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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 advise me on doing my own repairs. He is very generous with his advice, which I appreciate. I can sometimes return the favor because I have two vehicles. He checks with me first, but he knows if he has too much business scheduled for a day when my vehicle is there, he can likely get an "extension" from me without hassle. Other customers might not be so easy on a request like that. I figure it's a two way thing with us. I cut him slack, he does the same for me.

The fact that I spend next-to-nothing on my every day transportation allows me to get a bit of luxury on the out-of-town trips. I think it's worth it, but not everyone does.

Sorry to have run on so long. Oh, well.

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