A couple from Rutland hit the news the other day after a dispute with neighbours escalated into a High Court action. Hang on, you may say, what have neighbour disputes got to do with PetrolBlog?
Well it turns out that one of the couples involved in said dispute bought a LaFerrari and a Porsche 918 Spyder on the same day. As one does. Better yet, these new purchases were merely the latest additions to their already substantial collection of supercars.
And that got me thinking. What if I had, say, £200,000 to spend on any three cars in one day? And what might other readers of this august (it says here) online publication be tempted to splash their cash on? There’s only one way to find out.
But before I reveal my own picks, I’d best run through the rules. All you have to do is choose any three road legal cars that you can buy today, the total cost of which can’t exceed £200,000. And that’s it.
Whoops. Nearly forgot to tell you that Gavin has generously agreed that PetrolBlog will pick up the virtual insurance costs. Even better, he’ll personally see to it that every car comes with a fresh packet of Hobnobs in the glovebox. You don’t get service like that from any other motoring website…
So I’ve got two hundred grand burning a hole in my pocket and three cars to buy. Where to start? Ah yes, I know the very place. And my fingers can do the walking…
For my first pick, I’m looking for something with enduring appeal. No, it’s not Kylie Minogue; it’s something that can sing. Sorry, Kylie. And nothing sings better than an Alfa V6. So it’s an Alfa, then. Somehow, I knew it would be. But which one? A GTV6? A 164? A 156 GTA? No, but I’d happily find space in my garage for any of them.
I’ll give you a big clue: what’s that coming over the hill? Is it Il Mostro? Is it Il Mostro? It most certainly is.
There’s nothing that looks quite like an SZ (to use its proper name), courtesy of the chunky, almost brutish lines that flowed from the pen of Robert Opron, the genius responsible for styling the Citroën GS, CX and SM as well as several great 80s Renaults.
The SZ’s muscular stance and brooding visage give it real purpose. If cars have gender then this one’s definitely a geezer; a geezer built like a brick, er, outhouse. It’s fair to say that the SZ’s looks aren’t universally admired. But so what. I’m buying this car for me to enjoy, not to impress the Joneses.
And there’s much to enjoy. The SZ grips and handles superbly and goes plenty well enough for most people: 0 to 60 in about seven seconds flat, 145 mph. The interior is well appointed and, joy of joys, there’s ample room for those of us who didn’t stop growing when we reached six feet. And, of course, it comes with a Milanese symphony orchestra as standard. You don’t need an MP3 player when you have a Busso under the bonnet.
I’ll take one in red with tan leather, thanks. Like I’ve a choice… It’s a left hooker, of course, with lowish mileage and a recent cambelt change, and it’ll deplete my fund by £30,000.
Job done. Now what in the wide world of sports do I buy next?
I shuffle into a tavern in search of an answer. It comes as I chug down a mug of frothy cappuccino: beauty and the beast. And I’ve just bought the beast.
I ponder the issue further over a second mug – relax, it’s decaff. I could buy a classic Ferrari, say a 308 or 328, or an Aston Martin. They’re magnificent cars and undeniably beautiful, but maybe just a bit too obvious. So I’ll pass. Or will I? Perhaps a compromise is in order. By golly, it’s my own little Eureka moment: I’ll buy a car that’s got a Ferrari engine but isn’t a Ferrari.
But what will it be: a Lancia Stratos, a Thema 8:32 or…a Fiat Dino? Let me see. The Stratos is too expensive, the Thema doesn’t have the sort of beauty that I seek, so it has to be the Fiat. As it’s summer (well, what passes for summer in these parts), I’ll plump for a Dino Spider. A later one with the larger, 2.4-litre Ferrari V6 and improved rear suspension should fit the bill very nicely.
In contrast to the angular Alfa, the Dino appears to have been designed by a chap who’d misplaced his ruler. The result is organic, flowing lines, the doyenne of automotive seductresses.
But there’s more to a Dino than just good looks. It’s a car to be savoured. A car for sunny days and scenic roads, roof down and spirits raised. It’s glorious. But it’s not cheap. Prices of Dino Spiders have far outstripped those of their fixed-head sisters. And they’re still rising. Can I find a good one that’s within my budget?
And there’s another challenge to overcome: with only 420 2.4-litre Spiders having been built, I’m not liable to find one in the local car supermarket. The net needs to be cast a little further…to Greece, where I find a picture-perfect red 2.4 Spider that’s lived in a museum for the last 20 years. It’s £115,000, but I’ll have to add in the cost of transporting it to Blighty. Call it £120,000. Sold.
Two nil to the Azzurri, then. I could murder a pint of Moretti but settle for another decaff cappuccino as I consider my third and final purchase. I’ve bought a coupé, a convertible and now I need something that I can transport the dogs around in. Oh, I’m sure that the big guy would be quite happy to don a pair of doggles and accompany me in the Dino, but I fear that the sight of a small polar bear riding shotgun might cause a few RTAs. So, responsible citizen that I am (honest, guv), I’ll buy a proper doggy mobile. Of sorts.
In the end, it’s a one mug problem. It has to be a Range Rover. Some inverted snobbery comes into play here, leading me to eschew the later, more luxurious variants. What I want is an early, no frills Rangie.
I’d like one that’s been well restored but isn’t so perfect that I’d be afraid to take it off road. Hell, I might even let my wife borrow it. Possibly…
Best get looking. The game’s afoot.
Sorting the chaff from the wheat takes a little while, but I’m rewarded by finding a nicely restored 1971 model with vinyl seats, rubber mats, push-button radio and carburettor-fed, low-compression V8. No carpets, no gizmos, no gadgets. Luxury, pah! This is Sparta. Except for the price…it comes in at £40,000.
So there we have it. A total spend of £190,000 has netted a hat-trick of great cars. Not cheap, but less than a top Premier League footballer’s weekly wage or the cost of a new Ferrari 458. The boy done well.
I think I’ve earned that pint of Moretti. Cheers!
Editor’s note: this idea for a £200,000 threesome feels rather like PetrolBlog’s Real World Dream Barn. To submit your own list, get in touch.