Been thinking about buying a new vehicle for a while now. Ever since the price of gas lost touch with reality in fact. But especially now. I’ve made my last payment on my trusty CeR-Vix and I’m thinking it would be crazy to just SAVE money.
But I’m conflicted. The price of gas says buy something economical. My current environment and new hobbies say buy a pick-up. And my inner child (who really makes up 90% of my personality) says buy that Chevy Astro van and convert it into an A-Team van like you’ve always wanted to.
Really what I want is a pick-up, capable of loading a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, with a 2.5 or 3.0 litre turbo-charged diesel. Since that option isn’t available in North America at the moment, I’m left agonizing over what the actual options are. While I’m making up my mind I thought I’d run down my current car ownership history. Just for kicks.
1980 Pontiac Phoenix
The first. The legend. Bought it after my first year of university for $700 and it lasted nearly 4 years. It survived several road trips, a run in with a barricade, a year of being parked due to an unfortunate DUI conviction, a couple rounds with a bat after being arrested, and all it asked for in return was a new transmission, a new rad, and some wiring. Back home it was known as the Fiery Phoenix of Green Death. At school, simply The Fireball. It finally met it’s end, ironically, at a RIDE program where I passed the sobriety test but The Fireball failed the integrity check.
1988 Nissan Pathfinder
The two door Pathfinder 4X4. This was a great little truck. Bought it after graduation in 1997. I did not treat this vehicle well but it was a lotta fun. When you are young and foolish and own a 4X4, you don’t think anything can stop you. Eventually it just wouldn’t turn over and I’d already leased my next car so I got rid of it for $200 rather than put any more money into it. I didn’t even blink when it got towed away but I’d love to have it right now.
2000 Honda Civic SiR
This was my first new vehicle and I loved it. The only mistake I made was leasing the damn thing. Broke my heart to return it. This was the last model year with the double wishbone front suspension before they moved to struts. This thing was a street legal go-kart. Pushing the limits around the Niagara Peninsula got me in trouble a couple times but it was just such a blast to drive. Especially after I got the Bridgestone Potenzas. 160 horsepower out of a wee 1.6 litre engine and a 9000 rpm red line. Fun fun fun. Like I said, it was a sad day when the lease was up. The buy out price was ridiculous and I had driven it pretty hard for 4 years so I waved good bye and moved on. Oh, and this was the first car I owned that got it’s own nickname, SiR MiX-a-LoT.
2004 Honda CR-V
Nicknamed the CeR-Vix because it lacked any masculine virtues, this was a purchase based on common sense and logic. I now owned a house, I needed something that would be handy getting stuff back from Home Depot, but I was also going to be packing on the kilometers and the price of gas was already climbing. I compromised on a vehicle that could tow a utility trailer for the Home Depot trips while still being thrifty at the gas pump. It’s been a handy little vehicle for the past 5 years. I’m still amazed at the amount of crap I’ve been able to cram into it. Versatile and dependable. My only complaint has been the brakes which seem to wear out too frequently. I also blame the brakes for locking up a wheel on an icy road and sending my mom and I into the ditch. But the tires were nearly bald too so…mea culpa. Once I got a decent set of winter tires on her, she ate up the snow. I’d recommend the vehicle to anyone but I’m still itching to move on.
So that’s where I’m at. I’ve thought about the Jetta Wagon TDI, the Honda Fit, the Ford Mustang, the Honda Ridgeline, the Astro van A-team conversion, the Ford F-150, and, briefly, the Nissan 370Z. The sports cars get dismissed as long as I lived in a town where pot holes survive on a steady diet of half-shafts and suspension arms. The trucks all seem to drink too much gasoline and the cars lack the ground clearance I need for where I want to go. Bah. Just sit here and wait for my diesel truck, I guess.