Vincentric's Cheapest Cars to Own Vs. Irv Gordon's Volvo P1800 Record
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Vincentric's Cheapest Cars to Own Vs. Irv Gordon's Volvo P1800 Record

Vincentric.com publishes a list of the cheapest cars to own for the first five years, but what is a driver to do if they want the exact opposite out of a car?

Every year, Vincentric publishes a list of about 15 of the Cheapest Cars to Own. This list analyzes which cars in the current year model lineup are the cheapest to own, and it considers fuel economy, insurance and operating costs, maintenance costs, and potential resale value. Unsurprisingly, Vincentric's list is calibrated to the 5-year mark, and it is limited exclusively to new cars. In a nutshell, Vincentric's list is designed to indicate which of the current year's newest cars will pull the least out of a driver's pocket after 5 years. The timetable is quite a tactical choice by the company, because it closely emulates the typical driver's 5-year drive and dump focus. The list's thorough and detailed information is quite valuable, however, especially for consumers set on buying a new car.

Is there another way? Buying or keeping a used car is an excellent method of saving money, but trying to find a list that breaks down used cars in true Vincentric style is nigh impossible. The reasons behind this are very simple: used cars introduce a large number of confounding variables that make predicting things like service costs, insurance, and even fuel economy a real nightmare. Accidents are a reality, and their effect on a used car is disastrous. What, then, is a consumer to do if they are interested in buying a used car that will last them until....forever?

The answer is to consider what makes a car keep going. Driver Irv Gordon has become something of a celebrity in driving culture for his 1966 Volvo P1800, which had been going for over 2.6 million miles in 2007 and is on its way to 3 million miles. He drives all over the country to make appearances at invitation events, and this, of course, racks up more miles on his car. Gordon claims that poor driving habits are all that are needed to kill a car, and he stated that an accident or "accelerating like you're going off to the races" are typical habits that end a car's life prematurely. His lifestyle also echoes a common driving mantra: cars are designed to move, and the way to ensure their endurance is by "keeping the contaminants in solution" (a quote from Woodbridge, Virginia Hendrick Honda mechanic Craig King in 2005, who maintained a Honda Accord that got over 1 million miles). What this means is that driving constantly keeps a car going constantly. It is the neglect of a static position that kills a car.

What cars should a driver select, then, if they are going for reliability? The eternal F-150, the omnipresent Toyota Corolla, and the sturdy Honda Accord are excellent starts. Each of these cars can last as long as their owners love them (unless they reside in the salty road states that rust cars to pieces). In reality, to keep a car going, you just have to change the oil regularly, learn the maintenance quirks of the vehicle, drive it like you love it, put the necessary money and parts into the vehicle, keep it from overheating, and keep it moving on a daily or frequent basis. It is a lot, but longevity is the reward. My 1991 Honda Accord LX 2.2L 5-speed has reached 283,000 miles and still gets fantastic fuel efficiency, and I intend to drive it until it no longer is capable of movement. Joyeux conduire a toi!

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