If there is one question I could avoid hearing for the rest of my life, it is “What’s your favorite car?” Without going into the long, drawn-out version of the explanation, it’s simply the fact that no matter how well you explain it, nobody outside of another gear head…one who wouldn’t ask you such a question in the first place…will understand the sub-genres (muscle car? Italian?) or the emotional link that a gear head needs in order to pick. I could try to answer that question once every half-hour for a week solid and you’d get a different answer every time. So I just normally shrug and say, “Not sure, there’s a lot I’d want.”
This Thanksgiving, however, that just wasn’t enough for one family member, who drank more Turkey than he ate. He insisted that if I had all the money ever needed, that I could come up with one vehicle to suit me for the rest of my life. Anyone else chuckle a little thinking about it? Because I sure did…I told him that I would think about it, and would get back to him. Meanwhile, I sat down and forced myself to pick eleven vehicles I’d take if I had the money of a Middle Eastern sultan. Let’s see if you could narrow the field down better…I can’t
11. 1938 Bugatti Type 57 “Atlantic”
If you are going to blow money by the semi-truck load, this is the way to do it: a car that has defined the upper end of the automotive world ever since the dawn of the freaking automobile. The Bugatti, like most pre-Depression ultra-luxury limousines, are unbelievably gigantic, surprisingly powerful, and have interior accommodations last seen on the RMS Titanic’s first class decks. There is no proof that it was powered by the tears of the poor, however, so you better stock up on plenty of benzene. And since all Bugattis were coach-built at this point in time, you’d better believe that each and every one is special. Personally, one of the Atlantic coupés would suit me best.
10. 1971 Plymouth Hemi GTX
Let’s be quite clear: the money in musclecars has always gravitated to the word “Hemi”. Would we jump straight for the obvious answer and go hunting for a Hemi ‘Cuda or a wing car, though? Nah…for our bet, we’d go for a coke-bottle Road Runner. It still has NASCAR cred, still looks like barely-contained violence, and has just a touch more luxury inside than needed. Dad’s upscale hot rod would be the envy of every numbers-matching freak in the country and the subject of countless emails of “Are you ready to sell yet?”
9. 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra
Three words: Failed Factory Concept. When Ford decided to quit screwing around and go for Mopar’s throat in the NASCAR “Aero Wars”, they went for broke. By sticking a Datsun 240Z-ish nose onto the Ford Torino and jamming the engine bay full of FE power, they made a mid-size that could haul ass. Couldn’t corner…something about forgetting rear downforce…but whatever. At least three real ones escaped the crusher, and one has been on and off of eBay for a while with a six-digit price tag. Time to come home, little buddy.
8. Ferrari 288 GTO
Throwing money at cars practically begs for a member of the Prancing Horse brigade to wind up in your stable, but which one makes the cut? Do you go for something like a 308 or a F355, call it your daily driver and that’s that? Do you go for something as eye-wateringly expensive as a 250GTO just because you can? Both ideas don’t work for us. A Ferrari was meant to be special, but also meant to be driven like Enzo was watching. Our call would be the one car the big boss oversaw that never got it’s fair shake at it’s designed race: the 288 GTO. It’s got classic 1980s Ferrari looks, a pressurized V8, and all of the menace needed to make some poseur in their 550 Maranello think twice about chatting you up.
7. Prevost X3-45 VIP
Because why the f**k not? The biggest downside of sticking your hard-earned hundreds of thousands of dollars into a home instead of something like this is that unless you live in the Midwest, chances are pretty good that your house isn’t going to pick up and travel a couple of miles, let alone thousands at a shot. There is a reason diesel pushers like a Prevost come loaded for bear standard…it’s because you can toss not only the kitchen sink in, but the shower, the shitter, and a bed that might cost more than most used cars in too and the Volvo D13 diesel out back won’t be bothered one bit. We promise to not look like Cousin Eddy around Christmastime if we ever get a chance to road trip one of these beauties…hint, hint.
6. Class 8 Trophy Truck
Sticker it up as whatever truck you like, we don’t care. Chevy, Ford, Ram, whatever. We aren’t picky when the vehicle we’re planning on blowing someone’s 401(k) on has suspension travel measured in feet, enough power to fling nearly 5,000 pounds of four-wheel drive into a donut-spinning frenzy or VFR flight, has the kind of noise that makes us weak in the knees, and puts up with more abuse than a toddler’s Christmas day toy…the favorite one. Strap two surfboards to the roll cage and bring enough camping equipment to be comfortable, there is a beach in Baja California calling our name.
5. Any Australian Hot Rod
This one might be a bit vague, but whatever. Think about it: how many awesome overkill machines have we showcased that come from the land of the kangaroo? Between the untold amount of hours of burnout footage and racing videos, we’re hooked. Personally, my choice would be a Valiant Charger similar to John Farone’s Drag Week ride, but we all would be hard-pressed to turn down pretty much any Aussie ride at this point.
4. 1966 Shelby Cobra SuperSnake
Another mid-Sixties nameplates that commands cash, we are going straight for the one-of-two SuperSnake Cobras. Only one, Carroll Shelby’s own, exists. The second one had been sold to comedian Bill Cosby, who drove it, scared himself half to death with it, and returned it to Shelby. It was later sold, and found it’s fate at the bottom of a cliff, with the driver perishing in the accident. You can buy a story like that, but it will cost you a dear pretty penny. It’s a good thing we’re playing with deep pockets, because this blue beauty has netted north of five million dollars on the auction block.
3. International Lonestar
You’re damn right I own the road. Semi-trucks have plenty going for them: diesel power, manual transmissions that require some skill to operate, and the ability to provide a competent owner with an income, if they are so inclined to work. Plus you have a bed in the cab…consider this a roving apartment complex that can be suited to whatever fancy you have. Our call would be the wild International Lonestar: with that peaked front end and abundance of chrome, it is almost impossible to ignore one of these when seen on the open road. Pimp out the interior to a level worthy of a Gulfstream, give me satellite internet for my downtime, and this deal is done.
2. Nissan Skyline C110 “Kenmeri”
This one is purely for the JDM fans. The Nissan Skyline is the car of the JDM culture, with a lineage that goes back to the Sixties, a performance streak a mile wide, and a solid motorsports reputation. The vaunted R32 series is finally legal for import into the United States, and the R33 and R34 specs are quickly approaching their 25-year mark, but after seeing this beauty at SEMA this year, our minds our made up: we want a “kenmeri” Skyline. With a beautiful coupe shape and plenty of power to keep us satisfied, one of these rare specimens would take care of us. If you are going to do JDM, do it right.
1. Cadillac Elmiraj concept car
The entire point of blowing tons upon tons of cash on a car is to show plebeians that you can do what they cannot. Pure and simple, it’s the human version of a peacock showing off feathers while standing in the middle of a chicken coop: there is no reason to do it except to throw it in the rooster’s face that you are somehow better. This last one was hard to pick, because the premise was easy enough: what could potentially be bought that nobody else would have? A desirable concept car, of course! The Chrysler ME412 almost made this spot instead, and it is just as worthy, but for my call, I’d go with the Cadillac Elmiraj. From the second it was spotted in that beautiful blue paint, we knew it was special. It looks muscular, but restrained. It has plenty of luxury, but also has 500+ horsepower from a 4.5L twin-turbocharged V8. This car has had tons of people pleading with Cadillac to make, and so far all Caddy has done is to take some style hints and barely breathe them onto the CT6 sedan. This would be the take-home winner.