Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reality Bites

I don't want to turn this blog into a 'Shopping for a car with Mikey' site, so I think this will be my last foray into the subject until there is actually a new set of wheels parked in my driveway.

Having been driving the Charger around for a couple of days, I've fallen completely in love with it. It's a beautiful machine that handles well and has all of the giddyup that I've been missing since the day I sold my old POS 280 ZX almost ten years ago. So I decided to take the next step and I actually went down to the dealership to get some real-world numbers last night.

I found my buddy Brian, (salesman and life-sized hula dancer stage-named 'AloHo' on the Chopper show) wandering the lot down at Towbin Dodge. We looked at a few different Chargers they had--I was most interested in the mid-grade SXT model, and they had a beautiful maroon one with leather seats and a sunroof, but it was a little pricey at 27K. Instead we took a dark blue one out for a spin. It was just as wonderful a car as I'd imagined, and just a bit nicer than the rental I'm currently pimpin' around town in.

Telling him straight up that I don't have a downpayment gathered up just yet, as I've been paying off old debt to improve the credit score, my plan was to just get a feel for the real-world numbers. Unfortunately, the verdict was good-news/bad-news. The good news is that my credit score is about 50 points higher than it was last time I checked it and I am likely to find reasonable financing terms. The bad news is that the 2006 Charger is about the most popular thing in America since the Beatles in 1964, so my selection is very limited. Towbin is the largest Dodge-only dealer in the country, and they only have about 20 of 'em to choose from, and with three different levels of options from the entry-level SE model up to the top-of-the-muscle-car-food-chain RT with the 6.1 liter Hemi fire-breathing dragon under the hood, it doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room to get the one I want, and the prices are somewhat less than negotiable. And to top it all off, since they're selling so fast, Dodge is not offering any rebates or incentives whatsoever.

Basically, in order to get decent financing on a new Charger, I have to come up with almost ten grand for a down payment. Checking the contents of my wallet, I see that I'm about $9400 short this week...

On the other hand, their lot is overflowing with brand-spankin' new made-in-America Dakota pickup trucks (Chargers are actually built in O-Canada) with the 4.8 liter V-8 that I prefer, priced between six and eight thousand less than the Charger. And there are plenty of rebates available.

So... As we speak, the financing department down at the dealership is searching for a lender and I have an appointment to go down there this afternoon to see what kind of deal they can come up with. I'm not optimistic. I could give 'em a thousand right now if I had to, but I'd prefer to give them more at a later date. Although bumming rides to work truly sucks, and avoiding that hassle might be worth a little belt-tightening for the next three weeks.

I've been broke-r. And in much less fortunate circumstances. We'll see.

By this time tomorrow, I could be the proud owner of a new Dakota pickup truck. But the smart money is on me still being a full-time pedestrian.


No comments: