Dog Car

November 4th, 2006 by William

Being a “car person” can be frustrating at times. It seems that you are always dreaming of your next vehicle; something cool, fast, old, roomy….. When the time comes to actually purchase a new car things get very interesting. I have a friend who is in this exact situation.

Jay needs a dog car. Actually he has dog car right now but it is driving him up the wall. His current dog vehicle is a white 1980’s diesel Mercedes Benz wagon. The Mercedes actually holds two good-sized dogs quite well and rides like a Mercedes should. Unfortunately the non-turbo diesel engine and the massive weight of the wagon mean that the car is bog-slow. Jay has been ridden down by bike cops with his foot glued to the accelerator. The car is definitely the slowest thing I’ve ever driven. It is slow to the point of being dangerous. SLOW FOLKS! However, it was just quirky enough for Jay to own…for awhile. With a vanity plate that read “Get Ahab”, an obscure reference to Melville’s big white whale (Moby Dick) which is exactly what the Mercedes is, the wagon gathered the right kind of attention–weird literary types and hippy chicks.
So now Jay is looking for a replacement. He won’t sell out and get something practical and boring like a Toyota Camry wagon, the car needs to have an oddball element to it; something with a little flare. Maybe it is a car that cost $80,000 new and has depreciated down to the $10,000 range; that is right up Jay’s alley. Or, maybe it is a vehicle that is super-rare and you never see them on the street, Jay would love that too. Whatever it is the car has to be a delicate balance of weird/cool and comfortable/reliable. Jay wrote the book on heaps and still owns a few. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want his dog car to be another.

So far he has scoured Craigslist for wagons and has come up with all kinds of options. He even checked out a newish Saab wagon, but his instincts wouldn’t let him like the car. I was kind of hoping he would go for something old and British like a Morris Minor but because of reliability factor that is pretty doubtful.
Jay’s requirements for a dog car are relatively simple, and the good news is he has no qualms about turning an expensive luxury car into scratched leather, hair everywhere, smelly, droolly dogmobile. So I am appealing to the masses for help. What kind of dog car do you drive? What do you think Jay should get and why do you think he should get it?
Let me know, I’m anxious to pass on the information.

-Bill Mertz

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2 Responses to “Dog Car”

  1. Dave Smith Says:

    It’s been a few years since I last checked the prices, but Rolls Royces used to drop to the $8,000-10,000 price range. I’ve always kicked around the idea of having a RR beater car.

    I worked briefly at a British car shop and pounded on a RR with a BFH. Anything RR related was automatically billed $1,000 even when the same BFH repairs on an MG would’ve been $50. The shop owner was a bit of a pig.

  2. William Says:

    The Rolls would be spectacular. Maybe he could get a metal fabricator to turn it into a RR wagon, or should I say shooting brick.

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

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