Ask Jack: Buying a Bruiser for the Autobahn?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
ask jack buying a bruiser for the autobahn
I spent a fair amount of time on the Autobahn this summer, including several hundred miles on the unrestricted sections. I can’t say that I went all that fast — I think I saw 260 km/h once, trying to get to a Pizza Hut near the border with Belgium that was about to close. Other than that I rarely went above 200 km/h. The only excuse I have for this is that I’m old and tired and I had a bunch of broken ribs at the time.There’s also the inconvenient fact that the freeways are just as crowded over there as they are here, and the lane discipline hasn’t been so good in recent years due to demographic and educational changes in Germany. Still, once in awhile you can find yourself in those oh-so-stereotypically Deutsch situations of which you dreamed as a child. There was a particularly memorable afternoon where I relaxed in the passenger seat of an E43 wagon and watched my co-driver chase a Swiss-plated Phantom for over an hour at sustained triple-digit speeds. I was working my way through a bag of those Babybel cheese things. Good times.My long-time correspondent and pal Luigi knows all about those kind of good times. He’s been around the world working different gigs. Now he’s considering settling down for a while in der Vaterland and buying a big, thirsty car for big, fast cross-Continental commutes.Luigi writes:I’m considering a career change which would require twice-weekly drives of about 600 km each. The fastest route includes long, unrestricted sections of the Autobahn for much of the distance. Fuel would be paid for by my potential employer, but insurance and maintenance would not. Cargo-hauling capacity and more than two seats wouldn’t strictly be required.Which automobiles should I consider purchasing for this über-commute? I don’t want to spend much over 15,000 Euros.I’ve put the important section in bold because in Europe that makes a BIG difference. It’s no real trick to spend a dollar a mile on fuel when you are hustling on the Autobahn. In fact, to do any better than fifty cents a mile you’d need something that returns 20 mpg at major throttle openings, which is pretty much nothing outside a 600cc sportbike.Knowing that the fuel is being covered, we are free to stretch the imagination a bit. I think it would be a real shame to just buy another Me-Too Iguana Benz or Bimmer. No, for this purpose we require a combination of spirit and style, with a dash of reliability thrown in. So, my first suggestion is one of the aluminum-bodied Jaguar XK coupes. They’re gorgeous, the engines run to 200k miles with no trouble, the electronics are actually pretty okay, and they just love running wide-open at high speeds. It would be a miracle to get more than eight miles per gallon above 100 mph, but remember that Luigi doesn’t need to worry about that.Yes, I think a Jag-you-are is just the ticket. If the XK coupe seems too thrusty and old-man-ish, there’s always the XJ8 sedan. I’d stay away from the supercharged versions because they cost more money to buy and run, but I wouldn’t begrudge any man the pleasure of buying a British Racing Green XKR coupe and blowing by the diesel BMW sedans hard enough to make them wobble in his wake.What say you, dear readers? How would you live your unrestricted dreams on a relatively restricted budget?[Image: Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 2.5)]
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  • S J I’m here to say I don’t know about H #, but in German b flat is sometimes called “H”.Thats why composers (Liszt IIRC) could compose a theme and variations on B A C H.b flat sharp would be C, so there wouldn’t be a point.
  • Tassos The original, iconic 1964 Mustang sold for about $2,000.Is anybody still in doubt that the US Dollar has gone straight to hell?
  • Tassos I just read in Electrek that Lucid had to lay off 18% of its workforce, which amounts to a HUGE (considering the very meager production numbers) ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED hard to replace employees laid off!!!
  • Kevin That wagon isn't worth 35,000 I paid 4,700 for a 68 chevelle and worth 80,000 today, when I bought it was 10x better shape than that but if someone wants it have at it but wouldn't be me.
  • MaintenanceCosts Assuming a level of refinement that's appropriately improved over the 9 years since the last car, these prices seem totally appropriate to me.