2:28:20 Next Car?

The years keep passing by and I realize I'm approaching Year 16 after I took delivery of my Enough Car, a 2005 Toyota ECHO HB (known outside Canada as a first-generation Yaris). Displaying the Japanese distaste for surprises, the Toyota has been an exemplary car: Maintenance is just oil changes. And while there's something to be said for driving a car into the ground, I’m also thinking responsible carbon footprint & a possible next car.

2020 VW Buse

I've only had four cars in my life, so the choice has to be one I can live with:

I. 1959 MGA. The apotheosis of the late 50s English sports car. Wooden floorboards once caught fire because of a kinked exhaust pipe, but did it ever offer tossability. But reliability? A disaster: thrown rod, transmission lockup in two gears simultaneously, Lucas electrics. I paid a guy $25 to haul it out of my garage.

II. 1968 BMW 1600. Legendary car that turned around BMW's fortunes. Getting on freeway and winding out in second gear, the engine had an aristocratic whine. Fully independent suspension on all four wheels with graceful handling of a rear-wheel driver. When I first got it, I drove to Willow Springs in the Mojave Desert and found fellows had stripped out their 1600s and were tearing around the race course. Once, I drove the 1,000 miles from L.A. to Portland nonstop—the car inspired that belief in both of us.

III. 1990 Mazda Miata. Irresistible. Looks of a Lotus Elan from the 60s, but Japanese perfection, if a bit sumo-weighty. Refined & filtered road feel. I had the sense the car didn't come into its own until you got out in Eastern Oregon and pushed it past 80 mph. Good for 215,000 miles & sold it to a guy who paid me in $100 bills, said he’d rebuild the engine and race it.

IV. 2005 Toyota ECHO HB (aka Yaris). The story is not closed on this car yet, but it's been the Enough Car I wanted. Makes me smile. Minimalist. No power steering, no power windows, no A/C.

Which brings me to daydreaming stage: What's the next car if I rule out gas burners? One choice and not that bad for Portland is bicycle + mass transit + bike trailer for grocery-buying.

Second choice would be a used Nissan Leaf, currently 10-12K.

Third choice—made do-able by a Roth IRA put in stock market I forgot about--has me thinking the 2020 VW Bus. Estimated to go on sale for $40K, the electric AWD, 369 HP VW Bus with the extended range option of 300+ miles has appeal. Ten times the horsepower of the original VW and some of the inspiration. This might be the reason to kick tires.

Image credit: volkswagensia.com


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Read Charlie Dickinson's latest novel, Losing Laika, as an ebook in these five downloadable formats:

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Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

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