I am fifty-two years old and have owned a total of four automobiles, all of which I affectionately refer to as “indestructible Jap economy shitboxes” (hat tip to the John Goodman character in the film, The Gambler — see scene below.
My first car — a 1992 Honda Civic hatchback with a manual transmission— was also the only new car I ever purchased. It is also the first and only time I took out a loan for anything.
My next car was a used 1996 Suzuki Esteem with an automatic transmission, which I purchased for 2000 dollars from a friend in Florida in 2003. The Esteem was of much lower quality and less practical than the Civic because it was a sedan, but it had air-conditioning and took me and my wife from Point A to Point B reliably and consistently.
I did not purchase another car until we moved to Toronto, Canada in 2011. Once in Toronto, I bought a used 2008 Nissan Versa hatchback with an automatic transmission (I prefer manual transmissions, but my wife likes automatic and well…)
The Versa was another solid Japanese economy car, so much so that it probably transcended the economy category. We drove the car for over two years, and before moving to England in 2014, I sold the Versa to my mother for a family discount price. My mother still drives the car today!
When I bought this “tin can on wheels”, I figured I would own it for a couple of years before graduating to something more “serious.” That was nearly eight years ago. The odometer currently sits at 135,000. The car has never required anything beyond routine maintenance. I can’t kill this tin can, even though I’ve used it to transport everything from a cement mixer to lumber.
At this rate, the little tin can on wheels will probably stay with me for another eight years, which will devastate my “status” among the car-owning public but elevate the “status” of my bank account in terms of money saved on car payments, repairs, etc.
Oddly enough, I adopted the advice Goodman’s character espouses in the scene below long before I watched the film from which the scene originates. Nevertheless, the F.U. position the Goodman character outlines in the scene pretty much describes my approach to material obligations and personal finance, minus the offensive tagline. Oh, and I’ve never been up 2.5 million…ever. (Warning: Strong language!)