Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who Says They Don't Make Good Cars in America?

In April of 2003, I purchased a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan for $7,000. It already had 80,000 miles on it. Today, June 13, 2009, as demonstrated by the photo on the left, I passed 300,000 miles on the odometer.

I am proud to own an American original. This vehicle was originally designed by American engineers back when Lee Iacocca ran Chrysler. It was built by American auto makers in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Has this vehicle been perfect? Of course not. But I can tell you, when taking into consideration, ride, comfort, passenger capacity, ease of maintenance, gas mileage and LONGEVITY, there is no finer automobile on the road. Am I ready to trade my Dodge under the coming "cash for clunkers" program? Not on your life! I am going to keep driving it until the wheels fall off, or until I get to 400,000, whichever comes first.


Tom Meade said...

Mr. Hoogendyk, you have just gained some extra points with me for this. I owned a '94 Grand Caravan myself, and it was one of the best vehicles that I ever owned. I have been a Mopar fan for decades. My father, during the course of his 40 year engineering career, did engineering work for several companies, including the (formerly) big 3. :( He did design work on the first push button payphone (for Ma Bell, I believe) design work on the weapons systems of the M1, and/or M1A1 Abrams main battle tank (Chrysler Defense) and design work on the original 1983 Dodge Caravan. As much as I liked my '94 Caravan, my favorite car was my 383 c.i. powered 1969 Chrysler Newport - Sorry, Dad!

Jack Hoogendyk said...

My very first (and favorite) car was a stripped down 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, four-door sedan. Boring tan. It had belonged to my grandfather. He did not want a radio, no carpet, the only thing automatic was the transmission. BUT, he pulled a trailer, so he needed power. It had a 318 Hemi in it. Push button transmission, Boy, could that car fly! I had the speeding tickets to prove it.

You know, I have my problems with the UAW, but I still revere the good old Yankee ingenuity and work ethic that made this country the greatest on earth. We have our problems, and no doubt the unions have done some good and some bad, but Lee Iaccoca and company knew what they were doing with the minivan.

Chuck Schaeffer said...

Maybe the Cash for Clunkers will still be available when you reach 400K miles. I found out from Rep. Camp's office that when you take the Cash for Clunkers check, you do NOT get any trade in value from the dealer. So drive it till the trade in value is about a buck. Oh, yea, I think the vehicle has to be driveable (cant trade in a totaled accident wreck).
Chuck Schaeffer
Maple City

Steve G said...

Hi Jack,

I had a 99 Grand Caravan with 200,000 miles on it. I bought it brand new back in 2000. I recently gave it to my oldest stepson who now uses it as a work vehicle. Other than the muffler, brakes, and belts the vehicle was original, including the radiator, water pump, alternator, engine, and transmission. It was an awesome vehicle. If my stepson didn't need another vehicle so badly, I would've held onto it until it fell apart! Definitely a great vehicle.

Dennis said...

Nice try, but you barely have the break-in period completed. My '93 Grand Cherokee just flew by 434,000 and going strong so far. Keep up the good work! I'll give you a call at a half million.