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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
TG
Technician

I have bought the same (general) vehicle more than once, but never at the same time unless there was a parts car involved. 78-79 Cadillacs (several), late 80s-early 90s 5.0 Mustangs (2)... beyond that, everything has been very random aside from being GM-centric, generally 2 doors, and generally V8. I have stayed in that general comfort zone - why? knowledge and parts.
I have a different approach to collecting in that I drive them all regularly. If I encounter a car with a dead battery, I have too many. This has kept my stable limited to 5. With 5 cars I intend to drive, I want them all to be different. Tuna-boat 65 Impala with long lines, half-sportscar half-musclecar 455 C3 Vette, Cadillac Allante which bridges the gap between luxury car and sports car, full-size Blazer, and a 1 Series... a little bit of everything and not too much of one thing, One other thing that plays into the diversity of my collection is that I am more of a venus flytrap when it comes to cars. I really never go out and look for 'The Car'... I always more or less wait for the right car at the right price to find me
BiffNotZeem
Intermediate Driver

I have had six TR7s, all but one a Speke-built coupe. The one that was built at a factory that knew how to build cars was a convertible parts car.

I have also had three Guiguaro Lotus Esprits, which is a higher percentage of total G-Esprit production than the TR7s.
Stradakat
Intermediate Driver

She’s a saint. You are a fortunate man, Rob.
DaveD
Pit Crew

I am definitely guilty of overindulging that's for sure. I have a 1984 black and gold trans am (only 6,000 MI) , a 1992 Lincoln Mark 7 special edition black , a 1994 firebird formula ram Air dark green , a 1999 30th anniversary trans am, a 99 C5 Corvette convertible , a 2000 Camaro slp ss, a 2001 trans am (sunset orange), a 2002 collector's edition trans am convertible , a 2004 Silverado SS 6.0 all-wheel drive , and a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT. So I am definitely guilty of a little repetition in there no doubt!!! But I do enjoy every one of them no question about it. I am fortunate enough to have a nice 4200 square foot building as well as a three-car garage at home so that helps the cause. But I am kind of running out of room for storage as part of that building is my shop.
MustangJim
Instructor

Great article! I think many enthusiasts are brand loyal , more then the general non enthusiast public. We identify with a brand and are drawn to is. I love all cars ( well, most) and don't exclude enthusiasm over many different types and brands of cars but I am a Ford guy. I will consider other cars, I'll look at them, I will speak of their virtues but somehow when I go to buy, I always end up with a Ford. My kids ( adult) make fun of me when I am car shopping. I talk of all different cars and they say " why do you bother, you will only buy a Ford".
DUB6
Specialist

Nothing wrong with that @MustangJim - brand loyalty is one of the goals of very corporation, and they work hard at it.  You found something that satisfies your needs and fits your comfort level, and you stick with it.

Besides, somebody's got to keep the Blue Oval Sales & Marketing Department viable!  😋

Jnick
Detailer

I am of 2 thoughts on buying the same thing over and over: on the one hand, the same thing is easy and familiar. Another thought is why not have a collection with a Corvette, a Blazer, and a truck same parts,and pieces entirely different rides.
I have a Dodge truck great for lumber runs slow as he’ll ride is rough, a Camaro, fast and simple, burns rubber but goes sideways on wet pavement, and a Sprite which is cold but handles like it is on rails great for grocery runs during busy afternoons easy to park and move in and out but very tedious on the freeway runs over 4000 RPM at 60.
Our newest car is a Ford F-150 which has cameras to park, not nearly as easy to park as the Sprite; accelerates like the Camaro, not the same edgy feel; Carry’s load like the Dodge but not the same low end crawl feel, in short a compromise. I prefer my 3 to the Ford truck.
bimmerfan739
Pit Crew

Great insights Rob, as always.

My second car after a ’69 Dodge Dart GTS 340 was a new 1971 BMW 2002 that left the dealership with many of the same hot rod modifications your ’75 wears (although the 45 DCOEs didn’t go on until a 3,000 mile break-in period was complete). I daily drove, autocrossed and tracked that car for six years until it was pretty much beaten into submission by my driving style and the Boston winters. One day on Centre Street in Newton a dark haired beauty on an opposite commute flashed her ’75 VW Scirocco’s headlights at me and the next thing you know we were an item.

Partly because I was smitten by a Car and Driver article that opened with a full-spread, full-bleed photograph of the original Giugiaro-designed Scirocco at speed in screaming yellow – but more likely to impress Melanie – I traded my Colorado orange 2002 for a silver, year-old ’76 ‘Rocco. Here’s where a fairy tale might have started but didn’t. Upon closer inspection, my “new” VW appeared to have had hit everything but the Massachusetts lottery so I bought a stripe kit to mask the inferior repaint job the VW dealer had applied and put it up for sale. As for Melanie, the last time I saw her was at one of the legendary parties my roommates and I threw at Davis Avenue in Brookline where I introduced her to the neighbor who would become my ex-wife.

But with the Scirocco gone, what to drive next? Why, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, of course – white with blue stripes; metallic blue vinyl upholstery; faux plastic MOMO Prototipo and faux engine-turned dashboard; Ram Air III; 4-speed Hurst…

The Poncho didn’t scratch my itch for long though, so despite it having transported my two roommates and me to Chicago for a friend’s wedding – leaving after work on Friday and arriving back at our Boston jobs Monday morning, the tight schedule having prevented further interaction with the Bianca Jagger lookalike seated next to me at dinner – it had to go because I NEEDED another 2002!

An automobile broker named Richard Lorenzini obliged in 1978 with a perfect, low-mileage ’73 in my favorite color, Colorado orange! I drove that car for three years until my right foot again began lusting for Detroit V8 motivation so it was off to Atlanta for another ’69 340 Dart, this time a Swinger. Notice that I was already allergic to rust.

A few months later Kit and I needed something a little more suitable for the drive – with three dogs – to her home town of St. Louis for our wedding. A two-year-old 1980 VW Jetta seemed just the ticket. Mission accomplished, the Jetta went away and we were carless for a period, something I’d experienced many times before, relying on Boston’s excellent public transportation system. Until…

That’s right, I absolutely HAD to have another 2002! Instead, I found a straight, rust-free ’68 1600 still wearing its black and yellow California tags. Bingo! Unfortunately, at roughly the same time Kit absolutely HAD to have a house in the country. Thus began a fifteen year period of forty mile commutes from Plymouth to Boston, never less than an hour each way in all kinds of New England weather. Our new carpool friends looked askance at the poor 1600, bereft as it was of heat, let alone air conditioning. Soon it was back to a series of VWs, primarily for their front wheel while still retaining that German feel. We looked at Hondas, but nah.

Now, long since divorced, I sit here in Florida with a 2002 325i (Sport Package, 5MT) in my garage, watching with dismay as undamaged, rust-free E46s, including M3s, show up with distressing regularly on Facebook Marketplace as partouts…

And lusting for a late model, low-mileage Mustang GT. See? There IS a pattern here!
thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

Center Street in Newton?! That's like two miles from me. But you probably already know that. I have very few secrets these days :^)
SAG
Instructor

Because we've been there,
And Love it
SAG
Instructor

my Motto:
if you can buy it for under 1K do it.
worry about 'project funds' later.
4RenT
Advanced Driver

"My first 5 cars cost less than that!''
-a former boss to an engineer wanting to buy a new piece of Test Equipment
MoparMarq
Advanced Driver

A well articulated piece for why many of us have more than one vehicle sitting in the garage and driveway. And Lrac added a little piece of wisdom about why a particular car might stay in the fold a long time; you get the feeling of "zoom zoom". (Always loved those Mazda ads; especially because a kid is one who says it.)
4RenT
Advanced Driver

The closest I've come to buying the same model again, was when I traded my Datsun 610 pickup for a new Datsun 720 pickup.
Here's my "Order of Secession"
72 Mustang
73 F100
76 Datsun 610
81 Datsun 720
84 Suzuki Sidekick
99 Toyota 4-Runner (yecch!)
2004 Honda CR-V
Though my wife and daughter both drive Subaru Outbacks (2011 and 2019)
DavidHolzman
Advanced Driver

Thanks Rob. This was wonderfully explanatory, and a lot of fun. We H. sapiens thrive on belonging to groups of people who share an interest. But you're making me wish I'd bought Leon Kirchner's 2002, and gotten to know you back then. They WANTED to sell it to me, and offered it to me for what I think was probably in excellent price even back in the early '00s, $1,500 if I remember correctly. But I hadn't caught the bug. Didn't even know back then that I was going to find myself craving a Peugeot 404 wagon.

Drive fun!