What kind of car do you want?

Here is a hypothetical question: Assume your fairy godmother magically appears and offers to buy you any car you want. Which one would you take? Obviously, there is no right answer, but I’d like to see the range of responses and the reasoning. Here are the limitations, waivers, and warnings:

1) You have to give up your current ride to get the new car (Fairy Godmother will pay off your balance, if any, on the old car).

2) You are responsible for the care and feeding of your new car: all maintenance, all non-warranteed repairs, all insurance, fuel costs, etc.

3) Has to be a car currently for sale on the open market, whether new or used. (No Jetsons air cars, in other words)

4) You have to keep your new car for at least three years, or pay a stiff monetary penalty (no getting a million dollar car and then selling it and retiring, in other words.)

Personally, I’d probably pick an Acura TL: good luxury, good reputation for reliability, not a gas guzzler, and not so expensive or sporty as to be impossible to insure. Any other thoughts?

For daily use (not exotics), I will keep the cars I have now (a couple of old benz diesels). If there was something better available, I would already own one.

This is like the old “what would you do if you won the lotto” question. Once you answer the question you should go figure out how to make it happen anyway.

Scrabbler, we had this post some time ago; at that time I stated my preference for a Lexus GS350, and would still stay with that choice.

Happy New Year,


For myself I would take an Audi S4 or RS4 with and get an extended factory warranty.

However I am quite satisfied with my wife’s current 05 Legacy GT Wagon and its nice turbo engine coupled to a manual transmission that is pure joy to drive.

I have an affinity for powerful & fun to drive all-wheel drive cars.

Could you be more specific? Terms and conditions? I’m sorry but you sound like a car broker in South Africa.

Happy New year.

Corvette C6

New cars come with a warranty that lasts at least as long as your three year minimum. Therefore, post warranty repair costs are not a factor. I would second the choice of an Audi S4 or RS4. To that, I would add any of a BMW M3 coupe or 335i coupe, Porsche 911, or one of the faster Mercedes models. Test driving all of them to find the perfect choice would be fun all by itself.

If I had to keep the car well past the end of the warranty, I would choose an Infiniti G37. Lexus models are at least as reliable as the Infiniti, but not as much fun to drive.

Do you really think it’s cheaper to absorb the initial depreciation on any of those cars than to pay the repair costs?

If you buy a new $80-100K car and keep it until it’s only worth $30-40K (say 3 years), you have spent $40-60K ($20K per year) for the privilege of driving a new car. I would rather buy the used car for $30K and take the chance of having to pay several $1000) per year in out of pocket repair/maintenance. If I buy a $30K used car and keep it three years, it might depreciate another $15-20K (maybe $5-7K per year) Repairing these cars is expensive, but they are never going to cost more than the depreciation difference. Worst case is that I spend $5K per year on my used car, I still come out far ahead and I’m not stuck driving an infinity.

Craig, you are confirming what Tom & Ray have said many times; buying a good used car and keeping it a very long time is always the least expensive. Annual repairs on good cars with long lives cannot begin to equal depreciation in the first 3 or 4 years.

The key word is “good”, meaning reliable and long lived, and you want to be assured of a 20 year parts supply.

Yup, that’s one reason I drive a 25 year old car. I spend about $.30 per mile, compared to about $.50-.60 for a new one. Of course, the real reason is that I like old cars better. (-;

Top trim level Ford Fusion, I think, or maybe its Mercury counterpart. Love those cars.

I would want a BMW M5 Sedan. 500 hp and all the amenities you could think of. The perfect car. Except for, perhaps, depreciation and repair costs. That’s the one I want though.

Where was this “fairy godmother” 50 years ago when I started driving? My family didn’t have a lot of money and ease of repair and maintenance was essential. I probably would have asked for a Studebake Scotsman–not much to go wrong and easy to maintain. Forty years ago when I had been on my own for quite a while but had the desire to make things last, I would have requested a Checker. These vehicles were used mainly for taxicabs, but there were some made without the “hail me” paint job. One Checker taxi was on display in the Smithsonian that had logged a million miles. One of these vehicles would have lasted through raising my family.

Since one condition is that I would have to give up my current ride, I guess I’ll request a replacement minivan. I am frequently carrying people and musical instruments, and I can’t give that up. The make of minivan is unimportant–if you’ve driven one minivan, you’ve driven them all.

Now if you will let me keep the minivan, then I’ll request either a Mazda Miata or a Mini Cooper. Back in the 1960’s, a friend of mine had an MG Midget and I really enjoyed driving this car. I think a Mazda Miata would have the same feel. Another vehicle I liked some 45 years ago was the Morris 850 or the Austin 850 (same car). The Mini Cooper is based on this design. I’d prefer a manual transmission in either of these cars and a minimal amount of equipment.

57 Bel-Air(did they make these with hard top convertible?) or 67 GT500(not the fake Elanor clone either). Either with a big block modified with fuel injection, or kept carbed, doesn’t really matter. Fuel would be the biggest problem for either car, insurance would be dirt cheap, maintenance and repairs could be done with a little book and a set of socket wrenches.

If it’s a new new car, then I’ll take a Chrysler 300 SRT-8

I’d only need to commit to it for 3 years? I’d LOVE to have the Dodge Challenger with the 6.0L Hemi. I know it will be managable for the first three years.

'57 BelAir (2dr hrdtp) is my choice, but in answer to your question, No.

BelAirs only came ragtop (2&4dr), 2dr hrdtp and 4dr hrdtp.

The '57 Ford (Fairlane?) had a hardtop that folded up into the trunk.

Bugatti Veyron. Won’t drive it at all, insurance/registration/maintenance costs will be a moot point, and will sell it after 3 years while doing a lot of walking, biking, and hopping rides in the meantime.
I don’t mind giving up my Lincoln Mark and being severely inconvenienced for 333,000+ dollars a year.

It’s sold on the open market and you said nothing about having to drive it on a daily basis. :slight_smile:

On a more common note, and new cars only, it would have to be the new Challenger or a Roush Stage 3 Blackjack Mustang just for sheer tire squealing fun and the fact they won’t depreciate.

The Infinity that Consumer Reports likes the best or a 3/4 ton Ford extended cab. Or the Explorer that looks like a Pickup. And I am a Ford disliker. An 80’s 90’s disliker. I don’t have a lot of complaints about the new ones. Okay, I will try to get some, but it’s harder these days.

A Tesla roadster.