My current beater is my 98 Crown Vic. I got it cheap because it needed a motor. I was working at a ford dealer as a service writer when it came into the shop. The company that owned it said they didn't want to fix it, so I offered them 100 bucks for it, they came back with $250.. which I was good with.
I've worked in a few dealerships in the service department. Often people will come in with an older car that needs more repairs than the car is worth, these are usually the best beaters you can find.
Since it had 170,000 miles on it I couldn't see buying a new motor for it (at that point I'd never even driven the car) So I looked to eBay... A few days later I found an engine with 140K on it. After winning the auction I called the guy to come and get it and he says "do you want the rest of the car it came in?" So for 170 bucks I got a 93 Mercury Grand Marquis, towed it home and finished removing the motor form it.
I ended up selling the transmission for $100 Intake from the 93 motor for $90 (different than the intake from my 98 motor) and took the car to the scrap yard and got another $110 out of it.
I got this car to replace my 92 Toyota corolla that I bought for $110 about a year earlier (needed a $60 radiator to make it road-ready) My sister really needed a car so I sold that one to her, when I got the crown vic. That was almost 4 years ago now. It's now got almost 232,000 miles on it, and still going strong... Well it does need a headlight now, I'm looking for a good deal on one.
This is sort of a "before" picture, since then, a friend thought it'd be funny to beat the hood with a broom, I thought it'd be a good idea to push a chevy blazer off the side of the highway (hey cop cars can do it... oh yeah they have push bumpers) and most recently I thought it'd be a good idea to tow behind Jason's bus. Now it pretty much looks like a pos... oh well it still runs.