Good morning! I hope everyone enjoyed their food coma yesterday. It’s time to take a break from the early-bird doorbuster sales and choose the fate of our three winners from this week. Wednesday’s results should come as no surprise:
Comfortable win for the Cutlass. We do love our station wagons, don’t we? The Sable is a nice car, but there’s just something about a wagon.
Well, with that, we have three winners. So now, we’re going to pit them against each other in an automotive version of that old party game classic: Choose one car to use as your daily driver, one to set up for some form of automotive competition, and one to go up in flames.
This jet-black Alfa handily beat out a Rover SD1 on Monday. It’s a five-speed manual, but keep in mind that the 164 is front wheel drive. It’s certainly nice and comfortable enough for a daily driver, but Alfa reliability is a bit ephemeral; one day this car will bite you on the ass. Best to pay for the roadside assistance on this one.
On the other hand, it has several decades of proud motorsport heritage behind it. This car is a bit big and heavy for a track toy, but you’d certainly gain points for style. It seems a shame to burn something so pretty, but I guess, if the other two appeal to you more…
Here we have a nicely-preserved, though very high mileage, third-generation Honda Civic hatchback. Light, tossable, and easily modifiable, this car would make an excellent weekend warrior. But then again, it also gets great gas mileage, and Honda has the polar opposite reputation of Alfa when it comes to reliability, so you could easily commute in it.
But not comfortably. This is a tiny, tinny car, easily swallowed up in highway traffic, and tiresome to drive on long trips. And with something like 360,000 miles on the clock, it has to be feeling pretty used-up by now. And it is already rusting out, as nearly all older Hondas do. Is it better to burn out than to fade away?
Which brings us to our last competitor. Easily the smoothest ride of the bunch, with a low-stress V6 known for reliability and longevity, a mushy automatic transmission, and those nice soft wide seats. It would be laughable on a track, but sometimes laughter is what you’re going for. If you could tighten up the suspension, maybe swap in a manual (they did exist in A-bodies; they were very few and far between, but they made ’em), you could “win” an autocross event even if you came in last.
But daily use is probably what this car is best for. However, I know hatred of GM products is something of a popular sport in this crowd, so I anticipate a lot of voices choosing to burn it. Poor Oldsmobile.
Personally, what I’d pick: Track the Alfa, daily the Olds, and burn the Civic. Sorry, Honda fans. Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments, enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)