Ladies and gentlemen of Oversteer, the moment has arrived: it’s time for Ask Doug! If you don’t know what Ask Doug is, well, then you’re in luck, because today you’ll experience it for the first time. It’s a weekly column where you, the readers, write in with your questions and I, the Doug, answer one of them — usually in a haphazard, disdainful manner.
If you’d like to "Ask Doug," you can! Just e-mail me at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, and I will be happy to read your e-mail and potentially laugh at you for even crafting it in the first place, especially if you own an original Audi allroad.
Anyway, this week’s Ask Doug comes from a viewer I’ve named Jethro. Jethro writes:
Hey Doug, love your videos and articles. One day I’d like to have a fleet of cars like yours, but I have to wonder, Is there any car that if you purchased, you would never get rid of it? You usually get cars and only keep them for a year, But is there one that you would never be able to bring yourself to sell? For me I can’t imagine why I would ever sell my Jeep Wrangler, but hey if it picks up value like the Wagoneer maybe I’d sell it in 30 years.
For those of you who don’t wish to read Jethro’s question, because it’s in italics, I am happy to provide you with my own summary of it. Jethro is asking me if there’s any car I could ever buy that I’d never want to get rid of, since he knows I swap out my cars fairly regularly. This is an excellent question, Jethro, and it’s one I’ve considered a lot — and I think it goes well beyond me, but to any car enthusiast who’s often switching vehicles.
And here’s the answer: No, I don’t think that car exists. At least not for me. And not for most people, either.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. I bought my Range Rover in 2012, when it was six years old, and I really thought I’d keep it a long time: It was a dream of mine to have one since I was a kid, and I found a very nice one, in very nice shape, with a very nice warranty. Initially, I figured I’d keep it until the warranty ended — six years from the purchase date — but over time, I amended my feelings. I decided I would keep it forever.
That was about three years ago, and now I’ve completely changed my tune.
Believe it or not, it isn’t because my Range Rover has been famously unreliable. In fact, it’s never really stranded me, though it rendered itself largely undriveable once, when the steering shaft tightened up. Instead, the simple truth is, I’m tired of it.
Here’s what I think happens, Jethro: Car enthusiasts buy cars, and they say they’re going to own them forever, and they really mean it. But over time, the technology starts to feel outdated, and the driving experience starts to diminish in comparison to newer stuff, and the fuel economy becomes worse, relative to modern cars, and new designs come out, and car enthusiasts are simply tempted by newer stuff.
For example: Three years ago, when I said I’d keep my Range Rover forever, I had never heard of Spotify or Apple CarPlay. I used CDs. Well, today, I use Spotify and play my music through an FM transmitter, which requires me to constantly change radio stations virtually every time I drive anywhere. And this is made all the more annoying since I know about Apple CarPlay (and similar systems), which just make life 50 times easier for everyone. People are driving around, listening to Apple CarPlay, and I’m sitting here playing music through an FM transmitter!
It isn’t just that. The new Range Rover is starting to come down in value, and that’s looking pretty appealing. Same with other SUV rivals. In your case, maybe you can’t fathom selling your Wrangler now — but what if you could upgrade to the newer, more powerful, more reliable, better-equipped next-generation model in a few years … for only $25,000? What about $20,000? As cars get old, and they start adding more miles, and they start having more problems, and newer models start getting cheaper, the simple truth is this: Even the most die-hard "I’ll keep it forever" car enthusiasts start looking around.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. Occasionally, I’ll run a Carfax report on an older enthusiast car, and I’ll be stunned to discover it’s a one-owner example even though it’s 10 or 15 or 20 years old. But the reality is that most people trade up for something newer, faster, better or more advanced — even if they claim they never will. And while I love the idea of owning a car for 10 years and really getting my money’s worth, I now know myself better than that — and I know that’ll probably never happen. Find a car for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.