A couple years back I had contemplated what vehicle I would want to replace my 1995 Plymouth Neon with. It was a tiny car with the wear and tear a college student would put on it. I was that college student. I usually make the bad choice of deciding what car I want with a list of requirements that make finding the perfect candidate difficult amongst the rubbish selection of used cars. My Neon took six months to find because of four criteria: 4 doors, manual transmission, price range, and had to be a Neon. I actually liked the car I found though. It happened to be my favorite color, blue, and low mileage while fitting the boundaries of my search criteria.
The Neon would eventually show its age, and I evaluated how long it would be before the maintenance and repair costs exceeded the costs of insurance increases and payments for a newer car. My criteria changed: AWD, sporty, wagon storage, and something nicer than a college car. I eventually realized I was thinking of the nice car I got a ride in once during college. It was a 2004 Subaru Outback LL Bean edition. It was brand new then; now it would be listed with the used cars, if I could find one.
I was so intrigued by the options this trim had. The LL Bean Edition had the H6 engine from Subaru. A horizontally opposed six cylinder engine producing more power than the standard four banger in the Subies seen all over the Rocky Mountain states. The luxury trim also had a ground clearance that rivaled light duty trucks, a moonroof, premium sound, and heated leather seats. I don’t know why I wanted a wagon. I had this idea I would use it as a camping car. I’ve never camped in a car.
I applied for a car loan to be able to afford the six year old candidate. Fate would deny me credit. It was a time when the financial market was hesitant to loan money after the housing bubble collapsed. It was an unusual time; fate would lead me to another vehicle. Six months later for Thanksgiving, my father called and asked me to pick up a 1989 GMC Suburban, the one I still drive today. Even more curious, I would be perusing the local online car ads and looked at an old 1951 Chevy pickup advertised for $1100.
I was supposed to help my dad try to sell the Suburban in a different market since I lived in a different state. For a period of several weeks, I had three vehicles; that would be more than my roommates combined. Finally, I would sell the Neon. People wanted economical cars, not gas guzzling family haulers. I would also eventually put the old Chevy in storage until I could manage to get it road worthy. That was a sad lesson on impulse buying.
My current daily driver has over 350,000 miles, cloth seats, dents, dings, and twice the gas bill I had before. However, this was the car I took my driver’s test in. It was the family winter vehicle. It was my mom’s ride until my parents bought their fourth consecutive Impala. The Suburban has seen better days and is close to that stage again where investing in bringing it back to tip-top shape would be more than getting a newer car.
Look for Part 2, The Car I Want Now.