Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buying a New Car: More About My Family's Car Buying Mindset

Reason for My Preference for Used SUVs?

Last week, as I pondered where this series was headed, I asked my Dad to describe all the cars he had owned in his life.  The three things that his description made clear was this.  First, the cars were often used. Second, they were always very utilitarian. They hauled people and things.  Third, my parents drove them into the ground before they bought something new (or newer). So, here's my Dad's narrative. Photos show model and style, but not necessarily the color of his cars. 

The Single Guy's Car

Okay, before I was married, I had a [used] 1938 Chevy that I had overhauled professionally then salvaged replacement fenders and a steering gear from the local junkyard and installed them myself.  I paid good money for a sun visor that mounted above the window on the outside.  Of course, the fenders did not match the body so I used a brush and exterior paint to paint the whole damn thing brush-streaked black.  If I was not perceived as a hick at Washington (streetcar) University, before I showed up with that car, I think I probably made the grade afterwards.  I must say, though, JoAnn had no problem with it when we were dating.
For the Young Family 
By 1955, Dad and Mom upgraded and gave JoAnn and I their [used] 1950 Ford.  Then, they did the same thing with their [used] 1951 Chevy several years later, which is what we were
driving when we decided to get a second [used] car so JoAnn would not be trapped at home with three younguns.
That would be the VW bug, which was a '59 that we bought from a Hawaiian student before she went home in '60. Roger was an infant, and we still lived in St John, [MO].   
The first new car we bought was the reddish-brown 1965 Ford station wagon, which was the same color and year of the sedan John and Louise [JoAnn's parents] were driving, while we lived at 7558 Washington [in St. Louis].   
We replaced it with the [new] blue-green Ford [LTD Country Squire] station wagon, in 1969. When it was tied up for a while in the body shop after JoAnn wrecked it, I stopped driving the bug and bought the [new] '70 Clementine VW squareback (which I really liked). 
Planning for Severe Winters While my Dad was in Grad School 
We bought the [new] International Scout in '75.  When we went to Ann Arbor, we took the Scout and the Ford station wagon.  By that time, the bug had died and we left Clementine in STL.
The Empty Nest  
Upon returning from [Ann Arbor] in '78, we bought Mrs. Fischlowitz's [our neighbor whose house faced Delmar Boulevard] Volvo station wagon, which we drove until after we moved to Brentwood in 1989.   
When the Scout transmission malfunctioned in '86, we gave it to Greg [my brother] for hauling wood on his property and bought the [new] blue Plymouth minivan.   
After doing yeoman work in the move to Brentwood, the Volvo finally looked so bad and needed so many expensive repairs, JoAnn was willing to part with it (her favorite car of all time). Then we were a one-car couple until JoAnn died, even after trading up in minivans to the [new] '95 Chrysler minivan.
 When Dottie and I were married, she had the Ford station wagon and the blue Dodge minivan, and I had the Chrysler minivan, and all three had close to 200,000 miles on them. The blue Dodge died first, then the Chrysler.  A tree fell on the Ford.   
Since then, we have had two well-used minivans, a sedan, and a pickup.  [The latest sedan is a used, low-mileage car with the paint falling off of it.]

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