The stock market is tanking, credit is dwindling, banks are collapsing and more people find themselves without a job or even a home. The times of owning a big, fancy, gas-thirsty Lexus SUV have disappeared along with the market for mortgage-backed derivative securities. If you've any hope to survive to drive through the impending financiapocalypse, you'll need a vehicle that's both thrifty and utilitarian. We've culled the ten best vehicles from the suggestions of our would-be hobo commenters to help keep you rolling from soup kitchen to unemployment office.
10.) A Bike
It may not be as glamorous as a Rolls or as fast as even a Kia Rio, but a bike will help you glide past those gas shortages already starting to appear in parts of the southern US. The only fuel is you, so you're only limited by the meager diet of 1,200 calories a day you get from the soup kitchen and rummaging in dumpsters. Put a milk crate on the back and you'll have space for your remaining unbartered possessions. Don't be surprised if you see sos10 sailing by with a Bible, a toothbrush and a dog ironically named Smith Barney. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
They can't take your home if you run off with it in the middle of the night. In that spirit, a small RV is a great option. Easy to park in tight spaces (abandoned caves) and comparatively easy on the fuel, a classic and tiny Winnebago is the most comfortable way to enjoy your life on the road. The Winnebago Warrior, built off a Toyota truck frame, typically comes equipped with the Toyota 22R engine. This is a workhorse engine found in countless Toyota vehicles, making replacement parts easy to find. When you're sleeping under an overpass, smalleyxb122 will be sleeping in one of these... parked under an overpass. [Photo: HitTheRoadRV]
If you don't quite have the muscles or stamina to pull-off a bike, a scooter is a reasonable alternative. There's a reason why scooter shops are fairing better than some car dealers lately. There's also a reason why individuals in developing nations have always looked to the scooter as an efficient, reliable and easy-to-maintain alternative to a car. Get a classic Vespa and you can pretend that your new-found poverty is just a fad. Commenter Knyghtryda isn't poor, he's just simplifying. [Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images]
7.) Classic Beetle
If it's good enough for wartime Germany, it's good enough for us. The original Type-1 Beetle had a nearly unparalleled product run of 58 years. It sits five people, or one person and enough canned food, barrels of gasoline and jugs of water to last about three weeks. The use of a rear-mounted engine not only creates fuel-saving airflow, it also means you can take a few bullets head-on from scavengers and keep driving. It's definitely the way Dave7 plans to survive the next great depression. [Photo: OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images]
6.) Boring, Mid-Sized Sedan
Your typical mass-produced mid-sized sedan is usually rather boring, but the characteristics that make these cars unappealing in a financial boom are the same ones that make them so desirable in a recession. They're cheap. They have a low cost of operation. They're abundant. They're relatively roomy and safe. They're robust enough to jump a curb or run over a pothole, which is good for a future when local governments lack the money to maintain roads. They don't draw attention from the even-less-fortunate. Commenter LuciferV8 recommends the 3rd-Gen Ford Taurus as the ultimate in recession transportation because of the sheer volume produced and simple design, but a an Accord or Camry should do the trick as well. However, be prepared to defend the Accord or Camry as they were two of the top targets for stolen vehicles even in the BCC (Before Credit Crunch) era.
5.) Quantya Strada
Steal yourself a diesel generator and a Quantya Strada electric bike and you'll squeeze a few more miles out of each drop of fuel. The Quantya is comfortable on or off the road, making it a great vehicle on its own. The electric motor is much quieter than the typical motorcycle, allowing c0de to sneak up on the unsuspecting and grab vittles for the night.
4.) Model T
As we pointed out yesterday, the Model T was designed to go one million miles, meaning that if you can find one with less than 500K you've got another 500K to go. The engine runs on gasoline, but it was also designed to run on ethanol, meaning that you can grow your own fuel on your new rooftop garden. It's like the AK-47 of cars in that most of the pieces can be replaced by simple, hand-built parts, which saves you the trouble of fighting over spares. They're not exceptionally fast, but how quick do you need to be to outrun someone on foot? [Photo Source: Jim Johnson]
3.) Public Transit
You may think that public transportation is just for the poor and mentally unstable, but we'll all be poor and mentally unstable soon anyway, so you might as well learn your route. When local governments collapse the driver's unions will step up to deliver efficient transportation... at a price. Even if the trains eventually stop running, Adidac knows that he'll have an edge when it comes to finding the subway station most suitable for his family to take up residence. [Photo HIROKO MASUIKE/AFP]
2.) Classic German Diesel Automobile
Having owned a Mercedes-Benz 300D, we can attest to the indestructible nature of the W123 series cars. The five-cylinder diesel variants, especially those without turbos, are basically glorified tractor engines and will run on almost any type of fuel you can throw in them. Built from the mid 1970s until the mid 1980s, they're tough as grit, easy to repair and, as Hwyengr points out, they've got a bit more class than your typical cheap ride. Bonus points if you can find a wagon. [Photo: MSDRA]
1.) Whatever You Own Now
We hope you like whatever is in the driveway right now, because with all the credit gone and the banks running away with your hard-earned, rapidly inflating currency, you're not going to be able to finance a cheeseburger, let alone a new car. Those of you currently without transportation or holding onto something expensive and finicky might consider investing in cheap, reliable transportation while you can. As prndl points out: you don't want to get shot stealing a car.