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The Garage Space Conundrum

The problem with acquiring cars is there will inevitably come a time when you run out of space. But that doesn’t stop automotive daydreams.

This is a real challenge for anyone living in a metropolitan area where parking is scarce and expensive. Storing multiple vehicles is a First World problem, but a common one. We’ve all seen the neighbor with a two-car garage and three cars parked on the driveway. (We’ll ignore the neighbor whose garage is full of junk—what’s up with that?)

In my situation I have a condo with two parking spots, effectively handcuffing me from making an iffy purchase. I have to be very strategic about how I fill this precious real estate. Right now, I have my summer/auto-crossing/track days and spirited driving around town car tucked in one space. My second spot is occupied by an older SUV that’s used as my daily driver and Chicago winter car. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Access, security and cost issues make renting a parking space around town less than ideal, but what if a sibling had an extra space? That’s good enough to crank up the car browsing, right? Luckily for me, my brother Marc has graciously allowed me to use his extra space. Cue the car shopping!

I’ve been thinking about how to fill a third parking space before I even had it. I’ve narrowed it down now to three options.

High-Performance Luxury Sedan

As I get older, I appreciate luxurious amenities when driving around town or commuting to different client locations. It’s nice to get in a car with comfortable seats and turn on a podcast or stream Spotify to just relax and drive and not be miserable sitting in Chicago traffic. Believe me, I love my manual M2. It’s a ton of fun with a raw driving experience that keeps you completely engaged. It gives a sense of occasion that most modern luxury cars can’t achieve. That being said, it can be tedious driving a manual in stop-and-go traffic. Plus it seems that every teenager in his mom’s SUV wants to drag race. The idea of having a four-door sedan with a powerful motor lurking in a relatively pedestrian-looking car is really appealing. This brings me to the BMW M5 the ultimate German saloon car since the mid-80s. Through six generations the M5 has gotten bigger and heavier but still manages to defy automotive physics. In short, it’ll blow the doors off some of the most expensive super cars out there, and still seat four people comfortably. Let’s look at the latest iteration and see why this car is so special.

  • Motor: Twin Turbo V8

  • Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic

  • Horsepower: 600

  • Torque: 750 lb-ft

  • Weight: 4090 lbs

  • 0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds

2019 BMW M5 (F90)

Ultra-track focused sports car

Any sports car can be entertaining on the track. The only requirements are good tires, brakes that don’t give up and a predictably stable chassis. Car manufacturers build these cars for enthusiasts like me. What’s so appealing is that you can drive one from the showroom straight to the track without a single modification. Millions of dollars of R&D go into creating cars that are comfortable, fast and safe at the track. One of the best is the Porsche Cayman 718 GT4.

Everybody knows the Porsche 911. It’s been around for almost 60 years and is a fast and beautiful car with a legendary pedigree. Porsche’s racing division uses the acronym “GT” for their high-performance “homologation models” used in sports car racing. The 911 GT3, GT2 and especially the RS versions are popular models for the track but come with a very hefty price tag. In the past couple years Porsche brought its GT technology to their lower end, but still expensive mid-engine Cayman. The high-performance track version is dubbed the GT4. Porsche purists may prefer the 911 but road testers often consider the Cayman GT4 to be the better Porsche.

The performance numbers may not jump off the screen but it’s the sum of the parts that make this car so desirable.

  • Motor: 4.0 Liter Flat 6

  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual

  • Horsepower: 414

  • Torque: 309 lb-ft

  • Weight: 3200 lbs

  • 0-60 MPH: 4.2 seconds

Red Porche GT4
Porsche GT4

The Drop Top

Every year around springtime I think about how much fun I would have in a convertible. Nothing extravagant, just something with enough power to be enjoyable, and of course it must have a manual transmission. The main issue with convertibles is that they’re only compatible when the weather cooperates. By my count, that’s only 60-something days out of the year in Chicago. It’s not just the winter cold, but the heat and humidity of the summer or the cold rain in the spring and fall that limit your enjoyment. This option wouldn’t be my daily driver but would be great when the weather behaves.

When I graduated college, the first thing I wanted was a Honda S2000. They weren’t crazy expensive at the time, even for a recent graduate. In the past couple years, they have increased in value. A really nice example that hasn’t been modified can fetch $25-$30k, which is what they cost new.

In the late-90s Honda wanted to compete with the wildly popular Mazda Miata. The Miata is a fun little sports car, but a lot people thought it lacked power. Honda would fill that void with the S2000. The S2K came with a high revving 8,800 rpm inline four-cylinder DOHC-VTEC motor. It was a fast and nimble car that you could really push to limit without much effort. Production ended in North America in 2003 but the S2000 reached cult status and is definitely a future collector car. It has a timeless design with a fantastic powertrain, the all-important third pedal and Honda reliability. Not sure if a Honda S2000 is in my future but it’s definitely on my car bucket list.

  • Motor: Inline 4 Cylinder VTEC

  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual

  • Horsepower: 237

  • Torque: 153 ft-lb

  • Weight: 2756 lbs

  • 0-60 MPH: 5.5 seconds

Black Honda S2000
Honda S2000

When shopping for something you’re passionate about it’s always exciting to go down the rabbit hole of possibilities. Based on this post you can tell that this has been floating around my brain for a while. When it comes to car shopping the research process is half the fun. Having a cool ride afterwards is just the cherry on top. What should I get?

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