Ladies and gentlemen, the day has come. The Ferrari is sold, the title is transferred, the money is in my account, and that means there's only one thing left to do: spend it foolishly on another crazy car.
But I wouldn't do that without input from you, the reader. That's because you're a crucial part of this whole equation: without you, the last year wouldn't have been as fun. It wouldn't have been as exciting. It wouldn't have been as rewarding. And, most importantly, it wouldn't have been tax deductible.
And I know that you're excited to give your automotive feedback to me. I say this because I've already received e-mails, and Facebook messages, and Kinja comments loaded with suggestions on what to get. My friends are chiming in from across the country. Last week, I got a text message with a car suggestion from a phone number I had never before contacted. I swear this is true.
So today is finally the day: the day when everyone can submit their suggestions, and their ideas, and their thoughts, and their car listings, and I can scroll through them all and realize just how crazy you people really are.
But before you get too excited, I have a few Car Suggestion Ground Rules that you should know before you submit anything. They are:
1. Where to suggest. I'll take suggestions on Twitter or here on Jalopnik. I know, I know: not everyone is on Twitter — and if you aren't, it's certainly OK to reply here instead. But here's the problem: last year when I did this post, I received 1,700 comments, which is a lot to read. After about 1,000, even I have trouble getting through them all.
I've blocked off my entire afternoon and evening for this, so I'm going to try my hardest to read every single suggestion and idea you might have — but you may have better luck on Twitter.
2. Budget. Ideally, the budget is around $50,000 or $60,000. However, that was ideally the budget the last time we did this, and I ended up spending far more. So understand that the budget is variable: you don't have to spend it all, or you can spend a little more. But don't go too crazy: unless you find a clean F40 for half its retail value, I'm going to disregard virtually all highly expensive suggestions.
3. Storage. I would prefer if this car fit into my garage. Since I have a single-car garage in a tight, compact, major city, the dimensions are somewhat restrictive: the garage opening is 92 inches wide and 83 inches high, while the garage itself is about 20 feet long (240 inches). For those of you in metric world, that's 2.3 meters wide by 2.1 meters high, with a total length of about 6.1 meters.
With that said, a really cool suggestion that goes beyond these dimensions is OK: for the right car, I'm comfortable renting a parking space somewhere else. And if it's not too flashy, the car can be parked on the street.
4. Winter. Yes, it's true: winter is coming to Philadelphia. And since I don't want to buy this car only to immediately tuck it away in the garage for three months, I'd like something with some semblance of winter capabilities. That doesn't mean I need a truck, or an SUV, or a half-track. Just some all-wheel drive or some reasonable ground clearance would be nice.
With that said, the perfect car gets a pass on the winter rule. In fact, for the right car, I would ignore virtually all of these rules, except of course for the highly important next two.
5. Resale. At some point, when the madness is over, and the columns are done, and I've run out of ideas, I'll need to sell this thing. As a result, resale must factor into your decision. In other words: I'm sorry, but you can't suggest your buddy's DB Integra with a Chevy V8 swap that only starts with a hand crank located under the passenger seat. This also means you can't suggest something too obscure, or too modified, because I might not be able to find anyone who wants it when I'm finished.
And here's another key point on resale value: I want to be able to sell the car for about what I paid to buy it. Yes, of course, I'm OK with losing a few thousand dollars to depreciation over the next few months. But I'm not OK with losing tens of thousands in a Jaguar-style depreciation freefall whose curve mimics the general path of Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, this eliminates most new cars. It does not, however, eliminate vintage cars — so don't feel like your suggestions should be bound by an age range.
6. You have to read about this car all the time. THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!!!!!
There were a few people who didn't like hearing frequent updates about life with a Ferrari. I never really understood this, since it's not like I went to these peoples' houses, held a gun to their head, and forced them to read my columns. But they existed, and they complained, and now that the Ferrari's gone, they have a chance to do something about their annoyance.
So here's the situation: like I've done for the last year, I plan to write a column about this next car approximately every two weeks, with videos. Therefore, you'll want to suggest something that doesn't suck. You'll want to suggest something that's exciting to hear about, and fun to learn about, and full of material. In fact, before you make a suggestion, I strongly suggest that you ask yourself: Do I want to hear about this car frequently over the next few months? If the answer is "no," if it's a one-trick pony, if it's not an interesting car, if you think you'll get bored, then it's probably not worth suggesting.
7. Prizes. Last time, I gave out a series of awful automotive-related prizes. This time, the person who suggests the car I ultimately end up picking wins a signed copy of my book. This is worth approximately $8.29, plus the value of my signature, so $8.34.
Now that we've covered all the rules, let the suggestions begin. As you can tell, I'm ready for them.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.