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Here’s What It’s Like to Own Nearly 40 Cars

Before writing this, I organized my closet and counted 26 pairs of clean underwear and 52 pairs of socks. Almost exactly in between those numbers is the amount of cars that I currently own. It wasn’t until I set off on a journey to make an update video of what I call my "Hooptie Fleet" that I realized how insane this is.

In my last fleet-wide update, I detailed all of my personal cars that I was selling. I’ve managed to find homes for all of these — except the BMW cars, probably because I describe them too honestly and end up discouraging anyone who would otherwise be interested — but I’m still left with 12.5 personal cars. With the reality show finally wrapped, I’m now left with the task of sorting through the 24 cars that I purchased for the show. It will be a few weeks before the production company lets me start selling a good chunk of them, but I know I want to keep at least six of those cars for myself.

While my YouTube videos may give you little glimpses of what reality show cars are, I can’t go into full detail until the episodes air (the date is still unknown, but will be sometime this year). Still, updating you on my personal cars alone will be a major task itself, and, if you manage to make it through to the end of my insane list below, you’ll be thoroughly updated — and Psychology students will get a special glimpse into the mind of a compulsive hoarder. So, let’s begin:

1995 Ferrari F355: Amazingly, this car continues to be completely reliable. The only thing that didn’t work after the initial repairs was the air conditioning, which my mechanic, the Car Wizard, fixed for free! Jumping the auxiliary fan to run when the air conditioning compressor is engaged, along with a fresh refrigerant charge, was all that was needed. I really cannot believe my luck with this car — but most others I’m not so lucky with.

1985 Porsche 911: I’m doing my best to enjoy this car despite the horrible air conditioning system in this brutal Midwest summer, but it’s hard. It’s another very reliable car despite its age, and other than what I listed in my recent update, I have very little complaints.

2012 Tesla Model S: This car is another shocker in the reliability department, but the hot summer weather has introduced a major downside of Tesla ownership. To prevent the fragile electronics from melting, Tesla cars are programmed to run the climate control when the cabin becomes too hot. In a parking lot during a heat wave, its running nearly all the time and can eat 10-15 miles of battery charge per day. This has led to much more frequent charges; I could disable it, but then I would risk of ruining some very pricey tech inside.

1999 Lexus LX470: My cheap Land Cruiser is now fully recovered from its swimming lesson, only costing me a new Nakamichi radio amplifier and a thorough carpet shampoo. An unrelated failure to the starter (underneath the engine intake and well above water mark of my recent expedition) was a more expensive repair, but one very common to these motors. I’m looking forward to more adventures in my Lexus — with less water.

1999 Porsche 911: My famous LS-swapped 911 refused to start recently while I was giving a local newspaper reporter a tour of the fleet. I shouldn’t be that surprised since it’s been sitting so much, and the battery charge wasn’t strong, but it feels like the old stock fuel pump may be starting to go. When I had a Dyno tune on the car last year, the technician said he was running out of fuel pressure, so it needs an upgrade anyway. I really want to test my build on the track, but I won’t be in town during a local track day until September.

2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: This was supposed to be my competition for the 911, as I spent enough money LS-swapping to buy a complete Corvette, but as I described with the 911 update, scheduling has made this fun challenge an even bigger one. It still starts every time, and I should be able to get these cars to a drag strip one weekend easily enough, but I feel bad letting a great car like this sit so much. I may abandon my plans to track it with the 911 and sell it to a good home rather than wait that long.

1996 Buick Park Avenue Ultra: I still get an email at least once a week asking if I’ll sell my rare supercharged land yacht — and I always politely decline. It’s just not worth selling for the $2,000 to $3,000 it would fetch, and now that I have the air ride and climate control system all sorted, I really enjoy driving it. It’s by far the most comfortable vehicle in the fleet — and I can park it anywhere without worrying about unwanted attention or another parking lot ding.

1995 Mercedes C36 AMG: This is another car that I get regular emails asking if I would sell, and I have recently fired back a few times to see if people are interested at the $5,100 I paid for it a year ago. That’s ran everyone off so far, which probably means I overpaid for it — but I don’t really care. This is another car that I enjoy driving very much — but probably not as much as I should. Still, this one gets out regularly, unlike the truly neglected cars detailed after this one.

2005 Toyota Prius: I’ll freely admit that I jumped the shark with this car after painting it orange and applying graphics to make it look like the Toyota Supra from the original "Fast and Furious" movie. Still, I’m seeing this project through to the end, as I found a nitrous oxide systems kit, yes nitrous oxide, for a Prius, and the Wizard and I will install it soon and then drag race it against the Tesla. It’s the race that nobody asked for — but I’m excited to deliver it.

1994 Subaru SVX: This is the first of three cars I have rotting away in the barn. Since I paid only $500 for this car, I don’t feel terrible about it, but I’m still waiting for the right event to happen so I can use this car in some type of competition. All of the famous "lemons" races take place too far away from Kansas, but a new local rally-cross venue is starting up this fall, and I’m thinking it may be the perfect event to showcase this weird all-wheel-drive coupe.

1985 Mercedes 500SL: Neglecting this car really makes me sick, as it was my first car and holds the biggest sentimental attachment. But obviously I favor the Ferrari for top-down fun over the SL. It currently has a puddle of oil underneath it from a failing oil pan gasket, as well as a flat battery. I feel so ashamed.

1997 BMW M3 & 1991 BMW 850i: I’m lumping these two together because I’m trying to sell both for a fraction of the money that I’ve dumped into them — but it’s proving to be a major challenge. I imagine my asking prices are too high, but if I ask for any less, it makes more sense for me to repair them myself so that I recover more of what I invested. Since I have more pressing projects, these two will likely continue to sit forever.

1983 Chrysler Lebaron Town & Country Mark Cross Edition: It’s still buried in the dirt 10 feet underground. I will try to dig it up before Christmas to see if will run again.

So that’s a brief update on the entire Hooptie Fleet. I am trying to behave, telling myself not to buy anymore cars — but given my latest purchase of a 1997 Mercedes SL600, I’m clearly not trying very hard.

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  1. I will buy your Prius, if you don’t manage to blow the engine in your nitrous powered drag race.

    -Joshua Kaminski
  2. I love how the Lexus LX, the luxurious version of one of the most reliable cars ever, has had issues, but the Tesla Model S, one of the least reliable cars ever, has been fine.

    • *Only while Tyler has owned them. Overall it appears that the LX has been perfect if it’s only needed a starter motor after 20 years and 350K miles. The other things were damages from ownership. The Tesla has had several thousand dollars worth of repairs done to it during its time on the road.

  3. Tyler – what’s the insurance situation for this many cars?

    I assume since most see only occasional use the cost is very low, but the ones you do drive more would seem to add up.

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