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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Never Stop Driving #1: Used VWs and Autonomous Cars

Welcome, Drivers. This newsletter is for people who love to drive and who share Hagerty's mission to preserve driving and car culture for future generations. Think of it as your all-in-one, weekly source of everything you need to know about the world of cars-from inspirational stories to collector-car sales to industry gossip-as curated by a lifetime car geek.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/never-stop-driving/never-stop-driving-1-used-vws-and-autonomous-cars/
169 REPLIES 169
83scamp
Intermediate Driver

Well said. I 100% agree. My daily driver is a 1989 Dodge Daytona ES. It is a driver's car, certainly not in the vein of a BMW, but I love it, and enjoy driving it every day. I will never own an autonomous car.
rogerx
Pit Crew

Neither will I and I want to
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

And that’s totally fine.

I’ll never own a Harley, because Reagan bailed them out, and they shouldn’t exist, in my opinion, but many people do buy them. And that’s their decision. Not mine.
rogerx
Pit Crew

Do you also never fly on an American carrier? They have all been bailed out as has Ford and GM. I understand what you are saying but times and people change. I used to know people who would nerve buy A German car. But now they drive Merc and BMW
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Holy smokes, please post a picture of that Dodge. My first car was a 1984 Daytona Turbo Z.
Coltbill
New Driver

Bought a GTI NEW in 83.
What a POS. Sorry 20k is scary how this could be spent for it now. Had 1st Gen M3 in 88 , selling now for 80k for a nice one . More money than sense. Nice article though
MustangJim
Technician

I had an 83 gti also. While there were some quality issues as Larry mentioned it wasn't that bad. The worst problem I had was dealer related. I brought it back under warranty stalling issue that they were not able to fix. Fortunately I was able to do it myself. But for whatever faults that little car had it made up for with fun. I only sold it because my family was growing and I needed more room. Who know, maybe if I'd been able to keep it longer it would have fallen apart and I would agree with you coltbill. But, for now I'll defend that little car.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

I thoroughly loved my Rabbit GTI...in 1990. For their time, they were fantastic and I'm not sure where I would be without that little VW. I loved the nostalgia when I bought my second one, but it was a bit too dated for me.
ctclark99
Pit Crew

Not sure who can afford to properly maintain autonomous driving equipment, let alone purchase it. I certainly expect we will have a large, very expensive mess on our hands if this thing ever really gets going. (Just like every other fad we Americans have gone overboard for.) Reference the FAA who is now realizing that pilots, even seasoned ones, who operate very automated equipment do over time become complacent as they become less and less involved in their aircraft.
Best direction going forward: teach young people to drive, and teach them the SELF DISCIPLINE to pay strict attention to what hey are doing. Might just fix a lot of other ills in this country too!
4RenT
Advanced Driver

It used to be that only seasoned airline pilots would get to fly the 747.
One such pilot told an acquaintance of mine, that at the time of life when skills can be so easily lost, they are given the job of flying a plane that nearly flies itself!
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

That’s not really true, though, is it?

Takeoff and landing are the critical parts, plus if anything goes wrong during flight.

And it’s not like they are all across the street having a sandwich while the plane is flying itself.

Commercial pilots generally fly only one plane model. They are quite good at what they do. Having Autopilot (which has been around for years and years) doesn’t hurt that.

The 747 is an iconic aircraft, by the way. Created in a short period of time, back in the 1960s, it was kind of a “moon shot” for Boeing. Hell of a plane. I’ve flown on them many times.
Some are still flying.

I think you can still order one, though not for much longer.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

What added maintenance costs are there?
Versus a current vehicle, none.

I have no interest in one either, but we can’t just make things up to justify our position.
Viperenvy
Intermediate Driver

The GTI sale just may be the inflection point. Will we look back as this sale as "irrational exuberance" as rates increase, stimulus works it way out of the economic system, and a slowing economy decrease demand by the percentage who borrow and those business owners who need cash to continue their business operations? Or it will keep going up 10-20% a year forever (sure it will). Look forward to more articles, Larry! The Hagerty team puts out great articles 😉
4RenT
Advanced Driver

"Or it will keep going up 10-20% a year forever (sure it will)."

It will, if the current rate of inflation is maintained.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Thanks so much for reading!
cyberman
New Driver

I agree, the pandemic-induced awareness that life is short prompted me to check off one item on my bucket list. I was weaned on British sports cars and always wanted to return to that experience when I retired. So, in April of last year I purchased a 1996 BMW Z3 and hit the wrenches hard. Now, driving it is roadster therapy, good for anything ailing the spirit.
tanglefoot
Intermediate Driver

That model Z3 can take a bolt on supercharger. Just sayin....
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Nice!!
RickL
Advanced Driver

I still have my first "new" car a 1984 Mustang 20th Anniversary, 5.0, 5 speed, hatchback. I was 26 at the time, now I am about to start collecting Medicare!!!! 38 years and 200,000 miles later so many memories, from taking my now 30 year old son to grade school, of course he ended up throwing up in it but I had so much Scotch Guard on those fabric seats it beaded up like mercury from a thermometer!!! I drag raced it, cross country moves, hauled soil, wood, etc... in it !!! Hatchbacks are truly versatile cars. Seven years ago added a 560SL (bought cheap), have done all kinds of work on it (remember I said bought cheap, well...) and learned so much about that model. The most important thing is to DRIVE them. Remember, "Motion is Lotion, Rest is Rust", same goes for our bodies!!!! Love the new newsletter.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

We are five-oh brothers. I have an '86. It's driver quality but it makes the right sounds. I might have to steal that saying, "Motion is lotion, Rest is Rust." Thanks for reading!
russelljones48
New Driver

I think that electric and self drivers will stay a niche category for quite some time - although Elon has proven me wrong a couple of times. I think I'm with you in that I do see my self utilizing a self driving service for evening entertainment and if I was commuting again (I'm now permanently retired) perhaps for urban commutes. But cars have been a passion since my childhood and I have no plans to give up driving and racing.. I'll die first (after all I'm almost 74). But other than passion here's what I think are some key points in both arenas.. driving is one of the most complex of human tasks and therefore very difficult to fully automate. We have yet to fully understand the challenges we face with recycling and disposal of battery technologies. Depending on source and distribution electricity is a secondary power source with some significant impacts and losses and lastly, basic physics: I am disheartened by the gushing reviews for battery powered performance sedans that weigh 5,000 plus pounds.. Colin just tried to get out of his coffin and smack us around.. basic physics annyone?
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Electric vehicles will continue to be a niche?

Ummm. Almost every major auto manufacturer disagrees. Let’s see what all is available 12-24 months from now.

And we are quite aware of how to recycle the batteries in BEVs. It happening now.

Other than that, some good points.

I think we are still quite a ways off from real autonomous vehicles. I have (probably) zero interest in them.

Just turn it off, and drive it like a regular car.
miketaft
Pit Crew

government morons like to put the cart ahead of the horse!!!
pauluptime
Intermediate Driver

Long drives in a vintage car are the best way to enjoy them. Give me a nice sunny day and I'll be top down enjoying twisty country roads with the 5 speed Tremec in my '65 Sting Ray, not sitting in a show lot waiting for people to tell me what's not "correct" about it. Gas prices be damned, time on the road in my absolutely analog car (albeit listening to digital FLAC audio files played through 8 speakers on my USB drive) is absolutely priceless.
Bostwick9
Advanced Driver

So true.
The roads outside of Tucson are a regular agenda item for a retro driving experience: two lanes, curves, wide open spaces.
Taking a tour for an hour or so is beneficial every time.
rogerx
Pit Crew

Sonoita?
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Sonora?
roncor
New Driver

With regards to Paul and his 65" Vette with the tremic 5 speed: I agree with you on driving a classic. I have thoroughly enjoyed the show car arena, and have worked hard to rectify what is not "correct". I attended a concourse judging course from one of the best Mercedes-Benz instructors when I was in Chicago. So when I decided to transform my 1980 240D into a show car, it became a labor of love and a challenge to see how much work it takes to make a 100 point car. It's almost there, but I realized, sadly, that it is unrealistic to make anything "perfect". I have sat at many car shows with the classic Mercedes that I've had the privilege to own. Everyone each has their opinion on how to enjoy their cars.
I admire you in driving your '65 Vette with that 5 speed upgrade, and the enjoyment it provides. I wish I had driven mine more than 2K miles per year in the 20+ years I've owned it! The car is reliable and so much fun to drive, but I wanted to preserve it to keep its condition. Now I am at the age where common sense tells me to pass the keys and sell it to someone who will appreciate it. I am looking to list it with B.a.T. and have seen the escalation of prices there. I think I'll take advantage of the situation while I have the chance.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

That’s the best place to sell it.

Well-established site that typically will get you top-Dollar (or more). Tons of exposure there.

I’ve purchased two vehicles there. No problems.

There’s a new copycat called Cars and Bids.

Small outfit, no track record, typically lower selling prices. I’d pass, personally.
4RenT
Advanced Driver

"Long drives in a vintage car are the best way to enjoy them."

At my age, the seat better have good back support!
B^)
CaptainNags
New Driver

I’m not the VIP type to have my own personal (computer) driver. Keep the manual transmissions, with personalities, coming manufacturers!
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

They will. Everyone thinks we’re going to be banned from driving, which is silly.

Or that gasoline-powered cars will be banned. Which is also silly.

That said, in the US, the take rate on manual transmissions is pitiful. Maybe 3% now? Or even less?

So fewer and fewer are being offered.

Especially since a stick version has to be certified separately from an automatic version of the same car. Very expensive. Millions.

I doubt they will ever disappear, but we’ll reach a point where only a specific model of 911 (or whatever) will even offer a stick.

Actually, I guess we are there already!

Save The Manuals!

I have two, how ‘bout you?

(The Manual Gearbox Preservation Society thanks you)
jkstill
Pit Crew

I like the newsletter, it had promise.
It started out with something like "we think you're like us when it comes to cars"
Well, kinda, maybe.
Your audience is likely very diverse, and probably doesn't neatly fit into a small range of pigeonholes.
I have loved cars since I was a young teen, one that usually didn't have much (any) disposable income.
Most of all though, I love driving. Particularly when speed is involved.
A few years ago I started autocrossing, and in the quest for handling and performance, my 93 RX-7 became rather unstreetworthy.
However, it is a lot of fun when I do drive it.
There was a modest number of vehicles leading up to that one, but the number of cars bought and sold in recent years has declined quite a bit.
The oldest is the RX-7.
The newest are a Dodge Diesel pickup and a Mazda RX-8, both 2004.
There are so many cool new cars available now, and I regularly think about buying a new one.
Though I could buy one, I never do. Just can't bring myself to part with that much cash.

Ah well, I do have fun with what I have.

Final note: for those of you that have never driven an RX-8, do so if you get a chance. The handling is wonderful.
jkstill
Pit Crew

Already replying to myself because I forgot something.

Autonomous cars: I am fully in favor of it for the vast majority of drivers.

Just not me.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

You (and I) are their target demographic.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Thank you. I totally agree that our audience is VERY diverse but I hope we can all gather around or common love of the car. As for the RX-8....LOVE those. Love that shifter with the rotor on the knob, the sound, the handling. I tell my kids they need to drive one. Enjoy it!
65Riviera
New Driver

I bought an '84 Golf Wolfsburg Edition new in 1984....great car. Never lost traction through many Wisconsin winters except once when my driveway was glare ice. I now have a '21 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid limited with a lot of -semi-autonomous features, which I appreciate in a daily driver. I just got my '65 Riviera back from the mechanics and look forward to driving it short distances. Quite a contrast in driving experience. Each has its place. I don't think fully autonomous cars will be mainstream in my lifetime. Today's cars last a long time and the economy will be in the dumpster for quite a while IMHO.
EC731
New Driver

Owned an 86 GTI as my first new car and absolutely loved it until I got rear ended and susequently accordioned in a snow storm on the way to tahoe. . . but that's a different story. Musk is a polarizing character. As someone who has a keen interest in self driving cars, I wouldn't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. Will we have self-driving cars in 2023? I think Level3 is a distinct possibility, but I don't think they will come from Tesla. Elon promised a hands free trip across the U.S in 2018 too. Mercedes has a very good chance of being the first to meet regulatory requirements in the US, and there are many other EV and AV companies well ahead of Tesla.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

I know. Teslas suck. Everyone knows that. They barely sell any!

That said, Elon opens his mouth way too much, and much of what comes out should have stayed in.
Hallguy
New Driver

I enjoyed your article. I have a 56 Ford Victoria that I love. I am lucky to have a former co-worker who has fallen in love with her also. I am in poor health and have left the car to him. He is much younger and will keep my dream alive. I see young people at car shows, so the interest is there, it just needs prodding.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Wow, that’s beautiful. Thank you for passing the torch, so to speak.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

I agree. I think the next generation is as interested in cars as any previous one. We did a piece on it... https://www.hagerty.com/media/hagerty-magazine/car-enthusiasm-is-safe-with-the-next-generation/
8TY4SPD_MNL13GS
Pit Crew

I've followed your career, Larry, not on purpose b-t-w, for years by subscribing to both C&D and R&T. Although now both mags have changed dramatically, like the cars they write about.
Great narrative above! Autonomous cars concern me, however, cause if my computer can freeze up, why not the computer piloting an autonomous car? And just as importantly, the ability of said computer to pilot a car in adverse weather conditions, i.e., snow covered roads and country side.
I am one of those older baby-boomer life-long car guys, more specifically, a life-long Corvette guy, keeping one foot in analog and one in digital by owning a 1980, the last year for no Captain Electron computerized anything Corvettes, and by specific choice a 2013 Grand Sport.....a great, maybe the greatest, Grand Touring Corvette, plenty of storage space [22.4cu ft], arms length convenience to 'things-in-the-back', and ample seating in the wide-body for the wide-body.
I read only 2 hard cover mags now; Corvette and Vette Vues Magazines, but receive a good number of automotive e-newsletters, and I look forward to receiving yours!
With kind regards and best wishes expressed for your continued success,
Mike 8TY4SPD&MNL13GS
8TY4SPD_MNL13GS
Pit Crew

Yes, both Corvettes are MANUALS!
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Thank you Mike! Agree on Vette. I'm hoping the C7s come down in price as they're fantastic cars for all the reasons you mentioned. Do you get the Hagerty Drivers Club magazine? It's part of the club that also comes with roadside, discounts, and now the Hagerty Marketplace. Readers who grew up on C/D and RT like we did seem to really enjoy it.

https://www.hagerty.com/drivers-club/?ef_id=Cj0KCQjwm6KUBhC3ARIsACIwxBjefyvT1zaOoMEeE5Qw2E1wUJQZB8z1...
motolargo
Intermediate Driver

I'm with you on this one. If a person does not like the driving experience, take public transit, flag down a cab or hire a limo. It will be way less expensive than owning a Tesla and much safer. I like my vehicles with gearboxes, carburetors, magnetos (or points and coil), leather, steel and alloy. Everything is serviceable by the driver. That being said, there is a fairly high wrench/ride ratio with these old bangers. I have no use for electronic gadgets, GPS or plastic components. Now that this rant is over, I think that I will go out to the shop, fix a leaky inner tube, spoon the tire back on the rim and do some sport motoring in the old MG. Maybe even pick up some groceries on the way home.
4RenT
Advanced Driver

I agree with most of what you wrote,
but my daily driver has 3 aftermarket GPS units in it. (all bought 2nd hand).
B^)
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

OK Boomer. 😉

Spooning a tire into a rim? Props, sir.
petersalt
Advanced Driver

Bicycle road tires (small/thin ones, not big mtn bike tires)
are mounted onto a rim using small tirebead tools called
'spoons' .. maybe because they LOOK like small spoons.