Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles
Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles
Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles
Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles
2000 Dodge Viper GTS. Click image to enlarge

Article by Justin Pritchard

I spent a whackload of time on autoTRADER.ca last year ahead of purchasing my childhood dream machine – a Dodge Viper GTS.

I’m a child of the eighties. So, I love cars from the late eighties and (mostly) the early to mid-nineties. And the Viper was always my favourite. It was big and noisy and primitive and curvy and I always loved its big lazy vee-ten to death.

There was no other car I’d have chosen in the whole entire universe if I ever got lucky enough to own a car from my childhood poster collection.

Probably. Maybe.

“But you could get a much newer BMW M3 for that money!” my dad cautioned.

“NO!”

No, I’d have the Viper. That’s my car. No regrets. Other than the gas bill.

Anyhoo. In last year’s search for my dream snake, I did partake in a little creeping on some other models I loved as a younger car nerd. Other lustworthy rides I had posters of on my wall. Mind you, the Viper was the big poster– mac-tacked to the prime real-estate on the drywall next to my bed.

I had other posters though.

Smaller ones. Ones that were less predominantly displayed. Posters of cars I’d still hold as a close runner-up alternative, if I could ever get myself more than one childhood dream toy.

It’s delightful when dream machinery that made your teenaged self salivate winds up in real-life used car territory and becomes considerably more attainable. Discovering that your favorite out-of-reach childhood dream cars can now be had for Honda Civic money is like discovering that super-hot girl from grade 8 gym class became obese and grew a moustache. Maybe you’ve got a chance at that childhood dream after all.

Of course, cars don’t get fat and grow moustaches. They just become more affordable. Here’s a look at what was on my posters, and where these rides sit in the realm of relative attainability today.

1990’s Dodge Viper GTS: This machine has an 8-litre V10, 450 horsepower and no B.S.. Plus, it’s mean as all heck and could hand many a Ferrari from its era their own derriere on a plate. Many Vipers in the used market have upgraded intakes, exhausts and wheels, too. Pricing seems to range from $35,000 to $45,000 for a half-decent unit that hasn’t been assaulted with chrome adhesive add-ons or beaten into submission by former abuse. I’m sure you could get a motivated seller down by a few grand with cold hard cash too. After all, they’ll be broke from the gas bills.

Here’s one example with the yucky butterscotch interior for under $34,000. You could spend more on an Accord Coupe.

2001 Jaguar XKR: This sheetmetal British pussycat packs a supercharged V8 engine with the better part of 400 horsepower driving the rear wheels. Further, it’s comfortable, usable, and classier than Pierce Brosnan in a tux. You can even get a convertible, for those topless weekends away with the missus.

Many XKR owners say their machines are like rolling pieces of art—when they’re not sipping cognac and stroking their magnificent moustaches while enjoying the finer things in life. You could probably pick one of these babies up for about $20,000, and it still looks like a million and a half bucks.

Here’s one for the same money as a Kia Rio.

Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles Northern Exposure: From the Bedroom Wall to the Garage top picks auto articles
Jaguar XKR-R & 1990 Porsche 911 Turbo. Click image to enlarge

1980’s Porsche 911: Dirty old Porsches are unique, charming and have air-cooled flat-sixes that run hot enough to melt rocks on the intake manifold. Go for the 911 Turbo for a boosted flat-six that lagged worse than a Commodore 64 playing Doom 3D. Just don’t lift the throttle mid-corner if you’re into it hard—or you’ll probably wind up backwards and upside down in the ditch on the other side of the road. It all added to the charm.

Now, you can pick one up for about $20,000, depending on the model and mileage. When you do, you’ll be rolling like a boss in one of the most envied, instantly-recognizable sports cars in history.




About Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard is a full-time auto writer, consultant, broadcaster and AJAC member based in Sudbury. When not writing about the latest new models and industry trends, you'll probably find him fixing his Dodge Viper.