Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thinking About Getting Some New Wheels

I’m a big car guy. I’ve always got the itch to get something new, but I never pull the trigger. I read the magazines, on-line articles and generally notice cool cars. I am also a big ole cheap ass and don’t want a car payment. We’ve gone the past 2 years without a payment and the maintenance has been reasonable on Stacie’s Maxima and my truck. We won’t discuss the bike, that is a toy and has it’s own place in the budget. As much as I like putting money in the bank, I think I am ready to get my first new car. As I search for my next vehicle, I’ll tell you more than you wanted to know.

My first car was a 1979 Buick Regal and we were both born in the same decade. I got it when, during my senior year of high school, Dad bought a brand new Monte Carlo SS for his new young wife. They gave me her old car when I headed to Auburn and it delivered me through college and my first summer in Atlanta. This car was a testament to old American sturdiness. It ran to about 200,000 miles and I never spent more than $400 on any repairs thanks to the money my Dad dropped in it before he gave it to me. By the time I traded it for my 1991 Acura Integra, it was looking more than it’s years. Crashing it in to a state park late one night didn't help it's appearance. It never failed me to get me to my destination. Sure I couldn’t listen to the radio, run the A/C or heat, the headliner was held up with staples and I had a hole in my muffler that prevented me from ever sneaking in late, but it would always run. It was a great first car, but one summer of working in Atlanta, driving across the top end of the perimeter every day with no A/C, was all it took. I had to get something newer and nicer.

In the fall of ’93 I traded in the Regal and my ’86 Honda Magna. With these trade-ins and my first car loan, I bought my dream car, a white ’91 Acura Integra LS Special with manual transmission, sunroof, and a rear spoiler. This was a car I had wanted since it came out in it’s first edition in the late 80’s. My best friend had a Prelude that I thought was awesome and it was a similar car but with different styling. In fact I almost bought a Prelude SI with 4 wheel steering, but got turned down for financing at the dealership. Oddly enough, the Acura dealership had no problem selling me the Integra even though it was more than the other dealer wanted for the Honda. Go figure. The Integra was very fun to drive, nice looking and reliable. This car served me very well for the next 8 years and I really hated to see it go. It was accumulating the miles and I knew the repair bills would start becoming more than I wanted to spend on an older car. We had just bought a house and felt we needed a truck, so I sold it to an eager teenager and bought the ’00 Ranger.

My Ranger is nice looking and roomy with the 2 rear suicide doors. The main purpose for this purchase was to haul crap to and from the home improvement centers. The problem with it is, it has never excited me to drive it. It is just basic utilitarian transportation with a weak engine and low gas mileage. I have had it for 6 years and I’m about ready to get something more fun or a different truck with 4 full size doors and a bigger engine that still gets crappy gas mileage.


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