This was weird. I think I get to keep the Miata if I fix the air conditioning.

Months ago, my new wife told me that she didn’t want to spend another summer riding around in my 1999 Miata with black, leather seats unless I fixed the air conditioning. The AC has been broken for almost a decade because I need it just a couple of times each summer, when it’s both raining and hot, to keep the windshield clear. Otherwise, I tolerate the heat well enough that I don’t need air conditioning. My wife, on the other hand, does not.

So the Miata needs AC and some body work. I figure that fixing both will cost about the value of the car. That suggests that it’s time for a new one.

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So I’ve been desk driving the Ford Fiesta ST and EcoBoost, Ford Mustang EcoBoost, Mazda 3, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, Mazda Miata Club, Fiat 500 Abarth, and Honda Fit. They all come with a manual transmission. Some of them have a sun roof.

Now, my wife is away for the week and I have some time after work to test drive.

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We talked about the new car the other day: what’s its purpose? What features do I want? What features does she want?

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Then I realized that I haven’t driven much since last July, when I got a job telecommuting at a company on the other side of the country. When I use motorized transport, about once a week, it’s my big Aprilia scooter when the weather is nice and my car, the Miata, only when it rains or the road is icy. For trips, we take my wife’s Subaru Outback because we’re either carrying a kayak or we need to take more stuff than the Miata can carry. The Miata gets occasional use on road trips. That’s typically when I have to go by myself and the train isn’t convenient.

So the new car won’t get driven very often and it doesn’t need to be entirely practical and I’ll be the one driving it most of the time.

So the new car will sit around unused more often than most cars.

So why buy a new car that I won’t use often and will lose value naturally and I won’t get to enjoy it while it’s losing value?

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So why not sell the Miata and spend twice its value (Miata value + AC repair price + body repair price) on a used car? What kind of used car can I get for that money? Can I get one better than my 1999 Miata? Maybe.

So what if I just fixed the AC in the Miata and let the body go? The car has rust. I could apply a rust inhibitor and hope for the best.

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So I think I get to keep the Miata if I fix the air conditioning.