This has to be the question I get most often. With 39 cars in the last 25 years, I guess I am entitled to an opinion. My answer used to always be – “the one I am driving right now”, but that seems a bit of a cop out. I have a theory that everyone needs an SUV, a Sedan, a Convertible, a Sports Car and two motorcycles (one Superbike and one touring). Let’s take the categories one at a time:
SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE:
This is the easiest category. For my money there are only 2. After owning 2 Range Rovers I now drive a 2008 Mercedes GL550. The only way to make it better is to allow AMG to drop in the 6.3 or 6.5 liter engine and it would be a monster, but that is my only nit pick. The BMW X5 showed up late to the party with the 7 seat and M edition, so it may have won my vote, but too little too late. Mercedes has thought of everything. Great hauling plywood, kids to school and my wife and I to a cocktail party. It is not as good in the snow as the Range Rover, but most of us will never be at Blackwater Falls, WV the day after Ground Hogs Day in 14 inches of snow. That was when I was glad to be in a group of 28 Range Rovers.
FULL SIZED SEDAN:
This is the category that I use the most. A good sedan is a like a classic blue blazer. Dress up jeans on a casual day or rock it with a tie when you need to get some business done. After years of BMW 7-Series including 750iL V12 and 740iL V8 the recent styling changes leave me wondering “what was BMW thinking?”. The Mercedes S65 or S550 is a popular option, but at over $129,000 that takes a level of passion that I just can’t seem to muster for such a boring car. The Maserati Quatraporte is a nice option but styling is out there. I opted for a more classic option of a 2004 Bentley Arnage T-24 Mulliner. The Arnage is longer than my Mercedes full sized SUV and weighs MORE. But the 6.75 liter twin turbo V8 offers 550 hp and 738 fp torque. The hand made collection of leather, wood, steel and glass is amazing. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts… But the parts are really nice too… And really expensive to replace.
SPORTS CAR AND/OR CONVERTIBLE:
I have lumped these two together because together they make up more than 50% of the cars I have had. About half the sports cars I have had have been rag tops. Some have been good track cars and some are just great for a long drive on a sunny day. My first sports car was a 1972 Datsun 240z that was Bob Sharp Racing prepared. My first convertible was a 1995 BMW 325iC that I bought in the middle of a snow storm… Great price too. I have had almost every M car BMW has made as well as 2 Acura NSXs and 3 Porsche 911s, but the 1999 Mazda Miata was the most fun.
But what is the best sports car? None of the ones I have had yet. I have rented and driven a 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo and a 2000 Ferrari 360 Modena. Of the two, the Ferrari was the most intoxicating to drive. The Lambo would be great even in the snow it has so much traction, but was boring to drive. The Ferrari 360 Modena spider is a great solution for dual purpose here, but the convertible top repair stops working after a while and the repair is $25,000 so that is not for the faint of heart. A coupe is still a great option. The new F430 is great too but a bit more pricey.
A true indulgence for sure. Nobody needs one for sure. I grew up riding a Kawasaki Ninja but had a BMW K1200RS along the way too. Now I have a 1997 Ducati 916 S1 Superbike and it is a much better racing style bike than my 2003 Ducati 999 was. I also found a rare 1993 Ducati 907ie in mint condition. It was an icon of sport touring bikes in the 1990s. I can ride the 907 for 100 miles and get off and feel ready to do it again. The 916 is great for getting that 100 miles out of the way in 38 minutes, which is good since that is about as long as you will be able to stand it.
WHAT’S YOUR NEXT CAR?
Who knows. Hard to say. Any ideas?