I also work on cars. Mostly I just fix the bare minimum. I don't spend a bunch of money to modify something up into a custom car or anything. But I do like to replace the stock parts with better ones when they break. Or if I decide that a small modification is worth the money.
I'm currently in the process of taking apart a Gen I Chevy 350 (5.7 Liter V8 engine) because I want to see how the engine looks with 200,000 miles on it. I still haven't decided if I want to rebuild the engine and keep it in it's current home, or try to find a cheap rolling chassis to put the engine (and transmission) into. Either way, I should end up with a rather cheap car that's better than anything car companies make now. So I may end up restoring a 1993 Buick Road Master Estate Wagon. Which is a weird car to restore, but the point is for a cheap, reliable, practical, daily driver. You can't really beat an 8 passenger car that can easily fit sheets of plywood in the back, has 300 ft/lbs of torque, and gets 18mpg on average, but about 23 highway. The gas mileage isn't the best, but it's a fun car to drive, doesn't look fast so you don't have people trying to race you, and the car is so cheap that it ends up costing about the same as a brand new car that gets twice the mileage in the long run. (That's price of car + insurance + gas.) Besides, a big car with lots of power is better than a cheap KIA or a little Ford Fiesta.
Pulled 5.7l vortec on the beast earlier this year. Block torn down and hauled off to machine shop for a hot tank, .030 over, crank clearance, crank balance, head job, and zero decking. This motor will see a future as a 383 stroker with a black bear tune. Unfortunately it was a humid summer and the machine work done earlier this year will need some freshening up. intend to re-hone cylinder walls tomorrow, set new 400 crank, ring and set the pistons. Hope to at least have bottom end closed up by tomorrow evening with a new high volume oil pump.
Why do people keep thinking that Toyota (and other foreign cars) last longer than American? I'm seriously considering trying to keep my car until it has over a million miles on it. I think two engine and transmission rebuilds will get me there. (The one I'm doing now and a second one at either about 500,000 or 600,000. I think building them better and switching to full synthetic oils will yield a longer life and then pushing the limits of the engine/trans' life when it gets close to a million.)
Sorry, us car guys tend to get chatty and take over threads.
The vast majority of American cars get *really* expensive to own after 100,00 miles. Some of them way before that. It is rare that a Toyota won't make 200,000 miles with nothing but regular maintenance.
For what it's worth, I have been driving for 30 years and only owned three cars, all of them Toyotas. The first two were purchased with over 100,000 miles on them. The only non-scheduled maintenance was a water pump and a head gasket on the first one at 200,000 miles.