Most exotic cars are no longer that exotic. If you’ve got enough money you can get a Lamborghini or Ferrari. They make a lot of them. That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you don’t have the money you might be able to own a car that lacks the badge and almost nothing else.

(Ed Note: In rolling out our new Buyers Guides we’ll be rounding up some posts for the purposes of directing your eyeballs there. This is one of those posts.)

Ford Mustang GT/GT350R: A Pretty Decent Aston Martin

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Aston Martin Vantage. It’s gorgeous and loud and feels hand-tailored. The Ford Mustang looks decent and is certainly makes noise, but if it looks hand-tailored to you please fire your tailor.

That doesn’t matter.

Ford has used the GT moniker for years on the Mustang even as the car has always been a pony car or, in certain trims, a muscle car. Now the Mustang has adopted the comfort and pretense and size of a true grand tourer.

Advertisement

I’d happily take a GT Mustang with the track pack over a Maserati Gran Turismo if I’ve got some laps ahead of me, although I would miss the Italian porn studio interior. And the GT350R? Even the historically particular Jack Baruth picked it over a Ferrari for PCOTY.

Of course, the GT350R is likely to become an exotic itself.

Jeep Wrangler: What Else Can Do This?

The most exotic off-roader is probably a Brabus 6x6. It ticks all the boxes for a true exotic as it’s expensive, obnoxious and entirely unnecessary.

There is little that a Brabus 6x6 or a regular G55 AMG or any other extreme SUV can accomplish off-road that a nicely equipped Jeep Wrangler couldn’t do. Sure, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo is faster around the race track and a Bowler Wildcat would whip it on the dirt, but these are SUVs. They’re meant to climb over shit.

Also, no one cares that you drive a Jeep.

I once drove a G55 AMG to an off-road park in Shenandoah, Texas and people looked at me like I was driving around in a giant golden dildo. They’d probably shoot me if I tried to hit their trails in one of these.

Chevy Corvette: Pity The Axis

The Italians and the Germans can’t help it. They think they make the best. They have to make the best. It’s part of their national pride. But whether it’s the GT40 and Enzo Ferrari or the Chevy Corvette and the BMW M4, both of them historically underestimate the stubborn will of Americans.

GM designed the Corvette around the time that the company was coming off government assistance, its employees either dejected or running for the exits. Did the Germans ever see it coming? The Italians? The Japanese?

Advertisement

“Corvettes are crude and overpowered toys for successful hot dog vendors,” they must have thought, before buying one to examine. At some point they must have realized they were wrong.

Every new Corvette until the end of time is going to be “the one that finally got it right.” Autojournalists are lazy and unoriginal. Dan Neil got a fucking Pulitzer Prize largely because he’s the only car scribe who knows Chaucer isn’t the thing you put your free coffee on and can recite the Canterbury Tales from memory.

That being said, this is the one that finally got it right.

Alfa Romeo 4C: A Ferrari For The Price Of A Cayman

I pulled an Alfa 4C into a fancy resort in Dana Point and a guy came up to me and asked me “which Ferrari is that?”

Advertisement

It’s over-styled and too loud in every gear and a little uncomfortable and you can’t hold any luggage in it because they sealed the damn frunk for some reason.

Which is to say, I think it is an exotic? You don’t have to be special to buy an Alfa 4C, nor particularly rich. The engine is in the back, sure, but they also put the engine in the back of a Pontiac and called it the “Fiero” and no one would call that exotic.

In reality, it’s a lot more like the Porsche Cayman, which is better in almost every way but doesn’t feel exotic.

Sure, the Alfa 4C isn’t going to outrun your friend’s Lamborghini, but after a year you’ll both pull into a Cars and Coffee and find that the 4Cs are rarer than Huracans. Plus, you’d be able to buy a Giulia with the amount of depreciation the Huracan managed to ring up in a year.


Contact the author at matt@jalopnik.com. Photo Alfa via Newspress.