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Subject:  Re: A good retirement car Date:  10/29/2005  4:15 PM
Author:  tmeri Number:  891 of 1700

Any suggestions on how I would get started finding my retirement car? Thanks.

I don't know if this will help you, because it's not what you want. But I drive old beaters around town. Heck, you can find them cheap if you're willing to put up with enough lack-of-luxury. I actually have two beaters. One doesn't have working AC, for example, and I choose not to fix it. Taxes are cheap--less than ten bucks a year per car, whereas with a "real" car, I'd be paying possibly hundreds of dollars in taxes each year. I don't have to carry collision or comprehensive insurance on them, making them cheap to insure.

I have AAA Plus, which gives me a 100 mile tow range. That pretty much makes driving a beater in the metro area a no-brainer.

If I go out of town, I go in style. I run down to Avis or wherever and get a nice new vehicle. They're reliable, comfortable, and if anything goes wrong, it doesn't spoil my vacation. The rental car company will just bring me a new one. I don't have to find a repair shop in town, take up vacation time waiting for estimates and repairs, etc.

My regular vehicles do not attract attention to me from would-be criminals. I can cruise around virtually invisible. I personally could not put up with owning a car where I cared if it got a scratch or something. Interestingly, my 1988 Buick has no scratches, but with 200K+ miles on it, I'm expecting one any minute, and it won't be a tragedy. I got it repainted for about $200 about 8 or 9 years ago and had the headcloth replaced a little after that. Both of those cosmetic updates are still going strong. It's got leather seats and suits me fine. A newer car couldn't make me any happier, as this one is as much luxury as I need.

My other vehicle is a 1987 truck, which I use for hauling stuff and doing favors. It's got all kinds of dents and dings, but only about 125K miles, I think. It needs to have the headcloth replaced, but I chose to just put some randomly placed staples in it, and that does the job, though the appearance is a little "iffy" if you're at all particular.

I do some of my own repairs. I have a good deal with a local mechanic. If I think I can do the repair myself, I'll get him to walk me through it, which he does for free. I can just call with a question or whatever. When I know a job is beyond me, I pay him to do it. Works good for me, and he gets some of my business. Like me, he is not really a fan of new cars. I think he appreciates my frugality and utilitarian attitude towards transportation, and that makes him more willing to advis