Fantasy Garage: Godzilla Edition- Matt’s Picks

April 16, 2013 at 3:02 am

Well, it is now my turn to pick the criteria for the latest Fantasy Garage.  As I drove around in a 2000 Nissan Xterra, I thought very hard as to what I could propose for our latest challenge.  That’s when the idea hit to do a Godzilla edition, aimed towards foreign cars.  The criteria: 1. a Japanese brand vehicle, 2. a “zombie apocalypse”  vehicle, and 3. a “rice rocket”- a sports/racing bike, just to throw a curve ball into the equation.  The price cap: $54,000.   Why such a strange number? Well the original Godzilla movie was debuted in 1954, so I just tacked a few zero’s on to the year.  So enjoy my picks for this latest edition of Fantasy Garage.

– Japanese-brand vehicle: 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S – $3500

SoT Altima

This vehicle is small enough to be able to cruise around in the city without any issues.  It comes complete with power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, and cruise control.  It’s valued at $4393, according to Kelly Blue Book, but as a price like this, it’s a decent deal.  Not to mention the other Nissan sedan choices were either a tan/gray color that has seen better days, or a green/blue which just looks horrendous!


– Zombie Apocalypse Escape Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X – $31,131 (accessories included)

Sot Xterra Pro4x

I’m a big fan of the Nissan Xterra. I own a 2000 Nissan Xterra which I purchased pre-owned in 2005 and I have had no major complaints since.  However, it is riding at around 154K miles, so the complaint list is beginning to grow- but that’s expected.  Regardless of these issues, I still chose the Xterra as my escape vehicle.  After pricing it out to fit my needs, including side steps, rain guards, and a tow hitch, this vehicle runs for a little more than $31,000.  Not a bad deal.  I’ll probably toss in another $1000 in strobe lights and police scanner installation, which would bring me up to my $54,000 goal.   This vehicle is needed to drive over debris and anything else that may be lying in the road post- apocalypse.  In addition to all of this, motor trend picked the Xterra to be one vehicle which would excel during an apocalypse.


Rice Rocket: 2012 Ducati with 848 EVO – $13,995

SoT Ducati 2012

I’ll be honest and say I’m not a big fan of bikes.  They’re very unsafe and do not leave much room for error.  Whether it’s an inexperienced operator, or the other idiots on the road, I could never see myself on any motorcycle.  However, this is a sharp looking bike, and if I didn’t care about anything, and didn’t live in New England where you can ride a bike for only one third of the year (might be an overestimate), then I would be seen on this.

Well, this puts my total to roughly $48,626.  I’ll probably spend the remainder adding strobes and police scanners, like I said earlier on the Xterra.  With the Altima, I’ll probably have to throw money into maintenance.  And finally, with the Ducati, the remainder will be spent on hospital bills since I don’t even know how to ride a motorcycle.  Well, those are my picks! I hope you enjoyed them!

$10K Fantasy Garage- Matt’s Rat Boxes

April 2, 2013 at 2:01 am

I really thought this would be easier than it actually was.  I started this out with a few cars and trucks I would like and picked them.  Then when I was left with about $200, I knew I had to revamp my choices. So sit back, and enjoy my collection of rat boxes for under $10,000.

1964 Chevrolet C10 Custom Cab: $2,950

1964ChevyC10Cust Everyone needs a pick up truck, and this was the best one I could find with in this price range.  The seller says this truck runs, but the only catch is that seller bolted on fenders and put in a ’61 GMC V6 engine along with a 4 speed transmission, which only makes this truck “Yard Driveable” (for now).  This truck is a 1/2 ton, which means you’d be able to haul a lot of hay, dirt, and tractor parts in your hick truck.


1984 Pontiac Grand Prix: $3500

1984GP This is my fun beater- something that I can spin the tires with and impress the ladies, as long as they like old beaters whose hoods don’t latch on completely.  Pontiac has always made great vehicles, but unfortunately, due to the economy, the ceased production and this company shut down a few years ago.  Here are some vehicle specifics from the seller: recent V6 231 motor and TCI 200-4R transmission, polyurethane bushings and recent front end work.


1970 International Fire Truck: $2,795

1970 IntFT Of course, I would need to find an emergency beater!  This was taken out of service from a fire department in 2007.  According to the seller, it starts right up, and drives well.  In addition to this, the lights siren work, and this truck is capable of spraying foam.  The only downfall is that a warranty is not included.  If you can get over that, then you will definitely enjoy cruising down the back roads with your 5 speed manual transmission.  Surprisingly, this truck only has 2,433 miles on it, which means the call volume for this department must be extremely low.

I believe this leaves me with approximately $700 left over, which will probably be used for towing expenses when all of these break down in the middle of no where.



10K Fantasy Garage – Jonathan’s picks

March 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not a beater guy. I like my cars new or fairly new and if it’s old, it better something somewhat nice. On top of that I’m a bit of a germaphobe, who knows who and what has been done in some vehicle that has 100K miles on it. I was expecting this to be very difficult for me, finding three cars for 10K when I’d probably have a tough time looking for one at 10K. So decided to have laugh and “buy” things that would give me some stories to tell

The Daily Driver ( I go home to my pipe and slippers buy) – 1990 Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign – $3,000

The most class you can get for three grand, so what if it’s very thirsty and the electrical system acts like coke-fuelled Lindsey Lohan. You’re going to look great when the wipers don’t work or the windows go down in the middle of  rainstorm.  When you drive a car like this, no matter how crappy it is under the hood, people are going to think you’re from old money, went to an elite private school and you or a fellow male family member is named Nigel.

This car was found on Craigslist in North Andover, MA with the contact being a guy named Damien. He either fits the description above or someone looking to upgrade their baller status. The car is clean outside and the interior shows no marks from the last fox hunt.

The Weekend Ride (Only because I have the best AAA membership and a mechanic named Ralf is eternally indebted to me) – 1988 VW Scirocco 16v – $4,200


The rule of thumb on VW’s, especially old ones is that they’re fantastic cars…when they work. Whatever you pay for car, double the cost and that’s at least your yearly maintenance cost . Scirocco’s are your typical German: great ideas but poor execution/not being able to complete the job. This one (found on ebay) is said to have a rebuilt engine, new fuel injectors, new clutch, new brakes, new water pump. What the seller didn’t say was he’s now seeing a mental health professional and had to sell a kidney to cover the costs of the repairs.

The Can’t Be Killed Rust Warrior – 1985 Toyota Land Crusier – $2990

Land Cruiser

The true definition of a beater, this SUV refuses to die; rust, zombie apocalypse  and one or two nuclear holocausts couldn’t kill this Land Crusier. It looks like hell but so bad ass at the same time. Who cares if your feet might fall through the floor and you need to make sure your shots are up to date. Take this anywhere and you get respect.


Lav’s $10K Beater Corral

March 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm

As a follow-up to this week’s $150K bundle of joy, I’ve now struck out for a lineup that’s near and dear to my heart: beaters. Except, like a comfy sweater with a few holes or an old beach towel that’s bleached by the sun, beaters don’t necessarily have to be beaters. In fact, most of my selections are just the affordable versions of some once kick-ass cars.

Daily driver: 1990 Ford Taurus SHO – $4,000

I spend too much time making up bad puns involving the word “show” to not thoroughly enjoy driving this piece of 80’s goodness. Take a mundane family sedan, call up a few Asian pals who normally make sportbikes and outboard motors, and then ask them to build you a hotrod. I’ve always heard cocaine flowed like a river in the big hair era, but it must have been squirted out of air fresheners at Ford’s headquarters. And then to give it a manual transmission? Mercy. I’ll take mine with the slicer alloys.


Track rat: 1987 Isuzu Impulse Turbo – $3,000

Oh, yeah. I went there. A damn ISUZU. Actually, think of it as the fairer twin of the VW Scirocco, except it’s rear wheel drive, came factory turbocharged, Lotus breathed on it (or in its general direction) and it’s an ISUZU. I have loved these things for as long as I can remember, and it’s frightening to think that someday I will likely chase someone down, screaming “HERE, TAKE MY MONEY!” should I find one with all the trimmings and most of its sheet metal still intact. It also is the epitome of 80’s logic, of which there was very little. Might explain why Isuzu doesn’t sell cars here anymore.


Rock hopper: 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade – $3,000

Oftentimes, I wish I born a few years sooner. The early 90’s seemingly captured everything I love in a car today, from mesh wheels to fender flares and average vehicles becoming a little less average. Best of all, that even included monstrosities like the Jeep Wrangler Renegade. LOOK AT IT. It’s got a factory wide body, kick-ass moniker WITH its own pinstripe, monster fog lamps, multi-hole alloys, inline six, five-speed – oh yeah, and it’s four wheel drive because it’s a FREAKIN’ JEEP. When’s the last time you heard “Jeep” and “body kit” in the same sentence that you didn’t convulse with fear, anger, or likely, both? Well, the 90’s called and left a message saying thanks, you’re welcome, and have a nice day.



That does it, kids. The SHO and Renegade are on eBay right now – just need to get an “Impulse” to say bye-bye to the E46.


What I did there, do you see it?

Lav’s $150K picks – non-beater edition

March 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

This is not easy. $150K to spend on three vehicles when most of what I want to own can be found for $20K or less. But, like any addict, those afflicted with the disease of gearhead can always find new ways to enhance their addiction.

Everyday car – 1998 Porsche 911 C4S ($50,000 + $10,000 annual maintenance):

This, to me, is the epitome of the enthusiast car. Collectible for being the last of the air-cooled 911s; classic for its strict adherence to the original design; useful for its four-wheel drive configuration, aided by the rear-mounted engine for additional traction; and just plain awesome for numerous other reasons, from its classic interior to its performance to its (relative) reliability. To drive one of these every day is to have truly made it in life, and is deserving of respect from gearheads everywhere.


Utilitarian transport – Land Rover Defender 90 ($45,000 + $5,000 annual maintenance)

If the snowfall renders the 993 useless, this is the next best thing – a classic Defender 90. Anything that looks good wearing big, honkin’ Hella fog lamps is usually going to find a warm place in my heart, and the limited-production Defender 90 is the ultimate paradox of barely warmed over military-grade transport that you can still drive while wearing your best suit. Obviously, its off-road prowess precedes it, but the abstract qualities it possesses – looking as good parked on Newbury Street as it does up at Killington – make it a must-have for me.



Classic – E28 BMW M5 ($35,000 + $5,000 annual maintenance) 

Some might say this should be reversed, with the M5 taking the honors as the every day vehicle. But really, if this is a fantasy, I’d want to drive the 911 daily after so many years of using sedans for commuting purposes. The E28 is one of my favorite generations of the BMW family, and the legendary qualities of the M5, from its limited production to the Ronin-esque images it conjures every time you slip behind the wheel, deserves to be treated with classic status sooner than later. The 993 is not far behind in that department, but at this moment, the original Q-ship is already there.


$150K Fantasy Garage- Matt’s Picks

March 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Everyday Car: 2005 GMC Envoy XUV: $29,780


I’m very disappointed that this SUV was discontinued.  The GMC Envoy XUV was not just an SUV; it could be transformed into a small pickup truck with a few pushes of a button.  This allowed for the rear roof to retract and a small divider window to rise up behind the second row of seats.  This vehicle would be ideal  to transport my drums instead of a truck. Where I would be able to protect them from the weather and other elements?  There’s also plenty of room for me to store my  EMS equipment, along with yardwork tools and materials when the weather is right.  The 4 wheel drive would allow me to get to work during all times, including during state of emergencies. Now, if I had to chose a vehicle still in production for my everyday vehicle, it would either be a GMC Terrain or a Chevrolet Avalanche.


Work/Rescue Vehicle: 2009 (or newer) Hummer H2: $63,090



As an EMT, I need to be able to get to work despite the weather.  When I’m at work, that doesn’t change.  Granted, at work, we use Ford F350s, F450s, and Chevrolet 4500s, but since this is Fantasy Garage, I wouldn’t mind cruising the streets of Boston in a Hummer H2 fully loaded.  Maybe motorists and pedestrians would make a better attempt to get out of our way if this was behind them laying on the airhorn.  Disclaimer: The listed price does not reflect aftermarket/equipment prices.  If it were, this would be closer to $150,000.  The above price is the average MSRP for 2009 Hummer H2s.


Classic Car: 1975 Pontiac Trans AM: $30,000


This was the toughest decision.  It came down to a Pontiac Trans AM or a Chevy Corvette. I’m a fan of the looks of the older Trans Am, so I went with this.  Also, it’s cameo in Smokey and the Bandit definitely helped out with the decision.  I’ve driven a few of these when I used to work at a GM dealership.  They handle well and it’s easy to see out the windshield (I’m a vertically challenged guy). Not to mention, they’re fun to drive!

Well, those are my Fantasy Garage Choices.  Keep checking back for other Fantasy Garage Challenges, along with other posts!


Sons of Taki Fantasy Garage: Jonathan’s $150K challenge

March 12, 2013 at 1:46 am

The first Sons of Taki fantasy garage challenge is fairly easy; three cars and $15oK in the bank. I was given the assignment to find an everyday vehicle, a weekend house/mountain bike hauler and a classic. For me it comes down fun, fast and purposeful.

The Everyday Car – 2013 Cadilac CTS-V Wagon. 

Cost – $ 67,155

I picked the CTS-V Wagon because it fits my profession. I’m the Executive Director of a Community Access center. I need a car where I can load in a lot of camera equipment and get to shoots in rapid fashion but also go to meet with business partners, government officials and potential donors while looking as professional as can be. The CTS-V gives me what I need for my job: room, speed and class

The Weekend Hauler – 2013 Ford Raptor SVT

Cost – $50,885

While I’m a GM guy a heart, the Raptor fits my weekend needs of hauling around power tools, lawn furniture and muddy mountain bikes.  The HP allows for quick trips to Lowes and the ability to sneak that quick Sunday morning ride in.


The Classic – 1969 Camaro RS

Cost – $29,900

Credit: Hemmings Motor News

Credit: Hemmings Motor News

I’m redeeming myself with the Camaro. I love the first generation F-Bodies and this RS in Hugger Orange does it for me.  The perfect summertime cruiser for me with the hideaway headlights for cruise nights.  This car can be found on the Hemmings Motor News website:


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