I’ve been a big fan of Doug DeMuro since he started writing for Jalopnik and I still watch most of his videos. In a recent video, he listed all of the cars he’s owned and I was delighted to see that I’ve owned more vehicles than he has—one more, to be exact. We’re about the same age (he’s 6 months older), so it was fun to see that I’ve owned more vehicles than a famous automotive YouTuber.
To be fair, I’m saying “vehicles” because I’m including motorcycles in my list. That may be cheating, but this is all in good fun anyway. So to compete with Doug, here is a list of every vehicle I’ve owned and a brief explanation of each.
1982 Honda Nighthawk 450
I’m a high school dropout and in Georgia (where I was living at the time) they don’t let dropouts under 18 get their driver’s license until they receive a GED. I didn’t get my GED until about a year later, but I found a loophole: they do let you get a motorcycle permit. So at 16, I was able to talk my mom into letting me buy an old motorcycle to commute to work.
That motorcycle was a beat-up 1982 Honda Nighthawk 450. I think I paid around $800 for it and it was only running on one cylinder, which forced me to learn how to work on carburetors.
After I got the bike running, I took the MSF course and then hit the streets. Three days later I got in my first (and only) motorcycle accident, after a truck pulled out in front of me. I was shaken and bruised, but not badly injured. I also managed to patch up the bike on the side of the road and ride it home.
I kept the Nighthawk for a while and used it for commuting until I was able to get my GED, which let me get a regular driver’s license and my first car.
1988 Chevrolet Cavalier
This was my sister’s car before it was mine and it was a piece of junk. It ran, but the AC and heater were both broken. In the Georgia summer, I soaked the seats in sweat. On my 2 hour commute to Atlanta in the winter, I had to drive covered up in blankets. At some point after taking ownership of the Cavalier, I sold the Nighthawk.
The Cavalier was giving me tons of problems, so I got a replacement (the next entry). I was going to sell the Cavalier to a coworker and let him take it home before he paid me. He never came back to work and I never got the money.
1997 Chevrolet Astro
This was my dad’s family van when I was a teenager. He had started working at Honda and they gave him a new Pilot, so he didn’t need the Astro anymore and gave it to me to replace the Cavalier.
I loved that van. My friend’s called it “The Monster Van” because I could pack eight people inside and still go drifting around corners thanks to the “powerful” engine and the rear-wheel drive.
But within a few months, it started having problems too. Maybe drifting wasn’t good for it… So I traded it in on a…
1976 Datsun B210
I was so excited when I saw this car on the lot, but it ended up being the worst vehicle purchase that I’ve ever made. I thought it was cool, but it was a rust bucket that was barely being held together.
At some point, the throttle cable broke and I couldn’t afford a legit repair. So I zip-tied the throttle wide open, which meant I was redlining every where I went. When I stopped at lights, I’d push the clutch in and the engine would just rev and rev until the light turned green.
The apartment complex I lived in at the time decided that the Datsun was an eyesore and had it towed. I couldn’t afford to pick it up from the tow company, so they kept it. I’m sure they ended up crushing it.
1994 Ford Escort
This car wins the award for “shortest ownership ever.” I bought it from my dad’s neighbor and it looked pretty clean. Then on the 45-minute drive home, it broke down. Turns out it had cracked heads or something.
After weeks of angry calls and threats of legal action, I was able to get my money back (but not before losing my job, because I couldn’t get to work).
1988 Toyota Corolla
After the snafu with the Ford, it took me a while to get back on my feet. But when I did, I bought this 1988 Toyota Corolla with a stick shift. It had almost 300,000 miles on it when I bought, but actually lasted for about a year and let me get to work.
Eventually, the engine blew. I have no idea what the specific problem was, because I didn’t even bother having a mechanic look at it.
2000 Kawasaki ZR-7
At this point, I decided I was done with the cycle of buying dirt-cheap cars that were going to leave me stranded on the side of the road. I knew that I couldn’t get a newer and more reliable motorcycle for a reasonable price, so I managed to talk my girlfriend (now ex-wife) into putting a 2000 Kawasaki ZR-7 on her credit card until I could pay it off.
The ZR-7 was a fantastic bike and never gave me any problems. It was my sole transportation for a while, but eventually I remembered why most people keep motorcycles as secondary vehicles. All of the practical problems add up and you realize that a car just makes more sense. So I sold the ZR-7 and bought a…
1998 Honda Accord
This was what I considered to be my first real “grown up” car. I think I paid around $5,000 for it and it looked very nice. Unfortunately, it ended up having a bad engine that cost me around $1,800 to replace. But after that, it ran like a champ and I drove for quite a while.
I used the Accord to commute to full-time day job, then to my full-time night classes at the community college where I was getting my Associate’s degree. After I graduated, I used it for a while longer to commute to my first job in my career as a mechanical designer/drafter.
1980 Suzuki GS400
This bike was running when I bought it, but was in very rough shape. I planned to completely restore it as a cafe racer and immediately tore it apart. I repainted the frame, constructed a seat/tail piece out of fiberglass, and so on.
But I never put it back together and got bored with the project. I ended up selling it in pieces to someone and I have no idea if they ever finished it.
2004 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636
At this point, I was making decent money and decided I wanted another motorcycle—a legit supersport. I could afford to own it alongside the Accord, so practicality wasn’t a huge issue.
I found a beat-up 2004 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 that had been laid down at least once, which had broken fairings and a dented tank. After buying it, I stripped it down and bought new fairings. A body shape pulled the dent out of the tank and painted it and the fairings a gorgeous 350Z burnt orange color.
For the life of me, I can’t remember why I ended up selling this bike, because I absolutely loved it.
1998 Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
My Accord was still running fine, but I wanted something with 4WD so I could hit the trails in the North Georgia mountains. So I sold the Accord and found this 1998 Jeep Cherokee on eBay and bought it sight unseen. It was a lift, big tires, and looked really clean.
I really liked the XJ and took it off road as much as I could. At one point, I got it stuck in a shallow pond and flooded the interior. A friend had to yank me out and I spent weeks replacing the interior carpeting to get the smell out.
Then on a camping trip in the mountains, the head gasket blew. I managed to limp it out of the woods and onto a road where a tow truck could get it, but damaged the engine even more in the process. After getting the heads machined to fix that, I decided to sell the XJ to get something more reliable.
2012 Kia Soul
The 2012 Kia Soul was the first brand-new vehicle I ever purchased. Make fun of me all you want, but I liked that car. It was dirt cheap (something like $13k new), had a 6-speed manual, and a surprisingly good engine.
More importantly, it felt good having something new that I could rely on. I was also building my credit with the financing.
1990 Mazda Miata
With the Soul as my daily driver, I wanted something fun that I could use to get into autocross. The go-to at the time was the Miata. I found this first-year NA Miata for about $1,800. It had huge, ugly rims and the power brakes didn’t work.
Fixing the brakes turned out to be easy: for some reason the vacuum hose was backwards. Then I replaced the wheels and tires with the standard size. I also had to remove a cold-air intake to be able to race in the stock class at autocross.
I took that Miata to several autocross events and had a blast with it. I can’t remember why, but I then decided to sell it and that was one of my biggest car regrets. I think I sold it for $2,500, but it would be worth a lot more today.
1980 Yamaha Maxim 1100
Around this time, my mom and step-dad moved from Georgia up to Virginia and my step-dad left his motorcycle with me. I wasn’t a cruiser guy, but the smooth power of that big engine was pretty cool.
I kept that bike for a while and only rode it occasionally, because I had other bikes at the time. I sold it after my step-dad decided that he didn’t want to ship it up to Virginia.
2007 Suzuki SV650
My roommate during these years had a first-generation SV650 and I was always a little jealous of it, so I ended up buying a 2007 Suzuki SV650.
I honestly can’t remember much about this bike, how long I kept it, or why I sold it.
2013 Subaru Outback
As much as I liked the Soul, the driver’s seat was horribly uncomfortable and was hell on my back. My then-wife and I were also getting ready to move from Georgia to Colorado and so this 2013 Subaru Outback was the obvious choice.
This was the only other vehicle that I ever bought brand new and we loved it. Sure, the CVT transmission sucked, but it could handle moderate trails and snow very well. It also got very good gas mileage.
After a couple of years, the Outback became my wife’s car and she kept it after we got divorced. Then it was stolen a couple of years after that.
1982 Jeep Wagoneer
We were living in Colorado and I decided I wanted another “fun car.” I’d always liked the look of them, so I bought this 1982 Jeep Wagoneer (renamed to the Grand Wagoneer a couple of years later) for around $1,500.
It ended up having lots of issues and left me stranded multiple times. It was also very rusty and that massive V8 was so underpowered that the thing could barely move its own weight. I sold it after a few months for about what I paid for it, but part of me wishes I had kept it considering how much they’re worth now.
2010 Nissan Xterra Off-Road
I still wanted a 4×4 for trails in the Colorado Rockies, so I gave my wife the Outback and bought a mint-condition 2010 Nissan Xterra Off-Road. I loved that Xterra. The Off-Road trim was the same as what would later become the Pro-4X and it had all the bells and whistles, including a locking rear differential.
Two hours after I bought the Xterra, I hit a deer. That left a minor dent, but I never had any issues with it. This is the vehicle that got me really into off-roading and what I owned when I went to work for EarthRoamer.
2005 Honda CBR600RR
My wife and I had bought a house and I was working at EarthRoamer. Things were going very well and we were financially secure, so I decided it was time for another motorcycle.
I found this 2005 CBR600RR with only 10k miles, which the owner managed to blow the engine during that time. I bought it as a project knowing the engine was bad, but this was a project I actually finished.
I ordered a lightly used engine and replaced it in my garage. After that, it was a champ. I used it for commuting on nice days and took it up to the twisties as much as I could.
2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
At this time, I was getting really into browsing industrial auctions and came across this bright-orange 2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. It was originally a police cruiser and then became a taxi. On a whim I bid on it and ended up buying it for around $1,200.
I had no real plans for the Crown Vic, it was just cheap and I thought it’d be fun. And it was! I had a good time beating the hell out of it and treating it like a rally car. But because I had no real use for it, I sold it. Later the city tried to fine because the buyer just abandoned it on a street somewhere without ever registering it in their name.
2006 Subaru Outback
In 2015, my wife and I got divorced. Soon after, I quit my job at EarthRoamer with the intention of starting my own fabrication business.
I decided that it would be a smart decision to sell the Xterra, buy this cheaper 2006 Subaru Outback, and put the difference into the business. I did all of that and actually really like the Outback, but it had mechanical issues (bad valves, if I remember correctly). So I didn’t keep it long and replaced it with the BMW that I’ll talk about in a moment.
1960 Chevrolet C10
My goal with my fabrication business was to design and build high-end furniture with mid-century modern aesthetics mixed with modern industrial style. For marketing, I thought it would be a good idea if my work truck was something old and cool.
I bought this 1960 Chevrolet C10 for around $5,000 and it was a true rat rod. It had a newer LS engine swap and could peel out like nobody’s business. But it was also a rust bucket and I had the bright idea to restore it.
I took it apart in my shop and kept it was an ongoing project as I attempted to run my business. I never finished it and when my business failed, I sold the C10 in pieces to someone who knew what they were doing.
2009 BMW 328xi Coupe
I needed a replacement for the Outback and my girlfriend at the time had a BMW 328i sedan that I really liked, so I bought this 2009 BMW 328xi Coupe. I thought I was very cool, because it was a sporty, luxury car. I felt rich and successful.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t actually rich or successful. My business was failing hard and I was broke. I had put all of my savings into the business and borrowed everything I could to keep it going (more details on that here, if you’re interested).
It was probably one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made, but I was overwhelmed and ended up just letting the bank repossess the BMW.
2007 Ford F-150 XL Supercab 4×4
Before my business failed, I figured I needed an actual work truck (since the Chevy was in pieces) and bought this 2007 Ford F-150 XL Supercab 4×4. It was a solid truck and I had no real complaints with it.
After my business failed, I put a truck camper in the bed and spent about 6 weeks living out of it as I drove around the country. When I got back to Denver, I continued driving it for a while.
But at that time, I didn’t have any work and decided I to begin delivering food for GrubHub to pay the bills. The gas mileage of the F-150’s V8 would have eaten all my profits, so I sold the Ford and bought a…
2012 Hyundai Accent
My reasoning was that I liked the Kia Soul and the 2012 Hyundai Accent had the same engine and transmission. The Accent treated me very well. It got incredibly good gas mileage, which helped when I was delivering food.
I kept the Accent until my mother passed away and I got money from her life insurance, some of which I used to buy a…
2002 Toyota Land Cruiser (100 Series)
This was a dream vehicle for me. I had always heard how amazing Land Cruisers were and was extremely excited to get one. I was living in Las Vegas at the time and drove to Pasadena, CA to pick up this 2002 100 Series. Other than some faded paint and worn front seats, it was in very good condition and I bought it for $9,000.
I absolutely loved that Land Cruiser and kept it for a couple years until I moved to Florida. At that time, I was freelancing and owed quite a bit of money in taxes that I didn’t have any way to pay. So in 2020, I sold it for $12,000—the first time I ever made a profit!
But this is the vehicle I regret selling more than any other. Not just because they’re worth so much more right now, but because I truly loved it and because it would have been perfect for my situation right now (more on that in a moment).
2008 Suzuki SX4
After paying my taxes with the money from the Land Cruiser, I was left with about $2,500 and needed to find something in that price range. Luckily this was just as the pandemic was starting and used car prices weren’t crazy yet. I was able to get this 2008 Suzuki SX4 hatchback with AWD and about 100k miles for like $2,200. Everything worked, including the AC (which is necessary in Florida).
Even though the SX4 was purely an “I need transportation” vehicle, I did like it. But I didn’t feel like I could rely on it for anything other than around-town driving, so I sold it the first chance I got to buy the Rav4 that I’ll talk about in a moment. But before I did that, I bought a…
2011 Triumph Speedmaster
I was into my 30s and wanted something more comfortable than a supersport motorcycle. Florida isn’t known for its twisties either, which makes cruisers desirable. Reliability issues scared me away from Harley, but I still wanted something with more character than a Japanese cruiser. I ended up finding a pretty sweet 2011 Triumph Speedmaster.
Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get over my desire for speed and adrenaline, so I sold the Speedmaster after a few months.
2019 Toyota Rav4
The Suzuki SX4 held me over for a while, but I knew I couldn’t rely on it for long. I found this almost-new 2019 Toyota Rav4 for a good price and went for it. I really liked the Rav4 and didn’t have any complaints about it. I especially liked the electric blue color—I’ll always take bright colors over silver, black, or white.
2013 Triumph Daytona 675
When I moved to Arizona, I knew I wanted another motorcycle. I wanted something fast to take to the mountain twisties and I wanted to get into doing track days. I’ve loved the Triumph Daytona 675 since it first hit the market and in particular I thought the white/blue special edition was the most beautiful bike I’d ever seen.
When I found a white/blue 2013 Triumph Daytona 675 for sale in Tucson, I jumped on it immediately. It was in great condition and the price was very fair. I loved the Daytona so much (even if it was uncomfortable) and started doing track days with it. Then a lot of things happened at once…
2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited
My girlfriend and I had purchased a cheap pop-up camper, which we liked but knew we wanted to replace soon with a Casita molded-fiberglass travel trailer. The Rav4 was able to tow the pop-up, but didn’t have the capacity for the Casita. We decided we needed something with better towing for that.
Fortunately, because the used car market was so crazy, I was able to sell the Rav4 for $7,500 more than I paid for it. I was then able to use the difference to buy a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited with great 4WD capabilities and a 5,500lb towing capacity—more than enough for the 2,800-3,500lb Casita.
But I needed transportation between selling the Rav4 and getting the check from the dealership to buy the Montero. I decided to take the Daytona 675 out of my storage unit and park it at our condo so I could use it for daily transportation. Sadly, within 36 hours someone stole the Daytona.
I was able to buy the Montero shortly after and then a month or so later Geico sent me a check for the stolen Daytona. I used that money to buy a…
2008 Buell Firebolt XB12R
This was kind of a strange choice, even for me. But I’d always had a thing for Buell motorcycles and the 2008 Buell Firebolt XB12R was priced well. The low-end torque also seemed a lot more usable on the street, compared to the super high-revving Daytona 675.
I still have the Firebolt and haven’t quite made up my mind about it. It isn’t in perfect condition and needs some work. It’s also air-cooled and only has 5 gears. But the torque is fantastic and it is much more comfortable than conventional supersports. I also like all the quirky Buell features.
For now, the plan is to keep the Buell for the foreseeable future and start taking it to the track. But knowing my history, your guess is as good as mine about how long I’ll actually keep it.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2) Laredo w/ 5.7L Hemi
I bought the Montero to tow the Casita, but after picking up the trailer and towing it for thousands of miles over the course of a week-long trip, my girlfriend and I decided that it wasn’t up to the job. The Casita is well under the Montero’s towing capacity, but the 3.5L V6 seriously struggled to pull the trailer. It could barely maintain 65mph on flat interstate and would overheat going up mountains. Even swapping the radiator for a new one from the later 3.8L engine didn’t help.
It was a really hard decision because I loved the Montero and enjoyed not having a car payment, but we decided we needed something that could tow better. I researched lots of potential replacements and was leaning towards an older Nissan Armada when I found out that WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokees were available with 5.7L Hemi engines that put out a whopping 360hp and 390lb-ft of torque.
That kind of power, combined with off-road capability, made me decide to buy a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2) Laredo 4×4 w/ 5.7L Hemi. It has the Quadra-Trac II and Selec-Trac systems, which make it very good off-road (even without diff locks). I’ve owned the Grand Cherokee for less than a week, but have already tested its off-road abilities on some pretty serious trails here in Arizona. It also tows our Casita easily.
And now we’re caught up …at least for now. I haven’t owned exotics like Dough DeMuro, but I’d say my variety is right up their with his. If you actually read this whole thing, I applaud you! This was mostly for me, as I have a hard time remembering every vehicle I’ve owned. For my own records, I’ll try to keep this list updated whenever I get a new vehicle.