Buying the Invisible Car

I got a car!

And this is a pretty cool story.

About 2 months after I crashed my Hyundai, I got an insurance check for $5,000. I had no intention of spending the money on repairs, so I sold the battered husk ($1,032 on ebay), banked the money and started riding Sacramento light rail.

A few months later, Stacy and I used the money for a down payment on our first house.

So, we had a house, but only one car. Doable. Our savings started anew and I continued to take the light rail, now coupled with an early morning bus ride from our new semi-urban homestead.

There, waiting for a bus the side of the road, I was spotted!

Hi Rob,

Okay. So I know you recently bought a house just off Watt Ave where Mustangs careen through utility poles. Our morning commute takes us up Watt every weekday about 7:30-7:45 and I think I’ve seen you standing at a bus stop there on the southbound (west) side, generally sipping from a coffee cup and looking intently (how else?) up the street for a bus. So . . ., is that you?

If you see two people in a northbound white Volvo staring toward you, they are not stalkers. They are merely fans. (Actually, one fan, the other a fan’s wife saying, “What website are you talking about now?”)

Richard Leimbach

Richard was a fan of and recognized my gleeful face standing on the side of the road scanning the horizon for an oncoming bus 84.

Yep. I belong to the elusive group of famous people spotted at the bus stop. Anyway, I exchanged a few emails with Richard and we got to know each other.

About two months later, he noticed my Craigslist car postings and sent another email:

Hi Rob,

I have greatly enjoyed your recent car buying scam alerts. Do you really want a real car?

As chance would have it, I expect to be disposing of my classy 1989 Taurus which you have seen at least a couple times on Watt Ave. I have had it three or four years and bought it for $1,000. If you want it, you could have it for $200. Maybe less if you promise not to write badly of it.

It's not a great car but it seems to do fine for basics and the price is right. Good tires. No radio.

Details upon request.


Yes!  A 1989 Ford Taurus isn't exactly my dream car, but $200 was definitely my dream price. I bought it and said goodbye to my group of  public transportation buddies.


The beautiful thing about a brown 1989 Taurus is that it makes absolutely no impression whatsoever. In a parking lot full of cars, it is the one you are most likely to overlook because it has zero sex appeal.

It is the invisible car! Ideal for erecting phony memorials and stealthing around sporting events.

Two months in and the car is going strong. I tried a 120 mile trip to San Mateo for the Maker Faire, and it performed flawlessly.


Thanks Richard!



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