Pending car purchase – (most of) your questions answered

The poll results are IN and they’re not too surprising, with the Viggen taking two-thirds of the vote and an emphatic win.

There were a few theories and questions in the Poll article, however, so I thought I’d fill in the gaps and provide a little clarification where needed.

My car buying plans….

I’ve stated in the last few weeks that I plan to buy two cars this year: a weekend cruiser and a ‘daily driver’ or load lugger. Those plans still exist. I’d initially planned to buy the daily driver first, but as my stepson has two vehicles right now (Corolla and Impreza) there’s no urgent need for the daily driver. I can use one of his cars if needed.

So right now I’m looking for that special something, the car that’ll be rolled out maybe once during the week and then again on weekends.



This is a car that I plan to keep for some time. When I eventually get a daily driver, it won’t be expensive and it will be something that I’ll feel comfortable changing on a more regular basis, if needed.

The ‘fun’ car will need a decent network of suppliers and a good community around the brand to help out with advice. This exists for all three vehicles. All three brands can be maintained/repaired via workshops here in Hobart.

It’s not so much of a concern for the Viggen or the Renault, but for those drawing a line through the Alfa due to concerns about rust, note that whichever car I get, it will be properly garaged. In terms of climactic factors, whilst Hobart is colder than any other capital city in Australia, it’s also drier than just about all of them, too. Measured over the last 100 years or so, Hobart’s annual rainfall is actually about half of Sydney’s.

With basic attention to preserving the paintwork, rust shouldn’t be too big a problem with any of these vehicles as long as the fundamentals of the vehicle are already OK.


The cars….. covered in the order they were revealed:

The Alfa GTV6 is a 1984 model. It has original paint (red) and had a full engine rebuild a few years ago. Two of the car’s three previous owners are known (not personally, but I can get it in contact) back to the early 1990s when the car was run in Targa Tasmania.

The Viggen has been owned by the same guy for the last 4 years. It has an accident-free history and the paint is unblemished, save for some scuff marks on the bottom of the front bumper. The mileage is good for age and the current owner is a mechanic (non-Saab) who also has a 900 Turbo. The car is a 3-door in Lightning Blue, just like my old one. The interior has the carbon-fibre dash and perfect two-tone blue and black leather. The car is not modified at all, except for a full set of Koni adjustable dampers.

The Megane is an F1 Team model, though I’ve also considered a more local version in a slightly lower spec (a Cup version). Both are comparatively new and in good condition with no modifications or incidents to talk about. Just get in and drive.


Driving conditions/needs….

I don’t have a long commute. My office is only around 15kms from home, and most days that journey involves our Saab 9000. What I’m looking for is something that my wife and I will both enjoy on a weekend drive around southern Tasmania, and something that I can use for club events or car shows if appropriate (all three would be appropriate for the club events and shows).

Basically, the car will be something I’m into, and something that will be fun to drive. It will have to do some things incredibly well, even if it does a few other things comparatively poorly.

I know I’ve mentioned a V8 cruiser in previous posts, even with an automatic transmission. As you can tell, all three cars are smaller than a V8 and all three are manuals. I guess it was nice to have the discussion and give it due consideration, but I’m still a ‘stick’ guy at heart.


Thanks for your patience and for coming along for the ride. I love shopping for cars and this process has consumed much of my day for the last month or so.

I’m only 40 hours or so from jumping on the plane. My plans have changed more than once since I booked the ticket and whilst I’m getting pretty settled with my choice now, it’s never over until the fat lady sings.

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  1. It’s worth mentioning that rust is a far bigger issue in places like Sydney and other humid, tropical/sub-tropical areas than it is in Hobart. Unless you live/park your car right next to the coast (you see some sorry looking vehicles in the west coast fishing villages) or keep it covered in wet mud all winter, that is.

    1. Me too! I had one in the late 90s and it was sublime! Wish I still had it…

      Good luck with your choice!

  2. I know this flies in the face of my earlier comments re GTV6, but if Swade really wants aV8 cruiser, how about this for an odd ball suggestion….. Lexus Soarer coupe (also sold as Nissan Pegasus) ? These usually come with the 4.2 litre V8 mated with an auto box. There are a few smaller block and twin turbo variants too, though I think the V8 develops around 240 BHP or so . I guess that would put the reliability issues to bed? In the UK these are getting quite cheap now, and fetch a lot less than the premium commanded by the classic Alfa. Oh yeah, almost forgot, the Lexus is rear wheel drive too! Does that appeal?

    1. Sorry Jeff. Not on my radar at all.

      We have a lot of those here in Oz, too. Grey market imports. Mostly driven by the type you Brits would call cashed-up Chavs, I think (those who have moved past the Honda CR-X, at least).

  3. Like I said, the Lexus would be an oddball. I could not see my self ever driving one of those either!! I wan still in love with the blood curdling howl of the GTV6 but can you put up with the aggro factor? Lol I can tell you a funny story, but I think you will get the idea… I got stopped by the cops for allegedly exceeding the speed limit ( who me lol ??) and the Plod said ” step out of the car please sir…” . I told him that I could not and showed him the interior ( brittle plastic grrrr why do Alfa do that?) door opening handle, that just came adrift in my hand. The Plod couldn’t stop laughing, but the good thing was my licence escaped unscathed! That just about sums it up.

    1. More lateral thinking here Mr Swade…. how about combine a 9000 chassis with a v8? You got any Lancia Thema 8.32s down there? (The one with the Ferrari 3.2 v8 fitted….). Plenty of growl per buck!

  4. The fact that it’s destined to be a weekend car tilts it more in favour of the Alfa. The Viggen can never be a weekend car: you would drive it every day.

    The Renault is probably a good weekend car for a boy racer, but not if you want to go touring with your wife. It hardly seems like a car that a passenger will enjoy.

    Still holding-out for the surprise last-minute entries: XJ-S and Alfa 147 GTA?

  5. Just had a thought…… did you ever consider an R129 Mercedes SL500?

    Wonderful V8, great build quality, roof down on those nice days…… just an idea.. 🙂

  6. I’m excited to see which one you chose! I’m one of the masses who couldn’t bring himself to vote for Swade buying any other than the Viggen, but all three are great choices. I don’t know the Alfa at all, but it looks and sounds like a great car. I’ve admired the Megane when I’ve been in Europe – I’d love to see those make their way over here to the States.

    Each of your three is different, and each is great in its own way. You can’t lose (and neither can we, your readers!).