This is a picture of my 2001 Pontiac Trans AM convertible WS6 with RAM Air.
I wrote this article in the hopes that one day you will read this, and maybe learn from my experience.
For some reason I remember reading that one should own a convertible sports car sometime in their life. Whether this was a bucket list item or just something cool, it was always something in the back of my mind that I always found interesting.
After my second career job I was still single and making good money working in the Information Technology field at a large bank.
My car before this was a Honda Prelude. (More on that later). I decided to trade in the Honda for the Trans Am. I visited the dealer and negotiated what I felt was a good deal for a brand new Pontiac Trans Am, convertible.
I have no problem saying it. This was a fast car. And oh man did I really enjoy driving it. I fell in love with the styling and looks of this car. The hood scoop was also impressive looking.
My favorite time to drive it was on warm summer evenings. It was the perfect time to put the top down and head to the expressway.
Even cold nights were a joy driving with the top down. Just turn up the heat and drive. It really was a wonderful experience and I can understand why car enthusiasts say everyone should own or drive a convertible at least once in their lifetime.
However, little did I know how wasteful and costly this was. This was my second new car at the time and I only drove it on nice sunny days. The rest of the time it sat parked in the garage.
Eventually, as I grew older, I realized how ridiculous and expensive it was to pay for a car that I only drove once in a while. I still remember that $540 a month car payment Ouch!!
Not only did I decide NOT to drive this in the winter, but I purchased another car to use as my daily driver.
At the time Grandma and Grandpa decided to get a new car so I purchased their used Lexus ES300. Thanks mom and dad. Love you!
Although I got the “family price”, I was still paying for two cars. In addition to the car payment there was also insurance, maintenance and gas.
So now I was paying for two cars. Whooh, even as I write this letter to you, I’m realizing again how wasteful this was. But at the time it made sense and I could afford it.
I purchased the Trans Am during a time when the price of gas was increasing. I also realized that gas would probably continue to increase and the cost of driving this gas guzzling machine was going to cost me a lot. And by-the-way, I only used premium gas, which cost me even more.
I eventually decided to sell this car. Not only because it was costing me a lot, but I also needed to reduce my possessions in preparation for hiking.
Lessons learned from a 2001 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 Convertible.
If I knew back then, what I know today, I wouldn’t have spent so much money on such an expensive toy. What I should have done instead, is taken that money and invested in dividend stocks or some other form of income producing asset.
If I HAD to do this over again, which would be ridiculous at this point, I would also NOT buy new. Since cars depreciate the moment you take if off the dealer lot, buying new is an expensive way to acquire a car.
If for some reason you win the lottery and win big, then by all means buy new. However, if you inherit the frugal ways of your father. Keep that money in your pocket and buy used.
A better decision would have been to seek out a very gently used Trans Am. I would have ended up paying a lot less for the car.
Consequently, that is exactly the deal the couple I eventually sold it to got.
I held the car for a few years and took exceptional car of it. The couple I sold it too, got a car with less than 9,000 miles on it and paid a much lower price, than if they had bought it new.
When I went to sell it the other party got a great lightly used car. This is what you want. Be that person buying a slightly used, excellent condition car. Don’t buy new. You will save a bunch of money.
The second lesson learned, in the state of Illinois they require you have a front license plate. Since I never liked the way it looked on this car, and because there is a cool looking bird where the plate should go, I never put it on.
I’m not the only one without a front license plate. Corvette owners are the same way.
Eventually, this caught up to me. I remember being pulled over on my way to work one afternoon. And NO, it was not for speeding.
As I was passing by the police department, the officer pulled me over specifically for not having the front plate on the car. He wrote me a ticket and this cost me money.
So lesson learned, I felt singled out and pulled over just because of the fancy car.
Any fancy car for that matter will attract attention from the authorities. So be aware of that and plan according. You will be stopped and most likely when you are younger.
I’m enjoying writing about this experience and hope you read this and learn from my experiences.
Once I find the pictures of my other cars I’ll write to you again about those. There was a Mercury Comet (my first car), Galaxy 500, Chevy Z24, Nissan Pickup Truck, Honda Prelude, Pontiac Trans AM, Lexus ES300, Chevy S10.
I love you Lando