Vehicles that won't seem to die

Driving around today, I noticed a car that should be long gone…

The late 80’s, early 90’s Buick Century. That car always looks the same to me. A dingy, dirty, faded paint job (car hasn’t actually been washed in years) in either faded red, green, or silver. Always an older person behind the wheel too, which isn’t surprising.
What IS surprising is that so many of these cars are still on the road.

2 other cars I’ve noticed are the BMW e46 sedan (3-series, from 1998-2005?) not sure on dates… But these things are everywhere.

And their was a mid 80’s Jeep Cherokee that I see all the time. The thing is just boxy, so it sticks out. Might be newer than that, but my friend had one and I thought he bought it when he got his first real job and that was in the 80’s. Brand new, and he was still driving that thing this summer. He had no plans to stop, either, but someone totaled it for him, so he had no choice. That car scared me when I rode in it, but he seemed to just love it.

Manufacturer seems to hit a sweet spot with a car every now and then, and these 3 fit the bill.

Anyone have any favorite cars that won’t seem to die (must be 10 years or older)

10 years? :confused:

The newest thing I own is 18 years old!

The '65 Ford is pretty unbreakable. The '71 BMW was rescued from a field and runs like a race car (well, that’s how I drive it). The e30s seem to be fairly indestructible.

The '73 Jeep tries to die every time I drive it, but I always manage to limp it home.

I don’t even need to mention the '72 Volvo. Supposedly, this model is the world record holder for mileage (something over 3 million miles).

So, yeah. I got a few favorites that won’t die.

The Jeep Cherokee was essentially the same from 1984 to 2001. The 4.0 engine was in the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Dakota as well.

Another one I see tons of are the Buick LeSabre/Park Avenue/Pontiac Bonneville combo from 1992 to 2005. (My car included, a 2002 LsSabre with 160,000 miles and no signs of stopping).

The Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis/Lincoln Town Car is another one that seems to go on forever. (1992-2010)

The one I notice most is the last generation Pontiac Grand Am; they all seem rode hard but keep chugging along. A co-worker’s racked up 300k miles before he bought a Nissan. Before these, it seemed half the cars on the road were abused Berettas.

If I recall right, the Buick Century was highly rated in Consumer Reports.

Fair enough. 10 years isn’t exactly a huge timeframe, but I thought it would help establish what I was going for. If I said “20”, I think many folks would overthink it and not include an obvious example that might be a 17-18 year old model.

And obviously, you seem to be an expert in owning vehicles that just won’t die…

My '99 Toyota Camry has 230,000 miles on it, and until recently, has no major problems, good compression and still got 28-30 miles per gallon. In the last six months however, it has developed an oil leak from the front oil seal. Not sure I want to make that investment, so I am just adding oil every 200 miles until I can get another vehicle. It still runs good though.

The LeSabre is another good call. Buick is interesting to me… I always associated it with the “over 50” crowd, so I wonder if that has something to with it (older folks tend to be less harsh on their cars), but it can’t be JUST that, can it?

And the crown vic/grand marquis fits nicely. Those things will always make me hit my brakes, even though most are no longer police cars.

My parents owned a Beretta. That car literally fell apart around the engine. The engine was a beast, but the car was made with the cheapest plastics GM could find.

Had a 82 Pontiac Phoenix (chevy citation/buick skylark/oldsmobile omega) hatch back model with a v6 motor. I drove it from 1991 to 2000 as third owner for well over 400k miles. A few Serious mechanical problems here and there but never any Major mechanical problems. Finally gave it up in 2000 for a 95 Ford Contour, mostly because I was just tired of it. should have kept it, I could do the work on it myself. I see them around now and then.

Toyota Tacoma trucks and the Toyota Camry My Dad had a 95 Camry with over 300,000 miles on it that was still running when he sold it. I still see old 80’s Tercels on the road.

I had this 87 Ford Tempo that I hated and I drove it so hard and put it through so much and still it just would not die. I finally sold it to some poor bastard.

They won’t die out of spite. :smiley:

I just sold the '64 Mercedes a few days ago. Yes, it was running.

My wife drives a 1969 Squareback Volkswagen that she dearly loves. 170,000 miles on it, aircooled engine and all.

Two of the best beaters I ever owned never died on their own: they were killed. The first was a 1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Diesel (it had all those nameplates stretched across the trunk lid). It got 42 mpg in town and cost me $750 to purchase. I drove it for 8 years and 8 months, at which time it got killed by being sandwiched between two Chevy pickups. I got $1100 for it from the other guy’s insurance.

The other was a 1988 Ford Festiva I bought for $1000. I drove it for seven years and four months when it got killed by a pine tree and a fire hydrant. This death was arranged by a guy who pulled out in front of me, causing me to swerve to miss him. I got 1500 dollars from his insurance company.

I would gladly pay a reasonable price for a good example of either of those cars today, especially the Sentra.

With those Buick Centurys, you very rarely ever see the ones with the sealed beam headlights, which are the (IIRC) pre-1990 ones. I think part of what happened was that a lot of GM loyalists really didn’t like the plastic-y Chevy Lumina and Pontiac Grand Prix that replaced the Celebrity and 6000 in the midsize car slot, and so especially during the 92-ish through 96 model year they gravitated towards the Century and Ciera. So even though at that point the basic design was more than 10 years old, they had some of their best sales years then, and most of the ones you see on the road are going to be late-run ones.

Everyone used to make fun of Buick for its very high average buyer age, but the fact is that old people buy new cars way more than any other demographic. Buick did very nicely having an average buyer age somewhere in the mid-60’s; the only challenge is making sure a few years down the road your average buyer isn’t dead.

Anyways, my nomination for the thread is the old w123 Mercedes diesels. What I think is really amazing about them is that you still see them pretty frequently in use as daily drivers, but they really didn’t sell that many of them in the US when they were new. They were kind of a tough sell for American drivers given that even the “cheap” 240D model cost more than a top-of-the-line Cadillac at the time, but was optioned like a taxicab and was incredibly slow. But they were expensive because they were ridiculously overbuilt. Their drivetrains will go multiple hundreds of thousands of miles without complaint, but more amazingly their bodies will do it too. I’ve ridden in examples of these with over 500,000 miles that still looked and felt brand new inside and out. IMO, they’re the closest thing to a genuinely “lifetime” car ever made.

If you asked this question two or three decades ago an answer might well have been the Volkswagen Beetle–but I don’t see them around anymore.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Hyundai Santa Fe is on this list.
The one I drive is a 2002, and I see lots of other of that vintage on the road (I can tell by the faded paint, which is a huge problem what that era Santa Fe out here).
I sense that my transmission is going to fail in the not-to-distant future, but at 160,000 miles, that would be the first significant repair.

Volvo 740 station wagons will not die. They are usually white. My girlfriend had one up until 6 months ago. It was a 1990, I think. In spite of the vintage, they are common enough that when I saw a white early 90’s 740 wagon I had to check the back window for the Yellow Submarine decal that identified hers.

My '02 530i BMW is still a wild, untamed beast (134k).

Though not quite 10-years-old, my Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo Special Trail Edition (yes, she was really called this by Chrysler) runs like a champ (only 90k).

My beloved '01 Nissan Xterra lived until 2013 when she gave up the ghost. I see a lot of this year on the road still.

I also nominate my grandparents’ 1973 purple Datsun (can’t remember badge name). They had that little runner until they died in 2005; a cousin inherited and still takes it out now and then.

On the opposite spectrum, I nominate the wife’s 2014 Jeep Wrangler. She’s put 2,300 miles on in two+ years – yes, that’s 2,300, not 23,000! She’s retired and, much like the proverbial old lady, mainly drives to the grocery store and the gym. We joke that at this rate she’ll have the Jeep for 50+ years before it needs new tires and a major tune-up.

Other cars that won’t die: Checker Cabs and old Hearses.

I see the second gen Ford Tarus running around a lot. The first gen went forever, too.