Car enthusiasts don’t ask for much out of our homes. We don’t need marble countertops or handcrafted wood dining tables, or a working sink. But the one luxury we do love is a nice garage. Will finally bought himself a house with a garage and now he needs a weekend toy to call it home. What car should he buy?
Here is the scenario:
I’m 28 years old with a good job and a reliable daily driver. I finally have a garage for the first time in my life and want to use the money I’ve been saving over the past couple years to fill it with a fun weekend toy.
My budget tops out at $35,000 and I have a few requirements. First, a manual transmission is a must—this is a fun car so no automatics. Second, I only really want a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel-drive car. And lastly, I’m a big guy at 6’6” so I need to be comfortable in it. I tend to lean towards the older German stuff, but I’m trying to be open-minded.
Budget: up to $35,000
Daily Driver: No, it will be a sporty weekend car
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Wants: Fun, Fast, Classic Look
Doesn’t want: Fewer than three pedals
Expert 1: Tom McParland - Garage Life Is The Best Life
Will, I am fully aware of the satisfaction that comes with owning a garage. After living without one for years I too shall soon finally have a place to store my cars out of the elements. It’s a nice feeling, and good for you for taking this opportunity not to stash some commuter car in there, but something special.
When you open those bay doors you want it to be an event. You should get something that the neighbors catch quick glances of and ask “Hey, what’s he got in there?” You need something with a combination of vintage style, speed, and class. That’s right, I’m talking about a classic BMW 850i.
Here is a gorgeous Mauritian Blue 1992 850i with a V12 and a six-speed manual for sale up in Canada from our friends at Bring a Trailer. This big BMW, and it should be plenty comfortable for your larger frame. And did I mention it has a V12?
Current bid is only $5,000 and while that is sure to climb as the auction starts to close, but hopefully, it will leave you enough of a savings buffer for maintenance.
Expert 2: Jason Torchinsky - Why Hold Back?
A garage! My house has two driveways and no garage, and not a moist, rainy day goes by that I don’t wish I had a garage. You have to really make the most of it, and there’s no better way than to plug that car-hole with this stunning 1974 Lotus Europa.
I mean, if you want something fun, why bother getting something that even has a chance of getting mistaken for something boring-ass and normal while you drive? You want something that even people who don’t know mule-stool about cars can see and think, damn, what the hell is that?
This bright-red, silver-striped, mid-engined Lotus will take care of that, no problem.
The Europa was one of the first real production mid-engined sportscars you could buy, and it’s got a distinctive shape that makes this very clear, with its dramatically wedged nose and boxy butt.
Because that Ford-sourced Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine is behind you, and you’re basically reclining while driving, there’s plenty of room inside for those long tree trunks of yours that you call legs. Of course it’s a manual, and of course it’s real wheel drive, and of course it’s going to be a party every time you drive it, even if you’re on the way to your urologist.
This red beast is visceral, lithe, fun, and stands out, in the best way possible. Use that garage to its fullest, and give it a job sheltering something really special, like this fantastic Lotus.
It’s perfect. You know I’m right.
Expert 3: Patrick George - Embrace True Luxury
A garage! I used to have a garage. What a marvel it was. I would spend hours in the Texas autumn evenings, coated in mosquito spray, blasting synthwave into my earholes as I carefully wrenched under the hood of my E30. It was magical. Then I moved to New York City, because I hate myself and make bad personal choices. I miss my garage.
But you, Will—you can succeed where I failed. You have a garage and a healthy budget. And with those things, and a proclivity for old German metal, there is nothing you cannot accomplish. I will say I disagree with my pal Tom up there and suggest you get a BMW M6 instead, but let’s not make this a Bimmer lovefest. Their fans are insufferable enough.
Instead, turn your eyes and your heart to the king of the transaxle Porsches, the 928. It’s big, it’s opulent, it’s got a mighty V8 under the hood, and it will make you look like a cocaine-taking 1980s rich person. I can think of few cars that encapsulate ’80s ludicrous excess than that. Here is an example in Chicago with 66,000 miles for just under $19,000. It has the manual you desire, and space for your tall frame.
And that garage? You’ll be using it, friend-o! Because the 928 is a pain in the ass to maintain properly. Maybe the biggest pain in the ass. But you’re a big man who takes on big challenges, Will! Aim for the stars here.
Expert 4: David Tracy - You Need More Power
I’m going to recommend a car that I’ve been drooling over since I was in college: the first-generation Audi S5 Coupe. No, I’m not just suggesting it because I want one; this thing makes total sense for a 28 year-old like yourself.
Not only does it have looks that could kill, but it’s large enough for a tall guy like you, and it’s got a 4.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 that makes over 350 horsepower, and gets the car to 60 mph in about five seconds flat. And of course, all that power can be sent through a six-speed manual.
You’re young! Your reflexes are at an all-time high. Don’t waste that driving all those slow cars mentioned above. Even the dang V-12 8-Series Tom mentioned doesn’t even make 300 horsepower. You need more, and that’s what the S5's big V8 offers.
Here’s a random one I plucked off of Craigslist going. It comes with snow tires, and a big list of mods including a custom exhaust for ten grand under your budget. Normally I’d be rather hesitant to recommend a used Audi (they’re not known for their reliability), but I’ve read good things about the 4.2-liter V8. So I say: go for it.