January 09, 2004


A friend writes asking which car he should buy. The sort of thing hes looking for is summed up by his subject line:

Fuck, I've Just Turned 40 and I Want a Car With a Big Fat Spoiler and A Sun Roof and I Don't Wanna Drive any Euro Crap.

A black Monaro was his first choice, but its just a little too expensive. So hes narrowed it down to either a Holden Commodore SS or a Ford Falcon XR6.

Any thoughts from owners or experts would be appreciated. Owner data: married, teenage children, drives everywhere, requires loudest sound system available.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 9, 2004 03:02 PM

Regardless of which car he ultimately chooses, it sounds like he also needs to find a young, nubile blond (age 20-25) whom he can "mentor" within whatever field he works, most preferably on weekends and conferences out of town.

Posted by: Jerry at January 9, 2004 at 03:10 PM


Posted by: Jonny at January 9, 2004 at 03:16 PM

Tell him to go with the Holden, simply because it's not a Ford.

Posted by: david at January 9, 2004 at 03:19 PM

Nissan Skyline - FULLY SIKK!!!!

Posted by: Tex at January 9, 2004 at 03:20 PM

What's wrong with a Mitsubishi GTO, a Supra twin turbo or an RC33 GT4 Skyline? Cheaper than any of the local stull, and would blow any of them into the weeds.
(Might get stolen by ner'do wells if he resides anywhere around Bankstown, however).
Go the whole hog- why not a Boss Mustang or a Dodge Charger? If they're over 30 years old, they're duty free and you can register them with LHD.

Posted by: Habib at January 9, 2004 at 03:22 PM

Subaru Impreza! Honda Civic! Nissan 200SX! Rice! Rice! Rice!

Either that or he should go for the Falcon XR6 Turbo. Personally though, I'd go for a Porsche Cayenne. Hey, we pillaged the Middle East for a reason, you know!

Posted by: Marty at January 9, 2004 at 03:24 PM

Feh. Gaymobiles, all.

Tim, tell your buddy to get a real car.

Posted by: iowahawk at January 9, 2004 at 03:38 PM

Just turned forty with a wife and kids?

Toyota Avalon.

And put the sound system in the house.

Posted by: ilibcc at January 9, 2004 at 03:41 PM

Ford Falcon ute. Only way. Put the kids in the back with the dog and the surfboard.

Posted by: Joe at January 9, 2004 at 03:42 PM

My God, what was I thinking. As a good communist, I urge your friend to by a Trabant.

Or a tractor.

Posted by: Joe at January 9, 2004 at 03:44 PM

I have recently acquired, repaired and registered a red 1987 BMW 635csi, red with factory M-tech body kit and Eibach suspension. Despite the fact that I am middle aged and have a head like a bucket of smashed crabs, I am getting Brad Pitt levels of attention from the ladies (only whilst driving it, natch). And not just the skanks neither.
This is not why I bought it, honest. It is, however, a most welcome side effect.

Posted by: Fidens at January 9, 2004 at 03:46 PM

If he didn't have kids he could afford an Ford Falcon XR-8 or even a GT-P. Like me!

Posted by: 41Dink at January 9, 2004 at 03:58 PM

I've got one of my scouts in hong Kong looking for an 850i- I reckon even a congenitally deformed bastard like me could get a root with one of them.

Posted by: Habib at January 9, 2004 at 03:59 PM

By the way, who makes Holden anyway? General Motors?

Posted by: Andrew at January 9, 2004 at 04:45 PM

social acceptability demands a 'conformidore'. he'll be sorry but...

Posted by: roscoe.p at January 9, 2004 at 04:48 PM

I favour the more subtle approach to muscle-car purchase. Given the criteria, I'd recommend going the 1970s V8, either fully restored and gleaming (for that 70s glam machismo), or battered and patched by still able to scorch anything else at the lights (for that stripped-down, the-power-is-all-that-matters aesthetic). It will make you look as if you are a serious car aficionado.

The latest Monaro, XR8 or Commodore SS, on the other hand, will just make you look like an impotent middle-manager lacking the smarts to invest in a more nimble WRX, or the success to buy a BMW M3, or the properly developed sense of your own manhood to just go out and get a damn Mini.

Posted by: Andrew D. at January 9, 2004 at 04:49 PM

Having said that, read this review of the BMW M3 I came across while googling. It's the best review for any car I've read in a long time.


Any writer who can use the phrase "martial abnegation" and a metaphor involving Scythian horsemen in a car review deserves more money.

Posted by: Andrew D. at January 9, 2004 at 04:57 PM

Harley-Davidson V-Rod for him. Minivan for the wife and kids to follow (if they can).

Posted by: Winston at January 9, 2004 at 05:13 PM

"The latest Monaro, XR8 or Commodore SS, on the other hand, will just make you look like an impotent middle-manager lacking the smarts to invest in a more nimble WRX, or the success to buy a BMW M3, or the properly developed sense of your own manhood to just go out and get a damn Mini."

Okay you got me! But DILLIGAF?

Posted by: 41Dink at January 9, 2004 at 05:28 PM

Forget the car, sport. What you really need is a lobotomy.

Posted by: Walter Plinge at January 9, 2004 at 06:04 PM

How about . . . . a Miata?


Posted by: Yehudit at January 9, 2004 at 06:34 PM

I have the same problem with cheese.

I've just turned 40 and can't choose between Wensleydale and Gruyere.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at January 9, 2004 at 06:45 PM

Instead of a car, he could get one of those hair transplants- I assume he's in the middle of a mid life crisis?

Posted by: Ben L at January 9, 2004 at 07:39 PM

The guy who advised against late model Ford and Holden is right. Nothing spells loser like last year's Commodore/Falcon. Go buy an older V8 it is cheaper and will depreciate more slowly and has earned some dignified cred with the passing of the years.

If you ignore this advice and must buy new car - then do not get an XR6 - yes yes I know they are great and apparently better than the v8 and the motoring press raved but well theyre not V8 so therefore they suck. Six cylinders is absolutley fine in your sixties model Aston Martin and your 1973 GTR XU1 (purple natch) (or maybe green) but apart from that - sorry.

Posted by: James Hamilton at January 9, 2004 at 07:45 PM

Holden Commodore SV8 or Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo give best bang for buck for RWD's in Australia....and Andrew, Holden are just General Motors Australia. They make the new Pontiac GTO(Holden Monaro, Vauxhall Monaro)for the USA. http://www.pontiac.com/pontiacjsp/gto/launch/. The new GTO has a wicked sounding V8 that I have listened to far too much.

Posted by: JoeJr at January 9, 2004 at 07:50 PM

I'm almost with Winston on this but not a Hardly Drivable.

Get the wifey a station-wagon or minivan.

Get the man a new set of black leather, good lid and a FAAAAAAST bike. No car can match a bike for cred, lust factor or pure fun. While joe loser dials in Kylie on the radio God-Rider dials in big revs and leaves all behind.

I have to agree about the Fal-cants and Commute-e-doors - kit for old men with no style, just cash.

I'm not going to bother listing bikes, there are really no crap ones made these days so go for what makes you hard.

Posted by: Jake D at January 9, 2004 at 08:19 PM

Tell him his only option is to buy bicyles for all the family, then donate the balance to Bob Brown's War On Progress.

(N.B. I tried this once - it almost got me killed)

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at January 9, 2004 at 09:28 PM

Ahem, by that I mean I tried suggesting it. I didn't seriously try to buy a bicycle.

BTW I have an XR6 and I'm 28. Chose the Ford becuase my company has had a fair amount of input into a number of the components. Plus I'm not real keen on the Crummydore's new styling

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at January 9, 2004 at 09:30 PM

JEEP! A wrangler, or if he has time for a little restoration, a scrambler. Take the top off and just dig on it. Be a part of the outside don't just drive through it. I didn't have a jeep until I was 41 years old... oi! All those wasted years!

Posted by: pedro at January 9, 2004 at 10:26 PM

Plus I'm not real keen on the Crummydore's new styling

I reckon Ford's styling has been improving over the last few years.

Posted by: Robert at January 9, 2004 at 10:31 PM

I think he needs a pickup truck. A Ford SVT F150 Lightning to be exact. 380HP and 450 foot pounds of torque really get you down the road. 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Top speed electronically limited to 142 mph. For around 30K he'll have the very best combination of utility, speed and cornering. I love mine. He'll have to spring for an aftermarket spoiler though.

Posted by: Jason at January 9, 2004 at 10:51 PM

Rusty Suzuki Mighty-Boy, and spend the balance on beer- you won't care what you look like, or what the wife and kids are doing.

Posted by: Habib at January 9, 2004 at 10:59 PM

As a 40-something professional, my daily ride is a Ford Falcon with the swank Futura styling package and a 2.4L 6 holer. 0-60 in 23 sec. Hell, I'm over 40, what's the hurry? Of course for hauling loads at speed, there's the '71 Country Squire Wagon with the 6.6L, when you NEED to get that load of sheetrock up to 120 mph. Man, buy what YOU want and let the rest of the world catch up.

Posted by: Doc at January 10, 2004 at 12:23 AM

The Subaru WRX will wipe the floor with most of the other stuff listed above, and for some reason (I think it was featured in a video game) it is insanely popular with the younger demographic (including nubile 20 - 25 year olds in need of serious mentoring). Plus, you can get it in a station wagon to keep the wife happy!

Posted by: R. C. Dean at January 10, 2004 at 01:20 AM

Hey, Tim, think back to when you were in Denver. Remember your ride in the C32 AMG? And I have a kid, too. It's a four door that does 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. Family car with 1 hp for every 10/lbs of car. Grocery wagon with 330 lb-ft of torque. It's the stealth bomber.

Um, not good for teenagers, though. Really really bad, in fact.

The WRX STI or Lancer Evo are also fun, and slightly less expensive.

Posted by: Matt at January 10, 2004 at 02:22 AM

Tell him to get a Marauder, Too big, too fast, too loud, too black and the cops pull you over just to talk about the car.


Posted by: Dan at January 10, 2004 at 03:25 AM

Here at Comment 39 is a serious response to a buyers dilema. I crank out up to 1000k per week in a Sydney cab. This is a 12 month old Ford of 4+litres of adequate power on LPG. 300k/50litres/40-50cpl. Roughly. You can attain similiar figure with the Commodore on gas.
That's the only advantage for you with the Dunny Door. Otherwise it's overpowered and underweight, is geared all wrong and turns you into a boy racer at every traffic light. Whatareya, trying to get your name in the papers?
Forget the speed mate - you're a family man. You won't look too flash pizzaed all over the road - what will your family do then, given you were'nt stupid enough to take 'em out with you.
My friend and fellow road-user, you need the Ford which is not only adequately powered but has the weight factor and stability that is missing in the Door and making its so dangerous.
Mate I just want to see you survive and get to see yours family grow up.

Posted by: jafa at January 10, 2004 at 04:07 AM

Whoops, I meant the 'Commodore on petrol'.

Posted by: jafa at January 10, 2004 at 04:14 AM

2004 Ford Mustang GT Mach-1

It has the spoiler, 320hp, leather, retro-style gauges, and an air scoop on the hood. It looks like something the Road Warrior would drive on weekends and holidays.

Unfortunately, the steering wheel is on the wrong side.

I tend to be biased, being an American (from Texas, no less!)

Posted by: Evil Dave at January 10, 2004 at 05:05 AM

2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Between the handling package and the horsepower, anyone who wishes to accuse you of being a middle-aged dip with more money than taste will have to catch you first.

Posted by: LabRat at January 10, 2004 at 05:46 AM

Do the manly, righteous thing, mate. Get some vintage British steel. An MG or Triumph if you have little $$, an old Healy or Jag if you've got a few bob to spare.

Posted by: ChollyTuner at January 10, 2004 at 06:10 AM

HSV. Big block V8, 6 speed manual. None of that whiny Jap crap or woman's fart Euro trash. Comes complete with 'show us ya tits!' mating call, and the cops think it's a real car so they look the other way. Mostly...

Posted by: Geoff at January 10, 2004 at 09:35 PM

for christ's sake. we all know real men drive trucks. big trucks.

Posted by: susan at January 12, 2004 at 07:09 AM