In Praise of the Beater Car
Beater cars do not get the praise or attention they should. Now we’re not talking about some smoke-churning behemoth that limps wherever it goes begging to be put out of its misery. We are talking about cars that look as used as toy cars in a thrift store, but still get the job done because the owner took the time and a little money to make sure it runs and runs right.
My first beater was a 1972 Buick LeSabre that I bought for $800 when in college. It was all steel and handled a couple of auto accidents admirably well and still kept running and myself safe from injury---don’t ask about the other guy though.
I took so much pride in my ride and what it could do that I had the idea of rather than fixing the front end after a crash, to paint small car crash symbols on its bent fender like WWII pilots did recording downed enemy plane kills. Fortunately, someone talked me out of that idea.
In fact, I discovered (by accident) the best way to pass emissions testing was to drive up to the testing station with a rope tying my crumpled hood down. The emissions facility techs would either through laziness or pity (I’ll take either, thank you very much) would check off their paperwork with a “pass” and send me on my way.
But I digress.
Why a Beater
There are a lot of reasons why you should buy a beater that include:
• It saves money on the cost of owning a car and its insurance.
• You do not worry about shopping cart dings while parked.
• Nobody would steal your POS.
• Odds are it’s old enough to allow DIY maintenance and repair.
• Less tech means less expensive parts and repair.
• Makes the cost of having a teen driver MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE.
• It makes a great everyday workhorse while keeping your honor student sticker wheels clean and low on miles.
Here is a pre-pandemic Scotty Kilmer YouTube video that goes into more detail about why you should buy a beater that is still useful although today’s pricing of some models he refers to are now significantly higher.
Here's Why You Should Buy a Beater Car
A More Updated Beater Car Recommendation
Today’s used car beater selection is different than what I had in my day as a kid and the selection is even smaller today. However, there are good beaters out there that are being ignored because they look…well…like a beater.
Here’s a recent Scotty Kilmer YouTube video of his recommendations of why you should consider these three car models as a good beater choice today:
3 Best Cars to Buy When You're Broke
For additional articles about car ownership and maintenance, here are a few selected articles that are applicable toward shopping for and owning a true beater:
Tell Us About Your Beater!
If you have ever owned a beater, be sure to tell us about its condition, model, why you bought it, and what you find remarkable or memorable about it in the comments section below.
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
Image Source: Pixabay