As the title to this thread suggests, I’m back in the market for a Cruiser! My wife and I are expecting TWINS this fall, our first children and truly a blessing. This is clearly a life changing event and of course requires a reassessment of our car situation .
Currently, when not deployed I daily drive a ’93 Volvo 940 with almost 330,000 miles on it. My wife has a ’01 Saab 9-5 Wagon with about 120,000 miles on the clock. Last year between deployments, I purchased my non-cruiser dream car, a ’96 911 Carrera .
The Volvo has been bulletproof reliable and has been in my family since 1996. However, I’m not comfortable putting my newborns in a 20 year old car with that many miles. It was Volvo safe in 1993 not so much now… (See YouTube crash test videos for evidence)
The Saab, well let’s just say it has had it fair share of issues and has been in the shop twice in the last 2 weeks and 3 times in the last 2 months to name a recent few. Yesterday it left my wife stranded in the middle of an intersection. Needless to say, I’m ready to set the Saab on fire and push it off a cliff. I no longer trust its reliability and do not want my wife stranded on the side of the road with two newborns in the car. Further more, the HVAC in the Saab completely died about 1 year ago, leaving no A/C or heat available, which is fine in San Diego for most of the year, but not in the summer which is rapidly approaching. Now that we are having kids this is completely unacceptable. I received a quote to fix this problem and it was easily in the >$1000 range. The latest round of trips to the shop is for some kind of intermittent start and running issue relating to fuel delivery. This car is nickel & diming me to death and maybe worth $3-4K.
The Porsche, it is obviously fairly impractical for twins. It would be fine for me as daily driver going to and from work where I am by myself 99.9% of the time. I still owe some money on this car, but I am by no means underwater on it. Ideally, I would like to keep it for the long haul, meaning you can pry my cold dead fingers off the steering wheel and shifter. It does have a back seat and car seats will fit. However, if the situation becomes untenable, I will sell it to support my family.
We have been living off of one income for the last 3 years while my wife has been attending nursing school. She graduates on May 17th. She will most likely pick up a job and work until impractical for the pregnancy. Following the births, she would most likely resume working 1-3 days a week to stay current.
Short-term – get rid of the Saab as soon as possible. POS needs to go. My wife agrees and will be more than happy driving an LX470. Yes, I’m leaning toward the latte drinking side… The AHC will be a benefit with entry and exit into the vehicle and I’ll still be able to do some moderate wheeling. I have no illusions of adding a ton of mods immediately to this vehicle as it will be a slow and deliberate build with priorities focused elsewhere for the near future. My main priority is a safe, reliable vehicle for my family to travel in together. This is probably a good time to mention that I also have 2 dogs, one of them in the 85lb range. So space is going to be an issue as well. First mod will probably be a roof rack.
Medium-term: Keep the Volvo as DD for me, keep the Porsche (my wife likes it too), buy a 100-series.
Long-term: Sell Volvo, replace with something newer and practical that my wife will drive, I drive the 100, Porsche stays in the garage for those special days. This is assuming I stay in the U.S. (see below).
Other factors: Purchase of a Volvo replacement is contingent upon receipt of orders stating that I will remain in the U.S., otherwise I will hold off on the Volvo replacement. I’m due for orders in the next 12 months and have no clue where I’ll be moving. I could possibly be going overseas in which case I would not take any cars with me and would need to sell. I would keep the 911 and put it in storage. Then buy a car in the country I am assigned and would sell that car prior to returning to the States.
Of course money is a factor in all of these decisions. That is why I’m looking at a multi-stage plan to payoff and acquire new vehicles as funds allow. Am I crazy for thinking that I could possibly hang on to the 911? If I did sell the 911 buying an ’07 100 would be manageable. In reality I’m happy with anything ‘03+.
The mission of the Cruiser – to be a safe reliable daily driver, family hauler, road trip, dog hauler and as time allows camping/adventure vehicle. I intend to keep this vehicle for 10-15 years.
As a previous short-term 100-Series owner (long time ih8mud and ExPo member), I am aware of the differences between model years.
My question to the current owners is this: If you were starting from scratch and looking only at 100s to fulfill the above mission, would you go for an ‘03-05 or an ‘06-07? Given equal mileage and condition and not having driven either at this point, I’m not sure the extra 40hp and $$$ is worth going for an ’06-07. I’m trying to decide if stretching my budget now (without selling the 911) is worth it in the long run to acquire an ’06-07.
I would appreciate any and all advice/opinions/criticism from parents and owners on anything I have touched upon in this thread.
PS – I would post this on ‘Mud, but for some reason due to my current location and IP setup I’m not able to access the site. Thank you for taking the time to read this extremely long post.