There's a story here, but honestly, I'm really bad at telling stories. Ask pretty much everyone around me. When I finish telling a story, there's usually some sarcastic comment about "tell it again," or "I stopped listening after the first few words." That's okay, we're rough on each other, so it's fine.
The Dodge Magnum is a car that I've lusted after. It's a wagon, it's got a HEMI. It's America wrapped up in a bow with enough space in the back to safely transport a flock of Bald Eagles in the comfort of air conditioning all the way to Middle Earth. Seriously.
But the Magnum has other redeeming qualities about it too, that make it less of a dream car, and more of a real car. First, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It may be a few fingers in gas mileage, and a chunk of your thigh to purchase, but it's not all that bad for what it is. It's a wagon, need I say any more? Four doors, rear hatch, plenty of cargo space, and because of those things, it sits in a unique place in the dreaded insurance bracket. It's a Utility Vehicle. It can have the 5.7L V8 HEMI which is spectacular at roasting tires, making old ladies frown, and getting the rest of that car moving at quite an alarming rate of speed.
Something oddly nice about it is that I feel very safe in it. Is this because I just wanted it so bad? I'm not sure, but maybe. It's a lot bigger than the Neon I'm used to, it has a lot more go power, it sits differently, drives differently, and has its quirks, but it feels safe. It has the power to get out of a problem if need be, but it has the physical size to be protective. In order for me to get hurt by someone rear ending me, well, they've got a long way to go. The visibility is also pretty nice, which is odd, considering so many people say it must be crap because other LX cars have bad visibility. Well, it's not. Adjust your mirrors correctly, all three of them. Learn to be attentive, and you'll be set in any car you get into.
As a Male, below the age of 25, with (admittedly) one speeding ticket, and one non-fault accident, one would think I'm somewhat screwed in terms of getting insurance. Well, then I had a fairly long conversation with not one, but two insurance agents. I think that this is the most important part of buying a car that you want. Talk to insurance company. Try to get to know them, or let them get to know you. It breaks the ice, and it allows them to figure out how they want to adjust your policy to save money. Remember, being able to afford the sticker price is barely half the battle of being able to afford a vehicle.
I took to, naturally, the internet when it came to finding the car I wanted to buy. So I found it. Fairly locally. The original ad was pretty straight forward. $6500, email for more info, don't call if you're a dealer, and looking for trades for a specific car. Simple as that. I figured, what the hell, I'll shoot the person an email, and worst case it's a scam, best case, it's my car. A few days later, I heard back from the seller, who ended up being a really cool guy, but just not very interested in the car. He made a couple mistakes, but was honest about it (for the most part).
3 brands of tires on the car
Sunroof doesn't close properly every single time
HID kit and LED lights doesn't work with the CAN bus system
Either there's a bad wheel bearing, or half-shaft
It wasn't really washed outside or vacuumed inside
He was daily driving it
He was honest about most of what was wrong, and showed me
He actually spent several hours with me going over things about the car*
He was very responsive when I was getting in touch with him
The car is in
veryinsanely good shape for it's age and mileage
The seats are still firm, and the leather is in good condition
The car was mostly not modified
The seller was very open to small talk and getting to know each other*
Now, for some people, you probably wouldn't really think twice about certain things, but lets put this into perspective. This was the first time I went through the process of insuring, purchasing, registering, and transferring a title of a vehicle. I was quite nervous about making sure I got everything correct the first time. There's nothing worse than holding up the line at the DMV, because everyone will get pissed over it. I made sure that I was prepared for everything I had to do while I was there before I got to the counter, and didn't have to worry about anything. I was one cool cucumber while going through that, thanks to the seller taking the time, and the insurance agents taking their time to really get things sorted out for me.
Full disclosure: my 6 month insurance rate was below $650. For my age, that's pretty low. Especially for a male, with a speeding ticket on record. The car, sales tax/tags/title cost me $6781.50. It really wasn't that bad. I was happy with the price, and given the condition, it was a good investment. I can always flip it for a slight profit if something were to come up and I needed to sell it. Not a huge profit, but worst case, I could break even at the very least.
This car is another introduction to my adult life. I'm solely responsible for paying for it and keeping it on the road. The best part is that I'm interested in it. I want to work on it. I want to pop the hood, and wrench on it. Something I don't feel with my parents Neon. Yeah, the Neon is a whole lot simpler in comparison, but I didn't buy an appliance, I invested in my means of transportation. Will I heavily modify the car? That depends on how well it works moving ahead. Outside of my to-do list, yes, I want to modify the car, but I will hold off on doing so until I'm absolutely ready to spend the change on it. Not only do I need to be ready to spend the money, but I need to be aware of all of the changes I need to make to the car that are important for daily driver usage to ensure it will last a long, long time. Sure, I keep finding little things that are "off" about the car as I'm digging through it, but I'm overall satisfied with the amount of car I got for the money, and the quality of it. I don't think I could have done better if I waited for another one.
Not even a full 48 hours into owning the car, I drove it up to New Canaan, and some of you got to see it. That simply means that it's got it where it counts, and I can drive it wherever I need to go, and it'll get me there. Stay tuned for the project log I'm going to start posting (tomorrow maybe).
When it all boils down, the Dodge Magnum RT was my affordable dream car. That's why I bought one, and I'm glad I did.
*There is nothing better to me than someone who is helping me out. The seller obviously didn't know much about the car, but he wasn't trying to give me the runaround about it, and because of that, I was very happy with picking up the pace of purchasing the car, compared to what I was originally aiming for. If anything was fishy to me, simply put, it wouldn't have happened. I'm not much of a negotiator in terms of knocking the price down a lot, because I'm handy, and I'll put the time into figuring out the little things that aren't working properly. At 142960 miles when I drove it away, what could I complain about? It's a used car. Luckily not an abused one.