The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 October 2007

And even more on vehicle longevity

Jalopnik has been asking its readers, "What's the oldest car you've ever owned?" This is not exactly the same as "What is the earliest model year of any car you've ever owned?", though:

Let me explain the rules for this one. If in 1965 you sold your 1964 Beetle (presumably to buy that new fangled Mustang) you only owned the VW for one year. However, if you currently own a 1964 Bug, then you own a 34-year-old car 43-year-old car.

(Strike in original due to failure in basic arithmetic.)

I come in at 20: 1975 Toyota Celica, retained through most of 1995. There have been a couple others in the low teens. Gwendolyn, be it noted, is a mere child of seven. My daughter rates a 16 at the moment ('91 Oldsmobile Bravada). I don't remember what year my brother's Cadillac is, but I'm guessing it's somewhere around twenty years old.

Posted at 9:57 AM to Driver's Seat

I have a 1963 IH crewcab sitting out back. Owned it since 1979. Getting parts for it in 1989 was a bitch!

Posted by: MikeH at 11:00 AM on 5 October 2007

I don't remember exactly when I sold my 1965 Dodge Drat -- er, Dart, but I believe it would have been in 1994, making it 29. In my case, "oldest car" and "earliest model year" are two and the same.

Next oldest would be the 1975 Ford pickup truck that I still technically owned until (IIRC) 1997 or '98. Followed by a 1981 Bronco I owned until December 2002.

The least old car I ever owned would be a 1993 Ford Escort bought in 1994 (from a car rental agency, thus the ability to afford it) which was sold away in 1999.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:24 AM on 5 October 2007

I'd be interested in a twist on that question: the oldest car you ever owned that could still be driven when sold away.

My answer would be the same. In theory that Dart could have kept running until someone drove a stake through its carburetor.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:29 AM on 5 October 2007

In May 2003, I bought a '77 Chevy van at Norman Public School's disposal auction for $250. It had 177K miles at the time, and required LEADED gas (or at least lead-substitute additive). Insurance and tag cost ($267 combined) more than van itself. Top speed on the van was 65 mph, and the furtherest from home (in Norman) it roamed was Pauls Valley, Chickasha, Edmond, or Shawnee.

I started a small courier business with that old van, and I made back my total initial investment in 11 days.

I retired that old van at 242K miles and shutdown the business in September 2005 when gas first hit $2.999/gallon after Katrina. At 10 mpg, fuel was eating up all my profits.

Posted by: Dan B at 8:50 AM on 6 October 2007

required LEADED gas

Lordy, I'd almost forgotten about leaded gas. It must have been still available when I had the Drat -- which in hindsight seems unlikely in California in the mid-'90s.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:53 AM on 6 October 2007

My Celica, once tweaked for California emissions, ran fine, or at least no worse, on unleaded (87 octane) thereafter, despite its catlessness.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:51 AM on 6 October 2007