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Old 12-21-2013, 01:29 PM   #16
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Left Side of Michigan
Oddometer: 147
1993 Ford Festiva purchased for $200 with 98k miles. I did an initial oil change as it had been sitting for about a year. Drove it for 110k miles, with no maintenance other than a set of front brake pads and some tires. After the initial oil change, I realized that it burned/leaked enough oil that I could just do a rolling oil change with every gas fill up.
During my ownership of that car I was given two more Festivas. The first one came from a coworker who mentioned that his dad had one sitting in the backyard. His dad said i could haul it away. I put a battery and gas in and drove it home. The second came from an acquaintance who struck up a conversation about how much she loved hers. Two years later she called me out of the blue and offered to deliver it to me as she wanted it to go to someone who cared about it.
I ended up selling the first freebie for $300 and giving away the other one after stealing the driver seat for my first one.
The initial Festiva was given to a local kid who had just gotten a drivers license.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:17 PM   #17
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Eugene OR
Oddometer: 2,495
Got this guy off of CraigsList for $140. Emailed to verify she didn't mean $1,400 and she said $140 was the price.

Rented a dolly & towed it home. 94 Nissan Sentra.

Her hubby tore into the steering column trying to fix a no-start issue & found himself over his head & gave up. I replaced the ignition switch, removed the funky ignition interlock thing, added a battery, changed the oil, replaced a seat I think. I probably had $400 into it when I sold it on CL for $1,400. The kid didn't want it nor did the wife so off it went.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:04 PM   #18
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Sometimes the Twin Cities, Sometimes NW Wisconsin
Oddometer: 1,335
Back in 1990 in high school, I had a 1977 Mercury Cougar XR7 Pimpmobile. That was right around the time of the first Gulf War and gas prices spiked and I wanted something that didn't get 12 mpg.

I picked up a 1981 Honda Accord 5 speed sedan for $500. Rusted to hell and 120,000 miles on it. Tried in vain to fix the rust with bondo and spray paint - looked like shit.

We had to get a piece of the frame welded by some old farmer my dad knew, and a buddy of mine replaced the clutch - twice because I learned to drive a stick on that thing. Floors were rotten so I screwed a piece of plywood down on the drivers side footwell. I managed to somehow bondo one of the rear doors shut, and then I hit a deer with it. That knocked loose a headlight, so after getting pulled over and getting a fix it ticket, I just glued the headlight in with construction adhesive. You could NOT kill that car. Sold it to some guy for $300 with 190,000 on it before I went to college. Still one of the most fun cars I've ever owned.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:36 AM   #19
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Oddometer: 581
I'll tell my buddy to post here, the one to whom I recently gave my running-and-in-decent-condition '95 Plymouth Grand Caravan. He's into RC planes and model rocketry and wanted a mobile hangar for his craft, and now he has one. Loves it.
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Old 12-22-2013, 08:40 AM   #20
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Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Chilliwack, BC
Oddometer: 1,817
Originally Posted by ddavidv View Post

78 Ford Fiesta (NOT a Festiva!). This thing was beige and covered in black tree filth after sitting behind a car lot for several years. I paid $65 for it, stuck a battery in it, and drove it home. This was the 4th Fiesta I'd bought over the years. Drove it from PA to Atlanta and back on a trip with no problems, so decided to keep it. $400 repaint and a set of 13" alloys from my parts stash and it started to look good. I think I drove it for about 3 years before selling it to buy something with air conditioning. Sold it to a young guy who autocrossed it until the rust finally killed it at around 180,000 miles. Loved this car and still have fond memories of it (and the Ford shop manual) and would love to find another some day.
I used to work with a woman that had a one-owner Fiesta. About 10 years ago it had 40000 miles (summer only) and she said she'd never sell it. I often wonder if it's still around.
Every day I break my previous record of consecutive days still alive.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:02 PM   #21
That's MR. Toothless
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Joined: May 2004
Location: NoVA for now...
Oddometer: 28,719
My first car was $20. 75 Buick Apollo.

Needed a new battery, some taillights, 2 doors, and a trunklid.

That $20 car ended up costing me $1200 by the time it was said and done. Yeah, it was a hoopty GM 'Nova clone.' So what?! It was MINE!

I'm a cyclist that rides motos, not a moto rider that rides bicycles.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #22
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Sonoma, Calif.
Oddometer: 990
Waaay back in the '90's I bought two 1970 Bugs, one was rusted out and had been vandalized but had a very strong rebuilt engine (and a single port 1600 at that, one of the best aircooled VW's), paid $80.00...the other had a much better body but a bad engine, paid $300.00...combined the best parts from both and had a solid daily driver for a few years. Was not pretty but that was actually a good thing, lived in the big city then and driving a mechanically sound beater was a good way to go, never had a break in though they were very common.

victor441 screwed with this post 12-22-2013 at 02:09 PM
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:14 PM   #23
jules083 OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond, Ohio
Oddometer: 4,042
Originally Posted by victor441 View Post
Waaay back in the '90's I bought two 1970 Bugs, one was rusted out and had been vandalized but had a very strong rebuilt engine (and a single port 1600 at that, one of the best aircooled VW's), paid $80.00...the other had a much better body but a bad engine, paid $300.00...combined the best parts from both and had a solid daily driver for a few years. Was not pretty but that was actually a good thing, lived in the big city then and driving a mechanically sound beater was a good way to go, never had a break in though they were very common.
I really wish bugs were still available cheap. All I see around here are either rusted out piles of junk or expensive and clean. Nothing in the $1000-$2000 range, which is where I'd like to buy one. Good enough to drive but not too good to drive, if that makes sense.

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Old 12-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #24
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Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Hide Away Hills, Ohio
Oddometer: 17,330
Bought a 1985 Dodge Colt (rebadged Mitsubishi) 5 speed with 90,000 miles on it from a graduating dental student after the transmission went out and she didn't want to pay to fix it. Paid her $150.00 and ate the diagnostic bill. Installed a junkyard transmission, timing belt, and tune up. Drove the car 20,000 miles. A friend hit it with his Bronco and totaled it. I accepted $1800.00 from his insurance company and kept the salvage. I pulled out the damage and put a new headlight in. It wasn't pretty but it worked. Continued driving it and later T-Boned someone when he pulled out in front of me. Accepted $1200.00 from his insurance company and kept the salvage. Pulled out the damage (same corner as the last damage) and sold the car to a friend for $400. He drove it an untold number of miles, ran it out of oil, and ate the rod bearings. I pulled the pan, scraped the metal transfer off of the crank journals the best I could, and installed a new set of bearings (cost about $60). I advised him to trade in or sell immediately if he didn't want to rebuild an engine. He didn't listen and kept driving it with no issues until he finally traded it in on a truck. That car was unstoppable.
"Bueller, you're an island of sense in a sea of bullshit" - swimmer

"bueller, you ARE an island of reason in a sea of bullshit" - quasigentrified
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #25
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Western Slope, CO
Oddometer: 465
Several years ago a regular vendor I worked with needed his old pickup, a 91 Dodge Dakota, removed from his ex's property. It had been sitting for a while, had several leaks and ran rough, but if I switched the radio from it to his new to him F150, I could have it for a dollar. I gave him $10. I replaced the radiator, tightened the drain bolt on the transfer case, and replaced the valve cover gaskets. That solved most of the leaks. I messed with several things to make it run better, but eventually had to replace the computer. That solved the rough idle. It's been very dependable, and has no problem in severe weather such as this a few weeks ago.

02 DRZ400E, plated
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:31 AM   #26
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
Oddometer: 5,721
We going for smallest initial cost, or lowest overall cost?

If I get to play by the latter rules, I've got a 2000 S-10 4x4 I'm up about $800 on.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:47 AM   #27
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Oddometer: 2,296
81 Dodge Diplomat

81 Dodge Diplomat with the 225 slant six. bought it for $500. I didn't know much about maintenance then so all it ever got was oil changes when I remembered to do them. I drove that car for 2 years and put about 50,000 miles on it. A good trip from Annapolis to Seattle by way of New Orleans (young and broke, but wanted to see the country).

Tires were shot and the distributor went out on it, so I sold it for $50 and bought a motorcycle. Since I lived in Seattle then, I didn't need insurance, which was cost prohibitive to an 18 year old with a rack of tickets on the license, so the MC was the way to go.

This Spring I plan on picking up another beater with a heater to drive through the winter. The chemicals are killing my car.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:51 AM   #28
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Joined: Aug 2002
Location: San Diego
Oddometer: 14,740
My record is for an older 86 Toyota pickup. Had zero options, manual everything, and even the carb since FI was a couple of hundred dollars. I bought it off a guy with 220K on it. He was asking $2200, I left with it for $1800. I put tires on it, brake pads, and then basically nothing for the next 8 years. Other than oil changes, the only maintinance items were a fan belt, starter contacts, more brake pads. I had put on some 80K mile Michelins when I did the tires, and there weren't getting too worn even at the 100K mark. At 330+K miles, it was burning a quart of oil every 500 miles, but still ran great.

During the time I owned it, I was hit three times by other drivers. Each time, their insurance paid out, about $2500 combined. The bumpers looked like shit, but I only took it off one time to pound out. I did have to replace a rear tail light for $100 or so.

I sold it for $1300.

So, not counting routine maintinance, I had maybe $2600 in it, made $2500 getting hit, plus the $1300 at the end, so in all, made money driving it for the 8 years.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:28 PM   #29
Suzuki Phil
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Simi Valley, CA
Oddometer: 645
This is my kinda thread. Too many to list but here is my favorite.

in the late 80's I bought a late 70's early 80's (don't remember) Dodge Colt wagon for $125 slapped a new tranny in for a couple of hundred then drove it for a few months. Thing was a pile of crap but it ran and the heater worked. Coming home from work on day the engine started knocking I just keep it floored to get me to the nearest off-ramp.

I coasted to the nearest gas station and parked it, left the keys in it and called a friend to pick me up. Haven't seen it since.

1916 Ford Model T
1996 DR350SE
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:22 PM   #30
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Joined: May 2004
Location: NE Oregon
Oddometer: 10,119
The Grey Ghost

When I was in college, mid 70's, all I had for transportation was a Yamaha 250 Enduro. Compact snow and icy roads shut me down 'til spring thaw. A friend of mine had a total POS '65 Ford Galaxie in rattle can , primer grey that he said I could have for $50 if I got it running. I had a big 351 or 352 c.i. V8 in it.

Turns out it only needed a battery, another $50 and I was on the road.

The thing burned oil like a two stroke and smoked from the tail pipe. Smoke would also rise from under the hood when it was parked or at a red light, enough that I feared being pulled over because of it, even back then.

The dash lights did not work so night driving was a bit of a challenge. The heater worked and it did pretty good on slick mountain roads.

Drove until that thing until spring thaw when I could use my DT-1 again.

Another friend got a much needed job and needed a car to get to work,. Being that it was surplus to my needs, I gave that Galaxie, then known as the Grey Ghost, to him since he was broke.
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