What You Get for the Money

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There isn’t much difference between a vehicle made 20 years ago and the ones they’re selling today – except insofar as how much they cost.

One reason for that difference has to do with what you get for the money. Things like a good stereo and LED mood lighting. Interestingly, these are the least expensive things to incorporate into a car – including 20-year-old cars. Most of the latter have cassette-type head units that are easily removable and have universal connectors that are easy to disconnect and reconnect.

Having done that, you now have a 20-year-old car (or truck) with LED mood lighting and a good stereo, just like a new car or truck. For much less than the cost of a new car or truck with the same.

And you do have the same.

Not just the updated electronics. The old car – or truck, like my 2002 Nissan pick-up – has a fuel-injected engine that starts right up, just as quickly and just as reliably as the new cars I test drive each week. More so, arguably, in that it has been starting reliably for the past 20-plus years and probably will continue to do so for many years to come. The new cars (and trucks) probably won’t – 20 years from now, that is – because their fuel injection systems are much more elaborate and so inherently less reliable over the long term as complexity is at odds with durability. Direct-injected and often turbocharged engines don’t, however, start any faster or idle smoother or run better than the simpler, plain-old injected engines of 20-plus years ago.

They aren’t especially fuel efficient, either. My ’02 Frontier’s mileage – 20 city, 23 highway – is actually just slightly better than a 20-years-newer Frontier’s 19 city, 23 highway.

Direct-injected systems are not meant chiefly to improve mileage or smoothness/durability – much less to lower maintenance/repair costs. Rather, DI is an expedient resorted to by the car manufacturers as a way to scrape fractional “emissions reduction” gains from the proverbial bottom of the barrel. These reductions have no tangible benefit to the “environment,” however – and much less so the owner of the vehicle.

Like the “vaccines,” we’ll see what the long-term effects are of DI and turbo-boosting otherwise-too-small-for-the-load engines turn out to be.

How about transmissions?

Cars (and trucks) made 20-plus years ago all have overdrive transmissions, just like new cars. The difference is the  new cars have multiple overdrive gears – sometimes as many as three of them. Once again, there is negligible benefit – to the owner. A slight (2-3 MPG) increase in gas mileage, perhaps. But it comes at titanic cost – which you’ll know all about already if you’ve ever had to pay to replace a modern, multi-overdrive automatic transmission. The tab for this can easily be $5,000 or more. And these multi-overdrive automatics are (like DI engines with turbochargers) more likely to need replacing because of their greater complexity.

What’s the upside, again?

But new cars have LCD touchscreens – and big ones, too! Many of them also have digital dashboards.

Ever think about why they have them?

Per the lead-in to this story, electronics are cheap. One of the few things that is anymore. But they look expensive. Or at least, fancy. Futuristic. Especially when first seen by the car buyer prospect who has never seen them before. Especially at night when the car’s interior glows like a UFO.

But it is precisely because they are cheap – to manufacture and install – that such glowing distractions are now ubiquitous in new cars (and trucks). They are there to distract you from the fact that there really isn’t much new in new cars.

Not in any meaningful sense, that is.

There was, 30-plus years ago – when fuel injected engines replaced mechanically-fed (carbureted) engines. Instead of having to pump the gas pedal to set the choke and then hope the engine started, the fuel-injected engine just started. It always ran right. It needed almost no regular maintenance, as opposed to the seasonally necessary adjustments that carbs often needed.

Overdrive transmissions came online around the same time. They were a huge improvement over the non-overdrive transmissions that preceded them, especially as regard performance cars and trucks. These now got much better mileage (not just incrementally better) without any diminishment of performance or capability.

And – just like modern stereos and LED mood lighting – it is easy and not expensive to upgrade older vehicles that did not originally have fuel injection or overdrive transmissions with both of those things. I installed an overdrive transmission in my almost-50-year-old muscle car and it now drives like a modern car, the huge V8 loafing along at around 2,000 RPM on the highway despite the dragstrip-intended 3.90 final drive ratio. Without the overdrive transmission, a car like my Trans-Am would be almost unusable except for runs down the dragstrip due to the screaming high engine RPM at highway speeds.

But new cars no longer offer those great leaps forward – except as regards power output. Engines that make 300 horsepower are no longer anything special. Twenty years ago, it was. Thirty years ago, it was exotic.

But that has no bearing on everyday drivability – and if you want that power, it’ll cost you, too.

LED mood lighting, fancy stereos and LCD touchscreens are there to make you think you’re getting something new rather than something expensive (for you) that was cheaper to make (for them).

. . .

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Buy a Mk3 VW Golf 1992 to 1999 for low cost, reliable transportation.

    The diesel is better and the GTI has good upgrades. The GTI is one of the ten best cars in the world at any price.

    These cars are simple, well engineered and easy to repair.
    The 4 cylinder engine in them is an evolution of a Mercedes M118 engine VW acquired when it bought Audi from Mercedes in the 1960’s

    The M118 was developed earlier by Daimler-Benz as part of a military project

    The engines of the F103 series were a development of Daimler-Benz for a military project that never came into being. They were dubbed the Mitteldruckmotor (medium-pressure engines) because of their unusually high BMEP (mean effective pressure, as calculated from brake torque) values, which led to a good thermodynamic efficiency.

    The engines had spiral-formed intake channels that gave the fuel-air mixture a good swirl. The engine had Heron-type combustion chambers with broad squish bands, further enhancing the mixture swirl and aiding good combustion. These features made it possible to use very high compression ratios for the time. The initial engine version had a CR of 11.2 to 1 for 98 RON fuel and even the engines intended for 92 RON fuel had a CR of 9 to 1, which was a very unusually high value for the time

    The M118 was then used by Mercedes-Benz for the mass-produced vehicle segment. the W118 and W119 ….only …two 1.5 lt. W118 were built….two 1.7 lt. W119 were built…..four cars total…..
    It was then used by Audi in the F103, before and after Daimler AG sold the company to Volkswagen

    Daimler- Benz had acquired a majority share in Auto Union in 1958 and took full control in 1959.

    Auto Union was formed in 1932 with its four-ring badge standing for the constituent marques of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer and in the early 1950s, it was mainly associated with small cars sold under the DKW name.
    In 1964 Daimler-Benz sold its subsidiary – it wanted the funds to construct a commercial vehicle plant – to Volkswagen, and the idea of a generation of compact four-stroke cars bearing the three-pointed star seemed dormant.

    But two key assets were also transfered to VW: the M118 engine project and its creator, Ludwig Kraus.
    Kraus remained with Auto Union and to revitalise the F102;

    his solution was to longitudinally mount the 1.7-litre M118 engine from the Mercedes W119 in the bay of the DKW……DKW’s F102 now renamed the Audi F103…..

    All the 4 cyl. VW/Audi engines are evolutions of that engine…

    The Mercedes M118 four-cylinder four-stroke medium-pressure engine…….. was installed in Audi 60, Audi 75, Audi 80 and Audi Super 90………then the Audi 100 from 1968, with a displacement of 2 liters and 100 hp…….in the Audi 100 the M118-derived 2-litre was named the EA831

    Later, the EA831 with an overhead camshaft driven by a toothed belt, ended up in the Audi 80, the VW LT, the VW Golf, the AMC Gremlin, the Porsche 924..in the 924 it was called the 047…in the 924 turbo it was called the M31…. and served as the basis for many VW engines evolving into today’s VW Audi 4 cyl engines….the EA888

    These engines are easy to find and cheap to buy, they don’t fail so there is no market for used ones.

    Get one with a 5 speed transmission, they are very strong, reliable and cheap to buy.

    The Mk4 VW Golf is good too and galvanized, but it got heavier….
    The Mk1 and Mk2 Golf GTI’s are collector cars now because they are so good, but the prices are very high now….

    The Mk 3 GTI was a good race car, for rally or on the track.
    The Mk3 GTI had no recalls and no problem areas….

    https://bringatrailer.com/2012/01/14/itb-winner-1995-vw-gti-racer/

    • An evolution of the Mercedes M118 four-cylinder…now renamed the M31 ended up in the Porsche 924 Carrera GTR

      Texas Porsche Dealership Asking $925,000 for 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR

      https://www.thedrive.com/news/30473/texas-porsche-dealership-asking-925000-for-1981-porsche-924-carrera-gtr

      Another 2000 lb perfectly balanced analog sports car the 924 GTR, the new over weight supercars today don’t compare.

      To go racing in the Group 4 class at Le Mans, Porsche needed to homologate the company’s 924 race car. As such, Porsche built 406 road-going versions of the 924 Carrera GT to satisfy the FIA’s rules. Porsche being Porsche and looking to over-engineer everything, two subsequent evolutions of the 924 Carrera GT followed; a 924 Carrera GTS and the 924 Carrera GTR.

      PORSCHE OF NORTH HOUSTON
      Though you wouldn’t call the 924 Carrera GT’s production run of 406 plentiful, it’s practically omnipresent compared to the 17 924 Carrera GTRs Porsche produced. Of those 17, nine cars total qualified and/or raced at Le Mans. To get each car ready, Porsche took the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and threw every ounce of motorsports engineering at the minuscule block. The end result was an engine that produced 375 horsepower and 299 pound-feet of torque.
      1980 924 Carrera GTR 375 hp 0 to 60 2.9 sec. 9.95 sec 1/4 mile curb weight 2000 lb.

      In 1981 the 924 Carrera GTR was the quickest car sold by Porsche.

      With the 924 Carrera GTR’s power now set, it found itself a new intercooler, dry sump oil system, a stripped-out interior with full roll-cage, fully adjustable race-bred suspension, the brake system off of a Porsche 935, and side-exit exhausts. In race trim, the 924 Carrera GTR weighed in at a featherweight 2,050 pounds, which meant the cars were capable of hitting 180 miles per hour down the Mulsanne straight (before the chicanes were added) at Le Mans.

      Porsche brought a handful of 924 Carrera GTRs to compete in the GTP class in the 1980 Le Mans 24 hour race, with the best car finishing sixth overall ahead of everything except prototypes.

      The 924 had a great history in racing, in race trim the maximum power they got from the Audi block engine (it originally was a Mercedes engine), was 550 hp, later on using the new 2.5 turbo 944 engine they got 750 hp from that engine.
      At Le Mans the Porsche 924 GTR Carrera Turbo was quicker then the 944 turbo race car when restricted to Le Mans engine power restrictions.

      Trans-Am Sears Point 1985 Sears Point International Raceway
      #36 Paul Miller (USA) Porsche 924 GTR Carrera Turbo, in practice set a new lap record 1:34,234 this record wasn’t broken till 1995.
      550 hp, (trans am tune), 2050 pounds, faster then the American 650 hp V8’s it was racing against.

  2. A few years ago the Indian car company Tata said it could sell cars in the USA for $2,000. More recently the price has been upped, but still way below any new car:

    https://www.torquenews.com/106/tata-expects-sell-vehicles-us-7000-8000

    Probably won’t happen because the crazies in charge want to end gasoline automobiles, and California has outlawed them by 2035. So what would the point of Tata piston cars when such cars are being outlawed?

    I am not holding my breath for a cheap car, but I am fascinated by two movies that herald a new age. The first being the #1 movie of all time, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is really about leaving the gold standard. The yellow brick road terminates at the Emerald City, greenbacks. Oz actually means an ounze of gold or silver, Dorthy shoes were silver in the book for silver standard, the scarecrow are the farmer of America, and the tin man are the iron workers.

    Current vehicles prices are sky high because mainly by inflation. But all inflations end, and so do civilizations. The second important movie (actually a tv series) that heralds in a new age is The Tenth Kingdom, aired just months before 9-11-2001. At the start, a wormhole from a magic mirror terminates at the trade towers exactly where the airplanes hit. That means if 911 happens, our world would be transformed into primitive times. And we are certainly on our way, and nuclear war would put us there directly.

    I wrote a whole paper on it, The Tenth Kingdom, the Dawn of a New Medieval Age. I argue that the movie portends a king and castle future, that our society is being transformed from the current technological one to a post technology future. Hard to believe, right? The opening of the tv show shows the trade towers coming down, and the transformation of NYC to a new era:

    911 Predictive Programming – The 10th Kingdom
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEhbkHazUlA

    Then a short way into episode 1, we see the magic flying mirrors going into the towers, this gif shows part of that clip:

    https://66.media.tumblr.com/85d99c3d00f16b00ee959294e259451a/tumblr_mltnfzfCVS1rb3ea0o1_500.gif

    The Tenth Kingdom was aired BEFORE 911, and those trade towers are now gone.

    wiki “The miniseries was initially broadcast over five nights in two-hour episodes on NBC, beginning February 27, 2000 and concluding March 6 2000.”

    Bottom line? If true our civilization will collapse into a no car future. Hard to believe, but look at what is going on now, it is the trend. Domestic Auto Production heading toward zero:

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DAUPSA

    and the chart shows it did go to zero in 2020.

    • Hi Jack,

      The car is such a mature technology that building a latter-day Model T for less (in real terms) than what a Model T cost 100 years ago would be easy, in terms of technology and economics. Such a car – with a modern (and “clean”) engine could be made and sold for a sound profit for a retail price of $10,000 or less. There is no legitimate reason such cars aren’t available. There is, however, a reason. It is the government-corporate octopus, which does not want such cars to be available for they would decrease the savage debt load people live under and thus free them from the clutches of the octopus.

      • Thanks for publishing that comment, Eric. Yes, I wondered why cheap simple cars are not available in Amerika. They do want those, and as you point out, they are regulating the private passenger auto out of existence. But interestingly, bicycles are still made as simple machines.

        I woke up this morning having this dream about a mountain motorcycle club that was storing fuel at a hidden rustic shacks. I asked if they were storing methanol, and then a guy behind me said a name of some other fuel I had never heard of. When I woke I thought, you know people are probably storing fuel so they have it when it gets banned.

        I then wondered if you had approved the above comment I posted just before I retired, kinda way out there, and you did to your credit. Here is that same FRED domestic auto production chart annotated:

        https://i.imgur.com/wQtf8Bs.png

        (BTW feel free to use any of my graphics)

        As you can see, IMO we are in dire straits, auto production is the bedrock of our economy and they are taking it away, by design, I believe. And by a process of ever increasing regulation and “for our own safety” and now by claiming a threat of climate change and CO2 emissions.

        And that movie, The Tenth Kingdom, shows the transformation of NYC to a new era of primitive times, ox carts, castles, lords, etc. And it also shows that our society (in the future) is back on the gold standard. So that movie heralds the return of the gold standard, just as the Wizard of Oz heralded the end of the gold standard.

        https://lawliberty.org/the-wizard-of-oz-as-an-allegory-for-the-1896-presidential-election/

        ——————-
        Wizard of Oz allegories:
        Dorothy is the naive everyman
        Scarecrow= farmers
        Tin Man = iron workers
        Lion= William James Bryon
        Wicked Witch – New York Bankers who use money magic to control us
        Yellow Brick Road = Gold Standard
        Emerald City = greenback standard unhinged from gold
        ————–

        Thus the time between the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 (is like 911). It was inevitable that when the United States created the central bank (that Andrew Jackson fought tooth and nail) would lead to our nation leaving the gold standard and going to fiat currency, the Emerald City, greenbacks. And the rest is history, since FDR took Amerika off the gold standard on June 5th,1933 its been inflation ever since. And now that inflation is reaching a hyper stage – we are witnessing these huge price increases of vehicles, which are a primary source of freedom of mobility. Slowly, but surely, we are being squeezed out of car ownership.
        ——————-
        911 was also the biggest gold heist in history. Little known fact was a truck ferreting stolen gold from the WTC basement was trapped by falling debris. Whoever planned and executed 911 also included stealing tons of gold. That is a sure sign, that someone in power was pulling the plug on the system, they knew what was coming and decided to get the gold for themselves.

        911 WTC Biggest Gold Heist in History $300 Billion in Bars
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJVlL73eQWY
        —————–

        Likewise, 911, was the pivotal event that will eventually cause the collapse of our society back the the Medieval Ages. That is what I believe is a central hidden message in the Tenth Kingdom. Prep like your life depends on it, because it does.

        https://i.imgur.com/RI4ohFg.jpg

        (expand, then use CTRL and +/- to fit to your screen)

        • medievel medicine: evil demon spirits (germs) how do you fight them?
          with pharmaceuticals, drugs (witches brews)
          pharmacon = poison,
          pharmakeia = sorcery, witch craft, witches
          pharmaceutical = drugs made from petrochemicals (oil).

          what you think is modern, our allopathic medical system, big pharma, used worldwide thanks to rockefeller, is no better than medievel witch craft. it is more like astrology, their is no science involved (they always reference science, but it is a huge lie there is no science behind it),

          it is very similar to what the witches were using. we know very little about how our body works or how what we call an immune system works.

          the modern allopathic medicine uses poisonous v…………s and drugs made from oil that gives people cancer, they can’t cure any chronic diseases,

          in the wizard of oz when the house fell on the wicked witch of the west, the symbolism was the wicked witch of the west was big pharma.

  3. As I mentioned before I am not interested in having a vehicle with any sort of “touch screen.” Part of it is convenience and aesthetics, analog gauges just look better. But the rest is just “science” and we are told we must always follow it. Let me explain; CPU processors built from the ’90 to early mid 2000s used 120 to 90 nanometer core technology, now the standard is sub 10 nanometers. Electronics will degrade over time from heat, oxidation and voltage erosion. So the smaller it is, the more susceptible it is to failure. Think of it this way, what would you rather have holding together your barn roof trusses, 3/4 inch bolts or 1/32 inch?

    With all the external factors influencing cars, I predict massive failures 5 years out while an old VDO gauge will still be going strong. As Eric pointed out, if your audio “electronics” fail on an older vehicle they are easy to swap out. Now try that on your new EEEEVVVV wannabe vehicle.

    • David H., I was gonna RE: post part of your comment, but I stopped short, ’cause your entire comment is a smack-down-truth bomb and reflects much of my own thinking on the matter.

      …That said, I can see it now: some thumb twitching/flicking I-gadget addicted hipster saying with disdain, “Those are the old ways”… and then saying, “What’s a 3/4 inch bolt?”

      …”Make. Go. Faster.”

      ‘Teaching a MILLENNIAL How to be a Mechanic (2012 Mazda 3 Wheel bearing replacement)’

      “I was like, this gonna be fun, make him do his own stuff, and then, I was like, no… there’s, now I’m regretting this decision”…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbcEbnGB0rA

    • Another problem EV’s share with the new electronics filled ice powered vehicles: a short life span…

      Electronic components have a limited life, even if you do not use them. It’s the nature of the P-N junction that forms a transistor.

      So the new electric vehicles like the new computerized ice vehicles will have a limited lifespan, when these electronics fail the car will be scrap, too expensive to fix, more recycling and waste. Only buy cars with no computers.

      A 1913 Bugatti type 22 is 108 years old and daily driven. A Tesla is scrap after 10 years.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVl3cEkSSo0

      But mechanical systems, like Jay Leno’s 1832 steam engine can last for centuries, get a steam powered car, they run on wood.

      Steam powered cars have the same advantage as electric cars, instant torque.

      A new steam engine is over 50% efficient, an EV is 25% efficient, if it is very cold out it is 12% efficient.

  4. 7″ touchscreen – $62.89 Amazon price:

    https://www.amazon.com/7inch-HDMI-LCD-Capacitive-Screen/dp/B07P8P3X6M

    I remember the Chevy Lumina I drove for a time in the 1990s had a bad dashboard light dimmer. I’m certain it was more than $100 ($192 in 2022 dollarettes) for the component (it was part of an assembly you see), and another $100 or so for the installation, if I had the dealer do it. I figured out how to pop the dash enough to get the old one out and somehow managed to get the connector removed without breaking the one-time-use clip, and got the whole thing back together again without creating a new rattle. Once it’s all software if it quits just reboot. Unless the touchscreen stops working, then it’s back to big bucks again. Becuase even though the panel is going to be the same as the one from Amazon, it will have its own connector, as part of the assembly. Because it’s cheap for GM from the OEM. You have to pay for the five years of warehouse storage.

    • RK,
      “it was part of an assembly you see”.
      Which was first introduced as the multifunction turn signal, light switching and dimming, etc. “assembly”. Any one of these switches could be replaced, cheaply and often easily. Not so much for the “assembly”.
      Which is why the dimmer switch disappeared from the floor board, where it should be.

  5. Wanna really set the mood?

    https://www.oraclelights.com/collections/interior-flexible-led-strip/products/oracle-lighting-fiber-optic-led-interior-kit-colorshift

    Even if you don’t wanna do it yourself, find a shop and for a few hours worth of labor (Just giving a high amount to be safe), you got a hell of a setup!

    ONLY new cars I’d consider at this point are Taco’s and 4runners (https://s3mag.com/toyota-4runner-trd-pro-review/, sums it up perfectly), otherwise go old and throw in new stuff.
    Easier to retrofit new head units, lighting, dynamats (https://www.dynamatstore.com/), HID/LED lighting and whatever else ya want than it is to remove the new stuff (All the SAAAAAAAAAAAFTEY nannies, although there are A.S.S. Plugs that disable them out there)

    (Here’s for you Eric: https://www.diodedynamics.com/by-vehicle.html?find=2002-nissan-frontier-452776&sid=epS1S2rbNr, spend the extra on the more powerful bulbs btw)

    It goes back to your argument with “Whats Luxury these days”, why go into debt when you if you had say $10-20k, spend half on the car, another few grand fixing the weak links and modernizing it and calling it a day?

    Just my 2 cents, take it or leave it

    • Zane,
      At todays vehicle prices, I could easily put my ’05 Accord in like new condition for a fraction of a new Accord price. I think $10k would probably do it. Until the dollar becomes worth even less anyway.

      • Id get a manual one in that case as well, might as well enjoy it

        Sisters ex bf had that year accord, had to drive them and my other sister back home from Staten Island and all I could think was “It really needs a damn stick”

  6. There’s a Korean import dealer in my town. They’re all used, most of them are 4 wheel drive, some have pneumatic tilt beds, going for between 5-10 thousand. Pretty nifty on the farm, especially considering a new golf cart costs more and can’t get on the highway.
    You can get on the highway with one of these sexy babies, but it might not be smart. Top speed of 55, rpms maxed out.
    https://www.jpnautoimport.com/

  7. Once in a while you see a van with a dent in the lift door at the rear. Somebody was driving and not looking at what was going on, happens a lot.

    Can happen to anybody.

    There is a crud going around and you feel sick. Brain fog, coughing, body aches and pains, it is not all that much fun.

    Rest and that’s about it.

    Beer drinking will be the prescribed medicine.

    During the 1600’s, a children’s hospital in England provided two gallons of beer each week to each patient. Might as well feed them beer.

    Un-vaxxed pilots for the Davos creeps to pilot their private jets.

    A vaccinated pilot must be too high of a risk. Flying at 40,000 feet is risky business from the start, gotta come back down to earth before you run out of jet fuel.

    A few rogue pilots could make life interesting for the high flying criminals. Refuse to fly the plane for departure. Get out of Davos and leave the scoundrels stranded. Klaus stuck in Davos, that’ll get old fast.

    Sow the wind, reap a whirlwind.

  8. Re: But new cars no longer offer those great leaps forward.
    And why our fed-gov/epa had to make up new incremental ‘rules’ to keep the third-world manufacturers out of our consumer market to prop-up or keep propped-up our existing manuf. base. The big boys had to be protected, or we would have diesel engines from asia that had started catching up. i saw it myself in diesel power equip. in the early 2000’s, and they had to do something, which became tier 4 emissions standards, which in essence devastated the once great applications of diesels and the value they gave. No more.
    The same with our cars now. All the gimmicks to meet incremental fractions of emission standards have now devastated their reliability longer term.
    How long can they keep this up? they can’t, and why you are now seeing the EV push, and now the new ‘law’ about US manufacturing ‘content’, current set at 55% for fed-gov equipment purchases. I’m all for US Manuf., but they are doing it the wrong way by forcing it (theirs that term again Eric), instead of removing regs. So we all will pay double to triple.
    Not kidding, we just bid a large piece of equipment, $100K current ways, $225K to meet the new buy-USA “law”. You and I pay for this. But they will not remove the regs to allow the US manuf. to compete on equal terms with the 3rd world. maybe that’s good, but certainly a compromise is in order, but they won’t do it because the ‘laws’ give them huge power and corruption and money laundering power (lobbyist’s).
    Eventually this all must come crashing down when the consumer can’t afford anything, and I think they like that un-intended consequence of what they started 20+ years ago under the guise of emissions (power, corruption, money laundering).
    It makes me sick to see what we have become. My aging challenge is to find the best way to teach my young adult children how to navigate the future. I have typically been very good as seeing out 5-10yrs, not now, and it scares me, not for me of course.

    • Amen, Jim –

      You remind to remember bringing up this very important point in articles about “emissions.” That little “Jeep” made by Roxor is a very good example. Last time I checked, it cost about $14k and would serve many people very well as a basic A-B vehicle that’s also useful for work. Instead, we are shunted toward $40k Jeeps that increasingly few of us can afford… or want.

      • Re: Roxor
        They are now up to $20K base and $28K ‘loaded’. Which is about the same $ as higher-end/capable UTV’s.
        I have thought for years that I’d see these starting to drive around town at my rural home, but I haven’t, so far. But I do see tons of the higher-end UTV’s all over the place.
        Maybe the average Joe would still rather buy a ‘polaris, kubota, kawi’. Most likely.

  9. And twenty years ago what is now “standard equipment” was largely “optional equipment”. Not to mention the ever increasing FedGov air bag demands. My first car was a ’62 Chevy, not new. The window sticker was in the glove box. The effing HEATER was an option. Which sort of makes sense. If you live in Southern California, you may decide you don’t need it.

    • ‘If you live in Southern California, you may decide you don’t need it.’ — John Kable

      As a grande dame of a certain age once quipped, “In Los Angeles, you rot from the inside out.”

      Cars can last forever there, as long as people. Nothing stops you from having a ’62 Chevy as a daily driver in the Southland, as the drive-time radio stations bizarrely call it (don’t look like Mississippi to me).

      But there’s a price to be paid: omnipresent woke idiocy, such as this morning’s NYT headline, which doubtless has been echoed in the L.A. Times as well:

      Your Gas Stove May Be Killing You. How Much Should You Worry?

      Ah, Christ, beam me up Scotty! There’s no intelligent life down here.

      • Hi Jim,
        Re:”your gas stove may be killing you” it looks like the PTB can’t get away with an outright ban on natural gas (yet) so they’re ramping up the fear porn. I for one will never give up my gas stove, furnace, water heater, etc. Way better than the electric equivalents.

        • Mike,
          The problem with gas ranges is that THEY can’t turn them off at their pleasure. Having a CO detector/alarm, I have fired up the gas range top for heat in a power outage. Would have fired up the oven if not for the electronic ignition. Not perfectly safe, but safer than below freezing indoors. Psychopaths don’t like anything they can’t control. It interferes with them directing everything to THEIR benefit.

          • Agreed, John. If the top can’t control it, then they don’t want the serfs to have it. Any individual with a wood burning stove or a 1000-gallon propane tank is very hard to dominant, because they (TPTB) can’t switch these things off willy nilly like they can with the electrical grid. They have no access to it, and it is out of their domain. This individual doesn’t need government or corporate America because they are self-sufficient. Commies hate that.

            I have an electric stove at home. If government doesn’t want me to have a gas stove only proves that I should probably buy one.

            • Amen, RG –

              Our electric stove recently stopped working – the oven part. The lower heating element shorted out. I replaced it with a new one and it worked for exactly two days. Now it doesn’t. I am thinking something too expensive to fix is broken, such as the control unit. If so, I think it might be wise to get a gas stove. I will have to run a line to the kitchen. But given events, it may well be worth doing….

              • Gas stoves, Rock! I’m surprised (slightly) that you two don’t have one.

                ‘They’ say not to use one as a heat source. We did just that when the power was out for a week & I saw the power crews drive by in the alley & I asked ’em when they’re coming back.

                “In a week, people to the West have been without power for weeks!”

                Besides all that, they are great to cook on & in.

                Anyway, I read Eric’s exchange with MarkyMark about hooking up with a chick with baggage & I thought: “And, at least one of you should know & like to cook!”

                I also thought, “A chick with baggage brings workers to the equation. Think: tiger traps (or, weeding, etc)… & afternoon watch.”

                ‘Swiss Family Robinson 1960 Trailer | John Mills | Dorothy McGuire’

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3qehNT3KjY

              • Eric,
                If you think you might need a new stove, for God’s sake get a gas one. A propane one preferably, so you DO have some control over it. Other than propane price. I’ve got an electric in my current two year old residence, and I hate it. With a gas range, you get instant heat, and when you turn it off it stops cooking immediately. Also, people have an instinctual understanding of fire, and with a gas range you can look at the flame and make a reasonable estimate of its thermal value. With electrics, you have to memorize the settings. There is also no doubt whether the burner is on or off with a gas range, since you can see the flame. Easy to leave an electric element on, if it’s set to below red hot.

            • The Gas Stove Scare Is A Fraud Created By Climate Change Authoritarians

              At the heart of nearly every conflict and every crisis the same group of power mongers usually benefits, and they have taken a keen interest in the climate change narrative in particular.

              Ban natural gas and civilization faces an immediate plunge in economic activity, as well as much higher prices on all remaining energy sources due to increasing demand. There is NO green energy solution that can fill the same roll as gas.

              The push for a gas stove ban is not about health, it’s about control. It is an attempt to falsely link carbon emissions and energy products to negative health concerns as a way to trick the public into supporting decarbonization out of fear. But why revert to such a strategy? Is the climate cult really that desperate? Yes, yes they are.

              You see, the truth about climate change is beginning to spread to the masses, and the debunking of anti-carbon propaganda is picking up momentum

              The climate change agenda is about giving governments and globalist institutions the power to bottleneck energy usage, tax carbon emissions and thus control almost every aspect of our daily lives. Without the free flow of carbon based energy almost all industry will collapse. Green energy is inefficient and cannot fill the void left behind by gas, petroleum and coal. All that would be left is a minimal manufacturing base, minimal food production and a shrinking human population. Those that survive would be slaves to carbon restrictions; it would be a living nightmare.

              There are very rich and powerful people out there that greatly benefit from such a scenario.

              The globalists have been scheming to use environmentalism as an excuse for centralization since at least 1972, when the Club Of Rome, a think-tank attached to the UN, published a treatise titled ‘The Limits To Growth’.

              How does this agenda start? It starts with gas stoves. It starts with something we might see as small, and then it grows from there. Pretty soon, they will be banning natural gas for heating. They will ban wood stoves. They will artificially induce gas price inflation. Then they will implement carbon taxation on manufacturers which will in turn cause prices to rise for consumers. Then there will be carbon taxes for the average individual. They will use whatever means at their disposal to make it impossible to use “fossil fuels.” hydrocarbons….

              Again, it’s not about health, it’s about control. It’s always about control. The gas stove issue is a fraud;

              https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/gas-stove-scare-fraud-created-climate-change-authoritarians

      • Jim,
        That’s the problem with areas that have perpetual nice weather, everybody wants to live there. Which of course includes a lot of insane and/or very stupid people.

      • >‘If you live in Southern California, you may decide you don’t need it.’ — John Kable

        Depends where in So Cal.
        If you live at the beach (you are rich!) you may not need heat, or air conditioning, but the salt air will turn your car to rust, guaranteed.

        If you live inland, temps may be 100F in summer, but, yes, your car will last a long time, unless you wreck it. Not unique to So Cal, though. Plenty of well preserved old autos in the desert areas of AZ, NV & NM.

  10. Eric: There isn’t much difference between a vehicle made 20 years ago and the ones they’re selling today – except insofar as how much they cost.

    Well, there are things you get more of with today’s cars than 20 years ago, and that’s a lot more blind spots, expensive repairs plus cars and SUVs that all look alike. My 20 year old car drives almost as well as a new one and as a bonus I can still do most of the repairs it needs.

    I’m mildly curious what happens in twenty years when your 2023 new car needs a touch screen? Nothing good I suspect…

    • Landru,
      The lack of visibility was starting to appear even 20 years ago. And of course has only gotten worse. So bad now one almost NEEDS the detection sensors to see if you can change lanes, and the back up video cameras. I once had an ’02 Impreza. The visibility so bad I only kept it about 6 months.

      • Hi John.
        I buy cars based on styling I can live with and as few blind spots as possible. From what I see of the new cars it looks like I’ll be driving old cars for a long time. If you are looking at buying an older used car just check out a large u-pull-it auto wrecker, when you find a car that meets your requirements then look for one of them in good condition (search reviews online to see if was not a lemon either). That’s what I do.

    • My 20 year old car is hooked up to a battery charger waiting for me to get some extra money to fix the rusted through frame above the rear axel.

      I kinda envy you if your car drives almost as well as a new one.
      You must live in a road salt-free State.
      Or, only drive in the Summer?

      In spite of the fact the knob broke off, my window crank still works. There’s, that.

      • Hi Helot:
        Depending on the car, repair parts for the frame (cars like the GM G bodies rear frame rails were bad for that and repair sections are available) may be available. Just make sure everything is square, true and aligned before you weld it. Cause it sucks to remove those welds in a tight spot.

        My daily driver was dealer maintained and I’m careful to keep it up as well as the cheapest car you will ever own is the one you already own. I buy parts from the local upullit yard, Napa or Rock Auto.

        My daily driver gets rust proofing every year. A couple years ago I had the rockers replaced due to rust. I fiber glassed the hole under the drivers feet but if it goes again I will just buy a patch panel and weld it in. On my next winter car I’d be temped to fiberglass the floor before it rusts to keep the salt off the steel.

        The rest of the fleet generally only get wet when washed and never see the dreaded salt unless I drop a salt packet from Micky Dee’s…

        • Landru,
          I typically ran my daily driver through an undercarriage car wash monthly in the winter. And my ’97 4WD Tacoma at the end of winter. More if we have a lot of deep snow.
          Being retired, and not driving much, I simply don’t go out when the roads are salty any more.

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