Take a few minutes out of your Friday afternoon and join us for a fun little mental exercise. Let’s face it, you weren’t working anyway. We’re giving you an (entirely fictional) $100,000 and a simple mission — build yourself an instant car collection, with four cars, one each from the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and now. Trust us, it’s harder than you might think.
Gizmodo Australia’s editor Luke Hopewell and myself just wasted about an hour on our own little impromptu competition, with just a few simple rules. We each had to pick four cars, with listings available online on Carsales. One from each decade of the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010-onwardses. We had $100,000 to spend. (I broke that last rule, but I don’t care, you can’t stop me.)
On your marks, get set, go.
1980s: 1980 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II, $29,990
This is the most special car in my instant collection. It’s an immaculate condition Rolls-eRoyce Silver Shadow II from 1980, a few years into the production run, and honestly it looks like it’s brand new. It’s a completely fresh restoration with new maroon paint, new chrome fittings and a brand new leather and lambswool interior — straight from the Rolls-Royce factory. Sitting in this car would be an experience, whether you’re a driver or a passenger.
I’m not going to pretend there wasn’t a lot of competition for my ’80s car choice. Just from a quick look at Carsales, there’s also a gold Shadow for $2,000 less, although the interior looks a lot more worn. Runners up included this ’82 Chevy C3 Corvette, this ’82 Silver Spirit, this ’83 Ferrari Mondial, this ’82 Mercedes 380SL, and so many more.
1990s: 1991 Land Rover 110, $25,250
I honestly thought my ’90s car would be a Japanese tuner model or a balls-out European homologated rallyer, but when I spotted this ’91 Land Rover I didn’t even bother looking any further. This four-wheel-drive is an ex-Army truck, apparently one of the very few updated Regional Force Surveillance Vehicle units. Complete with Department of Defence logbooks, this would be the perfect offroader or weekend camper.
Dual fuel tanks, a front winch, roll cage, rear equipment bins, external petrol jerry cans. Oh, and all of that camouflage. I could live out my Tomorrow When The War Began fantasies for years in this thing. Maybe I can get a 22B STI or a Supra or an RX-7 or an Audi S1 Quattro as the next car in my collection.
2000s: 2005 Renault Sport Clio 182 Cup, $19,500
If you have a car collection, you need a car in that collection that you can actually drive. Every day. I work in the city, so I need something that I can park easily and that doesn’t drink fuel while I’m sitting in traffic. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the commute in the first place.
$19,500 is probably a couple of grand too much for this car — I’d be willing to pay $17,500 happily — but I genuinely think the 182 Cup is a future classic. Anyone that has driven one will tell you that they’re just great fun, utterly involving and simple and surprising. You get hydraulic steering (instead of vague-feeling electric), a rev-happy naturally aspirated 2-litre four-cylinder (instead of a laggy turbo), and not that much else. This particular car comes with an equally-beautiful-and-rare blood orange paint job, and has barely over 26,000km on the clock. Mint.
2010s: 2013 Toyota 86 GTS, $29,990
Another instant classic. When I drove the 86 for our Gizmodo review earlier this year, I fell in love. I seriously considered buying one. I’m still doing that right now. Along with the white, I think Velocity Orange is the best colour by a long way, and the GTS spec (sans excessively large spoiler) is the best compromise between price and features.
I also considered dropping my cash on a brand new MY15 Subaru WRX, an Abarth 595 Competizione, and a ’11 Audi S3 Quattro. All great choices, but I genuinely think the 86 deserves top honours, as a return to form for Toyota in the hearts of everyone that owned or lusted after a Supra.
Cam’s Total Spent: $104,730 (Yes, I know I overspent. No, I’m not changing my choices. I regret nothing.)
1980s: 1981 Leyland Moke, $22,000
British Leyland is an interesting company, and it built a series of interesting cars (when the workforce wasn’t on strike). One of those interesting cars is the Leyland Moke: a two or four seat beach buggy perfect for tooling about in on amazing Summer days. It was built in the same place I was: Birmingham, England. Since they rolled off the production line, they’ve been great project cars, and as a result no two Mokes are the same. You can get them as cheaply as $5000 or up to $28,000 depending on how well-restored it is.
This one is gorgeous, and features a stunning blue colour, white rims and nudge bar with white and blue striped seats, and my favourite feature, a teak floor. What a machine, and a great pick for my best of the 1980’s.
1990s: 1993 Mazda RX-7, $18,000
You might start to sense a theme with these cars. I want a specific car for specific activities in my life. The Moke suits a weekend driving pleasure, while this next car — the Mazda RX-7 — suits my track day needs. With its twin-turbo rotary engine, teardrop design and just 121,000km on the clock, this one is perfect for thrashing about a track before putting it away wet.
I don’t care that it needs a swimming pool amount of oil every time I drive it, or if it needs an engine rebuild every time I race it: I want a fire-breathing, track-eating monster, and for $18,000 where’s the issue here?
And now, we move to our off-roading needs. I thought about something like a Nissan Patrol or a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, but both just feel a bit too utilitarian if that makes sense. If I’m going off-road, I want to be out in nature, but still be comfortable. I’m willing to sacrifice a modicum of utility in the wild for a sliver of luxury, and that’s where the Touareg comes in.
Interestingly, it’s the most expensive car in the collection, but I think with the high wheels, roof racks and 6-cyl turbo diesel engine, I’ve done this one correctly.
2010s: 2013 Ford Fiesta ST, $25,990
When I reviewed the Fiesta ST, I fell in love. It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s cheerful and it’s friendly to your wallet when it comes to filling it up with fuel. It takes an already great car and turns it into a winning road and track car.
Despite being a front-wheel drive car with what you would assume is entirely too much torque for its own good, the Fiesta manages to get off the line with minimal hassle. All of that adds up to cornering that gives you just enough slip to have fun, but not enough to put you into someone’s front garden. It’s the perfect daily driver for a hot hatch-loving petrol head, and it’s $25,990 well spent.
Luke’s Total Spent: $99,980
Which four cars would you pick if you had $100,000 to spare? Take a few minutes to do a little searching, and let us know your thoughts. Feel free to throw in a link as well, so we can all agree and disagree violently with each other. Any comments, complaints or choices that you’d make differently? Share them in the comments below.