Once again I’ve gotten off schedule with my regular posts. That being said, a lot has happened in the last little while.
The Car Hunt
I had been on the hunt for a mid 1970s Corvette back in September. I had looked at a couple of potential candidates, however I found that of the ones I looked at, there were a couple issues that I couldn’t get past. My biggest issue was the fact that there was more rust that I was prepared to put up with. One of the things I discovered is that when ads say “no rust” that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no rust on the car. People have different interpretations of what “no rust” means. The truth is with cars that are 40 years old, there’s bound to be some rust somewhere on the car. You just have to know how much rust you’re prepared to put up with.
I did a lot of scrutinizing over the cars that were in my price range, but based on the research I’d done, I didn’t find any that matched my expectations. I understood that it was going to take a while to find the right one, but based on my expertise at working with cars and previous restoration experience (which was essentially none) I didn’t find the car that fit my expectations.
My Daily Driver
The car I’d been using for my daily driver had started to give me issues a couple weeks back just before I went to Toronto for the weekend. I got a low coolant indicator on my dashboard. One of the things that concerned me was that I wasn’t seeing any indication of a coolant leak underneath the car. After some research I checked my rear tailpipe and had confirmed that I had a leaking head gasket. There was white wisps of smoke coming out of the exhaust, indicating that coolant was leaking through the gasket. Bad news.
After more research, I discovered that fixing a head gasket wasn’t something I could easily do myself and that it was likely to run ~$1,000 to fix. Maybe if I got multiple quotes I might have been able to get a slightly better price, but everyone I talked to had told me it was an expensive repair.
Sadly, my car was running on borrowed time. The exhaust and muffler needed to be replaced which was going to be about $200 in parts, the head gasket needed to be replaced, which was going to run about $1,000, and the climate system wasn’t working. After 15 minutes of running the AC I would lose all airflow. I wasn’t able to find a root cause as to the climate system, which meant this could have turned into a costly repair. I had already put enough money into replacing the brake calipers and rotors, replacing two wheel bearings, and replacing the rear struts. Considering the car itself wasn’t worth that much, it was starting to ramp up in maintenance costs. It was going to start costing more money than it was worth.
As much as I wanted to get the Corvette, I knew that I needed to get a daily driver. My car was running on borrowed time and I wasn’t sure how long it would be before other things started to break down. I also was in the unfortunate position of not being able to sell the car since I’d imported it into the US. It would have cost more money to get it to the standard required to sell it than I could have sold it for, so there was no point in trying to sell it.
So what were my options?
- Fork out the money to fix up my daily driver
- Buy a used vehicle.
- Buy a new vehicle.
Take a wild guess at which one I chose…
I picked the option I never thought I’d do…I opted to buy a new vehicle.
Many would argue that the purchase of a new car is a bad choice. There are so many arguments for and against purchasing a new vehicle and I’m not going to get into them here. All you have to do is search Google and you can find countless articles that can convince you one way or the other.
The thing I looked as is that I nee to build credit history in the US. Ever since I’ve gotten here, I’ve found that my lack of credit history has made things such as banking and obtaining credit incredibly difficult. My rational is that if I going to be here for a while, I may as well build the credit history by financing a new car. I realize that there are many other ways to build credit history as well, yet this was a personal decision, and being that I was now a part of the auto industry, I wanted to get a sense of what a new car really felt like.
Now that the Corvette was sadly going to be off the table for some time, I asked myself what I was really after. The Corvette had the allure of being the cool classic sports car with the big powerful motor. My plan had been to make it go fast. So if that was no longer an option, what was the next logical choice? Considering I work at Ford, the choice was pretty obvious…
The 2015 Mustang GT is a beautiful car. The 5.0 L engine puts out 435 HP and 400 Ft-Lbs of torque, which would have made for a wickedly fun ride. It looked good and would have been so much fun to drive. I had seriously contemplated buying this car.
So why did I hesitate?
Because in my mind, the reason you purchase a car like this is to go FAST. You buy a Mustang GT for the performance. The thing I thought about then, is “where am I going to use this performance?” Honestly I’d probably use it to accelerate from 0-45 MPH very quickly, then list along feeling somewhat dissatisfied everywhere I go. Also, since I tend to base the majority of my thinking on Murphy’s law, I figured any time I really did push the performance of this car, I was likely to get caught. Last thing I needed after getting a new car is getting taxed due to my happily heavy foot.
Basically, if I was going to get a Mustang, I wanted to drive it, yet the problem was is I wasn’t likely going to use it for it’s intended purpose. Considering this was going to be a $30,000 daily driver, I figured I wouldn’t be super thrilled at taking it out in the snow and the rain, nor was I going to have the fun I wanted. So I ruled the Mustang out early.
After all this, I learned that all I really want is something I can go fast in without worrying about the consequences, also known as “cheap speed”.
So what were the other options?
Down to the Final Two.
While I likely wasn’t going to have the performance monster I wanted, I figured it would still be fun to have a stick shift. The next option was the Ford Focus ST.
Again, another sporty option with a standard transmission. This would have been a fun car to drive, without quite the price tag of the Mustang (or so I thought). This made it down to the two cars I was looking into.
However once I started looking more into this car, I started to realize that it wasn’t going to be quite the performer I wanted. It would have been a fun car to drive, but I found that the price of the few remaining 2015’s were only about $4,000 less than the Mustang. With this small of a price difference, I may as well go with the Mustang. While it would have been fun as well, it was lacking in a few features and I found the insurance was going to be more expensive than the other vehicle I was looking at.
What did I end up getting?
Considering the incentives that were available for the last of the 2015s, the lower insurance cost, and my planned usage for the future, what could I have possibly got?
Yes, I ended up going with a truck. I will admit the decision process seems a bit odd considering my wants and desires, but this ended up being the vehicle I wanted. There were terrific incentives and I got an A-plan price considering I already work at Ford, so I managed to do pretty well with the price I got.
She’s got some juice in her as well. I got the 2.7 Liter EcoBoost option, and it accelerates quite nicely. It’s only a 2WD, but I figured I didn’t need the 4X4. Others would argue 4X4 is essential if you’re getting a truck, but I don’t plan on doing much off road driving. The additional equipment required for 4×4 would have driven up the cost of the truck above what I was prepared to pay.
So in the last couples of months, I’ve changed my mind over and over about what I’ve wanted to get in terms of a vehicle. While a year ago I never would have found myself saying “I’m buying a new vehicle”, I proved myself wrong my doing just that a week and a half ago.
What about my desire for cheap speed?
In the next post, I’ll detail my plans for cheap speed going forward. There won’t be anything immediate on the horizon, but in the mean time there’s lots of possibilities to research out there.