Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: A Daily Driver For Adalberto

Today's Mid Week Match-Up comes to us from Adalberto who writes:  I found your site through the link on rusty but trusty...Don't know why i hadn't clicked on it before, but now i have wasted a lot of time looking at your website. I am a car fan boi. I used to work for a car company in Detroit (that shall remain nameless, but has been passed around between the italians and germans like a cheap bottle of booze amongst winos ). i am back in my native SoCal now. My newest car is a 1995 Miata . My Stable also includes a 1978 C10 with a straight six and T5 (I did the swap). My daily beater is a 1988 BMW 528e (born as an auto, fixed with a 5 speed, by me). I broke the ignition tumbler on my 528e, so i have been driving my wife's discarded 205k miles 16mpg 2003 Mitsubishi montero. I have a long commute on the freeway, and i can't drive the Miata because soccer moms tailgate me in their big SUV's and i get scared. I have been given an edict by the boss to cull the herd.

The Miata will always be mine. But I would like to replace all the other cars with a used minivan. I have been looking at 1999-2002 (sliding doors on both sides) Nissan Quests and Villagers. I have a 17 mo old baby, and i am also a landlord, so i need a car that can carry a baby and drywall, and not break down. I have considered a used Mazda 5 or Toyota Sienna from Hertz used cars...but I would rather spend car payment money on other things...I would like to get a car for $5000 or less...but i would be willing to make monthly payments on something newer if the trade off was less time wrenching on a car that isn't fun. Any suggestions?

My suggestion is to avoid the life sucking experience of driving a minivan, and get a wagon instead. Hunsbloger has been singing the praises of the Taurus/Sable wagon for years, and today I join his lonely voice to make it a duet! This 1999 Ford Taurus SE Wagon found here on eBay bidding for $797 with a few hours to go features the rare 3rd row seat, a 3.0 liter V6, and less than 100k miles...all for under a grand.  Can't go wrong with that!  Throw your plywood on the roof, kids in the back (or vise versa) and enjoy!

What do you think Adalberto should get for under $5k?


  1. 1st gen Odyssey (pre-98) seems to be the spiritual ancestor to the Mazda 5 albeit with no stock manual like the Mazda 5. Like the Mazda 5 though it seems dubious to get a 4x8 sheet flat inside like the minivans of your former employer or the Sienna you mentioned. I can get 4x8 sheets flat in my Sienna, along with 10' 2x4 or pvc etc and close the tailgate.

    On the other hand, you don't need a third row until you have a third kid. I'd recommend a sturdy 5x10 trailer behind the beemer.

    Of course there's always the rear wheel drive volvo wagons, or the bmw long roofs.

    BMW, might need to combine with your 528

    Honda accord wagon with 5 speed:


  2. That Taurus is pretty clean, especially for the price. Looks like the front and rear bumpers may have had a re-spray because the color is a little off. Not a big deal when you're looking at an $800 car. But what is up with Ford and that crazy round stereo/HVAC control pod. The designers sure found a way to guarantee that no one could upgrade to an aftermarket stereo here. Ford factory radios from this era have a strong tendency to lose some functionality in the buttons, knobs, and displays. At least there are a ton of Tauruses (Tauri?) in junk yards to pick over. Guessing the Sable is the same.

    Hey Vince, here's a thought. Maybe an upcoming Thursday Twister can be "Cars with unique/non-single DIN/non-double DIN/sucks-to-be-you-cuz-you're-stuck-with-it factory stereos". I know there are others out there.

    1. Looks like radio kits are available for around $65ish that replace that entire panel with a single din opening and includes the cutouts and graphics for the climate control parts.

    2. I think that would be a good Twister.

      I know on some toyota's with the radio appearing to be non standard, you can take off the panel and if you are brave enough cut out a double DIN window and a new radio will fit, just not as easily as changing a radio should be.

  3. The last Taurus that I looked at had a rod knock at 75,000 miles. Having owned 3 of them (3.0L's only) and driven them into the ground with minimal repair needs, I was about to buy it sight-unseen. Glad I floored it during the test drive. Seller was a flipper, who bought it at auction.

  4. I briefly had a Taurus wagon with an ex. It wasn't terrible and the back was pretty roomy. The ex managed to scrape the same curb in the same parking garage twice on one side and once on the other so I wasn't sad when she kept it in the breakup.

  5. I have found that the "carry bulky stuff once in a while" requirement often taints a car search. Personally, I opted for a light oversized 4x8 utility trailer. It comfortably handles up to 750 lbs, and I can pull it with almost anything. That opens up the car list to a lot more possibilities. Just an idea....

    1. A good one too, given the long commute. Also use a set of load bars up top. Not just bicycles and skis, but everything from furniture to landscaping timbers - ok so I'm a hillbilly... but I still love my fast little Mazdaspeed3.

  6. I can attest that a Honda Odyssey Gen 3 (2007 in my case) can fit---JUST--4'x8' sheets of whatever material in a fairly large quantity, flat. Now, I know we're talking about a minivan here, but, also decent handling and acceleration, for something that large.

  7. Buy that Taurus wagon right NOW. I would if I wasn't drowning in car payment/rent trap bliss. Ah well what do you do. Can't give the car back nor do I want to live in the slums.

  8. The dealer has the Taurus wagon on their site for $2,995, but with no reserve and about 30 minutes to go, this is still going for under $850. If there aren't any last minute bidding wars, I would think the dealer is going to be taking a loss here. Probably small though. Hard to believe this car could be bought on wholesale or as a trade-in for $850, but it's possible.

    1. Sold at $1825.

      If one is looking to carry kids and 4x8s you're talking Suburban, no modern station wagon will do the job (though '60s wagons did, like all the '65-69 Chevies the DT guys keep tempting me with.)

      I'm quite fond of the early '80s GMT800 trucks and have an '03 Suburban going on 160K with...well, something on the front of the engine is rattling, not sure if it's the water pump or the AC compressor clutch, but it's been that way for 10K miles...

      Looks exactly like:

      though if you don't need to tow (one of my primary reasons for owning the thing) you're probably better off with a 1500.

      There's other options as far as carrying stuff, roof racks, trailers, etc.

      A GMT800 Tahoe/Yukon might be an option, carries more stuff than a Taurus wagon but costs more to run.

  9. We had Ford Taurus in our fleet not a bad car and we beat them pretty bad Transmission are a little weak so service them early and often they do drive pretty nice and do everything pretty well and i am no Blue Oval lover.


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