Yes, it’s here now. You didn’t ask for it and we delivered. Direct from the Kensi Hotel in downtown Stepney, the entertainment capital of South Australia, it’s the announcement of the five best cars to buy now. (See extensive disclaimers at the end of the column.)
The Five Best Cars To Buy Now (FBCTBN) is an international award, judged by a panel of two legends in their own lunchtimes, both in need of personality transplants whose only claim to any minor sort of fame is consistently last place in rallies and races across Australia.
Its object is to acclaim the five cars that meet the panel’s very old-fashioned criteria. We judge on five points: usability (can you drive it to the shops on Saturdays to pick up your Weekend Australian, Coopers Sparkling and B&H 30s without it making weird sounds, needing a tune-up or getting keyed?); driveability (will it make you less of a fool behind the wheel?); service (is the dealer service above average – low bar we know – and do they not rip you off too much?) and reliability (will it break down at the most embarrassing times or be recalled more than 10 times in two years?); and not electric.
Best sports car:
Any new, demo, pre-owned Porsche 911. Price from $240k-$500k. If there’s only room for one supercar in your garage buy a Porker. New ones are unbreakable, will go faster and safer than you can drive, people won’t suck up to you just because you own one and they will take a big load of firewood in the back seats (photo available). Can’t come at a couple of hundred? Buy a newly used Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ or place an order for the new Toyota GR 86 or Mazda MX-5. (We’ve raced both.) All around $45k.
Best no worries SUV or sedan with Australia’s best service:
Any Lexus. From $60k-$220k.
VW Touareg: As the good folks at Wheels Magazine say: “Edges out more expensive German rivals for refinement and value.”
The 170 (model) is mega value but R-Line is “cheap Bentley Bentayga”. So good I just bought one. $85k-$115k.
Best in lower-price SUVs:
VW Tiguan (from $45k-$60k) and Kia Sportage ($33k-$55k).
They’re boring but true: Toyota Camry ($33k) and the Honda Accord ($58k).
Not yet a real classic but with prices $60k and above, if I was allowed to, I would say the Jaguar XKR will make you money but more importantly will be one of the best drives you’ve had. Jag with the help of Ford (so quality went up) started making XKRs in 1998 and changed models in 2002. Later models are fine but will range up to $100k. If you want to rally or track day then reasonable Porsche 924s and 944s start around $45k. Worth paying extra for a 944 if you can. Or just buy an original Boxster with low kilometres and proper servicing for $30k.
Talking of fast cars:
F1 was back on the weekend with the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna 2022, which runs over 63 laps of the 4.909km Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. (There’s a clue to the local favourite.) Let’s go straight to all the news you need to know: winner of the St Kilda race, Chuck Leclerc, had his $320,000 Richard Mille watch knicked while he and his trainer – wait for it … Andrea Ferrari – were roaming the streets of Viareggio in Italy, and finally the truth has come out – on top of Pete Gasly’s penis talk last week, some drivers have admitted doing number one’s in their race suits during races.
In the old “I don’t do it but I have a friend that does” line, Hamo said while he had never wet his knickers, legend Michael Schumacher did it every race. Our own Dan the Man or Person was equivocal in his statement: “I’ve never done it. If you have to go, you just painfully hold on until the end, but every bump, every little kerb you hit hurts. If you need to go, it just stings.”
OK please come up and say hullo this week at Targa. There’s all sorts of deals from sponsors like this paper for $1 a week (for the first four weeks), 20 per cent off the already inflated prices at Michael McMichael Motors, online service from Dean How at Peninsula BM on new and used BMW parts and you can donate as much as you like to RAW, who do a super job in Tassie working to reduce suicide in rural communities.
Barrett-Jackson sold 676 vehicles for over $85m, sold 412 pieces of automobilia for more than $1.4m, with a 100 per cent sell-through rate, and over 80 world-record auction sales. Four Ford GTs sold from $560k to $2m. Surprise sale was a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible fresh from a three-year resto. I thought $435k was a very full price. RM sold a very pretty and very collectable 1955 300 SL Alloy Gullwing at Arizona for $9m which was well below market.
Finally, the legal portion of our FBCTBN: now is a terrible time to buy a new or used car and it will stay like this until next year; with most German cars, sell them before they run out of warranty; try not to take dealer finance and keep away from the extras; and don’t go to any dealer with balloons or barbecues.