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Thread: George's Garage

  1. #11
    mAdminstrator Random's Avatar
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    One of the few wagons available at the time, other than the Subarus and German$ + sporty Mazda reputation = instant internet success.

    Got a few demerits for not being available with a manual (IIRC), but some bonus points for having the manual mode on the automatic shift the "correct" way (forward = downshift, back = upshift).
    Whoomah!

  2. #12
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    Did an elephant sit on that car?

    As you guys know I watch CL all the time but doing it for real is a different thing. I might not get much work done today...

    2004 Mazda MAZDA6 Sport Wagon s - Need An Affordable Used Car? - $6600

    Dual exhast looks cool.



    Small receiver hitch doesn't look like it towed yachts up and over the Rocky Mountains its whole life. No dents or trailer lights visible, either.



    Is it just me or is this an extra-small sunroof?



    This looks awesome for Mr. Suburban Dad to haul around stuff. And Random, you bring up a good point about doubling-up on SUV-type vehicles. That's why I figured I'd stick with an inexpensive sedan as a simple commuter car. But, it's fun to look around.



    To me, the only thing worse than a leather interior is a BLACK leather interior.



    We have a CarMax in the area now. I might have to ride over there and look around at these and other cars I just don't know much about.
    Last edited by George; April 20th, 2015 at 10:26 AM.

  3. #13
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    Not that you care, but I adore the 6 - though I probably wouldn't buy one personally. Too much meh to justify the cost to me. But I'd take one over any Japanese cute ute because those make me angry on a lot of levels. I sort of like the Element, but as a coworker who bought one for his wife put it, the number of times they used Element stuff (washed out the car, or stored ice in the back, or had a picnic) did not justify driving a box the rest of the time. It could be VERY different if you're more active, or because you live in a place where car interiors get messed up from snow & ice. That's obviously not a concern around here.

    I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again - I'd look strongly as domestic sedans. They are cheap and good. A ~2007+ Fusion or Milan or a Malibu or Impala is right in your price range and they are big, safe, totally ok vehicles. I'd probably also look at the Vibe & Matrix - you can get the 140hp version with AWD and a manual - though I don't think both at the same time! If you really want a cute ute, I think I'd probably look at a Jeep Liberty - they are also available with a manual. Morally reprehensible fuel economy, but real offroad cred.

    Or go find one of these:

    http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/4934041585.html

    and mix your desire for a cute ute with orphaned brand price adjustments and Honda power!

  4. #14
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    Hmmm. That redline thing is interesting, but I can't see ever buying a GM vehicle. I'm unreasonably biased, probably.

    2009 Chevrolet Impala low miles - super clean & below blue book - $7300

    This thing has 92,000 miles, which would make me say Perfect! on a Honda or Toyota but makes me nervous on a Chevy. How are American cars at 150,000 miles and beyond these days? All my life I've heard people say, "American cars are so much better these days" but I see my neighbors who drive American cars replacing them as often as ever.



    Looks like a police car to me.

    But if I'm going to drive an American car, I want a sofa-sized bench seat, column shifter, and no legroom-robbing console in the way. See also "Stickshifts And Safety Belts" by Cake.



    Of course, I might get in one of these and find it the most comfortable car ever. I remember having a Dodge Intrepid as a rental car once and, while stretched out in American full-size splendor, sighing contentedly and thinking, "Man, I gotta get one of these luxury boats!"
    Last edited by George; April 20th, 2015 at 11:11 AM.

  5. #15
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    I used to love those Intrepids. A friend of mine had the Eagle Vision version (remember Eagle???) and it was, how do they say, so choice. I rented an Intrepid with 100 miles on it back in the day for a road trip and broke it in at a buck twenty for four hours, three up in the front seat for no good reason except to weird people out by staring at them in unison as we passed. So much fun. I always thought I'd buy one, but they just didn't age very well.

    My opinion is that by the mid-1990s the big quality issues with most American cars had been largely worked out and they were mostly working on their presentation. There are definitely several examples of things just not working right for very long, but it wasn't like '80s domestics that were just waiting til you got off the lot to totally fall apart. Comparing my '89 SHO to my friend's '98 Taurus at the same point in time - 9 years later with 100k on them - was just unreal. The '89 was literally falling apart, and the '98 was actually a pretty reasonable car still! I'd *personally* give GM the nod in this era, because their powertrain department was doing very good things. The Ecotec fours are just damned good motors, and the High Value V6 as close to bulletproof as you could want. Ford's Duratec motors are a little more hassle. Let's not even talk about Chrysler. I suspect that the domestics will have some dumb things go wrong - like power locks or windows or something - that an Asian equivalent would not, but you save money up front and you save money on maintenance/parts and I think even after a few trips to the dealership you're probably still coming out ahead. Consider the same mid-grade Centric rotor for a 2006 Camry is $45, versus $25 for a Malibu. Things like that.

    I find those particular Impalas to be pretty dope. They are SO BLAND but mechanically quite good. They were pretty successful as police cars, and I think that speaks volumes about general long-term durability. I don't really understand anyone's car buying habits these days, but I suspect nobody keeps anything more than a few years regardless of what it is. There is a remarkably rigid system in place that governs most people: Buy new, pay off, trade in for peanuts, rinse, repeat. Everybody drank the koolaid, everybody thinks a car payment is part of life. We are outnumbered.

  6. #16
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    Also, I don't think I'd plan on an LTR with anything you're talking about. All cars are more complex and more costly to repair than they have been in the past and even with big leaps in reliability, eventually they gotta go away. Couple that with modern improvements in safety and economy and I really think the best plan of action is a 3-4 year relationship then move on. The numbers involved just don't work otherwise IMHO.

  7. #17
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    I didn't notice this in the ad for that blue Impala at first: "rear receiver hitch for bike rack"

    ...'80s domestics that were just waiting til you got off the lot to totally fall apart.
    My parents had an '83 Oldsmobile Diesel. I remember following my Dad to the dealership in my VW as the Olds spewed a cloud of white smoke so thick and large that we got pulled over by police on the way. Dad explained we were trying to get it directly to the dealership and the cop let him go. That car was only a couple/few years old when it died. They had a bunch of other shit-mobiles, too - Slant 6 mopars, a few Ford LTD variants, etc. But still Dad kept buying American. Now, at ages 82 and 78, they have just one car, and it's a late model Mercury Milan with AWD and a V6. I've driven it and thought it was okay - nothing special, but plenty of power to those WIDE tires, and my parents really like it. They've driven it all over the country in recent years and I can tell Dad is very pleased with it, and that's the most important thing.

    Oh, and another GM story: Once back in NC I was taking a sales trip with my boss and a man who turned out to be a very important mentor to me in my 20s. One day he was griping about his GM car in which the air conditioning had quit working for the zillionth time. We were driving from Charlotte to Raleigh in the summer time (that means hot and VERY humid) and he suggested we count cars with windows rolled down, indicating the A/C did not work. We discounted commercial vehicles and focused on passenger cars going the other direction on the Interstate. I forget the quantity or ratio of cars with windows down, but it was overwhelmingly GM vehicles with sweaty elbows resting on open window sills.

    I never forgot that, and I always notice at stop lights in traffic or on a quiet street when you hear a really shitty-sounding rattle-trap engine that's just clanging and banging and sounding past half-dead, it's ALWAYS a GM or Chrysler product. My Honda is about as quiet as a Prius and just runs and runs and runs and runs. My Camry was so quiet I'd have to check the tach to see if it was running sometimes.

    I'd never hear the end of it from my Dad if I bought something American, seeing as how I've been badmouthing his since I started learning about cars (about the time their Olds Diesel was made and I was full-on into car enthusiasm and Driver's Ed classes).

    They are SO BLAND but mechanically quite good. They were pretty successful as police cars, and I think that speaks volumes about general long-term durability
    I'm used to bland. And I confess I'm a fan of Ford Crown Vics for that same reaso n - apparently parts are cheap and plentiful and police and taxi garages seem to run these things forever. I'd look at them more seriously if they weren't RWD for snow considerations, although the police seem to get around in them okay with snow tires.

    My Dad would be envious if I bought this. He had a couple and loved 'em. I've driven his and one my mother-in-law used to own and found them supremely comfortable.

    Normally I don't like non-stock wheels, but these look good.

    2004 Mercury Grand Marquis LS Ultimate Edition - $6900

    "Car has 2006 Mustang GT wheels"


  8. #18
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    2004 Ford Crown Victoria - $4000

    I imagine you can drive as fast as you want on the highway in one of these.



    Hey! I could listen to all my old cassettes in this baby.



    Four grand, eh? Very interesting. The only problem other than RWD is one of these would kill the room we now have between cars in the garage. It would probably become door-ding city in there, especially with the kids.

  9. #19
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    Sorry to keep going on here, but I will probably post more than less here until I buy something.

    Maybe I should offer to sell my current car to this guy:

    "Honda Technician purchase and resell, no better way to get a mechanically sound car. Bought car with need of a clutch and T-Belt package and a laundry list of other concerns, please read list below. It has been gone through, head to toe."

    '99 Honda Accord EX 4dr Manual-$3900 OBO - $3900

    My current car's twin, except for the transmission.


  10. #20
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    Those Olds diesels were about the worst. GM had no idea how to make a diesel and man did it show. Quite possibly the worst engine GM ever made - and that's saying a LOT.

    But, car design is so good these days that I don't think you really have to worry much about major systems failures in cars in a normal service lifetime. Things like engines, transmission, brakes, and HVAC are all very well sorted. I really can't think of anything made in the last ten years that has a major known defect like cars used to have... like early Northstars crapping out head gaskets or Ford's awful AXOD transmissions. I think to a large degree the Underdesign vs. Warranty Concern balance has been struck, and a lucrative CPO market helps ensure cars remain reliable much longer than they used to. IME, the things that tend to have problems are dumb things, and things that aren't really expensive to fix - the Suburban's transfer case output shaft bearing or Jag's ABS module come to mind. Annoying, but not cripplingly expensive. I mean, even the POS Hyundai with its POS Mitsubishi transmission is going great at 160k. Sure it's a death trap, but it's a reasonably reliable death trap! What has changed is the cost of repairs when those systems do fail - $1000 AC systems or $5000 transmissions. Those are things you do not want, things you should expect at around 200k (200k is the new 100k!), and things to avoid. I wouldn't worry one iota about driving pretty much any ten year old car, but I would not want that same car in another 10 years.

    Crap, just thought of one. The electrical system in '06 PT Cruiser got cost cut and was horrible. Crap. Don't buy an '06+ PT Cruiser.

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