Remember the $200 Car? We All Had One (or Twelve)

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My first car was a 1967 Oldsmobile F-85. I paid $140 for it. It ran great too. It was a nasty green, just like the one in this blurry picture here. It had a three-speed on the column, or, as we used to call it- three on the tree.

It was so rusty, and had no carpet, so I was embarrassed of it, even though I was proud. So I did what any respectable teenager would do- I put some hot pink carpet in it (that was all I could find) and painted it primer black, right over the rust.

I drove it for about a year, until it blew first gear. Then I dogged it, taking off in second, until the clutch blew. I got my $140 dollars worth though!

I spent the next decade or three going from one $200 car to another. I had $75 cars, $150 cars, and when I was working, I’d buy the occasional $350 car- woo-hoo! Sometimes I would fix them up a little and sell them for more.


One summer I went through about ten cars, just fixing and selling, and making a hundred or three. That business lasted right up until I bought the wrong one- a big old Ford van that blew the transmission and a leaf-spring all in one day.

I’m sure everyone out there who came from a poor neighborhood had cars like these. But what if we had them today? they’d be worth a fortune. Oh, if only I could go back in time and tell myself to save all those cars…

I had some real classics, that I thought were junks. well, they were junks, but they all ran, for a while anyway.

Here’s some of the cars I had from about 1976 when I started driving until about 1985 when I started buying more expensive cars.

1967 Olds F85………..$140
1965 Olds Delta 88 (two of these) $200 and $150
1963 Olds Dynamic 88 $35 (yes, $35 it had a bad smashed front fender)
1968 Olds Delta 88 $200
1970 Olds Cutlas convertible $175 rusty but trusty and leaky
1972 Olds Cutlas Rusty Gold
(I had a lot of Oldsmobiles)
1968 Buick Wildcat (Oh, what I’d give to get another one of those- a true muscle car!) $400 Just like the one in this video- except blue.

1966 Mustang with huge rust holes in the floors $150
1967 Ford Fairlane- a super fast car with a 302 and 3 on the tree $150
1976 Pacer I thought was garbage but was in really nice condition $200
1072 Plymouth Satellite (exact same thing as Dodge Charger) $250
1967 Plymouth Valiant 4-door with huge rust holes and dents all over $75
1971 Monte Carlo So rusty it broke in half $150
1976 Grand Prix another one I painted black primer $100
1968 Chevy station wagon mint hot rod $350
1976 Chevy Impala (two or three of these) $150, $250 and free
1973 Ford Mustang $30 (it didn’t run until I fixed it)
1967 Imperial a super cool car, huge 4-door blues-mobile
1969 Impala $350
1967 International dump truck $200
Several old Ford pick ups $200 to $300
1972 Ford Tow truck $1350, a 10-speed bike and a color TV
Plus I had a few motorcycles during those years.
1976 Kawasaki 650 $1300
1972 Honda 450 $300
1970 Kawasaki 125 dirt bike street legal $175 I drove it all winter in Chicago around 1982- it was all the transportation I had.


Looking back now, I guess these cars really didn’t last all that long, considering how many I had in only ten years. I wound up junking most of them.

Feel free to comment. Tell us about your classic beaters.


Google+Ken Skaggs is a 30-year veteran trucker and safety professional, who has always been a writer, and an entrepreneur at heart. Since 2000, he’s had 150+ articles published by Ten-Four Magazine, Careers in Gear, Driver Story Magazine, and dozens of websites.

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  1. Yeah, I had a bunch of old beaters in my day too. Of course, I always rip the doors off after a while, because, well, I’m Sasquatch, then I have to junk them.

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