Home » I Was Totally Wrong About California Craigslist

I Was Totally Wrong About California Craigslist

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Making the move from Detroit to California is wild as a car enthusiast, because it’s a shift from one Motor City to another, and it wasn’t immediately clear to me which elements of car culture would be stronger where. So far, I’ve found that the junkyards in California offer much better vehicle options, though at ridiculous prices that make Michigan yards slightly better overall. In addition, I’ve found that, while the cars are nicer at California car shows, the car shows themselves aren’t as inclusive/accessible as they are in Michigan. But what about actually buying cars? Coming to California, I was almost certain that finding good deals in the state would be way, way tougher. For one, Michigan’s Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace was absolute fire, filled with smoking hot deals that pretty much fueled my life and career for a decade. Two, everything is expensive in California, so surely the cars are, too. But boy was I wrong. Way wrong. California’s Craigslist and Facebook Marektplace are the best on earth.

California is expensive. Rent for my two-bedroom apartment is over two grand, eating a meal for under $20 is borderline impossible if you’re not buying from a food truck, gas is $5.40 a gallon, taxes are ridiculous, and I could go on and on. Michigan, meanwhile, is cheap; I paid $835 a month for a two-bedroom, two-garage house on half an acre. That’s just amazing. Gas is currently $3.70 a gallon, you can get cheap food at Coney Island diners, taxes aren’t absurd — it’s an amazing place to live if you want space and nice things. And it’s also an amazing place to buy cars.

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Trust me, I would know. Buying cars was almost a monthly occurrence for me back when I lived in Troy, MI:

OK, so lots of my were crusty, but they were dirt cheap and still awesome despite their ferrous weight-savings. And did I mention they were dirt cheap? Because that’s the ticket, here. In Michigan, you can buy interesting cars for pennies.

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And you know what? You can do the same in California. Maybe the price “floor” is a tiny bit higher, but the value — the amount of car you get per dollar — is way, way better in LA, and I wasn’t expecting that.

Take my Jeep Wrangler YJ, which I bought for about $6000 once I sold the hardtop and full-doors it came with. Six grand. That’s an absolutely insane deal for a 4.0-liter, five-speed YJ, especially without rust. You will not find that deal in Michigan. I’ve looked.

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

The one above looks in decent shape, but it’s modified and costs $9000. Then there’s this “showroom” condition one for $10,900:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

And even it appears to have some rust on the frame:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

Oh wow, what about this 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade for only $5000? It looks nice; was I wrong about Michigan Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace after all?

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

Oh wait, no, this picture is just a photo “showing goal when finished.” Classic.

The rest of the listing barely shows the car in its current state; it instead seems to focus on the seller’s children (?), one of whom is apparently fixing a motorcycle behind the Jeep? It’s an odd listing.

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Image: Facebook Marketplace
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Image: Facebook Marketplace

But my point spans beyond my Jeep; just look at this amazing Nissan Stanza:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

It’s not perfect, with a failing throwout bearing, but $2800 bucks for a rust-free Stanza with only 100,000 miles ain’t bad, especially given the shape of this interior:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

Check out this Isuzu Trooper. Does it cost a bit more than a typican Michigan Trooper? Yes. But it’s clean, it’s got relatively low mileage on the clock, and if you can negotiate a few hundred off, you’d end up with an awesome, unique overlander for a good price:

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Image: Craigslist

Or you could buy this Pathfinder for just over four grand — stickshift, 170,000 miles, looks awesome:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

If you want to be a bit more efficient, here’s a decently low-mileage (for a Toyota) five-speed Toyota Rav 4 for just $5,500:

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Image: Craigslist

I like those early Japanese manual SUVs; the CR-V is cool, too. Here’s one for $4,500:

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Image: Craigslist

If you need even more efficiently, this 1977 Honda Accord CVCC in what appears to be awesome shape is just eight grand:

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Image: Craigslist

Another way to save money at the pump is to pick up this sweet Peugeot 505 Diesel for only $3,500!:

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Image: Craigslist

Or you could snag this Plymouth Colt in gorgeous condition for only $2,850!::

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Image: Craigslist

If sporty vintage luxury is more your speed, here’s a 1970 Volvo P1800E in OK shape. These are usually way, way pricier:

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Image: Craigslist

Actually, hold on, I just found an absurd deal in Michigan; the engine isn’t in the car, and there’s tons of work needed, but for Michigan, this looks like a smoking hot deal and one of you, dear readers, needs to buy it:

Screen Shot 2024 05 02 At 1.59.33 Pm
Image: Facebook Marketplace

If air-cooled is the only way you like your engines, California rules. Look at these nice VW Type IIIs for about seven large:

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Image: Facebook Marketplace
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Image:Facebook Marketplace

And here’s a Type 4 for just $3,800; when was the last time you saw one of these?

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Image: Facebook Marketplace

And of course the Beetles are just downright hilariously cheap out west:

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Cars Survive Here, But They Can Also Be A Burden. Therefore, They’re Cheap

My assumptions about things being more expensive is LA were right. Food and housing and all that isn’t cheap. But this really doesn’t apply to quirky enthusiast cars that aren’t really considered classics, but rather just cool machines that we weirdos love.

The truth is, space in LA is at a premium. Between that and the absurd price of fuel and the high price of vehicle service (and difficulty of servicing a vehicle yourself, since few folks can afford garages), for many a car is just a huge burden. I’m not saying people sell their cars so they can take public transport, because LA public transport is not great. What I’m saying is that broken cars or second cars that have to be street-parked are often just a huge pain in the ass, so people need them gone. Add the fact that the extra cash helps pay exorbitant bills, and the fact that there’s less scarcity here since the vehicles didn’t rot away into a pile of rust 25 years ago, and it makes sense why California vintage cars are so affordable.

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I got a free Nash Metropolitan because its owner wanted it gone. That happens a lot in LA, and if you’re looking for a smoking hot deal, someone else’s inconvenience can mean a great deal for you.

Images: Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace

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Swedish Jeep
Swedish Jeep
22 days ago

That Renegade one is weird- Here in TX that Jeep is 10k all day…If it’s running. Should have sold it before he left…….


MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
23 days ago

Apparently I need to reset my metrics for “deals”. $500 cars used to be the deal and under $2000 used to get you something fun and unique.

Scruffinater
Scruffinater
23 days ago

I thought everyone knew California Craigslist is best best Craigslist 😉 I guess I did have the advantage of starting there and realizing everywhere else is waaaay downhill. I sure do miss it. Marketplace seems to be a pretty consistent way to sell stuff nationwide, but oh how I hate searching for stuff on it and the algorithm’s almost complete refusal to let you find the same post twice.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
23 days ago

As I’ve told you before, my wife and I met via LA Craigslist, back when there used to be a personals section. We might be one of very few success stories from it, but eighteen years later we’re still going strong. So you know I’m a fan.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
23 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

My wife and I are an OKCupid success story. We both got a kick out of an ad we saw this Christmas for personalized ornaments that said, “You’re the weirdest thing I ever found on the internet.”

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
23 days ago

Yes ha ha YES! HE’S BROWSING CRAIGSLIST AGAIN. LET THE CRAPCANNING COMMENCE!!!

And here’s a Type 4 for just $3,800; when was the last time you saw one of these?

Shoot, it’s been a week. I should check up on mine. It needs new tires, some suspension work and its plug-fouling carb situation sorted out. Other than that, I love my garbage son! The Dreaded Laramie earned that name, but it’s weirdly the more reliable of the two project beaters right now. Someone go rescue that 411! It floats over bumps and handles surprisingly well, even with the death wobble that comes on at about 45 mph. (That’s the thing I need to fix.) They’re great cars! The Type 4 engine is pretty easy to work on, too.

And yep: I got mine for free from a California Lemons racer who just wanted it gone.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
23 days ago

No mention of the absurd insurance costs up in the Rusty Mitten?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
23 days ago

What is this “insurance” thing you speak of? /s

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
23 days ago

There was a running driving type 4 for $1500 in Wisconsin a few weeks ago. I am out of room or I would have snagged it.

Duane Cannon
Duane Cannon
23 days ago

Search for “project” on CL or FB if you have some time to kill. Apparently project horses are a thing, but that sounds like a good way to get kicked or bitten. Just like some car projects.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
23 days ago
Reply to  Duane Cannon

When I was in LA I had persistent searches for divorce and ‘roll cage’ in the cars section that would send me any results. Found some cool stuff!

JDE
JDE
23 days ago

you should head back to where you started. Kansas. Quite a but less salt, and many a farmer hoards away the older jeeps and square bodies that got replaced, and then they seem to forget about them on the fence row. Also with the influx of middle west revivalist Youtubers around the area you can even still find semi fixed up ones cheap around the end of the year so they get the tax break.

Mark Kress
Mark Kress
24 days ago

BTW you should see what used cars are selling for in Britain. Before they were 25 years old and eligible to export to the US, a diesel Land Rover would run you less than $2k. I saw one social media post last week of a guy who goes around buying cheap cars. He had just picked up a Renault Clio with current registration for the equivalent of $100. Nothing wrong with it, even qualified for the recent ULEV restrictions in London. 15 years from now I’ll bet those same cars will sell for $5k here.

Mark Kress
Mark Kress
24 days ago

You would lose your mind at the salvage auctions. They will total a car for one deployed airbag or just a scratch on the frame behind the damaged bumper. Classic cars are no exception. Some cars are still eligible for a clean title if a licensed car dealer buys it. Back in the day, I once found a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 that needed some work, for $1000. By the time I had the money, it was gone. At the other end of the spectrum, because most California drivers are idiots, there’s the cars so mangled you can’t tell what it was. They’re the ones with the “biohazard” stickers for reasons I would rather not explain.

The one thing you won’t find much of, are scammers. They’ve ruined Craigslist and they’re working on destroying Offerup and Facebook Marketplace.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
24 days ago
Reply to  Mark Kress

My theory about California vs Midwest drivers is that the winter quickly reeducates the majority of truly bad drivers. In the snow and ice, you learn very quickly which maneuvers will send you into a snowbank.

Here in California, people just do stupid things over and over until it finally catches up to them.

Here4thecars
Here4thecars
24 days ago

People in SoCal barely know how to drive in the rain, let alone snow.

Younork
Younork
24 days ago

While I agree with the premise of the article, when will y’all stop trying to sell 90s Toyotas for over $5k? They’re great cars, but they’re also 30 years old.

Mark Kress
Mark Kress
24 days ago
Reply to  Younork

I used to buy 7 year-old Toyotas at auction for $1000-1500. The most I paid was for a 15 year old Toyota Supra, $2500. Those same cars with twice as many miles are selling for two or three times as much now.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
24 days ago

Thanks, David, for reminding me what a desolate dumpster fire the North Dakota auto marketplace is…

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
24 days ago

“ Another way to save money at the pump is to pick up this sweet Peugeot 505 Diesel for only $3,500!:”

NOT IF I BEAT YOU TO IT

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
24 days ago

Breaking news!!! Less rust is good!! For real though I had similar feelings when living in Phx for a few years.

Brian Gray
Brian Gray
24 days ago

As a lifelong California resident and car enthusiast I agree with the premise of this article.

The Dude
The Dude
24 days ago
Reply to  Brian Gray

Ditto.

Bought my son’s first car off Craigslist and we got a great price for what we got. And the guy selling it was super cool, knew a ton about cars (had a project in the driveway he was working on) and even decided to throw a few hundred off an already good price without us asking.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago

“And of course the Beetles are just downright hilariously cheap out west”

The one for $120 is a pedal car.

A. Barth
A. Barth
24 days ago

And of course the Beetles are just downright hilariously cheap out west:

Warum hässt du mich?? 😀

Please send me the link to the orange ’72 – Danke

*starts looking at airfare*

Last edited 24 days ago by A. Barth
A. Barth
A. Barth
23 days ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Thank you very kindly!

At the moment, however, I probably shouldn’t acquire any more projects. It’s just that the model year and the color got me in the feels, as I had one like it ages ago.

But I will keep your offer handy for future reference. 🙂

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago

My first reaction was “wait, people still use Craiglist for car shopping?” There are practically tumbleweeds rolling across the screen on San Diego CL and I stopped looking there years ago, sadly. FB Marketplace’s interface is garbage, but that’s where all the good stuff is nowadays.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

I certainly use it for bike shopping. Its still too early to tell how good this year will be but last year was quite good.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

I can’t even find a good Lemons donor there….

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

It seems to depend on where you live. In Seattle I have never once had a good experience with Facebook marketplace, it’s always overpriced junk, no response, or obvious scammers. Craigslist here is generally not bad, and I’ve bought maybe 10-12 cars through it.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
24 days ago

Can’t believe Henchman 24 is selling his car

A. Barth
A. Barth
24 days ago

After Henchmen 1-23 met unpleasant ends, he probably wants to be more careful.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
24 days ago

I fully support any and all Venture Bros. references out in the wild…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago

David, this is off topic, but I’m hoping for your perspective.

Just read an announcement that the Jeep Gladiator will soon be available in a bright pink shade Stellantis calls Tuscadero. I gather it’s been previously available on the Wrangler.

Seriously, though, Tuscadero Pink? Has no one at Jeep HQ ever watched “Happy Days?” Pinky Tuscadero ring a bell? Next I suppose they’re going to announce you can get your Jeep Tuscadero with Leather seats.

Tell me you thought of this when you heard the announcement.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Yeah, forgot who I was asking.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Absurd color names like that have been a recent Jeep thing. They also have Reign (Purple) and Earl (Gray). I guarantee that was no accident.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

I agree with you. They knew what they were doing.

Dale Mitchell
Dale Mitchell
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Make mine Suzie Quatro red

Mouse
Mouse
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Seriously, though, Tuscadero Pink? Has no one at Jeep HQ ever watched “Happy Days?”

You answered your own question here. Clearly someone at Jeep HQ watched a lot of Happy Days.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago
Reply to  Mouse

Yep. Guess I should be glad they didn’t go with Fonzarelli Fuchsia.

Radiant13
Radiant13
23 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Fonzarelli is what they call their sharkskin interior.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
23 days ago
Reply to  Radiant13

I’m not going to jump on that.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago

Also the Californication very few repair their own vehicles so parts are less of a premium. Funny Pennsylvania has cars in the middle of these two on condition but far better prices. However given the vehicles shown are pics with no proof who knows?

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

What do you mean “very few repair their cars”. Car culture here is nuts and half the garages in my neighborhood here in NorCal have either a vintage or project car in them. And that’s before we start counting the huge number of motorcyclists here that work on their own bikes.

LA is LA and it’s the one you see on TV. The rest of the state, which isn’t on TV is very much NOT LA. Even LA is full of regular people living regular lives working regular jobs and doing regular things.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

Just basing it on the Yeats I lived in California. I know they have groups that lead in carculure but actually the percentage who actually own and work on their own projects per population is very low.

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

Agreed. Walking around my suburban San Diego neighborhood you can see tons of project cars parked in driveways and garages, and it’s not uncommon to see people actually wrenching.

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

I lived in Rancho Bernardo in the early 70s and my neighbors built two top fuel drag cars in their garage. I was a kid from Detroit when I moved there and I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.

It was the same where I lived in Marin and it’s the same up here in Sonoma County. Up here, though, trucks are a thing in ways I’ve not seen elsewhere, especially old ones.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

California invented garage-built hot rods

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

I could not find proof of your opinion. First the state could not invent a car. Second Henry Ford created a world record holder in 1902 in Michigan at 93.7 mph. It was a one off so hot rod. But really I found nothing confirm anything.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

It’s not an opinion. Literally started at El Mirage, they have a whole exhibit in the visitor center there. There were modified cars for decades, but the HOBBY of garage-building hot rods specifically started in California.

https://www.hopupmag.com/hot-rod-history/

Not sure what “state could not invent a car” means. The automobile was invented in Germany.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
24 days ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

Here’s some cool footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXkVsC2CmpY

Marteau
Marteau
24 days ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

In france.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
24 days ago

The LA metro area alone is nearly twice as populated as the entire state of Michigan. The law of numbers is on your side, let alone the fact that LA has a healthy car enthusiast scene

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
24 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

Plus no snow and little rain = No rust

Here4thecars
Here4thecars
24 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

And great twisty mountain roads just a short drive away.

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
24 days ago

As somebody from the other side-that looks amazing. Id love to just send somebody (trustworthy) 5k over there and just say ‘buy me something cool’.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago

And that’s how you end up with a 1982 Tercel.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I have a friend in LA who had an ’83 Tercel AWD wagon fully restored.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
23 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Those cost a lot more than $5K – I know, I was hunting one for a while. I think they used one in a TV show or something.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
23 days ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Corolla/AE86 does not equal Tercel

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
23 days ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

??? I was referring to the Tercel 4WD Wagon. One was in Breaking Bad; that show seems to have made all my favorite shitboxes expensive. I want a Suzuki Esteem, too.

It'll buff out
It'll buff out
23 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I don’t think I have ever seen “Tercel” and “fully resotred” in the same sentence, let alone, in the flesh….

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Have you seen the 80-89 cars in the northeast? Thatd be cool

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
24 days ago

What you describe is more or less par for the course here. I moved here over two decades ago and what we see being driven daily around here disappeared from the roads elsewhere-especially in areas like the Midwest. Just on my street there’s a guy that has a collection of cars that live outside and that includes such rust-prone cars like old Fiats from the 70’s, a few MGs and some old VWs.

I bought my first classic car here and it is a 1955 Mercury that spent its first 45 years living outside too. Other than a few areas of surface rust on the frame its perfectly preserved.

But yeah- 80’s and 90’s cars are super common here. Its simply so dry and lacking in humidity that things just stay preserved. My 1996 Tacoma would have long ago rusted in half in the rust belt but here even the paint on the frame is perfect.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

Bullhead City Arizona has far better at better prices but lower volumes.

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Your comparison of the selection of cars for sale in a city of 43K people (okay, 50K if you include Laughlin across the river) vs. an entire state of 39 million people seems a bit apples-to-oranges.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

More comparison of weather and my experience VS years lived in California.

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You know Bullhead City is almost on the border of CA, right? So the weather in the entire southeastern corner of the state is very similar to Bullhead City.

Unless you’ve been shopping for cars across the entire state of California from Oregon to Mexico it’s still an odd comparison and broad statement.

The Pacific Northwest beats both when it comes to selection of oddball/survivor cars. It’s not uncommon to randomly spot French cars driving around in Portland.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Well if I remember you head south for 50 miles or so you hit Needles CA. But if you head West it is Nevada but even still not on the coast LIKE LA so no possibility of salty ocean atmosphere. California does have a huge range of different areas but I was comparing to LA. But hey whatever.

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I’ll help you out. Bullhead City is less than 5 miles from the CA border as the crow flies.

Only areas within about 10 miles of the coast have to deal with salty ocean air. Given that California is about 150 miles at its narrowest point, that leaves 130+ miles wide X 700 miles long of unrusty cars to choose from 🙂 But admittedly most of the population does live closer to the coast.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Well wheni lived there Needles CA was the closest city.to BHC and it was 22 miles. But maybe they changed it since then.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Holy shit I should have KNOWN you lived in Needles. Everything makes sense now.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago

I lived in BHC, Snoopys brother Spike lived in Needles

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I stand corrected

AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Well wheni lived there Needles CA was the closest city.to BHC and it was 22 miles. But maybe they changed it since then.

LTDScott did say “as the crow flies.” Perhaps the crow’s route would have been less direct had it been driving,

But I don’t really know myself, as I’ve always considered everything between the Hudson River and the Harbor Freeway to be the Midwest.

AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

The style for <blockquote> seems to include italics now. Hmmm…

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

Nah it is a straight shot down 95. I was wondering if there was another small California town I forgot though as it has been awhile.

Chris D
Chris D
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

It’s simply amazing how internet warriors know so much about California without ever having been here.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Salt is only an issue 1/4 mile or so from the ocean and in areas that salt their roads in winter.

Source, me and my decade of living less than a mile from the ocean in San Diego. Despite my location none of my nor my neighbors cars had rust issues.

The cars 1/4 mile or less from the coast might as well have been beaters from Michigan.

Last edited 24 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Brian Gray
Brian Gray
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

This is correct. I live in San Francisco on 16th Avenue, about 2 miles from the beach, and rust is not an issue – with normal car washes you will be fine. My friend lived on 48th Avenue, about 200 yards from the beach, and his cars may as well have been parked under salty water.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
24 days ago
Reply to  Brian Gray

Those winter storms do send water across the beach/road/dunes/street….

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
23 days ago
Reply to  Brian Gray

True that. My in-laws have a 99 Tacoma, they’re the 2nd owners. For the first 15 years the truck lived in Santa Barbara, it now lives in a retirement community less than 1/2″ mile away from the beach and its roof has had rust bubbles around the center mounted stop light for about 3 years. Same with the front fenders (to a lesser degree) and it had also suffered from premature wear on both ball joints and control arms.
If they leave hand tools outside rust will also start creeping after a few days but if caught on time it can be washed off with vinegar.
I’m sure their truck would be in better shape if they has washed it more often but it’s a beater truck at this point and at 220K they plan to run it into the ground.
It’s been a good truck no doubt, but the amount of wear and rust would fool many people into thinking the truck comes from out of state

Last edited 23 days ago by Baja_Engineer
LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’d say more than 1/4 mile. Years ago I bought a Mazdaspeed 3 that was originally sold in Reno and spent all of its life in Sacramento. After 10+ years of being parked in my driveway in Poway (12 miles from the ocean as the crow flies) it had some surface rust on the top surfaces. Not as bad as a car that lives by the beach, but the salty air does travel inland a bit.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Well, you do have Potato Chip Rock there….

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

At the coast it depends on geography and weather too. If the surrounding geography is shaped so it funnels into channels (valleys), as it moves ashore, that salty fog can go a long way.

On the central coast (Morro Bay/Los Osos), it can come in for miles. At the technical office I worked there about 2 miles inland, we had to replace a massive roof mounted HVAC circulation pump that failed from rust because it wasn’t ‘marine rated.’ Then the roofs on the soundproof backup generator (big Cats) enclosures rusted through. Our cars survived because we washed them regularly.

Cerberus
Cerberus
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

TBF, Mazdas of that era rusted as if they were built in the ’70s. Mine was almost as bad in 5 years as my early ’80s Subarus were at 10. They certainly haven’t survived as well as their competitors around here (Northeast).

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Valid point.

AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I had a 2009 Mazda 3 (not a Mazdaspeed, but same body) for 13 years and didn’t see any particular rust issues. There was a little surface rust in a scratch and, granted, I never took a hard look at the undercarriage, but I was within about four miles of the bay beaches and less than 20 from the ocean for half its life. This was (and still is, unless I’ve missed some recent continental drift) the East Coast, though, so the prevailing winds are usually coming from the northwest or southwest, and it may have suffered more if I lived right on the ocean.

Last edited 24 days ago by AlterId
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

How did the other cars in the area look? The non automotive metal as well?

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I worked 20 blocks from the beach in Socal for 10 years and maybe notice a tiny hint of rust on fasteners that get torqued a lot. Very much a non-issue.

Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

My mom’s 66 bug that she bought new – the last 20 years of its life she lived 2 blocks from the beach. That thing was a tissue paper held together by rust by the end. Still ran great though.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Michael Rogers

It lasted 20 years 2 blocks from the beach? That’s pretty good!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I’ve lived a mile or less from the ocean or the bay almost continuously for over 2 decades. “Salty ocean atmosphere” has zero effect on cars unless you park in the water.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago

Normally, however in case of bad storms it can be carried very far. Hurricanes and Tornados can carry salt water as far as 200 miles inland.

Chris D
Chris D
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Hurricanes and tornados aren’t much of a problem in California. We have the occasional earthquake, but those are actually kind of cool.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago
Reply to  Chris D

Well how about Sharknados? Lol

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

We call that any given Monday.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago

From what I’ve seen corrosion issues drops off precipitously with distance from the waves.

Anyone with a car living in a beachfront apartment will suffer but those on the other side of the street less so and the next block up barely so. You can especially see this trend in stationary metal fixtures like door hinges.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
23 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

But you would have to go through Needles to get there from LA, and that is one depressing town. Say hi to Spike!

Last edited 23 days ago by Lizardman in a human suit
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
23 days ago

Actually it isn’t too bad but I got a story. I was I needles around 4am for an under cover inspection for work. After parking at the front of the hospital in Needles I got out of my car without looking. Once out and the door closed realized I was in a pack of coyotes or something. We were all surprised. Then they just ran away. Still rather do that than try it on LA. LOL.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
23 days ago

Spike has joined the witness protection program.
Latest paperwork shows him living in a shelter in Arkansas, under the name of
Eric…

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