The obligatory, recurring, eternal, dreaded questions :
What is your favourite car? What makes up your dream garage?
It was always very difficult for me to answer definitely. First, because everybody knows the right number cars to own is n+1. And then because a “dream garage” is only fun to dream about with budget limits (three cars with 50.000€, dream garage with 10.000€, etc…)
To help me answer the question and give you perspective, let me tell you a bit more about my background.
I grew up in a France, in a Renault-owners family. I always rode at the back of Renaults growing up (R5, R19, R21 estates, then Laguna estates), and learnt to drive in them. I am therefore always a bit more interested in Renault products than their French rival Peugeot-Citroën. I have a huge soft spot for the R21 estate (use to dream about buying a 4WD one and dropping a 2L turbo J7R-752 in the front, it would have made for a great sleeper).
But that is not to say I am a Renault aficionado, and that I don’t like anything else. Having spent not hours but days playing Gran Turismo, I was beaten by the Japanese and GT-R and JGTC bug. The racier (not ricey) the better.
I guess like most people, I am more attracted to cars of my generation or the ones just before. Meaning I am not a huge fan of chrome bumpers and wire wheels ( I find an E-Type much sexier on mag “steelies” and bumper less than in standard road trim).
I am a big fan of wide wheels and wild aero if they follow a function. I love 935s, E21 Gr.5, Group B and C, but hate the last Civic Type-R or AMG A45.
Same with lowering cars : I like a functional low (think KW V3) but “stance” doesn’t do it for me.
You are going to ask me what I drive.
After graduating from the 33.000km 1.4L Renault Supercinq my auntie had lent to me (great car to learn heel and toe, left foot braking and lift off oversteer, by the way), I was in the market for a “new” car.
The girlfriend had declared her requirements : comfortable on long drives, good heater, good stereo.
I added my own : must be an estate (see a pattern here?) since we’re always carrying our bicycles, manual gearbox because I like to have three pedals, petrol engine with maximum 10kg/hp, RWD or 4WD drivetrain, cruise control a plus and a 2000€ budget. That was a good challenge. I was happy to start the search.
I looked at Passat V6 4Motion, w124 300e, V70 II 2.5T AWD, but never found the right car, until one day I found it.
‘2000 BMW E39 523i Touring. 2.5L in-line 6 with a manual box, heated seats and in the budget. I’d have preferred a 528i but couldn’t find one in France for the right price with the right spec (lots of automatics). And the 2.5L was cheaper to insure with my still relatively young driving license.
It is still my daily driver today.
My other vehicle is our 1974 Mercedes-Benz L608D ex-ambulance camper van.
I use it both for leisure and work. It can carry all my tools and allows me to work far from home.
If I were to add another vehicle to the collection, I wouldn’t say no to a Caterham, or something similar. Next to the two pantzers, it would be nice to have something light, unpractical and that can be enjoyed around the speed limit. Even the BMW can get you in a lot of trouble on the road.
I will also always need a power wagon (E61 M5 or similar), but sometime in the future, I would love some kind of 911 with wide arches. Preferably air cooled, but I doubt their price will ever drop again so I could settle for 3.6 Mezger. It would make the missus happy though.
How about a smart roadster coupe, swapped with a hayabusa engine and a custom gearbox? Lightweight, high revving engine and racecar like sequential gear changes? 😉
Not that it would be extremely fast, but giggles is what it’s going for
I always liked the design of the Smart Roadster (especially the Coupe), and indeed changing the powertrain is a must as the original engine is weak and the gearbox is horribly slow. Hayabusa engine would be fun, as would a inline 6 from a K1600 with a nice exhaust on it. Can’t be the silkiness of an inline 6.