I’ve recently decided I need a second car, even though I am, in fact, only one person. Car guys get it: different cars serve different purposes, and the second car will be a weekend toy. My girlfriend isn’t as sympathetic despite possessing 26 pairs of shoes, each of which look exactly the same to the naked eye.
The budget for my new car is ample by car guy standards, or roughly equivalent to six Ford Contour SVTs. That’s a standard unit of measure for car guys, unless you have less than a Contour SVT’s worth, in which case you just say you have enough for one Merkur XR4Ti.
At today’s going rate of about $4,000 for a decent Contour SVT, I have around $24,000 to spend on my next car. While most people would suggest I stretch my budget a little and visit my local Scion dealer to buy an FR-S, I’ve decided I want something slightly more interesting. Not that the FR-S isn’t interesting. Please don’t send angry e-mails.
There’s no need for an SUV, as I already have one of those. It gets 12 miles per gallon and has full-time four-wheel drive – perfect for tackling rough Atlanta winters that primarily consist of drizzle and complaints from transplanted Floridians. I also don’t want a family car. Partly because I don’t have a family, but mostly because I don’t want my girlfriend to get any ideas. Or extra room to transport shoes.
Basically, I want something sporty.
I’m leaning towards an E30 BMW M3, although buying one means you have to deal with the kind of person who’s selling one. In other words, no single E30 M3 has ever been greater than the one they’re selling, they’re doing you a favor by even listing it on AutoTrader, and they’re sure everything works except the turn signals, which they’ve never used.
There’s also the Acura NSX, except there are two caveats. One, I’m not Asian, so cruising around would make me feel like Larry Bird on the ‘79 Celtics. Two, every single NSX in existence has been heavily modified. That alone wouldn’t stop me except that most NSX owners are of the opinion that modding an NSX is like redoing your kitchen, meaning every “upgrade” is worth what they paid and then some. This analogy is taken way too far by some NSX owners who make spoilers out of actual kitchen tables. IKEA is cheaper than Wings West, yo.
I could get a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, except I already had a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, and driving it felt sort of like vacationing in Croatia: it’s good, but they still have a lot of work to do. They completed that work for the second-generation CTS-V, by the way – but to the great relief of Atlanta-area parents, and to the detriment of its gas station owners, I can’t afford one.
There are many tasty late-model German sedans in my price range, like an E39 M5, a supercharged E55 AMG, or a B6 Audi S4. Unfortunately, there’s only a two-week period each year where any of those are actually running, and it’s usually when I show up for the test drive. I wouldn’t mind an SLK55, but all my friends say it would make me look like a woman. When I remind them it’s the 355-horspower AMG model, they revise their assessment from “woman” to “butch lesbian.”
Of course, I could go the obvious route: I could get a Corvette. But I’m not qualified for that, since I haven’t been to dental school. I don’t have enough tattoos for an early Viper. And I’m not suitable for Mustang ownership because I don’t grunt enough during televised football games. It’s the opposite problem with the Mini Cooper, which is possibly the only thing on earth I’m too manly for. And I sleep with stuffed animals.
So I’m stuck, and I welcome any suggestions that could help resolve my dilemma. Maybe the FR-S doesn’t sound so bad after all. Or maybe I’ll take my six Ford Contour SVT budget and buy … six Ford Contour SVTs. Hell, I might even have enough left over for a Merkur XR4Ti.