Today I’m starting a one man campaign
to make the roads a little less dull. And, while I’m at it, encourage those with a love for driving to be a little more bold in choosing their next car. Life’s too short — and the world’s oil supply too finite — to waste it by driving only sensible automobiles. Let’s get rid of common sense for once and for all and go nuts.
Let’s take some of the most common cars I see in Moscow these days. How about a Mazda 6? Great car for the money really. It’s a very well built, reliable car which will happily and comfortably get you to your destination for many years to come. Of course it’s not particularly stunning to look at or exciting to drive, but then again we weren’t exactly expecting it to be a Porsche 911.
As it turns out, there is a fairly simple solution to this problem: buy a Porsche 911 instead. Ta-daa. Simplicity, I love it. At this point, I know you might feel a tendency to raise your hand and ask «but what about the price?». Excellent question, glad you asked. Turns out you can buy a Porsche 911 for the same money as you’d spend on a new Mazda 6. Sure, it’s going to be a few years older, but thankfully Porsche has the laziest design department in the world so hardly anyone will notice. You can get a 996-era 911 for the same money as a basic Mazda 6, but what you really want is an early 997 generation model which will be similar in price to a higher spec Mazda.
Of course, a picture can be worth more than a thousand words. All cars shown are actually for sale at this moment in time on Auto.ru. Here we have a brand new well spec’d Mazda 6 as a first example
For the same money, you could buy this instead:
An early 997 Carrera S with an optional wing that isn’t quite the same color as the rest of the car. It has 355 horsepower from the 3.8 flat 6 engine in the back, and it’s just a really well built German automobile. So it won’t fall apart any time soon, and it can be driven as easily as any other car. And a respray of that rear wing shouldn’t cost too much.
Of course, I know that if you have two kids and a dog the Porsche isn’t really going to work. Unless your kids are the size of hamsters, in which case they would fit in the back seats and the dog can ride shotgun.
Also, the Porsche will use more fuel, cost more to insure, be more expensive to maintain and so on and so forth. But just look at it! Also, you can expect depreciation on the Porsche to be pretty low for the next couple of years. It’s already cheap for what it is, and most of the depreciation has been paid for by the previous owner. By contrast, when you drive a brand new car out of the show room, you will have lost hundreds of thousands of roubles in resale value by the time you round the first corner. A 1.3 million rouble Mazda 6 will probably be worth under a million after 1 year. I’m pretty confident you could sell this 997 after a year or 2 for close to the same price you bought it.
Of course, you do need to be careful with what you buy. At the very least have the car checked out by a specialist before you put your signature down. Better yet, transport it to a Porsche dealership for an inspection — they will be able to tell you the history of the car as well. I’m not going to pretend there are no pits to fall into, but if you take some precautions there are amazing deals to be had on some fabulous sports cars.
Let’s up the budget a little and look for cars around the 2 million rouble mark. This is what you would pay for a new Audi A6, BMW 5 series or Mercedes E-class of average specification. And there’s certainly no shortage of these on the roads of Moscow!
A pretty nice looking A6 to be sure, but it’s difficult to compete with an Aston Martin:
Yes, you could buy a DB9 instead and have money left to pay for the tailored suit you ought to wear when driving it. A sleek, beautiful Grand Tourer with a V12 engine at the front. Would you like that shaken or stirred sir? Like the Porsche 911, the DB9 hasn’t really changed its looks very much over the years so hardly anyone will be able to tell the difference between this Aston and a brand new one.
If you happen to be less of a James Bond and more of a curly chest hair kind of guy, the market has you covered as well. A red Ferrari, what else.
The 360 is probably not the most popular Ferrari of all time, nor is it the fastest, but it is very red and very exotic. Anyone who makes the bold choice to drive this instead of a German luxury sedan just has to be interesting. I actually see the appeal of driving one of these in winter on snow tires. It’s just so adventurous. If it actually manages to start at 20 below zero, that is.
Don’t want a red Ferrari? How about a yellow Lamborghini?
Slightly more expensive, but it does have 4-wheel drive which can be quite handy in this part of the world. It’s even louder than the Ferrari, in all possible ways. But because it was built under German ownership, they are pretty easy and comfortable to drive and are even fairly reliable as far as supercars go. And again, these things are really not going to shed much value over the next couple of years. Keep it for 5 years and odds are it still won’t be worth less than 2 million roubles. Any new car you buy for 2,5 tomorrow will be lucky if it’s worth 1,5 in 5 years’ time.
Finally, I would like to present you with an alternative option to a car which makes little sense to me — but is still bought by Russians en masse: the Range Rover.
Yes, you can put a lot of stuff in your Range Rover, and it is wonderfully luxurious inside. But they make so little sense in a large city. Also, 4 million roubles? I know Range Rover sales do wonders for the stock value of Tata Motors, its Indian owner, but I’d rather have something a bit more special for that kind of money:
A Ferrari 599 GTB, with a V12 at the front, and the voices of angels coming out the back. Even nicer to sit in than a Range Rover, so much faster and infinitely better looking. I know you can’t climb a muddy mountain road in it, but you weren’t actually going to do that in your Range Rover, were you? At nearly 4 million roubles, this is not a cheap car, but it is certainly amazing value compared to what you get from any new car in this price bracket. And it certainly looks like a 10 million car.
Although, in the end, I’m not quite sure why I am telling you this. These cars are only great value because hardly anyone buys them. There’s only a few of each of these rare cars for sale, so it wouldn’t take many new buyers to drive up the prices. So with that said, everybody kindly forget what I just told you.
These days, it’s difficult to imagine
a world without smartphones. They give us access to the internet wherever we are, tell us where to go via GPS, let us know the time, and are even used to make an old fashioned phone call in between taking selfies. How did we ever live without them?
Smartphones also took some tech companies by susprise, like Nokia for example. A company which completely dominated the mobile phone market at one point, completely lost its footing as they missed the smartphone boat. Now, possibly worried about missing another boat, many companies are jumping into making smartwatches. It’s a watch which is… smart. Sort of.