Home Mike Cathy Photos Places Games Soccer
Intro Journal Work Play Cars Music SK
Intro UK America
Intro Early Mike Cathy

Mike's Cars

Well, the Malibu sedans were a good starting point, and fulfilled our simple transport functions while satisfying my desire for something different, sporty or whatever. Come November 1999 and it was time to start exercising our credit. One of the thing that I read on one of the web sites about credit is that it's a positive marker if you've successfully paid off a loan. The quickest way to do this was to switch one of the cars. Trouble was, what to go for.

I did lots of research on the web, Edmunds.com being an excellent source of information, and boy is there a lot of information to digest. Unlike the UK there is so much more information available to the buyer, not just retail prices, but invoice prices (the price the dealer pays), special finance deals, rebates and holdbacks. This way you know exactly how much the car is costing the dealer, and how much profit is being made. Armed with all this knowledge I tried to narrow it down.

One of the cars I had been interested in was the Ford Mustang, the legendary pony car, an American icon. It looked sharp, especially in the yellow (told you I like bright colors). So I did some research, and found the prices were very much cheaper than I expected, around $17-18k. I looked around the various dealers, and selected the car I was interested in, a black bog standard coupe.

Using CarsDirect I worked out how much it should cost, and using the Kelley Blue Book I workedout how much the Malibu was worth as a trade in. Armed with all this information I went down to Landmark, the local Ford dealer, where I met up with a salesman, Paul Poppas. (Little was I to know that I would get to know him quite well.) We had a test drive, which was most satisfactory, and then sat down to deal.With the information from CarsDirect I was able to get within $200-300 and also the trade in value I was looking for. Good deal! The hairiest part was the credit application on Ford Credit, but I needn't have worried, and within a couple of hours I was driving home in a new Mustang.


A pretty decent car for the money, the 3.8l engine doesn't produce much excitement at low revs. However, rev it up and it jumps into life. With the leather it was most comfortable, and had all the audio system I need. Yep, good fun.

When Cathy's folk were across visiting we gave the Mustang to Uncle Steve to save them having to rent a car. He proceded to dunt the back of the van with it. Although the damage didn't look severe, the total bill was about $1,500. After that I was never comfortable with the car, althought there was no chassis damage or anything like that, but it just wasn't the same.

So in November 2000I started thinking about a new car again. As it happened, Dodge were doing a good finance deal (4.9%) on 2000 model Intrepids and I was tempted to look at them. The Intrepid is one of the most sporty looking sedans you can get, yet it also had everything we might need, 5 seats, bigger trunk, all the add ons you could want. The only problem was it was the same Dodge dealership as before. I don't know what it is, but the place just gives me the creeps. After a test drive they came up well short on the Kelley Blue Book value for a trade in on the Mustang, so we ended up miles apart on any deal, and I walked out.

A couple of months later, and the finance deal had dropped to 0.9%, totally changing the picture, so I contacted them again. The stock hadn't seemed to move any in the period, still about 20 2000 model Intrepids available, but they still didn't want to move on prices. So, once more I went back to Paul Poppas to see what he could do for me.

I'd discussed it with Cathy, and she suggested looking at trucks, which I'd already looked at on the Landmark lot the previous evening. Paul asked what I was after, and I said a Ranger, in the yellow or bright blue, and he directed me to the exact thing I wanted.. As it turns out, I'd hit them at exactly the right time, and one of the new Ranger Edge trucks in a bright Blue color had just gone on special that day, so Paul was able to do us a great deal, again, and I left with a new truck.

The Ranger has 5 seats (after a fashion), and is as big, blue and rumpity bumpity as they come.In the few weeks it's only done 700 miles, spending a lot of time at the airport, same as the Mustang. The flat bed has been real useful so far, being used for the tree and some furniture. It's heavier on the gas than the Mustang, but with gas the price it is ($1.70) it's no great hardship.

Let's see how long this one lasts...