Cars still have an appeal like no other industrial product, and I am sure all of us have one or two (or 20) dream cars we would love to own. May I offer an informed opinion if you are ready to chase that dream?
He who loves cars and does not spend a little too much time browsing the classifieds can cast the first stone. I surely won’t. My time on the classifieds is better measured in weeks rather than hours. Obsession is the word.
Why not – I thought to myself – make good use of this sickness for once and, instead of writing about the latest car I tested, give you, the reader, my take on some cool metal that could bring a bit of joy to your life – and possibly even some money.
The rules are simple: choose one car in three different price brackets that I believe is a good buy, both in terms of what they will offer as an ownership and driving experience, as well as a safe haven in which to invest your savings, rather than let the banks, interest rates and inflation eat away at them.
Now, bear in mind this is my opinion and my opinion only and it is, obviously, influenced by my own taste – there are myriad other interesting cars out there that will fulfil the same briefing.
So, without further ado, let’s begin. First price bracket is up to €25,000. As values of classic cars and the so-called youngtimers keep on climbing, it is not as easy as it once was to find something of interest below this point. The Alfa Romeo GTV is an exception and my unquestionable choice. I’ll tell you why. First of all, it is absolutely gorgeous. The Pininfarina body is so simple yet so beautiful and harmonious it would be a pleasure to own this car even if it was just to look at it.
The best, however, is under the bonnet. Because you must buy the GTV with the revered 3.0 V6 engine – very possibly the most famous Alfa Romeo engine of all time and one that makes Alfisti go weak in the knees at the very mention of it. Its nickname is the ‘Busso’, after genius engineer Giuseppe Busso who created it. It was in production for over a quarter of a century, from 1979 to 2005, gaining cult status and the unofficial title of ‘best sounding V6 engine’ ever made.
I have driven many kilometres of various iterations of this engine and it is magical. A masterpiece, worthy of preservation for future generations to understand, when all is electric, what was peak combustion back in the day.
A good GTV 3.0 V6 will cost from €20,000 to €30,000 and it will surely go up in price in the next decade. Trust me, for the money, not many four-wheel things will make you happier.
Climbing one step further, up to €50,000, we change course to Germany, more specifically to Munich and to a time not so long ago when fuel consumption was not a concern and pure driving pleasure was a priority.
Say hello to the E92 BMW M3, the only M3 graced with a V8 engine. BMW lopped off two cylinders from the V10 M5 (itself a derivative of the V10 powerplant run by the Formula One team in period) and created a high-revving, high-adrenaline lunatic of a car that will only get more and more special as time goes by and all M engines are turbocharged.
Codenamed S65, it won International Engine of the Year five times on the trot from 2008 to 2012 and was the last naturally aspirated engine ever used in a BMW M. Yes, today’s M models are faster, more efficient, more usable, but the first time you go searching for that 8.200 rpm redline in the E92, you will be hooked and no turbo engine will do anymore. Add a bodyshell that screams elegance at every line, every crease, every curve and you have yourself one of the best cars ever made – period. Prices are already creeping up and won’t be lingering around the €50,000 mark for much longer.
And so we end on a high. So high in fact we are nudging €100,000. The Lancia Delta Integrale. Preferably the last one, the Evo II version. Is there a more evocative homologation special ever created? Not in my book. The Delta won six consecutive World Rally Titles for constructors and five for drivers from 1987 to 1992, and this pedigree is felt on every prod of the throttle, on every turn of the wheel.
If you love cars, it is impossible not to look at this cartoonish shape – dictated by the need to improve performance – and not want one. Powered by a 2.0 litre turbo engine producing a mere 215 horse power, the Delta will be slower than most on the road these days. However, your heart will be beating faster than ever because you will be driving not just a car, but a piece of history. Yes, the Delta is a costly car to maintain, and parts are hard to come by, but ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ – said Lysander in the Shakespeare’s play that gives name to this text.
Mr. William S. was absolutely right. And the Delta will make you fall in love. It can also make you some money if you keep it for a while. Ten years ago, they were €40,000. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
That’s it. Alas ye dreamers, on to the classifieds and make that dream come true before it’s too late.