My Alfa Romeo GTV6 has gone to a new home. The sale was completed yesterday. It’s a little strange now that the car’s gone. I didn’t get to drive it enough to be really heartbroken, which is something I’d like to change with my next acquisition.The GTV6 was a fantastic car. It looked magnificent, sounded like a herd of furious stallions on a rampage, cornered like a slightly drunk go-kart and possessed all the genuine, purist retro-chic that a car guy could ever wish for.
My problem – the Subaru Brumby.
The GTV6 only ever got out on weekends as the Brumby and my wife’s 9000 combined for daily driving duties. I need some serious seat time in a car to truly bond with it and cry when it leaves. I’m not sure the GTV6, for all its virtues, could ever have got me to a truly tearful parting.
While the interior was sensational, it was uncomfortable for a guy with my body shape (long legs, average torso) to drive for long periods of time. I couldn’t wear a helmet in the car for club events without opening the sunroof, which was both frustrating and slightly dangerous. And maybe I’m going soft in my middle age, but I really like power steering.
I’m very, very happy that I got the chance to experience the GTV6 and I’ll only ever have good things to say about it, but I just didn’t have the same depth of connection that I’ve had with other cars.
So now it’s replacement time and as always, there are plenty of options.
There’s one caveat right at the moment, however. Mrs Swade and I are currently contemplating selling our current home and building a new one. That means any plans for extended automotive spending are well and truly on hold. I have to try and do this using just the sale proceeds of the Alfa (and maybe I’ll sell the Brumby, too). No extra borrowing allowed.
The criteria include:
- Fun to drive.
- Appealing brand/model heritage.
- Comfortable to drive, but still enjoyable.
- Suitable for our three-week drive up the east coast of Oz, planned for later this year.
- Suitable for car club track events.
I still have a thing for front-engined Porsches but that’s not going to fit the financial plan so a 944/968 is going to go on the backburner for a few years until the house business is sorted out.
Not an easy list to fulfil, then, but I think I’ve come up with a multi-car solution that will not only tick all these boxes, but will fit within the budget, too.
One possible solution is to include replacing Mrs Swade’s car as well. We can target the comfort, heritage and holiday needs with her car and target the more hard-core sporting needs with my car. Both replacements will be cost-effective as long as they’re in good condition. I could even come away with a small savings pot for either the new home or the future bucket-list car.
Prospective solution 1, part 1:
Mrs Swade currently has a Saab 9000CS. I love the 9000 as a model but our CS has a heap of electrical issues that aren’t cost-effective to fix as well as poor heating/cooling.
Replacing our CS with a 9000 Aero means we upgrade absolutely everything about the car at minimal cost. We get a purpose built long-distance star with much more comfortable seats, much higher spec equipment, bucketloads of model equity and we still get to have the load-lugging capability that the 9000 is famous for.
Mrs Swade only drives automatic but there’s an auto Aero for sale at the moment (pictured). It’s black, too. With low mileage for age. I’m sure the price is negotiable on a car like this.
I’m hesitant about buying Saabs because the parts situation here in Australia is still what I’d describe as ‘strained’, but I’m less hesitant about buying an older Saab than what I would be about buying a newer one. I don’t know if there’s any logic to that, but it is what it is. Aside from our current electrical issues, we’ve had great service from our two 9000’s and I wouldn’t hesitate to own another. Bjorn Envall said that the 9000 Aero was quite possibly the best car Saab ever built and while I’ve never owned an Aero, I can see where he’s coming from.
Prospective solution 1, part 2:
A 9000 Aero would cover off a lot of our travel, comfort and commuting needs, which means I’d be free to focus on some of the more fun and club-related aspects of my motoring interests.With a limited budget, that’s pointing me towards getting back into another Alfa Romeo 33 16V. I can fit in with a helmet and it’s not going to cost the earth so I can feel free to strip the insides and make it the track/road car I’ve always wanted to play around with.
I’ve got leads on two of these coming on to the market soon. One has some special equipment already included and looks great in black. The other is classic Alfa red and has a newly rebuilt engine. Neither will be overly expensive and both allow me plenty of room to play. Boxer-engined Alfas are a neglected niche but they’re a model I’ve got a real bug for.
Altenative prospective solution 1
Keep Mrs Swade’s current car and buy a RenaultSport Megane as my daily driver. Neither car really fulfills our holiday needs well but the RS Megane would make a great daily driver and a killer track day warrior.
Downside: after much soul-searching, I really prefer Italian to French, unless I’ve got the room/budget to get both, which I haven’t.
Alternative prospective solution 2
Buy an Alfa Romeo GTV V6 from around 1998-2002. Amazingly beautiful car with a cracking engine and commendable handling. I’ve been wanting one of these for years now but the opportunity has never quite presented. This could be it. It’s certainly affordable as these can sell for less than the classic GTV I’ve just parted with. There’s a very nice black one with a tan interior for sale right now for just $7.5K. The one pictured below is a later model (known as phase 2) with a nicer dashboard, also black and tan, and is selling for $14.5K.
Downside: Getting one like the car pictured above would mean not getting a 9000 Aero to replace Mrs Swade’s car. I’m not sure the seats in this Alfa will suit the long holiday drive and I’m not sure the roof will allow me to wear a helmet.
Alternative prospective solution 3
A BMW 330Ci is a nice coupe with all the modern comforts and would be perfect for our east-coast driving trip. The E46 model is affordable if I sell the Brumby, too.
It fulfils few other criteria, but is a reasonably good short term option (as long as I didn’t lose much money on a relatively quick flip early next year).
If we do end up building a new home, the Brumby would be handy to have around. I think I could do the Aero/Alfa combination from current savings if I was pushed. It’s looking like a good option if the house plans come to fruition.
Car shopping is never easy, is it? And to be honest, it’s getting to the point where the travel involved is a little laborious, even for me. I’d like to find a slightly longer-term solution so that I can focus on saving up for what I’d call a real bucket-list alternative in a few years from now.
Thankfully, it’s still mostly fun, however and I’m sure it will be this time, too.