Trading The Happiest Place on Earth for the happiest place on four wheels
Summer is officially here and parents all over the country are getting ready to take their kids to The Happiest Place on Earth. A plot of land so magical it will make a many hard earned monies disappear. So unforgettable that provided pictures will cost $10 and a souvenir will take another $40. A place where the same McDonalds cheeseburger meal two miles away costs $5 less. Of course I am referring to the one and only (sort of), gator-infested Walt Disney World.
We were wondering if you can buy an equally memorable summer car for the family that is as fun as Space mountain for the same money as a four day/four night Disney World vacation for a family of four.
According to a study done by hipmonk.com the average cost of a Disney World experience is $4,954.
Rules: Must find a car with the asking price or recently sold price of $4,954 or less
Must be unique/special enough to make memories for the kids
Must be able to fit two adults and two small children
Memorable moments stem from the unique. There isn’t much out there more unique than the VW Thing. Imagine, roofless trips to the beach with crisp wind blowing through your hair, the smell of salt in the air. You stop for ice cream. The kids smiling and laughing in the surprisingly roomy back seats at the fat hairy dude in the Speedo, ice cream mustaches glistening in the sun.
Everyone sets up their towels and sun shade tents (which would fit quite easily in the Things trunk) “Uh oh that looks a lot like rain” Everyone quickly piles back into the Thing and you hastily try to get home before the storm catches you. Oops, it is 5:30 and there is traffic. Double oops, one of your kids ate too fast and feels sick. Good thing the Thing has low doors and no pillars. If you had something like a TT you would be screwed. The dairy filled child hurls outside the car with ease. The rain starts to fall. It is warm and strangely refreshing. Traffic clears and what was once warm and refreshing is now ice cold needles hitting your body at 60+ mph. TRIPLE oops, the carburetors flood and the engine dies. The salt in the air combined with the rain has caused a freak reaction that instantly rusts the tinfoil thin floors out. You and your family push the Thing to an underpass like the Flintstones as you wait for AAA to save you and your cold, huddled mass of a family. Who are now basically refugees all because you didn’t open your weather app...but what a story! Beats standing in line all day while being bombarded with diseases.
Like Chris, I believe that childhood memories are best served open faced, however unlike his Beetle that doesn’t have enough horsepower to climb an ant hill, my choice can conquer any adventure your children’s hearts desire. Why suffer through a line of 400 people for 90 seconds of fun when you can enjoy 400 cubic inches of family freedom when you buy this 1975 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
The K5 Blazer was not the first full convertible top off-roader to come along; however, it was the biggest. It is important to note that bigger doesn't always mean better. Just look at Jeff’s Volvo pick, its enormous and terrible all at the same time. In the K5’s case, bigger is most certainly better. Forget the fact that you can run over little Jeeps and Broncos, your kids are going to love the rear seat that is raised above the level of the front bucket seats. The little monsters will enjoy a theatre like view of the miles of sky and terrain you decide to show them. It will be like the IMAX with a sunburn. Also, safety is not a concern since the roll bar will protect your bambino’s little heads from coming off when you inevitably roll the truck during some light cornering.
Above all else, driving something this massive with no top is just fun. There is a lovable and slightly comedic element to something as ridiculous as a convertible K5 Blazer. This is exactly the type of personality a car needs to provide unforgettable family moments.
Few cheap cars from the naughts turn heads, it was a time of sipping gasoline and plastic, molded bodies (And before Ford realized they must go backward before going forward with the Mustang, with everyone else digging up the steel behemoths they buried out back years ago). But, I can say from experience that many watch an Audi TT whip down the roads and all of them think it’s a car worth much more than its actual buying price. Designed after Ze Germans went to the prolific Isle of Man TT and watched some really fast scooters, this car was built to handle like a motorcycle that happens to have a roof. Audi even made a point of including the two-wheeled crotch rockets in their first commercial for it: Audi TT - The Biker Commercial TV Spot.
Sure, the kids will have to squeeze into the back of what is essentially a two-seater coupe, but they would be screaming regardless of your perfectly positioned driver’s seat cutting off their circulation. With only two cup-holders there’s little chance they will have room for their Snakeez behind your energy drink and her Starbucks coffee (why the hell don’t they sell them in the same place?). However, this seems a small price to pay for some fine German engineering and those kids will make good counterweights in the corners, the fat Millennials that they are. Further, the wonderful curtain airbags will protect you and your loved ones quite well, whether you roll over or crash into a VW Thing parked illegally on the highway. Apparently one of the hipster’s kids got sick from the gluten-free, sugar-free, free-range smoothie he drank and their tin can of a car has a paper napkin for a roof. Granted, you didn’t have to go into that corner so fast, but who drops a tin can in the middle of the highway? Damn litterers, at least hippies took care of the earth. Of course, that’s not nearly as bad as when a 300ft. behemoth of a sports wagon comes hydroplaning around the corner to finish them off, quite a memory indeed!
Up until recently when people started using minivans and SUVs as the family vehicle for a summer vacation, station wagons ruled the realm. America’s most famous vacationing family, the Griswolds, used a station wagon as their vehicle of choice, and made theirs one of the most famous movie cars of all time. The station wagon is such a memorable car it could be substituted a summer vacation altogether. It’s an obvious choice. Station wagons are comfortable and spacious and nowadays, surprisingly stylish.
Take this 1996 Volvo 850R. Volvo perfected the station wagon so well, they took it racing. Its boxy design gives it the capacity to undertake any summer activity. Plus, rear facing seats were an option. What’s more memorable to a bunch of kids than rear facing seats in the back of a station wagon? I’ll tell you what’s not: Splash Mountain.