Car Corner
What car should I get next?

November 1, 1999
By Scott Lewis

I have been lusting for a new car lately. I know, I won’t be able to get one until after my house is built (in 2001), but I just can’t help wondering what I should get. Here is a list of possibilities:

Image3.jpg (17394 bytes)Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS

This is obvious since I already own a 1993 Z28. It would seem like the next logical step. A 320 hp V-8 and six speed manual transmission make it hard to pass on. However, the Camaro is not without its faults. It is big and heavy for what it should be, and it is old (although it got restyled in 1998 it is still the same basic car that has been available since 1993). Also, I don’t know if I want to spend $30,000 for an extra 45 hp. I could add 45 hp to my current car for a lot less.

Ford Mustang Cobra (Regular Mustang Pictured)

The Mustang is arguably better than the Z28. I know, I know... how can a Z28 driver admit that. Well, the Mustang is a little lighter that the Camaro. But it feels even lighter that it is. For a Pony car, the Mustang does a better job of being a poor man’s performance car. With the inclusion of the IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) to the Cobra, and its high tech 320 hp DOHC V-8, it is a better overall car than the Camaro.

image5.jpg (19319 bytes)Audi TT

This is an unusual one for me. One, I gave up on front wheel drive with my Honda CRX. Two, it is expensive for the level of performance it gives. Audi has said they expect to build a "higher" performance version next year. It is expected to produce 225 hp (the current model has 180 hp) and possibly be a "quattro," meaning full time all wheel drive. That would be a killer car. Unfortunately with the current model hovering around $33,000 I would expect the faster one to be at, or even over, $40,000. I find this car very cool in the looks department. Its retro styling is well done, and the interior is bad ass.

Image6.jpg (13015 bytes)BMW 323Ci/328Ci

I have always had a liking for BMWs. With the all new redesign of the 3 series, it would be a great car. The performance would be a bit less than my Camaro in terms of sheer acceleration, but that would be made up for in luxury and handling. Starting at just under $30,000 for the 323Ci would be almost affordable.

Image7.jpg (31007 bytes)Chevrolet Corvette

As Chevrolet says on their web site, "Corvette. The only sports car that matters." That about covers it. I am sure Chevrolet will come out with a 50th Anniversary Edition Corvette in 2003. That’s about two years after I build my house. That might be enough time to save up the down payment. I have always wanted a Corvette. It is an American dream automobile. My wife has wanted to give me a Vette for my 40th birthday. O.K. So the 50th Anniversary Vette will come out when I am 39, close enough. At over $40,000 it will be a very hard price point to reach. But for a Vette, it might be worth it.

If you have been looking at the pictures you have should have noticed a common theme. All these cars are convertibles. The BMW is a picture of the current 3 series convertible. I assume it will receive the same redesign the coupe got for 99. The Audi is not yet available in a convertible, but it should be available by the time I am ready to buy.

I do have a couple of alternatives in mind. These have solid roofs, but we will forgive them that shortcoming.

Image8.jpg (13552 bytes)Ford F-150 Lightning

This is Ford’s Hot Rod truck. It has a 360 hp supercharged 5.4 liter V-8 engine. It is about as fast as my Camaro, but in a truck. For about $30,000 it would look great in my garage. And I could use it to haul parts for my next project car.

Image9.gif (16141 bytes)Chevrolet Silverado SS

This one is a little harder to pin down. I saw a "Silverado SS" on Truck or Car and Driver Television (both on TNN), but I cannot find anything official about it. Car and Driver printed an small item about its possibility. At that time it was expected to have a supped up version of the new 6.0 liter Vortec V-8 putting out about 395 hp. But the version I saw on TV had a supercharged engine. The TV version also has Corvette inspired bodywork that looked very good. Either way, hopefully Chevrolet will really build an SS version of the Silverado truck.

That does it for picks for my next "new" car. That is if I get a new car. I have been thinking about putting the money I would use for a new car toward getting an old car. The only trouble will be in getting a loan for a classic car. But that’s another column.

Any ideas on a car I missed.