10. Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon
avants I almost bought (hmmm, Cars I Almost Bought - there is a future blog post!). We had a Passat wagon for a while and it was outstanding. In middle school a friend's sister took us to one of the first Day on the Green concerts (Zeppelin, Rick Derringer, and Judas Priest) in her mom's Vista Cruiser. I still remember looking out the roof panels. If I was looking for one today it would have to be a 442 of course.
9. Peugot 205 GTI
tank battalion. As we got into his little French car I could not help but notice that it was the spitting image of my VW GTI (then somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean). A few moments later, screaming down the autobahn at about 125 mph I realized that little French car had, in the words of David Hobbs, "huge appendages." Rare in the USA, one was just for sale on Bring A Trailer!
8. 1985-87 BMW M6
Deutsche Mark rate was low in the mid-1980s, low enough for a young officer to buy a fairly nice new car. Several of my friends bought one of these. I didn't. Big mistake. There is something about the aggressive front end and the overall balance of the hood and trunk lines that, to me at least, make this one of the most beautiful road cars ever made. They are gaining value now and low mileage original versions are hard to find. Yes, sometimes I look for one.
7. Toyota FJ40 (Landcruiser)
we everything threw at it. Unbreakable and unstoppable is pretty much it. These are also getting collectible now and Icon Motors will gladly build you one of their custom FJs for around $150,000. Really!
6. Volkswagen Kharmann Ghia
5. Chevrolet El Camino
outrageous. Eventually it became a drag car that he trailered to the track. He also owned a '40 Lincoln Zephyr that slowly became a hot rod as well. They must have had money... anyway, to this day I still like the look of the El Camino, particularly in SS 396 form. The Aussies seem to like them as well. Why Chevy can't get this done is a mystery.
4. Saab 900 Turbo SPG
brigade's base in Germany there was a small Saab dealership that specialized in military sales. Run by a smooth Brit, they sold Saabs hand over fist to army officers convinced it was the greatest, fastest car on the planet. Now they were fast, but my Mustang GT (next up on TCOR!) would run rings around the Swedes. Except for the SPG model. My friend Jeff ponied up for one of these special edition cars and it was just plain fast. Saab only made 7,000 US spec SPGs and they are remembered today as the pinnacle of Saab turbo performance.
3. BMW 2002 tii
tii. Friends have owned a few, and always regretted selling them. I have almost bought a few, though practicality (particularly in the South - that AC thing) has always stopped me. I drooled extensively over the one pictured here, listed recently on Bring A Trailer. While the price is ridiculous, it is just about perfectly modified. Luckily for me it doesn't have air conditioning.
2. E30 BMW M3
asked me if I wanted to go with him to pick up his new BMW at the factory. The heyday of DTM racing, M3s and Mercedes 190 2.3-16s fought it out every weekend of the summer. How could I say no? Delivery in those days was cool. A white coated engineer handed him the keys after taking the car for a lap of the test track outside Munich. Of course the five hour drive back was awful. Engine break in requirements kept him from going over 4,000 RPM. Confession time: early M3s are also on my eBay troll list.
1. 1987-89 Porsche 911
To be honest, I could have made the entire list Porsches. I'm privileged to know people with some very nice ones, both early and modern. But for all of the beautiful, historic, and sinfully valuable Porsches I have met, this is the only one that I really want to own for myself. The 87-89 Carrera is the car most people think of when they think of Porsche, and for good reason. The look is iconic and this is the best of the original breed. The G50 transmission coupled to the 3.2 liter air cooled engine was probably the finest combination in Porsche history. These cars are fabulous performers, and yet very reliable. They will literally go 200-300 thousand miles if properly maintained. And they sound just right. They sound like a Porsche.
Well, that's my list, along with a few random trips down memory lane. Interesting: the number of Porsches matched the number of Saabs, Chevys, and Toyotas. I didn't see that coming when I started.
What cars of your friends would you like to have today?