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God help me! I just bought a UJC!(42 posts)

God help me! I just bought a UJC!look271
Dec 11, 2001 3:16 PM
Universal Japanese car. Camry. 1997. What a soul-less car. Yea, it'll run forever in relative comfort, but at what cost? I had to do it to make wifey happy. You know how that is. Guess I'll just have to ride the bike even more.......!!To think that Toyota also made the MR2. Now there was a car!
#1 on the list of most stolen cars...mr_spin
Dec 11, 2001 5:16 PM
Must be something desirable about it. A soul-less car for a soul-less society, maybe?
Dec 11, 2001 5:54 PM
Maybe someone will rip it off and I can get something a little more interesting!
Dec 11, 2001 7:38 PM
pretend like it's a rental. It's easier that way. Anyway, no one really owns anything anyway.

I hope you got white. Kind of like one of those cars in Sleeper.
The reason Camrys are so oft-stolen has nothing to do...RhodyRider
Dec 12, 2001 8:45 AM
...with being so "desireable." Rather, it is a byproduct of their ubiquity. Look at the list of most-STOLEN vehicles; it usually runs parallel with most-SOLD vehicles, i.e. Camry, Accord, Taurus, etc. The reasoning is that the higher the number of a certain car on the road, the more demand for parts (specifically "black-market" parts), and the more reason to steal 'em and part 'em out. Street Econ 101.
The reason Camrys are so oft-stolen has nothing to do...bikedodger
Dec 12, 2001 9:12 AM
But doesn't "most-sold" and "desirable" also track. People seldom buy cars that they don't desire.

To a certain extent, maybe, but I truly think that...RhodyRider
Dec 12, 2001 9:58 AM
..."reliable", "affordable", and "practical" factor in to the average car buyer's decision more than desire. For those with fewer limitations (read: more $), true desire can be reached more easily. If you have the dough, which would you buy - a Camry, or an Audi A-6 (for instance)? I know my answer, and it is based in desire, not reliability, affordability, and practicality. No one will ever convince me Camry, Accord, Taurus et al are "sexy" or even desireable, frankly. Too much *yawn* factor with those. MY $0.02 WORTH, sorry if it comes off as snobbery.
obviously, you need to personalize the UJC to make it...Js Haiku Shop
Dec 12, 2001 6:30 AM
less offensive to your higher sense of taste and selectivity (is that a word?). here's how:

scroll down to "stickers".
You should see my short listKristin
Dec 12, 2001 6:33 AM
You think you got it bad? I'd love to get a Camry! But I know how you feel. I'm not going to enjoy any of my choices either:

Sofia (removed from list)
Focus (removed from list)

I guess its all relative in the end. My first new car will be quite uneventful. I'd buy used, but I rack up 25K a year in miles. Too bad there's no such thing as frequent driver points!
i have a civic me-selfJs Haiku Shop
Dec 12, 2001 8:41 AM
'97 coupe ex

not a bad little car, good gas, few problems, good warranty, nice price, goes fast when asked.

if i new i was going to be a daddy, i would have given more thought to (not capacity, but) four doors. my wife has an suv (explorer)...much as i hate 'em, we couldn't take a road trip, or even drive to the airport, with our son's arsenal of toys, clothes, blah, blah, blah, in my civic.

now, for two large guys, two bikes on the roof, a trunkfull of dirty/stinky bike gear and a backseat packed with cooler and miscellany, civic coupe fits the bill!
Holy cow!mickey-mac
Dec 12, 2001 9:56 AM
How do you manage to do 25,000 a year? I've driven in car-crazy southern California my whole life and a 27,000 year was by far the most I ever did (I had a girlfriend who lived 50 miles away). I was ready to commit suicide at the end of that year. You must go through more tires than Michael Schumacher.
Driving to to all those bike ridesKristin
Dec 12, 2001 1:11 PM
Actually, I drive 25 miles each way to work.
You should see my short listcioccman
Dec 12, 2001 10:28 AM
Jeez! Why not add the Malibu to your list. O% financing, equal car to the Civic, American (for the most part). The savings in interest alone are huge.
I'll check out the reviews..Kristin
Dec 12, 2001 12:12 PM
...for the Malibu, but I must say that I have always owned American built cars and am unimpresed. The only enjoyable car that I've owned that wasn't a mechanical nightmare was a 1987 Chrysler LeBaron turbo sedan. It looked like grandma's car, but could kick butt. If they hadn't screwed up the design in 1989, I'd buy another.
I'll check out the reviews..cioccman
Dec 12, 2001 1:07 PM
I've never directly owned other than American cars. American vs. foreign is like Campy vs. Shimano. I won't try to talk you into anything either. I'll simply offer my completely opposite perspective to yours. I've seen both foreign and American cars break down. I've seen headgaskets blow on all kinds of cars and seen the bills later. I've seen foreign CV boots cost as much as a new suspension for my American car. New motor for my Z28? $1300~. Simple top end rebuild for a Toyota Camry? LOL $2500+. I've seen a headgasket blow on my folks Camry twice in the time I've had my highly modified American car. I got a new door for my car for I think, $375. New door for Maxima? I'd guess over $2000. I've got nothing against foreign cars in paricular. I'm simply a Z28/Vette/Viper type person through and through. Also, if all are fully warrantied, then, repair costs really don't fall into the calculation anyway. Good luck!
You should see my shortsSpikedawg007
Dec 12, 2001 1:49 PM
Put a Saturn on your list. American made, highly rated for quality, excellent dealer support, high owner satisfaction. Plus, they are economical to own and buy. Check out their 3-door coupe.
One you should add:look271
Dec 12, 2001 5:17 PM
Lancer by Mitsubishi. It replaces the Mirage (a pretty bad car.) I drove one and for the $$, I'd MUCH rather have it than the Camry. I drove a "loaded" one and it just barely went over $17K. Could get a nice one for way less. Try the Mazda Protoge, too. It's a great little car-better than either a Corolla or a Civic, IMHO.
had 3 MR2'sDog
Dec 12, 2001 9:25 AM
Yup, had 3 Supercharged MR2's. The last one, a 1989 Supercharged model, I added a turbo (sequential supercharging, yes!), plus full suspension mods (2 anti-roll bars in back), cams, big injectors, high energy ignition, full gauges, ... if TRD sold it, I had it. Talk about a car with soul! With the mid-engine configuration and Yokohama sticky semi-slick autocross tires, that car would pull the front tires up and do 0-60 in the low 4's. Ran the quarter in the 12's. Sure, it was a time bomb, but there was soul.

On the other hand, not all cars need souls. Nothing wrong with a car being simple, reliable, transportation. At least you didn't get a mini-van.

I had one-an '85.look271
Dec 12, 2001 5:19 PM
Best car I ever owned. Could shoot myself for getting rid of it.
re: God help me! I just bought a UJC!Trent in WA
Dec 12, 2001 9:56 AM
A general musing, certainly not aimed at Mr. Look:

I've never quite understood why people invest so much of their sense of self in what car they drive. In the best-case scenario, cars are useful devices that get you from point to point quickly and conveniently; in the worst-case scenario, they're poorly secured sensory-deprivation chambers designed to convince their drivers that they're Faster, More Invincible, and More Entitled To The Road than the other poor f*ckers out there and that occasionally fail horribly and catestrophically to live up to their promise. Usually, though, they're great sucking vortices for money and time that you buy so you can sit in traffic jams for hours so you can go to work to pay for them. Feeling passionate about a car is like feeling passionate about a washing machine, except washing machines very rarely kill people.

My .02. Actually, .03.
Dec 12, 2001 10:07 AM
"...sensory-deprivation chambers"?

Have you ever driving a top down 300 hp sports car on a windy country road? That's about as far from sensory deprivation as you can get -- sort of like describing a roller coaster as a sensory deprivation device.

They can be money pits, though, but so can bikes.

Fast cars (or any cars) are not necessarily about out-doing your neighbor. Ever just have fun? Fun can be a good thing. Life should be fun. There are lots of driving experiences that are unrelated to slogging in stop and go big city traffic. Take a drive through Yosemite National Park (before they ban cars) in a convertible. For some people, they simply enjoy driving. Some cars are more enjoyable than others.

Well-said, I totally agree. (nm)RhodyRider
Dec 12, 2001 10:28 AM
What you mean? My middle name is "The Pleasure Principle"!Trent in WA
Dec 12, 2001 12:46 PM
We obviously have different senses of pleasure, different aesthetics. I'm second to no one in my wholehearted embrace of fun, but "driving a top down 300 hp sports car on a windy country road" just sounds tedious to me. If you're driving that sports car like a sports car, then you're taking for granted that nothing's going to come up--like a pothole, a big animal, or (heaven forbid) some irritating obstacle on a bike--that you can't swerve around. And if you are so lucky, the countryside might as well be scenery in one of those "realistic" video games: "Aren't the blurs pretty this time of year?" Cars get marketed, bought, and sold on the promise of mastering the winding country road, but their everyday reality is the slog to work and back. No wonder car commuters get pissed off and go postal so frequently.

Anyway, I'd rather bike the winding country road. So would you. So would we all. That's why we're ranting at each other here.

Hope this is at least entertaining,
You could make some of the same arguments about bikes....Len J
Dec 12, 2001 10:29 AM
Why invest so much of your sense of self in a bike?
Why buy a light frame made of unobtanium when a run of the mill steel bike is as functional?
Why buy dura/ace,Record when 105 or daytona gives you 95% of the functionality at 1/3 the price?

The answers both about cars & bikes are the same, we all (or most of us) do define ourselves to some degree by the "toys" we have.


Question for Mr. Len...Kristin
Dec 12, 2001 12:29 PM
I was intrigued by your astute leasing plan (described in previous posts). How did you determine (guesstimate?) what cars might lose enough value over the term of the lease, so that you could negotiate a sweet purchase price? Any science to this? I must be in a car w/less than 10K by Janaury, like it or not. I'm going to try to get a good deal.
Question for Mr. Len...zzz
Dec 12, 2001 12:51 PM
Consumer Reports magazine is a good resource for car buying tips. Their web site has some free info on leasing and buying. Their yearly auto issue has lots of info about the reliability, handling and overall quality of all the major models out there.
Dec 12, 2001 1:03 PM
Look at history....Len J
Dec 12, 2001 2:09 PM
I pick a few models that I'm interested in. I then find out what the original sticker was and what the current blue book values are. Calculate a % and compare to the buyout that they are quoting in the lease. If the historical value as a % of original is higher than the buyout in the lease, it indicates that you might have a car with a bargain purchase at the end. An example:

When I was looking (in 1998) at the Acura 3.0CL that I drive now, I gathered data on 1995 Acura's (that were now (in 1998)) 3 years old) and I found that on average they tended to be worth between 56 & 60% of the original sticker price (3 years later). The buyout they were offering on the lease was 55% of the sticker (it was actually 57% of the purchase price after discounts but you need to use sticker for this purpose) (In other words the buyout at the end was 55% of the original sticker). Since the historical value after three years (the term of the lease) was higher than the buyout, going in you have a good chance of getting a deal at the end. Remember though that you are predicting the future so it doesn't alway work but it works quite often. In addition, the more cars coming off lease the more haggard the guy(or gal) you are negotiating with is, the more likely they will deal.

Hope this makes sense, if not keep asking.

The biggest problem you are going to have leasing (if that's what you do) is your milage. 25,000 is a lot for a lease.


P.S. Mr Len makes me feel old, my teenagers already make me feel old enough.
Yep. I feel a rant coming on...mr_spin
Dec 12, 2001 11:59 AM
I refuse to define my personality through my car. Of course, some might disagree, since I have what might be called a boring car. A Saturn.

I saw a joke list a few years ago that gave a car name and interpreted what it said about the owner, particularly regarding (hold on, folks) penis size. The only one I remember was "Acura NSX = I have no penis."

Passion is lovingly restoring a 64 1/2 Mustang, 56 T-bird, GTO or other classic car and cruising around on a Sunday. That's great. It's a project. A pastime. Maybe even a bonding experience between friends, family, whatever.

But I have never gotten the point of buying some expensive plastic car like an NSX. All it says is "Look at me, I had money, and look what I chose to spend it on." Even worse are the guys (almost invariably) who trick out their Camry or Taurus so it becomes a pimp-mobile. Enough already. It's a CAR!!!

Sometimes, on rides down Skyline (Hwy 35) in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Viper club will come by. Twelve or more Vipers in a row, and at least 10 have some middle aged balding guy in the driver's seat. Gee, I wonder what that is about?
Theres more to it than thatKristin
Dec 12, 2001 12:46 PM
Though mine is a womans perspective. There is much marketing involved in car ownership. Its smiliar with bikes too. In my first post on RBR, I asked why Shimano doesn't "fix" Sora. The answers were crystal clear. Market differencials. Sora's cheap, and Shimano doesn't want to make it better. They want Sora users to upgrade to Tiagra or 105 or Ultegra on their next bike.

The Civic is a boxy, uncomfortable little car. When I'm in it, I feel squashed up against the front window yet still can't reach the stereo. There is just one, ill-placed cup holder. Small bucket seats. They are noisy too. Honda builds them like this because they don't want me to buy two Civics, they want me to upgrade next time around.

So I want a better car, not because I want to be identified as this or that, but because I want to be comfortable.
counter rantDog
Dec 12, 2001 1:21 PM
To each his own.

Even those who have fancy cars do not necessarily "define themselves" with them. Not everyone with a Porsche wears Porsche club jackets everywhere. Why is it so hard to understand that some people really enjoy their cars? It has nothing to do with defining anything, necessarily. Sure, there are some people who live for their cars, whether they be restored, performance, or Hondas with wings on them. So what? They obviously see the world a little differently than others do. I think it's great.

I get really sick and tired of the car=penis (or no penis) thing. That's just plain stupid. The idea must have been made up by some envious guy, car-hater, or libber or something. My guess is that some Chrysler mini-van driver made it up in an attempt to make him(or her)self feel better driving the most utilitarian of vehicles, and is envious -- sort of like couch potatoes perpetuating the myth that cycling causes impotence (another rant).

There are lots of points I don't get, but that doesn't mean they aren't valid. I certainly don't get attaching a bunch of plastic stuff to a little foreign car and lowering it to 1 inch off the ground. I don't get chain steering wheels. I don't get crew-cab duallies when you don't own 100 or more cattle. Nonetheless, because I want to be free to drive what I want, I think I necessarily must support everyone else's choice to drive what they want. (I really should be declared benign dictator for life, and then all this freedom talk would be unnecessary.)

The NSX driver could make some very valid points that his car is vastly superior to driving a 60's GTO. It's much safer, puts out far less emissions, likely gets better mileage, and requires far less fiddling around with.

Driving a car like an NSX or Viper does not mean you are an insecure aging idiot with a limp sex organ. Try to avoid the erroneous causational link "after this, therefore because of this." Middle age does not cause men to become insecure and substitute cars for confidence . Ever think that many men (usually men), desired fancy, fast cars when young -- however, they could not afford them -- then, when they hit their 40's and 50's, they are finally in a financial position to buy what they have wanted so long? Make no mistake, given financial ability, most of these guys would have bought those cars at age 20.

Buying a fancy car may not be ego related in the slightest. Some people just really like responsive, nice-looking, powerful cars. They feel good. They might even buy the same darn car if they lived in western Wyoming and never saw another soul.

I think it's a mistake to assume that every driver of a nice car, or rider of a nice bike, for that matter, is an insecure idiot. That seems to be implied in some of these messages. I don't want to make the same mistake, though. It may very well be that you are just stating your opinion of these cars and drivers, but would defend to the death other's right to drive them (like Voltaire and the speech thing?). That's cool.

counter rant rebuttalmr_spin
Dec 12, 2001 2:00 PM
Hey, it was a rant! I'm aloud to wax poetic in a rant. I'm allowed to exaggerate. I'm allowed to make wild accusations and generalizations. That's the heart of a rant. That's why it's called a rant rather than an argument.

You make some good points that I agree with. Except you are way off on one thing. In California, driving is a priviledge, not a right. I'll defend to the death basic freedoms and human rights, but I draw the line at cars!
counter rant surrebuttalDog
Dec 12, 2001 2:28 PM
Hey, mine was a counter rant...! :-)

People say driving is a privilege, not a right. Ok, then, when is there really a right? Is speech really just a privilege? Your speech can be taken away or limited, too. You can't say false things a about people; you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater; you can't threaten to kill people, etc.

I think, and this is not supported by the law, that driving has become a right, which of course can be removed with due process just like any other right. Heck, even the right to life can be terminated. Our society almost requires freedom of transportation and moving about freely. But, that's another rant.

Reminds me of some of the Lightspeed discussions.Len J
Dec 12, 2001 2:34 PM
These gross generalization that because you drive X car (or bike) you obviously have this characteristic is simplistic and just plain wrong. I agree with you Doug.
How many times have we heard this "All Lightspeed owners are posers", "All Colnago owners are exibitionists", "All Trek owners are wannabes" Give me a break. For every generalization I hear I can give you as many exceptions as proofs.

I want a Porsche 911, I have always wanted a Porsche 911, Since the first day I saw one, reinforced by the first time I drove one really hard I have been hooked. Someday I will be able to buy one. Have I encountered Porsche owners that were posers, Yes, mid-life crisis guys, yes, A##holes, yes but I've also encountered owners that truly appreciated the engineering, the design, the look, the feel when you downshift into a tight corner and fight the rear end, people who weren't trying to do anything other than enjoy thier toy. Which type of owner should you associate with the car?

I know it is human nature to want to simpify everything into us vs them groups because then everything becomes so much clearer and easier. But comeon, Life is not that simple, somtimes people own things just for the pure enjoyment of them. (Does Campy record ring a bell, or Shimano Dura Ace etc etc).

Mercedes marketing plan for years was based on the premise that buying a Mercedes was an emotional decision (Not a rational one). So all of thier ads were trying to "provide rational reasons to make & support the emotional decision". Most of the things we argue & discuss on this board are not necessities. Most of them are more emotional than rational. $100 fo a headset, $2,000 for a frame, even $150 for a set of pedals, are these really required to enjoy cycling. No! But we all sit here day after day convincing ourselves and each other that we really need them. (How many arguments about light wheels have we had?) Life is about choice, and thank God we are lucky enough to have all the choices we do.

Sorry for the rant, but I couldn't let it go.


P.S. I wonder what the guy who started this with the NSX comment rides, if it is anything better than an old utilitarian bike then maybe his comments could be construed as hYpocritical.
Well said.look271
Dec 12, 2001 5:47 PM
I have had several "miniature penis" cars, (and no I don't, thank you very much!) I enjoyed driving them for much the same reasons we love to ride our bikes-for the sheer enjoyment of it. Now that I have 2 kids, an MR2 isn't exactly practical for me, but hey, at least I have my kg. When my kids are older, then I can be that limp-dicked gray-haired old guy in his sports car and I'll make sure that I cut in front of these people in their "practical" cars. :-)
It's how you look at itzzz
Dec 12, 2001 1:27 PM
Much like the feeling of climbing or fast descending on a bicycle built for your body and your perception of what you want it to do.the right car can also give you that same feeling.
From Alfa's to Austin-Healy's to 356's to my present Boxster I have always had a second car that I was able to enjoy the feeling of movement and connectiveness in. Having these may define me in some ways but then, just like my bicycles, it's about what I perceive as interesting and enjoyable.
cars and appliancesStarliner
Dec 12, 2001 2:54 PM
I think what you refer to - the car as being an extension of one's self - is an especially american thing.

The roots of this phenomonon go back a ways, but you'd have to say it reached a zenith in the post WWII period up to the 60's. During this period, the US auto industry underwent tremendous changes in styling and engine technology. With change occurring on such an accelerated basis during this period, weak companies such as Packard, Nash, Hudson and Studebaker would soon get dropped, and the remaining companies (GM, Ford, Chrysler) would often struggle with quality issues. "Planned obsolescence" became a phrase to explain consumer angst over the fact that a new car bought today would be old potatoes in a year or two.

Many people who had the ability to keep up with the annual changes would trade in their cars for a new one on a regular basis. Some people (like my father) either didn't or wouldn't. Thus, rightly or wrongly, the automobile had become an informal barometer of one's standing in the community.

The Detroit culture of change was to be eroded by the counter-culture cars such as VW beetle; by government safety and smog regulations; and the oil embargo of '73. Yet, the notion of the automobile as an extension of one's self lives on to this day.

A related aside: once on a visit to Monaco just prior to the death of Princess Grace, I was standing in the square in front of the palace when suddenly the guards started hustling about, clearing the crowd to the sides of the square as if there was to be a big motorcade of officials coming any moment on their way up to the palace.

After a moment of hushed anticipation, what appeared was not a parade of Mercedes, but rather a faded and battered Fiat which suddenly came rolling into the square making a beeline straight for the palace gate..... it was Princess Stephanie and a friend.

Even then I figured there was a lesson in what I had just seen.
Amazed at how many patriotic Americans buy Japanese cars(nm)I AM
Dec 12, 2001 2:19 PM
Tired rhetoricwe are
Dec 12, 2001 2:29 PM
in the global age
That "Japanese" carlook271
Dec 12, 2001 5:35 PM
Has as much American content, if not more, than your Taurus, Intrepid (definately more than the Intrepid, which is made in CANADA), or Lumina (also made in Canada, I think.) I'll spend my $$ where I want to, and in this case, it's here in the USA.
I'm a patriotic american who builds japanese cars!(nm)4bykn
Dec 13, 2001 11:50 PM
My Totota Corolla was made in America - (nm)Erik W
Dec 14, 2001 2:14 PM