk yard only offered the previous owner thirty five. It had a blown torque converter and the engine had lifter noise. A cheap can of additive solved the hydraulic lifter issue. A buddy at work found a torque converter in a vehicle abandoned in a farmer’s field. I did the work in my dad’s backyard. The car, after repairs, still cost less than one hundred dollars.

Unfortunately the gas gauge never worked. One cold night it left me stranded a long walk from home. That was it, time to trade the car in. We had driven it for two years by then anyway.

My lovely wife and I bought the first new car of our marriage. It wasn’t much of a car, a Dodge Omni with the four speed manual transmission and the gutless 1.6 liter Peuguet engine. The car was cheaply made; it didn’t even have a radio. We drove that thing for 10 years and it was falling apart: rust, broken door handles, and a host of niggling mechanical issues. One day my lovely wife got into an accident with a tractor trailer fuel hauler. She totaled the truck, so you can imagine what the car looked like. She was lucky to survive with minor injuries.

Over the years we’ve owned way too many junk cars. At least we aren’t buying Dodges anymore. Probably the best car we ever owned was an old Mercedes 240 D. It was very old when we bought it with 100,000 miles on the odometer. I converted it to run on waste vegetable oil and we put an additional 400,000 miles on it.

All I ever wanted from a car was transportation. It’s not about ego. I don’t have to have a big fancy lifted 4X4 to compensate for my short comings. Cars just don’t excite me, especially new cars. They cost too much money and are poorly made. While the best car I ever owned was that Mercedes, I would not buy a newer one. They are now over engineered with too many computers and too much cheap plastic.

While I had fun running four different diesel vehicles on waste veggie oil, that’s come to an end too. Newer diesels are too complicated and don’t convert well. Then there’s the issue that waste veggie is no longer free and harder to get.

So what’s in my future? With my budget, maybe walking. My lovely wife is currently driving a very cheap Nissan Versa Note with a manual transmission. I’ve got that 2004 Chevy Blazer for the main purpose of towing my boat. When those are gone, I’m just not sure. Maybe we’ll spend half the year living on a sailboat and not needing a car. For the other half? It’s anyone’s guess. Maybe there will be cheap reliable used electric cars on the market? Maybe the whole car thing will be over and we’ll be back to horses.



  1. Replies
    1. They aren't that fun to drive. Not too cheap either. :)

  2. Thing is , for horses to once again be practical. Most of the human population needs to go...otherwise all the horses will get eaten by the hoards of the starving.

    1. Like that old saying goes: If wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak.

  3. I can relate..sad fact that economical well made cars are getting hard to find. But the electric car market will be worse. Think battery replacement. The "engine".
    Only so many recharges before you need to spend thousands of dollars on a new one.I heard some Tesla's are pushing the needle to 20,000 bucks. Then the disposal of the battery becomes an environmental problem. Not to mention the regular mechanicals wearing out like a non electric car. And electronics like sensors and control modules ? A bloody fortune...

    1. Batteries have always been the downfall of the electric car. Huge progress has been made and a lot of money is pouring into research and development. Much of it can be recycled.

      Regular cars are full of electronics that are dodgy right now. We have the worse of both worlds.

  4. No way on horses because where is all the HS going to go ? Before cars became prevalent in NYC way back when, the HS piling up in the streets was a crisis.
    AND add all that HS to what's coming outa DC now ??!!

    1. Like Spud pointed out, horses are good to eat. So much for that idea. :)