Every gearhead has two dream garages filled with cars with which we’ve fallen recklessly in love. The first is what I call the Perfect collection. This is filled with Koenigseggs, Ford GT40s, #0001 Challengers, Ferrari Testarossas, M1 Abrams tanks, vintage Packards…you get the picture. They’re cars healthy to dream about, but not too much, because we’ll likely never own them.
The second, however, is what I refer to as the Attainable collection. These are cars you can actually find, the vehicles you don’t have to auction kidneys to afford. And while these aren’t, at first glance, as exciting as the Perfects, if you dig a little deeper, they may just be exactly the rides you seek.
So how do you pull your weeping, lovesick gaze down from your Perfects to Attainables you can find on Craigslist? You ask why you want the Perfects in the first place. The Koenigsegg Agera R is blindingly quick and will be one of the coolest looking cars of the decade (which just started). But it costs $2.1 million. The Caterham Seven gets to 60 in less than 3 seconds, is one of the most iconic sports cars of the 20th century, and can be had for just over 20 grand. Insurance would be much cheaper.
In this eight part series, we’ll discuss the Attainable dream garage, covering a range of vehicle types you may or may not want, but probably everything you’ll need: a motorcycle, a daily driver, a fast toy, a tough toy, a family hauler, and a teenage kid’s car. And since no dream garage would be complete without things to do while you’re there, we’ll cap the series off with the best tools and equipment for working on your collection.
Disclaimer: This series is practical in nature. But car buying isn’t often a purely practical experience. Sometimes you can’t give a why when you want a car, just as you can’t always explain why you love your spouse. You just do.
We’ll start small. At this writing, the national gas price average is flirting with $4/gallon, which means you probably don’t have the money every week to fill the tank on your daily driver. Something must be done. Riding a motorcycle to work every day will certainly cut back on your fuel usage.
What are the qualities of an Attainable dream motorcycle?
Versatile- A little 49.9 cc Honda Ruckus gets better gas mileage than any highway-ready motorcycle, and most of the time, you don’t need insurance, a license, registration, or even a helmet to legally ride one (though we definitely recommend the latter). But that’s because they can’t pull more than 40 mph, which means they’re not practical for your daily, cross town commute. You need something that can pull at least 70.
Unique- Whether they’re choppers, cruisers, crotch rockets, or big scooters, most motorcycles can be easily categorized. Motorcycles are all fun, and most of them are even cool, but if you want to stand out a bit, you’ll have to find something a little different.
Easy to Maintain- A well built motorcycle can run forever, but just like a car, it requires service. The best choice for an Attainable dream motorcycle will be simply built and easy to work on and modify.
Efficient- Remember, the reasoning behind a motorcycle’s place in your dream garage is to save fuel. If you have a giant cruiser with an engine out of a Honda Civic, you might just be better off in the Civic.
Inexpensive- Often the forgotten factor in fuel efficiency debates, especially with new hybrids, is the actual cost to buy. Your motorcycle should be cheap enough to pay for itself in gas savings. And since you can only drive it in the warmer months, you can only factor in the gas you might save in the summer.
My Choice: 1973-76 Honda CB200
The CB200 had a short run for Honda, but I think it fits in the Attainable garage nicely. The 198cc engine put out about 17 hp, which was just enough to get the bike up to 77 mph. Fuel efficiency will vary depending on how many KFC Double Downs I ate at lunch, but it will certainly be an improvement over a Chevy Suburban.
It looks unique, especially if I can find one with the original paint scheme. Honda cars are legendary in their reliability, if not always exciting. With a Honda motorcycle, though, I’ll get both, all for under 700 bucks on Craigslist.
So there you have it: my ultimate answer to the fuel crisis. The CB200, or possibly a similar Honda from the same era, will one day grace the enamel of my garage floor.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your Attainable dream motorcycle? What other factors should I have included?
Keep an eye out for Part Two: The Ideal Daily Driver.