I haven’t owned a car since I lived in the exurbs of Chicago in 1996. I sold it because I needed the money. I never got another one because there was no need for one in Chicago, and certainly no need at all for one in New York City.
But Binghamton is a different matter. Going shopping for groceries requires a car because all of the stores are far away from where I live, and no one delivers groceries here.
The same goes for just about anything else that’s in every neighborhood in Chicago and New York – fast food, laundry, dry cleaning, bars (not that I’m inclined toward going to bars, never have been), liquor stores, book stores, and on and on. You name it, where I live I’ll probably have to drive there to get it.
So I got on Craigslist this afternoon and found a 1999 Plymouth Breeze / Expresso with less than 100,000 miles, passed NYS inspection in July, has good tires, works well, has A/C, heat, power everything and 30+ MPG for a mere $1000.
I know that many people consider buying a car on Craigslist to be an idiotic idea – but you’re not going to find a car at any dealer in Binghamton for less than $5,000 – and that will be in about as good shape as what you find on Craigslist anyway.
I found the ad about a half hour after it was posted, and I was the first person to respond. Jory gave me a ride there (Jory – my hero!) and even talked the guy down to $900 and a lower figure on the Bill of Sale. Gotta pay taxes on private transactions involving automobiles in New York state.
I’m going first thing in the morning to the bank, and then to get insurance (another NYS law – you can’t register a car with DMV without proof of insurance – a law that Illinois and other states should consider adopting).
So the car is black – and has a respectable amount of rust, as do all of Binghamton’s cars that are more than a few years old. Salt just eats them up. Although, with any luck, with these warmer winters one can perhaps get the car washed more frequently this season!
It’s black – and the interior is gray. There’s no color about it at all, but I have plans to fix that. It’s in good mechanical condition, just had a tune up and oil change, passed inspection in July, has a new windshield, brakes were replaced less than 8,000 miles ago, decent tires, A/C that actually blows cold air, a good heater, a decent sound system, power windows and seats, and even a GPS doo dad! The seller is kicking in one of those tape-cassette adapters that allows you to plug in an MP3 player, so I’ll have tunes too!
It’s a 4 cylinder car, doesn’t have a lot of get up and go, but responds decently. The steering is tight, the brakes are good, the car doesn’t pull to any side when you stop quickly, and gets good gas mileage! But it sure is ugly. The rust isn’t bad, but it’s been keyed repeatedly on the hood and both front doors. Did I mention it’s a four door? It has a BIG trunk and rides nicely.
I’m very pleased to have wheels again! And, since I have to go to DMV anyway, I’m (finally!) going to get my driver’s license changed from Illinois to New York.
I got insurance for less than $50 a month! >Squeee!<
And because it’s an ugly car, I’m going to name it after the ugliest person I’ve ever met. Sorry, Bernie!
And now it’s 3:30 in the morning and I have a long day tomorrow so good night.