Does your car lose most of it's value when you remove your laptop?
November 30, 2007 7:06 PM   Subscribe

If yours is a winter beater, a rally beater, a diesel beater, your kid's beater[YT], or even a much sought after french beater, you don't need to be convinced of the value of disposable transportation (with color by Krylon). But if you need help choosing the next winning entry, worthy challenger, or judges victim[YT] for the 24 hours of LeMons, let the masters at Beater Review help.
posted by toxic (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In New England, you hear the term "winter rat" for your beater.
posted by Miko at 7:18 PM on November 30, 2007

My beater was a '77 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Originally a company car for my father, then my brother's car, then mine when my Civic died before I had to drive to Montreal for my internship.

I loved that car. Huge engine would warm up right away in frigid Montreal winters. Then it died right on the Oka reserve just at the time they were getting uppity. Sold it for fifty bucks. I didn't cry but I felt as though I'd left a pet at the vet's.

And if you know Cutlasses: yes, the back bumper was sagging.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:29 PM on November 30, 2007

I suppose I drive nothing but what other people would consider beaters, but I love my 40-year-old car and 40-year-old truck (both are '68 vintage). There is a lot to be said for cars you don't need to heavily insure, make payments on, care where you park, etc.
posted by maxwelton at 7:41 PM on November 30, 2007

I'm driving a '92 Plymouth Acclaim, which is living proof that Detroit has always known how to build cruddy cars that run cruddy forever...
posted by pupdog at 7:56 PM on November 30, 2007

Beater Review mentioned previously on MetaFilter
posted by lekvar at 7:58 PM on November 30, 2007

Fun post and a great title.
posted by LarryC at 8:02 PM on November 30, 2007

How about a wife beater?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:10 PM on November 30, 2007

I love that the winner of the LeMons gets $1000 in nickels.

I feel kinda sorry for the Peoples Curse though, even if it is all part of the fun. I've had to bid a tearful farewell to a beater or two in my day, and it seems that a loyal automobile should be given some small dignity...
posted by lekvar at 8:12 PM on November 30, 2007

The People's Curse car finished the race. The after picture is #31 on this page.
posted by toxic at 8:25 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

How about egg beaters?
posted by knave at 8:27 PM on November 30, 2007

The title reminds me of this... My last car was a beater, a $700 Golf. Me and two buddies were invited to a LAN party a few hundred miles away, so we all piled into the golf with all of our best computers. We quickly tallied over $7000 worth of equipment in a $700 car (3 computers, LCDs, cameras, mp3 players, etc.). So yes, the car's value dropped by 90% when we unpacked at the party.
posted by knave at 8:30 PM on November 30, 2007

I missed the title at first, good jorb. I put $150 worth of closeout stereo equipment in my car, and brought the value up by about a quarter, so I approve...
posted by pupdog at 8:39 PM on November 30, 2007

Mine was a '76 Cutlass Salon with the bumper rot, Turtles. I had the rotten end held on with rubber straps when the other side gave out on the highway. A shower of sparks but no one was hurt.

Currently got a '93 Subaru with 45k original. I like to squeeze all marginal value out of highly depreciable and expensive consumer goods. It's like some small and obnoxious vindication that only earns you the disdain of most everyone on the road. Keep your SUV, keep your hybrid, mine's a shitbox way down on the demand curve.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:53 PM on November 30, 2007

The best car ever made was the 1991 Honda CRX. Bought new for under 10K. I once stuffed me, my 6'5" 350-pound friend, two mountain bikes, a cooler, and one tightly compressed yet blessedly compliant mastiff into it. It got 35 MPG, you could park it anywhere, it cornered like a champ, and it would go like a scalded dog. Never had to do anything other than routine maintenance on it, sold it for 2K with 135K miles on it. Wish I still had it. Considering what I paid and what I got when I sold it, that car cost me less than a thousand buck a year to own.

I guess it wasn't a beater since I drove it off the lot, but damn that was a great cheap car.

Best beater: $500 (NO LIE) Ford Festiva. My wife drove it for almost six years and hated to get rid of it. You couldn't kill that car. I wanted to put a lift kit on it and go muddin', but she wouldn't let me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:54 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was taking a year off of college, and working (inevitably) in a convenience store, carless and broke, when my dream beater came to me. I was lamenting to a fellow register jockey that there was no way I could afford a car which would let me take a job I'd been offered, when a customer came up to the counter and asked me how much I had.

I said I had three hundred and fifty dollars.

He turned out to be the guy that buys the trade-ins from car lots, and then resells them.

I got a '71 Dodge Dart, in immaculate condition, for $350. Bench seats. Automatic transition. Tape deck. Slant six engine.

I drove that thing until it simply fell apart, and I've missed it ever since.
posted by MrVisible at 9:33 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Despite the padding, and despite the fact that this is a good post, it's still a pretty recent double.
posted by dersins at 12:33 AM on December 1, 2007

it's still a pretty recent double

I disagree. The core story in this post is the LeMons race, not a link to Beater Review. However, failing to link to Beater Review in the FPP would have just meant someone would come along and do it in the comments.

Good post, toxic.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:43 AM on December 1, 2007

I see a Golf/Rabbit GTI (gushing oil) as the header graphic on the LeMons "Participant pix" page. What a wonderful car that was.
posted by anthill at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2007

Wonderful post - did you time it so we could enjoy with 'Car Talk' today?

The front page of Beater Review had me tearing up - I should have never sold that 92 Ciera - I loved it ... and I was the only one...
posted by mctsonic at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2007

The LeMons rulebook is great!
6.3: Why Am I Upside-Down? Rule: You're upside-down because you have no business being out on a racetrack. Any driver who puts a car on its roof is out for the rest of the season, beginning immediately.
posted by majick at 8:08 AM on December 1, 2007

I lurve my beater, a 1990 Toyota Corolla. This thing is bulletproof!

I've had newer, more unreliable cars that have been money pits for repairs. I always wind up getting rid of them and going back to my trusty beater. Plus, when it dies, I can get another one for $700.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2007

I got a '71 Dodge Dart, in immaculate condition, for $350. Bench seats. Automatic transition. Tape deck. Slant six engine.

A girlfriend of mine bought one in BC and drove it back to NS one year, and I think she paid $350 for it as well. Great car. I had to drive it home once when she was drunk, and made a comment about how it didn't handle very well when I took a 90° turn at 50. "Oh, that isn't in MPH, that's KPH!" I was driving down a main road in Halifax doing 60 MPH with out even really noticing. Oops. She ended up selling it for $500 eventually. Wish I had of bought it.
posted by SpannerX at 11:00 AM on December 1, 2007

Loved my 1980-something Suzuki Samurai. Compared to my (then) brand new VW, I miss not caring where I park, and the fun of really working out when you drive from the random bouncing and the fussy 5-speed that had almost 12" of throw on the lever. That thing was like a comfy pair of old jeans compared to the dress slacks of my newer car.

I've always suspected that old beaters are more environmentally sound than new hybrids -- the additional fuel burned in beater-inefficiency over 5 years is still far less than the oil burned and used to manufacture a brand new hybrid.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 11:08 AM on December 1, 2007

'71 Chrysler Imperial here. It was a different time - four cigarette lighters, four ashtrays, no drink holders.
posted by zoinks at 11:34 AM on December 1, 2007

I just traded in my '90 Toyota Corolla station wagon for a '95 Dodge Caravan with a new engine. Never understood why people who aren't ludicrously wealthy saddle themselves with $300-$500 a month car notes when a few years of reliable transportation can be had for well less than three thousand.
posted by bunnytricks at 12:17 PM on December 1, 2007

ah...beaters I have owned and loved...

With the exception of the '90 Miata that I bought new off the lot, every car I have owned has been a lovable beater.

The car I wish I still had was a 92 civic 4-door with a 5-speed manual, and no frills whatsoever. A decent looking car, it drove like a go-kart, and got something upwards of 600 miles to the gallon. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I could often go two full weeks without stopping for gas. Filling it up was always a matter of convenience, not necessity. The world needs more cars like this one.

The last beater I owned was a 89 dodge diplomat retired police cruiser. Still had the siren and flashers in the front grill. Quite possibly the fastest car I've ever owned.

Of course that '90 miata that I bought new way back when would make a great Beater now. If I still drove, i'd pick one up.

The best thing about beaters is the cheap insurance and never getting pulled over. My old Honda never looked like it was doing more than 40 mph, even at twice that speed.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:25 PM on December 1, 2007

I also badly miss my CRX (a 1987 Si model, the last year of the lightweight 2nd generation), my 86 Fiat X1/9, and the '75 BMW 2002 that my girlfriend and I shared.

But my favorite beater? Got to be my 1987 Subaru Justy. 4wd, three cylinders, marginal heat, no syncros in second or third gear (but easily double-clutched), and comically small tires. I bought it for $800, and drove it from SF to Tahoe every weekend for two winters (It could get there and back on an $11 tank of gas). I ended up selling it when we moved and lost the extra garage space.

I sold it to some European tourists for $700 in twenty dollar bills, and then saw it like four years later driving across the Bay Bridge.
posted by toxic at 7:51 PM on December 1, 2007

toxic -- I bought my '91 CRX after spending most of 1989 and 1990 around my buddy's '87 Si. I'm baffled as to why Honda stopped making the CRX. A side benefit is that though the car is supremely practical for a single guy or a childless couple, it's just impractical enough that you never have to haul your three needy friends around in it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:45 AM on December 2, 2007

I'm baffled as to why Honda stopped making the CRX.
My guess is safety regulations. I loved my '88 HF, it was an awesome little beast. But it was a death-trap, especially on the roads of 2004, with every other non-commercial auto on the road being a truck or an SUV. There's no way a car that small would pass modern safety regulations.
posted by lekvar at 11:28 AM on December 2, 2007

I'm baffled as to why Honda stopped making the CRX.

I always assumed that it was a reaction to the overwhelming sales of the Mazda Miata -- which sort of created its own niche when it arrived in the US in 1989/90. Honda countered with the Del Sol, which never really caught on -- and would've been much more awesome if it had been mid-engined.

Most carmakers don't like to have two models in the same segment (sporty, budget 2-seaters in this case), thus, goodbye CRX. :(
posted by toxic at 4:32 PM on December 2, 2007

There have been rumors for some time that Honda was going to make a new car "in the spirit of the CRX." I haven't seen anything substantive, though.

NYT ran a little piece a few months ago where readers posted about their favorite product - of any kind - that they wished was still made. I was rather amazed at all the CRX love that was shown in the responses, it made me wish I had one!
posted by altcountryman at 4:32 PM on December 2, 2007

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