Well, Jalopnik, the day has come. The day I am referring to is the one where I take my hard-earned cash and spend it on a used vehicle that I will write about for your amusement.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: who the hell are you? And the answer is: someone who is, quite obviously, crazy. This will become especially evident when you see my car choices. But also someone who has written a few articles that have been largely well received here, except by my mother, who calls and says: “That’s nice, Doug. Now when are you going to get a real job?"
It’s not an easy task, choosing a used car. I know this because I recently posed the question on my website and garnered more than 50 different suggestions, some of which were the Lotus Esprit. Several people made this suggestion in complete sincerity, almost undoubtedly because they will not have to spend their own money to keep it running.
I also asked my friends for ideas, and – after considerable debate – we can really only agree on three things:
1. There are a lot of cool cars.
2. We want all of them.
3. A Lamborghini LM002 would be optimal.
So I’m turning to you, Jalopnik, for help. Before we go any further, I should mention that I plan to buy the car in the next few weeks and own it for three to five months. I’ll write about it every week or so, or until Matt Hardigree calls and says: “That’s nice, Doug. Now when are you going to get a real job?”
In other words: it has to be somewhat reliable, since I’ll be spending my own money. I don’t mind the occasional small issue, such as: “Doug, we found the problem: a family of raccoons is living in your trunk.” But I’d rather avoid potentially serious trouble, such as: “Doug, we found the problem: your car has the engine from a common household microwave.”
There’s also a budget: $30,000. This number is somewhat flexible, as I sometimes find myself calling people who are selling 993 Turbos. (These conversations usually end when I ask “At what speed does it kill bugs?”) But let’s try to stick close to $30,000 so I don’t need to follow my mother’s suggestion of seeking gainful employment.
A few other rules: It's important that I can re-sell the car when I’m done, which eliminates pretty much anything manufactured by Maserati. I don’t have a garage, so a true collector car is out of the question. And I’d prefer if it were located near Atlanta, which unfortunately has roughly the same car culture as Pyongyang, except with more Escalades.
Most importantly: it has to be something that you want to hear about. And that’s where you come in, as I’m open to any and all suggestions. You can also comment on my top choices, listed below with some pros and cons. They are:
Pros: It's an exotic car that's as reliable as an Acura TL! (Hopefully not the TL that had all those transmission problems, though. That one sucks.)
Cons: Nearly every NSX on the used market has a rear wing that could function as patio furniture.
BMW E30 M3
Pros: It's a 25-year-old BMW with a four-cylinder engine, and yet it costs as much as a new Volvo. Someone should really figure out why.
Cons: Every single E30 M3 is located in Southern California and costs twice as much as it should.
BMW M Coupe
Pros: A high-performance BMW shooting brake. Do I need to elaborate?
Cons: Early cars were down on power, later cars were up on engine problems. Also: you can only make so many clown shoe jokes.
Dodge Ram SRT-10
Pros: Nine miles per gallon, enormous, ridiculous, extravagant.
Cons: Nine miles per gallon, enormous, ridiculous, extravagant.
Dodge Viper GTS
Cons: I will probably have to buy it from a hairy-chested Midwesterner who refuses to budge even a penny on price. ("I don't need to sell it. That's why I've listed it for sale!")
Pros: I could take this thing anywhere, with the obvious exception of most city streets.
Cons: Absolutely impossible to re-sell, since there is not a person on earth who wants one of these. Also, my girlfriend has understandably announced she will not speak to me if I purchase this.
So: do you like my ideas? Do you have any of your own? Feel free to speak your mind, as I’m interested in more opinions – unless, of course, you’re going to tell me to get a real job.
@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.