Last week I asked for your help in paring down my collection from 11 to 3 cars.
While I am not planning on selling anything in the near future, 11 cars means 11 batteries to keep charged, 11 cars to run to the ethanol-free gas station, and 11 cars to keep tires with safe date-codes on. Then there are the registrations and insurance policies to keep track of.
I appreciated your responses, and wanted to share them:
If only able to keep three:
1. The 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. The most-reliable, comfortable, long-distance cruiser of the bunch. Just hop in and go, no matter when or where with confidence.
2. The 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce. You’ve owned it for 40 years. It’s part of the family and has priceless memories. Can be driven in almost any “vintage” rally. Oh yeah, and that red interior is spectacular.
3. The 2006 Lotus Elise. A modern sports car. There will never be another like it. Impractical as hell, but who cares?
James A. Walker
Keith, the three I would keep: the Alfa Jr. Zagato, the Land Rover Disco 2, and the M-B SL 55. One sports car, one off-road car and one cruiser. However, any of the cars are worth keeping.
My preferences will not be yours. However, if I were to try to understand your needs and wants (presumptuous as that might be), I expect you would want to keep one of the Alfas. Which one depends on whether you put longevity of ownership over ease of driving for you and your abilities. Second in the mix, another sports car for a different driving experience — either the Jag or the Porsche Sportomatic. I am at the point where I can barely get in and out of my Miata, so I wouldn’t recommend the Lotus as a keeper. The way I look at it, for the third car it comes down to one of the two Benzes or the Land Rover, whichever best suits your needs as a weekend driver – or maybe get rid of all three if another, more interesting option comes along.
Well, you could just keep the three yellow ones and call your collection something like the “Amber Assemblage,” or the “Legion of Lemon” or the “Banana Brigade” or some other alliterative silliness. Personally, yellow has to be my least favorite car color but the three you have all wear it well. All kidding aside, it must be hard to see any of them go. I have never owned more than three vehicles at a time, so when I see those fortunate enough to have collections, I feel a tinge of jealousy. Good luck on thinning the herd. I’m sure you will miss some of the cars you part with, but we’ve all been there.
The Giulia Spider Veloce, Land Rover Disco 2 and SL55 would be my personal choices. If I didn’t live in North Idaho, I would probably swap the Disco for the 911. Good luck to you, sir.
You should keep one Alfa that you can drive — the Junior Z. And the 911, and both Mercedes. You can park one of those Mercedes outside and keep three inside. Use the SL55 as a daily driver and sell the Hyundai.
There are three of you that form the family, I believe. You keep your favorite and one more for each of your children!
Give the Lotus Elise to your daughter, as you frequently mention it is her favorite. If Bradley seems focused on one, set it aside for him. Now you can select among the final nine. Keeping the 1965 Alfa Spider Veloce you have had for 40 years does seem an obvious choice.
According to your previously written (and somewhat life-changing) article, you need to keep four….
1. Vintage convertible: 1965 Alfa Spider
2. Vintage car with a roof (I modified this one slightly): Alfa Zagato
3. Light-duty off-roader: Land Rover Disco
4. Depreciated modern sports car: AMG SL55
Interesting choice of eclectic cars. I was up to six a couple of times and it seemed like one or two were always broken. Then add a bunch of Italian and English cars and I can feel the pain. You need an in-house skilled mechanic. Best to stick to German and American. I have lots of fun with one Packard and my 550 CLK with 7-speed and both are bulletproof and easy to source parts. P.S. SCM is addictive.
This old man would have no off-road vehicle, never, ever a Land Rover or a 911. Keepers: Junior Z, big Mercedes coupe (SL55), dunno what else. Be well!
The point should be keeping only what you can drive (given your current physical challenges). I propose the Junior Z, the AMG, and either the 911 or the 250C. Keep the Elantra for daily driving and when you need more than two seats. Give the Lotus to Alex and let Bradley pick one.
1. 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto
2. 2000 Land Rover Disco 2
3. 2006 Lotus Elise
Broadest range of driving experiences/function!
Setting aside any financial considerations, keep the three to which you have the greatest emotional attachment and/or derive the greatest joy. I have a small single-make collection of six cars, and if you’re anything like me, while I love each one, I could tell you the exact order in which I would (reluctantly) part with them, if needed.
Really? Just three, including your driver? I think I understand your reasoning. Isn’t the 1965 Giulia going to Alex? It is easy really. Make the SL55 your daily driver. If you need more than two seats and you have others driving with you, take their car. If you need a large car a few times per year, rent it. The other two cars are classics that need to encompass the types of events you participate in. A typical model year and brand of car should be considered. Maybe keep one open and one closed car? Do what works for you! I wish you luck on your decision.
TURN BACK! This way madness lies. Pretty soon, you’ll be down to two and then one and then, what? Sell one, if you feel compelled. Then catch your breath and pause to reflect. If you must, sell another one the next year. Why hurry?
If you decide the Jr. Z is to be among the thinned, contrary to what many others have stated, I would like to request “right of first refusal!”
I would keep the ’65 Alfa, the Porsche with Sportomatic, and the SL55. Three different driving experiences!
I’m an “If it’s older, it’s better” kinda guy, and also partial to sports cars over sedans. So, it’s cachet over everything else. Thus:
1. 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce or 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto, a toss-up
2. 1971 Jaguar E-type V12 coupe
3. 2006 Lotus Elise
My own take:
I was surprised by how many of you suggested I keep the Mercedes SL55 AMG. I just put 400 miles on ours last weekend, as Bradley is getting more seat time. At a $24k retail value, it is a tremendous amount of car for the money. We have a good one, not modified or hot-rodded, and that’s a key to a successful ownership experience with these cars.
After driving the SL55, Bradley mentioned, “The AMG makes the Hyundai seem like a Korean economy car.”
No one picked the ‘91 Alfa Spider S4 with auto as a keeper, and that’s not surprising. Let’s face it: The car has an arthritic suspension from 1966, a wheezy 2-liter engine that hadn’t been significantly updated in decades, and a primitive 3-speed Borg-Warner auto that could have come from a 1965 GM Biscayne.
Nonetheless I am fond of ours as it is Alfa Red with Panasport wheels. Even though I can’t drive a manual, with the S4 I can be a part of the Alfa gang and their events. It has also turned out to be a harmless way for Bradley to get used to being in a small sports car. For the $20k I have invested in it (including a $2k A/C repair), again it represents good value in use.
And like the SL55, while there are always a few S4s for sale, finding another 23k-mile one with an auto would not be easy.
My own personal jury is out on the Mercedes 250C and the 911 S Sportomatic, as they are both in the midst of mechanical freshening and I haven’t driven them. I’ll report with my impressions when I have.
I do know that my Drive Scout mobility scooter will fit in the capacious trunk of the 250C, which gives me more options when I travel.
I was surprised by how many of you mentioned the Disco. I did not put a 2” lift kit on it, as I was worried I would not be able to get up into the rig. But as I recover, that gets easier each month. However, I haven’t had a chance to use it off-road since I had the center differential lock installed. For some reason, the local Pacific Coast Rover Club has not held any low-impact “fun runs” in the past few months. However, the Disco has been put to good use taking Bradley and friends up to Mt. Hood for snowboarding several times this winter, and with its new all-season tires it is the perfect vehicle for that.
As with the SL55 and the Alfa, there are always plenty of Discos for sale. But once again, this one has good bones and a known history for nearly all of its 215,000 miles, and I wouldn’t want to go hunting for another.
It makes me a little sad that I may never again get to drive three of my favorite cars in the world — the Elise, the Spider Veloce and the Duetto. But life is what it is. I will be most satisfied to just ride in any of those three with one of my children as the pilot. However, if it came right down to it and my kids didn’t have a way to properly own them and keep them, they would go.
Assuming we keep the Hyundai as a daily driver, for those times that I need four doors and a big trunk, at the moment the three other cars I would keep (and that I can actually drive) would be the SL55, the 911 Sportomatic and the S4 Spider.
I’ll be back to you for more thoughts once I’ve had the chance to put more miles on more cars.
Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.