Buying Reliable, Safe Cars with Cash

Last week, Ian wrote over 3,500 words about his new home purchase. But he skimmed over what might have been his greatest motivation for buying a big place– wrenching on an endless parade of cars and bikes (and finding somewhere to put them all). Every time I visit bossman, he’s got a new toy.

Seriously, the guy goes through cars like I go through t-shirts.

He’s built a car that was featured in a magazine, stood on the podium at many motorcycle and car races, and even teaches aspiring racers how to go faster at the F1 track in Austin.

Way back in 2006, we first bonded over upgrading my crappy car stereo in my first car– a Mitsubishi Eclipse. I bought it with a few hundred dollar down payment, a co-signature from pops (thanks Dad!), and a big ass, high-interest loan.

Our mutual love of cars has brought us many good times, including a wonderful interview we’ll be airing this week from the the hilarious co-founder of Regular Car Reviews. If you aren’t familiar with that channel, I recommend you check it out before you listen to the episode. Even if you’re not into cars, you’re still bound to find something to laugh about. The videos feature dirty jokes, commentary on American culture, and even literary references. Here are some of my favorites: Ferrari, NSX, DeLorean.

Back to Ian: he’s bought so many cars, that he’s become something of a master at identifying good buys. His article called “The Top 10 Used Cars Under $5,000” is one of the most popular on this blog. Well over 100 readers have proudly shared their fully depreciated, fully paid-for cars with us via email, Twitter, our forum, and the comments section of this blog.

So when it came time to buy my second car, my first one in nearly a decade, I knew I wanted an entreprneurmobile

Here’s how Ian defines that:

A vehicle that has almost fully depreciated. They are reliable cars that are generally inexpensive to maintain and fix. They can often be sold several years later for the same price they were purchased for… these vehicles free us from a prison of payments and allow us to focus on real wealth and asset generation.

With Ian coaching me, I spent a bunch of time thinking about exactly what I wanted in a car:

  • (Almost) fully depreciated.
  • Great for road trips.
  • Comfort.
  • Able to carry my friends and family around.
  • Must be a great ‘bike’ car, since I want to use the car to find new places to ride. (A cyclist is encouraged to have a more expensive bike than car).
  • Something useful for my family to use when I’m not around.

And after much searching, this is what we landed on…

Fits bikes… (captain’s chairs for friends, and fold-down bench seat for even more people).

Yes, envious readers, your eyes are feasting on a 2004 Honda Odyssey with a leather interior.

I figured the thrill and ‘cool’ of owning a sporty car would wane quickly, whereas the perennial utility of a mini-van could be felt for decades! :D

So, what’s the damage?

I paid $5500 in cash, and $500 for fresh tires.

It had 117,000 miles on it, and full documentation.

I’ve already driven it from Texas to PA to NYC, and my family has used it for numerous outings. (Most) all of them made fun of me for buying a mini-van, and now I make fun of them for borrowing it :D

Four generations of my family, and many close friends, have gone out to eat in style and comfort. It feels cooler than a sports car for now!

Today I’m preparing for my next road trip, so thought I’d post it.

As always, we love to see your entrepreneurmobiles.



PS, I know…. what’s happening to this blog!? Last week, mortgages. This week, minivan. What’s happening next? Definitely baby photos…