Happy Friday, Autopians! In my never-ending quest to find new and exciting ways to entertain you all on Fridays, we’re trying something different. Four cars, but you get to keep three of them. So listen closely, as they say, because our options have changed. But first, of course, we need our fourth contender:
Ah. Hm. Can’t say I agree with you all there; not only can I not stand those fake convertible tops, but no matter how much the chatbot insists the Northstar runs well, I don’t quite trust it. I’d take the ’91, given my choice… but I’ll take the Agent Orange CD too.
So now that we have our quartet of contenders, here’s how we’re going to do things today. Despite what some writers here seem to think, the correct number of cars to own is, in fact, three. Any more than that and it gets too easy to neglect some, not to mention the insurance, registration, and parking headaches; fewer than that, and you have trouble covering all use cases. Three shall be the counting of the cars, and the number of the cars shall be three. Which means that one of these has to go. So we’re going to review all the choices, and then you’re going to vote for the one you want to get rid of. Sound like fun? Cool; let’s get started.
Pros: Remarkably good shape for a “disposable” economy car, lots of “Oh wow I haven’t seen one of those in years” comments
Cons: Boring to drive with an automatic, doesn’t actually run at the moment
This little Duster surprised me. The Fiat 128 it was up against was really rough, but if it were fixed up (if it could be fixed up), it would be a far more interesting car than a two-door L-body. And this is coming from someone who is a fan of two-door L-bodies. But since the Fiat lost, this is what we have to work with. And it could be a neat little classic runabout, with a little work. And since cars of this era are basically just big Erector sets, you could swap in a manual transmission and a more exciting powerplant without a whole lot of trouble.
It could use a paint job, but at least you know the interior is up to snuff. Hell, if you didn’t care too much about performance, you could even just get the 2.2 going again, carefully seal up any leaks, and putter around with it as-is. You’d still be a hit at any Cars & Coffee. And you’d be perfectly safe flooring it when you leave. Go ahead; just try to chirp those skinny little tires.
Pros: V8 power, decent condition, truck usefulness
Cons: V8 fuel consumption, has an awful lot of miles
A good truck is a wonderful thing. You can haul stuff, tow stuff, bomb around in the woods, refuse to lend it to friends, all sorts of things. And this appears to be a very good truck, especially for the price. Yeah, it has a lot of miles on it, but it’s full of the good stuff: a 5.2 liter V8, a tried-and-true overdrive automatic, and four wheel drive.
A truck, especially a beat-up old one, isn’t necessarily the best choice of daily drivers (trust me on this), but as an extra vehicle to keep around, it can’t be beat. The gas mileage will depress you, but if you aren’t filling it up all the time, who cares?
Pros: Reliable and durable, hipster cred
Cons: Not exactly exciting to drive
Americans are generally crazy about Swedish stuff. ABBA. IKEA. Chef. And also their cars. Saabs have never lost a Showdown, and I haven’t exactly been keeping track, but I don’t think Volvos have either. And if a dowdy 240 or 850 is a shoe-in to beat any other cars, this 122 Amazon almost couldn’t lose. Its ultra-durable drivetrain, cool ponton styling, and comfy interior all add up to a very cool classic.
You won’t mistake it for a sports car, but it is a four-speed stick at least. And since Volvo was a pioneer in automotive safety, unlike most 1965 model year cars, the 122 has shoulder harnesses and crumple zones and dual-circuit brakes, so you can actually drive it in modern traffic without being scared half to death.
Pros: Comfy, powerful, low mileage
Cons: Northstar issues, potentially sketchy seller
Speaking of comfy interiors, almost nobody does them better than old-school Cadillac. Soft leather seats that you sink into, floating-on-a-cloud ride, and enough soundproofing to drown out a Van Halen concert all make for a sensory-deprivation tank on wheels. They’re also dirt-cheap used, as evidenced by both of yesterday’s contenders. You could do a lot worse for a nice serene ride to work.
This particular Caddy does have a few red flags: as pointed out in the comments, this probably isn’t a model year 2000; this style’s run ended in 1999. The ad written by a chatbot is a bit suspect as well, as is the one mismatched tire. Then there is the elephant in the room, or rather the Northstar under the hood. These got better as time went on, but even the later ones are not without their problems.
Now then: You have a three-car garage, and four cars to choose from. Something has to go. So which one gets the axe? And why? Vote, discuss, debate. And have a good weekend!
(Image credits: Craigslist and Facebook sellers)