I’ve got more than enough Member Rides posts to fill an entire year and there are some great garages out there I can’t wait to feature. There are also some great stories and, if I’ve got a personal bias here, it’s that I prize a good story over everything. Today’s member, Rugger27, is retired and has a garage I think most of us would be happy to enjoy in our post-work years, featuring a cruiser, a bruiser, a surprisingly classy beater, and a unibody truck. Stick around, though, for an extremely clever way to get some extra beer money.
[Welcome to Member Rides. This is the weekly feature where we look at people who became members of the site by signing up here and parting with a little of their hard-earned dough to keep The Autopian going. Our plan is to do these every week! Today it’s Rugger27’s turn!]
Autopian: Alright, Rugger27, where do you live and what do you?
I’m a retired fund raiser (not for profits and political campaigns) and split my time between Midtown Manhattan and rural Connecticut
Autopian: Alright, a Nutmegger! How’d you get into cars?
I’ve been totally obsessed with cars since I can remember. Since I could talk I’d name every car make and year, even foreign marques… not so easy these days. My dad could fix anything automotive and I followed in his footsteps. I inherited his tools and passion for wrenching.
Autopian: Have you found wrenching to be advantageous in any particular situation?
I’ve always been handy and acquired every conceivable tool from my dad over the years. In college, I had a 1968 VW bug and did all my own maintenance. In those days, VWs were plentiful in Southern California among college student so I made a small fortune tuning Beetles and VW Vans. I could do a valve adjustment and valve cover gasket replacement by feel and convinced everyone that they were needed every 3,000 miles (ensuring that I never ran low of beer money.)
Autopian: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! It seems like some of those skills translated into your career. What’s in the fleet now?
A 1998 Cadillac Deville Concours, a 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, a 2023 Honda Ridgeline, and a 2007 Infiniti G35.
Autopian: I’ve really come around to this style of Caddy? How’d you get it? What are your thoughts on the Northstar V8?
I ordered it new in 1998. Kept it for three years, then when I moved to Hawaii sold it to my father. Dad died last year so it was mine once again. I drove it from San Diego to Connecticut last summer and it ran flawlessly and now has 37k on the clock. I bought the car after Cadillac bought back my one year old very problematic Catera (paid me what I paid for it new) under the condition that I replace it with a Cadillac. Ive never had any problem with the Northstar, but with so few miles I’d imagine that it will serve me well as a garage kept semi classic… but I’m aware of the Northstar horror stories out there.
Autopian: Smart! Have you modded the LC yet?
Haven’t made any mods to the Land Cruiser. It’s a pretty solid rig and we got it to tow our Airstream.
Autopian: A lovely Airstream, btw! Couldn’t help but notice that in the pics. What about the Ridgeline and the Infiniti? I’m a fan of both of vehicles.
The Infiniti is our daily driver and has all the dents and dings that cars acquire living in Manhattan (we spend week days in New York City and weekends in Connecticut) It creeks and groans but keeps on going.
We just bought the Ridgeline, so with less than 100 miles on it I cant say too much. We’ve wanted a pickup since we traded our Tundra in for the Land Cruiser, so this was the perfect pick for us and expect to keep it until the wheels fall off.
Autopian: So what’s in your dream garage?
A totally stock Imperial from the late ’50s, any Chevy wagon from the ’60s, and my daily finds on Bring a Trailer.
Autopian: Right on. Thanks for being a member and please check-in every 25,000 miles on the Caddy.
If you’re a member and want to be highlighted please check your email for a link to a survey you can fill out. If you don’t want to be featured, that’s also fine. If you want to become a member go here.
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Everyone that bought a Catera new deserved a refund.
…but, they zigged! 🙁
Nice fleet. How often do you get to take the Airstream out and have you done any long adventures? We get out about 5-6 times a year, but are still working full time. I want to go on a longer adventure and take 1.5 to 2 weeks off (or maybe work minimally from the road), but it’s hard to line up the time away.
Isn’t that always the dilemma? Retired or working it’s always a struggle to find time to hitch up and take off. We just have to get our calendars out and make road time a priority. Good luck. Can’t ever get enough time in the Airstream!
We picked up a 23′ Airstream almost 2 years ago and I agree. We can’t ever get enough time in it. It’s been our dream for a while to get one and we were finally able to make it happen. It’s winterized in the backyard right now, and I am counting the days until spring.
Nice fleet, particularly that Caddy!
I too have reevaluated the style, and have been liking that era more and more (along with the Lincoln Town Car)…the wide and low stance really stands out on the road now in our sea of tall and thin SUVs, and they have a cool sorta not-too-distant future look about them.
“If you’re a member and want to be highlighted please check your email for a link to a survey you can fill out.”
I’m a little confused by this; I’ve not seen a survey but then I’ve only been a member for a few weeks?
I need to resend it out, actually. Thank you for the reminder!
That’s a nice fleet, well done!
There are kits to fix the head bolt issue on the Northstars. I have no idea how expensive they are, but it might be worth looking into to preserve that car. They’re very nice cruisers as long as the Northstar doesn’t die.
There are some of these fixes (switching from bolts to studs, I believe) detailed on YouTube (CarWizard comes to mind). Labor to get it done correctly would probably add quite a bit to the cost of the kit, but it does seem worth it when the car is that nice.