Plutocrat Problems

Seen in a recent real estate listing here in West Plano:

Not sure about the Ford GT on the right, but otherwise I don’t think you can fault the man’s taste.

The house looks out onto the Gleneagles Country Club golf course, and is listed at $1.2 million which, in that neighborhood, makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with it.

But that’s not what I want to talk about, because it’s Saturday and I’m not a realtor.

Here’s the question: let’s assume you’re that guy, and the Fast & Furious crowd stole all your cars one night. The insurance has paid out, and you want to fill your garage with different ones of about equivalent value (i.e. the sky’s pretty much the limit). Which four cars would you buy? (Assume you need at least one SUV as a “guns ‘n groceries” conveyance, just to make it interesting. And please:  I don’t want to hear any guff that you only need one car, and you want to use the rest of the garage as a workshop. Play the game.)

Answers in Comments. My choices are below the fold, but make your choices first before looking at mine, lest I influence your selections.

SUV: Maserati Levante ($90,000)

Car #1: Bentley Continental Speed W12 convertible (secondhand: $140,000)

Car #2: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio ($80,000)

Car #3: Maserati GT ($140,000)

Yeah, two Maseratis and an Alfa. What can I say? I love Italian cars, and I’m a sucker for punishment.

46 comments

  1. Hmm, 4 stalls to fill. I guess I’d go with 1 from each of the big players. US, Brit, German, Italian. Be a waste of time shortly anyway, I’d lose my license in a heartbeat. As the song says, “My Maserati does 185, I lost my license and now I cant drive”.

      1. The first thing is, 4 stalls is not enough if you’re going for dream cars.

        There would have to be a Corvette in my garage just because. I actually considered renting one of the new ones to go on a cross-country, get away from it all and find myself again trip. Traveling alone sucks though.

        You’re right, you need a SUV for stuff. I had no idea Maserati made one. I like it. Then again Bentley’s have several acres of space in them, it might work.

        I love the iconic sports cars of each country. The Jag’s, Austin Martin’s, Lotus, Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati. Impossible to choose, but I would have to have a Corvette just because, and a Ferrari just to hear it make the Ferrari sound.

        From a practical point of view, I’m old, I want comfortable seats, great sound system, and great air conditioning. I don’t think Ferrari has any of them. For Porsche, they would all be add-ons that would cost $30k each.

        Fun to dream though. Been dreaming about 40+ foot Catamarans of late and circumnavigating. Maybe a bit more practical than dream car… in your dreams.

    1. You better keep a toolbox ready, along with a few spare parts. That V12, for instance, can be a little temperamental. The Land Rover will run forever, though, so I guess it kind of evens out.

  2. I knew a man in Dallas years ago who had a Dodge Viper and then he was using Taxi’s and I asked him what happened to his Viper and he said, “It didn’t work out.”

    Four cars, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo for grocery getter and going fast safely. Then for the garage pets, all in red, solid clean restorations, showroom-new not neccessary since they will be drivers. XK120 Jaguar Roadster, late 50’s Mercedes 190SL roadster, late 50’s Corvette. These would be nice fun to drive cars on a Sunday afternoon to go get an ice cream cone. Being over 70 I like to look at the newer fun cars but I like driving the old ones. I dabbled in garage pets, mostly old Brits, over the years and now I am happy with my F-150 pickup and wife’s 4-Runner, they always start, run and stop when they are supposed to stop.

    1. I knew a guy at work who bought a new corvette every year. One year he changed up to a Viper. So another officer worker who is into exotic cars asked to drive it, and the owner casually passes him the keys.

      He let the engine warm up, then nailed it at 30 MPH out of the parking lot. The car ended up sideways in the middle of the street.

      He brought it back, saying it was pretty well over-powered.

  3. If you’d consider the Ford GT doing it wrong, you’d be, well, wrong. Investment value aside, it’s one of the best sport cars ever made. By a lot.

    Anywho, nobody needs a SUV for guns and groceries. They’re craptastic maytag wagons, every last one of them. When you have stuff like the Ford Focus RS, et al, on the market, anyway.

    Anywho, if money were truly no object:

    Pagani Zonda F Roadster
    Ferrari F40
    Lamborghini Miura
    Lamborghini LM002 (only due to the SUV requirement– if you must, may as well have one with a Countach V12)

  4. SUV: Range Rover HSE 5.0 supercharged

    Cruiser: Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

    Grocery-getter: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

    Long-time Dream Car: AC Cobra 427

  5. The everyday, go to the gun show by way of the supermarket vehicle is not going to be an SUV; it’s going to be a truck, and have a towing package. Another of these cars has to be a rag top and a real head turner, which isn’t all that difficult when money is not an obstacle. I’ve always wanted to own a ’57 Chevy with a 454 under the hood, but I decided to take a pass. Another contender is a custom T-bucket, like the one featured on the cover of The Ventures album.

    Anyway, here are my five:

    1. 2017 Silvarado 1500 double cab with trailer towing package. The one and a half ton pickup should be able to pull a trailer, which will be hauling my Roush Stage 3 along with enough spare parts to keep me racing most of the day. Spare tires, lots of spare brake parts, tools, whatever. Moreover, the cab is large enough to accommodate my corpulent friends in comfort.

    2. 2017 Roush Mustang Stage 3, dark blue, sun roof. I decided against the rag top because of aerodynamics. Drive it like you’re racing it, which is what I’m going to do. I eat Vettes for breakfast!

    3. 2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed. There are certain times when it won’t do to pull up in a pick up truck and tell everyone to pile out. That’s what the Bentley is for. Being a four door is deceptive, as the beast has enough blasting powder under the hood to blow the doors off a Porsche or your average street rod.

    4. 2017 Mclaren 650S CAN-AM SPIDER – LIMITED EDITION. I saw one of these parked on the street in downtown Indianapolis, and ever since then I swore that if I ever got an exotic car, this would be it. The paint job looked to be about three miles deep, and the Mclaren looks like it’s doing 150 when it’s parked at the curb. The only drawback to owning a Mclaren is that you’ll drive it, and if you drive it, you’ll nail it.

    Anyway, those are the four that satisfy me. Now, how do I get them insured?

  6. I’d skip the SUV (don’t worry – not cheating) and get a real truck – any of the big 3 in the 2500 size, with top interior trim level and tow package. Probably a Chevy but maybe a Dodge. Let’s face it, when it comes to trucks, American is best for the simple reason it’s what the Big 3 make their money on.

    Second would be a 63 Corvette split-window coupe. I’d rather have an antique over a new one, even if it’s slower.

    Third would be something different – maybe the Maserati GT. It’d be something I’d change out every 2 or 3 years anyway, so it’s kinda a wild card choice.

    Finally, a little cheating here, but the fourth spot I’d skip a car and park two motorcycles instead. A Honda Goldwing and a Honda CB1100, one for touring and one for play.

    I’m assuming the boat (or boats) are down at the marina and not parked in the back yard. And the jeep is safely stored at the hill country cabin. There’s an RV Camper parked in storage too, gotta have something to pull behind the truck.

  7. Let’s see…
    For daily utility duties, a well restored Euro spec Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9.
    For nice day driving, a nice, mid spec Caterham Super 7 Roadsport.
    For pretending I’m the Stig, a Porsche 911 GT3.
    And a nice 1966 Shelby GT 350 fastback in BRG.

    1. To expand on the choices:
      For the daily driver, I’m really not a SUV/pickup person. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I’ve spent too much time in Landcruisers, Explorers, F 150’s, and similar to dream of them. However, a big Benz can pack in a lot of cargo. The 6.9 “dragster limo” is a big car that is light on it’s feet, looks inconspicuous, and is pretty comfortable.

      Caterham 7’s are the perfect sports car- light, agile, and quick. Just the thing for quiet, twisty roads on nice, sunny days.

      Porsche 911’s are the right mix of zip, maneuverability, and comfort, a car that is equally good for track days, or driving to track days.

      Finally, the Shelby GT 350 is a combination of a nostalgia for my first car (a 66 Mustang hardtop), a love of muscle cars, and an appreciation for one of the best US car designs ever- the first generation of Mustang.

  8. 1. Citroen DS21. The greatest touring car. Ever. Okay, the anemic 4-banger means you’ll do 0-60 in a day or so, but who cares? It’s still the most comfortable & smoothest riding car ever manufactured. You’ll be slowing down for potholes & speed bumps; I’ll take ’em at 60.

    2. 1965 Buick Riviera, which is as muscled as I need to be. I had a weathered, beat up version as a yewt, and it remains my favorite. I’d update the suspension and install discs all around in the here and now.

    3. BMW Isetta. Just because. I’ve always been intrigued since the 1st time I saw one in the Dudley Moore/Peter Cook/Raquel Welch comedy (RW perfectly cast in the role of Lust; the Isetta was insufficient to distract me from her charms) Bedazzled. I’ve yet to encounter one in the flesh, but it appeals to my sense of arcane funkiness.

    4. Love me some Duramax. A 4-wheel drive crew-cab edition of whatever pickup GM is packaging around that bulletproof badass is about as can-do as anyone will ever need.

    1. With you on the DS21 – we have the modern equivalent (with the hydractive suspension) Citroen C5 – ultra comfortable. What’s a pothole, & why do you slow down……..? 🙂

  9. I tend to be a bit weirder than most of you. And I like to remember my roots.
    So here are my vehicles:
    For my youth-hood:
    1956 Ford Thunderbird (restored of course). For the sunny days.
    1950 Chevy (restored) for my incognito running around.
    1964 Olds 442 (restored) for my muscle car.
    For serious stuff:
    2018 Black (government-type) Suburban with tinted windows etc. For the hell of it.
    For the gun car, well why mess around restored M24 Tank it’s small enough it should fit.

  10. Let’s do them by category

    Pickup (because how else are you going to move crew served weapons?) Upgraded Dodge Power Wagon. They run about $150 – 200K. There’s a very pretty one in OD with black fenders. I’d probably go with the diesel version. My dad drove a Power Wagon ambulance across Europe at Uncle Sam’s expense back in 1944-45 and he was happy to have what started out as a new truck. He also said that he got his first pair of new shoes and a warm tanker’s jacket from Uncle Sam. Times were tough in Scranton Pennsylvania back in the day.

    Sports car – old first generation XKE Jag convertible. Yeah I know that I’ll be working on it more than I’ll drive it, but I’m an old gearhead and I know how to turn wrenches. I even have an old Uni-Syn carb tool in the bottom of my roll around toolbox left over from the days when I drove a Triumph Spitfire. The XKE defined the automotive term voluptuous.

    Gentleman’s Express (when’s the last time you heard that term?) – I’m an old guy who wants comfort, reasonably good handling, decent gas mileage, and reliability. I do 1500 mile road trips almost every year and I want a car that will let me do seven or eight hundred mile days and still be able to walk into the motel at the end. So let’s look at a high end Lexus. There’s a Toyota or Lexus dealer in every little town between here and there. A Lexus isn’t sexy but they’re pretty reliable – and that’s what you need when you’re someplace on I40 between Amarillo and Albuquerque.

    Daily Driver – You’ll laugh at this but I’m a Subaru Outback guy. I know that Outbacks have the reputation as a liberal’s car but I did a bunch of research and found that the Outback is a very tough long life vehicle. I just paid off my 2014 and I intend to keep it until the wheels fall off. I’d go with the top end six cylinder for a little more power – other than that the car is great.

  11. An aside, which may serve to exile me into ‘turn down that music & get off my lawn’ quarantine: Kim’s choices, while exhilarating in their own fashion, exhibit an aesthetic sameness (to me) – kind of like just about every modern 9 millimeter semi auto. When they rounded the headlights & made everything look like a jelly bean, I had to excavate long and hard for enthusiasm.

    1. SEP,
      In my yoot I might have picked a vintage something, but in my old age I want reliability / speed / comfort. (Yeah, I know: “You want reliability and have three Italian cars on your list? ROFL.”)

  12. SUV : Mercedes GLS 350d £85k (inc. options).
    If you need a Land Rover, it may as well be comfortable as well……

    Dream Car #1 : Mercedes S 350d LWB AMG £99k (inc. options).
    Sensible frequent long-distance motoring without having to own a petroleum company……. I know, sky’s the limit, but I’ve got too many years behind me of watching every penny.

    Dream Car #2 : BMW i8 £113k (inc. options).
    Just for me on a fun drive to anywhere, far away from any speed cameras…. sigh…

    Dream Car #3 : Bentley Continental W12 GT convertible £165k (plus cost of options).
    Comfy occasional long-distance holiday driving for myself & my lady. Big enough so that I would not need a separate trailer for the wheelchair & all the extras my lady needs when travelling. Comfort more important than speed, hence the GT version rather than the Speed.

    And a little extra for sunny summers, the BMW R1200RT – to help me remember I was young once…….
    A mere £14k…..

  13. Ok, I may as well get the SUV out of the way first with the purchase of a 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser. I’m not especially into SUV’s, so I reckon I’d get a comfortable one that was reasonably capable and reliable. The Toyota seems to tick these boxes. Yeah, it’s not an especially stylish ride, but I reckon it’d take me anywhere I wanted to go in North America.

    With that out of the way, the next three would be:

    Caterham Seven 620R, because zero to sixty in under three seconds in what amounts to a go kart sounds awfully amusing to me.

    Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe. Yes, there are far more capable sports cars out there, I just happen to think this one looks gorgeous in real life. I’ve seen it up close when I was getting my car serviced, and in my opinion this thing is just plain suave. One man’s opinion, such as it is…

    1965 Saab 96. The two stroke model with the three carbs and oil injection. I’ve always thought these things were cool, and since I live in California I’d have the satisfaction of driving an ultra polluting two stroke car past the endless procession of Priuses and EV’s, and never having to get a smog check (as it’s old enough to be grandfathered). Yep, I’m easily amused…

    1. Achmed,
      You made me snort San Pellegrino through my nose with your Saab rationale.
      Not nice.
      ;=)

      1. Sorry about the beverage, I’ll work on my timing…

        I saw the Giulia Quadrofoglio up close at the LA Auto Show, and I saw a Standard Giulia at the dealership when I was getting my Abarth serviced. The Giulia is awfully cool, but it’s a shame they won’t sell one with a manual transmission in America. That’d be what kept it off my list.

  14. With your permission, since you said i.e. the sky’s pretty much the limit I’d like to slightly adjust the terms.
    1). Truck. Some years back I heard about a guy in stock car country whose primary job was rebuilding industrial/heavy equipment diesels (Caterpillar, Perkins, Detroit, etc.), and one day he stuffed a 6+ liter turbo Cat in an F-350, coupled it to the proverbial 8-speed Allison, and turned that trick into a sideline. One ‘o’ them please, in 4WD, extended cab, long bed, extra fuel tanks. Lacking that, maybe a Unimog (which, unfortunately, isn’t sold in the US), or a Power Wagon (except IIRC that isn’t available with an 8 ft bed).
    2) Dodge Challenger Demon, because it seems like a neat car and it’s impossible to have too much horsepower. And it’ll drive the greenies nuts.
    3) Subaru Outback. I might want to take passengers to the grocery store.
    4) Here’s where I want to adjust the rules – a car leasing service that can supply whatever my heart desires in 6 month intervals. A Super Seven, a Countach, Shelby GT350, McLaren P1, a Quadrifoglio, a fully restored Silver Cloud, a Corvette Z06, and so on. About the time I’d get bored with one, a smiling gentleman would arrive with a fresh mount.

  15. Just to keep it simple I’ll stick to current production models. Trying to pick four vintage dream vehicles would be much harder. Here goes:

    1. Sedan – Audi S8 Plus
    2. SUV – Cadillac Escalade Platinum
    3. Sports car – Porsche 911 Twin Turbo
    4. Convertible – Mercedes S Class Cabriolet

    It’s fun to dream…..

  16. Ok, I’ll tackle the SUV first. Porsche Cayenne. Maybe a BMW X5.

    Then we get to the serious cars. All convertibles, I haven’t owned a hardtop since 1985.

    First is a Porsche 911. Current production, I’m not interested in a vintage car.

    Second is tricky…probably an Aston Martin Vantage V12.

    Third is trickier still, since I’m a one-car sort of guy. Either a pickup truck with serious hauling capacity, or a Bentley Supersports Convertible.

  17. SUV – Ford Excursion
    Sedan – BMW Alpina B7
    Track Car – 2016 Dodge Viper ACR
    Grand touring – Ferrari F12

  18. 1. Dodge Challenger R/T
    2. Chevy Suburban 2500
    3. Lincoln Town car
    4. Fort F-250 with crew cab and towing package also 4 wheel drive

  19. This was harder than I expected but some choices revealed themselves when I turned on the old nostalgic memory recall. And factored in my size and height…

    SUV: I need to be sure I fit the driver’s position but I saw one of the Mercedes G63 AMG Gelandewagens recently and it seriously piqued my interest. $141,400

    1969-71 Plymouth or Chrysler C-Body wagon, 440 automatic, high trim (but no woodgrain siding). This is totally reliving my youth. A ’69 Custom Suburban was our family cruiser for many years, I learned to drive in it, it can handle 4×8 sheets of plywood with the rear seat folded. Probably pick up a pristine one in the $30K range but might be higher these days.

    1971 Challenger small block with updated brakes/suspension. I still have my first car, a ’71 Challenger small block which is being restified (restored but modified); if it was lost or stolen I’d just have to replace it, no option. Prices all over the map but should be under $50K, not looking for a convertible, T/A, or hemi here.

    My last one is a black sheep (not a Mopar!). Grocery getter 1968 Volkswagen Type III Squareback, 4 speed. My Mom had one for years (with automatic) and I drove it a lot. It’d have to be fully restored; the Bosch Jet-tronic injection used to work well but tended to have cascade failures with age. It was a fun little car to drive; enough power to not be boring, easy to park, good visibility… Maybe $15-18K for a perfect restoration, but probably less.

    And my wife just asked me about her car… was it also stolen? If so then a new Mini Cooper S coupe had better be one of the four…

    So can some of those super/luxo/euro cars named above handle a nearly 6′-6″ somewhat overweight driver? I’ve not tried them but I seem to have a < 50% 'possible to drive this car comfortably' results just sitting in showroom models for a lot of current cars, even the 'midsize' ones. I might be writing off cars on that basis that would actually be options.

    My car wish list has a lot more cars in it and on another day one of those might be in the top four. There are a couple of Mercedes, another Volkswagen, several Mopars, and even a Ford.

  20. If money and taste are not limited?

    1. Skip a regular SUV–I want a Unimog S404
    2. 1979 Chevy Nova, Straight 6 (250 in). It was my second car. and was owned by a little old lady who only drove to church and the grocery store (really!!). Smooth, ticked along, simple enough to work on by myself.
    3. Tesla S. I’m a safe, sensible driver, but a want Ludicrous Speed!
    4. An old bus, diesel pusher. I want to convert it into a home on wheels. I know I’ll need a bigger garage, but it’s only fantasy money.

    1. Ditto on the Unimog. Or maybe a Quigley 4×4 conversion on a Ford van.
      Caterham 7.
      1949-1953 or so Dodge pickup. 5 window. Learned to drive on one of those and have wished for years my family hadn’t sold it.
      Subie Legacy for sensible.
      S550 for road trips.

  21. M-B G63-AMG;
    Ferrari 599GT;
    Ford F250SD, with the biggest diesel available;
    Miata, just to have fun in the Sun.

  22. OK, I’ll play.

    A bit of background first. As tempting as it would be to go vintage (yes, Shelby Cobra, I’m looking at you) I won’t, at my age I want reliability and the ability to maintain. In terms of horsepower, too much is never enough and more is always just right, Related to that, there’s no replacement for displacement.

    Daily driver: Right now we have a Ford Edge, which is just about the perfect size, wife can handle it no problem, and it carries everything we need it to. I never looked into luxury cross-overs, but something like the Edge but….nicer.

    Fun car: I’d go to my local Ford Store and order a Mustang (rag top of course) with power hubcaps and hot-and-cold running beer taps. Then have it shipped directly to one of the customizers (Saleen used to be the big dog, but don’t know about now). Give him instructions make it fast, make it handle and to call me if he needs more money.

    Luxury: I’d have to go with one of the newer Lincoln or Caddy performance luxury cars. What can I say, I like American cars.

    Exotic: OK, I talked myself into a Shelby Cobra. I fell in love with that car in you yoot, and I’m sometimes tempted to do a kit car version, but if the sky’s the limit I might as well get the real thing.

    Alternate Exotic: Since the Mustang would do damn near anything the Cobra would do, with room for two suitcases, I might go the other route: Get a Jeep Grand Cherokee and have it customized for some serious off-road use. Then spend my free time getting it dirty.

  23. I already have three of the four, I’d just need to have them restored and hopped up or repowered.

    SUV: A restoration of my late mother’s 1977 GMC jimmy with a LQ9 (cast iron 6.0L LS).
    Trip Car: My one owner 1986 MB 300E 5-speed restored and Megasquirted for sfi and coil per plug, a turbo, and Torsen differential.
    Hot Rod: 1953 Studebaker Coupe melded with 2007 Cadillac CTS-V 6-speed innards to create a modern Studillac. Look it up. The two cars are being worked on in Phoenix as we speak. See: Industrial Chassis, Inc.
    Balls to the Wall Sports car: Recent Porsche Cayman with a Renegade Hybrids conversion. 525BHP LS3.

    As you can see I love LS engines. Yes, it is government motors, but.

    1. As an alternative to the SUV, why not this?
      I stumbled on the Range Rover bespoke shooting brake while looking for a recommendation of a double rifle for Clayton Cramer to take on his jaunt to the great white north to observe the Aurora Borealis just in case he and his spouse were charged by a head-down Grizzly.

      1. Gotta tell ya, JLW:
        That H&H Range Rover made parts of me tingle that have not tingled in many a year. It’s not that it’s over the top — look in the dictionary under “Over The Top” and you’ll find a pic of this very vehicle — it’s that it embodies all the things I like, in anything: leather, guns with wooden stocks, sumptuous luxury and (thanks to its stratospheric price) exclusivity. With a suitable lottery winning, I’d raffle off the Mazza Levante to my Readers, and replace it with the H&H, in a heartbeat.
        Also, the venerable .300 H&H and .375 H&H Magnums are among my favorite all-time cartridges, so the Rover would be a suitable homage to these two old gentlemen..

  24. Wuz a hot-rodder and a sporty-car racer “back in the day”–and those days are long gone. Chev-Healey, ’67 Camaro w/427, Formula A.

    Cool factor: Ferrari GTO, like Moss drove at Daytona in 1962.

    Neat Street: Jaguar XK-E coupe.

    Back-country desert mountain jeep trails: Another 300,000-mile 1985 Toyota 4WD Xtra-cab pickup.

    I still have fond memories of my VW buses. Sorta all-around light duty critter.

  25. Assuming that I have enough money to have somebody else maintain the cars;

    1) Whatever the current model of Subaru Outback Wagon is.

    2) 1927 Duesenberg SJ (there was one in the Cleveland Auto Museum when I was growing up, and I fell in love then)

    3) 1954 (or some other year from the run) Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (I’m told it’s actually a bit go a handful to drive and not that nice to ride in. I don’t care.)

    4) Mazda MX 5 (whatever production year, as long as they don’t produce a dudgeon dud)

  26. 1. Bentley Contenental W12 if I can fit in it; a Maserati Quattroporte otherwise.

    2. Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury – without keyless entry or sunroof.

    3. Abbot.

    4. Spitfire – not Triumph but Supermarine. Hey, you said that the sky’s the limit! 🙂

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