Some car enthusiasts have comedy-derived fortunes and can chase down every flat-six- engined car that pops up on Bring a Trailer. But for the rest of us mortals, car enthusiasm is as much about aspiration and fantasy than practical reality. We have strong thoughts about how we would spend big bucks...even if we operate on a far more reasonable budget.
In that vein, we gave car-inclined Gear Patrol staffers $100,000 to fill out their dream garage. [Figuratively speaking. —Ed.] Why $100,000? Well, we needed a limitation to keep things grounded. How we would each spec our Singer Porsches is not that scintillating of a discussion...but $100K is enough money to present a conundrum while not . Do you go all-in for the ultimate all-around car? Or do you opt for multiple specialists?
Our decisions — and explanations — are below.
Ryan Brower (Commerce Editor): 2021 Rivian R1T
"Considering I just leased an EV without ever driving one (a 2020 Hyundai Ioniq EV), I'm confident that the most hyped, most raved about, most praised forthcoming EV by my colleagues who have seen it will be something I'd want in an imaginary garage.
My Ioniq is perfect for urban life and quick surf jaunts from Brooklyn (#hatchbackforlife), but really getting out into nature and having more battery range is something I'd want to spend $100,000 on. And that's where the Rivian R1T is going to excel with 400-mile range and AWD — plus plenty of room for gear and options for camping within the pickup bed itself.
The pre-order price is hovering around $69,000 right now (and hopefully it'll actually be out next year as expected), which leaves me a little cash leftover to put in a proper charging station."
Nick Caruso (Coordinating Producer): 2020 Volvo V90 CC + 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
"I just "built" both of these online to arrive at these prices – since this isn't reality, I don't mind spending the 'depreciation tax.' The V90 CC is essentially loaded to the gills, and the Miata has almost no options added. Both are perfect. They would also cover 99 percent of my vehicle needs. (No one will ask for my help moving, and I'll bug my brother if I need to.)
SUVs are of course all the rage, but the V90 CC is the most ideal car available today, as it's the perfect intersection of luxury, styling, capability and safety. For the money — which is not inconsiderable — there is not a better option. The Miata needs no real explanation – its unbeatable 'fun per dollar' ratio combined with being a car that's still possible to repair via DIY makes it an ideal second ride."
Will Sabel Courtney (Motoring Editor): 2018 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
Will went through a little bit of a journey here, so we've allowed him to recant it in full.
"The stick-shift Genesis G70 is one of the best bargains you can find today, landing at a hair under $40K. That leaves me enough cash for a tricked-out Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew, packing both the FX4 off-road package, the Max Towing package that includes the potent 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, and enough chrome to be seen from space.
And then I realized I could find a CPO Panamera Turbo for under $100,000...
...but then I discovered I could get this E63 S instead. Slides $1 under the line, and is basically a new car. That's my final answer."
Tyler Duffy (Motoring Writer): 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera T
"I spent far too much time thinking about this. Ultimately, I want to go electric. But the reasonably-priced EV that can do family duty with multiple kids and dogs doesn’t quite exist yet (but maybe soon?).
I tried to split it three ways: a Kia Telluride, a Volkswagen GTI and perhaps a vintage Beetle. I considered dumping most of the money into the one three-row family car that rules them all, the Mercedes E450 4Matic wagon.
Then, I looked up at a painting on my office wall and realized just how profoundly I had overthought this. Spending $100K in one shot probably would be my only opportunity to own a good-condition Porsche 911. I found a 2019 911 Carrera T with fewer than 5,000 miles on Porsche finder for $99,991. That car would have a privileged place in my garage for decades and be a decision I would never regret. "
Meg Lappe (Creative Project Manager): 1965 Ford Mustang + 1967 Chevy Camaro + 1967 Chevy C-10
"If I were to come into $100K, the cars I would buy would be a '65 Mustang, a '67 Camaro and a '67 Chevy C-10. With that sum of money, I'm likely to get close to perfect working conditions for all three cars — but if anything were to go wrong, there's nothing that a couple of tools and a screwdriver can't fix. I never have to worry about computer issues flaring up with all these cars, either, and those are pretty darn expensive to repair.
Driving these cars is always an adventure. Each trip would be a new way to experience the road. Driving is different in vehicles this old: yes, they're loud, but there's nothing these cars can do to take your mind away from driving. Modern cars continue to make driving as easy as possible, which means it's less of an excursion when you go out. Cruise control is nice, but the experience you have without it is certainly worth writing about."