Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Phallic Symbol Verses Practicallity

The quest continues for younger son's 1st vehicle.

When he and I were leaving the house to go scout out vehicles for the 3rd time, husband said make sure he gets something with front wheel, all wheel or 4 wheel drive. "O-k-a-y-y-y" we say.

After, being in the lot looking at several used vehicles(sm, midsize and utility) we come across a 2006 Dodge Charger, Midnight Blue Pearlcoat with a white racing stripe. One guess to figure out which one son liked. :) My concern is that it is rear wheel drive although they say the esp which is what rwd Mercedes cars have, makes a difference. I guess also there are some safety concerns with front wheel drive? But then what about all wheel? And I know 4 wheel is good.

That being said, he drove the car down to our house to show husband. He pulled up to the corner to turn around and park outside in front of our house. Our neighbor (son's friend's father) was out, so son beeped. It was immediately apparent that he liked the looks of the car. He called his son out and the rest of the family came out too. That was sweet and we hadn't even shown it too my husband yet. So, I got out and let friend get in and they drove to end of road to turn around. The car looked good from the back too.

It warmed my heart to think of them in the car and the excitement of the moment. These 2 were born 2 days apart and have shared a lot of memorable moments together. They will be 19 in October. (actually last night after we got home - son, his friend and I shared hilarious stories from past years until 2:30 in the morning)

My first sporty car was a used 71 Dodge Challenger that I purchased 3 years old. I LOVED that car! People used to say I looked like the Dodge girl in it. The guys in the lake would stop by and comment that they liked the car when I would be waxing it out front in our horseshoe driveway. I always liked the lines on it. My only regret was that it was green with a white roof. Green is not my favorite color, but it wasn't bad. Now if it was BLUE with a white roof - perfect! (I recall A Doc I worked with who owned 2 Porches saying that a sports car should be either red or black) I still loved the car though. Then someone rear ended me and pushed me into the car in front of me while I was commuting down below to work. It was never the same after that because there was always a gas smell when the windows were open and the body shop never found the problem.

But I digress. See, apparently..this car triggers memories of bygone days for me. I think it did for my neighbor too. We were all looking at it in front of our house and then my neighbor (the husband) got in the back seat. I told my husband that it was only rear wheel drive and it didn't seem to bother him. He was probably thinking of his 1970 Barracuda!

So, it was a phallic symbol eye candy on wheels! It did hug the road. Son and I are both tall. He is easily over 6 feet and there was plenty of room for both of us. I know he would have to get used to the car but 3 different times he went over the speed limit without realizing it as it didn't seem like it was going that fast. It was a great ride!

Son is a part time sports reporter/writer for a newspaper and sometimes he has to go to different locations to do interviews. He will need a reliable and safe vehicle to commute back and forth to community college and for his job, etc.

They dropped a thousand off the price. The mileage is high with 26 thousand on a 2006. Otherwise seemingly good condition. We are not mechanically inclined so we wouldn't really know. It is certified and there is a warranty although those can vary.

The salesman was smooth because when I commented about the high mileage, he said, "y-e-a-h...your right." I commented on some other things to drop the price more and he did the same thing. He didn't engage me. I could see what he was doing but that wasn't the time to expend energy as we are still looking.

I am good at wheeling and dealing and know for a fact that I got good deals on both of our last two vehicles. The 1st time I had checked out a vehicle at one dealer and then managed to get one in the same category at the 2nd dealer with more options for significantly less money. The 2nd time I went back to that dealer 1st, let them know they were 1st and we looked at so much. I knew what I wanted and they just weren't coming down in price. So after at least 3 hours, I told them thank you but I needed to look elsewhere. He said to wait that they had ONE more too look at. THAT ended up being the one and it was perfect for what we needed at the time. The dealer saw me coming with the blue 1985 T-Bird I bought. My 1st born was 5 and sitting in the back seat for the test drive and I loved it so much I think I was actually bouncing up and down in the seat with glee as I was driving it around. It was September and I could've haggled a bit but I didn't know to then. So, I learned my lesson. Our boys fast outgrew the back seat in the T-Bird as there was no room back there!

So, now we are going back to the 1st dealer we went too and son is going to test drive a Dodge Caliber. That does have frd and is better on mileage. Cheaper too! I do like that both vehicles have side airbags.

The thing is used vehicles have higher interest rates whereas the new vehicles have 0% interest rates. The Caliber has a lifetime warranty on the 2007s. They were discussing 3-6 year loans. SIX year loans! Then there are leasing programs. I am not crazy about them although we did it once and it worked out fine. We came under the mileage allowed. He will probably have to add mileage since he will be on the road so much.

There was a 2006 Mustang that was really nice and less money but the Charger seemed to be a better built car. But what do I know? Although the dealer said it was too.

Today will be another info gathering mission and in my perfect world we will hone in on something tomorrow and then negotiate - negotiate!

If anyone made it to the end of this long post - I welcome any insights or suggestions you might have. :)

P.S. It is now 11:24 p.m. and after going back to the same 2 dealers we have been working with, I can honestly tell you that I am beginning to hate this process. Son took the Caliber out and it is only a 4 cylinder and I have to say I wasn't impressed. That might not mean anything since I don't know anything about cars, but I didn't care for it. It didn't seem like he had room and it didn't seem to have power going up a hill. In all fairness he didn't floor it either but I would prefer that he had a 6 cylinder. I remember driving a 4 cylinder up a mountain near the ski area and I thought we would start sliding backwards.

We drove into a GM and Ford dealerships but didn't stay. We went back to the Chevy dealer who has the 2006 Dodge Charger that we both love. Son drove a 2006 Chevy Cobalt (4 cylinder) which was o.k. but really didn't even come close to the Charger. Although it was 6,000 less. He took the Charger out again and I know he really wants it. The Charger is sweet for a lot of reasons. :) I did manage to get them down 55.00 in monthly payments but still too pricey in my opinion for a young guy starting out and even with the esp feature I am still concerned about bad weather.

When we got back tonight, I called a neighbor who works for Mercedes and knows everything about cars and dealerships etc. Until recently, this guy always drove new Mercedes for free. He never had to have car insurance either. His job has something to do with test driving the prototypes and so he drove them everywhere. Some of those cars were amazing! His recommendation is to check out Honda, Toyota and Hundai. (not sure how to spell that) He feels son should start out with an economy type of car and of course I would put him in a Hummer if I could. :)

So, we're going out 1st thing in the morning to tackle this. I am finding this more difficult than usual because I am trying to get him the best for the least amount of money as he is responsible for all payments and insurance. He just can't afford to do 3 year payments right now. Vehicles are so expensive, even used ones. I wish we could just buy a good used one -cheap enough to buy outright so he doesn't have any payments but then it's a roll of the dice.


Elaine said...

No insisghts, but you ave prompted me to write about my car(s) tomorrow!

SeaSpray said...

Hi Elaine - I look forward to your post. :)

radioactive girl said...

My parents never had any car payments ever. My mom kept track of how much every vehicle she ever owned cost when she bought it. When I flipped through her notebook, it is no wonder she never had car payments! Cars now are so much more expensive because we have so much more in them. Good luck choosing!

SeaSpray said...

Hi Radioactive Girl -Sounds like she was organized and kept track of her money.

My girlfriend's father always had Cadillacs but he always bought them 1 or 2 years old because of the depreciation factor. He had a dealer he trusted and also got his grand kids vehicles that way.

Tomorrow morning we are going back out to 4 more dealers. We've been to 2 of them 3 times each.

My plan is to not come home until we seal a deal tomorrow.

Thanks for the well wishes. :)