It Just Makes Cents

Beaters are better.  It’s hard to explain why most of the time. Sure newer cars aren’t smelly, they don’t break down or fall apart or rust out from underneath you.  But, they’re just better.  Most beaters are paid for with cold hard cash.  I can’t think of anyone that takes out an interest laden loan for a piece of crap they found sitting next to a mobile home or out in a field.

They’re cheap and, more often than not, more reliable than they look.  How many cheap-car challenges on shows like Top Gear show pieces of crap surprising the hosts with their reliability long after they should have expired?  Have you watched the show Roadkill? It’s a love story about Beaters. Most beaters, when they do break, are relatively easy to repair for not a lot of Benjamins.

Yeah yeah, so you don’t get a fancy schmancy 100,000mi powertrain warranty with your creaky $200 Chevy Corsica, but it’s cheap and with a little bit of effort it’ll get you where you’re going for quite a while.

Financial blogs re-affirm everything we’ve been saying for a while, Beaters are better. Check out what Hull Financial Planning has to say about driving a beater HERE.

Baja ’67

I was reminiscing about the Big Bear trip the other day.  It was some of the most fun I’ve had in a while. Highland’s 4Runner performed flawlessly and comfortably, the weather was perfect, and time spent outside is always a good thing for a guy like me who works in an office every day.

After that trip, I started planning my next one.  I don’t have a trip set in stone yet, but the one I’m ready to tackle an offroad trip down through Baja.  Since reading about Peter Egan’s trip(s) through Baja in Side Glances and Leanings. The idea of camping outside in the desert, maybe next to an old ghost town, drinking unlabeled tequila and figuring out the next day’s route sounds pretty great to me.  The problem is – and here’s the sob story- I don’t’ have the time, money, tequila, or the proper beater to take a trip like this. All I have are really cool Youtube videos of people doing it for me.  My ideal beater for the trip would be an old solid axle Tacoma not too dissimilar from

My ideal beater for the trip would be an old solid axle Tacoma not too dissimilar from Desk To Glory or this one from IndefinitelyWild.  Solid, rugged, and inexpensive are all pluses to picking one up for the trip.  As much as a cool new Chevy Rental Car would be, something about taking an old beaten up and rusty vehicle on the 1200km drive to La Paz sparks nostalgia – it’s just right you know. Besides, rental cars don’t have that vagabond feeling to them.

So, to satiate my cravings for another West Coast trip I’ll have to hop back on the reality bus and watch web videos in the break room. Here’s a fun little documentary I’ve been watching about the original Baja 1k race. I know it’s not short but someone once told me that delayed gratification was a virtue.  The jury is still out on that one.

**If you wish to fund my future Baja trip please forward me your winning lottery ticket**

“High School Physics”

“Facts On Friction” – Brought To You By Chevy

Here it is. Everything you wanted to know about how friction worked in 1934.  It works differently now (nope) so this is a look at science before we figured out how to make our eyes see in color.  This is another one of those fun old educational videos manufacturers and ed-tech companies released back in the day that helped consumers and nuclear children understand how the world around them works, especially with cars.

So, if you care about how you’re dated drum brake system works, or how your 1934 bias-ply tires stick to the pavement, check out the video below.

The RV

Christmas is in the air. For me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Many of you may have seen it o at least hear of this now holiday movie classic. In it, Clark Griswold aims to create the perfect Griswold Family Christmas. I won’t’ give any spoilers so if you want to find out how successful his efforts are, go watch it.

The star of the movie is Randy Quaid’s character of Eddie (not Clark), and even more of a star is the family RV he parks on Clark’s doorstep. It’s a beater of epic proportions. Other than the fact that Eddie had one and it’s “Shitter was full”  I didn’t know much about them (and still don’t), nut let’s take a look at it, shall we?

I don’t know much about RV’s other than your grandparents get one when they retire, your dad thinks it’s a good idea to haul his “too cool” teenage kids around in one, and that they’re the perfect thing to take to an endurance race (Sebring or Daytona in my case). Finding out the specs on Eddie’s particular flavor of RV was a bit tough for me.  Here’s what could find out, though:







It is a 1972 Ford Condor, one of the few RV’s FoMoCo made in-house, meaning it wasn’t coach-built.  Condors were based on the M504 Truck chassis powered by a 390ci V8 and Cruise-O-Matic 3sp trans. So, they weren’t exactly speed machines, but what RV’s are made for relaxing long hauls, not speed records.

Eddie’s beloved clunker may not look the part, but back when new, a fresh from the dealership Condor was a thing of beauty and a luxury item.  While not quite Airstream quality, Condors were still very well equipped, with all the creature comforts of home for their $20k price tag.  Eddie’s was free.

If you’re interested in what happened to the movie car, MotorNomadics has an old post about it. f you’re interested in buying one, you can still find rust buckets pretty cheap, but as with any movie-famous car, the cleaner they get the higher the prices skyrocket. Other than that I haven’t been able to dig anything up.  If you have on or know more than I do, let us now in the comments below!


What’s With The Lemon Law?

Let’s play the What If Game:

You’ve just signed the paperwork on a brand new car.  All excited about dropping some of your hard-earned dough on a new daily driver, you go out fo a spin after taking delivery. You notice it hiccup slightly as you move through the rev range. You don’t let that kill your joy but decide to take it to the dealer the next morning. 

You drop it back off at the dealer service department and get a call from the service advisor that the issue has been fixed with new spark plugs. You pick your shiny new car up that night and as your driving it home the hiccup happens again.  Frustrated you pull a Vin Diesel’esque U-Turn and head back to the shop.  It’s closed so you leave your car in the lot and decide to call the Service Advisor in the morning. 

The service dept. agrees to take another look at the vehicle and shortly thereafter you get another call from the advisor saying it’s all fixed and it’s ready for pickup.  You pick it up and the same thing happens. That pesky hiccup is back. You call the service department irate at this point and start the cycle all over again for the third and fourth times.  

At this point, you might be starting to think you have yourself a Lemon.This might be true depending on your state.  It’s always best to call a specialist on the Lemon Laws in your state for advice.  These laws, like many, can be tricky to navigate.  But, as Lehto’s Law does below, it’s not impossible, especially with the right help.