The auto press usually focuses on new cars this time of year, but another reason the midwinter months can be exciting is from the used car perspective. Around this time of year, some of the cars that were brand new last year are starting to appear on used car lots. 2014 models have had their time in the spotlight, and now’s your chance to try to find one for a bargain. There likely won’t be a hugely significant price change, mind you, but you can (we hope) expect a barely year-old vehicle to be in decent shape. Even if these cars are still on new lots, you can expect the dealerships to offer some great deals to move that inventory and make way for the plethora of ’15s and ’16s they’re receiving.
There are a couple of quotes we need to address today. The first is from Automotive News:
“The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, said in an interview at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Munich. “Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover.”
In Europe and North America, the car’s role as a status symbol has diminished, with SUVs and crossovers becoming ever more popular.
The second quote expands on the first, and comes to us by way of The Truth About Cars:
Increased congestion, urbanization and a demonization of speeding (backed by harsh, if not draconian penalties) has made the notion of a sports car an outmoded one for many people. Even the latest 991 Porsche 911 GT3 has abandoned the manual transmission.
Do we, the sports car fans of the world, have something to worry about?
Regarding the possibility of an entry level roadster, Porsche North America’s CEO Detlev von Platen recently said,
We’re not talking about entry models at Porsche. Our entry model is our pre-owned program.
Those words have dashed the dreams of many Porsche hopefuls who had hoped to get into a new Porsche for the price of a loaded Honda.
Sorry folks. If you want a new Porsche, you’re going to have to work a little harder; which is the way it should be.
Some people, though, disagree.
A Kia will never make you look rich. Nor will a Ford Focus.
I don’t care how shiny and sleek it looks on the showroom floor, once it’s out on dirty roads and covered in grime and leftover road salt, you’re going to look like any other guy or gal in a value econobox. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheap Ford or Kia, it’s even a bit admirable, but don’t think for a second that you’ll be perceived as having a lot of money.
If you want to look rich, you simply need to be seen in the brands that are perceived as “for the rich.”
Keep reading to find out how to really do it.
There’s a lot of anger in car design these days.
Back in my formative years, vehicles just looked like vehicles. Maybe a face could be perceived somewhere between the tungsten halogen headlamps and steel grilles, but generally car “faces” were nothing more than utilitarian methods of shining light and sucking air. I liked that.
Today’s cars are different, mostly because advancements in headlamp technology have allowed designers to get more creative and not only give their cars a face, but create an entire personality.
Typically the personality chosen is an angry one, intended to give the car a sinister look of intimidation.
When you’re the best in the business, everyone else wants to beat you. When you’re the best in the car business, everyone else wants to build a better car.
The thing is, when you’re the best, you rarely lose. When you feel the competition getting close, you up your game and make sure whatever you do next sets you apart and shows the world exactly why you’ve earned the title “The Best.”
In the sports car world, “The Best” is Porsche. Other carmakers desperately want to take down the 911, or at least field something somewhat comparable. That’s no easy task, but two recent reviews of new cars both come to the conclusion that Porsche has some surprising new challengers.
The Porsche 911.
I can’t think of any other car that can be described as undergoing continual development since 1963, but with little change to the concept over that time. Yes, the legendary 911 celebrates 50 years of existence this year, and Porsche has marked the anniversary with a special edition. If you can’t quite afford the $125,000 starting price for the retro-themed but modernly designed super-Porsche, why not celebrate by owning a piece of 911 history?
Each model has a unique spot in the car’s history, and many are affordable for just about anyone. Sure, older models won’t have the same 430-hp 3.8-liter flat six and PDK transmission that can lay down a 0-60 run in 3.8 seconds, but you will get that iconic 911 style and enough fun to keep you and your right foot entertained on city streets for years to come.
Any regular old Joe with a hundred thousand dollars or so can buy a Porsche 911. Or a host of other super-capable, fast, fun cars that will provide plenty of thrills and second looks from passers by on the streets.
For some people, though, it’s just not enough to buy a car and keep it in the same form as the day it rolled off the factory assembly line. For them, tuning houses will happily make customizations to improve horsepower, speed and design. Well, maybe I shouldn’t include design in that sentence, as certain body kits and other mods don’t always improve the aesthetics of a car… especially one already as perfect as the 911!
There comes a point, though, where spending ungodly amounts of money on tuning just doesn’t make sense considering the caliber of car that could be purchased with the same money. An article at CNN Money highlights some of the top “supertuner” cars, but I’d like to put in my two cents on a few of them. There are just better ways to spend your money!
The Porsche sat seductively, tempting me to open the door, slide in, turn the key with my left hand and ignite the potential energy sitting just behind and under the seats.
But I didn’t want to yet. I wanted to take in the surroundings first and fully appreciate what was to come. A hot, dry day. Sticky rubber wrapped around 19-inch alloy wheels. A white 2013 Boxster S with the top down and plenty of places to introduce my right foot to the Porsche’s floor.
There was just one problem: The last Porsche I drove was the new 911 Carrera S. This was just a Boxster S. There’s no way the experience could be as good, right?
World War II was of course not the end for Germany, though the country was pulverized. The three Porsches, all named Ferdinand, were still alive, but it was Ferry, son of the founder, who brought the car company to fame and success in the late 1940s.
His Porsche 356 took the prototype Volkswagen—created under Hitler in the 1930s but not produced till after the war—and made it a smartly engineered, rear-engine, desirable sports car. And it caught on in the U.S.
The third Ferdinand (F.A., right), who died last week at 76, in my view really made the company with his 1963 design of the 911 (Type 901), a complete departure from the 356 with a 6-cylinder (some few 912 fours were made) and a more functional and beautiful design that has endured to this day.