I was thinking back to my first car the other day, as one does. It was a hand-me-down from my folks. A ratty, boxy-but-round ’94 Plymouth Acclaim that I hated back in high school. It was a POS, but you know what? It was free!
So I started thinking about how much cars have cost me in total, which prompts the question: What’s the combined purchase price of all your cars?
Imagine a garage full of every car you’ve owned, and add up what they cost. It doesn’t matter if you bought the car new or got it from a family member, a stranger on Craigslist or maybe even a car auction. Just tally them all. Maybe take a seat first, and don’t add in the cost of keeping them on the road. I’m sure if we did that, some of us would need to join a support group.
After that crappy Plymouth — it had a Chrysler pentastar and is how I came to be interested in rebadging — I bought an ’00 Jeep Cherokee Sport at a used car lot. I paid $3,800 for it. It was jacked up and had a roof rack and big tires and Mickey Thompson wheels. I loved it!
But it was loud on the highway and not very comfortable on road trips. Also, it wasn’t as efficient as I wanted, so I sold it and let an uncle talk me into buying a salvage-titled ’95 BMW 318i from Copart, an auction company that deals in all sorts of troubled vehicles. That cost me $1,200, and it ran for all of a week before it caught on fire at a Jack-in-the-Box drive-through. Back to the auction site. (I’m a slow learner.)
I bought another BMW. This time an ’01 325i. That one lasted me a few weeks before it overheated. Good thing I only paid $3,100 for it, right? Well, I bought another German car. This time, the reliable kind. I tracked down a ’04 VW Jetta TDI (5-speed manual) and bought it for $3,700. That car was awesome! I owned it for a couple of years, which seemed like a long time to me, but I couldn’t resist a BMW.
I know, I know. I’m crazy.
I felt I hadn’t gotten the chance to happily own one, and I was certain the third time was the charm. I wanted a manual car that was light and fun to drive, and it had to be red! I found my ’97 BMW 318ti and paid $3,300 for it. It’s been with me ever since. Which brings me to a grand total of $15,100. Not bad, I suppose.
I’ve learned so much and made a lot of mistakes, but it’s been fun. Now run the numbers. What’s the combined purchase price of every car you’ve owned?