Welcome to the latest installment and chapter seven of Automobile’s “Million Dollar Challenge,” wherein each member of our staff curates their dream-car collection. The basic rules: Someone hands you $1 million to spend, with a catch—you blow it on nothing but filling your dream garage with cars you’ve always wanted. We won’t blow the entire imaginary bundle on one or two ultra-pricy choices, because what fun would that be? This week, it’s Automobile online editor Ed Tahaney’s turn to fill his dream garage:
You know, an imaginary $1 million doesn’t seem to go very far for a garage filled with the cars I’ve always wanted to own. Still it’s a super start to acquire a small fleet of dream machines. I’d really love to own a late 1950s BMW 507 or late 1960s Toyota 2000GT, but you can’t buy either for a million bucks, so I had to cut them from my list. I also cut the following dream cars because I ran out of budget really fast:
- 1960 Plymouth Fury
- 1968 Triumph TR6
- 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible
- 1969 Pontiac Firebird convertible
- 1969 Datsun Roadster
- 1972 Datsun 240Z
- 1972 De Tomaso Pantera
- 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible
- 2006 Audi R8
- 2021 Zero Labs Electric Bronco
Of course, I would put big fat white wall tires on the Ghia, Datsun Roadster, and TR6 to class them up. My neighbors and friends have owned a number of these beautiful dream cars, including the Firebird which really caught my attention. Sadly, I need another million to complete my monster dream garage, so here’s what I’d buy instead.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe, $135,000-$150,000
The eighth-generation Chevrolet C8 Corvette is a tempting ride, but to stand apart from the pack, I’d drop a stack of cash on a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe. Chevy built only 21,313 coupes and convertibles for that year, and while I love Corvette convertibles, the 1963 Sting Ray was the only year that featured the famous rear split-window. This example packs a 327-cubic inch V-8 mated to a four-speed manual transmission. I would prefer one painted in Sebring Silver, but I’ll take one in any color if the price is right.
1969 Alfa Romeo Spider, $50,000-$75,000
My wife has threatened to divorce me if I ever buy an Alfa Romeo, but since I have a million bucks to burn, I think she’d enjoy driving this little Duetto, too. A well-preserved mid-1960s Spider 1600 would be fine, but I have my sights on a more powerful 1750 Spider Veloce with a 1,779-cc inline-four that’s matched to a five-speed manual transmission. If I can find a mint example (preferably in red) and I have enough cash leftover, I might buy an extra round-tail Spider as a parts donor to tinker with.
2001 BMW Z8 Roadster, $150,000-$200,000
Since I don’t have the budget for a classic BMW 507, I would opt for a two-seater that was at least inspired by it: the BMW Z8 Roadster. BMW built the Z8 from 2000-03, and I just love the look of this convertible. It shares a lot of parts with my old Z3 Roadster, but instead of packing a puny powertrain, the Z8 has a 4.9-liter V-8 that’s good for 394 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. I would prefer one with a six-speed manual transmission, of course, and seek out a mint example in Titanium Silver with a Sport Red leather interior. Naturally, the top would stay down permanently, and I would use its matching metal hardtop as a coffee table in my dream garage.
2019 McLaren 720S Spider, $315,000-$325,000
Hot tubs are great for an end of the day soak, but for the rest of the day you can find me in a carbon-fiber cocoon called the McLaren 720S Spider. I’ll be listening to the mid-mounted 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine roar with its 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque at my disposal. Here’s the best part: With the top down, I can scoot up to 202 mph, or 212 mph with the top up, if I need to flee in a hurry. In order to keep costs “down,” my only options will be the Aztec Gold paint, 10-spoke lightweight stealth wheels, carbon-fiber pack, a Black and Scoria Gray interior, Carbon Black leather steering wheel, and a Bowers & Wilkins 12-speaker audio system for my Beastie Boys collection—starting with License to Ill to break it all in.
2021 EarthCruiser V-8 EXP, $370,000
When the shit really hits the fan (if it hasn’t already), I’ll make my getaway in a blacked out EarthCruiser expedition truck to search the planet for signs of life, grub, and gas. This 4×4 is perfect for the end of days, and it is built to go anywhere. Heck, it even fits inside a shipping container if I need to travel the high seas.
Of course, the hardest part will be choosing which dream car I would tow, and which ones I would have to leave behind in my dream garage. Maybe I’d just sell them all for whatever cash I could get, and squeeze a couple of Kawasaki dirt bikes inside my EarthCruiser for recon.