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If you had finite, but ample, car funds... what would you do?

Illustration for article titled If you had finite, but ample, car funds... what would you do?
Image: New York Times

On a drive the other day I was thinking about car improvement budgets and how I hate them. Specifically I hate how I can’t justify a lot of what I want to do to my vehicles because it is cost prohibitive or has a low return on investment (ROI).


So I thought of a game. Well really a thought exercise. What would you do to your cars if money wasn’t super important. I’m not talking fuck-you-put-a-Ferrari-V12-in money but like... reasonable funds that exceed your current capacity?

I’m doing a poor job describing what I’m after here, so I’m just going to start...


Land Rover

The Land Rover is the vehicle to benefit the most from this. Specifically there are a ton of mods and improvements I’d want to do that would cost of fortune but not really improve it much, or might even make it worse.


I think I’d go with...

  • Hail damage fix - $1000
  • Repaint roof - $1000
  • Roof rack - $1500
  • Front and rear lockers - $4000
  • Interior spruce up - $500

If I was REALLY going nuts, I’d look into an engine swap to something larger or more efficient, preferably both, but I don’t know where to begin on that...



The Saab, like the Alfa, will probably get all of these things... one day.

  • Full body respray - $5000
  • New interior (headliner, carpets, seats) - $2000
  • Engine Rebuild - $1000


The Alfa

I’m not counting “fix the engine” as that is in this year’s budget.

  • Hardtop - $1000
  • Full body strip and repaint - $4000
  • New interior (dash, seats, carpet) - $1500
  • Fix AC and heat - $3000

Not sure I’d ever actually like... USE the AC, but I’d like to have it.

The Jaaaaaaag

The Jag is nearly complete but in a perfect world...

  • Manual swap - $????
  • Minor body work - $1000
  • Undercoat - $500
  • New headlights - $2000
  • Powder coat wheels - $500

The Volvo

Initially I couldn’t think of much to do here, but the more I think about it the more I think the Volvo deserves some love too... some very ambitious love.

  • Uprated intercooler - $????
  • Larger turbo - $????
  • AWD swap - $????
  • Minor body work - $1000

Because come on... if you had the money why wouldn’t you try and hit the figures from the Polestar concept?



A lot of this is fun to think about, but those funds make much more sense being used elsewhere.


The Volvo may eventually get a better intercooler.

The Landy will certainly get the paint and body work and maaaaaaybe a rear locker one day.


The Saab will eventually get what it needs too, as will the Alfa.

The Jag will get... sold.

But hey if anyone wants to cut me a check for $40k it’d make for some great hashtagcontent :-P


What would you do?

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