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How Many Cars Is Too Many?

Autopian Asks Too Many Cars
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We all dream of having our own fleet of cars, but eventually, building a stable of cars can feel overwhelming. Maybe the maintenance is too much to take, maybe insurance is a heartbreaker, maybe you’re just running out of space, maybe you have other commitments in life, or maybe you just want to enjoy everything you own. Most people will find that it’s possible to own too many cars, so today we want to ask what you’d consider to be too many.

I think my realistic maximum is three cars. One for winter, one for summer, one for autocross, track days, and any gaps not filled by the others. At that point, my monthly insurance bills would add up to the payment on a new Corolla, I’d still be able to maintain a decent ratio of DIY to farm-it-out, and there’s some hope that all three will work most of the time. Having a consistently working large fleet of cars that works can be a challenge, as Jason detailed in 2022.

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Mind you, the maximum number of cars varies for everyone. Our own Mercedes has a fleet well in the double digits, and David has all manner of vehicles in his possession, some of which even run. In contrast, I know people who will only ever need or want one car in their possession at any one time.

So, how many cars is too many for you, and what makes that number too many? I’d love to read your answers, as ever, in the comments section below.

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(Photo credits: David Tracy, Jason Torchinsky)

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Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago

Three has always felt like the right number. Something sporty, something utilitarian, and something comfy. Some combination therein. More than that gets cumbersome.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

I currently live alone and can only have two cars at my apartment complex, so the target is two. Current DD is a Prius v and I hope to get a conversion van. That’s about it.

Long term goal would probably just be those two plus a Miata, and/or some EV.
My goal 3-4 car garage.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago

1-2 reliable daily vehicles, shouldn’t be a project car. Depending on if you live with another driver.

1 larger truck, SUV, Minivan/Van, etc.. that you don’t give a shit about cosmetically and you can save money on insurance for hauling shit, camping, bad snow days, etc.

1 Project vehicle of the owners choice

So 3-4 vehicles max is my opinion.

Can you have the project car or the hauling shit car/truck be a daily? You can… but I did that and hated it because of my long commute.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bizness Comma Nunya
Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
2 months ago

My fleet tends to hover in the 6-8 area, but that’s for 2 people. Two daily drivers, two racecars, two weekend play cars, and two projects. Currently, we’re down a daily, which means other cars have to take up the slack, but that should be corrected soon and balance shall return to the fleet. I would argue a pickup/tow rig would be a good addition though. In general, I would say the upper limit would be however many a person can handle while still managing to drive/maintain/insure them all.

DDayJ
DDayJ
2 months ago

I own six and it’s too many. One good (wife’s V60 CC wagon; newish and under warranty for six more years), one ok (E90 335xi six speed that needs to go, but six speed) and four presentable shit boxes (two track/fun projects – Boxster S and BMW 330 ZHP, old Jeep XJ for snow and mountains, 82 Toyota truck for truck). At some point I’ll probably 86 the two Bimmers but haven’t brought myself to that yet. Thankfully for me storage isn’t a huge issue.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago

I have 2 that are DDs, and no space for a project at this time.

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
2 months ago

I’m going with 3-4. My wife insists 2, which means we only have 2 functioning cars at any given time though. My choice would be a family car, which with three kids means minivan. Then the sports car of course, preferably Miata because that’s always the answer, then a bad weather sedan of some sort. If there’s a 4th then it’s gotta be a motorcycle, for me the go to would be a Triumph Thruxton.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

One for each slot:
– Truck (as in pick-em-up, with a bed and muck-boot ready vinyl interior)
– Four-seater, ideally hot hatch/sedan/wagon, currently unoccupied
– Two-seater for twisties and DD duty when it won’t fit in a backpack
– Sportbike, for DD
– Cafe racer/cruiser(?) To yin the sportbike yang from to time, currently unoccupied

Donner
Donner
2 months ago

For us, 4 is too many. We keep a fleet of 3 at most times. My husband has a daily Honda, i have a 25yr old Miata that runs perfectly and I just got a new CX-5 as my daily. We have his deceased mother’s 2001 Toyota Corolla that we are selling shortly. So, 3 is just right…

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago

At least one reliable daily driver for the wife and me = 2.

No more than one project at a time = 3.

Beyond that, whatever you can afford/store.

Personally, I would stop buying cars when I see some in my driveway not being driven enough. That’s probably around 3-4 fun cars, so total would be in the neighborhood of 6-7. Beyond that, it just seems wasteful. Get rid of the ones you’re no longer enjoying.

Racingtown
Racingtown
2 months ago

I’m going with 3. Two daily drivers and a rusty TJ Jeep that comes out on nice days. I do have 7 or so bicycles that get ridden at various times throughout the year. Bikes take up much less space.

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
2 months ago

It depends on the level of ‘project’. Right now, the house fleet has 4 cars: my accord, mustang, and Comanche, and my wifes Gladiator.

The gladiator and accord are just daily runabouts. No real maintenance to do, and easy. My mustang is a minor project at this point. No real.major work needed- needs balljoint replacements but thats from age. Jeep is the biggest project.

Its storage thats the problem. Jeep is at dads. Mustang stays here. Other 2 are driveway queens. Storage limits cars before willpower.

Abe Froman
Abe Froman
2 months ago

Two daily drivers (one for my wife and one for me) and one project. If I wasn’t married it would be one Daily and one project. Whether that project is a car, boat, train, plane, what have you- is irrelevant. I believe cars and projects should be enjoyed. Have one. Enjoy it. Don’t enjoy it? Sell it and move on. Want a new project? Get rid of the one you have. This works well for my marriage and myself.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
2 months ago
Reply to  Abe Froman

Want a new project? Get rid of the one you have. This works well for my marriage and myself.

So which project marriage are you on now? 🙂

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

I would say fleet size depends on space available to park them and time available to drive and service them. Detroit area David Tracy had too many. I probably have all I can handle with 3 cars in the driveway and street, and two motorcycles and my assorted human powered stuff in the garage. I have enough weekends to service the beaters and bikes and almost enough time to ride in the good weather. Others have more space or time to have more cars

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago

It’s going to be different for each person based on your own situation. The answer is how many you can afford to keep properly maintained and roadworthy without straining yourself financially and how many you can park/store properly without causing negative impact on your living area or undue damage to the cars.

For someone like Jay Leno, there’s almost no practical limit, he’s got the resources to keep a vast collection immaculately maintained and, frankly, also has the time and lifestyle to be able to drive them all on some sort of a regular/rotating basis.

For someone who, say, lives in a townhouse with a one car garage and a tiny driveway, the answer is going to be more like 2 or 3 cars, tops.

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
2 months ago

I am at 4 and a camp trailer between my wife and I. 2 daily drivers, my truck, and my Miata. I’d be okay consolidating the Truck and the Daily and getting another bucketlist car or something to restore.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
2 months ago

Here’s the proper formula for vehicle ownership: N + 1, where N is the current number of vehicles owned.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
2 months ago

Wait I thought it was (Age / 2) + 7.

TheNewt
TheNewt
2 months ago

Was looking for this. Same formula for the cycling obsessed… How many bikes in the quiver?

Alexk98
Alexk98
2 months ago

3 is too much currently, although I snuck by with 4 for a week while waiting on a buyer. At that point it was 2022 CX-30, 1990 Miata, 1982 MB 300CD, and 1970 VW Squareback. Now back to just the two Mazdas and it is infinitely less stressful. If I had more than one garage space, I’d absolutely have 3-4 cars, but alas that day is not yet here.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
2 months ago

Liking cars is similar to liking cats: hoarding too many of them in terrible condition at your home is just robbing them of a better life in someone else’s care. (This is the part where I lovingly but pointedly stare daggers at half the Autopian staff).

If you’re doing maintenance because of time-induced degradation rather than mileage-induced degradation, you have too many cars. For me, three is my max. One daily, one weekender, and one project. I was briefly at four and rapidly started losing sanity trying to keep track of repairs.

Tim Beamer
Tim Beamer
2 months ago

The Mrs. and I have 3. Her Acura is her daily. I split time (based on weather and other factors) between the Bronco and the Cayman. I think it’s perfect as if one needs to be down for repairs, we still each have a set of wheels. One more would mean something has to get parked in the yard (no good).

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago

I have four cars, a one-car garage, and a one-lane driveway. That means at least one car has to park in the street at pretty much all times. I already rarely get my Triumph out of the garage because there’s always something blocking it. Not that it’s a huge hassle to move that one car, but it’s enough of one to make me go “eh, not this time” more often than I’d like.
All that to say that I’ve probably got one more car than is really practical.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Just as you’ve said, my personal feeling is that if you can’t get it out easily, then you’re really not going to drive it as much as it needs you to. I don’t understand garage storage lifts; I guarantee you whatever you put up there will get driven twice a year if you’re lucky.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
2 months ago

I’m at about my limit with 4, that said though only 2 of them are technically “mine”… One is the work truck, one is my wife’s Subaru so those kind of don’t count?

That leaves me with the ‘08 Mustang and the ‘73 D100. Neither of which I would want to daily so if I change jobs I’ll end up with some little beater runaround. That’s about my limit, I start feeling bad when they sit more than they are driven.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
2 months ago

We’ll I have 6 and would be happy with 2-3 more. An enclosed trailer doesn’t count right? Motorcycles count, cause I would love to also get an old bike just to cruise around town and maybe also a nice e-Scooter? Without the trailer I would really get an itch for a truck. Insurance can be an issue for some, people are shocked when I tell them how much I pay for insurance. Though in 9yrs when my 2 kids will be driving I will likely be at 9-10 around that time.

Isis
Isis
2 months ago

Two motorcycles, one hotrod, one DD family car (wife’s) and a truck make up my toybox. It feels just right, but a second DD/commuter has been on my mind. . . BRZ/86 comes to mind.

488Magnum
488Magnum
2 months ago

8 was too many for me. 6.25 is acceptable. Only 1 dead one at a time. I am space limited and can make this work.
1999 Ram 2500, 1990 Suburban, 1961 Jeep CJ5, 1981 D150, 2018 Ram 1500, 2023 Crosstrek, plus a motorcycle.

Last edited 2 months ago by 488Magnum
Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago
Reply to  488Magnum

Oh, come on. Surely the Crosstrek counts for more than 1/4 of a car.

488Magnum
488Magnum
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

It is the wife’s so maybe not?

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