My life as a free-rider.


David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    “If cars were designed for people like you, people who buy a new car every twenty years, they’d cost $135,000 for the base model.”

    I find this unlikely.  It sounds great if you’re a car salesman, though.  Every car I’ve ever owned has lasted 10+ years without breaking the maintenance/replacement cost point.  He’s saying that increasing the reliability range 10 years is going to quadruple the cost of production?

    Somehow I doubt it.  Now, they might try to *charge* as if they were $135K for the base model… but just because you have an $N billion dollar market today doesn’t mean that the “natural” size of said market is $N billion.

    On the other hand, there would probably be fewer really large car companies.Report

  2. Avatar David Ryan says:

    “He’s saying that increasing the reliability range 10 years is going to quadruple the cost of production?”

    That’s plainly not what he’s saying; nor what I’m saying.

    When we bought our Volvo it was 12 years old, so clearly the 10 year barrier of reliability is not an issue. That we could get a reliable, luxurious car for $4,000 might be an issue.

    What kind of issue that might be is the concern of this post.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      OH, I get it.

      Wait, maybe I don’t.  Are you saying that if someone made a reliable, luxurious car that lasted for twenty years… that you’d therefore not be able to buy one on the used market for $4,000, because they wouldn’t be available?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        I think the point is that so many fewer new cars would be made that the economies of scale in production would diminish substantially.  The 4x figure shouldn’t be taken literally, but the concept that cars would be more expensive may be reasonable.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan says:

          Yes, something like that.

          I guess what was on my mind is there’s a sort of self-righteous smugness in this post, or in my cashmere sweater post that’s a not too distant cousin from the self-righteous smugness in posts about heritage turkeys and what not, and I wanted to think about the tendency to draw the frame of reference most flattering to the choices we’re predisposed to make.



  3. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    David, after reading this post, I now like you. It doesn’t matter if you like me, btw.

    My first car was a ’64 and a half Mustang. I bought my wife a new Firebird in ’73, it cost $4300 and we were paying $75/month payments and thought that outrageous, so we dumped the car and bought a ’65 Buick with a bad ball joint (I paid $500 for it) and ran it for two years.

    I owned one of those three cylinder cars Chevy/Toyota made and ran if for 250,000 miles and junked after the hood blew off. I loved that little car. I owned a Renault and got the same mileage on it and would still be running it but she ran through a herd of deer, striking two. I’m currently driving a Prizm with 300,000 miles on it. Cars are like women, you get used to them and you don’t wanna get rid of ’em. I’m retired now and wanna build a garage where I can strip down VW’s-bugs, and rebuild them from the ground up. And, never, ever buy a new car again.Report

    • Avatar David Ryan says:

      One of the reason I hired the fellow who responded to this post is because amongst other things he had restored a VW squareback. A very detail oriented fellow he is, which is good, because I am not, at least not the make it pretty details.

      It’s a good thing for us somebody buys new cars.Report

  4. Avatar James Hanley says:

    I’m also a confirmed member of the buy-used club.  I have bought two new cars in my life, one of which I traded in after 5 years for the other, not to upgrade but because I needed more room for a growing family.  That second one (a Subaru Forester) will be driven until the wheels fall off (having replaced a wheel bearing and, just recently, the rear axles, that’s more than just a figure of speech).  But in retrospect I should not have bought new then and can’t imagine doing so again.  Our second cars have been, in order, an old Subaru, a ’79 Dodge pickup, a ’73 Chevy Crewcab pickup (loved that truck), a ’93 Mercury Grand Marquis, and now a ’95 Chrysler Town and Country (the perfect family car).  Collectively, those used vehicles and their repairs were less than the cost of our bought-new Subaru Forester and its (blessedly few, but occasionally expensive) repairs.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan says:

      When I was younger, a friend’s dad was of the drive-it-until-the-wheels-fall-off sort. It was so bad that at one point the heater stopped working, and he was reluctant to fix it. It was winter in Ottawa. Nights would get into the -30s (celsius, but that’s arround -30 farenheit, as well). Eventually, he relented and fixed the heater. Finally, one day, the wheel actually fell off that old car.

      He had it put back on.Report