Home » My Plan To Finally Leave Detroit Is A Convoluted Mess Involving Ditching A $1 Oldsmobile In Oklahoma

My Plan To Finally Leave Detroit Is A Convoluted Mess Involving Ditching A $1 Oldsmobile In Oklahoma

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It may come as a surprise to many of you, but moving when you own 10 cars is challenging. And when you have an emotional attachment to many of those machines, it becomes borderline impossible. But I’ve accomplished the impossible on multiple occasions before, so surely I can slay the dragon again, right? If you weren’t able to belt out a hearty “right!” in agreement with my previous sentence, then I assume you need a bit more information. So here it is: Here’s where I stand with just one week before departure. I’ll be honest: It’s not looking good.

Here’s the current situation with Operation DT Leaves Detroit: It’s a shitstorm.

Screen Shot 2023 02 01 At 12.09.08 Pm

Out front of my house sit two cars: a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee (five-speed manual) and a Scion XB “Autopian Test Car.” The first is a vehicle I’m trying to get to California, except I’ve been unable to secure a loaner press vehicle to act as the tow rig. My plan is to try to get it operable enough to be shipped to CA, though that’s going to be very difficult. The second car, the cubic little Scion, will be parked in some public parking spot until my colleague Jason Torchinsky can get a replacement title and then sell it, possibly to a junkyard.

Screen Shot 2023 02 01 At 12.09.00 Pm

Out back are three vehicles: a 1992 Jeep Cherokee, a 1985 Jeep J10, and a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero. The Cherokee is my first car, and I’m too emotionally attached to it to part ways, so I’m storing it for now. The second is the greatest pickup truck of all time; it will be the honeymooners’ romantic chariot for the ultimate cross-country roadtrip. And the third, the Oldsmobile, is where things get strange.

Here’s the thing: If I can’t tow that 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I’m going to be building into an off-road machine for this year’s Easter Jeep Safari, then there’s really no reason for me to drive across the country, except to help my two friends navigate their first trip to the U.S. I’m keen to do this, as I want to show them cool things and help them feel comfortable, especially since they’re hauling a truck full of my junk for free. But I’ve been told that going three-wide in a pickup truck with honeymooners is a bit odd, so I need a different car. That car could be a rental car, but I’m too cheap for that. Instead it will be the Alero, which I’m hoping to purchase from my landlords for dirt cheap. (I bought the car for $1 (hence how it got its name) and traded it for my landlord’s totaled Kia Rio, so I’m hoping I don’t have to pay much for it).

I will drive the Olds with my honeymooning German friends for a few days, then ditch it at my brother’s place in Oklahoma (where he can hopefully sell it), then fly to LA and wait for my friends to arrive in the romantic truck full of my junk. It’s a ridiculous plan riddled with risks.

Things that could go wrong or that are currently wrong:

  1. The Oldsmobile can, and probably will, fail. That’s what it does.
  2. The J10 could theoretically fail, though it’s a tank.
  3. The J10’s heater doesn’t work, so things could get chilly for the honeymooners.
  4. The J10’s brakes need some service. I need to get on that.
  5. The J10 needs snow tires to keep the honeymooners safe. I have those. They need to be installed.
  6. The Oldsmobile needs new tires. I’m working on getting some winter rubber.
  7. I still don’t have a great plan to get the 1994 Jeep operable

What’s more, my garage still looks like this:

Screen Shot 2023 02 01 At 12.09.19 Pm

And I have a party at my house in five days with an estimated attendance of over 100 people. Plus I need to run this website, which will launch ads for the first time since its inception this week!

There is good news, however. First, I sold the Tracker to this lovely couple!:


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A post shared by David Tracy (@davidntracy)

And second, my 1992 Jeep Cherokee is set to be towed away after my party by a reader with an acre of property a few hours north. So really, I just need to ditch the Scion somewhere nearby until Jason can pick it up, get the Grand Cherokee running and driving well enough to get onto a trailer, then hit the road in the Olds alongside my friends in the J10, and pray.

This is logical, right?



My Eight Cars Are Preventing Me From Moving Out Of Detroit And I Could Use Your Advice
As Someone Who Loves Cars, I’m Struggling To Decide If I Want To Move From Detroit To LA
What It Was Like Driving My Worn-Out 1966 Ford Mustang 2500 Miles From Detroit To Los Angeles

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139 Responses

  1. *looks at garage* I’m Thinking..” Hmm..I wonder what the inside of the house looks like?
    Transmission oil stains all over the carpet? Tomato sauce stains in the bathtub?
    Vise grips used to turn faucet handles on and off?”

    Just kidding DT! (well, for the most part I am)

    But seriously, you know that you’re not getting your deposit back from the landlord, Right?
    ヽ(͡◕ ͜ʖ ͡◕)ノ

  2. That is too bad about the Alero. My wife had a 2002 Alero and the repairs were tie rod ends, and a cat. The consumables were one battery and a few sets of tires. She had it until 2013, when it wouldn’t past inspection here for rust in the rocker panels and it was more to repair than the car was worth. We bartered it with the guys doing some house repairs for us and one of the guys fixed the rust and drove it for another couple of years.

  3. David, please tell us the tires you are going to put on the J10 are real tires and not your usual second-hand junkyard specials. No one wants to spend their honeymoon dead.

  4. Er.
    Everything else aside…
    “If I can’t tow that 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I’m going to be building into an off-road machine for this year’s Easter Jeep Safari”

    That event starts in *checks notes* 58 days…..

  5. Another thought entered my head last night – Charity car bash with the Olds at your going away party. Charge people a couple bucks to hit it with a sledge, and send that thing straight to hell.

  6. Can’t wait for the next exciting cross country adventure from DT and friends! Looks like still some crappy weather. Dave…you’re in California soon…forever? Get rid of some of these rust buckets! Get some gently aged California replacements. Just make sure they’re 1975 or older so they will be smog exempt. Time to simplify your life Buddy! Vaya Con Dios my friend!

  7. Can’t you beg Beau for a F-450 SD Canyonero that can haul like 100,000 lbs and just tow everything in one trip? Newlyweds can hang out in the back of the crew cab. No need for the Olds. Mercedes seems to have a knack for stashing vehicles in random locations, so toss her the keys to the Scion.

  8. Hi David! Thank you for all the interesting articles on your big move! I am now inspired to never, ever, relocate! Looking at your garage gave me knots in my stomach… There’s quite a bit of work left to do over there! Stupid question: why don’t you just winch the Grand Cherokee onto a trailer, instead of trying to get it running?

    1. The Scion appeared in one early article as the official Autopian test car, and then was heard from no more. I can only assume it tested the patience of David’s neighbors about his ever revolving and growing hoard of vehicles.

  9. I spent half a winter commuting 45 minutes in a 1990 Taurus wagon with no heat. Not very fun. I got a 12v heater and blanket on my lap which made it tolerable. If the 12v system in the truck is OK a tiny heater or heated blanket would be a huge step up in comfort.

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