Finalists

Loyal Readers will recall that I reported a shattered dream (in that my #1 Dream Car, the Maserati Quattroporte was decisively debunked by a guy from Maserati), and that later, I confessed to being unable to decide on a post-1970 car in this fantasy exercise.

Slowly but surely, my foggy brain and confused thoughts are starting to crystallize towards a car made after 1970 that I would love to drive for the rest of my life, and about three are starting to break away from the pack.

To nobody’s surprise, none of them are modern (21st-century) models — most modern cars are as ugly and overweight as Lena Dunham — and I flip the bird at all the “safety” and “economy” features that Gummint has mandated, all of which make driving as much fun as steering a sofa down the driveway, or less.  So my “modern” (post-1970) dream car is going to come from an earlier era, and only just ahead of the 1970 rule.

Anyway, here are the finalists, in no specific order of wanting:

 1) 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL (3-liter straight-6, 4-speed manual)

I love absolutely everything about this Beemer:  looks, performance, comfort, handling, the lot.  Unbelievably, this was a loaner (!!!) from a repair shop that was fixing my own BMW (see below), and I had it for three happy days…

 

 

2) 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5 (2.5-liter V6)

I drove one of these once, on a long-ish trip, and the owner nearly didn’t get it back. What a beauty.

 

3) 1984 BMW 318i (with 5-speed manual) (This was the E20 generation which replaced the earlier 1800/2002 line.)

Alone among the cars featured today, I’ve actually owned  one of these — okay, it was a company car, shortly before I left South Africa — and I bitterly regretted having to exchange it for a 520 (POS) when I was promoted.  If I could have kept it, I’d still be driving it today.  It was no racer;  that little 1800cc four-banger wouldn’t stand a chance against the other cars listed, but I loved driving it.

 

4) 1985 Jaguar XJ6 Series 3 (4.2-liter straight-6)

If I wanted to eschew any kind of quickness and nimbleness in favor of pure, luxurious comfort, this model Jag would get my vote, every single day of the week.  And two  12-gallon fuel tanks.  But if I wanted something equally comfortable, but far more reliable:

 

5) 1976 Mercedes 350 SE (W116, 3.5-liter V8)

Zur

My Dad had one of these, we went on countless road trips in it, and I still think it’s one of the classiest-looking Merc sedans made since 1970.

Those are the finalists, so far.  I should also point out that as I posted each of these, I wanted it badly, until I posted the next one.  Looking back up the list, I would take any one of them, any day of the week, without looking back.

12 comments

  1. I wasn’t ready for your mention of Lena Dunham quite this early. When one of our friends here asked the definition of “slag” a few days back I’m sorry that I submit her as an example.

    The only car on your list I had the pleasure of driving was the Mercedes. It was owned by a retired Air Force full colonel who had flown F105s and F4s in Vietnam on Wild Weasel missions. Yes his balls clanked as he walked. We split the driving on a run from OKC to Tulsa one day in the mid 80s and I remember the car as being extremely comfortable and rock solid at whatever speed he pushed it to in Oklahoma Interstate traffic.

  2. Interesting list. But you said “drive for the rest of your life” which contradicts your selections. These are all now 40 year old cars. the only driving some of the cars on the list are going to be doing is from the trailer to club concourse show field and on the event ” tour”. Assuming you could find running examples, the CSL and GTV are 6 figure cars for example in prime condition. Good luck finding an XJ6 not in need of a 6 figure restoration to make it a $40,000 car.

    But this is a Fantasy, so you need to spend some time here https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale

  3. If you recall my earlier fantasy comment about resurrecting my 2002 from the days of my youth, you know right where my vote goes. Your remark “…four-banger wouldn’t stand a chance against the other cars listed, but I loved driving it” fits me to a tee. That said, I simply cannot scroll by the CSL pic without drooling on my keyboard, just like I did the first time I ever saw one. That would be my choice, exactly as pictured.

  4. One of my most fun cars was my 1982 Green with tan leather interior 5000 Turbo Audi with great suspension and decent horsepower, even detuned for the US market. That was during the time of the freak’n double nickel 55 miles per hour nationwide speed limit so of course I had a decent radar detector and at times I would get up over 100 miles per hour but not too often. I don’t think that car would do much more than 110 but it was a nice ride even though Audi 5000’s had the reputation has killer cars because of the accelerator getting stuck or something.

    This past week as I made a quick trip to Dallas and back, 300 miles each way I was very thankful that Texas has 70 and 75 mph speed limits on a lot of its state highways as I went up mile after mile on 281. For some reason we get an extra 5 mph over the speed limit so if it says 75 everyone drives 80 and it makes a long trip shorter and I remember the frustration of the old days 55 mph.

  5. The Series III XJ benefited from Jag’s sale to Ford where tried and proven small bits that the Brit’s could never get right were subbed for by pieces found in Lincoln’s and Merc’s, thereby going a long way to scrub the bad rep of All Things British. The Jag makes the W116 feel like a truck and became a fave of country-club wives.
    Now, I love most things ALFA, but a 3.0 CSL is a 3.0 CSL!

  6. Excellent choices all. Clearly, the wisdom of an individual is demonstrated in how much his opinions and choices match my own.
    You sir are a wise man.
    The 3.0 CSL is a sterling example of restrained executive transportation.

  7. Anyone else notice how superb the outward visibility is compared to modern pillboxes on wheels?

    1. Emphatically – Yes!!
      I looked at and drove a bunch of new cars last year, wanting to have a new car for the first time in my life, and all I got was claustrophobia or blinded by the sun glaring off the bling all over the dash and steering wheel.
      I gave up and put a bunch of money into my very nice comparatively boxy 2001 to keep it going for another decade or so.
      The current crop of look-alike pinball machine/video games on wheels have put me in a conundrum:
      whether to bulldoze all the wind tunnels in the country or flog and hang all the government a-holes who foisted this bullroar upon us.

  8. i would have to second the Mercedes. something about a car like that cries for the open road

    Yes, definitely the Mercedes

  9. Three days in the repair shop may be a red flag, as it were, for some. Even if you did get to drive a very nice car. I drove a 3.0 that was a customer’s car 44 years ago, and yes it was wonderful. We did see a lot of it at the repair shop, that’s why.

  10. I’ve got mine–the 1984 Australian spec Land Cruiser.

    Now if I could just afford to get the engine fixed so that it passed emissions…

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