QotW: What cars would you put in your dream garage for $250,000?

We at JNC often play fantasy garage games, some of which turn into Questions of the Week. The latest one involves selecting eight (8) collector or fun cars, no more, no less. This does not include your daily driver, but these have to be forever cars, meaning you’re stuck with them for the rest of your life. The budget? $250,000.

You’ll be building your collection from scratch, and you may keep one (1) car from your existing real-life fleet if you choose. However, you’ll have to subtract the value of what you paid for it originally from the total. If you want any more, you gotta buy the rest at current (inflated) prices. The idea here is to help a normal person with some ambition come up with a plan for future acquisitions. Can you narrow a list of dream cars down to a Top 8, and could that list be acquired for $250,000?

What cars would you put in your $250,000 dream garage?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the best road trip car for the whole family?“.

It was a difficult question to answer, which is precisely why we asked it. Michael K. got right to the point with the Acura TSX Wagon but added, accurately, that most options these days don’t come from Japan. Maybe that’s also why we got several non-J-tin answers as well, like Jonathan P‘s 2007 Ford Taurus, エーイダン‘s PT Cruiser, and Mike RL411‘s Buick Electra.

The fun-to-drive requirement really threw a wrench into the equation. Sorry, we absolutely love the Nissan Stanza Wagon that Scotty G proposed, and we own a Toyota Van like the one Sammy B suggested, neither is going to set your hair on fire. And a JDM van’s electronically operated curtains are an objectively excellent feature for long trips, as Gamble argued, but back roads bombing ability would be an equally good antidote for heat exhaustion.

And while we have absolutely no doubt that Fred Langille had a blast in his 1981 Datsun GX, a German girlfriend is probably a lot more forgiving of cramped cabins than a couple of bored kids. Lee L got closer to the heart of the matter with a Nissan Maxima, while Kevin H. gave us a well-reasoned argument for its JDM counterpart, the R33 Skyline GT-R. In the same vein, Bob offered the luxury counterpart, an Infiniti Q70.

Ultimately, we had to side with Saii, who won the week by nominating a factory turbocharged, AWD wagon with the running gear of a Celica GT-Four:

Toyota Caldina GT-T. Plenty of space being a wagon. Plenty of pulling power with the 3S-GTE, and 4WD to get you everywhere from snowy mountains to the beach. Its a Toyota so it will never break. The interiors are also surprisingly comfortable, bigger than the corolla, while still being basic and bullet proof.

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This post is filed under: Question of the Week.

15 Responses to QotW: What cars would you put in your dream garage for $250,000?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    I think my $250,000 garage colllection would be quite extensive as ALL of the vehicles would be of a more modest pricing. I would start off with my present cars; ’89 Nissan S-Cargo ($14K) and ’22 Hyundai Kona Limited ($34K). Adding the other 3 members of the Pike Factory offeriings (Figaro, BE-1 and Pao … totalling about $60K), I’d switch up to, if I could find one, an M113-A-1 APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) like I learned to drive as an Infantry 2LT then, wind up with a Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, like my late father always wanted ($100K). I would also take care that ALL of them would be registered under my name FRED Langille, not Frank so as to not cause the insurance company and WVDMV and difficulties (hint! hint!)!!! I think I deserve a sticker package for that oversight in the last comments section, hmmmmm?

  2. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    For $250K, I’d put a dream garage in. Assuming I’m on the hook to maintain whatever choice, I’d say maybe a well sorted Isuzu 4wd turbo diesel NPS overland camper for my retirement ride.

  3. Jim Simpson says:

    Top of my list would be a Toyota 2000GT followed by its little brother a Toyota S800, and if enough extra left over an Autozam and a Hakosuka

  4. jan groenendijk says:

    that’s a tricky one, seeing my fiancée and me are both enthusiasts and we plan to have 3 kids it’s gonna be a lot of 4 seater Coupes!

    1. 91 Mitsubishi 3000gt SL Auto (I want a comfortable quick daily that’s not too thirsty) 20K
    2. 99 Mitsubishi 3000gt vr4 (they look like a happy fish, what’s not to love) 25K
    3. 91 Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo (yeah i know, i just love badge engineered wedge cars) 25K
    3. 91 Pontiac Trans am GTA (I might love JNC but you gotta stay true to your roots) 25K
    4. 87 Honda CIvic (my current daily and it’s awesome!) 1K
    6. 90 ASC Mclaren Pontiac Grand Prix turbo (ridiculously comfortable) 25K
    7. 96 Subaru SVX (wierd windows make me happy) 25K
    8. 96 Mazda Cosmo (everybody needs a rotary engine in their life) 25K

    all things considered i’l be down 175-200K depending on the market so a decent chunk of change will be left for mods and maintenance!

  5. Taylor C. says:

    I love these questions, but man, do they take away so much from the work day. $250k is definitely a a good chunk of money to spend on so let’s see what I can come up with.

    My existing cars (and what I think their values would be today):
    1991 Prelude Si: $8000
    1995 300ZX: $16000
    1997 Miata: $7000
    1998 M3/4/5: $18000
    2011 Jetta Sportwagen TDI: $4000

    Vehicles I want (and today’s values):
    2000 Toyota Hiace Super Custom: $23000
    2005 Lexus LS430: $13000
    2015 Chevy SS: $45000
    2003 F250 Powerstroke: $20000
    2020 Mazda Mazda 3 hatchback: $25000
    1997 Acura NSX: $71000

    • Taylor C. says:

      I just realized I completely misread the rules here! eight (8) collector cars, no more, no less…. I can take one car from my existing fleet. Here I am with these run-of-the-mill stuff.

      Since it’s collector, that means they’re probably going to sit around.
      1994 Skyline GT-R V-spec II – $57000
      2000 Fairlady Z Version S – $20000
      1997 Acura NSX – $71000
      1994 Miata RS Limited – $16000
      2005 LS430 – $13000
      2005 Honda Accord Euro R – $20000
      2008 Subaru Legacy S402 wagon – $29000
      2000 Hiace Super Custom – $24000

      For a set of “forever cars,” I wouldn’t mind having these in the garage. Definitely a noticeable departure from my previous wish list, but I guess this list tries to focuse on JDM as well as “collector,” however I feel that “collector” is subjective.

  6. Thomas says:

    $388k NZD to spend on classics?! Yes please!

    1 – 1997 Honda Civic Type R (EK) Civic $45,000 NZD
    2 – 1997 Honda Integra Type R (DC2) $45,000 NZD
    3 – 2005 Honda Accord Euro R $20,000 NZD
    4 – 1994 Honda Civic SIR (EG) $30,000 NZD
    5 – 1976 Nissan 280Z $50,000 NZD
    6 – 1989 Mazda RX7 (FC) $50,000 NZD
    7 – 1993 Mazda RX7 (FD) $55,000 NZD
    8 – 1994 Honda NSX (NA1) $90,000 NZD

    I’ll be waiting patiently by my mailbox for the check!

  7. Fashion Victim says:

    1. 1989 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo
    2 . 1985 Nissan Silvia
    3. 1985 Nissan Skyline RS Turbo Coupe
    4. 1990 Toyota Soarer 3.0 GT Limited
    5. 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno

  8. Ian Gopez says:

    I’ve had this dream of winning the lotto and keeping my current cars, fixing them up and having the latest and greatest Porsche 911 and VW Golf R with it. Now I’ve discovered East Coast Defenders (local to me- they restomod old Defenders and give them Cummins Diesel Engines). So with this budget, I’ll forego the R and the nicest D90’s and here goes:

    My current Stable: $20K
    ’86 Toyota MR2
    ’06 Honda Element EX
    ’02 Mazda MX-5 LS

    Lotto Dream Cars: $230 K
    ’95 Land Rover Defender D90 (East Coast Defenders) $69K
    ’22 Porsche 911 GT3 $161K- I can smell the newness!

  9. Jukkasaint says:

    Isuzu bellett gtr
    Volvo p1800 all types
    Peugeot 604 gti
    Mustang gt, even at 2010-plus side
    Datsun 260z
    Toyota celica gt 77 or earlier
    Porsche 928s at 80-s

  10. Jonathan P. says:

    After careful-ish calculation, I’ve come down to seven cars. One was really expansive, so that ate up much of the price, I managed to stick in one more car by opting in my own car, my 300ZX.
    I priced them like this: I looked up as best I could the original list prices, then used an inflation calculator to see what they would’ve cost if sold today.
    Miami Vice replica Ferrari Daytona – $134,860
    1955 Chevrolet Bel Air – $21,563
    1971 AMC Javelin AMX with the Go Pack package – $26,913
    1958 Edsel Ranger – $23,512
    1973 Audi 100 Coupe S – $25,978
    1987 Yugo GV – $10,067
    my 1986 Nissan 300ZX – for which I paid $1800

    Totaling a whopping $244,693

  11. CobaltFire says:

    This is a tough list because many of our dream cars may not be what we imagined them once we actually have them. That said, I have a few that I know I would want, and any leftover money would go to modifications:

    Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR Wagon
    Subaru S203/4
    Mazda Mazdaspeed Miata
    Honda Accord Euro-R CL1/CL7
    Honda NSX

    I do like the earlier rally cars, but those versions are my favorites for an actual street car. I chose the Accord Euro-R over the Integra Type-R due to costs; it’s close enough for me. CL1 and CL7 I’d test drive and see which I preferred. The NSX would likely cost half of the budget and is the least desired of the cars, oddly. But if it’s a permanent collection I want a variety of platforms.

  12. Clif says:

    NSX 1st Gen
    Integra Type R 1st Gen
    R32 GTR
    PRINCE 2000 GTB
    DATSUN 510
    DATSUN 240Z
    MERCEDES C63 6.3
    HONDA Prelude 5th Gen

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