The Total Cost of Ownership

Announcer: Go behind the wheel, under the hood, and beyond with Car Stuff from

Scott Benjamin: Welcome to the podcast. I'm Scott Benjamin, the auto editor here at

Ben Bowlin: That would be actually Scott "Twin Turbo Top Hat" Benjamin.

Scott Benjamin: Wow.

Ben Bowlin: Uh-huh. And let this one grow. I am Ben "Flying Nuclear Sub" Bowlin.

Scott Benjamin: Wow.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, these nicknames come to us courtesy of Jeff from the Internet. And we just wanted to shout those out. We'll get to his email in detail maybe in a later episode, but those names are so great we had to say them right now.

Scott Benjamin: Great names. I've already forgotten mine.

Ben Bowlin: Twin Turbo Top Hat.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, good. Flying car makes sense for you.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, Flying Nuclear Sub even. But I wanted to throw in those acronyms because some people may have seen an acronym thrown about before. How do you want to go at this? Do you want to do anecdote or do you want to jump right in?

Scott Benjamin: Oh no, blatant. Let's go right for it, because I think a lot of people are familiar with this. And the ones that aren't I think -

Ben Bowlin: Should be?

Scott Benjamin: They'd do better to learn something about this because this is one of the pitfalls that a lot of new or used car buyers fall into. It's the difference between just buying a car, the sticker price, and what's called the total cost of ownership - or sometimes it may be called the true cost to own. And it's abbreviated TCO.

Ben Bowlin: Not TCOB.

Scott Benjamin: Not TCOB, which is?

Ben Bowlin: Taking Care of Business. Are you sick of me making that joke?

Scott Benjamin: No, no.

Ben Bowlin: I've been constantly doing that to you over the past week.

Scott Benjamin: No, no, no. It's just TCB I think. I've never heard the O thrown in there. But I guess it works for our purposes.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I'm just being ridiculous.

Scott Benjamin: TCB with a flash - that's Elvis. Really. Look it up. You'll find it.

Ben Bowlin: I actually did Google that. We talked about it and I actually did Google that. You were right. Not to say I didn't believe you - one thing I've noticed, you're usually on the money, man.

Scott Benjamin: The thing is, there's a lot of outlandish stories about Elvis, so you could pretty much say anything and they may believe it.

Ben Bowlin: So here we go. Outlandish - that's a good place to start. For the people who don't know about TCO, this may seem weird. They would say, "Okay, total cost of ownership." A lot of people would guess, "That means maybe what I paid for my car initially," whether it's new or used. And then add to that taxes, cost of registration, and maybe maintenance. But there's a lot more.

Scott Benjamin: There is more to it. It depends on which list you look at. Some may combine a couple of these categories, but there's six or seven categories. We've got an article on our website about this. It's called quite simply, What Cars Have the Lowest Cost of Ownership. And I believe in our article we say six because we combine a couple of these. I'm going to run down a list of what they look at when they're determining true cost to owner or total cost of ownership, either one. We'll just stick with one of those. Let's say TCO from this point.

Ben Bowlin: All right. TCO.

Scott Benjamin: And honestly you can go to a place like Edmunds. You can to IntelliSource. You can go to a lot of different places to find information about TCO. So you can try Any of those places will have this list and there's even calculators. And we'll talk about that in a little bit. So what Edmunds uses to calculate true cost to own - it's a set of assumptions on their part.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, wait. We should say this - the difference between TCO and initial cost of purchase is that TCO is over a span of time.

Scott Benjamin: It is over a span of time.

Ben Bowlin: We forgot to say that.

Scott Benjamin: It's covered in this list, but it's -

Ben Bowlin: Oops.

Scott Benjamin: - over five years. That's okay. You know your stuff, that's all.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, thanks.

Scott Benjamin: So you're talking about not just what you're going to get hit for immediately, because that is significant also, even in a used car purchase - new car, of course. But in a used car, there's more than what you think. I'll just run down this quick list here. And the assumptions that Edmunds makes when they're calculating true cost to own - and that's pretty much across the board. All of these area similar, okay? They're saying they're estimated for five-year periods like you mentioned. It's 15,000 miles per year assumed, which is the national average at this point, I believe. It went up from 12,000 not long ago. It's 15,000 now. And that you're financing the vehicle through the traditional method, not like lease financing through the dealership or through their credit agency. The next thing is that you are in what's called the gold credit tier - which means you have excellent credit. So when you're determining the finance rate for the car - let's say you go to the bank and your credit isn't all that great, they're going to give you a higher percentage rate than if you have excellent credit. And we're going on the basis that you have excellent credit. Also, that you're making - now this is a number that I see variance in - a ten percent down payment on the vehicle at the time of purchase. So no matter what the cost of the car is, we're assuming ten percent down. I've seen numbers as high as 15 percent down. And a lot of people - you probably know this - it's zero percent down.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. That's the deal.

Scott Benjamin: That's the draw. Zero percent down and make your first payment and you're on your way. That's a whole different thing. We'll talk about that some other time.

Ben Bowlin: Maybe that's a different episode.

Scott Benjamin: So we mentioned that they said a five-year period, but just to clarify, your loan term is 60 months. So that's a five-year loan. Not all that uncommon. A lot of people do it for four or three, but really five-year, I believe, is one of the more common loan terms for a vehicle.

Ben Bowlin: It's an industry standard.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, it is I think. And you also find that this also represents the average demographic for insurance premiums. So in the insurance average, whatever that happens to be - the age demographic, location - wherever that happens to be. So all those factors - I think that's seven right there. In our article, we combine maintenance and repair. That's one for us.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, that makes sense.

Scott Benjamin: And if you look at these broken down, then we'll get into some examples - depreciation is a big one. So a new car, 46 percent of your total cost of ownership is depreciation over the five years.

Ben Bowlin: Which is - just in case anybody's wondering - the largest cost of ownership?

Scott Benjamin: Yes. Actually, some go as high as 65 percent.

Ben Bowlin: Are you serious? Because 46 was the number I got and I understood that to be a general average.

Scott Benjamin: No, it goes up. There's some that you can buy that the moment they go off the lot they lose X-number of dollars. It's not 65 percent immediately. This is a progressive scale over the next five years. I've got an example here I'll share in a moment, but it's over time. So it's five years - this amount the first year and this amount the second year, etcetera.

Ben Bowlin: Scott, you might as well buy a boat with those depreciations.

Scott Benjamin: I know. And then fuel - again these are averages. And you'll notice one other thing. These don't add up to 100 percent. And the reason is because it's an average based on each one, and it's not going to come out exactly to 100.

Ben Bowlin: All right.

Scott Benjamin: Got it? If you're keep track at home, that's what's going on. So we've got a number already that's 46 percent or 65 percent. The next one - fuel. You may pay as much as 26 percent on average of the price of the vehicle. And that's for total cost of ownership over the five years. Interest - now this is one that varies greatly. But again, assuming a five-year loan, 15 percent down, and a 6.4 percent interest rate, which is ballpark for what you're going to pay right now - that's about 12 percent of your average over the five years. Insurance, that's a big one. But again, you have to go on age, location, driving record, make and model of car, options that you have, safety features it does or does not have - the average is around 11 percent for this.

Ben Bowlin: And that's for Jane and Joe Shmoe average.

Scott Benjamin: Yep. That's right. And if you want maintenance and repair, that's surprisingly low, about four percent of TCO.

Ben Bowlin: Can I take the last one?

Scott Benjamin: Go right ahead.

Ben Bowlin: And three percent for your favorite uncle, Uncle Sam.

Scott Benjamin: Sales tax.

Ben Bowlin: Which is interesting, because you would think - I'm wondering if this number comes from just sales tax? Or does it also accrue any other governmental expenses like license fees or -

Scott Benjamin: Licensing, registration, and that type of thing? I'm not sure if that's included in that number of not.

Ben Bowlin: I was wondering.

Scott Benjamin: I would think that it would have to be.

Ben Bowlin: That's the only place it would go.

Scott Benjamin: Now three percent doesn't sound like a whole lot for sales tax, though. Well, that's a national average, I guess. There's some states that have none and other states that have eight or nine, whatever it happens to be.

Ben Bowlin: Do we have an example, maybe?

Scott Benjamin: We have some examples, but I just want to get this across that we're not talking about the sticker price here.

Ben Bowlin: No, we are not talking about the MSRP.

Scott Benjamin: Because this is what draws people in. They get excited that there's that new car for $12,000 that they can get. But you don't remember everything you're going to pay over the next five years during the term of that loan. And it's not just the loan costs. Most people understand that. "I pay interest on that. Sure." But all of the other factors that we talked about, they really add up. It's not insignificant at all.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. This is not chump change. I think I see where you're going with this. And stop me if I steal your thunder here, but let's go ahead and take the example of somebody buying a $12,000 car. So they buy a $12,000 car, lightly used, certified pre-owned - whatever you want to call it. And in the lot, in the same place, there's another car in similar condition, different model, different make - $15,000. So it's $3,000 difference on the initial purchase. Let's just say they're both sedans. Now I don't have an example precooked here, but I think you see what I'm getting at. That $12,000 as you say is just the upfront payment. The five-year backend could actually end up, if we're right, costing - let's say it cost $7,000 over five years. And then let's say that the car that is originally $15,000 costs $5,000 over five years. And eventually it's a wash. You're paying for the same.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, you are. But the example you just mentioned is $1,000 less even.

Ben Bowlin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: So it's $1,000 less because you balanced out the - yeah. So I understand what you're saying. If you look at the cars just based on sticker price, you're doing yourself a disservice. You need to really dig into what the cost of ownership over five years will be or over the term of the loan. Now if you're paying cash for the car, that's totally different.

Ben Bowlin: That is absolutely different.

Scott Benjamin: That's completely different. A lot of people do that, too. They save up and they just buy the car outright. It's not all that common, but it does happen.

Ben Bowlin: I'd love to do it one day.

Scott Benjamin: I'm not one to do that, but it happens. I've heard of people who have done this before, of course - on every level, too. It depends on where you are financially.

Ben Bowlin: I think I bought my first car from my dad for a dollar so that we could transfer the title.

Scott Benjamin: I did that one time. Yeah, with a friend's family!

Ben Bowlin: I paid cash for a car.

Scott Benjamin: You did. You're right.

Ben Bowlin: Look at me, man.

Scott Benjamin: A full dollar. My first car cost, I think, $1,100. And at the time - this was the mid-'80s - I financed it. Because I was a high school kid and I was making nothing. I think I was probably a caddy at the time or working at the movie theater - something like that. I had a bunch of bad jobs - a long string of t hem as a matter of fact.

Ben Bowlin: I think that's why we get along. You know I got fired from tape. I told you that, right?

Scott Benjamin: Because of the non-adhesive. Yeah, that's right.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, you remember.

Scott Benjamin: The thing is, I financed that small amount. And over the term of whatever that amount was - it wasn't very long. It was a couple of years maybe. But I ended up paying more for the vehicle because of that - probably a significant amount more as you can imagine.

Ben Bowlin: First time loan applicant - no credit history.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. You had your parents' co-sign for you and that type of thing.

Ben Bowlin: Sure. We've all been there.

Scott Benjamin: You get hit with a high interest and it just builds up. But what I want to tell people is there are online calculators for all of this. So it's not as difficult as you might think to find this out. This is really simple. The new cars, the calculators tend to go back about three years. The reason is, it's the year you're in, the year prior - just in case you're getting one of those leftover on the dealer lot type cars - and the next year. So this year you'd find 2009, '10, and '11 in a new car calculator. On a used car calculator, it only goes back five years.

Ben Bowlin: Really?

Scott Benjamin: So I was only able to dig up information on 2005 and above - up to current year. I was looking up examples for us. I'm going to hand you this now, okay?

Ben Bowlin: Oh, no. I'm getting paperwork, everybody.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, on top here I've calculated our own personal vehicles as if we were to buy these as used cars right now.

Ben Bowlin: Okay.

Scott Benjamin: So you actually have a 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo.

Ben Bowlin: Yes, sir.

Scott Benjamin: I have it down as a 2005 because I couldn't find any earlier.

Ben Bowlin: Fair enough.

Scott Benjamin: And just quickly, since no one can see this chart we're looking at. They can easily go to Edmunds TCO calculator and you'll be able to do the exact same thing and see what we're talking about. But it gives you a really clearly laid out chart of how much that vehicle costs total. A true cost to own number, a total cash price if you want to just buy the car outright at this point, and the average cost per mile - which I thought was pretty interesting, too. It's an added feature that was just great to know. And then it gives you totals for your one, two, three, four, five in every category that I mentioned -

Ben Bowlin: Ouch.

Scott Benjamin: - including deprecation. And that's even on a used car, Ben. That's on a used car, the depreciation, too. So it's not just new cars - maintenance, repairs, financing, etcetera. So just real quickly, Ben your car right now, if you were to purchase it out right would cost you about $8,707.

Ben Bowlin: If I paid cash.

Scott B enjamin: If you paid cash.

Ben Bowlin: Showed up with that backpack.

Scott Benjamin: So if you had $8,700, you'd be done, wipe your hands. You'd still have insurance and things like that to pay, but not the true cost to own. Do you see the true cost to own number?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I do. If you've been wondering why as you soon as you heard Scott hand me this paper I was muttering under my breath -

Scott Benjamin: He's been stinging ever since I handed it to him.

Ben Bowlin: I really am. That's a surprise, man.

Scott Benjamin: It's a significant number. Go ahead and tell them what it is. Now, remember $8,707 to just buy it outright.

Ben Bowlin: Yep. And if you buy it outright and if you are, again as we said, a gold credit rating member, the super average person for insurance purposes, this vehicle will have a TCO of $27,241. Man, come on. This is the first time I've ever felt bad about this car.

Scott Benjamin: Don't feel bad.

Ben Bowlin: You're preening, dude. You're so happy.

Scott Benjamin: No, no, no. The thing is, the $8,707 is just the purchase price, okay? You also have to look at the five-year total for the insurance number. And this is assuming that you financed it.

Ben Bowlin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: I guess that number goes away. You still have to look at the depreciation number. You still have to look at the fuel number. You still have to look at the maintenance, repairs, and insurance. So it does take away the taxes and fees. It takes away the financing, of course. So it really doesn't come down all that much. So you can feel good about that.

Ben Bowlin: No, because the two biggest costs as we can see here again clearly are depreciation and fuel.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, fuel is a big one on that one. You've got a thirsty engine.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I have a thirsty car.

Scott Benjamin: But don't feel too bad about it. Because I've got a 2005 Honda Civic.

Ben Bowlin: That's true.

Scott Benjamin: It's valued right now at $9,000 almost exactly. But the true cost to own is $25,655 on a $9,000 car. So if I went to a used car lot and I saw that $9,000 price I might think that's a good deal. And I'd say that's great, but maybe if I hadn't done this, I wouldn't realize that over five years it's going to cost me almost $26,000 to own that car - which is significant. And that's the thing. You've got to remember that you have to have the income or ability to pay for that for the next few years while you're -

Ben Bowlin: Over time, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: And if you buy a car and it looks pretty and it's a nice car - it's the most you can afford, though - and you put it in the garage. You may not be able to afford to drive that thing. You may not be able to afford the insurance that's required. You may not be able to afford the maintenance that's required. And all of that's on a fair scale. You can see that maintenance numbers go up over time. You get the highest in year four. The fuel costs, that remains pretty much constant. The taxes and fees, those actually go down because the initial hit you're taking is the sales tax, I think. Depreciation actually goes down gradually. Repairs - see, we said maintenance.

Ben Bowlin: They trend up.

Scott Benjamin: And the financing goes down, of course, because you're paying less and less interest on the loan over the five years. The insurance amount remains pretty constant - maybe up a little bit.

Ben Bowlin: Give or take, up a little.

Scott Benjamin: Again, $26,000 - now that's a 34 cent cost per mile vehicle. So we're talking about a difference of only two cents between yours and mine. But it all adds up. It really does. No just for fun, take a look at the last page.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, I'm taking a look at the last page.

Scott Benjamin: And I hope I'm not losing anybody - and this is really something - I know it's numbers and charts and it's difficult to follow. But if you go online to Edmunds and you do this, search yourself, you'll be able to find what your car amounts to. And you'll be shocked at the true cost to own five-year chart that shows up.

Ben Bowlin: And it's relatively simple. You don't have to have that much information for this calculation.

Scott Benjamin: No, no. Not at all, really! Now I did this just for fun with a new car. So let's say you've got your eye on that 2011 Chevy Camaro SS -

Ben Bowlin: Oh, get out of my head. The black one with the yellow flames?

Scott Benjamin: Exactly.

Ben Bowlin: That's the one.

Scott Benjamin: Now it has a purchase price of $41,154. That's MSRP - an average cash price.

Ben Bowlin: And for rock star podcasters like you and I, that's a pittance.

Scott Benjamin: Really. I may have that much sitting in the change thing in my car.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, because you have all of those ancient coins.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, that's right - doubloons and things like that.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, so this is a brand new car, a car that is relatively reliable - $41,000 is not unheard of at all.

Scott Benjamin: No. And we're talking about a performance car. So this is the top end. It's not the RS model. This is the 2SS model. It's a great big thirsty eight-cylinder, huge engine, real powerful, great looks, brand new car - very hot car right now. The true cost to own is really $52,458 on this vehicle. Now over five years, that's still significant. That's an additional $11,000. Maybe you've accounted for that, maybe you haven't. But the cost per mile is 70 cents a mile, which is double what your car and my car is. That's because it's a used car and it's not quite as thirsty in the gas range.

Ben Bowlin: $11,000 just for gas.

Scott Benjamin: But I want to show you something. The deprecation on this car is huge.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, wow, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: The first year, you're paying $5,500 in just depreciation.

Ben Bowlin: And we say that, we say that you're paying it because we mean th e vehicle is losing that value.

Scott Benjamin: It's lost $5,500 the first year.

Ben Bowlin: But you're still paying that car note.

Scott Benjamin: But you are getting to drive a Camaro SS.

Ben Bowlin: Well, there's that.

Scott Benjamin: Over the five years, you're paying almost $20,000 in depreciation on that car. That's a significant hit right that.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, for some people, that's your starting salary.

Scott Benjamin: And over five years, it does go down - $5,000, $4,000, $3,000, $3,000, and then almost $3,000 for the fifth year. So that's a lot of depreciation going on there. And to be honest and to be fair about this, the amount of deprecation on that vehicle - I'm looking at the scale here that Edmunds gives - there's a zero to ten on the cost rating. It's right in the middle. It's neither really bad nor really good.

Ben Bowlin: That's an average. Wow.

Scott Benjamin: So imagine one that depreciates significantly more than that, what you'd be losing.

Ben Bowlin: So in the first - let's get this straight. Within the first three years, you lose over $10,000?

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: In deprecation alone.

Scott Benjamin: Correct.

Ben Bowlin: Wow.

Scott Benjamin: Pretty significant.

Ben Bowlin: So then is it a smarter idea over the five years to purchase a 2011 model in 2012 or 2013?

Scott Benjamin: I don't know. The beauty of the calculators! You go in and fill all this stuff out and you figure out what's the best deal for you.

Ben Bowlin: And I guess part of the point we're making here is that listeners who have checked out our podcast about the hybrids - remember when we did the show about how much money you actually do save with a hybrid? This is sort of the same thing. When we calculate these things - no matter who you are, buying a car should be a big decision. Even if you are entirely a collector and you just purchase cars for your collection, you should definitely think about this. I wonder what it would be like if we had these calculators going back to 1940 or something.

Scott Benjamin: I wonder. But the funny thing about collector cars is some of them become more valuable.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, they de- and then re-appreciate.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. See, the depreciation thing may not be there. It may be appreciating like a '60s Corvette. They're coming up in value and they do consistently over the years it seems like. There may have been some times when they dropped off, but that's the weird thing about these cars. How many are available? How rare are the options on this car? It's very specific to each vehicle, so it's worthwhile to look into it and figure out what exactly you're getting here. And one other quick thing here! I'm looking at the numbers now, and the total cash price is $41,154. Right?

Ben Bowlin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: And the true cost to own is $52,458. That's $93,500 and some dollars over five years? Is that right? This is the five-year total for - look at the yearly totals on depreciation, taxes and fees, and fuel. That's not the initial purchase price. So honestly, when you look back - just so we're clear on this to everybody - this car over five years is going to cost you $90,000 if you follow the maintenance, if you fall into the gold credit score, if you fall into the right insurance range, if you have good credit - it's on and on. So our cars that are $27,000 and $25,000 to own, you can go ahead and add in the total cash price to that as well. We said let's take away that amount, but I don't think that's right. I think we need to add that to it. So really, we're looking at $35,000 to own your car over five years. And mine would be the same thing, $34,000 over five years.

Ben Bowlin: I've reached the point of no return, Scott. Unless this car breaks, we've got to keep it.

Scott Benjamin: We have another article about that we should talk about later. But just to get it across one more time that you're not looking at just the sticker price. You've got to know what you can afford. Not to be preachy about this or anything, but I've fallen into this before where I want something that's a little bit more expensive than what I can afford. And luckily, even without this calculator, I realized that I couldn't do that over the term of the loan. You look at the insurance costs you have to pay immediately the first month and you say, "Oh, my gosh. I can't afford that for six months, even." So you realize, "Maybe that's not the car for me. I've got to get the one with the smaller engine." Or, "I have to get the model year prior to that and go for a used car instead of a new car." Just use common sense when you're doing this.

Ben Bowlin: And you can really see some surprising things here. This is through consumer reports. The Toyota Prius is one of the few hybrids that can save money. It costs about $7,500 more than a similar Chevy Cobalt, but it costs almost $3,500 less over five years.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, okay. So it balanced out. I bet a lot of that is the fuel cost, is that right.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: But we talked about that remember?

Ben Bowlin: How much money do you really save?

Scott Benjamin: How much do you drive? So I guess that varies by user. But that's significant to find that out, that it can cost you less over five years. So interesting.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, but as I said, I've already made my decision. I'm in a committed relationship with a Monte Carlo, man.

Scott Benjamin: I know you are. In this lowest cost of ownership article we have on our website, there's a ton of examples in there. There's the smaller cars like the Nissan Versa, the Yaris, the Corolla, the Aveo - all the way up to examples of full-sized pick-ups and SUVs. There's even luxury convertibles and things like that. So there's some good information there. And it will show you the MSRP range and then the real average cost of ownership. I think you'd be surprised to find out how significantly different that number is. Remember you've got to add that to whatever your purchase price is, really.

Ben Bowlin: And if you have not checked this yet for vehicle, regardless of when you've owned it, it's good research to do. It's relatively simple. And I think we're going to have to put our foot down on this one. If someone is about to buy a vehicle, I'm going to go ahead and call it - you need to check this out.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: You need to.

Scott Benjamin: I really think so. It'll save you a lot of trouble. It may save you some heartache down the road when you realize, "I can't make that insurance payment this month." I'm not pointing my finger at anybody. I'm saying that I've fallen into this, too. Not that it's happened, but I've been lucky to spare myself that because I figured out a couple of things early, not even as detailed as this. And if I'd known all of this, who knows? I may have made different purchases along the way as well.

Ben Bowlin: I'm thinking of that - what's that song? If I knew now -

Scott Benjamin: That's right.

Ben Bowlin: If I knew then what I knew now.

Scott Benjamin: Here I am, sitting in traffic in my Honda Civic and I'm looking at that BMW -

Ben Bowlin: Oh, tsk tsk.

Scott Benjamin: - thinking, "Oh, that would be nice, wouldn't it? It's not that much more. Maybe the payment would be a little bit more per month." But what about these other six factors?

Ben Bowlin: Oh, shush. Nonsense.

Scott Benjamin: Well, now that I know about this, it's one of those things. I can't unsee it.

Ben Bowlin: Whatever happened to Stuff Scott Sees?

Scott Benjamin: It'll come back, I promise you. I'm keeping notes.

Ben Bowlin: All right. Well, while you're checking notes, do you want to do some listener mail?

Scott Benjamin: Love to. All right, this letter comes to us from Sully from San Francisco. He says that during the Nuts and Bolts Part II podcast - which was a big hit by the way - a lot of people wrote in about that one. They liked part one and part two.

Ben Bowlin: Glad to hear that. That was an experiment for us.

Scott Benjamin: I know. I think we'll do some more of that in the future. You wrote in about the vintage versus the new retro looks.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yes.

Scott Benjamin: So the streetcars from then and now - the ones that are similar - Mustang, Camaro, Challenger.

Ben Bowlin: I call them the dynasties.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. So he says that he had something to add to this because he has some experience with the matter. 30 years ago he owned a 1966 Mustang 2 plus 2, driving it all through high school and college. He bought the car in Houston, Texas in 1978 for $900.00 and sold it in 1986 for $3,300. Not bad.

Ben Bowlin: Not bad.

Scott Benjamin: So 20 years later, in 2005, he lives in San Francisco and he bought a new Mustang. In fact, he actually purchased it during his lunch hour one day.

Ben Bowlin: That's awesome.

Scott Benjamin: It was the first year for the pony car, the retro look. He went in and went for a test drive. He told the salesperson, "I'm not getting out of this car. I love it too much." "It just felt too familiar," is what he said. Even just based on what he remembers from his '66 - so at the time he said he was driving 40 miles a day to the silicon valley from San Francisco. So he selected the V6 automatic and the premium interior and exterior packages, everything!

Ben Bowlin: Bells and whistles.

Scott Benjamin: Hands down, the 2005 Mustang is the better machine.

Ben Bowlin: Really?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah. So this is a guy that has a lot of experience in the original and now the newer version of it.

Ben Bowlin: Why?

Scott Benjamin: The reason is it's more comfortable, more reliable, the power driver's seat is infinitely adjustable, the controls are easy at hand, the instrumentation's clear and complete, everything's power operated. There's a premium sound system with an iPod jack and, even though he doesn't need it very much in San Francisco since he's from Texas, he says that the factory A/C is really nice to have. The '66 did not have that.

Ben Bowlin: That's true.

Scott Benjamin: So these sound like simple things, but when you really think about it, it plays into the overall character of the car. We both have a soft spot for vintage cars, though.

Ben Bowlin: Absolutely.

Scott Benjamin: So I don't want to discount somebody's love of a car. But despite the fact that the V6 displaces 100 fewer cubit inches than the old V8, this one feels quicker off the line and is just outright faster and more stable at speed, of course.

Ben Bowlin: It probably weighs less, too.

Scott Benjamin: It probably does.

Ben Bowlin: That's probably part of it.

Scott Benjamin: It probably does. I don't know for sure. But he says that of course he gets 25 miles per gallon, which is far above what he got in the LD8 -

Ben Bowlin: In the '66.

Scott Benjamin: And he says that handling is a world removed from the '66. So as you can imagine, it was loose and unpredictable. This one is tight and predictable.

Ben Bowlin: Plus power steering.

Scott Benjamin: He does say that of course he misses the '66, which I think anybody would. He says it'll always be his first love, but the '05 is the keeper. And he just wants to keep it that way. He even named it Francine.

Ben Bowlin: So there we go. Thank you, Sully, and thanks, Francine. Sully wrote in, but we should thank both.

Scott Benjamin: Well, sure. I wonder if the first one had a name.

Ben Bowlin: Probably.

Scott Benjamin: Maybe.

Ben Bowlin: We're always glad to hear from somebody who likes their car, but I also love hearing from people who are speaking from personal experience about something. And I know that there probably are a couple of listeners who are already dashing off to say something like, "Oh, that's crazy. There's no replacing the original."

Scott Benjamin: Sure. I totally get that.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I get it, too. But I think its two different scales through which you evaluate these things.

Sc ott Benjamin: Yeah, is one a weekend car? Is one a commuter car? It would be great to have a weekend car that's the original and then have a commuter car that is the newer version. Wouldn't that be cool?

Ben Bowlin: Yes. Would I do it?

Scott Benjamin: Of course.

Ben Bowlin: Yes. Haven't yet. I've got my people on it, Scott.

Scott Benjamin: You've got people?

Ben Bowlin: Well, no.

Scott Benjamin: I don't even have a person.

Ben Bowlin: Well, the first thing I'm getting my people on is finding people.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, got it. Got it.

Ben Bowlin: And that people is me right now.

Scott Benjamin: Understood.

Ben Bowlin: So what do you guys think about this idea, about total cost of ownership, about vintage versus new vehicles, about anything automotive related. We would like to hear you. You can send us a line on Facebook. You can meet up with us at Twitter, both of which are Car Stuff. But I also want to take a second and plug our brand new podcast page.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, that's right. We got a chance to look at that very recently. Pretty cool stuff. Can I make an admission? I told you this yesterday.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, you told me.

Scott Benjamin: This is terrible. There's a who said it questionnaire.

Ben Bowlin: It's wickedly difficult.

Scott Benjamin: Well, we're getting close to 200 episodes here.

Ben Bowlin: Sure, there's a lot of stuff.

Scott Benjamin: And it says, "Who said this?" And there's a quote from one of us. And I have to admit, I missed two.

Ben Bowlin: I have to admit, I have not taken it yet.

Scott Benjamin: Ah, you're chicken.

Ben Bowlin: I am chicken.

Scott Benjamin: I think you'll figure it out.

Ben Bowlin: I'll try to take it. I'm sure I'll miss a few.

Scott Benjamin: I missed a couple. I must've been misquoted.

Ben Bowlin: Right.

Scott Benjamin: I never said that.

Ben Bowlin: So do please check out our new podcast page on the site.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, and there's a puzzle of us.

Ben Bowlin: There's a puzzle of us.

Scott Benjamin: I've never been in puzzle form.

Ben Bowlin: Until now.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, there's a puzzle us. That's kind of cool - and other podcasters as well. It's a cool site.

Ben Bowlin: All of our podcasts now are brother/sister podcasts and have new pages. But one thing is still the same, and that's our email address. So if you'd like to contact us with comments, restaurant suggestions, PG-13 limericks -

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, sure.

Ben Bowlin: PG limericks.

Scott Benjamin: PG - we do have spam filters.

Ben Bowlin: Or anything clever - and of course keep in mind that we do pay more attention to emails about vehicles. Our email address is -

Scott Benjamin:

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