Ten Years, But Not Eleven

On this day in 2010 my wonderful wife and I moved into the house in which we currently live. The probability that we make it to 11 years here is very close to zero. Since she has told her supervisor this news I can share it with you: our house is officially on the market. While it may seem beyond imprudent to move to a place where people refuse to wear masks and a place that has had a substantial increase in virus cases–yes, the two conditions are related–fortune favors the brave or maybe we hope that fortune favors the foolish.

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Housing inventory is quite thin in our future area of residence. We have hired a realtor there and her company sends us listings that meet our criteria. Good homes move so quickly, due to word of mouth among realtors before the house is officially listed, that we have received listings for homes that are already under contract.

We have had to expand the geographical area in which we are searching. The extent of that expansion is a source of some tension between my wonderful wife and me. One particular town appeals to me because of its gorgeous mountain views, but my wife thinks it’s too far from “civilization” to be an enjoyable place to live. Her view is not without merit as we once lived in a nice house on a big lot, but somewhat cut off from shopping, restaurants and other things to do. The longer we lived there, the less we liked it. While all of those activities have been curtailed due to the virus, we hope that the situation will not be permanent.

On the other hand, focusing on one place to look for homes is not presenting us with much of a choice as the number of homes that meet our criteria there is always in single digits. Of course, the actual homes change as, like I wrote, the good homes are sold quickly.

We will almost certainly not rent first and have to put our things in storage. We really do not want to move twice. I suppose that means we will simply have to buy the best available house after our current house sells. We will need some good luck in order to successfully negotiate this difficult path on which we are traveling. Good luck has been a stranger to me for a long time.

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Just like the thin housing inventory, the available number of cars that meet our criteria for being a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car is quite small. For example, on AutoTrader the current number of 2000-2002 Eldorados listed with fewer than 75,000 miles is exactly one. As recently as last week that number was six. The number of 2006-07 Monte Carlos SS with the same mileage restriction is also currently just one.

As an alternative I have been looking at cars like the one below, but “lower-mileage” examples are impossible to find. What do you think of this car?

 

See the source image

 

From Car Gurus a picture of a 1999 Buick Riviera (hopefully, a picture that doesn’t disappear from this blog in a few days). While I don’t think the styling of the last generation Riviera is as striking as the 2000-02 Eldorado or 2006-07 Monte Carlo and this Riv is not available with a V-8 like those cars, I think these cars look good and are certainly big enough to be a grocery car. A purchase of this car would also be an homage to a defunct model with great history similar to the Eldorado and Monte Carlo.

The last generation Riviera was powered by a supercharged version of the legendary V-6 made famous in the Regal Grand National and GNX of the 1980s. The 3.8 liter/231 cubic-inch engine produced 240 HP/280 LB-FT of torque in this Riviera. At 207 inches (17 feet, 3 inches) in length this car should fit in most garages. The trunk has more than ample volume at over 17 cubic feet.

This would not be the first front-wheel drive car I have owned as my 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix was also based on the GM front-wheel drive architecture of the day. As I have written here many times, I have dreams, but I live in the real world. We really will need a grocery car as neither Corvette is ideal for large grocery loads. While I would have liked to purchase a “first-generation” Riviera or a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, such a purchase would be impractical, at least in the short term. I am engaging in an exercise in constrained maximization.

 

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#DifficultPath

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#LastGenerationBuickRiviera

#ConstrainedMaximization

#somanycarsjustonelife

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9 thoughts on “Ten Years, But Not Eleven

  1. So my two cents-which is actually worth 3.24 cents if you factor in the cost of copper: you and your wonderful wife have two great cars. It is likely that one of those cars will be replaced by a C8 Corvette. Now unless you plan on working for Peapod or Instacart, how often are you really going to haul groceries/plywood/diapers/meth lab supplies? Besides, you don’t want an 84 year old 4’7” grandma with coke bottle glasses running into your Riviera.
    My suggestion, a Honda CR-V or a Toyota RAV-4. Moving means finding a new mechanic; that’s going to be hard enough for the Vettes not to mention a twenty year old car. They are cheap, reliable, you can take them to the desert, and you can get fifty pounds of pseudofed in the back to help with “your allergies”.

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    1. Thanks, sir.

      Both my wonderful wife and I consider SUVs to be necessary evils, but only in certain parts of the country. We will not need one in the desert so we will not own one. We really want a 4-seat car with a decently sized trunk that looks good and is not a slug. An SUV will never be in our garage again.

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  2. I suspect your car search will continue to be hindered by supply issues. Given the dearth of new domestic models offered, many folks are keeping older cars that are still in good condition. I would guess that most being offered are a result of an elderly parent/grandparent passing away. The other problem is that most of those vehicles were looked at as an “appliance” and ran into the ground. Unless you plan on long trips in the grocery getter, you might have to up your mileage criteria to maybe under 100K miles. It shouldn’t be a major issue for the drivetrain, but it depends on how and where, the mileage was accumulated. I wouldn’t hesitate on a vehicle from the warmer climates, but would avoid any car for any reason from the “rust belt”.

    The biggest issue for me for vehicles from the last 25 or so years is the styling. Most “family cars” all look the same to me, they have no “personality” or style. From 25 feet away I have a hard time differentiating between a Ford, a Buick or a Chevrolet. It’s probably the main reason that my newest car was born in 1991. This doesn’t include the company trucks we own, but that’s a completely different subject.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I am in total agreement with your criticism of the “styling” of today’s cars. I realize that CAFE plays a role, but certainly companies can offer automobiles with a good look that won’t ruin their CAFE numbers.

      I do think that the cars that are the leading contenders for being purchased post-move do look good. In fact, we wouldn’t consider buying any vehicle whose looks don’t appeal to us. That’s why SUVs are out. They all look like boxes with wheels to us.

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    2. DDMcG, I agree with you about the styling of today’s cars. My tastes are highly limited as my usual reply is if it was made after about 1957, it is ugly with a few exceptions. Anything from the 1980’s……don’t even look at those angular boxes which were the inspiration for Elon’s Cybertruck.

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  3. I have had experience with the last model of the Buick Riviera having inherited my late father-in-law’s 1995 edition. It was a nice enough car with a few quirks. The ignition switch was the source of power for almost everything electrical in the car and required replacing at least twice in its lifetime, once during my ownership. The battery lived beneath the back seat and entering and exiting the rear seat was a challenge. The trunk was copious enough for my wife’s walker and our usual haul of groceries. Considering the age of the car it had more than its share of electrical issues which GM cars of that era experience. My experience with GM vehicles of that era have reinforced my desire to own Fords. Personally I would not purchase one. I was happy to replace it with our current 2017 Dodge Journey. We purchased the Journey because it had ample space for my wife’s walker and was not a GM product.

    I am not entirely anti-GM. I would, like you, own a Corvette or a Cadillac XLR if I could still pretzel my body into one.

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    1. Thanks, Philip.

      Hoping for some information and guidance I “re-upped” my membership to the Cadillac forum. I can say that the forum moderators, the Cadillac “experts,” were not helpful. They simply suggested I plow through the hundreds of forum threads to find what I wanted.

      As my wonderful wife and I are NOT going to buy an SUV, what would you recommend as a grocery car, remembering the constraints that the car should only have two doors, be stylish and not be a slug?

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  4. Good luck on your house hunting, my friend. There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t receive unsolicited offers by phone or text to purchase our Buckeye home. My response is always the same… not for sale.

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    1. Thanks, sir. We will need more luck in the next few months than I’ve had in the last decade.

      I can’t imagine making an unsolicited offer to buy a home, a car or any other major possession.

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