My 2012 Automotive Bucket List

I love buying (and driving) cars and there seems to be no end to the list of cars I’d like to own at some stage in my life. Accordingly, here’s a list of the cars that keep my mind ticking over, cars that get my motor running and keep me motivated, planning and scheming.

I’ve called this my 2012 list because it seems like a few cars drop off my radar every year, only to be replaced with new shiny objects that pique my interest for one reason or another. None of them present a particularly urgent case but they’re all things I’d like to own at some stage.

Some loose criteria that I considered….

I am not a wealthy man so none of these cars should be crazy expensive. All should present a reasonable proposition for purchase at some time over the next 25 years or so. This is a bucket list, remember.

Most of the cars on this list will be ‘second cars’ rather than daily drivers.

The cars shown in the photos (click to enlarge) are all available for sale right now, at the prices mentioned. In no particular order:

Subaru Brumby

The car I’m most likely going to buy next, to be used as both a daily driver and weekend load lugger. The Brumby (or Brat as it was known in US) is known for its longevity and versatility. Good examples don’t cost much, are still sought after and hold their value pretty well.

I’m more likely to get one like the example at the rear, but the one at the front is selling for $5.5K right now.

Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon

Also a likely near-term proposition, to replace our current Saab 9000 when it gives up the ghost or becomes too severe an uneconomic proposition. The 9-5 Wagon is a modern Saab classic and in Aero form is a true Saab sleeper. It looks great, is well equipped, is supremely safe and just eats up the miles (in very quick fashion if you need it, too).

The Aero Wagon below is for sale at $16K right now. Non-Aero wagons can be had for as little as $5K but I’d be happy to pay more for peace of mind.

Saab 9-3 Viggen

I considered a Viggen when I bought my Alfa GTV6 a few months ago. I came very close to buying it, too. Another modern Saab classic. A car that took the company to a place many people really wanted it to go, but didn’t occupy for nearly long enough. Much maligned, much loved, and fantastic value at current prices.

This is the car that I nearly bought a few months ago and it’s still for sale at an amazing price of $11,000

Mid-80’s Porsche 911

For many, the classic 911. Air cooled, flat-six and the most classic Porsche lines. This is a model and a marque that I just have to own at one stage of my life. The most desirable from this period is the Carrera with the 3.2 litre engine and the G50 gearbox.

You can buy a mid-80’s 911 for $25K if you look hard enough, but there’s no such thing as a cheap Porsche and at that money, it’s a crap shoot. Decent hardtops start at around $40K (which is where I’d be if I were looking, which I’m not) and this low-miler is for sale at the moment for $56K

Porsche Boxster S

The early Boxsters were somewhat maligned as being underpowered and perhaps even cheapening the brand. The Boxster S is a true driver’s roadster, however, with plenty of grunt and superb balance. Get the right model and it looks pretty decent, too.

Boxsters can be had for as little as $20K here in Oz, but the S will start at $30K. This one’s for sale for $32K right now.

Dodge Challenger

I’d love a classic muscle car at some stage of my life and if I were to choose just one, this would be it. I also have a somewhat silly ambition to one day own a car from the year I was born and the Challenger is right there in the running. To be honest, this is one of the less realistic options on this list. They’re expensive and by the time I got to buying one they’ll be even rarer (and more expensive) than what they are now. As the poster says, however, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so it’s on the list as an aspirational goal I’ll like to aim for one day.

This one’s for sale for $52,000 here in Australia, which is a typical price for one of these. The new Challenger R/T, a low volume import, sells for over $140,000!!!

Saab Sonett III

Another birth-year possibility, the Sonett has been on my list for a long time. I finally got to drive one back in 2010 and it was a wonderful experience – so light, low, and heaps of fun. It’s a definite possibility, though the logistics present a bigger challenge than anything else on this list as there are probably less than 10 of them in Australia so it means importing one from the USA.

The good news for Sonett owners is that prices seem to be appreciating. This one’s for sale right now at around US$7,000

Alfa Romeo 105 Series GTV

The classic Alfa. I’m not sure anything needs to be said. I’d prefer a 1750 and if possible, one of the earlier ones with the Batwing seats. Just a beautiful, elegant and fun car.

Prices range from $10K right up to $30K. This 1970 model (birth year!) is selling fro K right now.

Mercedes 500SL

Perhaps this is my concession to ageing, but if I’m going to get a Merc it’s got to be a V8 and it’s got to be an SL. The good news is that there are plenty of them around, they’re not appreciating in price much at all and they should last forever with the right amount of maintenance.

Currently for sale at $31,000

RenaultSport Megane

The previous generation RS Megane was one I considered when I bought by GTV6 a few months ago (along with the Viggen). This is too new/expensive for consideration right now, but a definite prospect in 5 years time. The RS Megane is the hottest of hot hatches IMHO and one day, a 250 Cup model like the one below will be mine.

Currently for sale at $43,000 but is basically brand new.

Jaguar XKR

I’m thinking about the future here. Right now an XKR is well and truly beyond my means, but hopefully in 20 years it’ll be more affordable. Hopefully gasoline will still be affordable, too. Jaguar was one of my first motoring interests. My dad gave me a book about them when I was around 12 or 13 years old and I used to sit in school and draw them in my textbooks. One day…..

Currently for sale at $129K (but will be much more affordable in 20 years)

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  1. Good Bucket (o’ money) List. That Challenger seems cheap. They had the longest doors in the business and apparently if you hit them just right they buckled enough to pop the latch and open.

  2. Remember Swade, once I’ve checked off all the items on my bucket list and no longer have the opportunity to add more because, well you know…..

    My Sonett III is yours for the taking. Will fit in a shipping container no problem!

    1. Would be the perfect example, too, Jim. I’m not in a rush for that one, for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. If you want a Challenger I’d be buying sooner rather than later – they’re quickly becoming 6-figure cars. My gf’s father recently did a bare metal restoration after the owner found out exactly what they were worth. Originally he just wanted some fresh paint slapped on it for classic racing… then realised it was worth far too much for that. Great looking car, one of the few American vehicles I like. Personally I’d take the Alfa 105 and the big Merc, but ideally a 450SLC 6.9.

    1. Back in my young Melbournite days, the guy at our local chip shop had a Challenger. It was Yellow on black, and simply magnificent. This was the late 1980s and he probably paid around $20K for it, which was a heap of money back then and he was only a couple of years older than me so in his early 20s, maybe.

      As I wrote this article, I couldn’t help but wonder if he’s still got it. If it’s in as good a condition now as it was then (quite likely, he was a fastidious Greek) then it’d be one of those six-figure cars, for sure.

        1. Steven, like me. Good guy. Family ran a great fish n chip shop in Lower Plenty and the car would often be parked out front.

  4. If you really want a Brumby, be prepared to build one. as a long time Saabophile I owned two subys as I’m a fly fisherman and those cars will go places I never thought I’d take a Saab. If you had a Brumby with a 2.2l fuel injection engine out of a legacy, and the high low stick out of an 88 Loyale, you would be looking at a COOL car that would be unstoppable, run well, and not drip oil everywhere! Here in Oregon we build em. I will send you a Picture tomorrow….

  5. Aero Wagon, great car for so many reasons. My Aero sedan is a serious weapon in the right hands and my wife’s Linear wagon can carry SO much stuff. I always hanker for the features of both to be in the same car. I am seriously considering upgrading the Linear to the Aero wagon down the track. Remember the orange sofa-bed? Two silver SAABs in the drive looks a bit weird sometimes too.
    The105 is fast becoming out of reach, but it did the same back in the early nineties too when the world was going into the last GFC. ‘The one we had to have’….thanks Paul. No-one say ‘Banana Republic’ please!
    It is interesting how certain cars have jumped up in value just in the last 6 months. BMW 840CSi is a case in point. What a car…..!

  6. Great list — I’ve had a Sonett, have 2 9-5 aero Wagons, and used to work on those brats — the early ones you could put the wheels on inside out and increase the track about 4 inches – looked awesome. In the early 80’s we autocrossed one — full time locked 4 wheel drive low range, valve crash in 3rd gear spinning the inside tires around the cones, leaving behind chunks of rust. We were not invited back…..
    How’s that Alfalfa Romero clutch liking the driveway?

    1. Clutch is doing fine, mate. It gets a run up to the incline from inside the garage so clutch is already fully disengaged by the time I’m going uphill. Still loving that car.

  7. Nice bucket list Steven. A list I could see myself writing… Except on a couple of points.

    The Subaru. I would replace it with the much more potent and Way cooler looking Jeep Comanche with the AMC 4L H.O. 182Hp I-6 coupled to a Aisin 4 speed Auto and 4wd. Put it in low and that car (like its UV brother) climbs out of just any situation. The looks are a clash between American and European. A classic to me. I haven’t owned a Comanche (MJ) but a Cherokee (XJ) 4L H.O. Ltd Executive grazed my driveway a couple of years. Wonderful car built in… Austria.
    And if you mount different springs and bolt on 32″‘ wheels you will find parkingspace just about anywhere… Why not on top of a Subaru Brumby or a…. Renault ๐Ÿ™‚ …. Wich brings me to Bucket list change no 2. Renault Megane Sport.. Zzzzzzz. If I want to own a car that brakes down now and again but when working is Plenty fun and packs a punch I would rather go with the… Lotus Esprit 2.2 Turbo. I’m 6,1 and still have plenty room for my head and legs. The car is soooo sexy and that short shifter so cool. And the car is plenty fast. A classic from beginning to end. The V8 would be cool but is to expensive to own.

    The Merc 500SL is cool but I’d rather own an AMG CLK.


  8. ‘…motivated, planning and scheming…’ – I can relate to that!

    Top of my bucket list is a Caterham/Lotus 7 or equivalent clubman sportscar.
    Your Alfa 105 sure is nice and a Lancia Fulvia HF has similar appeal.
    The Alfa Romeo B20 Aurelia has such an aura about it – but you did say no insane prices.
    A mini Cooper S (original version) with seems removed and lowered roof.
    A Citroen DS and/or CX GTi
    I came close to buying a silver 9-5 Aero sportestate for my wife ๐Ÿ™‚ but ended up with a Mk 4 Golf ๐Ÿ™
    Check out this great value 9-5 sedan in Melbourne:
    But to be completely honest I am still in love with my classic 900’s and living with a really good Aero Turbo one of those would keep me happy for a long time I think.
    Always nice to dream.

  9. What’s the longest time you’ve ever owned a car Swade? Perhaps a good topic for another posting, without wanting to hijack this one. For me it’s 7 years in a 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4 but in 2005 at 207,000km it was time to let it go. A young guy from Hobart flew to Mildura with his dad and they drove it home.
    The 900i is now approaching 6 years in my ownership.

    1. I don’t think I’ve owned anything for that long. I had my 99T for a few years before selling it and buying it back. Maybe 4 or 5 years in total for that one. I had a 1981 Celica XX for three or four years from around 1994 on and maybe three years in the second of my two Holden Geminis when I was young.

  10. Love the list! The Dodge Challenger would make my list, too. However, I’m more picky and it would have to be the 440 six-pack. I also love Jaguars and I want one of those, too — probably an XJ-S, but the XK8 are way cheap right now in the US and I could see one for a cruiser in my near future.

    Never a huge Porsche fan, but I’d certainly make room in my garage for a 911 Turbo. My 1980’s German pick would be a BMW 8-series. I could opt for a 3.0 CSi, but those things are spendy. Heck, I guess a decent 8-series would be, too.

    I also feel you on the Brumby. If you told me that I had to add a truck to my collection, I’d have to opt for a 1959 El Camino or a 1970-ish Ranchero. Nice.

    1. I drove a Z8 10+ years ago and that almost ended up in a field. The roadfeel is poor and in a turn that tiny little a** came flying out like it wanted to overtake me. (Believe J Clarkson hates the car)
      If the Viggen neads modifications to live up to being a performance hatch, the Z8 needs it to do anything but driven in a straight line. But boy is it Beautiful! One of the most beautiful cars… Period!


      1. The 8-series is the E31 body, not the Z8 roadster. Completely different cars.

        I have a feeling that Jeremy Clarkson still wants one of these. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. I agree with you on everything but the Mercedes and Jaguar.

    The previous generation SL is a better bet. The one you picked was designed after Mercedes quality started going downhill. I also find the previous SL to be better looking.

    The XKR doesn’t impress me at all. It looks like a mid-90s Supra on the outside, and the interior is filled with fake carbon fiber and/or aluminium, depending on the trim level . Anybody who complains about Saab interiors should sit in one of these (or in a C Class). I much prefer the XJS.

    You may as well get the Subaru out of your system. It probably works better as a concept than as transportation, unless you really really need to carry something that’s too filthy to go in the cabin. They’re old and cheap enough that you won’t lose much money on the deal even if you don’t like it (depends how full the tank is when you sell it).

    There’s something special about big Chryslers that you don’t find in Ford and GM cars. All American cars from the 60s and 70s are pigs, but at least Chrysler was trying different stuff: unibody, torsion-bar suspensions, electronic ignition, hemispheric combustion chambers, passive rear-wheel steering.

  12. Nice list. My wife and I just picked up an ’04 9-5 Aero wagon in January. Wonderful car. The seats are only second to my 9000 Aero seats, but seriously, what can beat the 9000 Aero for seats?

    As for the Alfa GTV, my dad owned three of them. I learned to drive (steer) while sitting on his lap behind the wheel of his second one, a red ’69. For me, those are one of the most beautiful cars ever built. And they handle really well too. If I ever have that kind of “play” money, I’d love to get one.


  13. Your list has sent me scouring websites for Alfa Romeo 105 Series GTV info. A mate had one. Wooden gear knob if I recall….very nice in the hand. My bucket list would include, among many mentioned here, a Classic Sandman panel van. Burbling V8, gold paint, brown velour Recaro’s, sweet in the back. Better wait till the kids leave home!


  14. Motoring enthusiasm is definitely inherited. Mine from the paternal bloodline. Cars I can recall my father owning before he finally gave up motoring in Jan 2010:
    Small Wolseley (cant recall model I was about 2yrs old)
    SAAB 96 2 stroke
    Hillman Imp
    Renault 16 TL
    Fiat 125 Special (when contemporaries had Ford Cortina 1600E’s)
    SAAB 96V4
    Citroen 2CV (the clockwork orange)
    SAAB 99EMS (when contemporaries had Escort RS 2000’s)
    BMW 1602
    Citroen CX 2200 Pallas
    BMW E21 318
    Opel Manta GT/E
    Fiat Uno 75CL
    Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6
    VW Golf Mk11 GTI
    Audi 80
    Porsche 924S
    Porsche 944
    Peugeot 306
    Mercedes 190E
    Subaru Forrester GT
    Subaru Legacy Estate 2.5L
    Seat Altea TDI 6speed DSG
    Citroen C3 Picasso
    I’m sure there must be others which have escaped my recall, as he seemed to change cars like socks. Some varied high’s and lows amongst them. I thought he had a kit car at some point but can’t recall what or when. Was after I left the UK. The only ones we’ve had in common were a Fiat 125S and I’ve owned 2 V4 Saabs, both of which were 95’s