QOTD: The $40,000 Question

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

With average transaction prices marching steadily northwards, thanks to the outsized Monroneys of pickup trucks and large SUVs, the internet is awash with digital ink bemoaning that the “average” American can’t afford a new car anymore.

We’ll leave that particular fulmination for another day. Now, however, we’ll put a question to you: with ATPs in the mid-$30k range, let’s round it up to an even $40,000. What single car, truck, or SUV would you buy for that sum?

This question was inspired by a conversation at our sister site AutoGuide, where the gearheads at that publication selected the BMW 230i Coupe, Genesis G70 Sport, and Audi S3. Inspired choices. My pick? The current model year Camaro SS.

Stickering at $37,995 including freight, the 1SS trim is endowed with the hand-of-God 6.2-liter V8 engine that makes 455 horsepower and an equal amount of torque. Brembo-branded four piston stoppers and 20-inch summer stickies, measuring 245 in the front and 275 in the rear, help keep a measure of handling once the V8 is uncorked.

Speaking of uncorking that excellent engine, the Camaro 1SS price tag allows for a few options, including the $895 dual-mode exhaust. With still a bit of extra change in my pocket, I’d also tick the boxes for a $215 strut tower brace and $610 front splitter that looks great but whose only functional purpose for most buyers will be to chop the feet off bystanders. In a fit of vanity, I also selected the $145 chrome Camaro fender badge. Out the door, it comes to $39,925.

My biggest beef with the 2019 Camaro SS is the new placement of its bowtie badge on the front fascia. Dropping it below the horizontal headlight line gives the thing such a long face that it looks as if it could use a Zoloft prescription. My suggested fix to Chevy is shown above.

How about you? On what vehicle would you spoil forty grand?

[Images: General Motors]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • FWD Donuts FWD Donuts on Oct 09, 2018

    2018 Dodge Charger R/T with Super Track Pack, Performance Handling Group, Nav, Beats Audio Group, and Houndstooth cloth interior. Put on a set of Hellcat replica wheels and have the houndstooth cloth dyed to match to surrounding cloth for a solid black interior and, boom, done. MSRP $37.5K. Street price after incentives probably $5K less. That is downright cheap for what you get. Could get a similarly equipped Scat Pack with the 6.4L -- but it stickers at $41.2K with a discount down to $36.5K. Would have to change out the awful seating surfaces, though. Insurance would be considerably more expensive as well.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Oct 18, 2018

    Anything close to $40K would end up being over $40K with tax, etc, before trade in, if applicable. I made my choice in July, a Challenger Scatpack 392. As I got it, $48K sticker, $42K less trade: https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/640x480q90/921/gW9jDY.jpg

  • Charlie 78 for my ‘09 Mercury mariner. It has 850k miles on it and leaks oil. It has 9 scratches, deformed bodywork, and severely rusted frame and suspension. When you stand on the duct taped rear bumper, the suspension creaks loudly. Also it has a loud vibration and rod knock, and the driver rear window is falling out. Ps. Don’t they normally have a roof rack and display screen? Cause mine doesn’t.
  • Honda1 More disposable junk from Hyundai.
  • Analoggrotto The ORDER BOOKS in Australia have netted 300% above projection. Australia is so awesome and they are embracing the Telluride DIesel to overtake the Prado. Pentagon data, and eATPs rule the discussion, bar none. Toyota fans can go home with their sorry little turbo 4 cylinder.
  • Analoggrotto Such a loving artful tribute to TTAC's greatest godfather is much welcomed. There's a new and better PORSCHE and they are from SOUTH KOREA baby! After years of Japanese oppression, SOUTH KOREA is the TIGER of the Far EAST. We just need a modern day James Dean and that would be Rhys Millen!
  • Groza George Our roads and bridges are crumbling and increasing vehicle weight will only make bridges crumble faster. We need more infrastructure work.