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Best dream used cars for dad | Top 10

Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist
CarsGuide

1 Sep 2011 • 6 min read

image1. Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III (1971)

Nothing better epitomises the collective love of Aussie cars and the endeavours of its patriotic sporting car heritage. Snub-faced brick of a car oozes power and even in its 40th year, turns heads with its brutal looks and exhaust rumble. Prices are all over the place like a dog's breakfast but don't expect the market for this car to dissolve. Only 300 were made. Price now: Anywhere from $400,000 to the record $683,650 paid at auction in March 2007.

Gover says… “The legendary Falcons are not a great drive by modern standards, but that barely matters to cashed-up baby boomers who are now living a childhood dream.”

image2. Bugatti Veyron (2005-2011)

Except for special editions, VW-owned Bugatti has stopped making these. But it is notably as being a defiant car - defying physics, defying the need for such a car and even defying the concept of making cars for a profit. Ensure that if you're buying second hand, the first service and a tyre change has been done and. The service is $20,000 and the tyres are $10,000 each. Price now: Base price in 2005 was $1.7 million so they're still changing hands at $1 million-plus.

Gover says… ”A memorable drive at Sandown raceway bettered V8 Supercar pace in some places, but the Veyron is still ugly and mostly bought by try-hard posers with too much money.”

image3. McLaren F1 (1992-1998)

This is THE car. It's what happens when a Formula One car maker turns attention to a road car. It's still the fastest normally-aspirated car in the world. Even the three abreast seating - with the driver in the centre - shows McLaren is dismissive of compromise. Twelve years since production stopped, it's still a benchmark. Price now: A pristine 434km example sold at auction in October 2008 for $4.1 million.

Gover says… ”The only classic on my Bucket List. It's been many years since it set the gold standard for supercars but it's still incredibly desirable even to people like F1 ace Lewis Hamilton.”

image4. Jaguar E-type (1961-1975)

Beautiful in 1961, still beautiful today. The 3.8 keeps it original but it'll give you headaches while the 4.2 is more reliable and more powerful. Be extremely careful about buying unless comprehensively checked over. It's a lovely machine but is up to 50 years old and that can make it a tempermental car - especially when the mercury rises - that needs regular, professional and expensive care. Price now: $50,000 to the $5 million paid for the 1960-built second prototype E2A in 2008.

Gover says… ”A gorgeous looker then and now, it's not a car for hot-weather driving in Australia but still capable of turning heads and creating smiles at the wheel.”

image5. Porsche 911 (1964-present)

Much of the concerns with the E-type exist with the 911, though it's arguably better built and history has maintained a supply of spare parts and dedicated mechanics. Early 911s were stunning performers in their time but now lag some very ordinary sedans in acceleration and handling. Yet that's not all that the 911 offers. It's simply a classic with timeless appeal and is an entry ticket to passionate motoring. Price now: $40,000-$200,000.

Gover says… ”Driving a selection of the best secondhand years is a reminder of the raw driving enjoyment in the 911, and one of the highlights of 2010. Everyone should try one.”

image6. Mazda MX-5 (1989-present)

How does something so affordable and mass produced win a place in the car enthusiast's heart? By paring back the roadster theme to its essence. True, later MX-5s are a bit heavier and dumbed down for less passionate buyers, though the early 1.6 and 1.8 versions still provide a lot of smiles for not much cash. Price now: $10,000-$40,000.

Gover says… ”For me, the '89 original was the purest and best of the breed. The MX-5 has got heavier and more luxurious, but the driving response is dull by comparison to the first model.”

image7. Lamborghini Countach (1974-1990)

Brute of a car made for the sole purpose of giving Ferrari the stick. Can be terrifying to drive, impossible to see out of and involve criminal activities in order to pay for repairs and servicing. But this is still put on a pedestal by enthusiasts - nearly all of whom have never driven one - because of its aggressive styling, potential as a chick magnet and is performance reputation. Price now: A very low mileage 1983 25th Anniversary mdoel went for $650,000 in the UK.

Gover says… ”Stunning looks and pretty fast, but awful to drive with a cramped cabin and impossible vision. Then one of the water hoses sprung a leak.”

image8. Ferrari Enzo (2003-2004)

Follow-on special edition from the F40 and F50, the Enzo (named after founder, Enzo Ferrari) was to be the F60. It brilliantly broke new ground and was the first road-going Ferrari to adopt Formula One technology including ground effect, carbon-fibre construction, electro-hydraulic shift transmission, engine and carbon-ceramic brakes. The 6-litre 485kW/657Nm V12 was the first of a new family of engines. Price now: about $1 million-plus.

Gover says… ”Rivals the McLaren for fan appeal but not a car I've craved as a drive. The F40 was far more raw and appealing.”

image9. Mercedes-Benz SL300 Gullwing (1954-1963)

Another "must-have". Built from 1952 as a race car, it was transformed two years later into a street-registerable car and could hit 260km/h to become the (then) world's fastest production car. The inline 158kW/274Nm 3-litre six, canted over 50-degrees to fit under the bonnet, was the world's first direct petrol injection engine. Mercedes made 1400 coupes and 1858 convertibles in its 10-year run and was succeeded by the SL230 'Pagoda'. Price now: $500,000-$800,000-plus.

Gover says… ”A landmark car and a brilliant looker. I have sat in the SLR racer but horror stories about the handling mean I'm happier to pass on a drive and enjoy the 21st century Gullwing.”

image10. Aston Martin DB5 (1963-1965)

This is 007 at his best. Forget Daniel Craig for it was Sean Connery that created Bond's on-screen dynamics and made the DB5 a boyhood dream car. It appeared in five Bond films. Is it a great car? Surprisingly, even today it is an engaging drive thanks to a muscular 210kW/390Nm 4-litre six-cylinder engine and a slick five-speed gearbox. Forget about the brakes, look at the "superleggara" alloy coupe body, angle-back headlights and boot lip, smell the leather and hear that throaty exhaust. Ownership warning lights are similar to the E-type. Price now for one of the original fim cars sold for $4.1 million in 2010 but you could pay about $150,000.

Gover says… ”My favourite is the Bond scale model that starred in my toybox in the sixties, especially with the fun of the ejector seat.” Another car I'd prefer to remember as it was, not spoil by driving now."