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Welcome to $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge Week

In place of the usual Monday discussion-starter, we're going to try something completely different.

Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum.In the comments to my Chrysler 300 review, reader "Hiptech" provided a link to a video review of the 300's Dodge platform mate at Everyday Driver. I got to rooting around on the Everyday Driver site and discovered that they'd had a "Dream Garage" reader contest a few years back. That gave us the idea to try one of our own.

Car Lust proudly announces the $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge. (Insert brass fanfare here.) The concept is simple: pretend that a generous but reclusive billionaire who reads Car Lust has given you $100,000 to spend on motor vehicles for you and your family. To answer the challenge, tell us what you'd buy with that kind of scratch.

We the Car Lust contributors will be taking turns for the next few days describing what's parked in our fantasy garages. If you'd like to play along too, the official rules are after the jump.


1. You must spend the entire $100,000 if possible, but in any event no less than $97,500 of it.  (No fair buying a $500 beater and investing the rest.)

2. You must buy vehicles that will be sufficient to serve the reasonably forseeable transportation needs of you and your household. There should be at least one vehicle in the mix that is identified as your daily driver.  Once you've met the basic needs of your household, you can buy road toys with whatever's left of the $100k.

Department of You-Can't-Afford-This, 2013 Cleveland Auto Show3. There must be no more than twenty vehicles, total. (Otherwise, certain people whose names I won't mention would go out and corner the market on Chevy Vegas.)

4. At least one vehicle must be a new model presently on sale in North America.

5. Assume that you will pay straight MSRP for a new vehicle--we'll ignore tax, title, trade-in, rebates, Auto Show Bonus Cash, the salesman's brother-in-law discount, your mad bargaining skillz, and all that stuff just to keep it simple.

6. For a used vehicle, use NADA Blue Book value or the asking price in an online ad. (A dealership's online listing counts as an "ad" for this purpose.)

For NADA Blue Book purposes, assume a car in "clean retail" condition which has accumulated 12,000 miles per year from the year of manufacture through the end of 2012, to a maximum of 150,000.  (Example: a 2010 model year car would be valued as if it had 36,000 miles.)

If you're using an ad price, your response should include a link to the specific ad.

If you can't find an ad and the car isn't priced on the NADA website, estimate the price by any available reasonable means, but explain how you made the estimate.

7. If you will be modifying one of your selections, the cost of the modification should be added to the price. Include a source or other justification for the price of the modification.

Photo obtained from Station Wagon Forum.If you are selecting a car from overseas that is not presently street legal in the U.S. (example here), include the cost of "federalizing" it.

Repainting or major body repair/restoration counts as a "modification," but do not factor in scheduled maintenance or running repairs.

8. If you want to keep your current ride(s), you have to charge it (them) off against the $100,000 at the current NADA "clean retail" price.  (Example: my GTI has a "clean retail" value of $13,800, so if I'm keeping it that amount gets subtracted from my $100k.)

9. For each vehicle you select, give us a brief (sentence or two) explanation of why you picked it.

Leave your response in the comments, or e-mail it to the Car Lust Global Operations Center mailbox, I'll compile the reader responses into a follow-up post sometime next week.

Have fun shopping!

--Cookie the Dog's Owner


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I'm gonna be thinking about this alllllllll day.

Well, this is fun! I'm not playing to win any prizes by angling for a super-garage that I wouldn't really want -- these are purely personal choices, any one of which is a car I really would buy if I had the money.

No.1: A 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. A/C, 5L V8, preferably brilliant white, blue pinstripes, dark blue velour interior. NADA price $6902.

Not only the best example of GM's corporate-wide knife-edge restyle of '78, my grandmother bought one new, and I loved it dearly. When she passed away we inherited it, and it was the car I learned to drive in. I'd give anything to have another one just like it. This would be the daily special take-the-wife-out-to-dinner driver.

No.2: A 1956 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer four-door hardtop. A/C, P/S, P/B, clock, radio, push-button Powerflite, optioned to the teeth, with the D500 package. NADA price $21,386.

The best looking Exner design, and one of the best, most bulletproof, cars ever made. I had a '56 sedan once, and regret ever selling it. This would be the weekend show-and-go cruiser.

No.3: A 1965 Mercury Monterey Breezeway four-door sedan. Overdrive straight-six. NADA price $9540.

The perfect car for touring in the mountains or driving around town: big, comfortable, room for lots of stuff, not bad on gas, easy to work on, and an airy greenhouse for panoramic views. This would be my daily driver.

No.4: A 1977 Aston Martin Lagonda Series I. NADA price $46,500.

This is where the stupid money goes...but it's worth it. The limousine from the future in outer space! CRT display, flat-panel controls, single-spoke steering wheel, and all. My dream since 1977, this would be the trailer-queen, pampered and polished, but driven in parades, rented out for weddings and parties...and occasionally blasted across the country.

And finally, No.5: the modern job, the Dreaded Requirement. I have no interest in any modern automobile, so I've chosen the cheapest one possible: a 2013 Nissan Versa. The 1.8 S hatchback, with nose protector and car cover, MSRPs for $15,661.

Which brings the total to $99,989. Modifications: two packs of Little Trees for $11, for a total of a nice, round $100,000.

I'll bite.
Car 1:1978 Dodge Magnum 400ci V8, (though i'd love to do a 440 swap) brown exterior & interior, no vinyl roof
Ebay listing, buy it now:$4500
Car 2:1980 Dodge St Regis Police Interceptor 360CI V8 preferably Minnesota state patrol maroon, but black would be nice
I found a decent one $5000 whatabargin!
Car 3:1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 360CI V8, Maroon w/matching interior
I do suppose I'll need a 4X4 for the Minnesota Snow
Ebay listing, buy it now:$5500
Car 4:1966 Imperial Crown Coupe 440CI V8, triple black, no vinyl roof
Ebay listing, buy it now:$8500
Car 5:1971 Imperial 2 door 440CI V8, dark blue, black vinyl roof, black leather interior
Ebay price:$4,500
Car 6:1975 Imperial Lebaron 2-door hardtop 440CI V8 Triple dark brown listing $5,950
Car 7:1997 Dodge Ram 2500 8 Liter V10, 4x4, club cab, 8' box, Laramie, Red (The truck from twister essentially)
NADA price:$7,325
Car 8:Time to break the Chrysler streak 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE 4.6 Liter V8, leather, sunroof, handling package (air suspension, dual exhaust, better rims,ect) in black
NADA price:$12,800
Car 9:1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Tailisman 500CI V8 dark blue w/matching vinyl roof & mercredi velour
Listing price: $7,500
Car 10:1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Diamond Jubilee Edition 460CI V8 in blue
Ebay Price:$5,500
Car 11:1976 Oldsmobile 98 455CI V8, Triple dark red
Ebay Price:$5,700
Car 12:1971 Dodge Charger 440CI V8, Purple exterior, black interior, column shift auto of course
Ebay price:$9,500
Car 13 (the new one):2013 Jeep Patriot Sport 4x4 2.4 I4 with a 5 speed manual
The price brought me right up to $100K, but the 4x4 was the only option I selected for the Jeep, you don't even get A/C, and you get 15" steelies. But it's a tough lil' thing, I nearly picked a new Dart for my new car, but I wanted everything in my garage to have a drive shaft.
Anyways, there's my $100K garage, as you can see, I've got a penchant for V8s & Domestic vehicles.

So I can't just get a $100,000 Tesla Model S and call it my daily driver? :-)

Al S., I like your choices, especially #1, #5, #9, #11, & #12.

My first reaction is to name the new (and unpriced) VW that gets 261 MPG. What's the point of having a car if in the furure, you can't afford to drive it. One guess in the article I read about it said it would gor for at least $100K.
Besides, it doesn't look like you typical "drive to prove you're concerned about the environment" car. It actually looks good with lift doors and a style that would get your car keyed if parked at a PBS station parking lot while volunteering during a pledge drive (which I've done).

More real world, I'd like a new Lexus RX450h...hybrid. It looks good, gets 30 mpg and hauls like a mini-SUV. Price? $47k, about $7K more than a non "h".
If I get to keep the cars I now have, I'd be happy just with that, but if I HAD to buy another toy, I'd like a used late model Mercedes SL to use up the other $50k. Orperhaps a slightly older SL and a nice used E Class wagon a ocal dealer has for sale at $30k...with only 61,000 miles. With Mercedes build quality and longevity, it might outlast me if I keep mileage within reasons.

This is how I would do it:

2007 Subaru Outback LL Bean 3.0R 5spd Auto (17K)
My current daily driver- Absolutely the Swiss Army knife of modern automobiles. Up here in the snow country, this is weapon of choice. Drives well, handles well, hauls well, ultra reliable, very comfortable, a really terrific all around car.

2007 Ford Mustang GT Convertible 5spd manual ($16k)
My current garage queen - I've taken several trips in this car and its been down Route 66. An excellent car for touring - comfortable, fast, 25-30mpg, a modern version of a classic.

2002 Ford F-150 4D King Ranch 4WD 4spd Auto w/tow pkg($10K)
A good solid truck that does what a truck should do, but is still comfortable. I have a SuperCab currently but with this budget, I would splurge and go with the King Ranch and bigger back seat. Overall, this truck is good enough to avoid justifying the expense of a new one at $40k+.

2003 Mercury Marauder 4spd Auto ($10k)
Big, comfy, fast, menacing, beautiful...quite possibly the world’s finest grocery getter ever made.

2013 Ford Focus ST 6spd Manual($26k)
Worth the money all day long. Hot hatch goodness, 6spd, weekend track star, reasonable MPG, Recaros, this is the pocket rocket done right.

1965 Chevrolet Impala 2dr hardtop Turbo Hydra-matic ($18k)
-Sunday ice cream runner: coke bottle style, big steering wheel, long hood, wide dashboard & bench seat, 327/350hp V8, factory air.

1988 Honda CRX HF 5spd Manual($3k)
-My Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome end of times fuel miser .

(wife's daily) 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Hybrid (Auto) $29,000
New from Volkswagen
42-48 mpg. Safe. Comfortable. Reliable.

(my daily) 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Hatchback (Man) $27,000
found on autotrader
My workhorse. Fun commuter. Plenty of room for storage. AWD at its best.

1996 Caterham 7 (Man) $23,000
found on
What can I say? 2 seater, always a convertible, fast and fun.

2009 Ford Flex AWD SEL (Auto) $16,000
found on autotrader
4x4 people hauler. Seats 7. Looks non-typical. Love the design.

1988 Jeep Wagoneer (Auto) $5,000
found on craigslist
Camping/I-dont-mind-a-scratch car


#1 Get the wife her Camaro which I will probably be doing in the next year anyways. ZL1 Convertible, 6 speed manual. Color to be determined. $45,650

#2 Get myself a Raptor crew cab, black, etc. $53,280

Grand total $98,930

All right, I suffered a bit of memory loss with my mention of the Lagonda above...before anyone busts my chops about it, I actually meant the Series 2.

The Lagonda Series 1 was the DB-based saloon. The Lagonda Series 2 is the flying doorstop. Aaaand the Series 2 had the LED dashboard -- the CRT dash was the Series 3.

1. Brass-era runabout, preferably 1908-'09 Hupmobile. They run around $15,000.

2. Something Brighton-eligible. I can probably score a light 1904 car at $60,000, if I really scrounge.

3. A nice, early, low-mileage Miata. $7,500.

4. So I have $17,500 left. If you haunt Autotrader, you can find a five-speed Mazda5 at $18,500. I can pretty easily get the Hupp for $14,000 or less.

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