Apr 20, 2011

Is Your Daily Driver Sporty Enough?


I didn't think so.

You've got your dream sports car and you are still not fulfilled. I understand, let's hope it is just too cool to squander on daily driving. It could have kindled a passion in you that needs feeding more often than you expected. You haven't failed, you are just inspired. What you need is a new beater sports car, for a daily driver.  Now don't get me wrong. I'm not implying your current sports car or mine is a garage queen. Heck, I drove the Carrera on a gravel road just last weekend, really I did (very slowly).  Not every sports car is cut out for commuting in traffic or languishing in a parking garage 40 hours a week. Heck, my insurance won't even let me drive my sports car to work. Risk is certainly higher for damage/loss in daily driven cars. Besides, you've got all the risks associated with the dog and those Home Depot trips too. A daily driver sports car to beat up on a regular basis may be the answer. It will have to capture the spirit of your passion but execute in with a more abuse tolerant car.


Car's are complicated. Fear of failure is a major reason why people pay for new cars. Cars move fast on the highway and the shoulders are narrow. Nobody wants to spend the morning on the shoulder looking under the hood, besides who brings a ECM scan tool to work anyway? That $500/month your spending is supposed to assure you won't have vehicle failure. But think again, how old were the last 4 broken down cars saw on your commute?  Yep, they were all new (probably electrical failures).  They were Range Rovers too, but thats another blog.  Furthermore, that 60K mile warranty protects you during the most reliable period in any car's life.  Whoopidoo!

Perhaps cash like that could be put to more creative, sports car guy type use.


This Alfa GTV2000 sold recently in Seattle for $12,100.
You think you could put aside $4,000 a year for repairs
if your daily driver was Italian?  I could.

Why not an older car? Any chump can buy a new car. So we're throwing those out immediately.  If you're a real car guy you feed on the nods other car guys give you.  The nods that say, "you're cool, and I'm cool for noticing"   That recognition makes being a car guy worth it.  So, you can do better than a 2 year old Subaru STi.



1993 5.0 Mustang coupe. Not a mullet-punk fastback, but rather a more esoteric selection,
 the 5.0 coupe. It's cheap to fix if you don't get sucked into the aftermarket upgrade vortex.
 Restrain yourself, keep it stock and have an American icon.   This one is currently on Ebay
 for buy-it-now $12,000.


Get a AAA card. Fear of breaking down can be real. It may be an unthinkable risk for some of us, but the odds are slim even in an older car. I recall holding up a lot of pals one weekend w/an urgent roadside valve spring inspection. It was no fun, but being late to open my pharmacy is not even an option. Even if you're confident in your ride, it's wise to prepare a plan ahead of time. Knowing your plan in case of failure can free your soul to soar to new heights of automotive bliss.


Tip top shape, they claim. Found for $4300 on craigslist. For that kind of money you could
rent a car for the longer trips. Heck you could buy one each year and start a salvage yard.
 Know this,  the road noise is high and shifting in traffic can be hard. I'd take one in an instant.
 I'm just short about 4 grand right now.
Cost:  lets say it should be 50% what you could afford to spend on your good sports car. So keep the expenditure reasonable here. If you're spending $50k on your dream car, you should be able to fork over under $25,000 here. Cars that evoke some passion are plentiful in this price range. You need something less common and more interesting to drive to work. Something that can make up for the low price and torn seats with some character and timeless style. Anybody can buy something, lets find or create something instead. That should make much better conversation at the water cooler than any new Lexus.


You don't need to go too old to get huge value. This 1994 968 Coupe has 150K miles,
 and it's only $8,000. Make those monthly payments to yourself instead of GMAC, and
 drive on with a fat bank account and a 4cylinder Porsche like a 924,944 or 968. Besides,
 that tranny or motor that will probably last till 200,000 miles anyway.

M3 $12K 80K miles. Finding an unmolested one is a special occasion these days..
 I'd take one if stock. Better yet, a 4 door would be nice and less likely to be abused.


$9,000 on Craigslist. 120,000 miles is nothing for a 912 or 911. Yes, it will burn oil,
 but oil can be preplaced via a hole under the oil-cap. I'd say that if you budget $20,000
 for one, you can get an amazing car easily. Better yet, spend $9K and keep another $11K
 in the bank for peace of mind. Just don't lose control; this is a daily driver project not a
restoration project.  Usually I'm down on Targas, but not for a daily driver. Why not?

I think it's safe to say we don't want to upstage your "last sports car". So fit and finish are not the goal here. Character is the goal, a car with some and a driver that values it over air filtration and heated seats. Big deal if you're old Alfa or Porsche might be noisy inside. It's against the law to use your phone in the car now anyway. Roll up windows? Good, you need the exercise. Sunroof leaks, then glue it shut (make it pretty though). Car's that are passed over by other enthusiasts may be a great source for daily driving fun. Who cares if the Carfax report is blemished? Unoriginal paint, mismatched serial numbers, and collision repair are all great ways to get value in a daily driver. Just make sure it's still relatively stock, for serviceability and confirm whatever work was done right, or at least is reversible.

It's much easier to rationalize my next move here on my blog.  Wish me luck.


So, no room for the dog or the child seat you say? try my other blog:
http://www.sportscarguyspeaks.com/2011/09/so-youve-given-up-on-your-dreams.html

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