What’s Your Ideal 4-Car Garage?

We’ve been house-hunting recently. Not for an ideal 4-car garage. Just for a house, but hey…..

We thought we’d found a good one, too. If we’d gone ahead and bought it, this would have been my garage/workshop 🙂


That would have been nice. Sadly, for various reasons, it just didn’t turn out to be the place for us.

All that leads me to today’s question – what real-world vehicles would you put in your ideal 4-car garage?

I include “real-world” there deliberately. I think I’ll eventually be able to fill up the space with four cars that are genuinely interesting for me, but that will involve a restricted budget. This is not an exercise in “what would I buy if I won the lottery?” I’m trying to be more realistic than that.

My current thinking – which is always subject to change – is that it’d be great to have a car from each the following countries:

  • Germany
  • Italy
  • France
  • Sweden

I’ve already got my German car, even though I may have to sell it to help finance the build. Hopefully not. If that has to happen, though, I’d try to pick another P-car up one day.

Italian? I’ve been yearning to add a Lancia Fulvia to my life and hopefully one day that will happen. A variety of Alfa’s (with most of them being very affordable) could more than fit the bill until then.

French? This is the most marginal of the possibilities, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a DS? And there’s always the RenaultSport offering.

Swedish? There are many, many possibilities and I’m not limiting my interest to things made in Trollhattan. My goal remains to get a Sonett at home one day, but a Volvo P1800 or even an Amazon would be great, too.


Writing this down makes me realise that four car spaces is nice, but six would be better 🙂 . I sold my Mazda MX-5 a few years ago knowing that I’d underdone my MX-5 experience. And it’d be nice to have a sporty convertible and do a real custom job.

And where to put the Jag? And does all this mean I have to sell the Brumby??!!

Darn it. We always need room for more, don’t we?


If you have 4 spaces (and you haven’t had 4 spaces before), how would you fill those spaces? Realistic options, please, though if your realistic options mirror the “what would I buy if I won the lottery?” scenario, then more power to ya!

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  1. Jensen FF (My Interceptor III will suffice though)
    New Subaru STI (daily driver, used to have a ’99 WRX)
    Mazda MX5 NA8
    Porsche 930 or 964 Turbo (would settle for an 80s Carrera or 964 C2)

    1. I’m looking at NA8’s too. There’s a nice dark green one with black steelies for sale at the moment. Looks superb.

      1. I think I have seen that one. I very nearly bought one a while back. Still would like one as a daily runabout. Sadly there is no money left after the Jensen. Oh well.

  2. Sorry to hear that house didn’t work for you and the Mrs, Swade! But your new plan sounds very doable.
    Hmm, limited just to four, a challenge! I’d have to keep what I have, with two swaps and one deletion: 1929 Ford Model A, 1991 Saab 900 Turbo SPG, 1994 MG RV8 and 2000 Volvo C70 Coupe HPT.

  3. I’ll keep my 1991 Saab 900 SE Convertible, 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 (a 1972 Buick GS would be a worthy substitute), facelifted Jaguar XJS V12, Audi A6 Avant quattro or Saab TurboX Combi as a daily driver. Probably the Audi given the price.

    1. I realized that I’ve squeezed the performance rig out of the mix, so I’d probably insert a Porsche Boxster in place of the Jag. Decisions, decisions!

    2. Porsche instead of Audi, perhaps? German for German?

      I’m with Andy – the Jag would be a cracker if I could fit one in.

      1. Andy and Swade: I, too, second-guessed that swap. I would need a reasonable daily driver, and so even if the Audi went, I’d have to replace with a modern sedan with reasonable gas mileage. The Jag doesn’t fit that bill. The 442 can’t go, either — I want to be able to drive a muscle car to the local/regional events for those cars. The Saab can’t go for obvious reasons, and that leaves the Jag to take the fall. If anything, I’d sacrifice the Boxster to put the Jag back into the mix. As Swade says: Six would be better. My six would be the 900, 442, XJS, A6 Avant, Boxster, Ram 1500 Crew Cab..

  4. Hmmm, 4 realistic cars is a great puzzle to solve – 4 makes it fun, keeping it real makes it more fun because you really have to think. For me: Saab Viggen, Honda Element or Ford Transit Connect (to haul my bicycles and gear), Miata or Honda S2000, and I’d either keep my ’07 9-3 or keep the 4th slot open for the rest of the bicycles.

    1. Yep, keeping it real is actually a bit more exciting. “I could actually do this!” is better than “what if” sometimes.

  5. In the ideal world… Saab 9-3 SportCombi XWD as a daily, Toyota 100 Series as 4WD, Alfa 33 Stradale as toy and Unimog as camper/tourer. But to be honest 4 just isn’t enough… really need a Saab C900 Converitble and Merc 280SL too 😉 plus a few motorbikes.

  6. Nice project. I’m going to play with it but I’m not telling anyone, least of all my wife. Cheers.

  7. Too bad the new place didn’t work out, I was waiting for you to mention it having spotted a certain 968 online. 4 cars is tough. Realistic is tougher still, but I’ll give it a go!
    – 2008+ 9-3 SportCombi, for everyday use – Aero or Vector
    – Fulvia, any series any spec, for pleasure
    – Land Rover Defender, for The Outdoors
    – BMW E30 with tuned B204, for shits and giggles

    1. Sad we had to pass on the place, but we couldn’t get the price down to something acceptable (for us) given the location and the amount of work to be done.

      Nice list!

  8. This is certainly a loaded question……

    Swade provides a photo of a garage in his dreamy past and then has the audacity to ask how we would fill the thing!

    The question of an “ideal” four vehicle garage is most likely of more interest than how to fill the garage. As it is, I would have much fun filling the garage, as it would be pretty much a changing stable over the years.

    It is more fun to find out what or how the ideal garage would be from a design perspective.

    I would nominate three garages here in the USA, a with a fourth being an airplane hanger.

    First garage is in nearby Troy, Wisconsin. This was an addition to an existing 1,200 square foot ranch style house. The garage has four doors, second floor storage loft and third floor mancave. It would better be described as a garage with an attached house.

    Second example is near Portland, Maine. A rather ordinary 3 car space with second story parts loft with a twist. One end bay has a two post lift. Being in Maine it is heated for those long, dark, cold times to allow a comfortable wrench twist.

    Third is owned by Tom Nelson in Evergreen, Colorado and dubbed the “Garaj Mahal”. Tom’s “Garag Mahal” is a two level affair with a hole in the upper floor to allow access to the underside of the whatever is parked on the upper level.

    And the airplane hanger is in northern Illinois, not far from Chicago. There’s room to park a Cessna 310, a couple of interesting autos and a motorcycle or three tucked in/around the Cessna. The best part is the living quarters…….a loft style “apartment” in the corner. So when you’re needing an inside of the eyelids inspection after wrench/polishing/playing with the ride of the day, up you go a flight of stairs.


    I’ll just say I’ll die a happy man if I can drive home from work on the coldest, snowiest, really crappy day at work, pull the car into the garage, go into the house, eat dinner, change into a pair of flip flops, cut-offs and t-shirt, then go into the garage and wash the daily driver.

    I never had much interest in anything more than a three space garage, but it would not be not too hard to convince me to make the garage into four or more spaces…..

  9. 1. My wife’s Mercedes A-class;
    2. After physically burning all of my Saabs like in a Vampire Weekend music video, a new white Mercedes AMG C-63;
    3. VW Amarok ute, because every man needs a ute; and
    4. A restored late 60’s Porsche 911 that I could polish daily with a cloth.nappy : )

  10. What if…. I am a lucky bastard to own two cars already. My very first car the VW Beatle 1968, a Saab 9-5 Aero Estate. (Fully restored, with a complete new drivetrain from the bankruptcy estate of Saab) I would add a Citroën Mehari and Saab 900 lpt coupe with a sun roof. All cars I can afford and are fun to drive.

  11. I suppose I’m too boring:

    1 – My red 9-5 Wagon
    2 – My wive’s 9-3 convertible
    3 – A small e-car for daily commuting (An e-Up or a Renault ZOE/Twizzy)
    4 – A Ducati Monster, more fun than an Elise and both are only for sung days.

    1. There’s nothing boring there, Red. And there are no wrong answers to this question. Bikes are OK if that’s your thing.

  12. 4 cars, eh?
    105-2Litre sitting on Chromodoras, E9 Csi sitting on Chromodoras, 99Turbo (buy yours back!) sitting on snowflakes and a Cup for everyday work.

    1. The 105 AND e9! Very nice! (Always loved those wheels.) Good taste. (I might go for an original 1750, simply for the grille and dash)

  13. Sorry for the poetic licence but I have to provide a choice in each marque just in case one is not available 🙂

    FORD – Sierra Cosworth RS500 OR XC Falcon Cobra coupe
    HOLDEN – Torana GTR XU1 OR VN Group A Commodore
    LANCIA – Stratos OR Delta HF Integrale
    SAAB – 9000 Aero (manual / silver) OR 9-5 Mk2 Aero wagon

    I reserve the right to change my mind in 5 minutes time!


    1. A Stratos as a good replica .. wide body and light pods of course … excellent choice …

  14. I guess I’m half way there, having two cars. I would keep the 9-3 hatch, because it’s still the best way to cover long distances in any weather while carrying a surprisingly large amount of stuff. I would also keep the Abarth, because it covers the whole “Italian and sporty” category.

    I would get an old Land Rover 109 or 110 for the third spot. I’ve had a thing for those since I was two years old, just can’t help it.

    The fourth spot would be open for now. I guess the scooter can go there, but it doesn’t need a full spot. I would keep an eye out for either a hydro-pneumatic Citroen, or a 1970s Imperial (or later New Yorker). Very different cars, but both address the issue of comfortable stylish motoring in their own unique way.
    The more I think about it, the more the notion of having a free spot for strays and short-term acquisitions appeals to me. It would be a shame to have a four car garage and still feel short of space.

    1. The roving spot does have definite appeal. Short term fling cars to make the other three ‘wives’ jealous 🙂

    2. The Abarth definitely has the Italian sporty thing covered. A true heir to the legacy, I think.

  15. If I had a for car garage (wish I did!)….what could I fill it with that is real-world affordable? Well, I currently have three Saabs, having just bought a very well cared for 2008 9-5 Sportcombi at a great price! For this thought exercise, I would keep the 9-5 and my 1971 Sonett III but sell the 2000 9-3. Then I think I would like to find a good classic 900 rag-top as I have never owned one before. For the last one, I think it would have to be some ’70s era muscle car…the kind I drooled over growing up. 🙂

  16. It would be totally ludicrous to even mention a supercharged Duesenberg Model J, a Cord 810, a Rolls Phantom or a 770 Grosser Mercedes. That’s just silly talk.

    So how about:

    A Pearl White 1967 Volvo P1800 S
    A Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback
    A Nero Daytona 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 Corvette-based replica
    A Silver Metallic 1981 Saab 900 Turbo Combi Coupe custom build with modifications

  17. Lets see;

    I put 5 on my list because I already own 2 keepers that I will never part with……

    2001 Saab 95 Aero with Stage 1 tune and forged pistons and lighter flywheel and no balance shafts. I already have this, and I will never sell it. CA vanity license plate is KONISEG

    1973 Porsche Carerra RS [with wrong VIN….so it is a replicant] but with original RS decklid, upgraded suspension from RS and roll bar and better Recaro seats [oh I have that one too] I am never selling it….my kids will have to fight over it. Swade rode in this one around Santa Monica CA in his Saab days.

    1988 Saab SPG grey or black with grey interior. Had one and should have never sold it.

    And 2 I don’t have any more:

    1979 Saab 900 Turbo black with red velvet interior. Had one of those too and never wanted to sell it, but someone rand a light and center punched it at 40 MPH RIP 1979 beauty.

    1959 Saab 93b……..loved that car drove it when I was 16+

  18. Mmmmm A FOUR car garage. Now that’s a dream.

    Already taking care of two on the list.
    1. Lancia Fulvia GT Berlina. “Fulvia is Italian for Bliss”. owned since 1979.
    2. 2002 Anniversary SAAB 9-3 Convertble.

    Now the dreams:
    3. Lancia Stratos kit car (Lister Bell) coupled with Lancia Thesis 3.2l V6 (Busso) . What a wonderful project! The real deal is a Tatts ticket away – so not likely in this lifetime.
    4.Tesla S (would have to be RHD) or any cool electric car i.e. Audi e-tron, MX5 dragster

    If that ticket comes good then – a Boxster would push out the SAAB.

    Really enjoy your insights and passions.

    1. You have a Fulvia? Lucky man.

      You sound Aussie. Any chance you’re in Tassie (he asked him hopefully).

      Thanks for the note.

      1. Swade. Tassie No. You would have hunted me down by now. Victoria. Dandenong Ranges. All the best. Keep up the great work.

        1. Beautiful spot. May Dad wanted to move to the hills when I was a kid growing up in Macleod. And Mrs Swade and I were looking at houses there online earlier this year. Love it. Enjoy.

  19. Fun excercise! Let me start with what I already have and would like to keep:
    1. 2005 Saab 9-3 SC 1.9 TiD Vector, Hirsched – Ideal for transporting things or economical travel. I would exchange this for a 9-3X, but there are almost none available in Germany.
    2. 1987 Mercedes 250D (W124) – A 5 cylinder non-turbo diesel 90 HP cruiser. Absolutely undestroyable. My summer daily driver.

    Besides that, I would like something French and extravagant. Ideally a Citroen DS, but I don’t think a good example is in the near-future budget. A C6 would be a worthy modern-day, affordable replacement. That, or a CX… This is really hard!

    The fourth spot would have to be changed from time to time… Cars that I would consider for that are: Mazda MX-5, Lexus GS450h or Toyota Prius, Saab 9000 Aero, Smart fortwo convertible, some old BMW, a 70s Suburban… It never ends. I just want to experience every automotive flavour!

  20. 1991 SPG OR SIS Convertible for my daily driver
    Ford Flex SHO for Sue
    2CV because slow can be fun
    R5 turbo because fast and evil is funner

  21. Well, the whole “real world” thing puts a bit of a damper on things.

    That said, my ideal garage contents would be…

    1) Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD Diesel 4×4 Crew Cab – Tows, hauls, could be pressed into snowplow duty.
    2) VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI – Because not every drive is an event.
    3) Saab 9-3 Viggen – With VRK (minimally) and as many Hirsch/Abbot/Maptun bolt ons as my budget will support. Seats and wheel reskinned in Alcantara.
    4) Jeep Wagoneer/Cherokee – Ideally with a fully massaged and injected AMC 401/6L80/NP246 drivetrain, optionally with the L92/4L80e/BW4493 drivetrain from the otherwise horrible Hummer H2. Then with a long arm coil conversion and 2″ lift on a ARB equipped D44 in the front and an ARB equipped Dana 60 out back. Then widen the wheel arches a bit and fit 34″ tires.

    And, of course, the garage itself would have a 2 post lift, proper tool chests, and a sealed floor with drains (so as to keep it spotlessly clean like a race shop).

  22. What a fun question and what a great discussion!

    Got me to to thinking that I am very lucky in life as I am close to having what I consider to be the ideal real world four car set up:

    (i) fully restored 1978 Saab 99 Turbo,
    (ii) pretty much fully restored and modded (290hp) 1997 9000 Aero (just been repainted and the interiour repainted). With the Abbot Racing suspension mods, this car is an incredible machine.
    (iii) just purchased my dream 1985 900 T16S or SPG for those of you Stateside (silver with a red interior). I intend to do a full restoration of this car over the next two years.
    (iv) my wife has a 2006 9-3 SC 175 HP Diesel. This is the daily runabout for her and the kids (not a bad car).

    I suppose the only thing I would change in my line up is trade the diesel 9-3 for a Turbo X SC (love that car).

    I am not just a Saab man however – just seems that focusing on one brand has made it easier for me to focus on the types of cars I collect. Other cars I would love to own:

    (a) Citroen DS – late model pls!
    (b) Porsche 911 aircooled – at this point, any flavor will do (even the four cylinder). That said, the prices for these cars are so outrageous that I will probably never justify owning one.
    (c) Citroen 2CV – pls let it be a very early model. I love the utilitarian style of these cars.
    (d) Lancia Fulvia, but one in metallic brown with yellow interior. I am with you on this Swade – one of the most intersting cars ever made. There were several in my neighborhood in Luxembourg where I grew up, and am also infatuated with these cars.
    (e) Citroen SM – My father’s friend had one with a Citroen DS motor swapped in. The style of this car is insane!
    (f) Mercedes 123 chasis – late model 300 turbodiesel. Two door coupe a plus. We had three of these cars in the family. A Hungarian taxi driver once described these cars well to me – “once running, these cars would drive to Moscow and back without stopping”. I do not think there ever will be a more over-engineered car than this one.
    (g) Mercedes 124 chasis coupe. This was the most over engineered car after the 123 chasis….and the shape is truly timeless. If they came out with this shape today, it would still look modern in my view (with a few changes). We had several of these in the family over the years, and they have all been fantastic.
    (h) Lancia Delta integrale. A crazy machine that probably should never have been built for public consumption.

    Although I own four saabs, there are several saabs which I still would like to own:
    – I would love a two stroke 96 – Montecarlo would be a plus!
    – Sonnet, but late model with the funky 70s looks
    – 9-3 viggen in lightning blue with the two tone interior
    – Saab C900 convertible

    I know you only said four cars….but if you are a car man, it is difficult to limit oneself to just four when given an option. I suppose this returns me to my first point – I focus on Saabs as it is somehow easier to focus your automotive lust if you limit yourself to one brand.

    Great post Swade!

    1. You’re going to need a mighty big garage, Ed. But I can’t begrudge you any of those selections. They’d all be fantastic to own.

  23. Well, at this point in life even the four garage house is a dream, so from my point of view at least, the four cars are not very realistic, still:

    1:Saab 9-3 viggen coupe in blue
    2: 1996 Volvo 960 Executive with beige leather
    3: 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 with the 4,2 liter diesel engine
    4: 2009-2011 Porsche 911 Carrera S with heated seats, sport exhaust, sunroof and the sport carrera wheels.

    A bit too optimistic, perhaps ?

  24. Well, I just bought my 4th car (which means that one has to go now…)
    ’86 900 SPG (Edwardian Grey over Buffalo Grey)
    ’96 Toyota 4Runner (camping, skiing, pulling etc. It’s a very nice car)
    ’03 9-5 Aero Wagon Steel Gray (Just bought this one… it’s perfect except that its an automatic)
    ’04 9-5 Aero Wagon Nocturne Blue (Selling this one… I like the Steel Gray much more, so the dark blue one is up for sale)

    My Ideal 4-car Garage (within reason, per Swade’s instructions)
    ’06-’07 GMC Sierra HD 2500 w/ Duramax and Alison
    ’04-’05 9-5 Aero wagon in white with a 5-speed (let me know if you find one!)
    ’89-’91 e30 BMW. This would be my fun car. Make it handle like an e30 M3 and save $$$
    Monte Carlo Yellow C900 ‘vert? or an Alfa 105 GTV? or a Viggen in MCY or Lightning Blue?
    (I think that fourth spot would be on a constant rotation…)


  25. with some sudden enlightenment …. I believe I am well on my way to my perfect, within the bounds of my currently known finances, four car garage ….. nearly …. sort of …. not far off ….

    1. Renault Megane RS 250 cup Trophy + (to be precise)
    2. Alfasud Sprint …. 1982 work in progress, … my love hate for this engaging car has shifted to the point, I now truly believe its here to stay …. it will become the tinker / change / adapt / paint … start all over again car …. until parts dry up ..
    3. (Yet to source and find, let alone arrange the monies {dont mention price to my other half} ) TVR Tuscan …. Jaguar racing green … red interior please …
    4. (okay 4 &/or 5) .. I have an S1 Elise … its perfect and does everything I want …… unless I can get a Donkervoort . Audi engine please ….. then the Elise would (a) stay because I found a bigger garage and bank balance (b) stay .. because my wife decided she likes it (c) both a and b .. (d) none of a, b and c … or (d) … it would have to go to make room for the Donkervoort ….


    NOTE … in the yard … just to the right of the four car gargae would also be
    1. VW Beetle 1963 (Herbie)
    2. Mini Cooper 1999 or 2000 13″ wheels and 90 bhp
    3. Aston Martin Vantage (new one V8 .. or V12 ..we’re dreaming here right?)
    4. Aston Martin Vanquish ..
    5. Lotus Esprit S1 with an Audi V8 conversion (there is a James Bond thing happening here .. I know)
    6. BMW Z8
    7. Caterham (any)
    8. Elfin streamliner
    9. Fiat X19 …..
    10. Mk1 Golf GTi
    11. Lotus Europe – 1969
    12. Lotus Evora
    13. Lancia Stratos replica …. big arches … light pods … massive Cromodora wheels
    14. Morgan aero 8
    15. Mazda Miata, roadster, MX5 … NC speedster
    16. Opel Monza
    17. Ford Capri 3.0 S pack
    18. Porsche speedster (replica …we assume)
    19. Porsche 550 spyder
    20. Porsche 997 .. made to look retro with duck tail, light grey paint, and BIG Fuch’s wheels
    21. Porsche 944 / 968 ……(or both)
    22. Renault 5Turbo
    23. Renault Clio V6 …. (yes another one)
    24. Triumph TR7 … full works rally look
    25. Triumph Italia 2000 Coupé
    26. Volvo P1800
    27. Weismann GT coupe

      1. gotta admit … 31/32 car fleet ….. is …. errrr … achievable …… sort of … maybe …. (“the men in white coats are back again … no .. no I dont want anymore medication………..mmmmmmmmm … thats nice ……..” )