I Have $10,000 To Get A Car So Terrible It's Awesome! What Should I Buy?

What Car Should You BuyThe experts at Jalopnik answer your car-buying questions.

Ben is a pastor who is looking to test his resolve in not taking the Lord’s name in vain. He wants to spend up to $10,000 on a used European luxury sedan, and boy, has he come to the right place. What car should be buy?

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They say in order to truly believe, you must have a constant test of your faith. Okay, I don’t know if that is what they really say, I didn’t pay all that much attention in Catholic school.

But! What better way to see if divine intervention really exists by purchasing a cheap overly complex luxury car and see if it leaves you stranded.

Here is the scenario:

Looking to make a terrible mistake. I walk to work most days and have a Miata for any drives beyond five miles. So I really just need a car to pick up the kids from school once-in-a-while and get groceries or anything else that doesn’t fit in the Miata.

That being said, I love the idea of something incredibly depreciated, luxurious, not terribly ostentatious unless it was so hilariously ostentatious that it became a joke, powerful, and constantly on the verge of being an absolute disaster. Perhaps something like a V12 sedan.

I’m a pastor, of all things, who works with students. The more obvious it is that I shouldn’t own this kind of car, the more hilarious it would be to drive up to church in it. Imagine a conversation like “So the pastor drove up in what?” and think of the most chuckle-inducing answer… you’ll have the car I’m looking for.


Quick Facts:

Budget: Up to $10,000

Daily Driver: Not really.

Average Miles Per-Week: Less than 100.

Wants: Highly depreciated, luxurious, fast, the best three-mile drive you can buy. Ice-cold air conditioning.


Doesn’t want: To have to fly to Italy to find parts.

Expert #1: Tom McParland - Believes In Warranties


So I’m usually the guy that bucks the wisdom (I use that term very loosely) of my colleagues and tries to offer a reasonable vehicle that would actually work for your average person in the real world. You are clearly not looking for average, and are fortunate enough to have some backup plans if things go awry with this car.

All that being said, if you are a man of the cloth that needs to do battle with the forces of evil, you need a sedan that says you can kick some serious ass. This is a 2001 BMW 750il Protection; it is the kind of car that James Bond and The Transporter drove. It has 92,000 miles. which isn’t bad for this vintage. Did I mention it has a V12? Because it does, man.


The price is right in your range at $9000, but still looks like a $95,000 car. So you will definitely get the “Is he for real in that car? from the parishioners.

This classic 7-series comes with a V12 engine and “ice cold air conditioning”! Though ad does mention a “few glitches” but hey, that’s to be expected. I would actually be more suspicious if he said it ran perfectly.


You know it calls to you.

Expert #2: Andrew Collins - Already Spilled The Grey Poupon

Here be dragons. (Photo Credit: Craigslist)

I’m getting the sense that you’ve got a good sense of humor Ben, which you’ll need to stay sane after you spend $10,000 on a Scarface-era Rolls Royce. Which is absolutely what you should buy.

It hits all your targets: way too flamboyant to be taken seriously, even funnier when people get up close and realize the state of disrepair it will inevitably and invariably be in. Just knowing you own it will be novel enough to keep you amused. And driving it? I mean, it’d probably be real slow and sloppy, but the reactions you’ll get pulling up to church will be priceless.


Maybe you could even rent the thing out for weddings! When it’s running.

As far as actually finding one, it seems like you’re already aware of the power of depreciation. Well it hits Rollers especially hard and yes indeed, you can definitely get one for less than $10,000.


Here’s a decidedly decent-looking Silver Spirit in your price range. But if square eyes are too passé (they totally are) what about going a decade further back and finishing this guy’s Silver Shadow with the rest of the budget? On the other side of the country? No sweat, they’re in New York too! 

Heck, I’ve almost talked myself into buying one.

Expert #3: Stef Schrader - Waited A Decade To Give The Most Glorious Answer

Image via eBay

You want weird. You want head-turning. You want potentially chuckle-inducing. Comrade, let me introduce you to the magnificent world of Soviet Bloc motoring.

You may need to give up certain wish list items like cold air conditioning and speed, but if you want depreciation and curious looks, this is the ultimate answer. Some people behind the Iron Curtain waited up to 10 years just to get a Trabant! Time is money in capitalist pig society, and to me, being able to hit “Buy It Now” on a once-coveted Car Not For Proletariat is the ultimate depreciation.


Right now, you can buy this 1988 Lada 2107 for $9,900 on eBay. Instantly! Via button click! Described by its seller as the “extremely rare flagship of Soviet era auto industry,” this obscure-in-America car features an upgraded head unit, the blingiest shifter knob I’ve seen outside of Hot Import Nights and what appears to be functional climate control.

What wasteful frivolity and excess! It’s perfect.

If you’re willing to go even more obscure, there’s an East German 1985 Wartburg 353 here for $6,500 that looks positively delightful, however, then you have to deal with even rarer parts. Ladas like the 2107 were derived from the old Fiat 124, which was sold all over the place. In other words, you could probably overnight parts for the Lada from Canada instead of Italy.


I think you know this is the most ridiculous decision. After all, in Soviet Russia, car chooses you.

Expert #4: Jason Torchinsky - Occasional Blasphemer, But Pretty Sure God’s Not Too Pissed Yet


So I’m going to bend your rules just a bit: while this is absolutely a “incredibly depreciated, luxurious, not terribly ostentatious” European luxury sedan, it doesn’t need to be so terrible it’s awesome, because it always was, is, and will be awesome. It’s a Citroën Traction Avant.

Listen to me, Christian Rabbi, as I think that’s what you guys are called: if you want to make an impression—the right impression—wherever you go, this is absolutely the car for you. It reeks of presence and character. It’s charming and Gallic, but it also carries just a bit of ominousness about it.


It’s essentially a French Gangster’s car from the middle of last century, only you’re not afraid the gangsters are going to pump you full of lead so much as pump you full of brie and baguette chunks dunked into heavy, cream-based sauces.

Despite the gloriously archaic look, the Traction Avant has specs that sound like a modern Civic: front-wheel drive, unibody, four-cylinder inline engine. I’ve driven a Traction before, and they drive remarkably well, and feel far more usable and modern than you’d think. Plus, the shifter is a blast, this long spindly arm sprouting out from the dash.


The interior is Parisian drawing room comfortable for you and your students or your kids or whatever souls in need of churching-up you may find. The bustle-butt trunk is nice and huge, too. This thing is practical.

Sure, they’re asking $13,000, but I’m positive a man of the cloth like yourself can talk them down to $10,000. This one has been fixed up and even comes with “An English language shop manual!”


You already know English! That’s half the battle!

This is going to be great. I can’t wait to see you rolling up to church in this baby. You know I’m right.

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About the author

Tom McParland

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)