Image by: Steve Woods
For big savings amid a tanking economy, I suggest thinking small. Really small.
The stock market has plummeted. People are losing their homes and retirement savings. Most of us are doing all we can to save a few dollars. That includes driving less and trading in SUVs for cars. Even General Motors may be trying to sell its Hummer unit.
I have a better solution to the credit crunch, one that even a three-year-old can understand: Trade in real cars for toy cars.
They’re the ultimate in fuel efficiency and affordability. They make an excellent first car for the young – or very young — buyer. At a few inches long, they fit in any parking space or garage.
Take my son’s Mini Cooper. Its pull-back action offers unmatched fuel efficiency. Its spoiler and sculpted aerodynamics add up to an ideal gasoline-sipping, entry-level purchase. Newly fashionable hockey moms, however, may have trouble fitting in pads and sticks.
His 1955 Ford Thunderbird’s bold lime-green finish hides a molded-plastic engine bursting with high-performance power … with a simple push and without a drop of gasoline. The tiny T-bird is green not just in color but in practice, so you can feel good about yourself while behind the wheel.
His red-and-white 1957 Chevrolet Corvette offers nothing less than rocket-like acceleration – without rocket-like gas consumption — on surfaces from carpet to kitchen. His 1961 Porsche 356B Coupe generates equally astonishing mileage on hardwood floors and rugs. It’s a perfect hybrid of tradition=2 0and technology, without losing any points for styling.
When it comes to iconic status, his New York City Checker Taxi has few equals. Alas, the engine lays down little to no horsepower. But this beauty is easy on the pocketbook, as it still charges only $1.50 for the initial fare and 25 cents per one-fifth mile. Compare that to the current rates of $2.50 and 40 cents per one-fifth mile.
These head-turners tend to roll over, they can’t accommodate a car seat, and they include some parts that may be choking hazards. But they’re also ideal family cars. Why? Because they’re a great excuse to stay home and spend more time playing with your child. Adults and children can experience the joy of driving — together.
With mom and dad at home more, they’ll spend less time shopping and there’s less need to fill ‘er up. I’ve mentioned a few classics, but feel free to choose your own make and model. You’ll find them at reputable car dealers like your local toy store or street vendor.
Christopher Harder is a stay-at-home dad who left his job as an editor at The Wall Street Journal web site two-and-a-half years ago to care for his son. He’s been a journalist for 19 years and his essays on parenting have appeared in a variety of publications.