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Friday, July 22, 2011

A Betty Ford Center For Vehicle Addiction?

Sometimes it comes to this; you must face up to your problem. For some people it’s drugs of some sort that take over their life. Other’s it’s alcohol that won’t let them go. And for some it’s an unfortunate addiction to things that go – vehicles, cars, boats, ATVs – things with motors, engines, noise and vibration.

The difference is that if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol it’s a much more accepted problem. By that I mean it is seen as a problem and because of that there are means and ways for you to get help. There plenty of clinics available and eager to step in and administer to the poor soul that can’t say no to another drink. Unfortunately there is no one waiting to help you with you problem if you are addicted to vehicles.

So I propose a solution.

Like every other addiction, the first thing we have to do is recognize that there is indeed a problem — a problem that you have no control over. In this case it’s the addiction to vehicles. Here, rather than not being able to say no to another drink, it’s not being able to say no to another thing with wheels and an engine. Or just wheels or just an engine. Or sometime neither – but they once had ;-)

To better identify the problem let’s look at what the government says is normal. To apply for any government aid you are allowed only one vehicle. The normal American family has two vehicles. The more involved and less socially acceptable may actually have a three-car garage filled with yet more items sitting outside in the driveway.

There are the telltale signs of vehicle addiction such as justification of purchase. Not to name names, but my son-in-law recently bought an FJ80 with the ‘justification’ that he needed something to seat 7 people. The new registration hadn’t even shown up in his mailbox before he installed a lift kit and mounted bigger, and (much) more aggressive tires on it and headed out to the mountains to go camping.

There are other signs, like the size of a person’s garage – oftentimes referred to as a ‘shop’ thereby giving it less of a classification as a place to park vehicles as to simply ‘justify’ its size by it’s use as a ‘workplace’.

Or how about the shear number of vehicles a person has owned over the span of their lifetime. I recently read a Peter Egan column where he listed that he had owned something like 97 vehicles in his life! Most likely a disgusting number to most people – even those 60 years of age or more.

Now, like the three main questions you must ask yourself to find out if you’re an alcoholic, I guess we now can ask ourselves three questions to find out is you are addicted to vehicles. (Now I may not be absolutely correct in this but I remember these 3 ‘alcoholic’ questions – Do you crave a drink? Do you drink at the same time every day? Have you repeatedly tried to quit drinking?) Maybe we should add that repeatedly tried to quit to our list of vehicle addition questions as I remember that being the clue that I wasn’t an alcoholic – I never tried to quit ;-)

So, let’s be honest with ourselves and answer those questions (That’s the ones referring to vehicle addition and not the alcohol-related questions as after all, alcoholism is pretty much an accepted decease nowadays;-)

I’ll step up first:

1) Have I ever tried to justify the purpose of a vehicle?

The most recent vehicle purchase was a Mazdaspeed Miata modified by Flyin’ Miata to put out in excess of 240 horsepower.

But, it does get better mileage than any other vehicle I own so that’s not really justification right?

2) Do you have a garage that is referred to as a shop because of its size?

Because I test vehicles and work on building ‘project vehicles’, of course my building where my vehicles sit is referred to as a ‘shop’. And 4000 square feet isn’t that big for a shop anyway. Nor is the fact that there’s another 2000 square foot shop in anther state.

3) Have you owned more vehicles than a normal person could justify?

Do I really need to list them?

Motorcycles: (24)
Suzuki 80
Honda Super 90
Honda Scrambler 160
Honda 160 Street
Honda Trail 90
Honda Trail 110
Yamaha RZ 350
Yamaha 100
Yamaha 125
Rickman Hodaka (incredibly fast)
Bultaco Montero
Bultaco Alpina
Bultaco Pursang
Yamaha DT2 250
Husky 360 8-speed (Malcolm Smith’s)
Husky 250 4-speed
Husky 250 (2)
Husky 400 (2)
Husky 450 (3)
Yamaha TT500

ATVs & UTVs: (16)
Honda 185S
’82 Honda 250R
’83 Honda 250R
Honda 350X
Honda 350X 4-wheeler (first 4-wheeler!)
Honda 250X
Yamaha Tri-Z
Yamaha Warrior (super modified for mag article)
Yamaha Moto 80
Honda Odyssey 350
Kawasaki Prairie 700
Suzuki LTZ 400
Suzuki LT80
1999 Polaris Ranger 6x6
Kawasaki V-Force 700
Suzuki King Quad 700
Suzuki King Quad 750 EPS

Cars and Trucks: (54)
65 Blue Meyers Manx (original from Lion Country Safari)
67 Orange Meyers Manx
Yellow Empi Baja Bug
Digger Single-seat VW sand car
Sand Toy 2 Seater
Sandwinder 2-seat racer (Ex Johnny Rutherford car)
65 VW Convert
62 Green VW
70 Orange VW Convert
72 Porsche 914
79 Honda Accord
74 Ford F250 4x4
43 Ford
Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition
GMC S-15 4x4
Isuzu Trooper 4dr 4x4
Isuzu Extended Cab 4x4
70 Chevy 2500 4x4 (Service Bed)
68 Chevy 327 pickup
75 Chevy 1-ton flatbed 350
73 Chevy 1-ton flatbed 454
72 Chevy 4x4 pickup (Dave Gay modified 396)
85 Chevy CrewCab Dually 4x4
85 Toyota flatbed dually dump
92 Toyota pickup automatic
84 Buick LA Olympic Edition
52 VW (restored)
74 VW Thing
72 VW Thing (import with reduction gears)
Orange VW Thing (for parts)
70 VW w/ Porsche 356 engine and tranny (EMPI GTV)
67 Blue Manx (Dave Parsons)
70 Meyers Towd
70 Honda 600 (original bought from owner of Reno Honda)
Suzuki Sidekick Convert
52 Chevy truck
46 Willys Pickup
68 yellow VW
66 Ford LTD 390
Yellow Glass Buggy
VW Rabbit Diesel pickup
Suzuki Samurai – Rockcrawler
61 VW – Fontana Grey
76 Toyota FJ40
85 Toyota FJ60
1989 Jeep Cherokee (Scofield)
1993 Ford F350 4x4
1999 BMW M3 Convert
2003 Range Rover
2004 GMC 2500HD Diesel 4x4
2006 Toyota Tundra CrewCab TRD 4x4
1990 Mercedes 300 SEL
1994 Mazda MPV 4wd
1993 Toyota FJZ80
2004 MazdaSpeed FM Miata

Boats: (8)
18’ Sol Cat
18 Horizon 460 Ford Jet
16’ Trihull
440 Jet Ski
300 Jet Ski
Yamaha Waverunner (2)

Airplanes: (4)
100cc Yamaha Weight-shift Quicksilver
440 Cuyuna Quicksilver
440 Pterodactyl
440 Pterodactyl 2-seater

Tractors: (2)
Cat 247B

We don't have to list tools with engines - mowers, generators, wood-splitters, saws, and weed-wackers do we?

Then that's only 107. A couple more than Pete, but does that really mean anything - really? Keep in mind that I got my first vehicle at age 13 and I’m within months of being 60, so considering that’s 47 years of vehicle ownership - when the total number of vehicles is divided by the number of years of possible ownership is only barely more than the national average of 2 vehicles – per year.

4) Have you repeatedly tried to quit buying and owning vehicles?

Fortunately being an automotive journalist there have been many years where I didn’t need to own a vehicle as I had at my disposal multiple test units. Did that answer that?

I’ve learned a lot in writing this. First, I feel I’m fully qualified to judge whether a person can be classified as a vehicle addict. I’ve come to that conclusion based on my ability to answer the above questions openly and honestly.  Although many people may find my answers show all the signs of addiction, I realize that because of the fact that I have not ‘ever’ tried to give up purchasing vehicles that I can not be classified as an addict.

So, with that knowledge I would like to say that I am here for you if you have a problem and would like to get help. It’s a multi-step program. Take the test. Answer the questions. Clear your conscience and clean out your garage.

I can help you with the clean-up process and point you to the nearest Prius dealer.

Make the step. You’ll feel so much better, and so politically correct.

But be prepared as if too many of you face up to your problem I may have to expand my ‘shop’ to hold the spoils – I mean the clean-up process debris.

We’ll walk through the clean-up process in a future blog.

'Till then don't sell a thing -


  1. Awesome post! I am 29 and only wish I could name off a list like yours! I have had:


    78 Ford Bronco 4x4 460 bigblock
    77 F250 4x4
    91 Chevrolet K1500 Step-side
    79 F250 extended-cab 2wd 460
    95 Chevrolet k1500 ext-cab
    01 Ford Crown Vic CNG
    97 Forc Crown Vic
    2005 Ford Expedition
    2003 Ford Explorer V8


    2011 Polaris RZR LE red/white


    2-1998 POLARIS RMK 700 136"

    I do however have a giant list of wanted Vehicles and Powersports Equipment!!! If I list all of those does it count as an addiction?

  2. Oh Dan. I'm so sorry, but the list (long list / & short list) of vehicles desired do indeed show a tendency toward vehicle addiction. We are working overtime to get the clinic set up so don't worry - 'help is on the wayyyyy'!

    BTW: I was around your age and just back from a stint as a private military contractor when I owned only one vehicle - and it was a car ;-)

  3. Thanks Doug, for being honest and sharing your addiction with the world. Hopefully, your testimony will inspire others to sobriety. Wait is this a meeting of over comers? Or current addicts?

  4. Hmmmmm. Good point my friend. Perhaps it's both!

    I suppose the difference is if you still have a long list of 'currently owned' vehicles vs just a list of 'past owned' vehicles.

    But none-the-less -

    It is my hope that by opening up and talking about our addiction that we can see that we are not alone in this world and that there are others who fail to follow the politically correct guidelines for vehicle ownership.

    It should be our goal to recognize that we don't fit in to the future plan for vehicular use in our society.

    What we do about it is anybody's guess

  5. Well said. In fact I would say that vehicle addiction has a tremendous effect on the teens.

  6. Yes, it's a sad commentary what our addiction to vehicles does to the younger generation. In fact it may be our indoctrination during our youth that has caused us to go in this direction.

    I know personally that my family continually took me camping in our dune buggy so often that soon it became what I loved. Because of that I was left with no time for video games or drugs. Okay we didn't have video games when I was a teen but I'm sure there must have been drugs.

  7. Well until I read your post I didn't think anyone could have beat me... I now know better LOL


    79' Firebird base
    79' Firebird Formula
    88' VW Jetta
    89' VW Jetta
    83' AMC Spirit GT
    94' Chevy Berretta
    95' Chevy Berretta
    95' Ford Mustang
    97' Ford Taurus
    98' Mercury Sable
    79' Olds Cutlass 442 with 402 big block
    98' Ford Taurus
    93' Ford SHO Yamaha Racing worked 5-speed
    97' Ford SHO Ford performance worked V8
    94' Saturn something was a 2 door...
    95' Ford Ranger
    99' Dodge Dakota (V8)
    03' Ford Mustang
    95' Chevy Corsica
    95' Chevy Corsica
    95' Chevy Corsica
    92' GMC Sonoma
    02' Ford F-150 7700
    05' Ford Taurus


    73' Honda 550
    83' Yamaha 750


    81' Honda ATC 110
    85' Honda ATC 250sx
    88' Honda TRX 250r
    03' Honda Rincon 650
    07' Honda Rincon 680
    10' CanAm Outlander 800xt
    09' Honda Rancher AT IRS EPS 420
    11' Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS

    I'm only 30... And I haven't bought any vehicles (cars and trucks) since 2007. I still own the last 2 on the Vehicle list and the last 2 ATVs.

    I might be an addict... but I don't want help!

  8. I am so very sorry about your condition. THankfully you are down to only 4 total. Although not good, it's a start. Please let us know if you buy any addition vehicles and we will send someone over to drag you kicking and screaming to the center. Those of you that don't want help for your addiction are the worst type ;-)

  9. I like that 84 Buick Olympic edition

  10. Of all my vehicles that's the one you like? ;-)

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  14. Do you happen to still have the Johnny Rutherford Sandwinder Car? My husband is looking for a Sandwinder Race Car since his dad created and built them.