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AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
12/2/19 12:44 a.m.

I just turned 49 this past week, and I keep wondering what car I want as "the car."

I'm thinking if buying "the car" next year around this time.

The requirements:  only needs to seat me, maybe the wife or kiddo but never both.  I will drive it and rarely pet others behind the wheel.  It needs to be fast, corner well, turnkey reliable, and it should sound incredible.  I should be able to autoX it, take it to an HPDE, run the One Lap and just drive on road trips.

Oh cost, dream 40k, max 60k.  Goal 50k or less.

The heart choice: I've always wanted a Cobra and have long thought of a Coyote powered one with IRS after owning a Coyote Mustang.  It is the coolest one, but they aren't really rare anymore and there are lots of reasons they are not driven much.  The tops suck the interior kinda sucks and its bonejarring.  I don't think I could roadtrip one....  sure some do, but most don't.  Lots of low mile ones for sale.

The cheapskate option:  LS swap my 94 Miata that I plan to sell.  It'll be fast.  It'll cost less.  It can be OEM reliable using new GM components or well rebuilt ones.  It'll be an NA Miata AC and comfort wise.  It can be enjoyed often and goes hard well.  

The brain option:  Do the LS ND thing. Used 16s are getting inexpensive and buying one next year will be easy.  Heck maybe buy it this winter and enjoy it stock a year or two while accumulating parts.  It's a unicorn.  Keith says its supercar like and way better than an NA or NB LS car.  I believe him.  

The easy button: used C7 Z51, C8 Z51, or 996 turbo.  I have a 996 C2.  Other thoughts a 997 X51 car, a 996 GT3 stretching the budget, or a 981 GTS Boxster or Cayman again stretching the budget.

What would you do?  Are there other choices I'm missing?  

Oh and the wife already knows I'm doing something silly for my 50th.  She's forewarned.  

The old guy in me also just wants to find a Chevy SS with manual trans and supercharge it for maximum tire roasting lulz.

If only I had more space......

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
12/2/19 1:43 a.m.

The last time I was looking for a ‘grail car’ I should have held out for a C7.

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
12/2/19 4:07 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS :

Do not lust after the latest high performance car.  They are always getting better, faster, etc.  there is never going to be a best car that won't be beat.  Things change. 
If you are serious about one car you've started too late. Unless you go back to your 14 year old you and what excited you then. 
 

I still own my 14 year old car. A 1953 MGTD that I've had a lot of fun owning. It was cheap then and they are cheap even now. That's a good thing. Life has its ups and downs. Valuable stuff gets sold when  the inevitable down times come.  Cheap stuff with little value stays around. 
 

 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
12/2/19 6:04 a.m.

Old? HA! Wait till you turn 50 son, then you'll be old.  : )  But seriously, I hope you can do something to scratch that itch. At 50, my dream car is a minivan with power-sliding doors. Buy something cool before you turn out like me! 

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/2/19 6:24 a.m.

V8 Miata.

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/2/19 6:31 a.m.

Hey, maybe I can help you here.  It's the least I can do after all the help you have given me.  I already did what you're contemplating.  I guess I did mine in reverse order from you.  Got the high end car(s) while I was younger and had no kids or very young ones.  Now that fun money is long gone, or spent on LeMons, and I search the low end of the price scale...such as SN95 Mustangs that skin the crap out of my knuckles trying to change spark plugs.  laugh  Plugs changed, center console mostly installed.  Just got our timing light and will be checking that soon.  Next will be figuring out why the tail lights don't work (brake lights do, but no tail lights). 

If you want a Cobra, I can't tell you enough to do it!!!  I owned an FFR for 5 years.  I've had over 100 cars now, and that one is still in the top 3, if not #1 overall.  No, it's not an all season car, though in your neck of the woods it's probably a 9-10 month per year car.  When I had mine, I took 2nd place overall in A Stock at the Philly region SCCA autox one year.  I did a bunch of HPDE with it...in fact it's the car I popped my track cherry in.  When I bought the car, it had a fairly mild 302, 2.73 rear, Mustang steering, Fox body rear suspension.  By time I was done, it had a worked 351W, 3.73 rear, Flaming River steering, 5 link rear (I didn't do the work).  It was an animal.  My wife and I had so much fun in it.  It was dead nuts reliable, parts were cheap, and the Cobra community is phenomenal.  My wife and I founded the local Cobra club (probably now long gone) and put on a show every year.  We drew about 45-50 Cobras.  I don't have pictures at hand, but  quick Google search and this is all I could find for pics from that show...  https://www.flickr.com/photos/mik3ymomo/2559211289/in/photostream/     No, they aren't 6 hour long cruise cars.  After about 2-3 hours, the noise gets a bit much and they smell...but I never really wanted to do that anyway.  You can make them pretty comfy if you want.  The ride quality really wasn't all that punishing, it was more the seats (which you can make to your liking) and the elements exposure.  If/when I ever come back into more disposable income, the FFR will be at the top of my list.  Ask me any questions you'd like about them.

If that isn't an answer, then my next answer is Corvette.  Forget the mid-life crisis stigma they have, who cares?  Never had a C6 or C7, always C5s (and one C3).  OMG they are awesome at the job you're describing.  You can cruise at 80mph all day long in them and be in total comfort.  Yet they can be track monsters at the flip of a switch.  Great aftermarket support, reliable, no German parts tax.   One of my C5s was highly modified and it was a rocket to say the least.  Corvette would fit your needs nearly perfect, just with a bit less flair than a Cobra.

Viper.  I had a '99 GTS coupe.  Holy moly what a sexy car.  Oddly enough it didn't "feel" fast when compared to my Cobra or Corvettes, but it was stupid quick.  However, not sure you'd like them for long cruises.  They tramline like crazy and the driving position is awkward.  Beyond that, the seats were comfy, it could cruise at 80mph all day long and knock back 25mpg doing it.  And again, the looks...oh my.  Mine looked exactly like this....

After those, of course there a ton of German options which would all be fun.  But from experience, I'd also suggest looking hard at the three above.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/2/19 7:09 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS :

I'd say easy button C7 GS. NEW ones are already in the mid 50s from a few dealers around the country. As for the LS -> Miata.....how long will it realistically take you to save up for all the swap parts, how long would it realistically take you to get the swap completed? 

I'm about to be 38 and from all the swaps, builds, helping friends at the track.......I like the easy option. 

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
12/2/19 7:24 a.m.

My dream cars are never new(ish). If I were to hit it big on the lottery I'd be off to England to order an Alfa from Alfaholics and a 911 from Neinmeister. Neither would fit your $60K budget target though. I'm 67 and will probably never have "the car", although thoughts of doing something foolish by the time I turn 70 do crop up.

JesseWolfe
JesseWolfe Reader
12/2/19 7:50 a.m.

A dream car for me would be a Daytona coupe replica, an E-Type low drag replica or an just about any old replica with that kinda wow and class factor. 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 New Reader
12/2/19 8:09 a.m.

Cayman with a 4.0L swap?

C8?

Ford GT40 would be my replica of choice.

996TT if aesthetics wins over reliability/track consumables costs.

To be honest, as new of a Carrara S as you could find for 60k would scratch the pcar itch while having some serious speed. 996gt3 is hardcore but wont be a very good cruiser IMO compared to less track focused offerings.

An aerial would be a wild card option if you wanted to throw "take it on long drives" out of the window and would rather focus on "want to scream as hard as possible for 6 minutes at a time". 

My personal vote in that budget might be e30M3 with an S54 swap. Yes, this is a question I ponder most every day.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/2/19 8:28 a.m.

I’m about to turn 53.  SS Manual is my current “that’s the one” but I don’t have one yet LOL.  I’d like to spend some time in a Viper GTS, because I think I could make that work as a daily.

and now I’m off to cars.com to see what old Vipers are going for...

EDIT:  and I’m back.  bang for buck, SS Manual beats Viper GTS on everything except looks.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/2/19 8:41 a.m.

As an example a Chevy SS and a Viper (or 911, or expensive Corvette, etc) are going to send different messages to the public.  

You could spend $40k on a new Camry or a used 911.  For the Camry the public (like your employer or employees) might perceive you as having made a sensible choice.  If you spend the same or even significantly less than the same money on the 911, Covette, etc; the public might see you as "making too much money" or "foolishly spending too much".   Maybe "spending too much on himself" and not mindful of the wife/kids, etc.   

I know you want to say, "I don't care what others think" but the stigmas can be real.  Just be prepared for it.  

In this example, the Chevy SS sedan will be seen as a sensible Camry-like purchase.  Maybe a little more than a Camry but not outrageously so.  

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/2/19 8:47 a.m.

Don't rule out something that you can sit 4 in. For the longest time I kept wanting the two door two seater trying to go back in time when I was single or something.  As it turns out nothing is better than the wife and kids jumping in the car with me and we go for a drive. 
 

50 is just a number. Been there done that. Get a new car because you want it not because of a number was the biggest thing I learned as I get older. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
12/2/19 8:51 a.m.

What are 911 Carrera 3.2's going for these days?  I know these are far from the fastest 911's but they also seem fairly every-day-usable and pretty "pure" from a driving experience standpoint.

I tell myself that I want to build a Challenge car using a G-body El Camino and a whole lot of hardware out of a '03+ Chevy Express van.  But I don't see myself trying to find a place to live where I would have enough space to actually do it.  If you want to build, build, otherwise just focus on what to buy / subtly mod. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/2/19 8:52 a.m.

Oh. Don't tell the wife that you are getting that "one car". Once you get it and then try to get the next "one car" it tends to come back at you. 

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
12/2/19 8:54 a.m.

17 year old me wanted a Buick GN, but the wife hates them.  10 year old me wanted a Smokey and the Bandit T/A.  24 year old me wanted a Corvette ZR-1 and I had one for 3 years.  

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/2/19 9:00 a.m.
John Welsh said:

 

I know you want to say, "I don't care what others think" but the stigmas can be real.  Just be prepared for it.  

 

When you buy a car like a Viper or 'Vette or 911 or Cobra you definitely need to learn how to handle that.  I became quite good at it.  I never really gave two E36 M3s what others think about the car I drive.  I'll admit to projecting a stigma on brodozers...AKA P.E.D.s (penis envy dozers)...so I'm in a glass house throwing stones, but each to their own.  If you're paying the bill for the car, enjoy the hell out of it no matter what anyone else thinks.

If you think that stigma is bad, you shoulda seen the looks I got from purists when I had a Jag E Type 2+2 with a 302 Ford transplant, cherry red paint, hood louvers and ghost flames.  devil

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/2/19 9:01 a.m.

Well then seems like a 77 TA Restomod is in your future. laugh

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/2/19 9:02 a.m.

In reply to Klayfish :

You can't talk about an e type like that with out posting photos!!!!  

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/2/19 9:05 a.m.
Klayfish said:
John Welsh said:

 

I know you want to say, "I don't care what others think" but the stigmas can be real.  Just be prepared for it.  

 

When you buy a car like a Viper or 'Vette or 911 or Cobra you definitely need to learn how to handle that.  I became quite good at it.  I never really gave two E36 M3s what others think about the car I drive.  I'll admit to projecting a stigma on brodozers...AKA P.E.D.s (penis envy dozers)...so I'm in a glass house throwing stones, but each to their own.  If you're paying the bill for the car, enjoy the hell out of it no matter what anyone else thinks.

If you think that stigma is bad, you shoulda seen the looks I got from purists when I had a Jag E Type 2+2 with a 302 Ford transplant, cherry red paint, hood louvers and ghost flames.  devil

This is very true. My new to me CLS 550 had that effect on people.  

MTechnically
MTechnically Reader
12/2/19 9:21 a.m.

I'll be a bit of a fan boy and mention that if Chevy SS' are on the table you should seriously consider an E39 M5. Think of it as an SS that won't continue to depreciate. Spending $40k would get you pretty much your choice of color combination and mileage, and it will check all of the boxes. 

At least it will once you open up the exhaust. An Eisenmann race really makes these cars sing. But I totally understand going for something a little more focused as a "dream" car.

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/2/19 9:22 a.m.
dean1484 said:

In reply to Klayfish :

You can't talk about an e type like that with out posting photos!!!!  

Didn't think I had any.  I have so many electronic photos in so many different spots I don't even know where they are anymore.  My Photobucket account is so screwed up, I haven't touched it in years.  Behold, I found a few though....

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/2/19 9:25 a.m.

I'm still a few years off from 50, and I feel like the older I get the more I realize there is no "one car."

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/2/19 9:33 a.m.
dculberson said:

I'm still a few years off from 50, and I feel like the older I get the more I realize there is no "one car."

Agreed.  The "one car" depends a lot on what I want to do. I turn 50 next year and while I would definitely like to get the "fleet" down to a more manageable number, I don't know if it'll ever be lower than 5 or 6, including the daily driver and utility/camper vehicle.

chaparral
chaparral Dork
12/2/19 9:36 a.m.

What you're talking about sounds an awful lot like a C6 Z06 with the 427-CID engine - definitely out of the ordinary.

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