9 of our ultimate dream machines
Yesterday we shared some of our personal cars with you as part of Collector Car Appreciation Week. Our tastes are pretty eclectic, and that extends to the vehicles about which we can only dream. Just like you, there are many machines that seem out of reach for one reason or another. Some of our staff picks are six-figure fantasy cars, while others are much more attainable. We want to hear from you, too—what’s your all-time dream car, and why? Tell us in the Hagerty Community comments.
Mazda Miata (NB)
Mazda’s Miata has always held a special place in my heart. I’m a sucker for the simplicity of a drop-top roadster that champions driver engagement above all else. Mine would be an NB generation (1998–2005), Emerald Mica green over a tan interior. I’d probably go about swapping out the wheels (none of the stock options do it for me) to bronze Minilites, but other than that, I’d keep cosmetic adjustments to a minimum. Mechanically I’d go hog-wild: Rebuilt 1.8-liter four-cylinder with a redline of 9000 rpm, maybe some individual throttle bodies if I’m feeling saucy. Suspension with plenty of squish and a set of tires that easily break traction—let’s learn to dance and slide with low limits, first! Lightweight, rev-happy four-cylinder, open air cruising, suspension tuned to move around and bring the car to life? Doesn’t get much better, in my eyes. And it’s a dream that could one day come true. — Nathan Petroelje
Plymouth Road Runner
I am a simple man. Simple! That is why I want a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, with the 383-cubic-inch engine and a Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission. I don’t need a Hurst four-speed or a 426, just a simple base Road Runner, preferably with air conditioning. Am I setting my sights too low? Of course, I’ve gone through life like that. But just give me my damn Road Runner. — Steven Cole Smith
Ferrari 250 GTO
The problem with choosing your dream car is you often have no firsthand experience with it, beyond admiring it from afar or maybe at a show. You certainly can’t know how it accelerates or drives except from what you’ve read or been told. So, I’m cheating and picking two dream cars, one that I’ve ogled but have never touched and one that I’ve driven and would love to own. The gorgeous 1962–64 Ferrari 250 GTO is a showstopper for a lot of reasons, and I’ve only seen one “in the flesh” once, about 10 years ago at Laguna Seca. Just being close to a 250 GTO is an unforgettable experience, so I can only imagine what it would be like to drive one. Then again, if given the opportunity, there’s no way I’d have the guts to cut loose in it (even with permission) because my brain would be screaming, “This is a $50 million car!” On the other hand, I had the chance to drive a 1963 split-window Corvette once, and even though I was behind the wheel for only a few miles, America’s Sports Car met every expectation, both in how it drove and how it made me feel. (And I wouldn’t even call myself a big Corvette fan.) What a blast! It’s an icon for a reason. — Jeff Peek
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Selecting the dream car is never easy. A recurring one for me since I was a kid goes off the beaten path—a loaded Wrangler Rubicon (two doors only). Adding to the allure is that nobody logically needs a pint-sized off-road toy, so why not embrace it and go with a two-door Jeep? Fight me, pragmatic instinct! Flying well beyond $50K with even modest options, this ridiculously overbuilt go-get-lost-machine can crawl through some seriously tight spots and out the other side with little difficulty. Forget any guilt of leaving family or friends back in town—there isn’t much room for them. Excuse me while I go build and price my 87th configuration of this calendar year. — Bryan Gerould
1960 Fiat-Abarth 750 GT Zagato
As a small-statured person with an outsized attitude, my heart is drawn to Abarth’s weird, feisty 750 GT. The pictures hardly do it justice; the wild double-bubble Zagato styling shouts at you from a tiny Fiat 600-sized body. Though the roof humps and matching engine lid look positively ridiculous, I love that they are functional, the latter to make room for the upright air cleaner and carburetor. This was a car born from Abarth’s racing activity; the rare GT version makes 56 hp from its OHV four-cylinder, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you remember the little Italian weighs no more than 1200-1300 pounds. I saw this specific car in person at the time of RM Sotheby’s Elkhart sale in October of 2020, where it would later sell for $168,000. I spent the better part of 20 minutes just orbiting the thing like a mad, drooling satellite. — Eric Weiner
Goodwrench-liveried Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe
My dream car is not street legal. In the late-1980s, NASCAR’s Ford Thunderbirds were wiping the floor with the Chevrolet G-body Monte Carlo. The bowtie brigade could tread water at short tracks, but they were clearly outmatched at the larger ovals—a byproduct of the Monte’s boxy proportions. To make a more aerodynamic car without changing the model, General Motors created the Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe—which, most notably, featured a fastback rear windshield—and slapped 200 together in 1988 to satisfy NASCAR’s homologation rule. I was born in 1990 and never had the opportunity to watch a massaged Monte race in anger, which makes the prospect of piloting one all the more enticing. The choice of paint scheme would be tough, but I would default to the most iconic: 1988 marked the first year that Dale Earnhardt drove under the Goodwrench sponsorship, ditching the yellow-and-blue Wrangler digs in favor of the iconic black-and-silver scheme. Owning a Goodwrench-liveried Aerocoupe stocker would truly be a dream.
Alfa Romeo GTV
Dream car—in what category? Realistic daily driver, seven-figure exotic, restomodded off-roader, all-American bruiser, the high-spirited import … The leap from “dream car” to “ideal garage” is automatic. For now, we’ll preemptively check a 1969 Corvette off the list and dream about an Alfa Romeo GTV. Late ’60s, early ’70s—either decade. Equal parts fierce and adorable, packed with a yowly little inline-four. (For the sake of argument, let’s say the Goldilocks 1750.) Ready for the most romantic espresso date or a maniac rip through the hills. Inside, the smell of leather and wood. Alfa sweated the driving dynamics just as much as it doused the car in “look at me” Italian panache—or so I’m told. Anybody got 50 grand handy? Got a bit of research to do. Preferably in green over tan.
Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally
Much like a human’s sense of taste begins to develop when introduced to food, our appreciation for the aesthetics for car styling develops when we start flipping through car magazines. I used to flip through rally magazines, and the Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally was centerfold-worthy. Not just a lifted Porsche, but one with oversized tires and the ill-directed yet august Rothmans livery. The development engineers packed the 959 with technology decades ahead of its time. With electric all-wheel drive, two-stage sequential turbochargers, and four drive modes, the 959 would conquer the 9300-mile race in only its second year campaigned. The 959 was also developed as a road racer and street vehicle with performance numbers to outshine even the newest of hypercars. Isn’t such a versatile and trailblazing vehicle worthy of being a dream car?
Just one? Rough. A C1 Corvette would be very nice, heavy preference towards dual-quad car with a manual transmission. My tastes change by the minute though, and that was last minute’s car. This minute is a Honda RC45. The RVF750 packs a liquid-cooled DOHC V-4 with gear drive cams. It might be “only” 118 horsepower when uncorked, but when it has such a great look with the very ’90s paint and bodywork combined with the single sided swingarm, the power is secondary. Add in that its a homologation model and my interest only goes up. These bikes have captivated me for years and I hope to at least ride one in the next few. Ownership might be a little further off yet.