Luxury cars? They're terrific. Mint condition collectibles? Even better. Be that as it may, there's a simple truth that continually resonates throughout the car community: the most awesome cars are often among the cheapest out there.
Pick up a $2,500 once-classic clunker in need of a little work and it'll teach you about cars, mold you into a more well-rounded person, and potentially give you marketable skills.
1. It’s a clean slate
Unlike that shiny new toy you bought that’s just like every other shiny new toy on the dealership’s lot, your new-to-you $2,500 clunker is the automotive equivalent of a blank canvas, a block of clay that you can turn into the perfect car.
2. You’ll never have to worry about the car’s past
Bought that nice certified pre-owned car with low miles, eh? Did the previous owner smoke? Did they abuse the car, or do anything (like skipping maintenance) to it that’s gonna cost you down the road? When you buy a clunker—and you really should replace every wearable item—all of a sudden the car’s practically brand new again.
3. You won't obsess over dings
Meaning you won't have to park in BFE, or the boondocks, or whatever your term is for “out so far that no one else is parking there.” One of the many great things about beaters is you’re free from obsessing over door dings. Well, until you start investing money in the appearance. Then you’re f*cked.
4. You don’t have to wash and wax it obsessively
Buy a new car and you'll have to detail it constantly. Don't, and you’ll definitely be contributing to your ride's early drop in value. Your beater? Who cares. That’s why you can use vinyl wraps or Plasti Dip.
5. Insurance is cheaper
Insurance rates vary according to both how expensive a car is to fix, and how likely the average driver of such a car is to cause a wreck. Your old project car’s got nothing on a shiny new ride.
6. You will learn a TON
When you’re planning out what to do with your car, you’ll learn a metric shit-ton of information you never previously gave thought to. How far out does your wheel stick from the hub? Why should you even care? Do you want toe-in or toe-out, and WTF is toe, anyway? Patience, fledgling mechanic, it will all come to you.
7. You’ll teach yourself marketable skills
If you’re doing anything cosmetic to your car, there’s no better way to preview it than by snapping a pic and loading it up on Photoshop. Don’t be that guy on every car forum who asks for someone else to do it for him. Do it yourself, and you’ll eventually find yourself photoshopping anything in five minutes flat.
8. That “custom” new car isn’t custom at all
Did you go to Rolls-Royce and have them make a dashboard out of a tree from your family orchard? Did you at least have a special paint mixed just for you? Okay, your car’s custom. If you ordered a car from a list of prescribed options, it’s a million times better than going to a dealership, but it’s not custom. Starting with almost nothing and building your vehicle up from scratch? Now that’s custom.
9. You’ll have the most unique car on the road
And for a fraction of the cost.
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