Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Love-Hate Relationship

I have a love-hate relationship.... with my car. I love the car, hate the price.

The pros:
All Wheel Drive all weather traction.
Turbo power.
A real back seat.
Awesome reliability.

The cons:
$520/month car note.
premium fuel bill.
Got raped on trade-in.
Trunk too small for baby stuff.

It's a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX sedan that I bought new in early 2003. Now with the baby, I keep kicking myself saying "shoulda got the wagon" which would tip the scales to the pros side. However, as it stands, I'm constantly stuck on the fence between keeping and selling it. Since I never advertise it for sale, though, inertia keeps it in my hands.

That $520 per month has a high opportunity cost for us. It's a playstation 3 every 5 weeks. That's 2 Nintendo Wiis a month. It's a trip to see any of our friends living in the Northeast every month. It's paying off my school loans 10 years earlier. It's a new car for my wife every month.

Yes, you read that right, a new car for my wife every month. She was so scared of a car loan, seeing me in agony over mine every month, that she wanted to buy a car with cash. Some older friends of ours sold us their Volvo 240 Wagon that they had bought new when their daughter was born in 1988. It's been very useful and reliable, and is surprisingly fun to drive. The Volvo was cheap, but can never be as cheap as my wife's first car. She wanted training wheels that wouldn't make her cry if she wrecked it, so we bought an old Mitsubishi Galant from a friend of mine as a favor to him, to get it out of his driveway and out of his wife's hair. We paid him $150 for it, then sold it on ebay 6 months later for over $700. That car paid for all its own gas, insurance, maintenance, and ebay fees.

Meanwhile, I've gotten into SCCA solo autocrossing - driving around cones in a parking lot as fast as you can. I've been surprised at how many people show up in old and non-sport cars. Also, I'm finding that I have a long way to go before my abilities reach the limits of my car.

Where am I going with all this rambling? My plan to end my love-hate relationship with the WRX. Sometime in the near future, I'm going to sell the WRX, buy a newer wagon for my wife, take the Volvo as my own, and autocross it! Tuning parts for it are inexpensive new, and dirt cheap used. The AC never worked for us, so I can strip it for weight savings. There's a wealth of information online for people racing it. And finally, we have the title for it in hand, if I break it, no big deal.

Call me crazy, call me stupid, but I'm going to drive an 80's grocery getter like a sports car in the pursuit of being both happy with my car and my money.

1 comment:

Beanie's Appa said...

UPDATE: ok, this backfired in a major way. I was spending too much money just keeping the volvo alive. It really needed an engine rebuild. I don't have the money to pay for one, or the time and skills to do it myself. So we dumped it, but only after getting rid of the WRX T.T ... so now we have 2 carloans instead of one T.T