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My Favorite Cars

By Larry Carley

Everybody has their list of favorite automobiles or "wish I could own" cars, right? So here is my list of top picks:
(Click on thumbnails to see larger image)

favorite car Ford GT 1. Ford GT
This remake of Ford's LeMans winning race car from the mid-1960s is probably my all-time favorite. I actually got a chance to drive one at a press event at Road America. Fantastic handling and power. A real race car, yet very streetable. Love the lines of this car. Just watch your head getting in and out of those head-banger doors.

favorite car Shelby Cobra 2. 1965 Shelby Cobra (kit car ok)
The original Cobras are priced out of sight, and I'm not hung up on having a "real Cobra" or a "Shelby authenticated Cobra." I don't even care if it is powered by a Ford engine (289/302/351/390/427/460 or 5.0) or a Chevy (350/454/603). I just love these cars in all their variations. There are some high quality kits available (Factory Five to name one), and I'm hoping someday to build a Cobra my way.

favorite car 1967 Corvette 3. 1967 Corvette Stingray
This was my teenage dream car. I wanted a 1967 Corvette with a 427 big block V8, 4-speed, knock-off wheels, side pipes, stinger hood, painted Marina Blue with a black interior, either a fastback or coupe. I finally got one, but it is a 1:18 scale diecast model. The best colors on the Stingrays in my opinion are Marina Blue or Red.

favorite car Mustang Shelby GT350 4. 1965-66 Ford Mustang GT350 Shelby (clone ok)
A friend of mine had a genuine 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 when I was a teenager. He ran the crap out of it and finally blew the engine. I rebuilt it for him twice. I always loved that car, and used to race him with my 1958 Corvette (see below). It would be fun to build a Shelby clone, white with the blue stripes, or red with white stripes, powered by a supercharged and stroked 302 or 351.

favorite car Jaguar XKE 5. 1960's Jaguar XKE
This car is one of the most beautiful ever built in my opinion. It is a very small car, but the inline six cylinder dual-overhead cam engine runs really strong. A lot of guys back in the 1960s replaced the original six with a smallblock Chevy V8. When I was a teenager, the uncle of one of the guy's in our band loaned us his XKE for an evening (BIG mistake!). We thought we were really cool, until we rear ended another car while oggling some girls.

favorite car 2005 Mustang 6. 2005 - 2008 Mustang GT
This redo of the classic Mustang really presses my hot buttons. Classic looks with modern day performance and handling make this car a winner in my book. The 2007 GT 500 version is very aggressive looking, though actually I prefer the "Pony" grille with the smaller lights and chrome trim (available on some V6 models). Lots of aftermarket goodies are available for this car. I would have bought one in 2005 but I just bought a new 2004 Nissan Maxima (which I have been very happy with) before the new Mustang was available. In 2009, I finally bought a used low mileage 2008 Mustang GT. The car rocks!!!

favorite car 1968 Mustang fastback 7. 1968 Ford Mustang fastback
I've always had a fondness for fastback Mustangs, any vintage. I owned a 1968 coupe for four years. I bought it as a daily driver for my daughter when she was in high school. It was red like this one, but only had a six cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Even so, it was a head turner and she had a lot of fun with that car. We sold it on ebay, but I had to sell it three times before a buyer showed up with the cash!. Should have kept it and dropped in a V8.

favorite car 1969 Camaro Z28 8. 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 (clone ok)
The '69 Camaro, in my opinion, probably had the best lines of the early Camaros. The 302-powered Z28 was a high revving powerplant that really performed. I wouldn't mind owning one of these, but I would probably swap the 302 for a stroked 350 (383). It would have to be black, or white with black stripes, or blue with white stripes and a black interior.

favorite car 1982 Corvette 9. 1982 Corvette
I have always admired the styling of this year Corvette. The special paint job and tinted glass t-tops really set this car off. Unfortunately, the twin throttle body injected motor is a dog and is rather troublesome. If I owned one I would replace the engine with a carbureted 350 or an LS1/LS6. I got to drive one of these cars for a week (a press car) and felt like a fighter pilot when I drove it. I've driven lots of Corvettes over the years, but for some reason this one remains one of my all-time favorites. Better yet, these cars are relatively cheap.

favorite car 1958 Corvette 10.1958-62 Corvette
When I was a senior in high school, I bought a wrecked 1958 Corvette from my girlfriend's brother. The car was sitting in a salvage yard covered with bird crap. The car had a smashed windshield, a couple of the fenders had been ripped off, and the engine wasn't running. Over the next couple of years I put every dime I had into that car and ended up with a really nice driver. I did a lot of street racing in those days and could beat just about anything for 1/8th of a mile. But the souped up 283 with a 3-speed behind it ran out of torque when I hit 3rd gear (never could afford to buy a 4-speed at the time). After I got married, I blew the transmission and ended up selling the car for $850. Been kicking myself ever since.

favorite car 1959 Cadillac 11. 1959 Cadillac
The ultimate cruiser car and the ultimate statement in automotive excess of the 1950s. I looked at a 1959 Cadillac convertible on a used car lot a couple of years ago. They wanted $20,000 for the car, which was a good price considering the condition of the car (close to mint in appearance). But the car was too long to fit in my garage. Besides, I am not a big fan of convertibles (too hot on sunny days, and too windy and noisy when driving over 25 mph).

12. 1963-68 VW Beetle
Here's a car that probably isn't on your list, but over the years I've owned more than 30 bugs. In college, I worked one summer as a VW mechanic, and used to buy and sell used bugs with blown engines (usually an exhaust valve failed and wiped out the #3 or #4 cylinder). One of the bugs I owned and drove for a number of years was a souped up 1963 Beetle painted white with a blue stripe down the length of the car. I called it the "Bug Bomb" because it had an 1800 cc engine with all the best racing parts I could afford from Scat and JC Whitney. It was faster than my '58 Corvette in the 1/8th mile, and it blew the doors off a lot of Camaros and Mustangs. Another bug I drove for a couple of years was a red 1968 Beetle, with mag wheels and a similar 1800 cc engine. Wish I still had both of them. For more info on VW Beetles, Click Here..

favorite flying car 13. Flying Car
I've been reading about flying cars in Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines since I was a kid. Some inventor is always building one in his backyard, but the car is always a prototype that just needs a little more work before it will fly. Unfortunately, most of these contraptions never get more than a few feet off the ground. There actually was a flying aerocar back in the 1950s but it was a crappy car and a crappy airplane. The wings detached and had to be towed on a trailer behind the car. I saw one at the EAA air show in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Maybe someday we will all be buzzing around in George Jetson cars, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon.

Marilyn Monroe Cadillac 14. Marilyn Monroe Cadillac
I saw this car tucked away in a garage at the Volo Car Museum. It's an art car with a life-size Marilyn Monroe hood ornament. Definitely not a family man's car, though Jay Leno would probably like it.

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