Dream Car Garage

Posted April 22, 2020

Everyone always has a list of dream cars. It’s usually a long list and it seems to be always growing, and maybe even changing all together. But what if you had to pick just three cars with a purpose in mind? Let’s say, you have a three-car garage and you can fill it with any cars in the world, but you’re stuck with those three (and any quirks/failures they may have) for the rest of your life? Would you be reasonable with your picks, or would you throw caution to the wind and have the strangest cars possible?

We’ve taken it one step farther and compiled a list from some of the RCN guys to bring you our three-car, car dream garages based off the following rules:

Car 1: Must be your daily driver

Car 2: Must be an ultra rare car

Car 3: Wild card, make it interesting

John K.

No. 1. The daily — 2002 Audi B5 S4

For a daily driver, I chose a 2002 Audi B5 S4, which is not my most original pick, because I own one. But I have such a connection to my car, as it was my first, that it would be hard to not put it on the list.

That aside, it actually makes a decent candidate for a daily because it is large enough to haul four people comfortably, adaptable to literally any conditions (trust me on that one) and has a huge following for tunability with big power gains so I can tinker. Yes they may be finicky and have a tendency to leave you stranded, but I have had good luck and wouldn’t think twice about taking mine across the country.

1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2

No. 2. The ultra-rare one — 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1

My ultra-rare car would be a 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 (I’m starting to sense a pattern here, I can’t help myself on this one). My love for Group B rally racing history, mixed with almost 600 hp (reported) from the legendary 2.1-liter turbocharged inline-five engine, mated to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes this car an all out beast by any definition of the word. With only a handful of these purpose-built rally cars ever made, it definitely qualifies for the ultra-rare status.

Baja Bug

No. 3. The wild card — Baja Bug

This one was tough for me, but it has to be a Baja Bug. I knew what I wanted for the first two, but when you’re down to one garage space and haven’t diversified much, the pressure is on. I was debating between this and a 1966 Plymouth 426 HEMI four-speed, but this edged it out in the end for a couple reasons.

For starters, I love doing really dumb things off road. As much as I love Satellites, it’s not the car for the job and beating up a Sport Quattro (aside from some light rallying) would hurt me inside. Secondly none of the cars mentioned above would be good for hauling a trailer with dirtbikes, snowmobiles or a boat. I’m definitely not suggesting it would be a great tow rig, but a Baja Bug would suffice. This is the dream garage, so I would want a full long travel build with some overbuilt V8 to get me to, and from, in a timely fashion through any terrain. But even a more traditional Class 11-style Beetle would be a whole lot of fun!

Bob K.

If I were dreaming, my daily driver would be a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter, as you can land wherever you have pre-approved permission. How cool would it be to land at the grocery store or your favorite restaurant? Instead of dreaming, I’ll put my list together of cars I actually know, and include some I own.

Red E Type

No. 1. The daily — 1967 Jaguar E-Type coupe

My daily driver would be a 1967 Jaguar E-Type coupe. Some might think this is an odd choice for a daily driver, but from personal experience with a 1969 model, I can tell you it is an all around great car. First, it handles really well, especially when you consider it was originally sold in 1961. Power from the 1967 4.2-liter with triple SU side-draft carburetors is adequate, and again, must have seemed quite potent back in the day. Great breaking, plenty of room for groceries or bags for a few day away and it’s just plain fun to drive. Add the social factor the car creates wherever you go, and it seems like the perfect choice to me.

One last thing, there is no other car that looks like a Jaguar E-Type, even Enzo Ferrari said it was the most beautiful car ever made. Showing up at the grocery store in an E-Type may not get the attention of landing a helicopter, but you’re sure to be noticed.

No. 2. The ultra-rare one — 1958 Scarab roadster

My ultimate car would be one of the three original front engine Scarab race cars from 1958, built for Lance Reventlow by guys like Phil Remington who went on to be an instrumental part of the Shelby race team. Now I said my list would be from cars I actually know, and while I don’t have an original, I do have an aluminum-bodied replica. The car is stunning to look at, painted with the original Von Dutch paint scheme with flowing lines and perfect proportions. Mine is powered by a fuel injected 383 Chevy, and it’s quick, powerful and sounds like the beast it is. It drives well, but does get a little light as you pass the century mark. At around 115 the windscreen on the replica bends down enough that it doesn’t push air over your head, so your face begins to get pummeled. It is a beautiful car that was a very successful race car in the late ’50s and ’60s. An original would be a welcome addition to any car collection or car museum.

No. 3. The wild card — Cisitalia 204A

My wild card car is a Cisitalia 204A. This is a gorgeous little race car from the late ’40s that was very competitive in 1,200cc or less classes. The 204A is powered by a fiat 1,100 that was tuned by Carlo Abarth. In fact, a 204A was the last Cisitalia and the first Abarth. It is believed that five were built; one was built specifically for the greatest racer from the period before World War Two — Tazio Nuvolari. Nuvolari specified several unique features for his 204a, including hinging the pedals from the top, rather than the floor, as the other 204s were. This allowed him to place a “taco” on the floor to hold his heal in place. Other changes to the front fenders, the seat and the windscreen were incorporated for Tazio.

Ultimately, Nuvolari ran his last race ever, the Palermo Hill Climb behind the wheel of his Cisitalia/Abarth 204A — a race he won handily. I am fortunate enough to be the current caretaker of this historic automobile.

Three cars just isn’t enough though. I must admit, I would need a truck, but I skirted this by because I was asked for three cars. My four-wheel drive truck is essential in northern Wisconsin, especially with snow on the ground from October through May. My truck of choice is unique as well. It would be a 2005 GMC Quadrasteer. 2005 because it was the last year four-wheel steering was offered. GMC because the Denali package offered the same engine as the Hummer, which was slightly larger than the Chevy. If you’ve ever driven one, you know why it would be my truck of choice. Full-time all-wheel drive, comfortable, power and a turning radius that is simply amazing.

Dean L.

I love things that are underwhelming in a sarcastic manner, and with that in mind, I thought three-car garage was a hilarious title for this segment. But alas, this was John’s idea, so we’ll have it John’s way — but not entirely, as you’ll probably find my three selections underwhelming, or even boring, but I’ve done my best to be truthful with them, instead of forcing myself to make them interesting. So here you have it, my three-car, dream-car garage.

Ford Obs7 3

No. 1. The daily — 1997 Ford F-350 diesel

Alright, you’re probably going to hate this one, but I’ll attempt to sell through exhaustive specification. See Bob and John are dreamers, or maybe haven’t found themselves on the side of the road at night as many times as I have. If I’ve gotta have a single daily driver, it’s gotta be a vehicle that can do it all, and that’s a full-size pickup truck. I’m going with the 1997 Ford F-350 7.3-liter Powerstroke diesel 4x4.

Here in northern Wisconsin, we have snow half the year, so I trusting my transportation for the foreseeable future on a 4x4, and there are few more reliable rigs that the 7.3-liter diesel. Sure, the pickup isn’t a sports car, nor the cheapest way to get around, but if I’m stuck with it for life (with its flaws), I can fix the pickup, and it can do everything I need it to do. Make it a crew-cab with four full doors so I can haul my friends along, but I’d probably sacrifice a couple bed-feet for drivability and go with a short box. Toss in the bulletproof ZF5 manual transmission, 3.73 gears, ALCOA wheels and captain’s chairs, and now you’ve got it made. And not that you asked, but make it black with a silver center down the sides with an old-school red interior.

Since I couldn’t find a photo of this dream rig online, you’ll have to settle for a photo of my personal truck.

02 1955 Mercedes 300Sl Alloy

No. 2. The ultra-rare one — 1955 Mercedes 300SL Alloy Gullwing

For me, this pick had to be something exotic from the 1950s with a high-strung six-cylinder engine. Sure the 300SL is about as interesting of a pick as a Ferrari 250 GTO or Testa Rossa, but these cars are halo cars for a reason. They’re unobtainable, revolutionary and soulful to drive — not that I’d know. As if owning a 300SL wouldn’t be enough, I’d spring for the “Alloy” version, because it’s lighter, faster and more rare. And after all, this is the dream garage right?

The alloy in question is obviously aluminum, and just 29 buyers checked the box for the alloy option — less than 2 percent of total Gullwing production. Alloy cars also usually came with other significant performance upgrades, including a competition camshaft, shorter and stiffer springs, wider wheels and vented brake drums. Generally Alloy cars about 200 pounds lighter than the standard SL.

I won’t be too picky about my Gullwing, and I’m fine with black, red, white or silver finish. But the red interior is mandatory.

No. 3 The wild card — 1965 Plymouth Belvedere A990

Plymouth only turned out 102 A990-code Belvedere sedans for 1965, which makes it damn rare, but I think this niche Mopar is far enough out there to be a wild card. And that’s because it’s not really a well-known car like the Superbirds, Road Runners and ’Cudas that made Plymouth in the muscle car era.

Built for “supervised acceleration trials,” the A990 Belvedere, along with Dodge’s Coronet, was the going thing in Super Stock drag racing classes. The package started with the lightweight and somewhat stiff two-door post sedan body, which was lightened by stripping all seam sealers and coatings, and adding lightweight thin-gauge steel body parts. Interior was as basic as it got, and featured only a pair of lightweight bucket seats.

The driveline of the A990 kept the vicious 12.5:1 compression-ratio 426 HEMI introduced in 1964, finished with a solid-lifter camshaft, aluminum heads and a magnesium intake manifold. Most A990 cars featured the foolproof, pushbutton-actuated 727 TorqueFlight automatic, but 13 came fitted with a four-speed. In fact, the ’65 Belvedere four-speed car campaigned by Ed Miller and Kip Guenther was Super Stock World Champion in 1967, the only four-speed car to win a World Championship.

But enough about that. I like the Belvedere for its austere, boxy look. The car is your average, two-door sedan until you throw the HEMI driveline into it, some mag wheels up front and steelies out back. Chrysler’s B-body platform was king in early ’60s Super Stock racing, a pivotal era in the brand’s accent to its performance image, but for me, it’s a total badass. I won’t get many street miles on the car with that high-strung HEMI under the hood, but this one was supposed to be the wild card right?

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