‘Doomsday car’

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We usually hear about people preparing for the unexpected like a major disaster or a strong earthquake. They stock up on goods they need should they get held up in their homes for a few days. Some may even have a bag with basic survival items that they can just carry when they leave their homes. Some even stock up on firearms and ammunition to defend themselves if the situation goes sour. A doomsday scenario as some would put it.

But there are those who think a bit differently – with the cost of buying a brand new car and maintaining it to last more than 10 years being a bit out of reach for some people. And there are cars that have rock bottom down payments and affordable monthly installments. Most brand new cars, or should I say almost all of them, have a bunch of electronics stuffed inside them. Even those powered by diesel are packed with electronics. They are reliable when brand new but as time goes by…

There are those who still believe that a car with a carburetor or no complicated electronics is still the best in any situation. Or a diesel engine with a mechanical injection pump. If they break down, with a little bit of automotive mechanical knowledge, you could make them run again. If a car with little electronics wades through floods, just drain the water and the oil or flush it several times, and there is a good chance it would start. The most would be an engine with early electronic fuel injection (EFI) and a distributor. You could always yank out the EFI system and adapt a carburetor. It’s mechanical, so if it breaks down you either remedy it or fabricate it. The downside is some owners would stock up on parts if parts get scarce or too expensive – another good reason for hoarding.

Although some would argue that engine electronics now are more reliable than before, then again going to a machine shop is easier than looking for a shop that can fabricate you a sensor or an electronic component. And not all electronic components have a very long shelf life. Meaning, even if it is brand new and passes quality control, there is still no guarantee if it will still be okay after a long time of being left on the shelf.


A few years ago, a heavy rainfall made Metro Manila one big lake. Besides seeing homes being flooded, we also saw a lot of cars looking like toys floating around a muddy play ground. After the floods receded, the first cars that were able to get up and go were the ones that didn’t have any or had few electronic items. And there were motorists who disconnected the battery before their cars went under. I am not saying that newer cars are junk. No. I am just saying that if there are people who are prepping for a big natural calamity by having a bug out pack on hand or enough supplies to bunker down for a year, there are also those who keep or maintain old cars which for them are very reliable and easy to maintain. And when needed, these will be used for mobility. It’s a no-brainer car as others would say.

There are those who prefer a certain model and brand because of its reliability and abundance of parts. Like the model of Mercedes Benz in the mid 1970s up to the late 1980s. Owners swear by them. Very reliable, parts readily available and the body styling is timeless. Bullet proof as the owners would proudly say. A bit pricey if you were to buy one in good condition. If you start changing parts, don’t mind the prices – the parts are built to last. They are tried and tested. They sometimes outperform the newer cars on the market. Doomsday car with class.

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