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Operation: Beater car

I mentioned Chevette in my last post. In scouring the 'net to find pics of Chevettes I stumbled across, a site decided to that awful car. And yes, the Chevette is an awful car. I've known a few people that owned them. A word synonymous with Chevette is "cheap". And cheap they are.

But anyway, it got me to thinking.. "I miss my beater truck". Recently I sold my '87 S-10 because I bought I new truck - and I have no need for two trucks. Since 1998 I have been a two-vehicle owner. Usually it's one good vehicle and one beater vehicle, consisting of one car and one truck. Since I've sold the S-10, I'm back to being a single vehicle owner. Kinda weird when you're used to having two vehicles.

Just so everyone is aware, being a two-car owner does not make you a wealthy person whatsoever. It is really really easy to own two (or more) cars. As a matter of fact, you will more than likely (if you ask) get a discount on your car insurance for being a multiple vehicle owner. The point is, owning more than one car doesn't make you some rich wealthy person. Far from it. It just means you own two vehicle. Whoopee.

Owning a "beater" is a time-honored New England tradition. Basically speaking, you have one good car and one beater car. The beater is the kind of vehicle you can just plain drive and not care. If it gets dented, big deal. Scratched paint? Whatever. Missing a hubcap? Wal-Mart takes care of that for 15 bucks a set. In essence, the beater is a throw-away car.

In a few months I am considering getting a beater. This doesn't mean I'll buy one. I may or may not pick one up. If I do happen to pick one up, these are the prerequisites:

1) Must be comfy.
Seats must have good cushion to them. Wrecked seats are a nightmare.

2) Must get good mileage.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 35mpg.

3) Must cost less than $1200 to purchase.
More on this in a moment.

4) Must have parts readily available.
This means if something breaks, parts are easy to come by to fix the car should something break.

5) Must ride on 15" wheels.
Tires for 15" wheels are cheap. 14" is even better. You can buy brand new rubber for 14" rims for less than 40 bucks a tire.

6) Must be easy to drive
This means easy to start, stop, turn, etc. Some vehicles just have weird driving characteristics. That I don't want.

7) Must be plain, but not embarrassing to be seen in.
Just because the car is cheap doesn't mean you should be embarrassed driving it. Driving a Chevette would embarrass me. It's small, notchy and weird looking. Driving a Oldsmobile Cutlass wouldn't because it's a plain normal-looking sedan. It's boring, but not embarrassing.

8) Must have some room to haul stuff around.
A car with a good trunk or liftback fits the bill here.

9) Front-wheel-drive would be preferred.
Reason: Traction. Rear drives are fair-weather-only. Can't have that.

I have some other req's, but those are the biggies.

Here are some potential candidates (note: these are examples):

1989 Chevrolet Beretta GT Coupe
Cheesy 80's style, but nice car all around. The ad says it needs a heater core. Not too bad. It still keeps the price under $1200 after work is done.

1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Not a bad looking car a'tall. Good reviews and few problems.

1992 Mercury Cougar LS
Good lookin' car, but tends to fall apart when the miles pile on.

1994 Chrysler Concorde
Still modern looking, even today - and it's a loaded car. Possible electrical nightmare.

So you see.. you can get a really decent ride for a beater car, hence the reason I'm considering doing it again. 😉

One final thing: You can make any car look good with the right paint and wheels.


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