Your Thoughts on a Long-Term Used Car?

Your Thoughts on a Long-Term Used Car?

To start, a bit of an apology, as I’ve neglected this site far too much lately. This is because I am in the throes of finishing my e-Book, which I expect to sell to approximately 11 people including my mother twice.

Today I wanted to do something a little different: ask your advice. To help promote the book (and possibly reach 12 sales), I’m going to buy a “long term” used car and write weekly reports about how it is, either on Jalopnik or TTAC. These reports will be written in my usual style, which is “never let the facts get in the way of a good story be visible on the page.”

The problem is I’m having very much trouble deciding exactly what to buy. I’m trying to consider three factors here: one is that the car has to be “cool.” Cool enough to click on, cool enough to read about, cool enough to check back week in and week out, even if I don’t crash it.

Number two: it must be re-sellable. This eliminates a lot of “cool” cars, many of which can easily be purchased, but not so easily re-sold.

Number three: it can’t be that awful to maintain. I suspect that some of the story will be “oh no, the car broke and costs $1,000 to fix because it’s a used car waaah waaah” which will cause commenters to reply with things like “you’re an idiot for buying it in the first place.” These will be the most fun stories to write.

The problem is I don’t want to spend too much. I don’t want a car that will need a new engine, or cost $3,000 for a belt service, or requires a new transmission every time you go to the drag strip (because I will be going to the drag strip). So it can’t be anything really absurd.

Bearing those three things in mind – and a budget of maybe $30k (though it definitely doesn’t need to be that high) – what are your suggestions?

These are my top nominations so far:

1. E30 BMW M3
2. Acura NSX (eh?)
3. BMW M Coupe
4. Dodge Viper (not resellable)
5. Hummer H1 (not resellable)
6. Mercedes E55 AMG wagon
7. Mercedes R63 AMG
8. Original Honda Insight
9. Some form of Ferrari (maintenance?)
10. Some form of Maserati (maintenance?)
11. Lincoln Blackwood

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on these or other cars, so bring ‘em on.

111 Responses to “ “Your Thoughts on a Long-Term Used Car?”

  1. Forrest says:

    My votes:
    7) R63 AMG, or
    8) original Honda Insight, with a manual. And make sure it has the optional A/C.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I’m worried about a lot of things with the R63 AMG, including being able to find it, sell it, and fix it. But most people have been very positive about the idea of it.

      Original Insight, I think, would be hilarious. You’re the first person who has backed up this notion.

      • Forrest says:

        Oh, yeah. Original Insight would be a lot of fun. Please, please take the Insight to the dragstrip!

        Here are some more options that are (1) absurd, (2) don’t seem to have a long-term test anywhere on the internet, (3) aren’t too expensive:
        - Isuzu VehiCross
        - Suzuki X90
        - Chevrolet HHR SS (bonus points if you get the Panel version that, as you mentioned, has no exterior rear side door handles)

        Also, less absurd, but definitely interesting:
        - Any Toyota MR2

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          Oh God. Insight to the dragstrip. Now we’re on to something.

          I may start browsing the classifieds to see if I can find Insights with a new battery…

          • Piston Slap Yo Mama says:

            As an Insight owner, I can assure you there’s a lot to write about. Did you know it’s aligned with 0° toe? This cuts down on tire friction and insures that your car will follow every invisible rut and paint stripe on the road, usually towards oncoming semis or over a cliff. The meager allotment of carpet also does double duty as sound deadening material so be prepared to shout at your passengers and invest in Bose noise cancelling headphones. The Bridgestone RE92 tires are the only way in an early manual transmission Insight to attain the promised 70mpg efficiency. This is possible because they’re made from the same molds and material that produces the tires for Hot Wheels cars but scaled up slightly.

            I could go on, like how my IMA battery died one month out of warranty, but I’ll spare you. Despite these, errr … foibles, I still love mine and intend to keep it for a lot longer. Please, buy one so I can read about it DeMuro style.

          • Doug DeMuro says:

            Leaning towards selling the Cube (which is awful) and doing two of these, one of which would be the Insight. The biggest problem is finding one with a new IMA battery.

          • Forrest says:

            @Doug You have a Cube?

            @Piston Slap Yo Mama
            Hahaha that’s awesome. You seem to have already mastered a DeMuro-esque writing style…perhaps you should start an Insight long-term blog too? :)

          • Doug DeMuro says:

            I inherited a Cube (For free, which is the only way to have a Cube) when my brother moved across the country. I literally drive it MAYBE once a month. I do enjoy having it though because it makes for tons of great jokes.

          • MattB says:

            I had one for a couple years and sold it for my e36 M3 Sedan. They are stupid boring to drive, except for playing the video game of getting the highest mileage. Fun fact is that you don’t need the main battery to drive these cars, although they lose 105% of their lowend torque and the 12v battery will only charge below 4k rpm and even then it will die after a week or so. I had a fun day once driving it to work where I was turning off everything to try and keep the 12v battery from dying. By the time I got there it was so dead the steering had gotten heavy b/c the electric power steering couldn’t get enough juice. Fun memories with that car :)

  2. Pietalian says:

    what about trying to buy something grey-market? That would be a pretty good hook – we’d get to follow your import saga, you’d have lot’s of, umm, experiences to write about. Then you’d have an unobtanium car, and we’d get to laught at you 3000 dollar repair bills. It’s like your idea, just in a double-or-nothing (probably “nothing” format)!

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I definitely want to do this, but I want to start with something a little more reasonable to ease into it. I think importing a car would be a saga that ALL auto enthusiasts, including me, wish they knew more about.

  3. PeteyCrack says:

    Porsche 996 Tip – daily driver…
    or S4.. (debadge it)

    the r63 has to be the ugliest vehicle on the planet…

    …but a Jensen Interceptor would be my choice for weekly reporting..

    … but whatever you do, please don’t do an e36 m3.. i don’t want prices to go up like the e30 before i get my hands on one..

    Pietalian’s idea is awesome though… everyone talks about how we can get so many awesome 25+ year old cars from europe and japan now, but no one seems to have ever done it (are you listening Hemmings Sports & Exotics!? stop teasing me with car porn and not showing how to actually import them)

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I had a 996 Turbo. If I were to do that again, I would go with a Turbo (or a GT3!) and thus avoid IMS. The problem with the 996 or the S4 is that, to me, they’re too common. I’m trying to find something REALLY cool, the kind of car people wouldn’t buy with their own money.

      I won’t do an E36 M3. Had one of those too. I will withhold comment though there will be a review in my e-Book that won’t make you happy. :)

      Jeez, another vote for importing! If I did it, it would be an E30 Touring from Canada.

      • PeteyCrack says:

        Canada doesn’t count! america junior, puhleese..
        just think of all the articles waiting.. finding the car, dealing with dot, paying for the car.. having it delivered, then living with it… it’s a no brainer!

        i’ve got 97k on my 996 dd… according to the lawsuit, it effected something like 4 to 8 percent.. of course if you’re in the 4 to 8 percent… and just crushed resale value for the rest of us. 996 turbo is my dream car though…

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          What color and year is yours? LOVE the 996. Love how it looks, even. I know I’m in the minority but I don’t care. I think it’s the bargain of the Porsche world and the last good 911 before they became touring/luxury cars.

          What are your thoughts on a 993 Turbo? That was my original plan for this, but I would’ve wanted to keep it forever and my accountant says I can only tax-deduct this stuff if the cars come and go frequently.

          • PeteyCrack says:

            I guess i’m in the minority of minorities in porsche ‘purist’ circles. I have an ’02 996 (tiptronic.. cast aspersions if you must, but hey, DC traffic and i’ve got the ’02 ‘cool’ headlights) as my daily driver for the last 4 years, and an ’88 … wait for it… Targa… the bastard redheaded step child of the 911 world… I bought the 996 with 38k on the clock. Multiple oil changes, two brake jobs, a polyrib belt (by me) and coolant/tranny/brake fluid flush (by pros)and it’s still going (knock on wood) The 996 is ‘seal gray’ and the Targa is ‘grand prix white’

            The 993 Turbo is so far out of my league $$$ from what I’ve seen, but when you think about it, it’s perfect for your project.. you may even make money when you sell it which would make your accountant happy.

          • Doug DeMuro says:

            02 and on are definitely the years to have, though I’ll keep my feelings about Tiptronic silent :) Surprised you found an ’88 Targa that wasn’t red!

            We’ll see on 993 Turbo. I’d love to do it, but it’s very much out of my price range. But, as you say, it will probably actually increase in value – and it certainly won’t lose anything.

  4. Ponticat says:

    I would definitely want to hear about the Insight. A Blackwood would be my (distant) second choice

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I think I’ll definitely do Insight, if not first, then as a second or third long termer (should the segment get popular). It’s just SO ABSURD that it would practically write itself.

  5. Ltd783 says:

    What about an E39 M5? I’ve been very curious about the long term running costs of these, and can’t say I’ve seen that online. I know a few people who’ve been tempted to buy one, but are put off by the unknown. My second choice would be an S54 equipped M coupe.

    An NSX would be good, but Inside Line is running an early 90′s one as a long term car already. A Ferrari 328/308 would be fantastic, and I’d be curious as to the actual costs, but I don’t want you to bankrupt yourself right after your book comes out…

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I’m trying to avoid something Edmunds has already done, however as you know our writing styles are a bit different. So thanks – I didn’t know they had an NSX and that’s important.

      E39 M5 would be nice, but I don’t know if it’s rare enough. I guess the question is: would you rather read about an E39 M5 than an E30 M3? I’d rather hear about the second one.

      Ferrari is probably not a good idea, yes. I should also mention I don’t have a garage…

      • Ltd783 says:

        The M5 is getting more uncommon, but definitely not rare. Maybe I’m alone on this, and it would probably get me thrown off Jalopnik, but I think the E30 M3 has become a tiny bit overrated lately. For how expensive they’ve become, they just don’t interest me enough.

        What about a 2004 or 2005 Quattroporte? They’re getting into that price range, and are just fantastic to look at and listen to. I don’t know how common they are in suburban Atlanta, but they’re rare here, I see 15 Continental GT’s for every one. The only one I know of for sure is driven by the mayor. I’d be curious how expensive they are to run.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          Totally agree the E30 M3 is overrated. But I kind of want to find out for myself!!

          Quattroporte is a great suggestion, but don’t you think it would have major problems? Like, severely major ones that require the Ferrari dealer (which by the way is an hour away) calling and saying “Mr. DeMuro, you’ll want to sit down for this”?

          I suppose that’s the point of the long-term test: to find out. But maybe I would rather find out that particular thing if someone else was paying the bills :)

          • Ltd783 says:

            You’re the “someone else” for me here, you’ve already owned alot of the cars I’d love to own, but wouldn’t dare until I win the lottery, so now I’m naming the rest of them for our guinea pig to try out :-) You’ve owned 2 Range Rovers, I know you’re brave enough…

          • Ltd783 says:

            And with the quattorporte I’d worry about the transmission having some NASA level repair bills, but I think those engines are relatively robust, and it seems like they fall into two conditions: Plaything for Scottsdale, Houston or St Louis kids with big wheels, or babied by a Florida retiree. Getting a good one would be key.

          • because i had an m coupe says:

            The E30 M3 is preeettty, preeettttyy good.

            I’ve never driven one, only ridden as a passenger in E30 M3s of various street and race guises around race tracks in the northeast, but even from the passenger seat they feel incredibly nice. If I were doing such a long-term test, I would pick up an E30 M3.

  6. Ltd783 says:

    Some more random ideas for cars in that price range.

    Aston Martin DB7

    Audi RS6

    Lotus Esprit V8

    Any low mileage 90′s Japanese turbo flagship (3000GT, RX7, Supra, Stealth or 300ZX)

    Early 90′s Rolls Royce Silver Spur (to really fit into your old money ‘hood)

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      DB7 is a GREAT choice and I’ve considered that, but you have to just assume they break all the time. RS6 is out because they have absurd transmission issues, and the guys who have replaced the transmission insist on like $10k more than the ones who haven’t.

      I’ve considered Rolls. THAT would be hilarious. I bet my neighborhood would tell me to find somewhere else to park it.

      • Ltd783 says:

        An AF pilot friend of my dad’s replaced his 87 911 Turbo with a DB7 convertible, and he loved it. I don’t know about issues he had with it, but it does have a ton of Ford parts, so that should bring repair costs down somewhat.

        I don’t know how many times I’ve had to talk myself out of a $20k RR. It would just be so, so awesome for a younger guy to drive one.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          DO NOT buy any Range Rovers! You’d have to be truly crazy, as you very well know. Then again you have a V70R with an atacama interior, so you might fit the bill :)

      • Randy Wells says:

        Outstanding site. Always look forward to reading it.

        I’ve owned a DB-7 and an Esprit. The Esprit was so bad it makes my XJ-S seem like a good idea. I know, that’s hard to believe. The. DB-7 was a phenomenal car. Rare parts are pricey but a hell of a car. Late 90′s XK-8 coupe would be a great alternative. I’ve got a 97 that’s my daily driver and it is really, really easy to live with. 308 GTSi or 328…..with a $15K maintenance fund would be cool. You could actually buy a Mondial and have the $15K set aside for $30K…..not that I’d endorse it. Think I’d do an Espada first.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          Randy – thanks for the kind words and for your feedback! Question: where did you get the DB7 maintained? There is an Aston dealer in town, but I imagine prices are exorbitant for both parts and labor. Also: was yours the Supercharged 6-cyl or the V12?

          • Randy Wells says:

            Hey Doug –

            Tried to send a reply earlier but not sure if it went through. My apologies for any redundancy.

            My DB-7 was a 6-speed V-12.

            I had the it serviced at an Aston Martin dealer. They shared a shop staff with Jaguar at the time so hourly rates were reasonable. I may have just been lucky but I never had any issues. I did install a heavy-duty radiator to counteract the Las Vegas summer heat.

            I think the only big thing to bite you would be any unobtanium parts that are expensive solely because of their scarcity.

            I bet the supercharged six cylinder would be even easier to maintain and certainly within your budget for this project.

            One of the few cars that I’ve ever sold that I wish I could have back right now.

            The comments about the Range Rovers made me think about the sport utility route. It’s a little more on the utilitarian side, but what about the 6-speed manual six cylinder Cayennes?

  7. Alex says:

    What about an as advertised new 2000 Lotus Esprit V8. The Lotus dealer in Toronto, Gentry Lane Automobiles, has had this car on their website for as long as I can remember. No priced as advertised, but it is a Lotus you can drive across America (or wherever again), a ‘New’ car from 2000 (no pics of odo, so I dono how many KM’s), but I believe it checks all the boxes, except maybe for price (no idea what they’d finally sell it for).

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      The fact that that exists in that condition is astonishing to begin. How crazy.

      Frankly I never considered an Esprit but it’s been mentioned here twice. I’ve driven them and they’re amazing. I would be concerned with resale, but most importantly it loses the main appeal of the Elise, which is that reliable Toyota powertrain…

  8. Ltd783 says:

    This is on Bring a Trailer today. Exactly what I mean about overpriced. This is what I would call in “nice” shape too, not perfect, but nice. $40k!?!?

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Absurd. Do note however that it’s a one-owner car. I would give the guy $30k today if it passed a mechanical inspection but not a dollar more. The BaT commenters seem to share my (and your) view.

      • because i had an m coupe says:

        A good example of an E30 M3 for sale. The owner, a retired pro racer, has a reputation for being meticulous.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          That’s gorgeous – but surely long gone, right? I mean, I’m sure it hasn’t snowed in Vermont in months.

          • because i had an m coupe says:

            Not sure if it’s still available – give him a call if you’re interested.

            If not available, the guy always has tons of interesting cars and restoration projects lying around. Last time I stopped by, he was restoring a 3.0CS, had 2 E36 race cars out front, the motor from his world challenge E36 in the shop, and a bunch of 2002′s. I think he’s thrown S14s in a lot of 2002′s.

  9. Jesse says:

    BMW 2002 tii is my vote. Quality, character, history, fun-as-hell-to-drive, easy to resell, cheap-ish to keep running.

    And, no, my long history with BMW does not play into my decision. I could very well recommend the Esprit, but since everyone else already did…

  10. Kyle says:

    Ram SRT-10; I have an unhealthy desire for a one. The editorial consensus when they were new was that they were an answer to a question that no one asked. But they seem super fun, remarkably reliable, and are now affordable. V10 powered manual pickup truck! C’mon!

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      This is unquestionably on the ‘possible’ list but I have to admit I was struck by how expensive they still are. Probably good for the second or maybe third long-termer, a few months down the road.

  11. Robby DeGraff says:

    How about the original Insight like you listed, or maybe a Mercury Marauder?

  12. because i had an m coupe says:

    Of the options presented, I’m biased towards an M Coupe, because I had a Z4 M Coupe.

    However, your Range Rover County (Classic?) would be a more interesting subject for a long-term used car test than any of the cars you suggested.

  13. becauseCAR says:

    Here’s my list:

    Any Alfa Romeo, hopefully a Spider (because you’re not a true petrolhead until you’ve had an Alfa)
    Volvo XC90 V-8 (It’ll be a nice switch from the Range Rover, and you’ll like it)
    Any Saab with the higher pressure turbo, maybe an older 9000. (and take it to Talladega)
    BMW E38 750iL or E65 760i (always wanted one of these but I have the opportunity to live out ownership vicariously through you)

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Would love an E38, but I hate the long wheelbase and I (like you) don’t think the 740i would pull enough people.

      An Alfa might be nice, but not quite as page-turning as some of the ones above, no? Same with the Volvo and Saab!

      • becauseCAR says:

        I don’t know, I think people would read about V12 BMW ownership. Though you’d only encounter people who fawned over all things BMW, like me until I drove a 997S.

        I think Alfa Spider ownership would write itself to be honest, over an Esprit V-8, which you would sadly cry over vs. shedding those “tears of happiness” with an Alfa.

        On a totally unrelated note, I drove a 2013 Range Rover HSE yesterday, on-road only, and found it quite boring compared to an L322. It handled nicely, but it didn’t have that special something which endeared you to it.

        But drive an XC90 V-8 (if you haven’t done so already), and really play with it, especially in the snow. You’ll almost love it. Everything else is what people will be expecting you to do at this point.

      • becauseCAR says:

        Enough people write about the cars above anyway. Especially the E30 M3, NSX, any BMW M or Mercedes AMG car (R63 a very notable exception, for obvious reasons). Part of the reason you write (especially on Playswithcars) is to talk about the cars that came from left field.

  14. Steve Countryman says:

    Doug, Since you don’t have a garage, but need to maintain the lofty of your hood, the suggestion of a Rolls Royce might pass muster with your neighbors…but geez how boring can one be????

    Alternatively, I nominate a nice early 1990s BENTLEY TURBO R, preferably in bright red. With MSRP of close to $175K in 1990 and 6.75 liters of turbo V-8 power, it has the solid credentials as a “Q” ship of the first order, and would be at home in the ‘hood and at the drag strip.

    Here’s a link to a 1990 with allegedly only 27K miles for only $19,990, and a California car to boot!

    Don’t disappoint your Anglophile readers.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Interestingly, I don’t actually think this car would have that many problems. Mainly I’m concerned about resale. Is ANYONE out there thinking: “Oh I wish I had a 1990 Bentley!” ??? Hell no! Right?!

      • Doug DeMuro says:

        By the way, with that said, I think it’s an excellent suggestion. I think several of these (Esprit, Bentley Turbo R, DB7, Ram SRT-10) would actually get more clicks than the E30 M3. What I’m worried about is they’ll have problems or won’t be sellable.

        • PeteyCrack says:

          how long are your ‘long term’ tests going to be? hell, i’d by an esprit, bentley or db7 off you… your going to write about all the issues and FIX them right? ;) so i should have a well sorted one when your done! win-win..

          • Doug DeMuro says:

            I’m thinking four months, and YES! Any issue that comes up (unless it’s absolutely non-essential to the operation of the vehicle) will be addressed. All part of the story!!!

      • PeteyCrack says:

        uh… I do. Every gawd damn day. I even drive by this guys place regularly looking for one:

        and have a craigslist email notifier set up ( ) to alert me if one is listed.

  15. Steve Countryman says:

    “lofty standards”, that is

  16. Grant G. says:

    Have you thought of a Prowler? Although, not sure if it necessarily fits your “re-sellable” requirement.

  17. PJ says:


    Here are my suggestions: 1) 2004-07 Volvo S60 R/V70 R, 2) 2008-13 Volvo C30

  18. O.H. says:

    I think the Insight sounds like the most interesting to read about on a weekly basis. Bonus points if you take it to the track each week and work on getting your times down.

  19. Dave M. says:

    How about an Outback either LLBean or 3.0 VDC?

  20. Lenn says:

    What about a 2003-2004 F150 Lightning? They’re just as fast as the SRT-10 Ram you mentioned as “possible” (or faster depending on the Ram’s setup) but they lack the absurd repair costs since the drivetrain is tried and true. You can get one nearly showroom mint with nearly zero miles for $30k and they’re rare enough that people still turn heads a LOT.

  21. Sam says:

    I vote for the Honda Insight! This would be super awesome, and its aluminum body isn’t going to leave you with something unsellable at the end of your long-term test.

    Buy one with a recently replaced battery, or buy a cheap one with a bad battery and have someone from Bumblebee or Hybrid-Revolt replace it and you’re good for a long time.


    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I’ve spent a lot of time looking into the Insight. In fact, I was up until about 2:30 am looking into the Insight. I have to admit I’m worried about the battery. The original batteries in all of them are basically dead or dying and – this is the bad bit – the Honda replacements are ALSO dying. Apparently the Honda replacement batteries last 10-18 months on average before you need a new one again. So the ONLY decent one is a car with a Bumblebee battery, and the people who have gone that route don’t appear to be selling.

      The real issue is even locating one in Atlanta. AutoTrader has zero, Craigslist has 1 and four pages into the classifieds on the Insight forum, the closest I could find was Washington DC (which is 10 hours away by car).

      I’m really into the Insight now, but it may not work for logistical and cost reasons more than anything else.

      • Piston Slap Yo Mama says:

        My battery was purchased from Bumble Bee. I flew to Portland on business and took a day to meet Eli and determine if a hobbyist working out of his garage merited $2200 of my trust, turns out he did. What sets him apart from the others is that he’s putting together IMA packs made from new cells rather than used and supposedly ‘balanced’ cells from other packs. It’s pathetic that I had to go to an enthusiast working from his house for something that should be readily available from a major manufacturer. I just don’t get it.

        I had a Honda warranty replacement pack in my Insight too. It lasted juuuuuuuust long enough to squeak me past the warranty expiration date before expensively dying. Thanks Obama.

        I should note that I have a spare blue 2001 Insight and three battery packs I’m intending to rehabilitate into one good one but can’t seem to find the time to do so. It’s in great condition otherwise and I should probably sell it. Drop me a line if interested.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          Hmmmm…. Where are you located?

          • Piston Slap Yo Mama says:

            That one liberal, progressive city in Texas. Or as our genius governor puts it “a blueberry in the middle of tomato soup”. You know – the one the cowboys would torch and ransack if they thought nobody would notice.
            I think you have my email address? I’ll happily supply all details off the forum.

  22. brightfametexan says:

    How about a Panther platform? Crown Vic or Town Car? They are probably a bit lacking in the cool department but are long term bullet proof.

  23. Greg says:

    I can’t vouch for the mechanical reliability of most of these, but they each have unique features and would be fun to drive and your neighbors wouldn’t mind
    Civic CRX (good resale value, and if you can find one that hasn’t been beaten to hell)
    BMW 1-series
    VW GTI
    VW Corrado VR6, like the crx, need one that hasn’t been flogged
    VW Phaeton W12
    Volvo C70 Coupe
    Subaru WRX Sti

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Definitely have CRX, Corrado and Phaeton on the list. Some of my friends said Phaeton should be the one, no questions asked. There is a local one (only a V8) in great shape for $12k. Also have 1-Series M on the list. THAT would be tons of fun. Expensive, but not losing value.

      • Piston Slap Yo Mama says:

        Doug, look before you leap: a Phaeton will put you in the same shoes that Jack Baruth wears, that being his hooptie of choice. Similarly a Ford Panther, be it Crown Vic or Town Cow, is Baruth-land. No need to replow that field – although your writing style is wit to his snark so I’m sure it would seem fresh if you did.

        Re. a CRX, good luck finding one that hasn’t been raped with Autozone doodads, pasted on bodykits, Altezza lamps, lambo doors then soaked in teen douche. No other car made in the last century was a derp-magnet more than the CRX, it’s like they’re being punished for crimes committed in a past life. I should write a weekly column entirely based on the ones I find on Craigslist and call it Parade of Stupid. If you buy one over an Insight you’ll have similar poison-pen fodder.

      • Greg says:

        Forgot to put Honda S2000 on my list.

  24. Mark says:

    I’d say go for a 1st-gen Infiniti G20. That or a Sentra SE-R.

    In all seriousness, I support the Phaeton idea. Maybe your former Porsche colleagues could somehow connect you with VWoA if a catastrophe occurs…

    BTW, have the words ‘serious’ and ‘Phaeton’ ever been used in the same sentence?

  25. H1 Hell Yeah! says:

    Hummer H1…start by making it climb a wall, add a snorkle and then fully submerge…after that go to Florida and drive through the everglades racing an airboat!

  26. McFly says:

    How about a 1st gen CTS-V? We’ve witnessed Cadillac’s resurgence in recent years with promising product – but how well does it stand up to the test of time and use?

    Or an Audi B5 S4 Avant?

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I had a first-gen CTS-V and found it to be a credible but marginally dull sedan.

      Definitely considered a B5 S4 Avant. In fact, I almost bought a Nogaro one about six months ago. The problem is there are quite literally ZERO for sale in Atlanta, and that is a car you must inspect before buying because of all the turbo issues.

      • McFly says:

        Thanks for the link – I’ve only recently discovered both TTAC and Plays with Cars; great adds to my reading list. (I’m STILL looking for a Sonata Hybrid to follow while it’s lights are on…..they suddenly seem to be like the mystical unicorn in their rarity.)

        Too true on the B5 S4; many seem to be beaten within an inch of their life, and you would definitely want to see it in person before committing.

        • Doug DeMuro says:

          Not many folks buying the Sonata Hybrid indeed – but it’s worth it when you do see one!!!

          By coincidence, I saw a B5 S4 Avant tonight and thought of you! Not for sale though. Happily being driven slowly, probably due to worry over future mechanical malfunction.

  27. Piston Slap Yo Mama says:

    Despite having a vested interest in Honda Insights, I’m going to toss this wrench into the works. Why not … now hear me out … why not appeal to your more base, redneck impulses and get a 4th gen ’93-’02 Camaro? They’re as cheap as a shovel and like that blunt instrument, good at what they do. I’ve never owned one but the new Camaro just strikes me as so (how do I put this diplomatically)… fugging uckly, if you get my drift. Suddenly the departed generation looks svelte, sleek & curvaceous rather than a pastiche of retro mixed with the latest questionable trends like its replacement.

    Then you could write about how you grew a mullet, started wearing wife-beaters and root for the bad guys in Deliverance. Amiright? Keep in mind that I’m writing this as the former owner of a RX7 gsl-se, 240z, z3-M and many other cars that would be the antithesis of a Camaro, so why I think this is good idea even I don’t know.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I think you would actually have to pay ME to get me into a 4th gen Camaro. The ONLY good news is they’re cheap. On that vein, I’m surprised no one has said Typhoon…

  28. WhatDaFunk says:

    BMW E31, preferably 850CSi, but any 850 really.
    Or, grow a moustache and get a Ferrari 308.

  29. Tom K. says:

    Honda S2000.

    The high-winding earlier version, please.

    TTAC, not Jalopnik.

  30. Gavin G says:

    Run a ‘modern classic’ like a Merc W126 S-class or a W124 E-Class. Either with the biggest motor like a 560 SEL or, even better, an E500!

  31. because i had an m coupe says:

    buy David Letterman’s 1995 Volvo 960 estate, which was fitted with a supercharged Ford V8 and a 5-speed manual gearbox.

  32. Brian Williams says:

    A 2008-2009 Taurus/Sable would be boringinsteresting.

  33. Randy Wells says:

    Hey Doug –

    It’s been a couple of years since I owned the DB-7. It was a V-12 with a six speed manual. At the time, I was living in Las Vegas and Aston Martin and Jaguar shared a dealership. The guys there were great. The service costs weren’t really any different than a ten year old Porsche. I upgraded the radiator to protect the engine in the Las Vegas heat but, outside of that, the only thing I ever had a problem with was the windshield. Coulda just been luck but it was a great ownership experience. That said, because I didn’t have any issues, I never bumped into the parts scarcity issue. That’s the thing with cars built in low numbers. Some parts you never see, that are subcontracted at the factory to folks like Bosch, are interchangeable and surprisingly cheap. Other stuff, is nearly unobtanium. Ferrari 328′s are like that. Really easy to live with until you need a fog light, which is glass, is no longer made and is $1K if you can find one. Not sure if you’d have that with the DB-7. I’d risk it though. You could probably steal a supercharged six if you can find one that’s been well maintained.

  34. Bruce says:

    How about a 2009+ supercharged or twin turbocharged Nissan 370Z. I have seen both styles available on Ebay, and the 370z forum from time to time. Most are low mileage <20-30k miles and are priced right around your cap of $30k. On average they put out 400-500whp and should in theory be very reliable. Most people claim they are selling them to purchase GTR's or 4 seaters. What do ya think?

  35. Land Ark says:

    Sorry Doug, I’ve bee a bad reader. And since I know you’ve bee sitting there with a long drawn face aching to know what my response to your question would be, I’m going to make it now. So put the booze away, actually, let me hang onto that for you.
    …That’s urine. Doug, you’re drinking urine.
    ANYway, my suggestion would be purely selfish and probably only interesting to me.
    2005-2006 Pontiac GTO.
    I know they’re for sale around you. The price is going to be fair and you should probably be able to sell it for what you paid for it since it will likely have pretty low miles.
    I suggest this because I bought one last August after intentionally shopping for a ridiculous car. My other option being an FD RX7 – but that was a bit too ridiculous.
    I’ve been keeping meticulous documentation for every dollar I’ve spent on it (I spent $2.84 on valve stem covers and $232.77 for a car cover, etc.). And it has been completely reliable. I flew to Sarasota to pick it up and drove it back to Northern VA. It was a lovely drive.
    So, since this will probably be lost in the sea of … brilliant… suggestions, I’ll close by saying: testicles.

    • Land Ark says:

      Oh, and I made it here via Jalopnik which forsaked me by switching comment methods, and since we discussed the other day I don’t have a Facebook account, I have been relegated to a reader.
      Now I’m off to download music on Scour Media Agent.

  36. Timothy In Boston says:

    Subaru SVX… love it and it’s overheating everything.

  37. sliptanked says:

    Porsche 930 Turbo. Hopefully with a slantnose.

    I offer no reason for this choice other than 80′s excess.
    That is all.

  38. Ryan says:

    Syclone or Typhoon, please.

    Or ’96 Impala SS? SSR?

    Maybe an XLR-V? Not sure if those are $30k yet, and they certainly aren’t re-sellable. Well, maybe nothing I’ve listed here is re-sellable, really.

  39. Lenn Pitt says:

    So I think anything over on the TTAC “Derek and Doug’s Fantastic Crapwagons” list would do well as a page turner.

    I’d also like to highly recommend from that list, the Galant VR4.

  40. Matt Fink says:

    Hey Doug. I’m know I’m late to party (been reading your stuff on TTAC, just decided to check out your website… good stuff). I say go for the NSX. Then in the future you could do the Insight and compare the difference between the 2 cars made in the same plant. If not that, an old CRX HF would be fun (62 horsepower of fury!).

  41. PeteyCrack says:

    So what year is the wagon?

  42. alfaromeo says:

    I vote for NSX. That would be great fun with HONDA reliability. But seems everydoby else ignore it. Why?

  43. juror58 says:

    Whatever you decide on, write it up in TTAC!!

  44. MrFixit1599 says:

    For the next vehicle, I highly recommend the IROC-Z Camarocamino in Jason Aldeans 1994 country music video. Just think of the possibilities. It’s an IROC-Z Camaro with a truck bed! How can that possibly be a bad thing or go wrong? Granted bits of interior will fall off into your lap, but that makes it just as exciting as some of your other rides. Also, one would assume it is a 2 seater, so you don’t have to worry about hauling people around, and since it has, I am sure, a “sport tuned” suspension, you cant actually haul anything in the truck bed part of it. So no helping “friends to move” since it isn’t actually a truck, and no transporting people since it only has 2 seats. Yet, its based on an IROC-Z! You can still take it to the track and drag strip (pantless if you prefer since you won’t have anyone with you) and have a blast with it. As a side note, just think how many bags of cookies you could fit in that truck bed.

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