What’s In Your Lottery Garage?
This week’s “Autoweek” magazine has a section on your “dream garage.” I disagreed with virtually all of their selections, as well as the philosophical bases behind them.
The idea of a dream garage has been a favorite go-to concept for idle musing relaxation for decades, and is one of the prime reasons I “invest” in two different kinds of lottery tickets. I get to “rearrange” my garage 4 times a week as the amount that I am unlikely to win changes. I don’t expect to win, ever, as I aced 8th grade Math and understand the concept of mathematical expectation, but it’s a harmless and entertaining mental hobby that costs me a little less than $4 a week. I highly recommend it.
So what would I put in such a garage… this week? Let’s see how your selections would compare to mine.
Base: the real world.
2005 Honda CR-V – 9 years old and 75,000 miles – a good all-around errands vehicle and also a 4WD car, which is occasionally needed.
2012 Fiat 500 Sport. Good mpg, a lot of fun to drive, and brings a smile to almost anyone who sees it.
2006 Triumph Speed Triple. Pretty much the perfect motorcycle for the type of back roads riding I prefer. Good for everything, with some weakness for trips longer than 4 days and camping, due to a lack of luggage capacity. Best sound of any motorcycle ever made, in my not very humble opinion.
So if money was literally no object, what would I do?
Your choices and mine are guided by what we want out of a vehicle. In my case, I am not interested in cars owned by celebrities, and I am also not interested in “posing” or merely having the most expensive car in sight. For this reason I have eliminated all the usual “super exotic” choices. There was an article in a Brit car mag a couple of years ago (I think it was “Evo”) that laid out the actual costs of owning a Lamborghini or Ferrari, and it effectively killed any desire I might have had. A $10,000 clutch replacement every 7,000 miles is ridiculous, even if the money does not matter.
Secondly, most of these cars cannot be used pretty much anywhere. They are usually hard to see out of, very wide, and have so much performance they cannot be used with vigor anywhere but a race track. Even for a track day, the bulk and poor vision would be problems, and the performance capabilities are so high I could not get close to the car’s potential in almost all cases. That is true, whether we like it or not, for all but professional race car drivers.
Third, there are almost none of these cars made today that offer a manual transmission, and if I am buying a car for my own enjoyment I want to shift the old fashioned way. I have no quibble with the truism that “paddle shift” cars are a few to several seconds a lap faster around a race track. I do not need to go as fast as the car can go around a track – I only want to go as fast as I want to go around a track, which is a huge difference. I am not interested in the fastest lap time that car should do, and don’t need to “beat” anyone else’s time in a similar car.
I’m also not interested in fantastic cars from an earlier era that are kept in a museum-quality state of pristine perfection. You can now buy many such cars that have been redone with modern materials and techniques to be totally stock and actually quite a bit better than they were when new. Most rarely get used. I prefer cars I intend to drive, and I do not want to be shackled to a “Maurie,” the only guy in the state who is proficient with the proper and frequent mechanical fettling needed for a true classic.
Now that many “obvious” selections have been eliminated, I’m down to cars that I want to drive and enjoy keeping clean. Since I am the mechanical equivalent of “Typhoid Mary,” I require cars that can be maintained by most semi- specialist shops. I’ve also made selections on the basis of the ways I like to enjoy cars and motorcycles, which include trips, track days, rallies, shows, and (maybe) clubs.
Here we go – and I invite your response.
- Range Rover Evoque – the 4 door edition. Trade in for the Honda CR-V. There are many fantastic SUVs out there, and I happen to love the look.
- Fiat 500 Sport – the one I already own
- 20010-2013 Corvette Z06. The common man’s (or woman’s) supercar. It’s performance, comfort, and ergonomics have all been exceeded by the new 2014 Corvette, but I prefer the Z06 in recent guise. The 7 speed transmission of the 2014 approaches the ridiculous, and its computer generated rev-matching on downshifts is clever but I prefer my own clumsiness as I learn to heel and toe. Mine would be in “Velocity Yellow,” although I might go back as far as 2008 to get one of the limited edition “Will Cooksey” models, which had a gorgeous maroon paint job. There were few made, and those for sale usually have low miles to preserve the rarity. It appeals to my peckish sense of humor to purchase one and put about 60,000 miles on it.
- 2014 Yamaha FJR in red, and the 2006 Triumph Speed Triple in “Scorched Yellow” I own. The Yamaha for long trips, and the Speed Triple for short.
The Collection: The 4 garage slots above will fill almost any need I can imagine, but with an unlimited budget, let’s purchase a combination warehouse and “man cave” and add a few more!
Resto-mods. I’m a huge fan of the resto-mod genre. You take a classic sporting shape of the vintage and model of your choice and someone else (if you are me) tears the car apart and essentially slides most of a new car under it. It is then sold at a profit by the people who enjoy creating them to people who have money and want to drive them. There is a firm in Charlotte, North Carolina called “RK Motors” which seems to have dozens of them for sale at any one time. I would like to fly back there and purchase such a car and drive it home – perhaps several times.
1969 Camaro resto mod. I almost purchased a new 1969 Z/28 Camaro fresh out of college as I started my teaching career. Instead, I rode my motorcycle into a ditch at 60 mph, breaking my shoulder and destroying my beloved motorcycle. This removed any chance of working all summer to save up the down payment, plus of course I needed to purchase a new motorcycle. Now I would go back to that car – but far better. RK currently offer one in orange and one in red – both with every mod con you can imagine. $110 -130,000
1958-1962 Corvette resto mod. We purchased a 1958 Corvette rolling project car, two months after we were married. It had a sickly blue paint job applied with rattle cans, and white stripes put on with a brush. The seats were metallic silver metal flake naugahyde (oh, the horror!) patched with green tape. We paid $800 for it, spent another $2000 on paint, (right away), interior, engine, and tires, and sold it 3 years later for what we had in it. It was our only car, and you cannot put a child safety seat in a 1958 Corvette. When Dorine came home, the Vette went away. This was not a tragedy, as we enjoyed the car for three years, including a 2nd honeymoon in Canada where we camped for two weeks and never put the top down. Although it looked and sounded wonderful, a 1958 Corvette does not corner or stop all that well, and is actually not that fast. A resto-mod goes and stops and handles, although not a track day car perhaps. Color – probably red. $110,000 – 130,000.
Chevy SSR pick-up truck. The SSR was a concept show vehicle that made it to production and then did not sell very well, probably because Chevy tried to recoup their investment with too high a price. It is the sort of vehicle all car nuts want, but few actually purchase. There is a cover over the bed that can be lifted up but is not handy to remove, so use as a pick-up is a bit limited. Corvette power is nice, and the party trick is the top that folds itself behind the seats. Just the thing for picking up a Christmas tree or lawn stuff or a case of wine or two, but not really a working truck. There are a lot of these for sale from $28,000 – 35,000 or so. I’d like one in yellow. (I like yellow).
Aston-Martin Vantage V8. A concession to an exotic, or a semi-exotic. Just the thing for those romantic dinner nights at a restaurant, or one of the many classic tours available. The V-12 is over powered for likely use, and the V-8 makes a spine tingling noise on acceleration. $75,000 – 100,000.
A used hopped-up Mustang. There are tons of these available at silly prices. The 2006 (I think) Bullitt version appeals, with dark green paint, no emblems, and a terrific sound system of an exhaust, but many of them are getting up there in mileage. There are corrals of examples wearing the Shelby label, but I would rather avoid them, as I think he was mostly a master of hype, a con artist, and someone who took advantage of a lot of people. I know – blasphemy! Most likely option would be a lightly used Saleen or Roush modified version. You can take your pick of colors, and most have 5 speed manuals. I had a ride in one once, and the sound and acceleration alone are pure entertainment. This would be a “mudder” for days when I choose not to get the Z06 dirty. I prefer the body style prior to the current one, which is too busy, and the 2014 new model looks spectacular but will be too popular too quickly. I hate having the latest “in thing.” $35,000 – $50,000
2010 – 2012 Porsche 911 GT3. The new model eschews the stick shift, so is booted to the curb. I should know better than to purchase a 911 again, as we owned a 1975 911S Targa for 8 years and it was essentially a hole to pour money in – our version of boat ownership. I’m also reluctant to get back into all the nonsense that goes with 911 ownership, which is similar to the “baggage” that comes with a Harley. I just can’t be bothered with trying to be cool, or, (far worse) accusations that I am trying. However, I am smitten with the looks of the GT3 and it would make a terrific track day car, even if driven well below its potential, which it would be in my hands. $100,00 – $150,000. A few were made in – wait for it – yellow!
Hot Rod – well, you would if you could, wouldn’t you? Lots of them are available, and I favor the ’33 Ford Coupe. $70,000 – 100,000 should get a nice one. Candy burgundy, please.
Cobra replica. Not a real one, but again, who can stand the peril of actually driving a real one? Charcoal metallic paint in a high quality version. You would need a “continuation model” (expensive) or a modern one with fuel injection to get around pollution requirements. $80,000 – 120,000.
And that’s about it – for this week, although this selection has been pretty constant for the past several months.
For those who prefer their data in graphic form, here’s how it looks:
Vehicle Color Capacity Trip Track Rally Show Club
RR Evoque Black 1 -5 X
Fiat 500 S Red 1-2 X
Mustang — 1-2 X X X X
Z06 Yellow 1-2 X X X X
Camaro RM Orange 1-2 X X X X
Vette RM Red 1-2 X X X X
Chevy SSR Yellow 1-2
A-M V8 Gray 1-2 X X
GT3 Yellow 1-2 X X
Hot Rod Burgundy 1-2 X X
Cobra Charcoal 1-2 X X X
Speed Triple Yellow 1 X
Yamaha FJR Red 1-2 X X
Your own racetrack. The same magazine lists a road course facility outside of Dallas for sale. How great would it be to house your cars at your own race track for fun with friends? Not sure I want to live there, however, so perhaps not very practical.
Sports car street rallies. We used to do a ton of these, and were pretty good at them. I would love to get back into it with a selection of choices – perhaps with friends in others of my cars. Same with track days. Imagine signing up three or four friends to take a selection of choice vehicles and sharing and trading off all day. You could even put together a small group for a tour to distant tracks with camping out along the way. Envision the looks on other campers when they survey your campsite and the vehicles around it. Confusion and fun abound!
Your turn! Let me know your own choices, and I will post them here for all (or all who visit this web site – a finite number for sure) to see!
Copyright 2014 David Preston
A response from another Dave: Bikes: I come from a dirt background so I guess the two bikes I have-KTM 690 and KTM 500 EXC, plus a street bike that is fun on the track too. I am still interested in the Superduke 1290 for that. If I had a dirt oval or motocross track or road race track at my disposal than having some race bikes would be a must. So maybe a flat track bike, a two stroke 250 mx bike, and maybe a S1000rr HP4 track bike. That would also require an EMT present:) Cars: Not much of a car guy and have never much cared for “Detroit Iron” so am happy enough with our Lexus RX 450h. AWD if needed. Good power and economy and I actually like the CVT tranny. Probably would add a Porsche but would have to take driving lessons to really appreciate it. I could care less about Porsche snobs so I would just enjoy the car. Otherwise I would spend the lottery money on travel and philanthropy! BTW I have never bought a lottery ticket and have no plans to.