1995 Civic Dx 1.5 non-vtec automatic, +200k miles 16 bent valves from my failed HG repair, ended up lowing it and cracking the transmission on a “pothole”(crater). Learned to drive with this car, mostly before I got my license.
1992 Lexus sc400, Traded the civic for it, drove it home with no steering rack or lca bushings, did a bunch of mods and stripped it over 3 years but catching fire sealed its fate earlier this year. I’d had this car since my provisional license.
1992 sc400 6 speed swapped, bought this for $2300 as a parts car(mostly to remedy the first sc’s failing auto trans), ended up running it for a year while the first car got stripped. Eventually tides turned as the chassis damage became excessive and everything got reswapped onto the first sc.
1991 Volvo 740 5 speed manual, bought for $750 as a daily but sold it because It wouldn’t pass smog.
1997 Mercedes c230, $500 for an Inline six with a blown head gasket that would get hot and eat coolant. After a few months I sold it to my brother for the $1000 I had in it after I fixed the radiator and other bits. He sold it for $2400 somehow.
2001 Hyundia Elantra, My brother initially bought it for $500-ish with a ruined front end and 94,000 miles. We traded it back and forth over the course of a 1.5 years. We put Ebay panels on and ran it into the ground, eventually I sold it for $1000.
1996 BMW 325i, $500 with a blown head gasket. Eventually fixed the gasket and seized the motor. I blew a radiator hose testing said fix with no aaa and couldn’t afford a tow so i said fuckit and got home. Gave it away to some tweekers.
2005 Kia Spectra, bought for $200 because a tree had smashed the front end. The whole car was roached inside and out. After eventually fixing it and getting engine problems sorted out it sold to some Argentinians passing through to trim weed for $900
1991 Mazda 323 5 speed, bought for $300 car was pretty clean, drove well, but had to resell because it wouldn’t pass smog. Sold for $400
1997 Camaro v6, bought for $800 but oil pressure was always low and I disliked alot of aspects about it(garbage interior plastics , leaky t top), sold for $1200.
1989 Mercedes 190e, $500 interior and exterior were in decent shape besides sun damage, the transmission failed the second time I tried to drive it. Considering it was going to need money to get smoggable and a transmission I cut my losses. Sold for $120 because no one would buy it.
1983 Mercedes 300sd, bought for $500, drove it for a few months but didn’t feel trustworthy at highway speeds given how tired the motor was and the interior was destroyed. Sold it for $400
1988 Honda Civic 5 speed, bought for $1250 solely because it passed smog. Rust holes everywhere, driver window didn’t work, and a dying clutch. Drove it for a few month doing 170 miles a day 5 days a week(sometimes 1000 miles per week) for at least 3 months before I moved. Once I’d moved closer it sat. Didn’t start after a couple weeks so i sold it for $50 because I wanted it gone.
1993 Lexus sc400, $1300 Bought this soon after my first one caught fire around June-July. It shall carry the torch but this time with sound deadening and an interior. About $3500 into it if you include parts I haven’t installed yet and not including parts I already had from the old car.(rims, skirts, coilovers)
2001 Hyundia elantra, $500 from a coworker with 270,000 miles and lots of wear to reflect that.
Potentially buying a clean ls400 that needs a transmission (manual swapping the sc will leave me with a good auto trans playing around)
This list starts at 16 years old and ends at current which is 20, what have I learned so far? Evidently nothing, because I’m still buying $500 cars.
Honorable mention before the civic around 14 or 15 I had a 1991 Subaru locale 5 speed thatd been sitting in a field for years, mice had taken it over. On startup dog food fired out of the muffler, the headliner had pounds of dog food in it. After a couple months the alternator wiring got messed up somewhere so my brother and i took turns driving it into trees. Got up to around 20mph. Eventually towed it away.