If you’ve ever sold a car on Craigslist, there’s probably an image of it somewhere in your computer. Finding them is like a weird trip down Memory Lane. I poked around in my hard-drive and found at least four cars I’ve sold over the past 15 years. I know there should be more, but here’s my rogues gallery for now.
Let’s start with my unicorn. It was a beautiful blue 1987 Volvo 240 wagon, with a 5-speed manual and roll-up windows. What a great car, probably one of my all-time favorites. Fun to drive, great in snow, and able to haul anything short of a piano. I first saw it parked along Chuckanut Drive with a red-and-black for sale sign. I bought it from a retired college professor who only drove it to the university and back. The wagon was almost 20 years old when I got it, but only had about 130K on the clock. The prof bought it new in Sweden under the “Special Delivery” program, which meant he and his wife got to drive through Europe before shipping the car to America. That must have been a great trip.
We drove the ’87 wagon for three or four years before the clutch needed replacing. It was an expensive fix (for us), but we stuck with it another couple years until the heater fan-shaft failed. This time we couldn’t afford the fix, so we ended up selling the wagon cheap on Craigslist. Soon after we sold ours, the Volvo 240 wagon started becoming an “it car” in the Pacific Northwest. Young people were spending ridiculous sums to rescue clapped-out wagons (and drive them to the Food Co-Op on weekends). Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I really missed my payday on that one!
The ’87 wagon was only one in a long line of Swedish Steel. Around 2006 I spotted a sable brown 1981 Volvo 240 wagon in a grocery store parking lot. We called this place the “Hickey Mart,” since the main cashier always seemed have a neck full of love bites. Now it’s a Trader Joe’s. The price for the Volvo was $600 and by the end of the transaction I figured out the seller was an old classmate. Small world. “The Sable” was a placeholder until we could afford something better, but it had a 4-speed manual and was fun to drive. It leaked like a sieve, so I sold it to a bro for $500. He said he needed an alternative to maxing out the lease mileage on his huge, lifted truck. Fair enough. Good bye, Sable!
The 1992 Mazda Protege was my wife’s car before we were married in 2006. It was a good enough little people-mover, but cursed with the F-4EAT automatic transmission. This unit was also used in the Ford Escort, in case you had one of those. The beginning of the end for our Mazda was when our son started using it for an early morning paper route. All the starting and stopping played hell with the AT, which apparently started to F-4EAT itself. Even with the killer rims and tires, we sold the Protege for $500 to one of the creepiest guys I ever shook hands with. Thanks, Craigslist. Bye, Proto!
Finally, there was our super-cool 1997 Honda Accord wagon, with 5-speed manual transmission. Another low-mileage unicorn, I’ve never seen another one just like it. This car has been described elsewhere on CC, but really was the last of its breed. The guy I bought it from was an engineer who lived on a golf course. It took us three hours and a ferry ride to find the place. I paid top dollar for the wagon in 2012, but only drove it for a couple of years. Turns out the seats were torture on my back. If not for the awkward seating position, I’d probably still be driving this one.
I still check Craigslist a few times a week, but my horse-trading days are over. When I find all the other old car images on my computer, I’ll submit another rogues gallery. If I remember right, the next one should feature a Ford, a Honda, and a Jeep. Happy Motoring!