Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: Find A Small Truck For Joe At Wired

Someone named Joe Brown at Wired complained in a print magazine article (it appears to be a blog printed on some sort of dead tree material that you can get in exchange for some other green dead trees...it is all very arcane, but I'm sure there is an old person you can ask about it down at the nearest senior center, but you can find it online here) that there are no good small pickups for his hauling needs.  Prove him wrong.  Find a cheap small truck that Joe can drive everyday.  Budget ~$5000.

This is just the first page of the article, I'd share a link, but the entire thing is still in print version Wired magazine, perhaps it will eventually be added to the digital archives. You should go buy your own copy, but in summary Joe says quite succinctly "I'm not a ranch hand, I'm a yuppie carting my hobbies around."   Every pickup from major manufacturers has gotten big and most are overkill for the yuppie city dweller who just needs something for a trip to Home Depot to buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that.  Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, who knows, if you'll have enough time.


For my money I'd pickup an 80s Hilux like this 4th generation 1988 Toyota SR5 4X4 pickup here on eBay bidding for $6,087 with 1 day to go, located in Snohomish, WA.  It has 120k miles on the odometer and should be good to go for another few hundred thousand with basic maintenance.  What can you find?  Put them in the comments below.

Update: Joe replied to an email and says he is looking for something in the $5k range and he is in the SF Bay Area, but would fly anywhere for the right truck and drive it home...but so far he has traveled a thousand miles, looked at 20 trucks and hasn't found the right one yet.

 


70 comments:

  1. Nice one!

    A bit more money and may require a bit more tweaking to keep running, but this would be worth it:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Datsun-Other-2-door-/371338982038

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  2. (Although if you want to be all practical about it, the Honda Ridgeline is really hard to top as a daily-driven urban truck. Reasonable size, carrys & tows well, drives like a Honda.)

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    Replies
    1. Can you fit much in the back? The bed looks silly short to me. Could you get 4x8 sheets of plywood and some 8 ft 2x4's in the back? You couldn't fit a motorcycle in the back without one of those extender things. I use the motorcycle test for pickups. To me, that is about the only reason to own one.

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    2. I can attest that you can get most motorcycles in the back, just at an angle. Or just get a trailer; that's even easier.

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    3. If your truck purchase requires a trailer to be useful, you are better off buying a 1994 Buick Roadmaster for hauling duties.

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    4. If your truck purchase requires a trailer to be useful, you are better off buying a 1994 Buick Roadmaster for hauling duties.

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    5. If your truck purchase requires a trailer to be useful, you are better off buying a 1994 Buick Roadmaster for hauling duties.

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    6. Reason: trailer lower to ground than AWD truck bed.

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    7. And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.

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    8. And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.

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    9. And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.
      And I wanted to say it three times.

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    10. Fashion always goes in circles...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7HZdSCaTZ0

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    11. Fee Times a Mady

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wo1-sI7MOQ

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  3. 1995 4WD Toyota Tacoma stripper with a manual in Federal Way, WA for 4K

    [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00w0w_lC2IJR8wUll_600x450.jpg[/img]

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  4. I didn't see where the article was at the link provided El Jefe, so I'm not sure what "cheap" is. Is it my definition of cheap or is it what normal folks think of as cheap? My first thought is a Ford Ranger/Mazda B, which I owned in the past. Great, comfortable little pickups that are dirt cheap to work on and maintain, much less buy. You can't really throw a rock without hitting a Ranger for sale and the options are vast. If I wasn't driving mine (normal cab, long bed, V6, manual), somebody was always borrowing it to move or go to Home Depot in it. Marvelous. I'm a huge fan of the Toyotas, too. Can't go wrong with those, as you and G have suggested.

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    1. Oops. I see that you don't have a link yet, El Jefe. Sorry about that. Maybe I should actually read. Does anybody do that anymore?

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    2. In the end, Joe leased an Acura RDX. Check out the "article" he wrote about polling the gearhead writers at WIRED. It's like the comments section of DT:

      http://www.wired.com/2015/04/many-car-guys-take-buy-car/

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    3. Gianni -- later in that same article, he mentions the RDX in the article, but says "we" purchased it, so it might be his wife's car, but in the end he implores OEMs to make more small pickups, perhaps an electric one. It is a good read. -Vince

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    4. Toward the end of the email chain, er, article he says: "My name is on the lease of this RDX, but I feel no ownership of it. I got a great deal on a great car, but when my wife and I went out to lunch afterwards, it was not so much a celebration of the car as it was of the whole awful process being over."

      I agree with him about the process. I needed a drink after we bought my wife's car.

      The article is a fun read.

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    5. +1 on RDX. Great CUV and there are absolutely screaming deals on used ones right now, a bargain hunters dream.

      Delete
  5. Joe wants a minivan. Take out the back seats and you can carry more than just about any small truck on the market. And they are dirt cheap.

    But Joe, like everyone else in the world, probably doesn't think minivans are cool.

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    Replies
    1. I actually kinda do want a minivan. If I can find the right Astrovan (fits a motorcycle in the back), I'd pick it up.

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    2. Which is exactly why they're cool.

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  6. Electric & Pickup ==Boshart Tersus. Yes, the name might sound like something that requires a trip home to change your clothes, but it is a short range, city only, electric, crew-cab pickup.

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    1. I'm pretty sure the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust had a better range and higher top speed than that Ssangyong Actyon - based failure. Heck, the EV we made out of a VW Rabbit diesel in high school could go 80mph for over 50 miles between charges (not at 80mph, best cruise was closer to 30mph). Best thing I can think of for that thing... buy it, strip out the EV garbage and drop in an LSx. It's registered as an EV so... no smog ever!

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  7. You can stop looking now. I found the El Caminos.

    Rimz, Cheap, or Diesel?

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  8. Dont know how much hauling this could do, and not sold in states either

    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EUU3TEB659w/TyK9Bu6E1SI/AAAAAAAGkJs/OUuS4UY35Ls/s800/2012-Fiat-Strada-3.jpg[/img]

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  9. HEY THERE!

    Thanks, community, for helping me/taking the piss out of me. (This is Joe over at WIRED, by the way.) Just in case some of you wondered, we're putting the column up online this weekend. And since you *did* ask, YES, I am in the market for a small pickup. I'll keep it locked here in case you have suggestions.

    Joe

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    Replies
    1. Joe,
      Welcome, and rest assured that we have "helped" many people over the past year of doing regular Mid Week Match-Up feature and none of them have died in a fiery crash*. A $5k budget will get you a surprisingly good running/driving used car if you plan and buy carefully. Whatever you do, I suggest that any pre purchase visit involves some research at an appropriate car make/model specific online community forums and a bunch of other things too -- you can read some advice in DT's step 4 of our indefinitely delayed How To Buy A Used Car series.
      -Vince

      *As far as I know.

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    2. You should clarify:

      *Nobody's written in to complain, post-fiery crash

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    3. Please ignore the accidental disfigurement and nightly flop sweats we caused the people we've "helped".

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    4. Joe! Buy my Roadmaster! I'm semi-famous! As is the guy I bought it from. A piece of San Fran history that will swallow up a dozen 8' sheets of plywood and look gooood doing it. /pitiful begging

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    5. WeeTimrousBeastieJune 3, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      Regular lurker here, chiming in on this one. +1 on the Roadmaster. That is all. Back to my mouse hole.

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    6. shameless plug
      how about a 89 dodge dakota convertible 4wd... 3800 (mine, downsizing) white, newer top, new windshield, red velour interior contact me at parallax@vianet.ca

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    7. @parallax_ca; Man, these are cool little trucks. Just awesome. The only thing that isn't fun about them is when you're carrying a load of dirt with the top down. Solution; put the top up! Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way...

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  10. 1998 Mazda B-Series

    [img]http://postimg.org/image/41nv9e8tr/[/img]

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    1. Try that again:

      [img]http://s27.postimg.org/y6cburdwz/Mazda.jpg[/img]

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  11. How rude do you want to go?

    The gold standard - as pretty much every band of AKM-toting Third World terrorists will attest - is the Toyota. '80s examples, in pickup or 4Runner form, are still highly sought after in the US for rock-crawlers and etc. If you're planning on going the full Boko Haram and mounting light machine guns and kidnapping schoolgirls you'll probably want to go for something newer, an extended warranty could help when avoiding drone strikes. The US versions tend to be somewhat larger than those sold to roving bands of evildoers elsewhere in the world.

    If operating cost is not a factor, you could consider a 100-series Land Cruiser, the older variants of which ought to be drifting down to us trash now. In the US you get a V8, (four-speed, at that age) automatic, and independent front suspension.

    Not typically found in the Third World's roving packs, the Ford Ranger and its Mazda equivalent are probably the next option.

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  12. Hey Joe, make that one more to recommend an older Toyota. But since you're older and wiser than the first time around, how about a nice "vintage" model like this 1975 Hilux? For trips to the big box store, buying the random motorcycle, or hauling load of print magazines to the landfill, it would be perfect.

    It just happens to be smog exempt, in good shape, and around $5k. Bonus points for original brown paint on the body and custom tricolore on the valve cover!

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/5051988035.html

    [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00101_bhynYltZ1DK_600x450.jpg[/img]

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    Replies
    1. [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00q0q_fAF4e1UBpgq_600x450.jpg[/img]

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    2. That valve cover is glorious.

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  13. He needs to give up on the truck idea and get himself a hatchback or minivan--maybe a Kia Rondo 6 cyl. He can carry as much stuff and it wont even get wet or stolen.

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    1. Can you get a bike standing up in a Kia? I couldn't get a Yamaha DT 250 into the back of my wife's Sienna without taking the tank off and laying it down. Seems like a 70's Ford Econoline could do bikes standing up and were smaller than the current crop of "mini" vans.

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  14. He'll need some help from a mechanic if he doesn't want to do the wrenching himself, but this is cheap enough that it leaves enough money in the budget to fix the problems the owner lists, even if he doesn't do the work himself.

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/5015917448.html

    [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00i0i_57HaAFH2h4n_600x450.jpg[/img]

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  15. I've gotta admit that I only briefly scanned the various bits about Joe trying to buy a cheap used small pickup. As usual, there's a real lack of data to go on and the reality is that he's gonna do what he's gonna do, regardless of any "help" I/we give him. That being said, I'd like to share my experience with the last truck I bought and hopefully, in the very least, trigger further conversation (cuz' that's what I'm all about!).

    A couple of years ago, I needed a truck and I didn't really want a full-sized pickup. Though, frankly, if you get a full-sizer with a regular cab and a short bed, it's isn't all that much different. And you're not buying one for the gas mileage...that's just bizarre.

    We already had a minivan and my budget was around $3K. The reason why I couldn't use the minivan was because I didn't have a trailer hitch on it and I didn't want to bother with that. We use that minivan to haul people and dogs all the time, so hauling junk and detritus was not appealing whatsoever. She Who Shall Be Obeyed put her foot down and rightly so. It's her car, so she gets a say in what happens to it.

    But the biggest issue -and here comes a major consideration, Joe- is that I wanted to haul things like gravel, soil and stuff that had critters in it, like insects, maggots, termites and whatnot. These are things that most folks do not want to be trapped with inside a fast-moving metal box. You're tooling along, a spider crawls up your pant leg and suddenly you're having to explain how an arachnid is in your trousers to Mr. Po-Po.

    For me, I also wanted a 4x4 for bombing around in the snow. The added ground clearance was a plus; turns out a 951 "Prickmobile" (not my word for it) is rather useless when the white stuff starts raining down out of the sky (place John DeLorean joke here).

    So I found a Ford Ranger that was perfect – for me. It had been well-loved, shall we say, with the worst parts being that it had obviously been run in the sand (it was in every nook and cranny), which explained the lift kit and gigantic, ridiculously noisy tires and aftermarket wheels, the slider window frame needed to be resealed and there was rust on the tailgate. Oh, and the exterior was maroon (fine), with a maroon exterior (Welcome to the bordello!). Other than those items, it was all stock and it had the V6 that I wanted.

    It was a great buy. I immediately swapped the horrible tire/wheel combo with the stockers that came with it, shod with a fresh set of “normal” rubber, which made the ride so much better and the droning roar of those meats disappear. I considered doing something about the tailgate rust but since it was not structural and I could just go to a wrecking yard and buy another one and just unhook the old one and replace with the new one, I just didn’t bother. It was a cosmetic issue only.

    Rangers are based on some ancient technology and they feel like it. But they also are a dime-a-dozen and don’t hold their value like the class-leading Toyotas. While they clearly are not built like those Japanese paragons of utility, they aren’t far off. So I’d highly recommend checking them out if you’re serious about a cheap, simple truck.

    ...to be continued...

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    1. ...right here...

      One of the vital missing bits of data that would have been helpful would have been where you’re located, Joe. If I’m looking at the right photo of you and your Saab, it looks like you might be located in San Francisco. Isn’t Wired based there? If so, that would make sense. I miss SF very much, we used to live just across the bay in Albany. If you’re ever over there and you haven’t already, make sure you go to Christopher’s Café. Great, now I’m hungry.

      So I’m going to assume that’s where you’re located. Here are a couple of examples of what is currently out there. Another piece of vital info would have been if you wanted a stick or an automatic. Because of the hills in SF, I'm going to guess slushbox. Maybe you specified all of these things and I just missed it. If so, my apologies.

      2002 Ford Ranger XL, $4,500, 166,247 miles...this isn't a very good deal, frankly

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/ribO5QG.jpg?1[/img]

      1999 Ford Ranger XLT, $5K, 86K miles

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/rSVY3Yf.jpg?1[/img]

      2000 Ford Ranger XLT, $5K, 138K miles

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/NddVsXS.jpg[/img]

      Mazda Bs did not sell in anything close to the same numbers and thus are much more rare. While it's certainly possible you could locate one, there's very little reason to go crazy trying to locate one as the Ranger is identical other than the badges.

      The trucks I found above in your neck of the woods are just a few of what's out there. The real place to look is on Craigslist where there are, as they say, buttloads (again, not my word).

      I'm still a little confused; is the RDX purchase the end of the story for now or are you still looking?

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    2. Forgot a point; make sure you get a truck that will handle the weight of whatever you want it to haul. A quarter-ton truck will not handle a half-ton load (who you callin' a load?). That was another reason I chose a Ranger.

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    3. I'm actually suuuuuuper into the Mazda B-series and Rangers. I also want a 4x4 because I will be taking this thing fishing a lot, and to offroad parks where ground clearance is a must. Also, I have some fantasy that I'll be taking this thing 4wheeling in the future...

      Thanks for all the scouting!

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    4. Oh, also, must have a manual. I hate driving auto.

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    5. I'd hold out for the mazda for the rarity, but maybe it's just me.

      This one hits all the buttons: 1994 Mazda B

      [img]http://s8.postimg.org/7njo3gjut/94_Mazda.jpg[/img]

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    6. Like the little green men from outer space, I just keep probing until I get the answers I want or the abducted forgets everything, whichever comes first. As it so happens, it’s usually the later. No problem; manual and 4x4 it is. But realize that where the market was wide open, it now becomes much, much narrower. The combination of the two makes it a harder to find one and you’ll have fewer options to choose from.

      If you’re dead set on a Mazda B but can’t find one, just buy a Ranger and swap the badges.

      I think it’s probably also worth exploring the Chevrolet S-10/GMC Sonoma/Isuzu Hombre range, too. When I have a few moments, I’ll do a search to see what I can find and maybe my fellow DTers could help me out with that, too.

      Can I have a job writing about cars for Wired? I promise not to burn anything down.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/HjyzBTo.jpg?1[/img]

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. Smog excempt -- yes. Custom El Camino styling -- yes. Cow horns on hood -- yup. All checks out. 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood El Camino

    [img]http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjgxWDEzMzg=/z/5jYAAOSwNSxVa6Y1/$_12.JPG[/img]

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  18. Don't like the Cadillac El Camino...okay...I get it... you don't like Caddys. Okay, how about a Porsche 928amino.
    [img]http://images.craigslist.org/01010_i6KQPIgUY7e_600x450.jpg[/img]

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  19. How about this '84 Datsun 720 4x4 in Oakland Hills for $3,400?

    [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00C0C_jZMUxNJ7TQw_600x450.jpg[/img]

    Can you tell DT-er's love to scour CL for these challenges?

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  20. What about a Subaru BRAT? 4x4, 4-speed. Sketchy seats in the bed for "kids." [img]http://images.craigslist.org/00W0W_3JoKGkzlpHX_600x450.jpg[/img]

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  21. How about Kaibeezy's Buick? LOL.

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  22. Isuzu Amigo. They come with 5-speed and 4X4, and it has a cool folding rear top that turns the car into a pickup style hauler in a few minutes, complete with opening tailgate. Remove the rear seats and you've got a place for a full sized refrigerator. 1998 Amigo for $1600

    Eddie

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  23. The article from Joe @ Wired mentioned above is now online here.

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    Replies
    1. Joe reminds me of every third buyer these days; so picky that they don't ever buy a vehicle anywhere near what they're asking for. After my discussion with him, we narrowed it down to the following specs; a used, <$5K, 4WD, manual transmission, compact truck. The reality of it is that there are some pickups that fit that description, the best bets of which are Toyotas. But he's had a Toyota, so he's probably interested in trying something else.

      Let's look at his issues with the Toyota.

      He states in his article that he had an early-90s model but complains that the Tacoma is a over a foot longer. This is true. But seriously?!? Come on, Joe. You're not going to notice it; you won't be parking your pickup in Tokyo. I know SF quite well and I know it can be tough sometimes to find a decent parking spot. But your argument is moot. Why? Because you bought an RDX without similar hand-wringing, a vehicle also longer than your old Toy and only six inches shorter than the Taco.

      BTW, that RDX has plenty of character. You just haven't figured it out yet. Give it time.

      You want a manual transmission, which is fine. Are you willing to travel cross-country for it? How about 3 hours? Ten hours? You'll most likely need to widen your search more than the 100 miles radius that I found all of those trucks for you in. That B that rottenland found for you is approximately 650 miles away, for instance. Why not just relax and take a look at what's right there on your doorstep? I found nearly a dozen trucks in your neighborhood that meet 3 out of the 4 of your criteria.

      And while I'm pouring salt into the wound, I'd point out that while you complaining about automakers not offering exactly what you want, you're also not willing to pony up for a new compact pickup to bolster sales...to create new ones...to sell to folks who want them. There's no wonder there's no incentive for manufacturers to do so. Minitruck buyers are cheap, picky b@sterds who expect their cheap trucks to last forever, exactly match random option criteria, run on fumes and haul everything and anything through every condition, including Pluto (it's a planet, dammit!).

      So you've baked yourself a theoretical cake but you then burned the crapola out of it making it so inedible and unappealing that there's no profit in it for anyone.

      I'm pretty sure Joe isn't really interested in buying a truck with these specs at all. Instead, he's just looking for a button to push that will generate readership. Which as Wired exec editor, is precisely his job. I get it. But you need to understand that folks like me take this sh!t seriously and try to actually help when somebody makes a request like this. Stupid, I know. But true nonetheless.

      BTW, did you ever find a truck and can I still have a job?

      Delete
    2. Whenever my friend from Australia comes for a visit, he always comments on the insane array of options we have in our grocery stores. It’s the same with cars. We’re so spoiled by choice that we become infantile in our desire to have every desire met precisely. And when we can’t get exactly what we want, how we want it, at the price we want it, we throw a tantrum.

      I'm not saying Joe threw a tantrum, so relax. This is just an observation of a condition that I've seen in many adults under the age of 40.

      It reminds me of when I got my first car and watching my friends when they got the first automobile that they called their own. Depending on their attitude and the income bracket they came from, they were either thrilled to no end or ranting about the POS they got. ”I should’ve gotten a Mustang. I deserve a Mustang!”. I was so happy to get a car, any car, that moved under its own power and allowed me to go wherever I wanted, that I didn’t care. It could have been a pink polka dot Pinto, for all I cared.

      How do we lose such wonder and gain so much fussiness as time marches relentlessly on? You’d think the older we get we’d learn to relax and go with the flow but the opposite is clearly more the case. Some folks may see this as experience and knowledge but I think it’s a developed rigidity in our thinking and an increased desire to control every little detail in our lives, facilitated by the fact that we can do so.

      The agony of choice.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/bbKKc8O.jpg?1[/img]

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    3. As the guy who regularly drives and, yes, parallel parks a Roadmaster Estate in San Fran, all I have to say is... (drops mic)

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    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEaRCAcfOEQ

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    5. It's funny, over on the Miata forum, there is a bunch of bitching about the "shark fin" antenna on the trunk of the new ND. Really? That is going to stop you from buying it? I can see if you are too tall, fat, have bad knees, etc., but because you don't like the antenna on the trunk?

      Delete
    6. re shaft - for the impatient, vocals start at 2:40

      Delete
  24. More pondermentalizations...Joe doesn't want a minitruck longer than his old ToyOHta, which begs the question; could he have bought one from another manufacturer with a similar MY? He didn't specify what year he had (?), so I've randomly picked....

    1993 Regular Cab
    Toy = 14' 6.6"
    Mitsu Mighty Max = 14' 9.2"
    Chev/GMC = 14' 10.2"
    Mazda/Ford = 15' 1"
    Nissan = 15' 10"

    As you can see, I've organized them by length, shortest to longest. What's the conclusion? Answer; no, he couldn't buy a shorter minitruck from a major manufacturer, with the exception of the Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter at only 14' 6.2". The "toughness" that particular vehicle is debatable, so I have a tendency to remove it from the discussion.

    ReplyDelete

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