As per my last post, we’re buying out next cheap car challenge cars locally, registering them, and then shipping them to Seattle to start our adventures.
“But Akio!” You may say, “Isn’t part of the fun buying an unknown shitbox in a hurry?”
Yes and no, reader.
After much deliberation we’ve decided that the unknown-ness of the car is a little more important than the speed at which it is purchased. George has claimed that he is going to buy the first car he drives that is “good enough,” and I applaud him for that. I will likely do the same, but narrow my “good enough” threshold more than I usually do.
In my mind it is more important to keep the car an unknown. No detailing it before the trip, keep the driving down to a bare minimum, and no working on it myself. That last part is really important. You get to know a lot about a car from wrenching on it and I want to save that intimacy for the trip.
I am having the work done that I’d do in Seattle. That means stuff like belts, fluids, tires, and brakes. But, again, these things will need to be done by not-me to preserve the unknown.
Also we’re taking this as an opportunity to keep the cars secret from each other, which is fun.
The cars need to ship around two weeks before the trip, plus enough time to get any needed work. Realistically that means I have about three weeks to buy the car. Plenty of time...
My Car Strategy
My thinking so far has been this: This is going to be a long, mostly highway trip. Why not buy something comfortable like Town Car or other lux-o-barge? Oh but something small and fast could also be fun. Oh! Or a wagon! Hmm AWD would be nice too...
- Capable of highway speed
- Under 20 feet long (The ferry charges by the foot after 20)
- Rear-wheel-drive or AWD
- Good gas mileage
The Cars so far
As a result of this decision, we’ve been hitting the internet pretty hard and finding some interesting stuff. Come along with me...
2006 Jaguar S-Type V8 - $2950
Interesting, on-brand for me, RWD, cool color.... this one has be pretty tingly. Other than being a Jag and therefore a total crap shoot for reliability, this one checks a lot of boxes.
Interior looks nice in photos with minimal wear showing on the wood and leather.
If it ends up being the supercharged V8 I might not have a choice, but as is I think it is worth a drive over there to take a look.
At list, it is right up at the top of the budget, but if they want to make a deal....
1990 Nissan 300ZX - $3500
I’ll stop you right there: This one isn’t as good as it looked. This particular dealer had large collection of cars George and I were interested in so we headed over last night. It was... not great. Their “main” location was mostly $6,000+ cars, with a few interesting ones in our price range. However, their “other lot” where this Z resides looked more like a junk yard than a car lot.
On closer inspection the Z is still workable, but it has a whiff of a car that has been abused most of its life and left to rot. It is cool enough I still might ask them to dig it out, but as is...
2004 Maxda RX8 - $3200
Fuck yeah I want this car. I’ve always had a soft spot for the RX8 but I hear they’re terrible to own. What better time to own one than for two weeks?
This one presents well and looks pretty stock.
The biggest problem with this bad boy is that it is located in OKC, about 2 hours from where I am. If I get a large enough collection of OKC cars to go look at I’ll make a day of it. I’ve also put out feelers to a dealer friend to see if he can find me one in good shape for good money.
1988 Mercedes 300 SE - $2500
This one also has my heart pounding pretty hard. Inline 6 is disappointing as it is the smallest engine available for one of these, but otherwise the car looks excellent.
Interior looks good, exterior looks good, you wouldn’t expect this car to have 250,000 miles on it.
The seller admits the engine and transmission were rebuilt at 100,000 miles, which makes we worry they’re overdue for another rebuild. Also this car is about an hour drive from where I live, making it less tempting than it otherwise would be.
Honestly this one might be TOO good to exile to a life in Alaska. If it weren’t for the miles I’d want to bring it home and keep it. Maybe best to just let this one go....
1998 Volvo V70XC - $2500
Next up we have a seller that doesn’t understand landscape mode. Fucker.
That said, green Volvo Cross-Country on the cheap. I have mixed feelings. It isn’t very exotic but it would probably be great on the trip.
I dunno, I don’t get a great feeling from this one.
1999 Audi A6 Quatro - $2995
What is that old saying? There is nothing more expensive than a cheap German car? At $3000 this one certainly has both my interest and my worry.
It seems to present well and the ad offers no details as to its condition. Still... it looks comfortably and is AWD so, might be worth a look.
And there you have it!
These are the couple that have been keeping my thinking. Luckily it looks like I have a lot of good options, so I am going to take my time and enjoy it.
What does Oppo think?