Everyone should own at least one crappy car at one time in their lives—preferably when they were younger and can use it as the valuable learning tool it is. A crappy car gives life experiences and teaches things like no other situation or object could possibly do.
I can only smile when I think back upon the memories I acquired by driving a "crappy" car. All the people I met, the situations I was put into, the things I had to do and had to learn—none of that would be with me if I had driven some new reliable car when I got my license. I would probably not be here writing this magazine today had I not bought a barely running '74 K5 Blazer as my first 4x4. I could hardly leave town—something I now realize my parents probably counted on—but I still loved that K5. That 4x4 put me through countless situations, which I can (now) smile back on. Things that had me sweaty, tired, bleeding, dirty, and not smiling back then. I wouldn't give up those moments for anything. All the sketchy vehicles I've owned have given me a true appreciation for things like power windows, working seats, and an engine that fires up every time you turn the key.
A crappy car is one of the best gifts a parent could give to their child. It teaches responsibility, makes them learn simple mechanics, and makes a person meet people they otherwise would not. It does not matter if a crappy car is given to you, if it's inherited, or if you buy it yourself. The genuine experience is the same. All that is necessary is ownership.
I know the joys of crappy car ownership personally, to this day, actually. While I often drive the magazine's 2011 Super Duty, something inside still drives me to find and drive what my girlfriend refers to as "absolute crap." In fact, she likes to tell me I have multiple crappy cars—something I no longer flinch at. I am now in the 'teens for vehicle count at my house, and I'm not going to tell you how many she has called crap. (By the way, I'm sure most of you would side with me. How could she call an almost-running '82 Chevy junk?!)
I don't know what it is, and I don't really care, but something makes me yearn to buy what most people would consider a POS. Maybe it's the potential for greatness I see in them. Maybe it's just me being unable to pass up too good of a deal. Whatever it is, I guess I'm just not done with the valuable experience of owning a crappy car.