Matt had one of the coolest Jalop cars ever made, a Cadillac CTS-V wagon. Sadly someone stole it and chopped it up for parts. So now Matt has a decision to make as to what to do next and he needs our help. What car should he buy?

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Here is the scenario -

My 2012 CTS-V wagon was stolen out of my gated driveway, in what would be considered a nice neighborhood. It was a targeted theft. There has been a plethora of CTS-V theft in the Houston metro area. I actually saw my wheels, tires, and Brembo calipers posted for sale in a local CTS-V Facebook group, a week after it was stolen. The vehicle was recovered, but was chopped and stripped of engine, trans, exhaust, wheels, etc… Obviously, it was declared a total loss.

Being the more rare Wagon body, it was a welcome addition at local festivals and car shows. My 10yr old son and I enjoyed entering these shows and actually won a few awards in the late model class with it. It became a good father-son thing that we did together, and we’ve joined some local car clubs and enjoy occasional outings with a good friend we’ve made there.

We also own a 2006 Chevy Silverado, and a 2009 Chevy Suburban which is my wife’s daily driver. I have two boys ages 6 and 10, and a 15 yr. old daughter who is confined to a wheelchair.

I’m wrestling with three different scenarios:

Option 1 -Sell my truck, add those $ to Insurance payout, and buy nice new truck/suv.

Option 2 - Gently used modern sport/lux sedan or wagon. Jag XJ, M-B AMG, Kia Stinger, etc…

Option 3- Put a few dollars and TLC toward my old Silverado, and then get an older restomod to continue the car show fun with son.

After the insurance payout and bank payoff on the V-wagon, I should pocket around $30K, and think I can finance another $10-$15K.

Option 1, would be the smart move for a man with three kids and a mortgage in the suburbs.

Option 2, would give me the modern daily driver that I’ve become accustomed to. However, my budget would put me right at something in great shape but likely traded in just out of warranty.

Option 3, would make my current pickup truck my daily driver again and is the least exciting option for me but would allow me to continue entering car shows with my son (eyeing a 1969 Cadillac DeVille restomod).

This is a bit more complicated than the usual scenario but I would love to see what the Jalop community has to say

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Quick Facts:

Budget: Sort of depends, but possibly up to $45,000

Daily Driver: Maybe if he goes with options 1 or 2.

Location: Texas

Wants: Some guidance as to which path to take.

Doesn’t want: To let his kids down with the wrong choice.

Expert 1: Tom McParland - It’s All About Family

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Matt, sorry to hear about the wagon. Car theft sucks no matter what, but it especially sucks when it happens to a cool car and it takes away a great bonding experience between you and your son. But I think that experience you shared with him going to car shows is the crux of the solution here.

A new truck or SUV is fine, but it’s just going to be another “vehicle”—it’s not really going to replace the CTS-V. Furthermore, finding a cool and fast Sportwagon for the 45k range will be difficult. There are nice wagons in that price point, but none of them really big enough to accommodate your family and/or be something worth taking to a local car meet.

So I say you go with Option 3, put a little money into your pickup, which is clearly an appropriate vehicle for a Texas dad, then go get yourself a classic Caddy so you can work on it and continue entering car shows with your son. The ‘69 Deville restomod sounds like a fine idea, or how about this ‘68 Fleetwood in AZ for only $18,000. It has plenty of style and room for the kids, and there is no rule that says you can’t daily drive a classic.

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Expert 2: David Tracy - Don’t Give Up On Wagons. Ever.

Image credit: Craigslist

I agree with Tom that the pay is definitely to fix up the truck and get an old car so you and your son can bond over car shows and perhaps even a bit of wrenching.

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Seeing as you’re clearly a fan of General Motors products, allow me to recommend my favorite GM wagon of all time: the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser.

I fell in love with this machine when I visited the vastly-underrated R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Michigan. And it’s easy to understand why: just look at that beautiful shape—the long nose, the second row window that tapers to a point at the back, the roof rack, the awesome parallelogram cargo-area side windows, the curved upper side glass and top glass that reach up to the tall “Vista-Roof” in the back. It’s wagon perfection.

And that’s not even factoring in the giant “Rocket” V8 engines that propelled these land yachts or the fact that, with its three rows of seating, this wagon could transport close to an entire soccer team.

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The 1968 model shown above is for sale in LA for $3,800. The body looks workable, though the interior is rough. Negotiate a bit, and you could have yourself an awesome wagon project. And that, really, is what you need to get over the loss of that wonderful CTS-V Wagon.

Expert 3: Mack Hogan - Obvious For A Reason

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I’m sorry if this isn’t fun or whimsical like the suggestions of my colleagues, but I think we both know it’s the right call. In the world of performance wagons, there are two cars that can’t be ignored. You’ve owned the first.

Now it’s time for the second. The Mercedes-Benz E63 Wagon.

The AMG Wagon provides all the practicality, speed and luxury you’ve come to expect in a daily driver. It’s a hilariously loud monster wagon with over 550 horsepower, as every vehicle should be.

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I found a 2012 model in Palm Beach, with free shipping anywhere in the continental U.S., for $41,950. With 76,200 miles, it’s barely broken in. I know it’s the least creative suggestion, but the E63 Wagon is obvious for a reason.

Expert 4: Jason Torchinsky - No One Will Steal This One

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Unusually, I’m pretty much going to agree with most of the affable simpletons I call my colleagues and say Option 3 is the right way: get something to keep going to car shows with your kid, because that’s the stuff that makes life worth the subscription cost. Also, another wagon is the way to go. So, with that in mind, behold your sweet new ride: a 1963 Studebaker Lark Wagonaire!

Studebakers are like car show catnip as it is, and you should be happy it’s a wagon just to hold all the trophies you’ll be getting. The Wagonaire is especially wonderful, even beyond just the inherent wonderful of “Studebaker wagon” because the wagonaire has a trick up its, um, rear: the roof slides back to make it into a sort of open truck-like thing:

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See? It’s fantastic.

Yeah, this one needs a bit of cleanup and some polish, but it’s only $10,650 and these aren’t hard to work on. Nice old-school V8, not complicated at all. You and your kids will love this thing. Enjoy it.

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