Gary, these questions are about your own personal cars-
What was the first car that you bought and what car(s) do you have in your garage right now? Also, what qualities did these cars have that helped you make your decision to purchase them?
My first car, ever, was a 1982 Toyota Starlet. 1.3 liter four cylinder engine, 4 speed manual, front engine rear wheel drive with 58hp & 67ft-lb of torque. Coolest feature...manual choke!!! That car was awesome! It was light weight, handled pretty well despite its bicycle tires, the RWD was awesome to learn/drive in the snow, and it got 40mpg. I miss it!
My next car was a 1986 Hyundai Excel. 1.5 liter 4 cylinder enginer, 5 speed manual, front wheel drive & 68hp engine. It was a college commuter car. The best things about that car where the Yokohama high performance tires I put on and the SoundStream receiver I installed. Everything else sucked!
After I graduated from college, I wanted something a bit nicer. I found several dealer holdback Toyota MR2's that had been sitting on the lot for a couple of years. These were the 1989 models when the newer design 1991 models were being sold. I got one for a ridiculously low price.
Compared to the Hyundai, this car was a dream. 1.6 liter 4 cylinder, 5 speed manual, mid-engine, rear wheel drive 115hp! Wahoo!!!! The sound of that little motor revving to redline behind my head was wicked! Such a cool little car. I got into a lot of trouble in Texas with this thing. It handled very well, was light and tossable, the interior was pretty cool. Just a great little car all around. Maybe my favorite car ever.
After owning the MR2 for 5 years I wanted something new. Decided to get a Mazda Miata. These cars were cleaning up in SCCA Showroom stock, every magazine in the world was talking about how amazing it was, and I just had to have one. I bought a 1996 Black B-package. 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine, 131 hp, 5 speed, front engine RWD. What else can I say? This car was every bit as good as everyone was raving about. I still love this car.
I was living in San Francisco at the time and was parking the Miata in the apartment garage and had the MR2 on the street. I had to move the MR2 every week because of street cleaning. If I forgot, I got a ticket. I forgot a lot. I'd show up a day later to move my car and there would be a ticket. I got a lot of tickets. I mean A LOT. At one point I left the car at work in Pleasanton for several months. When I left the company, I had to bring the car back to the city. There was a stretch for about 3 weeks that I completely forgot about the car. Once I remembered, I panicked and went running out to the street I was parked on to see how many tickets were on it. It wasn't there. I looked on all the surrounding streets, because I parked it everywhere, and it wasn't anywhere. It was gone. I didn't know if it was towed or stolen. All I knew was that I owed more in parking tickets than the car was worth. The car still had Texas plates even though I'd lived in California for a few years, so no one ever contacted me about the car. So that's the story about HOW I LOST MY CAR! I haven't seen or heard from it since! Anyway, I got sidetracked
The Miata was awesome. I put a Spec Miata suspension on it for street driving. I also installed a Hard-Dog Hard-Core roll bar in it, Racing Beat swaybars, a Baer big brake kit, Dunlop S9000 tires and took it to the track. Here's me going into Turn 2 at Laguna Seca...
The first time I met my would be wife, I walked her to her car after our first date. She stopped at a red 1991 Miata. I couldn't believe it. We both drove 5 speed Miatas. At that point I knew she was something special! Years later, after we were married, she would GIVE me the beat to crap red Miata. It is now very much most of the way turned into one of the cleanest Spec Miata racecars around. I imagine it will be on track later this year.
So, while I had the Miata, the Subaru racing sponsorship came in and I need a truck to haul a trailer around with. Got a 1994 Ford F350 crew cab turbo diesel dually. 7.3 liter 8 cylinder with an automatic E4OD trans. Not much else to say. Big a$$ truck. Fun to sit so high up and look down on all the little people. It was fairly nice inside. Crappy fuel mileage!
Next was the wife's Lexus RX300. Needed a car for the kids that were on the way. Bought it used Lexus certified for a steal and it's been great. Good people mover. Nice inside. Great build quality and comfy. Still looks great. 3 liter V-6 with 219 hp and 4 speed auto. Fun to drive the family around in.
Needed to upgrade the truck to something with more power and better fuel economy. That's where the big Chevy 3500 turbo-diesel crew cab dually comes into play
Now this is a truck!!! 6.6 liter, V-8 turbo, 6 speed manual
with 300hp and 520ft-lbs of torque. The truck now has a shell on the bed as well. This thing can pull a trailer!
I finally retired my 1996 Miata a few years ago and replaced it with another car I've dreamed of. I now drive a 1996 BMW M3. The old E36 model. This is still an amazing car to me. It's looks are ageless, it still has impressive performance by today's standards, it handles amazingly well and has a great interior. The M3 is very sporty from the factory and I've been so impressed with it, I haven't changed a thing. It's perfect for me. Great torque, very solid braking, nice balance on throttle in the corners. You can find VERY well preserved versions of these for $15,000. It's a no-brainer to me. 3.2 liter 6-inline with 240hp and a nice 5 speed transmission. I love everything this car does.
Whew! Those are/were my cars. Much longer post than I had intended!