Quoted from johnwartjr:
I've always been a gearhead. Don't really have a brand I don't like, but I haven't had a car payment in over 10 years and I like it that way.
I bought my first pin because I loved working with my hands and fixing things. I had a project S-15 pickup, and my Dad was going to help me get it fixed up for my first car. Well, he was too busy with work, and that never happened - so I bought a pin since it was something that I could work on a little easier. The wealth of knowledge we have now with YouTube and the internet didn't exist then. Since I never took auto mechanics in high school, I had no clue how to do much beyond changing my own oil.
Before kids, I had some pretty nice cars. I keep things pretty low key right now car wise due to how expensive cars can get, and how quickly kids can ruin cars.
The family mobile is a 2010 Ford Flex SEL with about 115k on it. Been fairly reliable, so far I've put gas, oil and tires into it.
I drive a 1997 Volvo 850R wagon and sedan. I have one of each. The wagon was bought by my folks when it was only a few months old. It was a Volvo executive's company car. I think it had maybe 15k on it. My Dad drove it daily and put about 110k on it and parked it when he retired. I spent a few years trying to buy it from him, and finally, he was willing to get it go.
If you're not a Volvo aficionado, the 850 T-5R was a car that Volvo produced in very limited quantities in 1995. It was primarily produced because Volvo ran a car in the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship), and to enter the car, it had to be a production model. The T-5R was insanely popular, and the next 2 years, Volvo made the R package in slightly bigger quantities. Porsche helped Volvo in some aspects with the design of this car and its engine. It came with 17 inch wheels and low profile tires, a very stiff suspension, leather and suede interior, and a tune that put out 240 HP on a 2.3 5 cylinder engine with turbo. For 1995, it was a VERY potent model.
When I bought the wagon from my Dad, it was suffering from a lot of neglect. Stuff worn out from just sitting. Dirty. Dad is a chain smoker, so it was very dirty. It was way past its timing belt cycle. So, I got it to 'stage 0', meaning maintenance stuff caught up, running efficiently. And after daily driving it for 2 years, I burned a valve. Shops quoted me 3 grand to pull the head, do a valve job, and reassemble it. I decided to try to do it myself, and after doing the work, I was hooked. The wagon has roughly 150k on it now, and the sedan is close to 240k. Well maintained examples of these go 500-600k.
Folks do a lot of neat stuff to these cars. But with limited wrenching time, and no 'spare' car to drive if I had to have it down for a few hours, I bought a matching sedan that was a lot neglected. Had a rod knock, and the kid who had it was doing a lot of questionable work to it.
So, I've been enjoying the crap out of the sedan. Got a donor engine that I'm cleaning up a little, looking for a 5 speed transmission to go in this one. Assembling parts for the engine swap, need to get a bigger turbo and some other goodies. I've been hitting the junkyards a couple times a month chasing other parts. Some of the parts are hard to find, especially the R specific goodies - but I have all the R specific goodies at this point. I've been enjoying driving it, but I have also decided I want a 2nd wagon and will probably put the sedan in storage when I find one. The wagon sort of screams 'grandfather's car', and I want my fun car to be a sleeper. So, I may have to ship one in when I find the 'right' car.
I also enjoy getting my kids involved in the project, teaching them an art that seems to be dying off - fixing stuff! It's my hope that when my youngest turns 14 or so, we will find a project car for her to fix up until she gets her license. I can't do any of these insane projects I see on the car reality shows, but I can make sure she knows how to change a tire, oil, tune a car up, do brakes, etc. And then, my son won't be far behind, and we can do it again.