Question of the Weekend – Would you ever Daily Drive a Special Interest Vehicle?

Yes this Hooniverse Couldawouldashoulda Weekend series of postings is fun to think about what we could be driving for the same amount of cash as a much less interesting new car, but is it practical? The last posting I did is absurd, comparing a Toyota Highlander to a 1955 Ford Country Sedan, but there are other legitimate comparisons in which you could get a very interesting vehicle, drive it daily, maintain it properly, and even get your money back when you do sell it.

Let’s take the Honda vs Honda posting. The S2000 will always be a sought after car in the future, so if you do purchase it as a daily driver, you could theoretically sell if a few years later for more than you bought it for. The same could be said for a few other sports cars like the venerable Corvette, or the Dodge Viper. The Mitsubishi Evolution would also be in that same category because they seem to be getting rarer here in the US, much more than the competing Subaru STi.

So, when you go shopping for your next ride, would you choose a Special Interest Automobile over a safe, sane, yet boring new car as your daily driver? I’m sure you all have opinions, so let’s hear them.
Image Source: Cool Cars for Sale

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60 responses to “Question of the Weekend – Would you ever Daily Drive a Special Interest Vehicle?”

  1. Maxichamp Avatar

    There's an old guy in my town who drives his Ferrari 308 EVERYday. I think he's nuts but I do enjoy seeing it driven on a regular basis.

    1. BGW Avatar

      Oddly enough, there's a guy near me who daily (or damn near, anyway) drives a Testarossa. Similar feelings here- I can't imagine what it'll cost him when he gets rear-ended by some dude texting that he's behind a Testarossa, but I admire his mental illness.
      I also used to pass on my commute a dude who switched between his F430 and a Smart FourTwo (!), but I've seen neither in quite some time.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I still remember seeing a Testarossa parked in the open long term parking lot at the Atlanta Airport back in 2000. You spend that much on a car, but won't spend the extra $5/day for covered parking?!?

    2. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      When I was five, my neighbor used to drive his Testarossa to work erry day. If I was up early enough, I'd watch him go.
      That guy was cool.

    3. MusclesMarinara Avatar

      Awesome. I understand there are some vehicles out there that we have an obligation to preserve for future generations of car guys to drool over. But at the same time, life is short. If I had any kind of Ferrari that wasn't absolutely a one-of-a-kind, I'd be driving that thing as much as its reliability would let me.

      1. Maxichamp Avatar

        Clarification: Nuts from a maintenance cost point of view, not rarity point of view.

  2. Feds_II Avatar

    Absolutely. Perhaps it's my ongoing slide toward curmudgeonism, but i find newer stuff less and less desireable. Today, instead of minivan shopping like I should be doing, i find myself looking at 25 or30 year old short wheelbase full sized vans.
    My protege is getting long in the tooth, and i think it will be replaced with a 15 year old jdm, just because I can.
    Subtly running against the grain keeps you one step ahead of the pack.

  3. OA5599 Avatar

    Of course. At various times, I've dailied a Tri-Power Vette, a couple of Six Pack Mopars, a Syclone, a Typhoon, a ragtop Eldo, and a GLHS. The first three were my only available transportation at the time. If you add up what I paid to purchase/repair them (but exclude the ones I swapped by counting them as zero), combined I probably paid less than the cost of a loaded Camry. Why settle for boring?

  4. RichardKopf Avatar

    I would drive my `71 Cutlass daily, back in the summer of `06.

  5. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    If a 1984 AMC Eagle wagon counts as a "special interest" vehicle, yes.

  6. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    It's so much more rewarding to drive an interesting car than an appliance. But, it won't necessarily be a great investment. Most cars decline in value for about eight to twenty years, then the interesting ones start to appreciate. For a car to be an investment, all of its costs need to equal or exceed the value of a similar investment in a security, while taking inflation into account. Driving your special car every day is likely to add wear and tear, puts you at risk of damage, may increase insurance premiums, and adds on miles that may detract from value or merchantability.
    But the value proposition of driving a desirable older car versus a new appliance is often quite good. That new jellybean is likely to lose about twenty percent of its value in the first year. The interest on your loan, or the need to turn the leased car in after a few years with no equity accrued is dead loss. And new car insurance is likely to be higher than for a used car. Against that will be cost of maintenance and repairs for the older car, and risks of damaging irreplaceable parts.
    For less than a years payments on a new Civic, I can buy high quality, fun near-luxury cars outright. I can drive the wheels off them without having to worry about resale value or keeping the bank happy. Maintenance and repairs for the year are rarely more than what a few months of payments would be.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Why not?

    2. Lotte Avatar

      If that getup is part of the everyday driving experience, I agree with you.
      (Unless you're actually him, in which case no offense and did you get my list yet?)

      1. Alff Avatar

        That is me behind the wheel of my daily driver. I only dress like that on business casual days.

  7. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    I had a "safe, sane and boring new car" as a daily driver once.
    Sigh. Ok no. (hangs head in shame) No I didn't.

  8. scoutdude Avatar

    Of course most of my vehicles are "special interest" My Scout IIs serve as my commuters most of the year though when it gets hot I pull out the old Crown Vic for it's ice cold AC. My Marauder though I don't use it for commuting sees almost daily hoonage.

  9. dukeisduke Avatar

    Sometimes when I'm driving home from work I see a guy that drives a nice red '66 Nova two-door hardtop. It's got a set of Chevy Super Sport wheels like the pictured C3. I see it regularly enough to assume it's a daily driver. It's got '66 Nova painted in pinstripe paint on top of the trunk, on the right corner by the taillight.

  10. Jeremy Wilson Avatar
    Jeremy Wilson

    All three of my current cars are “special interest” and I drive them all to work and around interchangeably, even though they range in age from 42, 32 and 11 years old.

  11. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    I like to think I'm doing a favor for those guys that bought new GTOs and sealed them in their garages. Suckers, they'll never know what they're missing.

  12. Jim-Bob Avatar

    It really would depend on a number of things. If I was driving a lot of miles every year ( currently I average 30-40k per year) then I probably would not drive anything interesting as my primary car simply because I would not want to abuse it that much. If I had a short commute and did not use the car at work though then I would have no issue with using something interesting on a daily basis. However, if parts were hard to come by then I would likely think twice as I really would not want to be stranded driving, say, a Zaporozhetz 965 (one of my favorite classics) every day. Heck, I'd love to have a Honda N600 or a Fiat 500 for the daily slog too but the parts availability would make it difficult to keep it running.

  13. brazilreporter Avatar

    YES, even "Special Interest Vehicle's" were made to drive daily.

  14. muthalovin Avatar

    I have a M600 Ducati Monster. It is very special interest. Would I rather have another, newer naked bike? Not in a million years. My Monster has character.
    I would probably choose something special over an appliance, even if it means more work and more money down the line. In this disposable society, I like to be an outsider. Hell, that is why I am at the Hooniverse.

  15. Deartháir Avatar

    <img src="; width="600">
    After daily-driving a Corrado for 6 years, both summer and winter, and realizing what an awesome, awesome winter car the Corrado can be, I wouldn't even have a second's hesitation, if it were the right daily-driver.
    I wouldn't daily-drive a Model T, for instance, but I'd probably do it with a T-bucket.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Awesome Corrado!
      I DD my DSP MGB for thru the last 2 years of college except for December. I have my limits.
      Weber carb, tube header, race suspension, Supertrapp muffler and unshaved rain tires for the street.

    2. CptSevere Avatar

      A buddy of mine who recently moved to Prescott, drove his '21 Model T to town here in Tombstone pretty much every day. Of course, it was only a mile from his place to downtown, but he drove that thing all the time. He also drove his '24 Chevy and '36 Dodge on a regular basis. No trailer queens for Tom, and he's probably still driving those cars up in Prescott. He never even bothered with antique plates, either.

  16. Sales Geek Avatar
    Sales Geek

    If a 2000 M5 with lowered suspension, 'bad boy' exhaust and tuner chip (all put in by former owner who lunched the engine) counts, then yes. You get so spoiled so quickly driving a vehicle that can actually stop on a dime, respond quickly to other drivers lapses of attention and in general just be a badass when you want to. Very spoiled. You have to dedicate some time and money on maintenance. And yes, a new set of $1,400 tires every 20,000 miles ain't for the faint of heart. But step into something a bit more commonplace and it's like your world goes into black-and-white from technicolor. It just isn't the same.
    If I just want to melt into the crowd, I have a generic F150 for that.

  17. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    I just bought an SW20 MR2. Not turbo, and probably not about to appreciate any time soon, but I chose it precisely because it's a goofy, impractical little car that makes me smile when I see it.
    My Maxima is fast, comfortable, and competent, but it's just not very interesting to drive around town. If I had my foot in the carpet at all times, the Maxima would probably be fun as balls, but the 2 makes just going from stoplight to stoplight an adventure.

  18. dwegmull Avatar

    My daily driver is a Tesla Roadster. It is fun and not practical. So, yes.

  19. facelvega Avatar

    Agreed on your final point: let's look at the kind of comparisons that might actually torture us here, instead of softballs pointing out that non-enthusiasts pay a lot for boring cars. Mainly I think this means the more attractive new or newish cars up against comparably-functional vintage options. A few examples to add to yours: perfect 240/740 wagon or 2002-ish V70? Near-new GTI or pristine E46 wagon? Late C4/early C5 Corvette or new V6 Mustang? Recently, I had a job prospect that would have included a long highway commute twice a week, and I was kept up at night deciding whether it would be better to finance a new Focus or just buy the cleanest Protege5 or SVT Focus I could find.

  20. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I've claimed that if I could do it over I'd have a subaru powered Meyers Manx and leave it at that, for my DD.
    I think the special interest has been me interested in why my cars aren't working. But both of my DDs have been SIVs. The beetle was fun when it was running right. The comet hasn't run right as often as the beetle, but soon enough(when my wallet empties) it will also be a good strong(ish) DD for me.

  21. kvhnik Avatar

    Why as a matter of fact I drive a 1995 Golf 4 door (it's called "Suede Silver" not Beige!) with the coveted Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor option. 0 to 1956 in 0.2 seconds!

  22. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Can we call my '86 Fiero GT as "Special Interest"? It was my daily for the past year, but It is currently sitting sans engine, since I stole its engine for the LeMons Fiero.
    Now I'm back to driving my '88 K1500, since the XJS needs brakes.
    Anything that I own, if it runs, will always be in the rotation for commuting duty.

  23. Rory Carroll Avatar
    Rory Carroll

    I did a 1984 911 365 days a year for 2 years and 2 Northern Michigan winters. I would still be driving it every day, but I tried to teach my girlfriend to drive it and we lost the transmission. I ended up having to buy a Jeep, which is fine, because it will pull my Lada. The way I look at it, if you can only have one car, it should be something you're absolutely enamored of, so take care of that first. Then, if you have some money left over, buy something you don't feel bad driving into the ground.

    1. citroen67 Avatar

      Wait…WHAT!? Did you say LADA!? We need to talk more about this. What kind of Lada do you have? Are you the guy that I have been hearing about that LeMons'd the Signet? If so…you are awesome!!! If not…you are still awesome for having a Lada!

  24. CptSevere Avatar

    Hell, I've never owned nothing built after 1974, so I've always had special interest vehicles, of one kind or another. I've driven modern vehicles at various jobs, of course, but I've always owned older vehicles, and it works fine for me. I can work on them myself, they amuse me, and they're just plain cool. I don't want anything new, I can't afford payments and I don't like the way their built. Plastic and tin. Flimsy. And, call me a Luddite, but I'll stick with this computer here in the house, I don't need one in the car.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Here here! (viking beer mugs crashing together)

    2. buzzboy7 Avatar


  25. AteUpWithMotor Avatar


  26. mad_science Avatar

    Yes, but only because I can get away with it. Plenty of scenarios (mainly work/family time or commute distance) that would make it a no-go for me.

  27. mad_science Avatar

    Also, its making me feel really old to hear people talking about late 80s and 90s cars as old/special interest.
    I mean, they're only…damn…

  28. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    It's not that old, that quick, or that rare, but it takes a special set of interests to daily-drive Severin in his current state.
    <img src="; width=600>
    Given that I just got my first speeding ticket tonight – partly poor judgment on my part, partly a flaky speedometer – I'm not about to go after something faster anytime soon.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I @#$%& LOVE the hand-print!!

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      EDIT: Good, that plus a refresh did it.

    3. CptSevere Avatar

      Scrutinizing this photo, with a critical eye, I can't find a damn thing wrong with that car. A fine example of driving machinery, if I do say so myself.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        If you look closely, one turn signal lens is broken. (Now they both are, and I have to stick portions of gallon milk jugs on as replacements so that the local Lax Inspection Guy will pass it before I get fined again.)

    4. Van Sarockin Avatar
      Van Sarockin

      I call Photochop. Seems that hood should have a lot more notches carved in it.

    5. TurboBrick Avatar

      Those hand prints go great with that "Live Free or Die" license plate.

  29. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Three. You need three of British heritage cars PLUS one spare vintage Japanese to make it all work. The likelihood of three English cars all not starting on a cold morning is greater than even I ever thought. Thus the 60's Japanese car as plan D.
    Also, electronic ignition conversions in all my old points style distributors make life a lot easier. Not easy, but easier.

  30. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Currently renting a 2011 fleet-only Crown Vic from Dollar/Thrifty. Would recommend neither. Dollar is a bunch clueless monkeys (at least in DC) and monkeys seem to have assembled the interior of the car.

  31. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    If by "special interest" you mean something like a 1961 Chevy panel truck or '66 GMC Handi-Bus — NO, never again.
    If a '92 Town Car counts, then of course.

  32. Mr_Biggles Avatar

    I rented a Caliber a few months back to drive from Toronto to Detroit and back. It drove well and had a decent stereo. I'm not sure Enterprise rents anything without AC. My only beef was the lack of cruise control which I did not notice until I had left town.
    They offered me an upgrade to a Civic for a bit more money. Company guy that I am, I turned it down. I found it interesting that a Civic was considered an upgrade from the larger Caliber. My mind is still stuck in the Civic=small from my youth I guess. Maybe the extra dough was for the cruise control…

  33. SpeedCostsMoney Avatar

    I used to commute everyday in a '66 Mustang in Charleston, SC with no AC for two years. It was a pain and I lost 15 pounds doing it between sweating to death and walking due to the sucker breaking down all the time.
    Here is a pic of it when I owned it.

  34. Abe Avatar

    Avis is a good place to rent from. There is a site that is called rental car momma (I have no financial association with the site other than being a user) that can get you a really good deal. I rented a midsize last weekend for 25 hours and it only cost me $30.00.

  35. west_coaster Avatar

    Lots of great stories so far, but I believe this one beats them all:

  36. west_coaster Avatar

    Here's the problem: Rental car companies reserve the right to "upgrade" you whenever they run short of lower-priced economy models once you arrive at the counter.
    My step-daughter worked at an Enterprise in 2008 when gas was well above $4 a gallon. Suddenly, every renter wanted a compact, but they only keep a certain percentage of those in their fleet. So the compacts would sell out quickly, and some who thought they'd reserved a 30 mpg economy car found themselves in something like a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Explorer.
    They were even waiving the must-return-with-a-full-tank rule, but they were still getting lots of grief, especially when people were going to be driving hundreds of miles for leisure travel.

  37. P161911 Avatar

    I would, even if I shouldn't. a drove a 77 Corvette up until 1996 and a 1979 K-5 Blazer up until 2000. If I did I would want to have a back up vehicle. I hope to get the 77 Corvette back on the road someday, it will be close to daily driver if I do. Also, if a 1996 Z3 that has been converted to M Roadster spec counts, then I did up until earlier this year.

  38. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    The Cruze is actually nice.

  39. Andrew Avatar

    I daily a race-prepped S2000… It's not particularly unique, but it is noisy, uncomfortable, fun, and my only car. I DO take the slicks off for the commute…

  40. TurboBrick Avatar

    I have been screwed by every single car rental company somehow EXCEPT Avis. They're the only ones that have always been able to a) produce an accurate quote, and b) have even worked with me to get me a deal at the last minute. I had rented a 6 passenger crossover thing from Alamo, but when I called to confirm they wanted to charge separately for my wife to drive it, upping the total by almost $200. I called my neighborhood Avis which was within 10 minute walking distance from me, and they got me a Chevy Uplander minivan with 53 miles on the odometer for the same money as the original Alamo quote in two hours!