We nerds love to make lists. Top 5 Comedians. Top 10 Western RPGs. Worst Sci-fi movies. Top 10 Best Fight Scenes. We’ll even fantasy cast remakes of old movies or our favorite books ((the temptation to fantasy cast Mistborn is palpable, for example)) . So here’s my latest version of the Dream Garage.
If I was just naming my favorite cars, I’d run out of slots before I ran out of muscle cars. Unless I was feeling a bit sporty, then it’d be roadsters and track cars from here until the day is long. So let’s set some parameters before we start.
First: Five vehicles. I could easily do ten or twenty but I fear that would wear a bit thin. You, my loving audience, can and I suspect shall, listen to be pontificate on this subject again, so we’ll keep this entry from rambling on forever.
Second: Five different kinds of vehicles. If this really is a dream garage, there’s no sense having 5 supercars and nothing you can stick the dogs in when you’re on your way to the park. I don’t think one vehicle can do it all, but between five we should be able to get pretty close. We’ll say “Daily Driver”, “Track Day Special”, “Luxury Occasion”, “Classic” and leave one wild card. At the end of the day having a sixth slot for “tow vehicle” would be nice to, but that sort of service can be rented if need be.
Third: Despite my protestations at our current political climate, I live in the US of A, and so I’ll restrict my choices to what’s available here ((mostly, that’s what wild cards are for)). I love the Australian Ford Falcons but I can’t drive one here; so what’s the point?
Fourth: I’m not going to talk engine swaps or suspension upgrades here. I’ve got a whole other list of “Crazy ass project cars I want”. For the purposes of this list, factory spec only.
Daily Driver / Grand Tourer
What kind of a world do you live in if your daily driver is an Aston Martin DBS? An awesome world, that’s what.
There are a lot of good choices for this category, from Jaguar’s XKR, the Ferrari 599, or the Bentley GT, but there is no real competition for the DBS. It’s not the fastest Grand Tourer ((the Italians make it around the Nüburgring faster, the Bentley has more horsepower)) , and it might not even be the most luxurious, but it definitely has the most charisma.
There are practical considerations if you plan on driving an Aston everywhere. The V12 does guzzle down more fuel then the little four banger in my car, but I’m surprised to learn that you can get 18 mpg out of it. Which means puts it one better then my old Taurus. Don’t worry though, I’m sure you can make that savings up and more on insurance ((and quite possibly tickets as well. Though if I were a cop, I’d only ever pull one of these over to gawk at it)) . You won’t have a back seat of course, but that just gives you an excuse to leave the dogs at home, or not to pick your in-laws up at the airport. Most importantly though, you’ll probably be late nearly everywhere you go, having pushed your way through hordes of slack jawed onlookers, stunned into quiet revelry by the sheer beauty of it ((By the by, don’t think I didn’t think about the original DBS. I like the look of that one almost as much, but I’ll opt for modern comfort for this slot)) .
Something for the Sunny Track Day
I wracked my brain on this one and I’m ever so slightly disappoint that the best I could come up with the “easy” answer of the Ariel Atom. Anyone who’s ever seen one trying to rip Jeremy Clarkson’s face off ((and then set a blistering track time)) knows about this car and probably lusts after it. I considered the offerings form Lotus, and the Lotus remakes offered by Westfield. I even considered giving this slot to the DP1 from Palatov Motorsport but that’s still in development ((and you won’t be able to take that on the street)) . There’s a whole lineup of performance Porsches more at home on the track then the street. But at the end of the day, the Atom is exactly what you want and, moreover, it’s nothing more.
A Porsche Boxter Spyder would be a blast around a track, but it’s still offered with AC and a radio. On the other end of the spectrum, you could buy a Radical Racer and outclass anything that’s not a pure bred track machine, but you’ll need someone to help you split the car in half every time you want to get in or out. The Ariel is the perfect balance between the two. You can drive it to the track, if you’d like, and you won’t even need to swerve around the speed bumps as you do. At the track, you won’t have to feel guilty for lugging anything spare around every corner. Unless you count the passenger seat, but I’ll let that slide so long as I get to scare the pants off the occasional ride along.
Addendum: I went with the original Atom here, not the one with V8 because the idea of a vehicle with 550bhp going to the rear wheels and a curb weight that makes my Miata look like it’s been ordering too many Big Gulps scares the pants off me. If I could learn not to kill myself with only 300bhp, I could upgrade later.
Luxury People Mover
I like a company that lets you order their limousine with the hottest engine. Is there a reason to have 503bhp in this kind of car? I honestly can’t think of one, but I still want it. Jaguar XJ LWB Supersport, in black, tan leather, piano wood trim and then pile on the optional extras until the order form outweighs the table. Except, there’s an option to remove the privacy glass, and I’m honestly not sure if I want that. I’d quite like privacy glass; can I get a second divider to run length-wise through the cabin too? Everyone could be totally alone.
Owning a long wheel base car seems to imply that you’re going to hire a driver all the time, but I don’t see why that has to be. I’d quite like to have a car I could fill with slightly drunk ladies and drive them from restaurant to bar to club and so forth ((especially if I’ve got that privacy glass)) . Then I’d hire a driver when I wanted to be the one slightly drunk in the back. I can’t seem to find out if it’s got a tow rating, but with 503bhp it could probably haul the Atom to the track. Heck, I’d take it on the track too if I could. I’d wear my peaked cap, and we’d pull up alongside Lotuses and offer them Grey Poupon. I’ve taken the joke too far, haven’t I?
There are other options for the luxury limo. The Rolls Royce Phantom is quite a car and Maybach has a range of cars. But neither has the clean lines of the Jag, which went from one of the ugliest cars ever in its previous gen to a stunning peak of beauty with its current one. And although both have the restrained opulence of a true limousine, the XJ has the roguishness of a Jag.
Something to Wax Nostalgic
I said I wracked my brain over the Ariel Atom, but that was nothing compared to the amount of mental hand wringing I did over what to include for my classic. There are ten million dollar Ferrari’s out there, and certainly no one would fault me for trying to taut the virtues of the Shelby Cobra. But my insidious need for at least a hint of originality pushes me off the beaten path. So we arrive at the 1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 with Cobra Jet 429 engine. I’ve always liked the Cougar ((the original at any rate)) ; I’ve always liked Mercury for that matter, and found the company’s lack of clear vision and ultimate fall into disgrace annoying.
The original Cougar seemed like a good idea to me. You take the wildly popular Mustang, give it a slight push up market with some new sheet metal and accessories ((Headlights that disappear behind the grill! How could you not love that?)) and try to sell it to the people who found the Mustang too lowest common denominator. That plan ultimately proved unsuccessful of course; proving yet again why I don’t get to make decisions for car companies.
The Cougar hasn’t been latched onto by nostalgia the way the Mustang has and since it had less then stellar sales numbers to begin with, there aren’t too many left on the road today. So you’ve got a car which is as cool as its more popular sibling, but that nobody knows it. It’s the hipster of blue oval muscle cars!
I know I said I was going to limit myself to North American cars only, but this is the wildcard! How could I resist the siren song of the world’s most powerful station wagon ((which sounds better in the Anglo version “estate car”)) ? Who even put’s a twin turbo V10 engine into a car like this? Thank god it’s got all wheel drive. Look at that rear end; this will certainly carry the dogs if I need it to and a full load of passengers, and probably a full bedroom set as well. Then you can drive all that home at a million miles an hour, in the wet.
I know I can’t technically have the thing here, but I’d be willing to jump through hoops to get it or replicate it over here ((Certainly you could start with an S6 or A6 and replicate from there)) . Not in red though, because the beauty of a bonkers station wagon is that it shouldn’t be bonkers. Give it to me in silver or white; I’ll fill it full of dog hair and the urine of terrified passengers.