What I’d Buy With $1 Million, Chapter 3: Our Editors Fill Their Dream-Car Garages
A VW enthusiast makes his dream-car picks, most of which aren’t known for their reliability.
If it's Monday, it's time for chapter three of our weekly Automobile "Million Dollar Challenge," wherein one of our staffers each week creates their personal list of dream cars. The rules are simple: What would you buy if you were today handed $1 million and commanded to spend it on nothing but filling your dream garage with automobiles? We'll each select at least five of our lifelong dream cars, rather than copping out and blowing the entire imaginary wad on a single million-dollar car, because what fun would that be? However, not every car must be a six-figure collector's item, either. This week, it's Automobile social-media guru Billy Rehbock's turn to dream:
Ready for some #MondayMotivation? I'm somewhat notorious at our office for having way too many Hot Wheels cars parked on either side of my computer, so naturally I tried to cast a wide net here to include as many of my favorite cars as possible when imagining my dream garage.
I own a 2012 Volkswagen GTI, so practicality is not the objective of my selections. I chose cars that I've either loved driving during my time at Automobile, or ones I want to cross off my list in general. My dad raised me as a Volkswagen enthusiast, so I made sure to pick out at least one ride from VW, Audi, and Porsche—but I still dream of cars from other marques, too.
1988-1995 Volkswagen Corrado VR6, $10,000-$16,000
This is a sentimental pick for my dream garage. Growing up, my dad talked about his former Corrado VR6 with immense fondness. His car was painted Tornado Red and had sweet BBS wheels; I've never driven a Corrado, but contemporary reviews raved about its handling and potent engine. It also brought active-aero spoilers into the mainstream, and it was the flagship vehicle for Volkswagen's innovative narrow-angle VR6 engine. These cars are still incredibly affordable, but they are in rare supply due to being expensive when new and still pricey to maintain.
2003-2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12, $15,000-$36,000
Volkswagen's one-time flagship sedan captured my heart early in life; I loved the fact VW built a car with an opulent interior but hid it away beneath jumbo-Passat styling. The Phaeton's W-12 engine is a mechanical marvel, producing a silky-smooth 420 horsepower. The car is loaded with luxury equipment that took a decade and a half to reach the mainstream, like heated, cooled, ventilated, and massaging seats.
The VW Phaeton is still an elegant car to drive, and after driving a barn-find, lightly modified 2004 Phaeton W12, I've never wanted one more. Like the Corrado, these are pretty affordable to purchase today but upkeep can be a nightmare, especially due to the engine's complexity and the car's air suspension.
2003-2004 Volkswagen Golf R32, $15,000-$40,000
This is arguably the greatest Golf of all time, so it's right at home in any dream garage. Powered by a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter narrow-angle V-6 engine, the R32 delivers 240 hp, all-wheel drive, and the choice of a manual transmission or a dual-clutch gearbox.
The car's boxy form gave it a bit of a rally-car aesthetic, and the Golf R32 holds its value incredibly well: one example sold recently for a whopping $44,000. The stunning multi-spoke wheels give this special variant of the Mk4-generation Golf a more grounded stance, and an R32 painted Deep Blue Pearl would make a fantastic inclusion to what is shaping up to be an impressive VW "young-timer" dream-garage collection.
2001-2005 Renault Sport Clio V6, $30,000-$70,000
Yes, such a car really does exist: a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, manual-transmission-equipped, 252-hp production hot-hatch with two seats. Renault built 1,309 examples of the Clio V6 Phase 2 between 2003-05, making it a rare and desirable mega hatch. (Renault built Phase 1 variants during the entire span of 2001-2005.) European car magazines at the time named it an instant classic, and I'd absolutely reserve $70,000 just to be sure I had enough cash to purchase and import one to compliment my Golf R32.
1957 Ford Thunderbird, $40,000-$55,000
We don't spend a lot of time at Automobile talking about mid-century American cars, but there's just something about a 1957 Ford Thunderbird in Starmist Blue with a Colonial White roof.
Ford's Corvette competitor's design was inspired by a one-off 1952 Ferrari Barchetta given to Henry Ford II by Enzo Ferrari himself. As someone who's always preferred European touring cars to American muscle, this Ford is a fitting dream-garage inclusion for my only American-car pick. Fortunately, 1957 Thunderbirds aren't too expensive, so maybe I'll be able to add one of these to my real garage at some point.
1991-2001 Acura NSX, $40,000-$69,000
Like pretty much everyone else, I caught the Acura NSX bug the first time I ever laid eyes on one of the wedge-shaped super sports cars. I even got a chance not long ago to drive the oldest roadgoing NSX in the country, to Radwood 2019, which turned out to be a hugely successful "meet your heroes" moment.
For those who need a refresher since our most recent NSX overview, Acura's supercar originally produced 270 hp and 210 lb-ft, and then 290 horsepower and 225 lb-ft after a 1997 update. Formula 1 great Ayrton Senna's contributions to the NSX's development didn't hurt, either. My dream garage wouldn't be complete without one of these high revving, manual-equipped coupes in the stable.
2020 BMW M2 Competition, $60,000-$65,000
Now we hit the new-car portion of this dream-garage car list, which is also the most expensive section. BMW's delightful M2 Competition is an easy pick for me. During our 2019 Automobile All-Stars testing, I drove a Sunset Orange Metallic-colored example of the coupe on stunning route into Death Valley. The experience was one of the most memorable ones I've had, and this turbocharged inline-six powered two-door goes down in my book as one of the greatest cars of all time.
2020 Audi TT RS, $68,000-$78,000
A Volkswagen Group enthusiast's dream-garage list wouldn't be complete without a car packing a five-cylinder engine, and as such I select the Audi TT RS, the stylish yet savage sport compact, to the roster. It pains me to no end that the third-generation TT doesn't get as much love as it could from buyers, so if I had the scratch I'd put my money where my mouth is and plunk down for one—preferably in a Skittles color like Turbo Blue.
2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S, $204,850-$215,000
Getting the scoop on the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S caught my attention, and then some, so I include the latest and greatest 992-generation 911 on this list. Our own Nelson Ireson wrote so enthusiastically about the Turbo S in his first-drive review, I trust the car to be as good as I imagine. It's expensive, but whether the day calls for a long road-trip or canyon carving, the 911 Turbo S will do it all.
2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo, $275,000-$365,000
The crown jewel of this dream-garage, dream-car collection is the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo, which I was fortunate enough to test during our All-Stars evaluation, and during a short but thrilling stint in Los Angeles. While our test car came in a stunning shade of Grigio Alloy paint, I'd probably opt for Azzuro California, one of Ferrari's historical colors named after my home state. But this supercar is a sight to behold in any color, and you don't even care about trivial things like paint codes when you're in the middle of driving it hard. It's certainly a bit edgier than my 911 would be, but as we've said in previous reviews of the F8, this car is good at doing pretty much any kind of driving.
All told, the low-end estimate for my dream-garage collection comes out to $747,850, while high-end approximation soars to $1,008,000. If you want to participate in the Automobile $1 Million Challenge and have some fun of your own, reach out to us via @automobilemag on Twitter with your own choices!