Although a cheap car can certainly be amusing, buying a low dollar automobile is usually more of an act of necessity than choice. Whether they become the tales of automotive misery or a triumphant tale of a battered car that won't quit, it's often the cheapest cars that become the most memorable.

With that in mind, this weekend we want to hear the tale of the cheapest car you've ever purchased. What was it, when did you buy it and how did it work out? Whether it's a tale of woe, an ongoing saga or a lingering feeling of guilt for letting your faithful beater go, we want to hear about it.

The cheapest car I ever bought was a 1989 Mazda B2600i. When I purchased the 4x4 from a family member at the age of 16 for the meager sum of $500, I hated it. It was beat up, rusty, and even with a dumb accessory visor and the most pointless fake roll-bar I have ever seen it wasn't even close to the newer Tacoma I badly desired. I spent my first months with a drivers license behind the wheel of the B2600i learning to drive stick and trying not to be seen.

As soon as my '57 Plymouth was ready for its return to road, I parked the Mazda and hoped my time behind the wheel of the truck had passed. It hadn't, in fact quite the opposite. For the next few years I drove the truck all over New England without any major incident—besides once having to extinguish a small exhaust fire with snow by the side of the Mass. Turnpike (it leaked everything). It was ugly and it was beat up but the truck did everything I needed it to.

When the frame finally got too rusty to weld back together again, I said goodbye to the Mazda after years of it rewarding my relative neglect with faithful service. Several years and many cars later, I still miss it.


What is the cheapest car you've ever bought?