The long-awaited and even longer-delayed ultimate vehicle update!
I have pictures but I want to give the whole story. For those of you with short attention spans, or who just don’t care about details, here is the bottom line: I GOT A CONVERSION VAN! You may now skip ahead to the pictures. Everyone else, read on.
So. If you’ve paid any attention to my car-related posts you will know that my ultimate vehicle is a conversion van. I’d held out hope for a long time that I could get one but when we were finally ready to try to buy I looked and couldn’t find any appropriate ones. They were all either brand-new and in the $50k range, or they had really high miles and weren’t very nice.
I eventually decided that I was going to have to put off my dream of a conversion van for a couple years. I decided I’d get a mini-van and then we could trade it in after a while, when things were better and our credit had recovered some. Then we had the whole incident with the Kia we did get — they let us take it home and then called a week later and said the financing didn’t go through after all and we had to bring it back. Come to find out it would’ve been a bad deal and we’d have ended up paying way more than what the van was worth, so it was a good thing it fell through — though, of course, I couldn’t see it at the time!
As a result of the financing falling through a very good friend (and I’d say that even if money wasn’t involved!) offered to lend us the entire amount we’d need for a van, meaning we could get whatever we wanted (in that price range) and just pay the dealer cash for it. This is pretty much the best thing that’s happened to us in about two years and I owe this friend a debt of gratitude. I’m a big believer in paying it forward so I’m going to have to do something really huge for someone else to equal this kindness. This friend is the only person in quite some time who’s given us any kind of break whatsoever. You know, we never asked anyone for charity and weren’t looking for handouts or for people to bail us out of the mess of our own making. All we wanted was for someone to work with us a little and this person gave us the opportunity we needed. It’s also not just good for us, morale-wise, it is going to save us a ton of money. Have I mentioned that the dealership generously offered to let us keep the Kia for a 21% interest rate? Yeah. Like I said…..BAD deal. GOOD that it fell through.
Now fast forward to Saturday. Feeling a conversion van was out of reach I’d decided I wanted a Chrysler Town & Country. We’d gone down to Texas to look at various ones I’d found online. This one particular dealership had a bunch of them so we went there to look. Lo and behold, when we arrived at this dealer to look at mini-vans, there sat a conversion van!
Intrigued, I checked it out and liked what I saw. When I saw all the features it had I pretty much wrote it off, figuring it was too rich for our blood. Sure enough, the price the first guy we talked to quoted to us was out of our price range. I had the idea that maybe we could give them all we had and finance the rest, as they had signs that said, “Guaranteed approval!” hanging up around the lot. The amount we had would’ve amounted to more than a 75% downpayment so I thought it might be feasible. After we drove the van Robert made some comment about, “Well, now I know it’s here….” like he was ready to leave and “think about it” and I looked at him and said, “No way! I want you to go in there and talk to them and find out if there’s anything we can do!!”
So he went in to talk to the salesmen and had the brilliant idea of asking what the internet price was, as we were technically there for an internet deal (just on a different vehicle). The price was $5000 less than the previously-quoted one — well within our range! It was a done deal after that. He asked me if I wanted to go look at the other mini-van we’d planned to see and I told him heck no! I wanted this van and I wanted it NOW!
So here we are. Not only did the first, mini-van-deal falling through prevent us from buying a way-too-overpriced vehicle, we ended up getting MY DREAM VEHICLE, the one I didn’t expect to get for another two or three years….and we are paying $4000 LESS for it than we would’ve paid for a stinking KIA! Somebody up there is looking out for me, I’m telling you….even if I get pessimistic and doubt it every once in a while. I just need to shut up and stop trying to figure things out.
Now, about the van….we got a G R E A T deal. I mean, it was a steal. In researching it in the Kelley Blue Book we figure we paid as much as $6000 less than retail for it. The van is an ’02 and it has less than 40k miles on it. It has EVERYTHING — all the stuff I’ve ever wanted. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to get a van like this right now. It is a Dodge Ram Regency conversion. One of the guys at the dealership who used to sell Dodge conversions said the Regency is the top-of-the-line one.
It has leather, which, OMG! Never thought I would get leather at this point in time. All the mini-vans we were looking at were cloth seats. It is super-clean inside. It has the wood trim, which looks very nice. It’s got a t.v. and VCR and hookups to put in a DVD and a video game system. It came with two sets of headphones which you can plug in at either the second or third row. It has a radio/CD player in the front and a separate one in the back for the passengers. It’s got power everything. Even the back seat, which folds down into a bed, is power. It’s got shades on all the back windows. It’s just got….EVERYTHING! Every bell and whistle you can imagine is in this thing. And you should see all the room it has inside!
I could not be happier. I mean, really….who’d have thought this would work out this way? I was SO desperate I’d gotten to the point where I’d honestly have been grateful for an old junker, just so long as it ran and was safe. I had no delusions of grandeur and truly never aspired to having anything like this now. I am so humbled and thankful that things turned out this way. I am still shaking my head in amazement.
I have heard stories before of people who are in dire financial straits and then something very important to their livelihood breaks down or needs to be replaced and they don’t know where they will get the money for it. They pray about it and then, through some totally unexpected circumstance, the exact amount they need is presented to them. I feel it’s similar for us with this van. After paying for the van we have just enough left over from our loan to pay the taxes and other fees on it. I mean, really, isn’t it strange? I couldn’t find any vans like this in our price range for weeks and then we happen to stumble upon one at a dealership where we’ve gone to look at other types of cars….and it just happens to be within our price range, even though it’s actually worth a bunch more…..and the amount they do want just happens to be exactly the amount we have. The salesman said that conversion vans usually only last about a week, two at most, after they receive them. This one had been there a week already. I wouldn’t go so far as saying it was a harmonic convergence but it was pretty darned close.
And now some pictures. I am completely smitten with the van and Robert is tickled about it, as well. Two different times today we stood out in the driveway for several minutes just admiring it.
Looking to the front
Looking to the back
The t.v. in action. The VCR is in the cabinet to the left. The right-hand cabinet is empty; we can put a DVD player in there. The t.v. picks up some local stations even without an antenna.
Accent lighting. This lighting is on the ceiling. It is not bright at all — I can have it on while driving at night and it doesn’t affect my being able to see well. It actually serves no purpose other than that it looks really, really snazzy. I love it.
Storage. These cabinets are all around the ceiling. As a person who is obsessed with always being prepared for any possible eventuality, these cabinets make me slobber in anticipation. I will be able to fit so many supplies in these things.
Second row control panel. Top row, left to right: ashtray, controls for power third row seat (it folds down to make a bed, and, yes, even it is power), drink holder and headphone plug-in with toggle to switch the t.v. sound back and forth from headphones to regular speakers. Bottom row: Passenger CD player and locked storage box (which I haven’t figured out how to get open yet….but it’s still cool).