If you had $100,000 just sitting around, and you wanted to build yourself a nice car collection, where would you start? What if you had to buy one 4-cylinder car, one 6-cylinder, and one V8?
Welcome to Gizmodo Australia's Car Buying Challenge!
We set ourselves a few rules — usually a substantial dollar figure to play with, as well as at least one extra factor to inform our choices and make things more fun — and then find the absolute best cars, currently for sale online in Australia, within those rules.
Previously in our car buying challenges:
I'm going to be honest with you. I got my 4-banger choice out of the way early, spent most of the hour agonising about which V8 to buy, then found a 6-cylinder that would fit the rest of the budget. But it's actually a pretty good mix from the last two decades, from Australian to Japanese to European. All my cars are manual, by the way, because it's the only way to drive.
4 Cylinders: 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR
$28,000 of my hard-earned $100K goes on this 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR. The VIII was the last of the 6-speed manual Evos, grey is the nicest colour offered, and this particular car has apparently had a relatively easy life in Australia since it was brought over from Japan. I like my cars stock for the most part, and this one is unmolested.
I looked for a nice Subaru WRX STi, but just couldn't find one that suited both my budget and my tastes. High on my 4-cylinder list, although it would have eaten up the lion's share of my budget, was this $60,000 Lancia Delta HF Integrale, closely followed by a $30,000 1987 Lotus Esprit.
6 Cylinders: 2014 Ford Falcon FGX XR6 Turbo
Yep, I'm buying a brand new car. This $43,990 2014 Ford Falcon FGX XR6 Turbo is the penultimate evolution of a car and drivetrain that started out in 2002, and it's just about as Aussie as meat pies and the Eureka Stockade. It's fast, it's safe, it's comfortable, it'll handle holidays, and it complies with all those new-fangled emissions regulations. Plus, no-one else has sat in it and ripped up the rear tyres before.
To save a couple of dollars, not that I need to, I could go for a $30,000 2000 Audi RS4. Godzilla was also an option — 1991 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, one of the rare Australian-delivered ones and looking in pretty good nick. There are also innumerable R34 GT-Rs out there.
8 Cylinders: 1999 BMW M5 (E39)
I've always wanted a M5. And now I have one. This $26,750 BMW M5 looks pretty much like a regular old 4-door BMW 5 Series sedan, but hides a stonking 5-litre V8 under the hood with a solid 310kW and a 5.3-second 0-100km/h sprint. The black on grey interior is a bit naff, but hey, it's from the late '90s — it's a relic of that era. It's largely unchanged from stock, apart from what seem like pretty minimal intake and exhaust mods.
For the novelty of the whole situation, I was genuinely considering the twin-turbo V8 of a $43,000 2001 Maserati 3200 GT or a $50,000 2003 Mercedes Benz SL55. Or, of course, I could buy a $26,000 1971 Mercedes Benz 280SE or 1968 6.3-litre 300SL and pretend I'm a Middle Eastern dictator.
Total Spent: $98,740
Whenever I do these challenges, I always try to buy three different cars to fill three different needs. One could be for speed, the other could be practical, and the final car is for a Sunday drive. That's what I've done here, I think. I humbly present my choices.
4 Cylinders: 1942 Willys Jeep
You better believe it. This off-road war machine is reliable, in great condition after a bunch of maintenance and repairs, and looks awesome. It's also quite practical for all those odd jobs that need doing, too. Moving big stuff about, getting you from A-to-B, invading Vietnam. You know, the usual.
It's packing a 4-cylinder 2.2L petrol engine, a 3-speed manual gearbox and 4X4 all the way. It only has 1500km on the clock, which is great, and it comes with a few extra tins of Army green paint for good measure. Despite the fact that it's in good nick, I do expect it to go as wrong as the Vietnam War in about the same amount of time, so I had to make my other purchases more reliable.
6 Cylinders: 1983 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Ever wanted to live out your Californication fantasy? Get Hank Moody's wheels with a mid-80's Porsche 911.
Sure, I could have bought something newer, with lower kilometres (this one has almost 200,000km on it) and with a folding cloth roof that won't clap out after about a week, but the 911 is a pretty special car. It's a fantastic Sunday afternoon car, and that's alright by me.
8 Cylinders: 2003 Audi RS6 Sports Automatic Quattro
Fastest wagon in the world? Fastest wagon in the world.
With less than 85,000km on the clock, this RS6 Wagon is the perfect 8-cyl car, and for just $39,000, it's an absolute steal. Plus, the owner has installed a few more mod-cons into the cabin to make it a great daily driver in 2015 like heated seats, a touchscreen and satnav. I can't think of any better car, despite the fact that I had my eye on a Stingray and more than a few Range Rovers.
Total Spent: $98,890
If you had $100,000 and three cars to buy, with these rules, what choices would you make? Are our cars terrible or great? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to share your online car-buying finds too.