I photographed the first-gen Honda Accord you see here in San Francisco, California, a couple of years ago, and I haven’t seen a more run-down daily driver since. Just about every body panel was rusty (including the roof, which had a huge hole right above the windshield) but it was still registered so it somehow got through the Golden State’s strict safety and emissions inspections.
How about you, what’s the roughest daily driver you’ve ever owned? Can you beat this Accord?
I’ve come pretty damn close, I drove the 1980 Renault 14 TL pictured below every day for about a year. If memory serves it had about 333,000 kilometers (206,000 miles) on the clock but the previous owner – a good friend of mine who purchased the 14 in 1982 – told me he drove it with the odometer cable unplugged for over five years.
The car was on its third engine, and I’ve been told the engine was in its third car. It ran surprisingly well and it turned more heads on the freeway than a new Lamborghini. The attention it attracted wasn’t always positive (actually, it rarely was) and I once had to convince a scrap metal guy that it wasn’t abandoned.
I quit driving the 14 a little over two years ago when it failed inspections for a number of reasons including a leaky brake master cylinder, which I knew about and planned on replacing, and, of course, rust. I couldn’t talk myself into parting with it so it’s been parked since.