On The Road With Johnny B ...Filling The Perfect Garage
Being a Certified Car Loonie you tend to Daydream about Old Cars on a daily basis. One of the things you tend drool about is the perfect Car Collection or "Perfect Garage" Now keep in mind I am realistic and unless I hit The Powerball I'm not going to be buying Million Dollar Car anytime soon. With that in mind I am trying to keep my list within Classic Car's I can afford and what my soon to be Garage Space will be. Also will break it down into types of junk because my Automotive Dementia knows no bounds. So with the usual No Fanfare "Away We Go!!"...
Daily Driver...1981-1985 Mercedes Benz 300TD wagon Ya gotta have something you drive everyday. Perhaps one of the best vehicles ever built is the Benz 123 Chassis and in Station Wagon form ultra useful. Mercedes Benz built the 123 Body from 1976-1985. Known for its durability, safe like build quality, superb comfort, road manners and masterful engineering it is considered by some as the best all around Mercedes Benz ever built.
The Benz 123 came with many engines but the one you want is the 5 cylinder Turbo Diesel. Known as the OM617 this 5 Cylinder Turbocharged wonder is good for 500K plus miles with proper upkeep. When paired with the Handsome 300TD Wagon you have the perfect Daily Driver that will last for decades. Some downsides are 123 Body Benzes tend to rust, the OM617 can sprout oil leaks and even though they move along swiftly they are not drag race cars. With all that a 300TD Wagon will gobble up freeway miles like a freight train and squeeze out 30mpg. I would add to mine an AMG type body kit and some cool beefy wheels and tires to make it the perfect Stylish Daily Driver. Real nice 300TD's can still be scooped up for $10,000-$15,000 making them affordable. Special note: Gotta like the way a Benz Turbo Diesel sounds.
Something Dumb...1976-1978 Chevrolet Chevette If you wanna to piss off your friends and enjoy being a nerd every Perfect Garage needs a Really Dumb Car. In the dark days of the OPEC Oil Crisis and needing a replacement for the Horrific Vega GM borrowed a Spunky Hatchback from it's South American Division. Slapping 5mph bumpers, steering column from the Nova and required emissions the Chevy Chevette was born. The good and bad news is the Chevette shared little parts with any other GM car of the time. The Chevette compared to the other GM small car junk of the day wasn't that bad of a car. The 1.6 liter OHC engine (1.4 liter in the Scooter model and the bone shaking Diesel) was semi robust and the rest of the "Vette"
wasn't screwed together to gross but compared to offerings from Japan it just didn't cut the mustard
The question now is "Why did I pick the 1976-1978 Chevette? Well to be honest I kinda like them just not sure why. Prefer the early 76-78 models with the round headlights and an automatic. Gotta have whitewalls and the ummm deluxe chrome package. Chevette's don't drive to horrible and can get a steady 35mpg whilst enjoying cheap insurance. The other upside you can always brag to a woman that you drive a "Vette" Thankfully nice Chevette's can be bought in superb condition between $2500-$3500
German Road Torpedo...1981-1991 Mercedes Benz 500-560SEL AMG When you wanna hit the Autobahn or Gussy Up For Dinner you can't find any better Teutonic Torpedo then the Mercedes Benz 126 Chassis. Many consider these built like Bank Vault Benz's the best S-Class produced by Daimler Benz.
For me that is the truth. Robust mechanics, superb reliability, nimble yet supple road manners, living room comfort, plentiful parts supply and supreme safety make the 500-560SEL my choice for highway gobbling comfort. When upgraded with AMG Performance goodies you had Supercar Thrust with Hilton Hotel Comfort. Mercedes Benz could afford to make a car this superb today. Even today you Benz 126's on the road across the USA. A tribute to how great they still are.
1930s-1940s Art Deco Classic...1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Convertible. In our opinion the Greatest Era of Automotive Design was the 1930s thru the late 1940s (pre World War II designs) What we call the Art Deco Era. The cars were absolutely beautiful invoking both Art and Science. No Automaker did this better than GM and no designer did it better than Harley Earl in GM's Art and Design Studio. From the Bodies, The Grilles, The Dashboards and Interiors GM's Art and Design Studio made some of the most stunning vehicles of all time.
Now the big question is why a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Convertible? It was my first car at age 15. Purchased from an Esso Station for a bargain $500 in 1975 it introduced me to the Classic Car Hobby, Cars and Parts Magazine, Hemming's Motor News, 6 Volt Batteries, the Starter Pedal, the Chevrolet 216 Stovebolt Six and the Three on the Tree Shifting. That 48 Chevy Ragtop also introduced me to the beauty of GM's last Pre-War Art Deco Designs and a lifetime of Amazing People in the Old Car Hobby.
Kidney Shaking British Sports Car...1969-1976 Triumph TR6. As a young Lad of 14 in 1974 it was all about drooling over cars, reading Car and Driver Magazine and dreaming of hitting the road in something cool. When my father's friend Randy showed up in our driveway in a new Java Brown 1974 Triumph TR6 I was smitten. I always marched to a different drummer when it came to cars and the Triumph TR6 fills my car crazy heart even today. In an October 1976 Road Test Car and Driver Magazine called the Triumph TR6 "The last of the hairy chested British Sports Cars". In fact it was a throw back to a bygone era. Lusty 6 cylinder engine up front, crisp 4 speed transmission with a brutal clutch, go cart handling, bug in teeth top down experience, creaky, leaky and creature comforts of a park bench. None of the matters. Flip the top back, fire up the big six and take the TR6 for lollygagging cruise. Nothing is more automotively romantic then the burble of a TR6 exhaust when downshift and get that Snap Crackle and Pop.
I have owned a few Triumph TR6's. By far my fave was my red 1969 TR6. Me being me I upgraded it with Dual Weber 32/36 DGV Carburetors, 72 Spoke Chrome Wire Wheels, Header, Oil Cooler with Spin on Oil Filter, 4 Pipe Monza Exhaust, Roll Bar, Custom front with Cobra Style Bumper-ettes, Poly Suspension Bushings and loads of other forgotten upgrades.
I sold my all time Fave Car to buy a house. Sadly the house deal fell thru and till today regret selling my Red "6". Some cars get into you soul and this one did. I have never recovered from it. The question is will I buy another TR6? for sure yes..
Well here is a Partial list of my Perfect Garage. Expect changes in the future because those who know me. I change My Mind...A Lot