The Forever Car. You may not have done the exercise of narrowing it down to just one, but I’m sure there’s at least a handful of cars that you would never part with. But would you drive it all the time? Would you even be able to? The latest multi-screened, lithium-battery’d, over-the-air-updated wonder of engineering you’d happily own until you shuffle off your mortal coil (not to mention the rest of your mortal ignition system) may simply not be supported in fifteen or twenty years. Will the aftermarket pick up the slack when the battery gives up its last amp and the screens’ LED start dropping off like fireflies that have lit their weird little butts for the last time? Maybe. Maybe not.
For today’s Autopian Asks, we want to know what one car you would keep forever — one that you would actually use to get you places, and one that could—fingers crossed—be maintained so you could actually enjoy it for the rest of your days. It doesn’t have to be your daily driver, so if you need a truck, that doesn’t mean your forever car has to be a truck (you can have a second or third or 10th car in addition). Unless you just really love trucks, that is.
An example? Sure. Here’s Matt Hardigree’s Forever Car:
I’d say I already have my Forever Car: an E39 BMW 530i, which is perfectly sized, modern enough to work with my phone and just work. Every part is LEGO-able and replaceable. It’s as fast as I need a car to be and it has a five-speed manual, which is the greatest transmission ever invented by man.
[Editor’s Note: For me, that’s an impossible question, but if I had to choose just one car, it’d be a Holy Grail Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ. It’s not my very favorite Jeep — that post goes to the Jeep Cherokee XJ. But XJs are just too primitive to drive everyday, and they’re small. ZJs are bigger; they’ve got a better rear suspension; they’ve got a more stout cooling system; and they’re never going to be as valuable as XJs, so parts are cheap. I love my new Wrangler YJ, but it’s too impractical. And I love my BMW i3, and I’d be willing to spend the $15 grand on a new battery in 20 years I suppose. I think the carbon fiber body and aluminum suspension will hold up until the end of time, and the electric powertrain is future-proof in many ways. But I need something that can go off-road; I enjoy that hobby far too much. Really, my ideal two-car garage would be my Holy Grail ZJ and my BMW i3. -DT].
What’s your forever car? Or a few contenders, no need to knock yourself out choosing just one. We’ll see you in the comments!
Top composite image, galaxy: NASA, ESA and J. Olmsted (STScI); thinking man, stock.adobe.com/khosrork; vehicle images via Ford, Volkswagen, Delorean marketing materials
My 1962 Jaguar Mk2 3.8 – “Grace, space, pace” still sums up the experience perfectly. It’s one of few 1950s-designed cars that can not just keep up with modern traffic but can still frighten kids in hot-hatches and surprise tradesmen in their Hiluxes up a twisty mountain road. It will do 70mph all day 4-up, keeping its passengers in cossetted wood-and-leather luxury the whole time. It really shrinks around you and becomes extremely precise and pointy when the red mist drops, and its multi-Le Mans-winning engine absolutely sings. And it’s almost always the best-looking car on the road, but in an unpretentious way that yer typical Germans or Italians could never aspire to.
My 1972 Super Beetle. When I was 11 a family donated it to our boy scout troop’s annual silent auction. I had always wanted a Beetle (I was obsessed with Herbie at an early age) and because I never shut up about it, my folks bought it for me for $825. They reasoned it would be a way for me to learn to work on cars without having to do it on their cars, and the money went to a good cause. I was a very weird kid with few friends, but I had my car. That actually got me through a lot, until I made actual human friends. Laugh if you will (and make all the comparisons you want with Stephen King’s Christine), but it’s true.
That was in 2004. I’m 30 now, and I still have the car. It’s been a perpetually rolling project, and I’ve just fixed things as they break. I learned to drive in it, although it was never my daily driver. My folks didn’t want me driving something so old, slow, unsafe and rusty every day. Even so, a lot of memories in that little car from my high school years and beyond. I had it painted on the cheap my senior year of high school, but rust repair is what it (still) really needs. For the last two years I was in college I kept it with me at school and it served as my second car. I fully rebuilt the engine four years ago, the first time I had ever rebuilt any engine.
I fully intend to keep the Beetle the rest of my life. It’s basically part of the family at this point. I could go on with stories and anecdotes, but I think I’ve painted a clear enough picture. As I mentioned there’s a severe case of rust, but I’m planning on raising some funds to tackle that in the next few years. A rusty unibody car is dangerous, so I just use the car for local, low speed trips. I try to drive it once a week when the weather is nice and there’s no salt on the roads.
That is so cool. My mom had an orange ’73 Super Beetle. But it was a lemon compared to my dad’s eggshell ’68; that is my platonic ideal of a beetle and he kept it until the mid 80’s when my dad finally sold it. I was so sad to see it go since I spent many hours playing in it. I still remember the wolfsburg logo on the steering wheel…
My dearly departed 1998 Supersonic Blue Acura Integra GS-R Coupe. I want it back. Even though I live in New England, I want it back.
A Guards Red manual aircooled 911 with a ducktail. Preferably with no sunroof. That’s my dream. A 964 would be perfect, although the 993’s been growing on me more lately, or an early one before the SC-era of lumpy bumpers. Those are my faves, although let’s be honest, I wouldn’t kick any of the aircooleds out of my driveway.
Or if we’re going Full Silly for this, gosh, just give me a 2.7 RS.
It feels like I’m permanently blocked from ever having nice things, though, so I will say that I’m unlikely to give up the 944 or the 411 anytime soon.
For me, it’s the Tesla Model S. Fantastic performance, highly efficient, mostly made out of aluminum so it won’t rust, it’s practical and I like how it looks.
Not only could it be a car I could own forever, I would have it as my only car forever… or at least until I kick the bucket.
I don’t see any rules about not being allowed to rent another vehicle for certain circumstances where one might want a pickup or something else, I’m still fairly practical at heart. I’d still want a 4-door, but I don’t commute so fuel economy isn’t a huge concern. Pontiac G8 GXP I’m thinking.
My 1977 Fairlady Z / 260Z which is a rust bucket but will be repaired and put back on the road. Will drop in my RB25DET and enjoy my carbon cruiser forever or until such time as I’m forced to convert to Hydrogen or EV in 30 years time. By that time I expect to have a flying car so maybe can convert the old lady into something more modern. Nothing like those classic S30 Z curves on the road today…
CTS-V Wagon with the 6-speed manual…
I have a 2006 Honda Element EX. For me, it’s the perfect vehicle. Decent mileage, tons of cargo space, and it’s fun to drive.