I’ve always loved cars, but as a telecommuter living in urban Chicago, I have near-zero need for one. I bought an Audi RS6, and absolutely adored it, but pretty quickly realized I had no need for yet another car – especially not one that I anguished over every time it got a scratch.
I sold the RS6 and resolved not to get another fun car until I retire – or until we move to a place in the country where I can have a 3-4 car garage and not feel guilty about leaving a bunch of cars in the garage.
In the meantime, it’s fun to dream at my favorite car site, BringATrailer’s auctions. Scroll down to the bottom for the completed auctions, since the prices are final there, and keep hitting View Older until you build your perfect garage.
For this week, my garage has 4 spots and a $100k limit. Here’s what I picked:
Back before the 1973 gas crisis, this is what America was good at: absurdly large coupes. This car makes no sense today – too big, too slow, too heavy, horrible gas mileage. However, when the sun’s out, and you wanna pick folks up from the airport or take a double date to dinner, you want a giant American convertible.
Any of the 60s-70s big coupe convertibles would do well in my dream garage, but I’ve got a soft spot for this one because it’s red, it’s rare (even the brand is dead), and the body is so smoothly minimal. I mean, yeah, it’s big – it’s maximal in terms of size – but the lines are simple and minimal. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Runner-up: the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado ragtop in glorious Chesterfield Brown tells your neighbors that you’re from the 1970s, and you don’t care who knows it.
I want a Porsche, but in our 4-car, $100K price range, the options are going to be slow Porsches, not fast ones – and that’s fine.
There’s a saying: it’s better to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow.
What they mean is that if you can hold the throttle down for long periods of time, and really feel like you’re wringing everything out of a car, then you’re going to have a great time. If you have to tiptoe around the gas pedal (as I did in my RS6), you’re going to feel like the car’s capabilities are wasted on you.
The answer: a Porsche feels incredibly fast, and was fast in its day – it killed James Dean, for that matter – but isn’t all that fast in today’s terms. Genuine Porsche 550s are heart-stoppingly expensive, and even the kit versions can soar into very expensive territory. At a higher budget than $100k for 4 cars, I’d love to commission my own 550 replica, but in this price territory, I’d be very happy spending $31k on a used Beck.
Runner-up: 1930 Ford Sprint Car – only one seat, but who cares? Nobody in their right mind is gonna wanna ride along with you in that thing.
The smiling, happy face. The fantastic paint job whose color says work, but whose thick, rich, glowing quality says pride and joy. The lovely whitewall tires and chrome. You can’t see those shapes and not wanna run your hands over ’em. They’re just friendly.
The original engine has already been replaced with something just a touch more modern, which means if the replacement isn’t bulletproof, then I wouldn’t feel guilty about throwing something WAY more modern in. This doesn’t need to be fast – it just needs to be quiet and reliable for trips to the grocery.
In this oddball set of 4 cars, I think this one would actually be the daily driver!
Runner-up: 1971 Chevy C10 Truck – no self-respecting construction worker would have been caught dead in this two-tone yellow and white beauty, but I love it. Like the Ford, the engine’s been replaced with something more modern (but not a hot rod), and a nice, easy automatic transmission.
My first car was a pea green 4-door Dodge Aries. My second car was an 80s Dodge Charger along the lines of this, but nowhere near as cool or well-optioned. (My girlfriend at the time had a Shelby Charger, and I was insanely jealous.)
My first car that I was really proud of was an 83 Camaro with T-Tops.
I have vivid memories of what a horrible car this was, mechanically. For example, on trips from Michigan to Houston for college, it suffered from severe vapor lock – so bad that I had to stop and sit for an hour or more, waiting for it to be drivable again. I remember the sagging headliner, the awful fit/finish. I couldn’t even afford a good one of these, so I had a dent in the passenger front that I never bothered repairing – although I invested probably $3k into the stereo.
I know what a bad car the 83 Camaro was, but as an imaginary collector, I just don’t care. I want one again.
Runner-up: 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT – I learned to drive stick in a Fiero. Two of my uncles had Fieros: one ran a restaurant, and the other was in a band. I wish I had better reasons. Look, this is my list, not yours. Or maybe the runner-up is a 1980 Datsun 280ZX – I had this exact model, less the t-tops. They’re all in the same price range.
Wow. What an enjoyable way to spend an hour, and now you’re infected: BringATrailer’s auctions. Enjoy!