Coffee Brake: Your Worst Car Buy

What’s been your worst car, best learning experience?  This is mine — Coffee Brake by Hunsbloger.

Mine-My first car was an unfortunate ’62 Karmann Ghia which I
managed to kill by literally flogging it to death, trying to
reach speeds beyond 72 mph. I was near the end of my freshman
year in college in 1973, when I was hitchhiking home on a rainy
evening.  A guy picked me up in a ’63 TR4.  We started talking
and before I was dropped off, I got his phone number and found
out he’d take $350 for the TR4.

Not my TR4, a pic from grassrootsgroundswell on flickr.

I picked the car up a day or two later, but at 18 I didn’t have
any time for a PPI, I just wanted to give him the money and grab his
keys. In very short order my new investment would dissolve
before me.  On the drive home, I proudly filled up the gas
tank.  A great idea, except the sediment bowl came loose a few
miles later (no set screw in the bottom of it) and it started
leaking gas everywhere.  Dealt with that problem when I got

On the way to college the next day, I noticed that it was
harder and harder to upshift into 2nd gear, but I didn’t pay
much attention to it, cause I figured I was just not used to the
clutch/shifter.  While going over the speed-bump in the school
lot, I managed to snag the leading edge of the muffler,
pulling it loose from the first run of exhaust pipe after the header. After waiting for it to cool off, I was able to kick it
back into place until I could get home and tighten the clamp up.  (Didn’t have a the requisite orange juice can, tie wire and pliers with me at the

Also not my TR4, this one is from Pedro Simones on flickr.

On the way home from school,  I noticed that I was now having trouble
downshifting from 4th to 3rd, and the 1st-2nd upshifts got
progressively worse.  By the time I drove the 10 miles home, I
was upshifting from 1st to 3rd and downshifting from 4th-2nd.  
I drove it like that for a couple of days later, eventually driving it to a friend’s
house where we pulled the transmission to have it serviced.  
Got it back about a week later after spending $150 I didn’t have.

The transmission worked like a charm, but about 5 miles into my 30 mile drive home,
I blew a rod right through the side of the engine block.  This was fatal.  Oil everywhere.  There would be no recovery from this one.

At this point, I was broke, the car was toast and my parents
were moving from upstate NY to the Midwest. My dad wasn’t willing
to let me tow it behind one of our cars, so I scrapped it with a
friend of mine.  $500 for less than 100 miles worth of
driving.  Keep in mind those were 1972 US$.

It was my first sports car and it bit me really hard.  It was
kind of like taking a gorgeous girl out to a fancy restaurant on a first date, watching her order everything on the menu, only to have her puke on the table as you’re being presented with the check.  You still gotta pay…and suddenly, she’s not as hot as she was a minute ago.

Still not my TR4…this is a burnt out hulk from the current Ukraine crisis, from Mattsh on flickr.

Was it sabotaged by the previous owner or just bad Carma? My ego wants me to believe it was sabotaged, but my brain knows better.  Got a better tale of woe from a great car purchase, turned bad? 
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