Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Speaking of crazy: Car Cents vs Car Sense

So my care and commitment to the aged and aging has expanded to the inanimate. Why? Because I just spent a couple of grand on an old car, an amount almost equal to it's Kelly Blue Book value. Now who is showing signs of poor judgment and confusion? You think dementia is contagious?

Let me try to be clear. This car is not and never will be a collectors item. It is not a special edition or a first year model. The only thing remarkable about it is that it has been a very reliable, yet fun vehicle to drive. I purchased it 8 years ago and now at 13 years old with just under 90,000 miles on it, it is in excellent condition showing little road wear. (If only it's owner could make the same boast.)

For everything that it is, a 1993 Audi 90 CS 5 speed, 6 cylinder 172 HP engine; it is not a convertible which I have been coveting for some time now. The problem is I have not found the "right" convertible. I want a manual transmission, not a "multitronic", "Steptronic" or any hybrid automatic and I need a back seat, not for people but for cargo. My bass viol cannot fit into any convertible's trunk.

I drove the new Mustang V8 a couple of months ago, smitten by it's good looks and power but disappointed in it's fit and finish, not to mention the sway of the back end when taking curves (too?) fast. I'm spoiled. My 13 year old Audi has less rattles and squeaks and a considerably more luxurious interior than a brand new Ford. Granted the Mustang GT has quicker acceleration, an impressive 5.2 second 0 -60 mph and a 300 HP 4.6 liter engine (even the 6 cylinder, 4.o liter engine delivers 210 HP). But Mustangs have always been "straight away cars", never built to take the curves so to speak and I like curves especially when traffic and road conditions allow me to really accelerate into them.

I have also considered the BMW 3 Series, specifically the 330 Ci. The size and weight is darn near identical to my car but being a convertible, it has less cargo space. It offers a few more horses 225 reportedly, and remains a rear wheel drive vehicle which always brings up the question of whether it is better to be pushed around the curves or pulled. All my car friends seem to be divided regarding this inquiry. Irregardless, even a used 330 is a substantial investment and makes my recent repair bill look very modest. At around 30,000 dollars, I cannot accept that it would be significantly better than the car I am currently driving.

So there you have it, the real reason why I am driving what some may almost consider a "beater". Long live the Beaters! I think I will splurge and get it completely detailed.