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Acura Integra, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ford Escort, Honda Civic, Mazda Protege, Buying Insurance
Aug 27, 2002 (6:23 pm)
Again, I think that picking specific models of beaters is rather futile because the make or model is less relevant as the condition that the car is kept in.
Also, mileage is less relevant. Some of the worst headache vehicles are the cars that some grandma drove where the car is 10 years old and has 20,000 miles. The dry rot on those are incredible.
Some of the cars that I like in this category include:
Older Chryslers (1970's era) that are pre-Kcars)
Ford Escorts - the later models automatics are a simple and very easy to maintain
A-body GMs (Ciera/Century/6000/Celebrity) - there are lot of them around. The Olds are a steal right now as they dropped in price substantially when GM discontinued the brand.
The GEO cars seem to last forever although most consider them "throwaways"
Cars to avoid:
Most Hyundais and Kias
Cars with power seats, windows - those darn motors fail giving you a 200+ repair
88-92 White Oldsmobiles - major rust problems
I guess that my preference is for simple cars with few things that can go wrong.
I see so many great deals out ther right now in the under $2k market. Unfortunately, I have a 1996 that won't reach 150k miles until 2007 and my wife has a company car so I am out of the market for another 5 years or so.
#44 of 356 very true
Aug 27, 2002 (10:41 pm)
The care and maintenance a car has had is a lot more relevant when it's ten or fifteen years old than the actual brand. I do agree, jlawrence to stay away from Neons especially. They're temptingly cheap and not super old, but their quality is bad in general, and head gaskets tend to fail (repeatedly, sometimes).
Aug 28, 2002 (1:32 pm)
I would include the 89-95 Acclaim/Spirit/LeBaron, if you can find one with the 2.5liter and 3 speed auto.
Also like an early 90's Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, and the GM intermediates mentioned above.
The Horizon was decent the last few years it was built as well.
#46 of 356 In the Philly area, contact me
Aug 28, 2002 (4:38 pm)
Aug 28, 2002 (10:20 pm)
Believe it or not, I still see quite a few of the old Plymouth Horizons even though it was one of the worst cars made. And they are in better than average shape. I see more Horizons than I see K-cars at this point.
My biggest gripe with them was not mechanical as much as all the surface issues - the name plate fell of in months, the door handles, the carpet wore through in 3 years, etc. They were fun to drive and were great cars in the winter snows.
#48 of 356 My mother...
Aug 29, 2002 (7:20 am)
...had a 1987 Dodge Omni. She really loved that car though us kids thought of it as a joke. True, the assembly and material quality was a joke and the paint came off in flakes, but that little car held up extremely well mechanically and could endure the worst a NE winter could throw at it. These cars are dirt cheap today and parts are plentiful and cheap. Maintenance and repair is a snap. If you aren't too proud, this could be the beater car of your dreams.
#49 of 356 My mother
Aug 29, 2002 (3:13 pm)
Also had a '87 or '86 Dodge Omni. It was Red. Bad decision on her part.
She kept until it was totaled. Some high pothead decided to drive, and hit her from behind, and pushed her into another car. This happened on a freeway entrance ramp, going downhill, so it was at a pretty high speed.
She was pregnant........................with me. She was able to walk out of the car, no injuries. No injuries to me, either. Darn good cars, IMO. She took the money the INS Co. gave her, and used it to buy another one. This time around, it was blue. They couldn't find one with similar mileage.
Aug 30, 2002 (2:50 pm)
Any of the old GM full-size B-body "woody" station wagons (1977-90 Caprices, Safaris, etc.) would make excellent beaters. You can purchase them for next to nothing.
Aug 31, 2002 (2:07 am)
Although I wouldn't want to park or maneuver one in the city. I do see them constantly for like $500-1500, while the sedans carry a bit of a premium (they're big in the 20"/vogues/ghettoish circuit).
Aug 31, 2002 (6:53 am)
That is definitely a new one!