Hammer Time : Pick Your Stick!


5 cars – 5 suits = 0 customer request

I hate looking at this equation. But these days, that’s as true for the auto industry as Georgia is. An older vehicle with a stick shift that isn’t a full-on sports car will sit in a retail parking lot for months.

No one knows how to drive them except people too old, too arthritic, or too rich to buy an old car with a manual transmission.

You do not believe me ? Well, here are five vehicles that have become the equivalent of heavy trucks in my humble abode. Funny thing is, I like to drive all of them… I wish I wasn’t two drives away from a different handshake every day of the week.

They are….


2007 Toyota Corolla CE – Wholesale 4k, Retail 5k

I gave this Corolla new tires, interior trim, and a new antenna. He returned the favor with 29 dealership records and…well…did I mention fuel economy?

When you buy the premium vehicles from this company, you always have three options; Â good, fast and cheap.

you can choose any from them From the tree


A car in good demand will sell quickly, but you can’t buy it cheap.

A cheap car can sell out quickly, but you’re not always lucky enough to buy one in good condition, and if so, it’s probably not a popular car.

This Corolla officially served as my decoy car. The one everyone thinks they want to buy until they find something with more options (it’s a base CE), more miles (145k) or, of course, an automatic.

I do not care. With all the city driving I do, and with the honor of having 4 police stations within a 5 mile radius of my place of work, I need a car that will keep me out of trouble while having fun until the supplies run out. points on my license. This one does the job and yes I wish I had sold it now.


2002 Volkswagen Beetle TDI – Wholesale $2,500, Retail $3,500

Right engine. Right leather seats.

The bad broadcast for everyone’s teenage daughter.


I returned a 2002 Jetta not too long ago. Ergonomically, the Jetta was about three parsecs ahead of this Beetle. This thing’s career seems to last forever, or at least three feet of eternity. The interior is as cheap as it is kitsch and, well, parts of that interior are the same lime green as the exterior.

I should have known better to buy a lime green Bug. But about a year ago I struck gold with a yellow zonker Beetle. So I thought a green might be an acceptable weird color alternative. This is not the case !

Everything works (miracle!), but this one stands still and ponders that decades-old VW question: “To break? Or not to break?


1999 Toyota Solara – Wholesale $2250, Retail $3000

Now this one has touched all my buttons for my road trips. Much space. Comfortable for long trips. A V6/5-speed combo that effortlessly cruises down the highway at 80 mph with hardly a break in the sweat. He just has a little problem. After I took it to Florida to see my family and to Detroit to see the auto show, someone hit it. The figures!

The good news was that this tan-on-tan Solara wasn’t hurt at all. A square SUV trailer punctured the plastic bumper at a red light. The driver almost went red in front of a cop, then decided to back up without looking. An act of stupidity made desperately worse with the cell phone strapped to his head.


In fact, it worked in my favor. The old bumper had already been scratched up heavily thanks to the previous owner’s errant parking escapades. Coupes from the 1990s still end up with those bumper scratches because the paint was applied in a thin coat back then and never held up.

It’s also an SE model, which in 1990s Toyota parlance means just a cassette player…no roof…and plastic wheel covers. SE really stood for “Subtraction Edition” back then.


1997 Honda Civic EX – Wholesale $2,000, Retail 3,000 $130,000.

An owner. Sliding roof. These Civics were incredibly popular up until a few years ago.

These days, they still exist in ex-urban Atlanta, but only the automatic versions. This particular one has the usual cosmetic issues. Some worn paint on the hood, chipping and a crack on the front bumper.


It also belongs to my brother-in-law. So if I tell you other negative points, I will quickly find myself out of the “circle of trust”. It’s a good car. In fact! Oh, and the battery died.


1994 Mazda Protege – 60,000 original miles – purchased for $775 two years ago.

It’s a bad, bad car. Horrible car. It’s like an ancient venereal disease. A gruesome journey of almost Roger Smith-ian proportions.


But I love it. Why? Because it was the cockroach of the pacts.

I had it financed and recovered. Twice. After it was returned to me in near Kevorkian condition, I fixed it up again and sold it at retail. I only had a thousand and made over $4,500 after two years of difficult ownership. So naturally I like this one better.

But what about you? If you had to pick your way through the plethora of old stick shift vehicles, which one would you choose?

Note: The Beetle and the Protege sold out earlier this week and I must confess that my only exposure to these vehicles has been in traffic until recently. I wanted to finance them (well, all but the Protege), but luckily I buy a lot more new vehicles instead of old ones. If this continues, I’ll probably continue to chronicle these older rides, but go back to my old approach of retailing the new ones.)

Source : thetruthaboutcars.com

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