We’re a month-and-a-half into a new year and I haven’t done my automotive bucket list yet. C’est Terrible!
The list is just a self-indulgent indication of the cars that interest me most from year to year. Car’s that I’d like to own before I die (according to this year’s thought processes, at least). If I had spare cash and spare garage space, you can bet that I’d be using both to add one of these to my tiny fleet. Of course, should cash and space become available, this list becomes all the more important 🙂
Last year’s Automotive Bucket List read as follows:
- Jaguar XJ6 with a V8 implant
- Alfa Romeo 33 S 16V Permanent 4
- Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon
- Porsche Boxster S
- Saab Sonett III
- Alfa Romeo 105 Series GTV
- Mercedes 500SL
- RenaultSport Megane
As always, the list changes with time. Tastes change, and occasionally you get to scratch an itch by actually buying a car. So, I’m dropping several cars from this list for the reasons outlined below.
- Alfa Romeo 33 S 16V Permanent 4 – One actually came up for sale 2 weeks ago. It’s sold already. These cars rarely become available and it’s a matter of being cashed up and ready to pounce. I’m not sure I have the patience, but aside from that, I also have other boxer-engine Alfa plans. Read on 🙂
- Porsche Boxster S – The purchase of my Porsche 968 CS in 2013 has made this goal redundant. I’ve got my Porsche. I’m not sure that I’ll have it forever, but I’ve got it now and don’t feel a pressing need to own any other Porsche in the future.
- Mercedes 500SL – it’d be nice, but it’s very unlikely. To be honest, if I was going to go for a convertible, I’d probably look for another MX-5 (it’s the MX-5’s 25th Anniversary this year, which makes no difference, but just means they’re crossing my radar a bit more).
- Alfa Romeo 105 Series GTV – As per the Permanent 4, I’ve got other Alfa plans on my mind. Consider the 105 as being always on my radar, but on the fringes.
Those are the ‘outs’. So let’s have a look at the list in full for 2014, with the ‘ins’ noted where appropriate. As always, I provide an example of one for sale, where available.[hr]
Jaguar XJ6 with a V8 implant
I’ve always loved the classic elegance of the XJ6 and the practical (and cheap!) power from a Chev V8 would be fun, if not quite as refined.
Scouring the classifieds this year has revealed slim pickings in terms of quality (as well as a nice variation in an XJS with a V8 conversion – well, nice if you like yellow!). I’ve definitely seen better finished cars in the past.
This white XJ6 looks to be the pick of the bunch right now, with a Chev 350 and LP Gas conversion. It’s for sale in South Australia for $3,000.
NEW! – Alfa Romeo Sprint with 16V conversion
To me, this is the holy grail of all boxer-engined Alfa Romeos. And I LOVE boxer-engined Alfas. This project would combine my favourite boxer body – the Sprint – with my favourite boxer engine – the 16V from the last Alfa 33.
Sprints come with an 8V engine that makes somewhere between 90 and 105hp depending on configuration. The 16V engine puts out an extra 30hp and is much more torquey, making it a genuine pocket-rocket.
The Sprint and the 33 share the same basic platform so the transplant is quite achievable. People have done it before, so this is not pioneering work that involves lots of trial and error. The complexities include changing the front crossmember and adding all the fuel management you need. You might want to upgrade brakes as well.
The trick would be getting the right donor vehicles. 16V engines are pretty solid so I’ve got no problems with the idea of picking up a 33 with a beaten body on the cheap. As long as the chassis is straight and the motor/gearbox run OK, it’s no problem. And they’re available for good money, too, like this $1,000 car in Melbourne.
Getting the right Sprint is a tougher task. Good bodies can be hard to come by, but they’re around. This one down the road from me (pictured, above) needs just a little remedial work, so might end up a good candidate. Being a local car is a massive bonus.
Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon
I hate to admit it, but the 9000 Aero I bought last year was/is a dud. The transmission blew last year (2 days before a scheduled road trip holiday) and whilst I’ve installed a new (old) one and the car is driving fine now, there are a few remaining electrical niggles that persist. The whole situation’s left a bad taste in my mouth, which is bitterly disappointing as I love the 9000 in general. This will be our last one, though.
In its place, hopefully sooner rather than later, I hope to get a Saab 9-5 Aero. We need a spacious wagon to carry all of PJ’s art and market gear so the 9-5 would be perfect (as the 9000 has been, in terms of load space). Add in all the creature comforts and the swift-but-smooth drive of the 9-5 Aero and it’s a highly desired model.
The car pictured has just 173,000kms and is for sale for a tad under $7,000 at the moment. I’ve spent more than that on the 9000! If it’s an honest car, then that’s one heck of a lot of car for the money.
NEW! – Lancia Fulvia 1.3s
This should come as no surprise to regular visitors to this site. I’ve been watching Fulvias for the last 12 months and would desperately love to get one, one day. In fact, the Fulvia is the other reason why a 105 series Alfa has taken a back seat on this list.
The Fulvia I’d love to get is the Series 1 1.3s model. It combines a little more engine poke with original spec aluminium doors, bonnet and boot-lid. This makes it a lightweight throw-about with oodles of character and Lancia’s famed engineering.
I probably should have grabbed the red Series 1 that came up for sale last year, but I was rightly concerned about it’s body and the owner was difficult to deal with. Series 1 cars don’t come up that often and those that do – if they’re in good condition – command a healthy price.
There are two Fulvias for sale that I can see at the moment. The one pictured is a series 2 car and I reckon the owner’s asking a little too much, at $23,000.
A distinctive shape, a 2-litre turbo, outstanding handling and a hatchback. What’s not to love?
The model photographed is a 225hp Cup model. It’s the less attractive, but more practical, 4-door model in Prussian Blue and it’s selling at a very attractive $11,500.
NEW! – Alpine A110
I didn’t know anything about the Alpine A110 until Alpine made a 50th anniversry tribute model a few years ago. Since then, it’s been my cult car de jour. I can’t get this beautiful little machine out of my head and what’s most surprising is that for a car with it’s beauty, performance and pedigree, it’s actually almost affordable. OK, maybe not affordable, but it’s not stratospherically priced like a lot of classics.
A110’s were built primarily in Dieppe, France, but you’ll pay big money for one of those (I spotted one for £85,000 today). If you can stomach one of the less desirable ones made in Spain then you can pick one up for nearly half the price. The car pictured is for sale in Switzerland for £45,000.
Not exactly affordable, but not six-figures, either.
Saab Sonett III
Do I even need to explain this one?
I thought not.