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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Why do we buy the same car over and over?

Last week, I wrote about The Great Fitchburg Automotive Exodus, which was essentially a two-step process involving multiple cars. Instead of transporting four cars to their new storage area near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, I brought them all home, even though doing so filled the driveway beyond the bursting point.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/why-do-we-buy-the-same-car-over-and-over/
64 REPLIES 64
Nick_D
Intermediate Driver

My dad owned 6 GMs from the 80s until recently that shared 3800 V6 power. Stick with what works!
hyperv6
Racer

I personally only ever bought the same vehicle twice and that is because that is what the wife wanted. It at least was 4 years newer and had added features since I bought the last one.

My father had many of the same cars as my great uncle was a ex GM engineer who bought two cars a year. He would give my parents the year old car with minimal miles when he would order the new one.

What was crazy was he would order the cars sight unseen in May and not know what it looked like till it came in late September. Then we would have to go to the hiding place it was kept as this era was when dealers had big introductions. He would not get the car till it was introduced.

Other wise I see it silly to buy the same car over and over. My interest is much wider and I enjoy a number of different cars too much to buy the same one over again.
Swamibob
Technician

Good article Rob; Love the pics!
I'm more of an American muscle and hot rod guy. I've owned a lot of different makes and models over the years. What I keep ending up with, long term, is GM A-bodies from the mid sixties. I've had my '64 El Camino for over 20 and my '64 Chevelle more door for 17 or so. I have a '67 El Camino in my shop, right now, in two major and a LOT of smaller pieces. It will be back together and running an a couple months.
I've owned and worked on a lot of '64-67 Pontiac Lemans, Tempests GTO's, a few Buick Special/Skylarks and even the occasional Olds Cutlass/F85. I've had and built several Camaros and Firebirds and occasionally even a couple Impala's and other larger stablemates, but I keep ending up with A-body cars.
I get where you're coming from, I have a huge stash of parts, and accumulated knowledge on these cars and I really enjoy how they drive and work; especially after you update a few things like shocks and springs, sway bars, tires and wheels and even fuel injection on a couple. That makes it easy for me to pull the trigger on a new purchase that's in the monetary ball park. The only problem for me is that monetary ball park is getting smaller and smaller, because too many other people love them also. Still they're really what I like, so I keep going back to them.
MeJ
Advanced Driver

It must be a personality thing. I would rather have one pristine example of (in this case a 2002 Bmw) than a whole bunch of different ones. I do have an issue with neatness and order though, so it's probably why I dislike clutter.
DUB6
Specialist

   At one point in time, about 8 out of 10 of the cars I had owned were tri-five Chevys (mostly '55 and '56 - only one '57 ever), and since I was financially only able to buy "fixer-uppers", I got pretty versed in most of the working of the tri-fives.  In fact, for a few examples, I had re-built from frame up and felt like there was pretty darned little I couldn't diagnose fix on them.  I'd built up a big stash of parts, had books and articles galore, and just felt comfortable with them.

   Then, I got a wild hair and got into sports cars.  After that, off-road 4WD vehicles.  Then muscle cars and fenderless hot rods.  All during that time, I was into motorcycles (road-type, never got into dirt or off-road).  And over time, as I moved further away from those ol' tri-fives, I found that I didn't miss them - and in fact, I started forgetting most of what I had known when I had them almost exclusively.  And that "getting out of my comfort zone" opened my interests up and gave me perspective into so many more types of vehicular enjoyment.

   Although I still love '56 Chevys, I couldn't see me tying myself to just them again - I'd miss all the other types of excitement that the various genres have exposed to me.

DCW
New Driver

Great article. My dad, who worked for GM and could buy any GM car he wanted at a substantial discount, bought Opels. A couple of Rekords in the early sixties, then a series of Kadetts and Mantas until GM stopped importing Opels in 1975. It made no sense, given his easy access to some pretty cool cars. He just loved them.
CitationMan
Gearhead

I owned four Chevy Citations, which I believe is a world record.
DUB6
Specialist

Yeah, not even many dealerships would have had four of those on their lot at the same time (heheheheh), so I'm willing to give you the record!  [There, I got my dig in on Citations for 2022 - I'm good for another year]...

Have a great day, @CitationMan!  😁

CitationMan
Gearhead

Bought one new, inherited the others from relatives. They all hit 200,000 miles amazingly.

My boss once asked me why I’m driving such junk when he was paying me good money. I told him “I could walk out to the parking lot now and it could be on fire and I wouldn’t care”. Ah, to be young and carefree!

buellerdan
Instructor

It's okay as long as they were the X11.
CitationMan
Gearhead

I was not high class enough to own an X-11, but I’ll admit an X-11 could have been Citation #5, until I took a ride in a friend’s VW GTI, which became my next car. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

And yet you don't call yourself GTIMan for some reason...you CLEARLY need an X-11 right now I tells ya! 🤣

CitationMan
Gearhead

No Citations, then no GTI or the other fun cars I’ve owned. Gotta hit rock bottom sometimes LOL.

Lrac
Pit Crew

There were 4 that actually ran? Well I’m flabbergasted!
DUB6
Specialist

Hoo Boy, @CitationMan, you're taking it on the chin quite a bit this week!  😋

CitationMan
Gearhead

Beater cars can change your life! I’ve since made up for my automotive sins and have been on the road to redemption the many miles since. 

CitationMan
Gearhead

Don’t judge the CitationMan until you’ve driven a mile in his Citation!

DUB6
Specialist

Go ahead someone - respond with "those things would go a whole mile?" - I dare ya...

DUB6
Specialist

I was Googling Citations to look for a picture of the X11, 'cause I'm not really familiar with them, and this image popped up - all by itself, I swear!

 

Untitled.jpg

CitationMan
Gearhead

I’ve got thick skin LOL. Plus they turned into beaters quicker than any new car probably ever has. 

DUB6
Specialist

I like your style C-Man.  Very cool dude.  👍👍

CitationMan
Gearhead

I’d be much cooler if I had a GTO!

DUB6
Specialist

Yeah, me too.

 

Remember, I'm just drivin' a LeMans wearing a disguise!  😃

CitationMan
Gearhead

No, it’s the rare hand built GTO! Shelby would call it a “continuation model”.

DUB6
Specialist

I call it a "sheep in goat's clothing".  But hey, thanks for the compliments on the car!  😀

I needed some cheering up.  I'm kinda bummed today.  I was getting pumped to go to a show 'n' shine/fly-in at a smalltown airport near here, where in addition to cars, they also put on a kind of airshow for small planes (STOL, flourbag bombing, etc.).  But it's been snowing and blowing and really crappy weather, so I'm thinking that red Poncho will be staying in the barn for a bit longer.  It's mid-April, for goodness' sake - Spring is supposed to be here!

CitationMan
Gearhead

Definitely Spring here in NC, weather is one of the reasons I moved here from Chicago. Great driving conditions almost year round.  Going for a top down ride in my convertible last Christmas Day was something I had never done before.

TG
Technician

I always thought the Citation would be a good platform for a RWD conversion sleeper car
CitationMan
Gearhead

That’s interesting, but a RWD Citation would have disintegrated just as fast as a FWD! Chicago winters were not kind to my Citations, hence the 4 in a row. But they were absolute sled dogs with 65% of their weight over the front wheels. Never got stuck, but I did spin a few.

61Rampy
Instructor

My first car was a 62 Corvair. Paid $40 with most of the engine in the frunk. I was 15. Drove it around a bit, beat the living s**t out of it, and still fixed everything I broke. Finally, the R/R axle broke and the wheel took off. Got it home, the only time an actual tow truck ever towed me, Mom made me sell it and get a nice "safe" car. Soon a 68 Mustang GT w/ 390/4sp was in my drive. It didnt break, but boy did I collect a LOT of speeding tickets. Then I got a 65 Corsa Turbo. I liked that much better than the Mustang, so much so that I sold the Mustang. These two cars defined my life. Since 1970 I've had 5.5 Mustangs, (the .5 was a MkVII Lincoln LSC), and at least 40 Corvairs. In fact, there's a 61 Rampside, and 15 Mustang Ecoboost in my garage now. I just fell in love with these two totally different types of cars. Oh, and so many spare Corvair parts that I need a storage shed just for that stuff. I'm looking for a nice 66 Monza or Corsa, but their prices went insane in the last two years. Again, at 68 yrs old, I'll probably sell the Mustang to be able to afford the Corvair.
DUB6
Specialist

Mom wanted you to get rid of the Corvair and get a nice, safe car, and you brought home a 390, 4-speed Mustang GT?  Tsk, tsk, you didn't listen to your Mama very well back in the day, now didja?  😁

61Rampy
Instructor

Even better, Mom and Dad were the ones who went and test drove it before I even saw the car!

DUB6
Specialist

Nothing against your Mom and Dad, but I'm not sure they were setting the best examples for you as an impressionable youth.  😁  But then again, I can't argue with their coolness levels!

2manycars
Pit Crew

Lol, He called the 635 "ponderous." That may be a BMW first. Clearly, used to 2002s on a daily basis!

Just think how I feel driving my S 600 coupe around town after after driving my mk2 jetta 16v 😂
Snailish
Instructor

My father uses a 79 Ford 350 as a work truck. Got a deal on it from a mechanic years ago. Being so old it stands out, so in the last 15 years people identify him with that era of Ford. He now has 7 of them in various states of project-driving because people bring him the deals (and know he will look after them I suppose) and he has grown fond of them.

The hilarious irony for me is that he was a GM only guy the whole time I was growing up and had no use for Fords.

LoudV8
Intermediate Driver

Guilty as charged. A pair each as follows: 68 GTO's, Firebird Formulas, 96 LT4 Corvettes, C5 Z06 Corvettes.
Same warped thought process in each case. Sold the car, saw one like it later, conjured up lost memories, bought same model again. Buy, sell, drive, repeat.

topside
Advanced Driver

While my vehicles reflect a philosophy of A (Vehicular) Tool For Every Job, and from a variety of manufacturers, there's been a...OK, one to four...'68-'69 Road Runner in the bunch for over 40 years. I think I can work on one blindfolded at this point. I was smitten with them and the original concept from the start - cartoons may arguably be an entry drug - and have never tired of them.
There are also periods of time that are always - and increasingly so with age - pleasant to re-visit via old favorites, yes ?
DUB6
Specialist

Yes.  Emphatically yes!

DaveA
Instructor

Yep, I get it. I sold my first DeLorean (which I loved) only to later regret it and buy another. I’ve since decided that no matter what happens there will always be a DeLorean in my garage. I can’t help it, the car is just so legen.....wait for it....

PRNDL
Pit Crew

I have discover that, conveniently, buying a pre-1967 MG, Jaguar, or Austin Healey is essentially owning the same car over and over again.
richard2
Intermediate Driver

Interesting article, and excellent view into a completely different mindset.

As for me/us (wife & I), while many vehicles have passed through our hands since the mid-70s, we never really collected anything. I've still got the 68 MGB I bought used in 1983. I've re-done most everything on the car, but it's still the only sports car I've owned.

I had sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons (loved the super-heavy Dodge Volare wagon), sleepers (AMC Hornet wagon with v-8) and others. My first car was a Nash Metropolitan. My second was a post-70s Mini 1000 (loved that one). We've had step vans we (my dad & I) converted into fully-functional campers, and so on. Currently we have an SUV for my wife, because the 2004 Saturn finally had a fault that would cost 4x the value of the car (transaxle), and I have a medium pick-up because we live in the country.

We just never had the money or time OR SPACE to invest in multiples of any one vehicle type, or even set (i.e. British sports cars).
AG1962
Instructor

Great introspective piece! Yeah, I hear you — I have had three Volvo wagons, three Saabs, and three Mercedes diesels. I just loved them and became knowledgable about them, and about who could fix them and how I could handle issues like swapping out a Volvo ABS unit or driveshaft, or clean a Mercedes window switch. Most were bought as second cars and all were originally expensive cars that had become cheap. Our kids also started driving with those Saabs and Volvos. My one foray into BMWs was a massive success (bought 2005 X3 six-speed off lease with 70,000 km and drove to 240,000 with only maintenance and minor repairs), but the cost to purchase and maintain a newer BMW is beyond my retirement budget, and I have no space for an older one now. We currently drive a Prius and an Outback, which are predictable and low-maintenance cars better suited to fixed incomes and no garage space. (Pro tip: try to keep a garage when you retire, fellow car folk. My rental down the street from my house disappeared, and I am storing motorcycles in tent contraptions for the time being.)
GeorgeWA
Intermediate Driver

Since 1981 I’ve owned/leased 10 “3” Series BMW’s … It’s a simple reason why but it’s definitely not the same as Rob Siegel’s , I didn’t own all 10 at the same time …. It’s because they were all excellent cars that provided more than adequate performance as a daily driver, great quality build, adequate size ( MY perfect sized car) , great styling and ergometry…Although the newer 3 models have gotten a bit portly and the 2’s are my fav. Sized BMW’s now There is no other car in the world that I would have ten of the same car…
MeJ
Advanced Driver

That's interesting. I owned a 07 Bmw coupe and think it was the last decent coupe Bmw made (style wise) until the 2 series came out. That is the only Bmw I like now (especially the M2 in that beautiful blue color).

cyclemikey
Detailer

It's a common trait in the hobby, to buy the same car over and over, and/or have multiple examples of what is essentially the same machine. It's always seemed to me to be basically a fear of venturing outside one's comfort zone, afraid to confront the new and unknown. That's OK, I guess, but it's pretty self-limiting by definition, when there's a whole universe of interesting machines out there.

I have some collector cars, and a very large motorcycle collection, representing all types, genres, nationalities, and eras. It's kind of a point of pride for me that almost without exception there are no instances of simply minor variations of the same thing. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. If staying within the confines of a familiar brand/model works for you, then it does. The trick is to enjoy what you have.
Tinkerah
Engineer

Camaros6.10.91.jpgWhaddaya mean they're the same?!? Oh wait.....I see it now.

CitationMan
Gearhead

Mr. Siegel,

A photo challenge has been issued. Back to your driveway, and being a ladder!

 

thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

Well played, Tinkerah. Well played.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I have purchased two Mitsubishi Eclipses (1990, 1997) and an Eagle Talon TSi AWD, so three of the DSM twins. I have purchased 3 Subaru's (1 Impreza WRX Wagon, 1 Legacy Gt Wagon and 1 Impreza 2.5RS for my wife). I have purchased 2 Lexus IS 350's (one 2013 and one 2018 F Sport model) and hope to get an IS 500. The only vehicle I have had only one of would be my '97 Toyota Supra Turbo. I have had no other Toyota's or related to the Supra vehicle.
Lrac
Pit Crew

First off, Rob your wife is a saint! I lost my saint 18 years ago. I had a motorcycle from the 70’s sitting in the garage in the 00’s untouched for decades Wife asked me why I didn’t sell it, my answer was…. Insurance. She looked at me and I said the minute it was gone I’d be looking for one running. Cheap life insurance!
I think Mazda said it best with “zoom zoom”. I bought a 560 sl and didn’t feel the zoom zoom. Bought another Benz and there it was!
My 2nd love is the 2002 I no longer have….. I hear you brother!