Car Corner
Cars for Photography - Part V: The Cars

August 2, 2015
By Scott Lewis

This is the longest series I have even done. When last we left we had 5 cars on our short list that we were planning on looking at to see what I might buy. 2008+ Honda Accord, 2008+ Nissan Altima, 2007-2011 BMW 328i, 2005-2009 Chevrolet Corvette or 2012+ Mercedes C250 (all coupes, and the Vette).

A friend on mine told me that he heard that the new C-Class (new as of 2012) was getting a lot of complaints for not being "Mercedes enough." According to him people thought a Mercedes, any Mercedes, should be more special than the C-Series, and the owners were disappointed.

I could not find evidence of that online. But I did do a bunch of reading on the C-Series coupe, trying to find as many road tests as possible. I came away with this... the C250 is not as fast as its other German counterparts, and it does not have quite the dynamic feel of the others as well. But it was an overall nice car with the best styling. This search has been all about style (or is it... more later).

One thing I did find an issue with was the version of the car. Most of the reviews mention a Sport version, and the Sport version had a flat bottom steering wheel (among other things you can't see in photos on AutoTrader). Sure enough, when I looked on AutoTrader less than 1/2 the C250 Coupes I saw had this steering wheel. And I want this Sport edition. Knowing what I know about cars, having the Sport edition will probably make little difference by itself. However, the first time the car needs tires I would put the stickiest summer tires I could afford on it. Surely that will help.

I will test drive the C250 coupe before I make up my mind. However, it is looking less likely. A quick glance showed the selection of cars with the Sport package are all more expensive. I don't know if I will be able to afford one of these. This car may have priced itself out of my budget. We'll see.

The Corvette. I have always liked them. I am a big fan of the early C3 Vette. These are known as the "chrome bumper" cars... from 1968 - 1972. 73 had the rear chrome bumper, but the "plastic" front. In 74 it went all plastic. I still like the C3 Vette a LOT. I also like the C6 quite a bit. But I wonder if this is the car for me. I hear so much about "Corvette Guys" being older men with big bellies and such. Is this a crowd I want to be associated with. The Corvette is a performance bargain. World class performance for a very reasonable price. But as a daily driver? Hmmmm?!?

Now for the bad news.

Recent financing issues (mainly driven by moving at the end of April and again at the end of May, plus spending much more on the house my ex wife and I are trying to sell) have forced me to wait until the house sells before I do anything. I need my equity. If I get another car for myself, I have to pay off my Ford Focus first... as well as pay off some other debt. I have already abandoned the idea of paying off my debt consolidation loan... which would have put an extra $800/month in my pocket.

I also lost my automotive photo studio... meaning I no longer have a two car garage that I can practice in. So style really isn't that important anymore. I will still use whatever car I buy to practice techniques. However, I believe that the majority of pictures I take of my own car will be for location scouting.

This brings up an important point. Color. I wanted a bright red car to closely match a Ferrari, so I can be sure any techniques I come up with work well for a Ferrari (I attend many Ferrari events). If I do not need a bright red car I should reconsider the Cadillac CTS Coupe. It is available in a dark red (Crystal Red Tintcoat). This could be a viable car for location shoots, but not for the studio-like stuff I am known for (have a look).

Hopefully as you read this the house is on the market. I don't know for sure. We are close, but I am concerned we could delay again the date it goes on the market.


For now the list stands with the addition of the Cadillac CTS Coupe. I have put most of these into saved searches on AutoTrader. I keep looking, but not anything else... yet.