After weeks of spewing reckless non-car-buying advice, like focusing on license plates, a foray into product planning, and listing why driverless cars will be unsuccessful, I've run out of whimsical list ideas. Therefore, I've decided to venture back into actual consumer advice, which most of Jalopnik will promptly ignore, primarily to watch a video that involves a girl living out her NASCAR fantasies after a bit too much anesthesia.
So I've decided to tell you, Jalopnik reader who will never forgive me for writing this, cars that may be worth considering before the year runs out. You may have to endure mark-up on one of them, but you'll receive excellent deals on the rest. They also might even be future collector cars. And the best part? Almost all the cars on this list have a manual!
Author's Note: I wanted to include some manual V12 Aston Martins, but alas, I couldn't find any 2013 DBS's or V12 Vantages for sale. Also, I considered the Golf R, but having actually driven one, I couldn't say anything good about it other than it being a good car. I much prefer the GTI.
Yes, I know the F-Type V8S exists, and it's fun. But I have a thing for GTs that want to be performance cars, because usually the handling problem gets solved. (As a millennial, ride quality doesn't matter to me. Yet.) It also comes in French Blue, which is for me reason enough to get one. Yes, I know it doesn't have a manual, but you don't need it, because it's still a GT in the end. The XK-RS even seats four people, provided two of them don't have legs. You won't have to worry about maintaining it for four years thanks to Platinum Coverage. And plan on some fun while buying it. You'll encounter gratitude from a dealership like you never have before in the form of a tremendous discount and borderline excessive use of the word "sir."
We begged Audi to no end for a TT-RS in the United States. They obliged for 2013. However, there are now over 20 brand-new TT-RS cars sitting on Autotrader with little chance of being sold over sticker like the 1-Series M. As a result, Americans didn't get a new RS4 or RS6 Avant for 2014. Instead we got the RS7, a car for successful sales reps and marketing people, and the SQ5, a crossover for somewhat successful sales reps and marketing people. All I can take away from this is Audi doesn't think highly of Americans. But we're discounting the fact that the TT-RS is actually a very good car. And the turbocharged inline-five sounds awesome. It's also expensive, but I'm sure there are deals to be had, with that many lying around. And if they do sell out, Americans will have enough leverage to demand an RS6 to be sold here.
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
Yes, the C7 will have better seats. A better dashboard. A better transmission. And most importantly, better seats. But deals on C6 Corvettes are better than ever, especially on the ZR1, which is faster in a straight line. However, with a price of at least $100K, even with discounts, it is rather expensive. So your best bet is to start a business, buy a ZR1 on the account, and make it your dragstrip car. (Satisfy the IRS by putting a bunch of sponsor decals on your car and making YouTube videos of your ZR1 leaving Mustangs with big rear wheels in the dust.) The ZR1 the cheapest and most effortless way to get a 10-second car. A C6 Z06 is a good choice too, especially as a track car, but for the love of God, change out the standard seats for some Recaros.
Ford Mustang Boss 302
Here's how you should approach buying a Boss 302: Go online to find a dealership that's selling one new. Try your hardest to find one without insane markup, while enduring salespeople who justify it by comparing it to a Ford GT. You will find one for MSRP, but it'll be somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You'll find there are only two colors available: School Bus Yellow and Gotta-Have-It Green. Go with Gotta-Have-It Green because the yellow is even worse speeding ticket bait. Drive hundreds of miles to a Ford dealer. Ensure once again that you get the car for MSRP, because sales managers tend to change their mind quite a lot. Give the dealer a large cashier's check. Pick up the car, prepared for a very unforgiving ride on those rural roads and highway patrols who can spot you from a mile away.
BMW 135is/335is Coupes
Despite my Porsche avatar and all the criticism I give the current 5-Series, there is some BMW fanboy in me, though none of it involves liking the E36. Since the 335is is still on the E92 platform (I wasn't kidding about my BMW fanboy-ness), the steering feel will still be there, unlike the current F30. I prefer a 335is to the M3, for reasons that involve unpredictable servicing costs, smaller purchase price, and better gas mileage, with 80-90 percent of the performance, while retaining an inline-six, the engine that all manual BMWs should have. These will go down as among the best of the 3-Series cars.
Meanwhile, I recommend manual 135is coupes to others, mainly to ensure I can acquire it for a song after the free maintenance period is up. Sure, it's no 1-Series M, but it's not priced like one either, since discounts can be had. And handling is something to really look forward to after a long day. Look for a good deal on these cars before people who can't afford the lease payments on a 235i or 435i are steered towards the 135is or 335is.
Am I missing anything else that ought to be picked up before the end of the year?
Satish Kondapavulur runs Clunkerture, named because "Clunker.com" was $82 at auction and would've taken 30% out of the balance of his Eagle Vision for LeMons fund. In between contemplating cross-country runs, he spends much of his time attempting to convince others that his MkV Jetta 2.0T Wolfsburg is indeed a sports sedan.
Images per respective manufacturers.