Where Your Author Considers Purchasing Something Less Practical


It’s been a few weeks since I sold the Golf Sportwagen back to the dealership from whence it came, and it’s still there if any of you would like a very clean Golf with no present water issues. Since then, I find myself peering out the kitchen window at the empty driveway space where the Golf used to reside. And it makes me have many thoughts, impractical thoughts.

Given I don’t have dependents of human or animal nature, I’m thinking it might be time to own something a bit less practical than a wagon. Before the Golf wagon was a Subaru-cladded wagon, and before that was a Chevy Tahoe truck wagon. On the basis of being less practical, I’ve been considering some requirements and ideating on potential candidates. No spreadsheets in process yet, but soon.

The first consideration is cost. This new (used) ride must cost the same or less than the cash I got back from the Golf, as I’m not investing a greater sum into this secondary car. That’s $22,500 for the record. I’m not interested in any vintage rides that don’t have seatbelts or air conditioning and are equipped with carburetors – no old Pontiacs for me. Reliability matters, as I’m not all that into constant maintenance on something flaky or too old, where parts must be scavenged from a you-pull-it. It probably shouldn’t be a car one might consider “classic,” as it will be parked outside in Ohio weather, always.

I’m open to things with two doors, but not really interested in hatchbacks. I’m definitely not looking for a two-door SUV. My thoughts are focused primarily on a coupe or convertible. Aside from the purchase-specific requirements, there are the tw0 three basic limiters I’d apply to any car purchase: No black paint, no black interior, no manual transmission. Having read the above, I’m sure your fingies are just itching at the keys with suggestions, but before you have at it in the comments let me show you three cars I’m not considering.

The R129 Mercedes-Benz SL

The R129 SL is fantastic. I’ve loved the way it looked since I saw new ones rolling around when I was a child. The styling, WideTrac looks, the simple lines, two-tone – all of it. I think they’re a bit undervalued at the moment, and believe they’ll see big collector car bucks in the future. Cylinders of six, eight, or 12, take your pick as all look fantastic. Having said that, it’s not something I’d be thrilled about parking outside. From what I’ve read the six- and eight-cylinder models are mechanically reliable, but all suffer from the same maladies over time: Hydraulics. The folding metal roof, while a revelation at the time, is moved via complicated hydraulic cylinders. I believe there are 11 of them in total, and they need rebuilding periodically at great expense. I’ll have to pass on the SL. Maybe later in life.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata

“Miata is always the answer.” except when it isn’t. You may recall I drove one before the eventual GS purchase in 2019, a 2019 RF model. I found it was too small inside, too loud, rode too roughly, and didn’t seem like an everyday usable car. Those are my views and not the views of TTAC or any other Miata Club Whatever enthusiast. It wasn’t the type of car I’d ever want to own; comfort is more important to me than a lightweight car. I won’t be taking my coupe or convertible on any tracks, only the backroads and interstates of Ohio and the Midwest generally. Miata is out.

The Lexus SC 430

Yes, this seems like an obvious choice. But as I’ve said before, the SC 430 has all the right ingredients cooked up in an awful way. I’m not interested in the final SC, and I’ve spilled plenty of digital ink telling you that previously. Most of the time a commenter comes back with “But it’s reliable!” and views that as an adequate counterpoint to the fact that I do not like the SC 430. You all will just have to accept this. If it looked excellent, like it very well could have been in the hands of better designers, we’d have a different story here today. I probably wouldn’t even need to ask you for suggestions.

Now I’ll turn you loose so you can get to suggesting, and telling me I’m an idiot for not wanting a Miata and the best cars are from the Sixties. Until next time!

[Images: Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Cadillac]

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