I had never heard of the stereotype of Scotsmen being frugal and cheap until I saw this post on Sociological Images. It was well known enough in the 1950s, however, that Studebaker made a line of vehicles under the “Scotsman” name. This included the station wagon pictured above.
According to info on Wikipedia, the Scotsman was Studebaker’s attempt to position itself as the maker of inexpensive, bare-bones cars, in contrast to the Big Three automakers miles of chrome, fins and gimmicks. Base price for a 2 door was the patriotic $1776, but it could be had for less than that if the buyer opted for painted bumpers and wheels instead of chrome.
The interior had no carpeting, just rubber mats on top of steel. Gray vinyl seats and painted cardboard trim (!) were the only interior options and rear passengers were unable to open their windows. Accessories were limited, and dealers were instructed to steer buyers looking for frills to upgrade to the Champion line.
Studebaker managed to deliver a reported 30 MPG from the inline six, making it one of the most economical cars of its size. With 0-60 times of around 20 seconds, it was also one of the slowest.
Last August Wired’s Autopia blog rated the red-block Volvos as the winner in the Beater class for its “5 Best Bang for Your Buck” cars.
(People) will assume that you could be driving a better car, but that you just have better things on which to spend your money.
Unfortunately it placed 5th in on-line voting.
On a related front, Get Rich Slowly makes some good points in “Why I Drive a 13 Year Old Car“. The author calculates how much he saves over buying a new car, based on the annual cost of repairs on a 1995 Geo Metro (My buddy Chuck would argue those repair costs would be zero if he owned a Honda Accord). It drives home the point about breaking free from the new car fetish so many Americans have and embracing the idea that cars can be repaired instead of scrapped.
I owe my Brick ownership partially to Dave Ramsey’s “Drive Free, Live Rich“, and partially to a low bonus payment from MTV back in 2006. I didn’t have a car for 10 years, so I didn’t have a car payment for 10 years. Seeing as I’m now unemployed, but have a car with no car payment, I think I made the right choice. But PDXgirl comments on Get Rich Slowly that she doesn’t know if she’d be driving her 1982 Volvo tank if she had kids, or had to make long trips. I’ll try to answer that in eleven years.