My life as a free-rider.
The first car I ever owned was a 1973 VW Kombi camper, purchased in 1989. I don’t know how many owners it had before I got it.
My second car was a 1976 Kombi camper; again number of previous owners unknown.
My third car was a 1992 Honda Civic CX, purchased new.
Before we met my wife owned a second-hand Ford Taurus she called Boris.
My and my wife’s first real estate purchase was a one bedroom coop in a building nearly 100 years old.
Our second real estate purchase was a 1300 square foot ranch-style house built in 1966.
Our first car was a 1988 Ford Mustang convertible. My mom bought it second hand from the pastor of the Presbyterian church in the town where I graduated from high school, and in 2001 my wife drove from Ashland OR to Montauk NY. She got home the night of Sept 10, 2001.
Our first car was a one-owner 1990 Volvo station wagon, purchase in 2002 after my Honda was wrecked in a collision.
Our third car wasn’t a car at all. It was a 1974 Chevy Sportscoach RV; again, provenance unknown. It got an appalling 8 miles to the gallon, but the interior was about as voluminous as our New York apartment. It was great for road trips.
We owned the Chevy, Volvo, and Ford simultaneously for about 2 years.
My first boat large enough to require registration with the State was a 1979 Catalina 38, purchased in 2007. I was the sixth owner.
Our sixth car, and the only one we still own is a 2005 Toyota Sienna minivan, purchase in 2008 under Toyota’s certified pre-0wned marketing scheme. Presently this is the only car we own.
The Volvo had been a very very nice car, certainly the nicest driving car I had ever owned, and I don’t like driving or cars very much at all. My wife, who likes driving could easily put in 12 hours behind the wheel and emerge from the cockpit showing little wear.
With this in mind, as our Volvo hit the costs-too-much-to-repair tipping point, and before the purchase of the Toyota I stopped in the Mercedes dealership in Southampton. The thought was, if the Volvo was so nice, maybe a Mercedes would be nicer. I was looking at the Mercedes R class. But the Mercedes was disappointing on two counts.
First of all, the new Mercedes didn’t drive any better than the 17 year-old Volvo, at least not in a way that I could perceive; and the interior was no more sumptuous. It didn’t seem like a good value proposition.
More importantly I didn’t like the body shape. I guess they wanted to make it “sportier” but rounding/cutting the corners reduced the usable interior volume by a lot; and though it made the car look sleeker, it didn’t actually improve it’s fuel economy.
I expressed my frustrations to the salesman, who in turn gave me a wonderfully lucid reply.
“Mr. Ryan, how often do you buy a new car?”
“Almost never. I’ve only bought one new car in my whole life.”
“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.” He didn’t say this with any condescension or snark. It was stated as a plain, non-judgmental fact. It was also obviously true.
“You’ve got a good point there…” What else could I say?
I do like the Sprinter (the five cylinder diesel gets excellent fuel economy for such a capacious vehicle), and had suggested it to my wife between the Honda and the Volvo. My wife was not interested.
Lately I’ve been seeing a little Ford work truck that appeals. I wonder what they go for used?