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The Garage That Dreams Are Made Of - James Tate

James Tate
Sep 1, 2007
0709_sccp_1_z+james_tate+under_hood Photo 1/1   |   The Garage That Dreams Are Made Of - James Tate

Readers are always asking what I would drive, given an infinite amount of money. So I sat down and wasted an entire column answering pointless e-mails. I came up with 16 must-haves, but the list seems to change weekly, if not daily.

And that's because the more I learn about cars, the less I feel I know. There was a time when I was blessed with youthful ignorance and genuinely believed that if I could just get 500 wheel-hp from my 2000-pound CRX, there would be no need for that Enzo after all. See, I'm an extreme perfectionist, which means I'm actually convinced each car I buy is good to "go the distance" when I buy it. It's a bullshit expression I've created that basically means it will satisfy my every need forever.

2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

It's what drew me to the last car I owned, a 1991 Acura NSX. I got it for $26,000 and had a car that was engaging to drive, looked like a rare exotic and, with the right mods, could be a proper valet queen. And it was as reliable as an Accord, to boot. But the older I get, the more I realize there can never be one car that satisfies my ever-changing needs.

So, without further ado, here are the contents of my personal cheesy poster with lit-up taillights, in no particular order:

1. 1973 911 Carrera RS. This one should be a no-brainer for anyone professing to be a car enthusiast. It's the pinnacle of an iconic shape and redefines driver involvement.

2. E30 BMW M3 Evo III. I've lusted after the damn thing long enough, I don't care if, by modern standards, the performance sucks.

3. E28 M5 Euro. I guess I'm kind of a BMW guy. The reason I like this thing is because it was really the first stealth mission sedan anyone ever created. It had 286bhp and six throttle bodies. And it looked like any other 100bhp 5 Series.

4. Acura NSX Type-R. I still have to do the NSX thing right, and the only way I know is to start with the impossibly fast Type-R. On paper, the horsepower doesn't look like much. But with such perfect gearing, the car is a slingshot-with a soundtrack like no other.

5. Lotus Exige. You're probably thinking I forgot the 'S' on this one, for 'supercharged'. I didn't. I never really had the same complaint everyone else seemed to have about the naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine. I rave about this car every few issues, so I needn't do so here.

6. Ferrari F40. Can't say I've driven this one yet. Anyone care to swing by the office in an LM edition, so I can confirm this aspect of my fantasy?

7. Ferrari 250GT California. Ferris Bueller had me sold on this puppy from the day he backed it out of Cameron's garage. It looks pretty and it sounds cool.

8. 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo. The last of the Turbos that took any skill to drive and was equipped with a flat-six the way God intended, without water passages.

9. 997 Porsche GT3. Had a little time with one of these on the track and in the canyons. Porsche has one press car in the country and I wasn't up for smashing it into a guardrail while trying to figure out if the tail was finally tame. I still have some exploring left to do.

10. Subaru Impreza WRX STi Version III. No electronic gimmickry, biggest turbo on a Subaru 2.0-liter, lightweight. That's how you build a rally car.

11. TVR Sagaris. This thing makes the Viper look docile. And how bad-ass is the idea of a 400bhp, four-liter straight-six? I'd buy it just for the sound.

12. Aston Martin Vantage V8. Looks cool, sounds better and would make a great daily driver-almost.

13. Dauer 962 Le Mans. Just so I can suck the doors off all the supposed 'supercars' running around Southern California. These things weighed 2381 pounds and came 'detuned' with 730hp. I'd 'retune' it, even though it already knocks off the zero-to-60mph sprint in 2.6 seconds-in first gear.

14. Radical SR8. My chassis and suspension engineering friend tells me, from a design standpoint, these simply aren't as good as they should be. And I don't care. I'll take my two Hayabusa engines welded together for 380bhp at 10,000rpm, please.

15. A new BMW 535i. I haven't been able to explain why I want this one myself yet. Stay tuned.

16. An FD RX-7 with an LS7 transplant. Go ahead and whine. The RX-7 is one of the prettiest cars ever built and the rotary just sucks.

So there you have it, my list of the week.

By James Tate
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