Spare Car

Imagine that Great-Uncle Silas died and left you a luxury motorhome — one so big it has storage room underneath for a “spare” car, thus:

You want to take it on a long journey (e.g, around the U.S.A., all over Europe, etc.) but unfortunately Elmer’s largesse ended at the RV, but did include (say) $40,000 to buy a spare which you could use to drive into and around town, or to the grocery store, once parked at a decent RV park or hotel.

The “mini-garage” has dimensions of 190″ (length) 84″ (width) and 60″ (height).  (For example, a Kia Rio has dimensions of 160″ x 68″ x 57″.)  So it has to be a small car, but not that small.

Which car would you select, and why?  (My choice is below the fold.)

For a shortcut to cars’ sizes, use Edmunds — select a car, and scroll down the page to determine your car’s dimensions.Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio:  145″ x 65″ x 60″

What… you expected me to pick a Kia?

This post was prompted by this article.


    1. On a side note, we’re just getting home today from a 3,000 mile loop … TX – TN – MI and back … and we have been seeing these big Class-A rigs with GIANT box trailers instead of the flat tow Jeeps and SUV’s that used to be more common. That has to be easier than diddling the driveline on the towed vehicle all the time and saves wear and tear as well. Of course my imagination goes to a gun room, small shop, or a larder in the trailer in addition to a car.

      1. “the flat tow Jeeps and SUV’s that used to be more common”

        Oh God, the nightmares – shudder. Several decades back, early in my marriage, my wife wanted a new car. With one kid out and another on the way, she thought we needed a bigger family car. Ford Explorer’s were all the rage back then. Every soccer mom had one. She wanted one. My paycheck spelled “used car” rather than new, so off to the used car lots we went. Found one, 2 years old, roughly 30k miles on it but the interior was spotless and it looked in great shape. Bought it. At 35k miles the transmission completely grenaded itself. Tranny shop said they’d never seen one so bad with so few miles. After some investigation finally realized that this was one of those “flat tow SUV’s” like what you saw. The Jeeps? Back then at least, they had a special position in the gear shift for flat tow that protected the tranny from the driveshaft spinning without the engine running. The Fords? Nope. Probably 75% of the miles on the Ford were from towing and it completely destroyed the transmission. To this day my wife won’t even look at a Ford.

        1. “To this day my wife won’t even look at a Ford.”

          So it wasn’t an entirely negative outcome then…

      2. Some of those Giant Box trailers are double stack car haulers containing 2 or three track day cars / concours / drag cars etc. for multiple driver families. More and more of these rigs are showing up at events all around. It’s a very nice way to allow the entire family to enjoy a 3 day track event when only one or two members are track rats. You can usually distinguish the ones with the valuable contents because they either have no marking whatever on them or they match the swoopy paint job of the motorhome.

      3. Most of the flat-tow options have been killed off by the horrible CAFE standards as manufacturers have gone with CV transmissions in the never ending and futile attempts to comply. Jeep persists though I am not sure how unless they get to count all those tiny Fiats along with the Jeeps. Of course, then you are buying a Fiat which doesn’t seem to concern our host but it does me.

  1. Mazda Miata -Japan’s take on the old MG or Triumph. Good looking fun to drive little car. Japanese reliability (no Lucas electrics here) and a fairly large dealer network for maintenance when you’re out on the road. Add a tweed golf cap and a sport jacket with leather elbow patches and you’re good to go.

    1. This. I had a Miata as my daily driver for 13 years. 243,000 miles when I retired it. Bulletproof reliability, and a delight to drive.

  2. With the price of fuel these days, I’ll save the $40k for fuelling the RV. If I have to buy a car, then a second-hand BMW i8 is just within budget.

  3. How’s about a 1969 Ford Mustang? With $40 large at hard, would be easy enough to source a plain jane secretary model and then resto-mod it with modern drivetrain, modern brakes, A/C, etc. Would easily fit the dimensions (well, 187.4 inches long versus the 190 given above, but still).

    That said, one could also easily fit several kayaks, fishing gear, and a couple motorcycles in there too. Now I’m torn.

  4. The i8 shown in the photo would be a good choice since a rig like that will also have a substantial enough auxiliary generator to keep it charged up. But my preference would be towing a nice big double stack trailer for off road toys/ or track day car as well as an around town errand car that doesn’t need to be a practical car.

  5. I used to have a VW Up!.
    Great little car, reliable, sturdy, decent performance, and surprisingly roomy inside.

    Excellent city car.

  6. MGB GT V8: a bit of fun, and surprisingly large load space with the back seat folded down. Theoretically the back can only take small children which might be a disadvantage.

  7. Porsche 911 convertible (if I was going to drive that monster, might as well think big) or Honda S2000. Mazda Miata wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

  8. I recall something from a “car mag” of about 10 years ago.
    One of the Microsoft Billionaires (?Paul Allen?) had a custom Class-A motorhome built with a “garage” in the tail that would hold a BMW-made Mini. 4 seat comfort, convenience, and performance – and it stayed clean when parked.

  9. You know, I think I’m good with my Class-A with slides, storage where that car would go, and a stacker…. Yeah, the trailer is kind of a pain to deal with sometimes, but giving up a considerable amount of volume (for storage) and square footage (from the slides) makes up for it.

  10. Audi RS3 or S4. RS3 fits with room to spare, and it’s a great driving car. S4 has enough room for 4, and you can get one of appropriate price easily. Fits the space, but it’s tight.

    Kim may not like the body, but the performance is excellent.

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