November 1 ~  King On A Vinyl Seat Cars: A Celebration

"A driver is a king on a vinyl bucket-seat throne, changing direction with the turn of a wheel, changing the climate with a flick of the button, changing the music with the switch of a dial." ~ Andrew H. Malcolm

We all want wheels and love the independence, no matter what the cost...

In November 1999, the average cost of a car was about $20,000. To most, buying a vehicle is the largest investment besides a home.

Maintaining a car is a sizeable investment as well. According to Runzheimer International cost analysis, which compared 23 new cars, light trucks, and vans, it costs an average of 44 cents a mile for a family to own and operate a mid-size 1999 model. This includes fixed costs (insurance, taxes, license fees, finance charge and depreciation) and flexible costs (gas, oil, tires and maintenance).

Cost per mile lowers, as does depreciation, the longer a car is owned. But then, the older the car, the more the repair costs. For example, the life of an alternator is 2-6 years.

A battery lasts an average of 50,000 to 70,000 miles, or about the same life-span as a clutch. Water pumps will pump for about 2-5 years and a muffler will muffle for around 2-3 years.

Perhaps drive-in banking began so cars could see their real owners. "For a driver to be driven by somebody else is an ordeal, for there are only three types of drivers: the too fast, the timid, and oneself," observed journalist Virginia Graham.

Ah, but every king has operating costs...

Humorist Dave Barry has said, "The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers."

Baby, you can drive my car...