Here we go, a long list of cars I’ve owned since 1974 when I started driving (the first 1/3 or so of the list I had one at a time, they were only cars and daily drivers, after that I had 2 or 3 of these at a time (no more than 4 at once):
1965 Ford Mustang convertible – 289 V8. green, my first car ($240 in 1974, a little rusty, but I’ll never forget it…)
1972 Ford Pinto – I don’t know what I was thinking, especially after the Mustang. Trying to be “practical”.
1969 Ford Mustang – after the Pinto, had to re-boot my brain and get another Pony Car. A 302 V8 Fastback (“Sport Back”), in light grey with a maroon interior. A beauty (fro a high school kid).
1970 Z-28 Camaro – I thought I hit the big leagues. 350/350 V8, big 4 barrel double-pumper carb, headers, 4 on the floor, Mickey Thompson F-50 rear tires. I averaged 4 mpg in street racing.
1972 Opel GT – trying to get something more economical after going through 4 tanks of gas a week with the Z28. I liked it, but…
1972 Camaro SS396 – big block fever bit me. I didn’t like it as much as the small block Z28, and started learning that I was more of a horsepower guy than a torque guy.
1970 Opel GT – some obvious manic-depressive illness going on, back-and-forth between the Camaro’s and the Opel GT’s.
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – I just loved the styling. Big honking 455 V8 with front wheel drive. And 7 mpg.
1960 Porsche 356 Cabriolet – a sweet car, but full of rust, which I vainly tried to keep up with bondo and patches. I lost the fight…
1968 Corvette – a 327 small block convertible, 4 speed. Not the best example (hey, it was what a college student could afford). Had some of the same characteristics of GM cars today – fantastic styling, killer engine, cheap interior and bits that constantly fell off.
1965 Corvair Corsa – with a mid-engine hopped up 289 Shelby Cobra V8 mounted where the back seat used to be. Built by a guy who raced it at Lime Rock CT in the 1970’s, it was a pure race car, huge roll bar, numbers on the doors, and I tried to drive it on the street. It worked out real well in the winter (it was my only car). It was an incredible drive, and so much fun to suck the headlights out of unsuspecting Trans Am’s. Sadly, I couldn’t to keep up with all the repairs to keep it as a daily driver.
1958 Jaguar MkIX – I just had to do it. It looked just like a late 1950’s Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and I felt so cool driving it. Not so cool trying to keep the engine running.
1972 Porsche 914/Laser 917 Kit Car – another gotta-have-it car (for a college kid). Someone put a 1970’s vintage Laser 917 kit-car body (a replica of a Porsche 917 racer) on a poor Porsche 914 chassis. It looked like the bomb, but unfortunately, kind of drove like one too. I tried to drive this year round too. Also worked out real well in the winter, with no heat, no defroster, no wipers…
1970 Fiat 124 – one of the great coupes. I pretended it was a low-rent Ferrari. Taught me all about “Fix It Alla Time”.
1974 Fiat 128 – I didn’t learn my lesson, and had to get another Fiat, one of the little coupe gems. What a ballet dancer to drive though.
1965 VW Beetle – started my gotta-have-it VW craze. I souped it up, put on a “Baja” kit from JC Whitney and a megaphone muffler, painted it gold and black.
1968 VW Camper Bus – my Grateful Dead days. Full of bondo, heater that vented engine exhaust into the car, but hey, I could sleep in it.
1966 Ford Mustang Convertible – bought it on a whim. Just a sweet little 6-pack 3 speed.
1960 Alfa Romeo Spyder – one of the cars I will always regret selling. It was flat-out GORGEOUS, in ruby red, in beautiful shape. Another attempted daily driver, it was about as reliable as the Fiats that came before it (but looked so much better).
1974 Mustang II – I don’t know what I was thinking. It was a “V6 4 speed”, but it was still just a Pinto in drag.
1971 Renault 16 – I always wondered what it would be like to own a French car. After this one, I should have stopped wondering…
1968 VW Beetle – senior year college, graduating, out of money, this was all I could afford. Rebuilt the engine one weekend in a friend’s garage. Never did figure out what all the leftover parts were for. Patched a rusty floor with a “Do Not Enter” sign (it was the right size).
1961 Buick Skylark – a real beauty, with a sweet 215 cubic inch aluminum V8. Same problem again, an only car and daily driver and parts were getting scarce.
1974 Pacer – bought it during an LSD flashback, had my own “Wayne’s World” experience. I thought it was cool, funky styling, but what a piece of junk.
1976 Pacer X – I thought the design of the Pacer had potential, so I had to try it again, this time with the “X” version (3 speed stick on the floor). Wasn’t much better than the first one.
1974 Opel 1900 Coupe – not the Manta, but the square 2-door coupe that looks a lot like an old BMW 318 of the same vintage. It was a blast to drive, 4 speed stick of course, sort of a poor man’s (graduate student’s) BMW. Until a deer in I-81 outside of Binghamton NY at 3:00 am one night on a 16 hour drive prematurely ended it’s life.
1968 Volvo 144 – after experiencing hitting a deer at 70 mph in a pre-air bag car, I thought I’d try safety (but with a 4 speed). Not a bad car at all, but kind of boring…
1969 Volvo 164 – the Swedish experiment continued, with a 6 cylinder version this time. Surprisingly, it wasn’t much faster, or more interesting, than the 144. I painted it myself in a friend’s driveway with a borrowed Sears compressor.
1972 Mazda RX4 – my first fling with a Wankel engine, and I still love them (despite the blue clouds and oil burning).
1973 Renault 17 – 2 door coupe (the “Gordini”), still had a thing for French cars. Man, what a problem this one was, but I put thousands of miles on it. Those old French cars were pains, but there was just something about the way they drove. So smooooothhhhh….
1969 Buick Skylark – old school American quasi-pony car, 350/350 V8. It was a great cruiser, drove it cross country a couple of times and it was perfect for that job.
1968 Karman Ghia – another sweeeetttt car. Yeah, I know, no power, but what a beauty. Fully restored, absolutely perfect, bright red. The courtship car in which I dated my wife (and we’re still together after 26 years). I’m still looking for another one (a Karman Ghia, not wife).
1976 Datsun 260Z – I couldn’t quite afford a 240Z, so I thought this was the next best thing. I learned all about what happens when a car is built with scrap steel bought from the Soviet Union.
1970 Saab 99 – a sweet drive. “Restored” by a backyard Saab enthusiast, it looked fabulous, but unfortunately, his mechanical skills were not as good as his body work. It was a blast, but I couldn’t keep up with the breakdowns. Still, it started a love affair with Saabs.
1978 Plymouth Horizon – 2 door hatchback, 4 speed, the “sporty” one (right….). It was cheap, and within a week, I found out why. My first experiment with suing a car dealer for misrepresentation – and I won.
1978 Toyota Celica – looked like the Horizon, but so much more reliable. Showed me what it was like to own a car that needed absolutely nothing except oil changes.
1978 Subaru – sold the Celica for a good profit, so I thought I’d try another Japanese brand. This one was the “sporty” 2 door GL “fastback” coupe (that looked a little like something heavy fell on it). Only had about 10,000 miles on it (at 7 years old) when I bought it, but it still burned it’s valves.
1980 Renault 5 Le Car – back to the French cars again. I was smitten by the full canvas roll-back sunroof. Which was good, because I had a lot of time to sit looking out of it, waiting for a tow.
1985 Firebird – my first new car. And my last GM product. In the first year it was back to the dealer 46 times. Not the pinnacle of GM’s engineering.
1980 Datsun 280ZX – I didn’t learn my lesson from the 260Z, so I needed another dose. This one’s Soviet-era steel didn’t resist rust any better than the 260Z did. But, a Maaco paint job held it together for a while.
1973 Datsun 510 – this was another sweet drive, a 5 speed hatchback coupe. It was a blast, a great “beater”.
1984 Honda CRX – started my love affair with Honda. I absolutely LOVED this car, which is why I then bought…
1988 Honda CRX Si – my first new Honda. Red, of course, 5 speed. I loved this one even more than the 1984. I’ve been looking for something like this ever since, but, no one makes it. It was perfect for me. I should have kept it…
1984 Nissan Sentra – wife’s car, but since I bought it and maintained it, I take credit for it.
1965 Sunbeam Alpine – the continuation of an awful relationship with British iron. I only managed to drive it 4 times in the 2 years I owned it (and not for lack of trying). Almost ended my marriage….
1988 Mazda 6 Coupe – my wife’s car, the “snazzy” 2 door coupe.
1968 MGB – had enough of Rootes (Sunbeam), had to go with the classic MGB. Easy to work on, which was good, because I was always doing it.
1965 Triumph TR4 – I thought that maybe the “upscale” Triumph would be more reliable than the MGB. Wrong.
1972 MGB – I thought the problem was that I should have bought a fully restored car, instead of trying to restore one myself. Wrong again.
1990 Miata – enough of marriage-stressing British cars, I went for a reliable Japanese version. The Miata richly deserves all the accolades it gets.
1992 Nissan SX2000 – after many happy miles with the CRX, I replaced it with this as the daily driver. It was a surprisingly good car – fast, cheap, reliable, different. I should have kept it longer.
1994 Honda del Sol – I thought this was the return of the CRX. It was fun with a very clever targa roof, but, it was no CRX.
1995 Saab 9-3 Convertible – back to my Swedish mistresses. And my first experience with suing a car company under the Lemon Law (successfully).
1995 Saab 9-3 Turbo Coupe – I still loved Saabs, so I tried again with a beautiful 2-door Turbo hatchback coupe. There’s something about the Swedish Saabs (not the GM perversions) that just makes them very satisfying and special to drive. I put 85,000 happy miles on this one. I still miss that hatchback, we used to be able to fit furniture back there (just like on the old magazine ads). What car can you buy today that gives you performance + economy + luxury + the practicality to literally carry major furniture in back? If Saab survives and ever brings back a 2 door hatch, I’ll be the first one in line to buy one (or two or three).
1995 Saab 9-3 Coupe – for my wife (she liked mine so much, we got her a red coupe).
1999 Saab Viggen – after the 9-3 got too many miles to be reliable, I tried again. I really miss the Viggen. It was everything the 9-3 turbo was but even more. I should have kept it, deeply regret selling it (but was concerned by some worrisome hints at reliability problems – I found too many parts in it stamped “GM”).
2000 VW Turbo Beetle – yeah, this is what replaced the Viggen. I know, I know, but at least it was a turbo, and it was fun to drive.
1998 BMW Z3 – my next experience with suing a manufacturer under the Lemon Law (again successfully). BMW’s aren’t what they used to be. They build them to a price point, not a quality standard, because they know there are enough blind people who will buy anything with the blue and white propeller on it. After this lemon, I’m never going back to BMW.
1965 Plymouth Valiant – I had to do it. It was 25 years old and only had 9,000 miles. I literally bought it from a little old lady in western Pennsylvania. Who literally only drove it to church on Sundays. It was the same pale blue as her hair. It was an as-new time capsule. I drove it for 10 years, put lots of miles on it, and nothing ever broke. Oil changes only. Should have kept this one too, but, with no seat belts and a solid steering column, it wouldn’t have been the safest thing in an accident.
1993 Porsche 911 – found it used, 5 years old with 4,000 miles. Kept it for 6 years and NEVER should have sold it. I will regret selling this one for the rest of my life. After my wife had a serious accident and only lived because of airbags, I started being more focused on safety, and worried about those paper-thin doors on the 911…
1999 Miata – the first Miata worked out so well I bought another one, and it worked out just as well (much better than the Z3 did). Many happy miles on this one.
2001 Acura CL-S – back to Honda, still hoping for a “CRX-like” experience. This wasn’t that, but it grew on me, it was a satisfying drive (if a bit boring).
2001 Acura CL – again my wife and I bought the same car (mine was red, hers in black). It worked out great, until a kind in a clapped out Integra ran a red light and T-boned her at 50 mph. She walked away, only because of air bags (otherwise it would have been very bad). I’m not obsessed with “safety”, but after this experience safety has been much more important to me.
2003 Acura CL-S – Acura finally came out with a 6 speed stick for the CL-S, and I had to get one. It was a great car. Not flashy, but classy, and superb quality. Smooth, fast enough to be fun, reliable, very comfortable. I definitely should have kept this one longer, but, my head was turned by another hussy…
2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe – replaced the Acura CL-S 6 speed. It was faster, snazzier, but not as comfortable. Still, I loved it – except for the seats, which were designed for 5’4 135 lb Japanese drivers and not 6’0” 200 lb Americans…
2004 VW Beetle – being a strange mix of old 1960’s hippie and hard-core car maniac, I still had (and have) a thing for Beetles. So I tried again with a Turbo Convertible (stick, of course), did a few mods (chip, exhaust). It was a fun car. And I’m confident enough of my manhood to drive a car that some wimps would call a “girl’s car”. Unfortunately, VW’s aren’t what they used to be, so it was another trip down Lemon Law lane (successfully).
2004 Mazda RX8 – bought this used, as an “interim” car while waiting for the G37 Coupe to come out. But I fell in love with it. It rekindled my love of Wankel engines. The RX8 has been lauded here on TTAC, and it so deserves it. It’s such an agile, flingable, communicative car. When the G37 arrived I sold it and got the Infiniti, but I kind of wish I didn’t…
2006 Porsche Boxster S – I tried to recapture the magic of my old 911 with what I thought would be the best of all worlds – a convertible, plus a “safer” car with airbags. Sadly, Porches aren’t what they used to be. Porsche is a hedge fund with an attached metal fabrication plant. Their goal is to be “the most profitable car company in the world” – and they do it by cutting costs and building things cheap, to a price point. The Boxster was an absolute blast to drive, but not so much to live with. 1) The engine was ‘sealed’, there is no hood – the only access is from underneath, after removing the belly pan. As a hands-on car guy, that wasn’t for me. 2) There isn’t even a dipstick, just one of those absurd ‘electronic’ displays. Mine showed the oil level increasing – was it really happening, or was something amiss electronically? 3) Maintenance was ridiculous – $230 for oil changes, which were impractical to do myself because of the aforementioned sealed engine compartment. 4) Cheap materials – the seats had holes wearing through them after only a couple thousand miles. But, the deal breaker was 5) all of the water-cooled Porsche Boxster engines until 2009 have a major design flaw, with the possibility of premature, and unpredictable, failure of the IMS (intermediate main shaft) – which results in total destruction of the engine. It seems that about 10%-20% of Boxster engines are experiencing this premature failure, and Porsche is starting to balk on covering them under warranty. I think this is atrocious, so, the Boxster went. Though it’s a blast to drive, I think it’s more a car for orthodontist’s mistresses than true car enthusiasts.
2004 Volvo S60 – currently own, wife’s car, replaced her totaled Acura CL. Been totally reliable for 60,000 miles.
2006 Honda S2000 – currently own, replaced the Boxster. Now this is what I’m talking about. This is a true enthusiast’s car. Agile, nimble beyond belief, high-revving, absolutely reliable, easy to work on (hey, it’s a Honda). As has often been said, they don’t call it the Honda MOTOR Company for nothing. It feels directly hard-wired to your central nervous system. In street driving, it’s comparably fast to the Boxster (I’m not talking about tenth’s of a second on a track, but on the street), much more reliable, and about half the price. This one’s a keeper, I’ll be hanging on to it for a loooonnng time (unless I feel compelled to buy one of the last new 2009 S2000’s, now that they’ve been discontinued).
2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe Sport – currently own. It’s an improved G35 Coupe, more comfortable, seats fit me (after modifications), plusher, faster, more refined. But, I still miss the RX-8….
Also thrown into the mix were a few motorcycles along the way – 1970 Honda CB350, 1972 Honda CB450, a 1960’s home-made Harley Davidson chopper, a rare 1975 Suzuki RE5 Wankel engine motorcycle (that was a trip!), and a 2001 Indian Scout.
So what’s next? Well, the S2000 is a definite keeper. Strange as it sounds, if/when the economy improves I’ll probably sell the G37 and get another RX8, it’s just more my kind of car (even though the G37 is objectively a “better” car, more power, more luxurious, better built, more reliable, etc., I just can’t resist a rotary). I always keep my eye out for another late 1960’s red Karman Ghia coupe, if I ever find one close enough to check out in person (I don’t trust buying old cars sight unseen on e-bay) I might get one. And, I think I’ll have to start looking for another older air-cooled 911.
Source : http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/03/ask-the-best-and-brightest-your-entire-car-owning-history-please/