Video: Why Trailer a $450 Car Home When You Could Drive It Instead?

Maybe this resonates with some more than others, but it seems that there is a certain thrill in buying a car for pennies on the dollar and then attempting to drive it home–knowing full well the laundry lists of things wrong with it. (However, if that sounds like your kind of fun, you should definitely check out our $2000 Challenge Presented by CRC Industries.)

Of course, that's exactly what these folks did after they picked up a 1979 Buick LeSabre for $450 at a farm auction. As the video description says, they could have put it on a trailer and towed it home, but why would you want to miss out on the potentially fun team-building exercise in trying to retrieve a barely working car? 

Also, what's the cheapest car you have ever bought, and what's the farthest you've ever driven it?

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maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
9/24/20 11:52 a.m.

Ha, reminds me of driving home my $300 Buick RMW challenge car. 5 miles with no coolant and cracked head. But the A/C blew ice cold!

Toyman01 (Moderately Supportive Dude)
Toyman01 (Moderately Supportive Dude) MegaDork
9/24/20 12:00 p.m.

I bought a 60 year old bus that hadn't been driven in 12 years and drove it 1100 miles home. Does that count?


MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/24/20 1:18 p.m.

My record would be driving a $500 Ford Probe from Atlanta to Gainesville for the $2004 Challenge. It had considerably less drama than driving a $900 LeBaron from Atlanta to Cleveland a few years prior.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/20 1:26 p.m.

I drove a $99 cadillac from cleveland to carlisle PA and won 2nd place 74+ cadillac at the gm nationals in 2003ish

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
9/24/20 1:31 p.m.

The 4 pack of beer escort was towed from Philly to Maryland, but then with a fuse replaced it was driven 30+ miles home. Brakes and motormount definitely should've been done first, but it was incredibly fun, if daunting. 

RonB001 New Reader
9/24/20 3:17 p.m.

When my touring motorcycle broke down in New Mexico, I bought a $250 GTI and a trailer, and towed it home to North Carolina.  Zero issues other than wobbly bent rims. for the whole story.

m4ff3w UberDork
9/24/20 3:52 p.m.

$300 Merkur XR4ti with a blown head gasket, drove home.


bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/24/20 4:09 p.m.

$200 nissan 200sx SE from Manchester, NH to DC. With my girlfriend at the time.

$Free RWD corolla from NH to Buffalo. We were going to take it from NH to southern FL, but my girlfriend ended up buying a brand new wrangler in nh, and buffalo was a last minute detour.  Once we had 500+ on the Jeep, we did decide to throw it on a dolly since Buffalo to Naples is a long drive to do in a vehicle alone.

Mndsm MegaDork
9/24/20 4:11 p.m.

I bought a 400$ Corolla sight unseen from another grmer in 2014 and drove it from southern PA to Minneapolis MN. I didn't even have tools, though I did need a new battery in indianapolis.  



A year later, with absolutely no prep and loaded with all my worldly goods, I drove another 1600 miles to Florida. 

outasite HalfDork
9/24/20 5:06 p.m.

Co drove a free worn out mid 50s Buick or Oldsmobile convertible with no heat in sub zero January from McGuire AFB, NJ to Indianapolis in 1968. Traveling though a snowstorm, we were wrapped in blankets. Traveling on the old Pennsylvania Turnpike , we almost did not make it thru one of the tunnels because the lifters were not getting enough oil. We arrived late at night, ate, slept. Early the next morning, we pulled the engine from the car in an old drafty barn because he wanted the engine. Flew back to Philly that afternoon and returned to the base so we would not be AWOL.

Cheapest car was $1.00 for a 58 Chevrolet 4 dr with a 6 and Powerglide. Daily driver for over a year.

fasted58 MegaDork
9/24/20 5:29 p.m.

If you like that type of video, check this channel out: 

Vice Grip Garage

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/24/20 5:33 p.m.

I bought a 79 Honda Civic 1200 4 speed for $50 and a battery. Drove it home 20 miles. I had never ever driven a standard before.

keithedwards Reader
9/25/20 5:13 a.m.

I was going to say the ~'73 Chevy Suburban I bought in '85 for $300 and drove 30 miles home. Friend of seller said the seller desperately needed the money. My wife speculated that he needed bail money. It wasn't long before I found both heads were cracked, but I learned a lot about replacing heads on 350 engines (as well as a freeze plug or 2). Used it as the tow vehicle for my homemade car trailer for a few years.

My cheapest had to be the $100 '70 Impala that I drove 40 miles home, a few years after the Suburban. I needed its 350 engine, for a different project. 

frenchyd PowerDork
9/25/20 5:55 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

My $50 Morris Minor Traveler. No battery because that was new this spring.   No Brakes because nobody ever put fluid in.  
But Hey!! The parking brake holds.  Let's tow it home . I've got a big heavy rope.   And off we go. 
I'm letting the clutch out with the car in gear to gently slow down.  And a couple of stops later notice the dome light coming on when I did so. ( generator). 

Wait is the engine running?  Oops I smashed into his big wooden number that stop but hey! It's running!  
untie the rope.  Running pretty decently and yes the parking brake works fine.  It's only 50 miles or so and the new freeway is open. 

ddavidv PowerDork
9/25/20 6:39 a.m.
fasted58 said:

If you like that type of video, check this channel out: 

Vice Grip Garage

And Junkyard Digs

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
9/25/20 9:27 a.m.

In 1990 I paid $600 for a 1977 Pontiac LeMans and drove it from Lexington KY to Ft Bragg NC.  It was perfect.

In 1996 I traded a $500 motorcycle for a 1987 Shelby Charger that had lived several years as a race car.  Drove it from Cape Cod to Kentucky.  Took three days, cost hundreds of dollars, a second degree burn, and many many stops on the side of the road.  I would have abandoned it if I didn't have all my worldly possessions in and on it at the time.  Worst car ever.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/25/20 9:30 a.m.

$50 corvair, 1987. had been rear-ended hard and repaired poorly. i only wanted the engine for my other $50 corvair. drove about 20 miles to swap location, swapped engine, drove for another 18 months, spun a bearing and had the junkman come pick it up.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/25/20 3:31 p.m.

$300 Rabbit diesel, purchased during a rainy night with 275k on the clock, no airbox or air filter, from the really bad side of Madison, WI back to UW campus.  Most terrifying 20 mile drive of my life for multiple reasons.

9/25/20 3:44 p.m.

Who was it that bought a car in the SouthEast and was driving it back to like Idaho? He was accompanied by his wife and the car kept shedding lug nuts despite heroic efforts to fix the problem. Ended up on a trailer for the last part of the trip.

Always wondered if the cause was discovered?

90BuickCentury Reader
9/26/20 8:23 p.m.

My farthest was a 1990 Buick Century 2 Door in 2018. 450 miles in middle of summer with no AC, 3 11yrold tires, 1 28yrold donut, and no spare tire (in use on Rear Drivers side). Car had been sitting for a year of 2. Drove a rental car down, put new battery and filled gas tank and cruised about 55-60 on the highway.


Cheapest that I bought and drove home was a $320 1989 Buick Century sedan, also in 2018. Drove 30 miles on nearly bald tires, no exhaust from cat back, and it would stall out at idle sometimes.

dxman92 Dork
9/27/20 2:16 p.m.

I drove a $450 93 Ford Escort home but that was about 15-20 miles..

JBruin New Reader
9/27/20 8:20 p.m.

Back in 1984 purchased a 1970 Dodge Challenger for $35. Rust free (Wisconsin) and gutted interior. Driver seat, dash, floor shifter. Sat next to garage for three years didn't know if would run. Ran when parked. Towed it three blocks and put 5 gal gas in and poured some down the carb. Fired and drove the 30 miles home through three cities.


2018 purchased a 1997 Camaro z28 for $3000. Sat in a garage untouched for 12 yrs. Sat outside untouched for two years. Southern Kentucky is not kind to paint. Bought it on a Monday morning and drove the 40 miles home and later in the day drove the 15 miles to work and daily drove it for 2 1/2 years. Had 56,xxx miles on it when bought, now has 62,XXX.  Sitting in garage collecting dust now.

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