Sometimes you miss your chance at the perfect vehicle. Other times, you only realize later that what might’ve seemed perfect was a disaster waiting to happen. Earlier this week we asked you for your tales of automotive could’ve beens — both happy and sad. These were your mostly bittersweet answers.
We Kick Things Off With the Biggest ‘Oof’
Back in 2009 I had a chance to buy a NSX wth 80k for $25k. I decided to get a 2006 STi instead
When asked if the STI hype played a role in their decision, finalformminivan responded...
Yea pretty much. My last car was a legacy gt wagon and I liked having a fun car that could do more than just be a sports car. I took the STi snowboarding tons of times, not sure if the NSX would have done the same.
But I still regret not getting the NSX.
Suggested by: finalformminivan
I Won’t Judge, But the GTO Sure Will
I related this story the other day.
My 1995 Grand Prix was in its death throes after 185K miles and a trip to through TN/NC mountains that had trashed the transmission and brakes.
I was looking at a new 2005 Pontiac GTO as a replacement, I had test-driven both an automatic and 6-speed manual version and had settled on a metallic blue example with an automatic transmission (Don’t judge...)
I was at the point where I working with two different banks to finance the car when there was a shake-up in the management of my company. My boss got promoted and transferred to the corporate office 800 miles away, and his replacement was a woman moved-up from another station.
This woman and i had a long history of butting heads and after my initial meeting with her, it was obvious she was looking to replace me.
This put the GTO in limbo, because I wasn’t sure I was going to have a job by the time the first payment came due. But... I still needed to replace my GP.
After much soul searching, and talking to the dealer, I decided to pass on the GTO and instead bought a 2002 Olds Intrigue with 26K miles that had been sitting on the lot for nearly six months. This saved me about $3000 on my down payment, probably $250/month or more on the monthly payment and god only knows how much on insurance and gas.
I never regretted buying the Intrigue but really would have loved to see the GTO in my garage every morning.
Ironically, the woman who got promoted as my boss was kicked back down to her previous position on Day 29 of her 30-day trial and eventually left the company, and her replacement and I got along swimmingly for the 5-6 years we worked together.
Suggested by: Earthbound Misfit I
Pain Is a Young Man’s Game
A lot of almosts, but only one that I occasionally look back and think “what if?”
Almost bought a ‘93 RX-7 FD in the early 2000's, during that brief window when people were almost giving them away because their problematic reliability had become common knowledge, and before F&F hysteria inflated the market. Montego Blue with tan interior - beautiful, except for some light rear end damage that would have been an easy fix. I was verbally committed and ready to buy, but dude sold it out from under me to an acquaintance about 2 hours later. Admittedly, the timing was awful. I was young, struggling to get a career off the ground, and it would have been my only car. It was for the best but still stings a little. The FD was my dream car as a teen (and still kind of is), but now my priorities have changed, and I don’t feel like inviting trouble into my otherwise comfortable life.
Suggested by: Hankel_Wankel
This Has to Be a Joke
In 2009, someone at my college offered to trade me their 2003 red Honda S2000 for my 2000 red Mitsubishi Eclipse GT. You know, that awful one, with the turning circle of a Akron class airship, blind spots big enough to hide an F250, and a 0-60 time about the same as a rental E-Scooter.
Why? 4 seats and a manual is all he wanted, and I said no because I hasd the dum.
Years later, my Eclipse was sold for essentially scrap at $1,500 and a 2003 S2000 is worth how much?
Suggested by: Zach
I’d Have the FR-S Every Time
I don’t remember what model year it was but I was very close to buying a supercharged EJ Honda civic coupe that was a show car for JEGS. It would’ve been my first car purchase, but I had no idea how credit worked, and how good my credit was and ended up paying more than double for a brand new FR-S that I still have. In hindsight, the civic would’ve been much cheaper, probably as much fun if not more fun and would’ve been a lot more unique.
Suggested by: cargone!cargone!
It’s No Phoenix Yellow, But I Get It
E36 M3 Lightweight. Ended up getting the “regular” M3. I can’t remember why but I believe the Lightweight was the same price so maybe because I wanted the yellow one they had.
Suggested by: Capt. Janeway’s Imaginary Cat
And So It Crested the Ridgeline, Never to Be Seen Again
So I’ve kicked a few tires in the past and almost got sucked into signing on the dotted line so many times but walked away but the most recent was 18 months ago after someone hit and ran into the bed of my 2007 Mazda B4000 V6 4x4 manual transmission truck parked on the street in front of my house. Like my ideal truck of all time, simple practical truck now was getting written off. The market was super crazy at that time and parts difficult to obtain and it was breaking my heart my beloved lil truck was going away. Well trying to find something I could afford and could still haul stuff, tow and could go on fire roads and soft offroad situations wasn’t easy. I found a newer Honda Ridgeline, which I had been eyeing the model previously, it had high mileage but was dealership maintained, looked good and had proper 4 door seating. Went back and forth with the dealership gave them “this is my last offer” talk but they weren’t willing to negotiate much so I walked. Days later they dropped the price online so I swept in like a vulture and reminded them of my offer and said I could make it so easy and take it off their hands. Now at this point I’m leaving on vacation so agreed to put a sizable credit card deposit and would come sign all the documents when I returned in a week. So I’m still sad about my Mazda but happy with my purchase and I moved on. Week later I’m back home and before I head to the dealership get get a call from my insurance company and now my old truck is too valuable in the market to write it off for the damage so they need me to take it to the body shop. As much as I begged my fiancée didn’t agree that we need 2 older trucks and I had to call the dealership to cancel the purchase and get my deposit back. But for a moment I was in my mind the richest guy in the world with a nice truck and a beater truck.
Suggested by: Semi nude ape
Wagon Factor’s Big Though
Almost bought an Evo but went with a Mazdaspeed 3 instead, for the wagon factor. Still kicking myself for that one.
Wanted to get back into RWD sports cars and seriously considered the Hyundai Genesis when they offered it with a turbo, but held out and ultimately ended up with an FRS (since traded up to a GR86) and VERY happy I did.
Suggested by: Stephie
Not the Bundle of Joy You Were Expecting!
Way back in the day my wife and I came THIS close to buying a Geo Metro convertible. It was blue, I remember that. We were going to buy it because we were young, we through we were flush with cash (between the two of us, we were making almost $50,000 a YEAR!!), and it would be fun to have a convertible. I’m glad we didn’t. We found out the very next day that she was pregnant with our first kid.
Suggested by: zeppowasthefunniest
Oh to Be Young and Flirting With Financial Ruin
When I was 18 I thought it would be a good idea to go take a look at a 2005 Volkswagen Touareg V6. I applied for financing and everything but was unable to move forward because the down payment as a new borrower was too high for me at the time. I was making $16k a year part time at Starbucks, what the hell was I thinking looking at a Touareg??? As a 29 year old now I can look back at some insane ideas I had for cars back then and so happy I didn’t move forward with that.
Note: I’m not judging. I basically wanted to do this with a 986 Boxster as soon as I turned 17 and got my license.
These Looked So Perfect in This Color
I tried really really hard to get a deal done on a second generation Volvo S60 with the polestar tuning upgrade in metallic orange. Unfortunately the dealer wanted to give me next to nothing on my trade in, and I just couldn’t make the numbers work. 6 months later I got a Forrester XT and that dealer gave literally double the value I was offered for my trade in I was offered when trying to get the Volvo deal done. Bizarre scenario as it was a Toyota vehicle I was trying to trade in at a Toyota dealer when trying to get the Volvo deal done and they low balled me.
Suggested by: bonnedock82
But Then You’d Have to Look at This Every Day, And the 155 Is Gorgeous
2003, Birmingham UK.
I was driving an old Alfa 33 Boxer and I kept seeing an SZ on my way to work just parked outside a house about 5 minutes from my work.
After about a year of seeing this SZ staying in the same spot and getting filthy, I stopped on my way home knocked on a couple of doors.
Found the guy, it was a runner - SORN (declared off the road) he wanted £8k, he hadn’t really got a clue about it and wouldn’t shift on the price. My regular Alfa mechanic Ali said part’s were a nightmare for them so I passed on it.
I ended up buying a 155 for £5.5k
Suggested by: Spikboy
And It Thinks About You, Too
I’ve got two..
June 2006 I was looking to replace my first car, which was a hand-me-down 1999 300M that was completely shot. I went to the Chevy dealer to see what I could afford (we were a GM family). Only criteria I had was it needed to be a stick shift and needed to fit my gear since I was in a band that gigged a lot. They had a 2005 Mini Cooper S in British Racing Green in the back of the dealer that someone traded in. I took it for a test drive and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever driven. I justified at the time that my amp, two guitars, and pedal board could somehow fit in the “trunk” and back seat. The dealer closed before we could make a deal. I slept on it and decided that it wasn’t economical and would likely cost too much to repair if something happened. Ended up getting a 2006 HHR LS in a stick. Oddly enough, it may be the best car I’ve ever owned in terms of reliability. I still think about that Mini all the time.
The other was summer 2012. I had bought my e30 project the year prior and it became my new identity. Everyone would send me e30 ads thinking that I was hoarding them. One stood out.. a friend’s cousin had an e30 M3 Alpine White in their backyard that hadn’t run in many years. It was caked with crap on the outside and needed to be completely redone in and out. They were moving and didn’t know what to do with it and offered it to me for $2500. I reluctantly passed.
Suggested by: Wizard Nutstorm
Never Tell Your Parents
1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo- I was sales at Toyota dealership and customer was trading in Celica with 9,843 miles on it. Celica was garage queen and not being used. Client wanted a new T100 Xtracab. Had to be a DX. Had to be manual. Had to be green. This truck was not at my store and not a single match in the entire region. No deal was made. Let me pause for a second to say that selling full size Toyota truck in small market midwest working class town was not an easy sell and our store owner was not taking inventory unless Toyota forced them to. We had a Ford dealer and Dodge dealer competition on the same street so they had the full size truck market covered. A month and few days goes by and manager calls me in to office to tell me there is an SR5 T100 available and to call customer back and see if they are still in market. Fat chance I’m thinking but it’s better than cold calling. At this point in my life the Celica All-Trac is my holy grail and I fantasize about buying the the trade from dealership. So I go to work and can’t convince the customer to come back in. Week later they show up unscheduled and the deal is made. I worked the used car manager to agree to sell me the Celica at cost. I make mistake of telling my father what I’m doing and get lectured about my student loans and irresponsible finances. I end up driving demo until I quit 6 months later. You only live once and I regret not buying that Celica. T180 forever!
Suggested by: Oberkanone
Back in 2014 my parents owned a super base model 2010 Hyundai Accent (roll windows, drum brakes, and no ABS lol) that was basically just my car. A drunk driver ended up turning it into a Hyundai Accident when it was parked outside my ex’s place, and we ventured off to find another similar 4 cylinder car with a manual transmission.
A local car lot had a good deal on a hail damaged 2011 or 2012 Dodge Dart with a stick shift and low kilometers on the clock, so we phoned ahead and booked an appointment to look at it. It turned out they had already sold the car and paperwork was pending, and they had nothing else comparable on the lot. The dealer had phoned our house after we’d left, and my dad was convinced it was a bait-and-switch to get us in the door. Considering the car remained on the dealer website for a few more days, he may have been right!
We ended up privately buying a really nicely equipped 2012 Kia Rio instead, which served me well as a commuter and road trip car until I ended up with my ‘85 CRX. Knowing what I know now about Fiat-Chrysler quality, I think we dodged a bullet!
Suggested by: Dave