Author Topic: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?  (Read 11971 times)

batbatmanne

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How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« on: April 19, 2016, 10:50:14 AM »
I have been a car enthusiast for most of my life. I remember drawing them as a child, fawning over high-end cars in enthusiast books, playing racing games extensively, etc. I can name almost every car I see on the road and give a basic description of it. My computer and phone background are car related.

I have never owned a car, nor does my lifestyle require one right now. I live on the bus routes to work and studies, and I am in walking distance of all of the stores I need to run basic errands. Despite this, I find myself during particularly stressful times longing to buy something, scouring the used car section to find something that might satisfy an itch. I was just recently test driving a car that was 25 years old that ticked all of the boxes: it was manual, rwd, no driver aids and minimal electronics, it looked good, it was reasonably practical, got reasonable gas mileage, is in excellent condition with low mileage and cost under 10k.

Despite all of these things, I just do not need a car. I live in a region where the roads are heavily salted during the winter and so if I were to get this car I would have to anticipate that I would be dealing with rust within half a decade, thereby worsening the condition of the car, even if I try my hardest to prevent it. The alternative would be to find a way to keep the car inside during the winter (I don't have access to a garage now), where it would of course be totally unused and a drain on the wallet (although I would take this time to do my own mechanical work, which would be a new experience for me). I have even considered getting an apartment in my city that has climate controlled parking, just to make this seem like a more plausible option.

All in all then, I recognize that this is a stupid idea. But I wonder, is there any way that I could somehow turn this into a somewhat mustachian venture? I have no debt, am almost finished a graduate degree and have nearly 20k saved (5k in stock equity, 5k emergency fund). The few thousand in surplus that I seem to be generating every year and saving just seems so inconsequential to my goal of being financially independent, and I tell myself that my desires are so modest. So it is hard for me to contain myself and I find myself often browsing the classifieds. How do I deal with this heavy dissonance that I experience on a regular basis?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 10:52:04 AM by batbatmanne »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 10:54:13 AM »
Can you alter your career path to work with cars more often?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 10:56:06 AM »
Become a mechanic on the weekend as a side hustle?

1) You get your hands on some actual cars.
2) You get to drive them (test drive during and after repairs)
3) You get paid to do this.

Jack

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 11:06:52 AM »
Re-calibrate your enthusiasm so that you care more about cars that are interesting or that have, shall we say, "patina" instead of being in excellent condition. (Maybe watch some episodes of Roadkill on Youtube for inspiration.) Then get an example of that 25-year-old manual RWD car that costs something closer to $2k and don't worry about the road salt and rust.

Either that, or move South. ; )

(Disclaimer: I own three cars for a two-person household, and one was bought for the express purpose of autocross. I might not be the best source of advice on how to resist vehicle temptation...)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 11:16:58 AM by Jack »

dougules

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 11:10:05 AM »
It sounds like you are craving retail therapy.  When you really feel like you want a car bad, you might think about what else may be stressing you that is completely unrelated to the car.  Hit the underlying stressor head-on instead of adding to your worries by adding car expenses when you can't afford them. 

Also, +1 on the mechanic-on-the-side idea, especially if working on cars can help you decompress.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 11:11:09 AM »
Trick question, you don't. :)

Silrossi46

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 11:25:54 AM »
You never "get over" being a car enthusiast.   I believe it is something that is just in you.  That being said......... what i did was become a used car dealer.  I do this as a side hustle for myself and have a couple of others working for me full time.   I get the use of a dealer plate to essentially drive whatever vehicles i want or choose to buy without having to actually register and insure them triggering sales tax.   When i get tired of driving it i just sell it hopefully for a profit.   The trick here is to make sure you buy it right so that when you sell it you make money.   There is paperwork to contend with and some overhead to deal with   (i rent a small lot) however i find that the benefits outweigh the costs for me.   I get to feed my automotive high so to speak and still make some money to boot.  Works for me  :)

batbatmanne

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 11:38:49 AM »
Can you alter your career path to work with cars more often?
Become a mechanic on the weekend as a side hustle?

1) You get your hands on some actual cars.
2) You get to drive them (test drive during and after repairs)
3) You get paid to do this.

My education has been entirely intellectual and not hands-on at all. In fact, this might be some of what is generating stress for me, since this has been the case since grade school. I think that being a mechanic where I live is a pretty intensive process and might require me to go to trade school, which is something I have no interest in doing. I might be able to find a way to apprentice with a shop. I would consider that. On the other hand, I don't particularly feel like I want to do this for a living, I am mostly interested in having it as a hobby. I wouldn't be against doing mechanical work on the side, although I'm not sure how realistic this is since it seems that, where I live, everybody these days has a car that is filled to the brim with electronics that I would not be experienced with, and likely wouldn't be able to deal with. I get the feeling that the mechanic on the side gig is going the way of the dodo.

Re-calibrate your enthusiasm so that you care more about cars that are interesting or that have, shall we say, "patina" instead of being in excellent condition. (Maybe watch some episodes of Roadkill on Youtube for inspiration.) Then get an example of that 25-year-old manual RWD car that costs something closer to $2k and don't worry about the road salt and rust.

Either that, or move South. ; )

I like the way you think. I could probably reorient myself to appreciate temporary beaters quite easily, and I would be less inclined to dump money into something that I didn't expect to have for a long time in the first place. If this isn't the best advice for me, it might be the advice that I end up taking. I have also thought about moving south as a possibility, although nothing plausible is on the cards at this point. The old cars can be kept in beautiful shape.

It sounds like you are craving retail therapy.  When you really feel like you want a car bad, you might think about what else may be stressing you that is completely unrelated to the car.  Hit the underlying stressor head-on instead of adding to your worries by adding car expenses when you can't afford them.

Yeah, I think your diagnosis is right. I haven't bought anything other than rent, food and booze in months! My shoes don't even have laces, I think they're better this way! I don't own a bike either, and I have been considering trying to orient my passion in that direction, but it just doesn't really catch. The truth is, I don't really need a bike at this point either, and wouldn't feel super comfortable on the streets of my city (although I'm sure this is something that I could get over).

Trick question, you don't. :)

Yeah, that's what I figure. I just need some other voices to reinforce it I suppose.

You never "get over" being a car enthusiast.   I believe it is something that is just in you.  That being said......... what i did was become a used car dealer.  I do this as a side hustle for myself and have a couple of others working for me full time.   I get the use of a dealer plate to essentially drive whatever vehicles i want or choose to buy without having to actually register and insure them triggering sales tax.   When i get tired of driving it i just sell it hopefully for a profit.   The trick here is to make sure you buy it right so that when you sell it you make money.   There is paperwork to contend with and some overhead to deal with   (i rent a small lot) however i find that the benefits outweigh the costs for me.   I get to feed my automotive high so to speak and still make some money to boot.  Works for me  :)

That is enviable! I wonder if I could make something like this work for me. It might take a little while to really get a sense of the market and an eye for good deals.

Silrossi46

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 11:55:12 AM »
first thing to find out is what your state/ location requirements are for getting licensed.   Find out if you can meet those requirements and what the minimum expenses you would need to have to meet those requirements.  IE rent if they require you need a lot/ insurance.... ect...    There is a bit of business sense required in addition to just having a passion for cars.   You don't want to be buying cars and losing money on them.  Find out what your total costs would be to start something up and what it would cost to maintain.  Then weigh out if the benefits outweigh the costs. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 11:56:29 AM »
You could also apply to be a part-time car salesman, which would utilize your desire to know the ins and outs of lots of models.

trashmanz

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neo von retorch

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 12:04:48 PM »
As these alternatives illustrate, there are other ways to enjoy cars. What you may have already realized is that you have an urge to purchase a car, but what that will buy you is a rush of adrenaline at the moment of purchase, and some moments of joy - however owning a car is not necessarily what you truly desire. You can enjoy the idea of cars, the visuals, the sounds, the statistics. And I think, ultimately, you should do some driving, as I'm sure it's something you can really appreciate as an enthusiast. But don't mistake the allure of driving and automotive excellence with the desire to purchase them.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 12:10:11 PM »
I've dealt with similar car lust my entire life.

I do need a car where I live and just last month traded my 2004 base model Nissan Sentra for a low low mile 2009 Infiniti g37s 6MT.......yes I might be delaying FIRE by a little bit but to me it was/is worth every penny.

LBYM is all about spending money on things you enjoy and not wasting it on things that don't add value/pleasure to you.

v8rx7guy

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 12:14:41 PM »
There's nothing wrong with a hobby you are passionate about.  I would stop surpressing it and start a car project personally.  Sometimes they can turn into side gigs, I manufacture aftermarket parts and pieces for the cars I am passionate about.

Jack

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2016, 12:38:50 PM »
Re-calibrate your enthusiasm so that you care more about cars that are interesting or that have, shall we say, "patina" instead of being in excellent condition. (Maybe watch some episodes of Roadkill on Youtube for inspiration.) Then get an example of that 25-year-old manual RWD car that costs something closer to $2k and don't worry about the road salt and rust.

Either that, or move South. ; )

I like the way you think. I could probably reorient myself to appreciate temporary beaters quite easily, and I would be less inclined to dump money into something that I didn't expect to have for a long time in the first place. If this isn't the best advice for me, it might be the advice that I end up taking. I have also thought about moving south as a possibility, although nothing plausible is on the cards at this point. The old cars can be kept in beautiful shape.

Who said anything about "temporary?" I don't think you should buy a car expecting to own it less than several years (at least) (and I also don't think you should buy a car that's so rusty it's in danger of structural failure). I'm just saying that instead of taking pride in driving a car that's really nice, you should take pride in being able to fix or put up with the problems. Think of it like an automotive limbo contest: how cheap can you go (while still being fast in a drag race / fun to drive / maintaining whatever aspect is important to you)? Think "what a piece of junk," if not "the alleged car."

Also, this.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:55:07 PM by Jack »

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Cadman

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2016, 02:24:57 PM »
In my opinion thereís no reason being a car guy has to be mutually exclusive with being mustacian. In fact, it can be a real asset and itís not something Iíd wish away. A car like you describe is cheap to insure, cheap to register, should be fairly easy to work on and if you invest a little sweat equity and something else catches your eye, you can almost always come out ahead on the deal. The important thing is to do your research and recognize your strengths (body work? mechanics?). If youíre unsure where those talents lie, start small and consider the investment an education.

Where a person can get into trouble is when they have too many cars and too little time. Sitting isnít good for them, and thatís when the hobby can get expensive unless you have a full time maintenance staff like Jay Leno.

dougules

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2016, 03:00:00 PM »

Yeah, I think your diagnosis is right. I haven't bought anything other than rent, food and booze in months! My shoes don't even have laces, I think they're better this way! I don't own a bike either, and I have been considering trying to orient my passion in that direction, but it just doesn't really catch. The truth is, I don't really need a bike at this point either, and wouldn't feel super comfortable on the streets of my city (although I'm sure this is something that I could get over).


You don't own a bike (I'm assuming bicycle not motorcycle)?  I guess I'm always a little surprised when people say that.  You might try getting one assuming you're not super poor at the moment.  You might just get into it, and how much could you save on bus fare?  It's definitely worth a try.  Even if your budget is tight, I bet you could find something cheap used. 

And yes, assuming biking in traffic in Canada is anything like in the US it can be a little stressful at first.  I think you get used to it eventually.  It's significantly less dangerous than it feels vs driving that is significantly more dangerous than it feels.

Take me with a grain of salt, since I genuinely just enjoy biking way more than driving. 

Guava

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2016, 03:13:39 PM »
Cars can exist without much rust in heavily salted areas. It just depends how well they are taken care of and washed. My 8 year old car has been on salted winter roads and chlorine treated dirt roads it's whole life and still isn't rusty.

As for how you get over being a car enthusiasts, you really don't. We manage our love of vehicles by setting limits on prices and quantity. We also cannot buy another one while we have a project going on. This is our hobby and something we love so delaying a little bit of savings is worth it to us. I am also probably not a good person to answer this because we have three cars and two morotcycles for two people though.

Reddleman

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2016, 05:30:03 PM »
Like others have said, you probably won't get over it.

Buy a beater. Rear wheel drive. Learn a bit about mechanics. Oil changes, spark plugs, brakes.  Do a diagnosis. 

20 year old cars have already fully depreciated, so if anything will probably go up in value. 

My recommendation- buy the best $2-$3k Miata you can.  They are reliable, and there will always be a market for them.  Chances are you can sell it for exactly what you paid for it at any time.

http://jalopnik.com/5654312/miata-the-answer-to-every-question

If you don't love driving a cheap Miata, you really don't like driving and can go on with your life!

neo von retorch

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2016, 07:26:04 PM »
If you don't love driving a cheap Miata, you really don't like driving and can go on with your life!

To be fair, this isn't fair ;) (I'm 6'2" and I drove a Miata, and it was funny but really annoying because I had to duck or crane my neck the entire time to see!

Primm

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2016, 07:53:01 PM »
If you don't love driving a cheap Miata, you really don't like driving and can go on with your life!

To be fair, this isn't fair ;) (I'm 6'2" and I drove a Miata, and it was funny but really annoying because I had to duck or crane my neck the entire time to see!

A friend of mine took another friend for a blat in her MX5. He's 6'3". It was twilight so bug-o'clock, and he ended up with a massive bruise in the middle of his forehead where a Christmas beetle came over the top of the windscreen and smacked him.

We thought it was amusing. He saw the funny side eventually.

Reddleman

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2016, 07:56:40 PM »
Aaaargh, beeetles!!!!!!

I hear you.  The miata is a bit small for taller folks.  You can actually perform a "foamectomy" and make it more suitable.  One of the great things about cars is their endless variability and modifyability?

http://www.miata.net/garage/foamectomy/

JLee

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2016, 08:19:01 PM »
Buy a cheap Miata.  Drive the crap out of it.  Don't drive it in salt (as to not encourage rust problems).  They're ridiculously easy and inexpensive to work on, and also ridiculously entertaining to drive.

fishnfool

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2016, 08:36:39 PM »
I also feel that you won't completely get over your enthusiasm. I'm a little boat crazy, have been that way since I was a kid. I still love reading about the new boats being built and sometimes fantasize owning one again. I even browse craigslist for used boats for fun even though I know I'm not gonna buy one.

My fishing kayak fulfills my needs right now and is easy on the budget.

Maybe you could rent a car or just go test drive them now and then to get your car fix!

Jack

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2016, 07:25:18 AM »
I'll concur with everybody's Miata recommendation. In fact, that car I bought for the express purpose of autocross, as I mentioned earlier, is in fact a Miata! : D

If you don't love driving a cheap Miata, you really don't like driving and can go on with your life!

To be fair, this isn't fair ;) (I'm 6'2" and I drove a Miata, and it was funny but really annoying because I had to duck or crane my neck the entire time to see!

A friend of mine took another friend for a blat in her MX5. He's 6'3". It was twilight so bug-o'clock, and he ended up with a massive bruise in the middle of his forehead where a Christmas beetle came over the top of the windscreen and smacked him.

We thought it was amusing. He saw the funny side eventually.

Speaking of Beetles and tall people, if you're looking for a small car with a lot of front-seat headroom the VW New Beetle (1998-2011) is an excellent choice. Because of that domed roof, it literally has enough room for a normal-sized person to wear a top hat while driving it. The 1.8Ts and TDIs (especially with modifications) count as "enthusiast" cars, too, and the TDIs manage to be simultaneously fun to drive and frugal.

batbatmanne

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2016, 11:28:53 AM »
Thanks everybody. I've just been doing some rough calculations with my budget and I realize that if I were to buy a beater for half of the price of what I'm currently looking at, which is a reasonable asking price, then I would have more than 8 months worth of expenses saved up in my e-fund after purchasing, including the extra $150 / month I allotted to insurance/gas/maintenance for my monthly expenses. I also calculated that I could save just over half of my income through December, including the car expense. I also wouldn't feel bad about getting my hands dirty with a beater, or causing some extra wear by driving it through the winter. So I think I'm going to start looking for a good deal over the next few months, since these numbers seem to work a bit better in my favor. It's not as good as being carless, granted, but I think that it might be worth it for me, and if it isn't then at least I won't be in much of a worse position.

For what it's worth, I've had my eye on the e30 BMW which is usually considered along with the miata for budget minded enthusiasts.


steviesterno

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2016, 01:54:40 PM »
my vote, buy a car from the south. I'm from PA and bought a ton of garage kept cars, did what I could to keep them from rotting, but they all did. I moved to Texas and bought a Texas truck, and my goodness what a difference! the frame was new! maybe buy one from down here, make it a fun road trip getting home. then paint or seal the frame.

you can't really fight rust as easily as you can prevent it

batbatmanne

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2016, 02:15:28 PM »
my vote, buy a car from the south. I'm from PA and bought a ton of garage kept cars, did what I could to keep them from rotting, but they all did. I moved to Texas and bought a Texas truck, and my goodness what a difference! the frame was new! maybe buy one from down here, make it a fun road trip getting home. then paint or seal the frame.

you can't really fight rust as easily as you can prevent it
Yeah, this is something that I could see myself doing. I was able to find a garaged example up here that is rust free, but the problem is that I am not nearly wealthy enough to justify having a summer car and a winter car, in order to keep the summer one rust free. This would be what I would do in an ideal world, and I'd source the summer car from south most likely.

It isn't feasible to take on a rust free car with a plan of not driving it in the winter for me at this point. I also wouldn't want to cause rust on a clean car. From what I understand, it doesn't matter how hard you try to prevent rust, it will happen if you drive an older car in the winter here. Consequently, I am warming to the idea of just accepting a reasonable level of rust as part of the deal and then not having to worry about ruining a pristine example. This would let me save some money up front and probably over time, since I would be less inclined to throw money at something that isn't a "forever" car. I would of course plan on keeping what I got for as many years as possible, until the car got to the end of its usable life.

ketchup

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2016, 02:16:54 PM »
my vote, buy a car from the south. I'm from PA and bought a ton of garage kept cars, did what I could to keep them from rotting, but they all did. I moved to Texas and bought a Texas truck, and my goodness what a difference! the frame was new! maybe buy one from down here, make it a fun road trip getting home. then paint or seal the frame.

you can't really fight rust as easily as you can prevent it
This is a wonderful idea.  Lots of cars in the American South are 20-30 years old and have zero rust.  I'll never forget the first time I visited Phoenix (I'm used to Chicago salt).

Jack

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2016, 03:07:29 PM »
For what it's worth, I've had my eye on the e30 BMW which is usually considered along with the miata for budget minded enthusiasts.

Nice.

(That's probably what I'll swap my Miata for when I have kids... unless I'm so attached to the Miata by then that I get rid of something else instead.)



my vote, buy a car from the south. I'm from PA and bought a ton of garage kept cars, did what I could to keep them from rotting, but they all did. I moved to Texas and bought a Texas truck, and my goodness what a difference! the frame was new! maybe buy one from down here, make it a fun road trip getting home. then paint or seal the frame.

you can't really fight rust as easily as you can prevent it
This is a wonderful idea.  Lots of cars in the American South are 20-30 years old and have zero rust.  I'll never forget the first time I visited Phoenix (I'm used to Chicago salt).

No, it's a terrible idea! There aren't any good cars in the South. In fact, forget the South even exists!

/Jedi hand wave "these aren't the rust-free old cars you're looking for."


(more for me that way!)

HairyUpperLip

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2016, 03:54:08 PM »
my vote, buy a car from the south. I'm from PA and bought a ton of garage kept cars, did what I could to keep them from rotting, but they all did. I moved to Texas and bought a Texas truck, and my goodness what a difference! the frame was new! maybe buy one from down here, make it a fun road trip getting home. then paint or seal the frame.

you can't really fight rust as easily as you can prevent it
This is a wonderful idea.  Lots of cars in the American South are 20-30 years old and have zero rust.  I'll never forget the first time I visited Phoenix (I'm used to Chicago salt).

No, it's a terrible idea! There aren't any good cars in the South. In fact, forget the South even exists!

/Jedi hand wave "these aren't the rust-free old cars you're looking for."


(more for me that way!)


:::sticks straw in mouth::: yuuup - don't com' down her' tryin' to take our cars, we got guns.

But seriously, I'd highly recommend buying a car from out of state and making a road trip out of it back home.

I lived in Iowa when I bought my Subaru STi I flew to Missouri and drove it back.

My brother and his wife bought their Honda S2000 in northern California. They flew in and drove down the PCH, made stops in SF and LA to visit family, and then drove all the way back to Georgia. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I think it was a pretty cool thing they did.

dougules

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2016, 04:05:11 PM »
My car is 14 years old, and the only rust is a tiny little scratch on the trunk.  Generally the only cars down here that have a rust problem are the ones sitting out on jacks in people's front yards.  And even those get some protection from the kudzu.

It's sad to get on the interstate in the winter and see all the rusted cars caked in salt.  And those are the ones lucky enough to slip through the wall we made Mexico build down the Mason-Dixon Line. 
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 04:10:42 PM by dougules »

gimp

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Re: How do I get over being a car enthusiast?
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2016, 11:33:22 PM »
I'm a car enthusiast.

I work on my own car. That itches scratch #1.

I'm buying a second fun car. That'll go into the facepunch thread. Sue me.