My next car

Lauren Fix was on WBEN this afternoon talking cars with Sandy Beach. I’ve had my Eclipse for almost five years now and it’s been a great car, but I’m always thinking about what car I’d like to buy next. Lauren said, “Your car is your personality” which I fully agree with. I tend to like cars that are on the edge of the mainstream (like my Eclipse) that some people strongly dislike. My Eclipse is a great example – a lot of auto enthusaists said it was a big step backwards from the second generation Eclipse. Weird styling, no turbo or AWD options. But I like the styling because it’s different, and after spending a lot of time driving our other car (an ’03 Jetta 1.8T) I’ll take the smooth power of a V6 over a torquey turbo-4 any day.

So what would I buy next? Well, I’ll give you three very different choices.

Realistic: Subaru Baja Turbo – The car I almost bought last year. I love the versatility of a small pickup truck combined with the gas mileage and handling of a car. It’s got Subaru’s standard all wheel drive and quality. Sits four comfortably. Is hated even more than the Eclipse. 😀 I came really close to buying an ’05 that West Herr had on the lot late last year, but the day they were going to let me take it home to drive for a day, they sold it. I would have been more upset, but I still wasn’t convinced that I wanted to get rid of the Eclipse and a couple of things bothered me about the model they had on the lot. First – it was an automatic transmission. I’ve grown to enjoy my manual so much, I’m not sure I ever want to go back to driving an auto, even the autos with the pseudo-manual mode. Second, it had that damn turbo four cylinder engine in it. The Baja’s turbo H4 coupled with that auto transmission made it feel a bit sluggish to me in the test drive. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a manual turbo to compare it to, so that put me off a bit. Third, while I really wanted a manual tranny, the leather package with the all-important locking bed cover is only available on the auto tranny version. Why car companies do this is beyond me. I’m still hoping that Subaru gets a clue and starts making these options available a la carte. And while they’re at it… please put a 6 cylinder engine in this vehicle!

Slightly less realistic: Dodge Challenger Concept – Just unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Auto show, this car is smokin’! I like the new Charger, but seeing this two door remake of the 1970 classic leaves me drooling like a baby. The rear profile on the concept is just perfect. Only problem with this car is that I’d need a winter beater, because something tells me the 425-hp, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 just isn’t built for Buffalo winters (although if global warming keeps giving us winters like this, who knows!). I imagine that the potential price will be an issue too. I’ve been a Dukes of Hazzard fan since I was a kid, and while even though the General Lee was a Charger, not a Challenger, the new Challenger Concept is closer to the original Charger than the new Charger is. Note to GM – this is how you do retro muscle cars correctly. Scrap the new Camaro and try again.

Maybe someday: DeLorean DMC-12 – Yes, I love Back to the Future, and that’s probably one of the reasons I think this car is so cool. And there aren’t a lot of cars out there more controversial than the DeLorean. Honestly, owning one of these could be more realistic than the Challenger. There are still a lot out there for sale, and depending on condition they sell anywhere from $5000-$25000. You can even buy them direct from DeLorean Motor Company. If I had more automotive knowledge, free time, and disposible income, I’d already have one of these in my garage. If I win the lottery, I’ll just buy a completely restored and upgraded one and skip all those hassles. I like to drive more than I like to work on the car anyways.

Of course, there are dozens of other cars I could add to this list, but we’ll save those for future posts. Other bloggers and comments, let’s hear your list! Name your top three cars – a realistic one, a stretch goal, and just one that you’ve always wanted.

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  1. I thought the Challenger was too retro for you?

    If you want different… try a 1975 AMC Matador!! My pick for ugliest car ever… but ugly cars are kinda cool!

    Personally, I’d love a Citroen 2CV.. any year.. they didn’t change the design for 40 years! I love the 2 cylinder engine and roll back canvas top! Definitley NOT a winter car…

  2. This is the first I’ve seen actual photos of the Challenger, so maybe I was commenting on artist renderings, I don’t remember. The whole retro thing is a balancing act. I think the PT Cruiser and the Mini did it right. Even the current model Mustang isn’t bad – it’s the first Mustang I’ve somewhat liked in years. I think the Chevy HHR and Camaro are huge flops though. GM needs to fire their entire design staff. They haven’t come out with a good looking car in years. I mean, come on…. the Aveo?!?

  3. The Aveo is a Daewoo…. even GM wouldn’t do something that ugly… again!!

    PT Cruiser and the New Beetle didn’t age well… neither did the T-Bird. Retro is risky unless you wrap it in a performance package and do it well… the Challenger is almost identical to the original, but it is updated. I think it will make it into production!

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