I feel the comments you dislike, are not so much anti-import, but anti-lost money and time that can never be recovered.
My favourite classic cars are the unrestored 1960's Ford and G.M's I regularly see running down the road in the northern city I live in. Usually driven by elderly people who've probably owned them for 40-50 years and have never seen a reason to sell, because they just won't die. They remind me of riding cross country in my Dad's Galaxie in 1975.
As for driving 70 miles a day in a Prius. I can't conceive of it. You deserve a medal from Japan.
I started car shows long ago, and I purposely park next to cars I have never seen before for the day. I was in the du Pont Hagley Musuem car show yesterday. I sat with a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible that shares the same platform as my 1970 Chevelle SS. We both have fully loaded models. His car has 165000 miles and it was interesting hearing of the Woodward Dream Cruise and shows he has driven to as far away as Mississippi. If you bore of shows in the same area, drive further out and spend the weekend. I did Carlisle with my Vette and stayed out there driving up with friends. We booked our rooms a year ago to get a hotel. I am never bored and see new cars by doing so. Sometimes if you put yourself out there, you can meet great people and learn of restorations. The idea is to have fun. There are many people interested in your car, even if you are less so at the moment. I also mix with other weekend hobbies to keep a balance. It has kept me very healthy vs sitting home on the couch after work. Good Luck!
Seems like to me a good compromise is simply drive a 50 MPG car to the drudgery work commute, Monday through Friday. If it's a Prius, so be it. With the money you save on gas annually, invest it in a quality domestic classic that holds its own and appreciates. Upgrade it where you can or buy one very nicely done. A drive anywhere, nicely built vehicle, and have factory air.
I can drive to shows after retirement in a few years, and if I tire of mine, I can sell and drop close to 6 figures liquid right in the bank. Or hang onto it longer and have more.
Even with the economy dips, if you hang onto them for 15 years plus and keep them mint, it's better than CDs or throwing the dice on stocks, or seeing your 401k stay flat.
Insurance with Haggerty or the like is peanuts, and exempt/antique your tags for lifetime inspection waivers if available. Doesn't get any better than that. And you don't lose the asset like the cash pulled out of your pay every week. That happens with loads fees and economy dips.
Good luck with your Prius!
To the commentator insulted by the term 'Merican', well for starters, if that was insulting to you, then I apologize. That was not my intention. I too am just as every bit patriotic and American as the next guy, and that statement was not meant to be belittling to Americans. But again, if that was insulting to you, then I apologize.
But on the same token, that doesn't negate my own opinion in that some of the comments made here too have also been insulting to me, because it's the sentiment in those comments that are basically the same thing: "Oh - you drive a Prius.... you drive an inferior product because blah blah blah..." (basically while citing totally unrelated reasons that are seldom based on technicalities.)
Look - If you re-read some of my comments, you would see that I as well am not totally thrilled with the car either. But it does what it does, which is that it gets me back and forth to work reliably and cheaply. Sure - I can understand the commentary also about "well life is short so why not buy something nice?" Well, it's about priority. Everyone has different priorities. Last year we bought a house on the coast of California. We did so mainly because instead of buying new cars every 5-6 years or getting on a lease, or otherwise buying lots and lots of stuff, we had instead saved up and had a nice down payment. We also intend to retire at a hopefully much younger age and you typically don't get to do that if you spend tons of money on cars. I paid a total of $1,800 for my '55 Mercury and maybe another $2,000 since then. I love the car and it's my weekend vehicle. I am sure I could very easily blow 20k on this car no problem. But then again, it runs and drives just fine. To me that is all I really need.
As far as the "Cookie Cutter" comments, well I have in fact done quite a bit of fabrication, welding, cutting, and restoration in my time. I restore a lot more than just cars. So yes - I can appreciate the work someone has done on a car - any car, but you've got to admit that when you take a stroll down the 3rd row of '55 Belairs, you're probably not going to exactly pay as much attention to each and every one versus say - something really out there like a Stanley Steamer, a Graham, or a Pierce Arrow.
But I can understand perhaps some of the emotional reasons why people restore the cars they do: Maybe they had a family member or a parent who owned one. Or maybe when they were a teenager, they really wanted a Mustang and now that they have the money, they can have the car of their dreams. When I was a kid we had a '86 Toyota 4Runner that was as basic as they came. 4WD with manual locking hubs, twin differentials, and a 5 speed. We took it literally everywhere. We even pulled fence posts with it. I would really like to have one of those, but already they are starting to command top-dollar.
My last 2 cars were from a rental properties. I started buying in my mid thirties. I bought rapidly escalating classics as well. Works out well if you use money wisely.
If driving a Prius enables you to retire at 40 or 50, I am listening. You may have a 401k and maybe a pension today. Maybe. But health care purchased at 40 or 50 solo, plus paying your home etc off is a remarkable feat. Add property taxes and high utilities. The odds are you will live longer and then may need long term health care. I still want to travel and do things. I save 1400 a month alone on working, as the company pays my health insurance. Then the loss of 2/3 of income. Can driving a Prius do that? I will work til 62. And drive very nice cars. I will downsize when I quit.
We're getting a little off-topic here, but no, driving a Prius isn't the one and only way to save money. It's just one of many. For starters, I buy all of my boots, shoes, and clothes at Goodwill. Often times items that still have the tags on them. I bought a Carhart jacket that still had its tags for $10 a few years ago. Those are more like $150 new.
I repair and maintain ALL of our cars. That includes replacing clutches, brakes, starter motors, water pumps, and so on. A dealer or repair shop charges like $75 an hour these days and they'll probably use OEM parts. I use strictly aftermarket and my labor is of course free. I keep cars and truck well past the period most people do. My truck is pushing 20 years old. The car is now almost 12. Both are getting well up into the miles.
We buy food in bulk. I've never actually bought a TV. The one I have now is a 44" flat screen that was on the side of the road with a big FREE sign on it. It initially didn't work, but all that was the matter were 3 blown electrolytic capacitors, which fixed the issue. Those cost 50 cents each, thus I paid $1.50 for an $800 TV.
We rented dirt-cheap for over a decade, sharing a house with others and only ever paid about $500 a month. We saved up a large down payment and have 50% of our house we bought last year already paid-off.
Most of the furniture and household items are from yard sales or even on the side of the road. I buy strictly vintage, heavy-duty appliances as they are better and are easy to repair. None of the major appliances we own cost over $100 and they work as good as new.
I could go on, but when you add all of these little things up, it really starts to affect how much you can save because in the end we all will need to have enough to survive off of when we retire, and as you mentioned, healthcare is certainly not cheap.
I'm not trying to say we're the perfect example of how to save as most people probably wouldn't want to be as cheap. But it is a way in which to save more money faster.