A few weeks ago, I asked Jalopnik to recommend a ridiculous used car that I could buy and write about. Do you remember this? Of course you do. That’s because you provided your input, as did every other Jalopnik user, for a grand total of 658 replies. And, folks, 658 replies is a lot considering not one thread turned into an off-topic discussion about NSA spying.
Being an automotive writer with little else to do, I read every single reply with great interest. As I recall, these were among the highlights:
1. One guy, user Google Gumshoe Superstar, recommended the 1985 Honda Acty Street. This turned out to be a small Japanese-market van, the kind a municipal government might use to round up homeless people before the park opens. It features a 27-horsepower, 0.5-liter inline two. He concluded his post by saying: “You’re welcome.”
2. Another user, dogisbadob, suggested two vehicles: the Ferrari Mondial 8 and the 1987 Toyota Camry. He conceded, however, that the Lexus ES250 would also be acceptable.
3. A user named GMbigblockV8landcruiser strongly suggested a “Deuce and a Half,” noting that I “could get one for way less than $30k and use the rest for fuel.” I curiously Googled “Deuce and a Half” and found out that he was referring to a 23-foot military-grade cargo vehicle that weighs 13,000 pounds. My neighbors would especially like this one.
4. Even though I insisted the vehicle must be reliable, more than one user recommended a Maserati. Other questionable suggestions included the Lotus Esprit, various old Alfas and Astons, and a few twin-turbo, V12-powered AMG cars. Clearly, reliable has a different meaning when you’re spending someone else’s money.
After reading each and every reply, I discovered a Universal Automotive Enthusiast Truth, which is: given “x” amount of car enthusiasts and “y” dollars to spend on a used car, no one will ever agree on anything. Also: no matter the budget, at least one person will suggest a Yugo.
So I came away from the whole thing even more confused than when I started, which is hard to believe considering my initial list included both the Hummer H1 and the E30 BMW M3. Fortunately, a large number of replies pointed me in two clear directions: the BMW M Coupe and the Dodge Ram SRT-10. I set off searching for either one, thereby becoming the first person in world history to consider those two vehicles simultaneously.
And then it happened: I read a Jalopnik review.
Automakers, you see, are convinced that reviews sell cars. I know this because they’re constantly flying me to press launches all over the country and putting me up in hotels that are so expensive their housekeeping staffs speak English.
But automakers don’t really have any data to prove that reviews sell cars. They’re just certain that if you throw enough journalists at enough press launches, we’ll write some review of some car that’ll be seen by some potential customer, who will say: “Hmm… a guy on the Internet says it’s a good car. That’s good enough for me!” Then he’ll buy it, and hopefully come back for parts.
And today, I am that potential customer.
While I was pouring over listings for the M Coupe (all of which say: “This is the finest M Coupe in existence!”) and the Ram SRT-10 (all of which say: “Show up in style to the next WWE event!”), I read Travis’s review of the CTS-V Wagon. This was a highly dangerous decision, largely because I love fast station wagons. For proof, I once owned an E63 AMG wagon, which I thought was incredibly cool even though it was painted the same color as a high-end floor lamp.
So I obviously got excited when Travis called the CTS-V Wagon “one of my favorite cars in the world.” And of course I was smiling when he said it’s “built by car people for car people.” And by “Sweet merciful crap this thing is fast,” I was on the phone with my local Cadillac dealer. They had one in stock, presumably because they knew this day was coming.
I am therefore proud to report that I now own a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon and precisely zero working key fobs, although the Cadillac dealer has promised me for the last week they would be in “any day now.” I’m less proud to report that mine is an automatic. This is entirely due to the fact that there wasn’t a single stick for sale in the whole country when I searched.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: I thought you had a $30,000 budget! And I admit, this entirely true, although I very much wish to draw your attention to the word “had.” When there’s a 556-horsepower station wagon involved, anything is possible. For instance: that key fob may actually arrive this week.
So what the hell am I going to do with it? Well, I’m going to write about it – duhhhh. I’ll post frequent updates over the next few months here and on TTAC, detailing precisely what it’s like to own a Cadillac station wagon with a Corvette ZR1 engine. There will be dragstrips, and racetracks, and road trips. Oh, and tires. Tax-deductible tires.
More importantly: what do you want me to do with it? I’m open to suggestions. Really, I am. Just as long as they don’t involve 13,000-pound military vehicles.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
Silver over some dull shade of gray
Former GM program car (“Only executives drive these,” said the salesman)
@DougDeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com and writes for The Truth About Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.