Five cylinder engines were once an oddity. Over the last quarter of the Twentieth century, they became fairly common, especially in European cars. Today we ponder the merits of this middle ground between fours and sixes. Your trio of candidates, in no particular order, are:
- 1993 Volvo 850 Turbo – 2.4L Turbo I-5, 168 hp
- 1983 Audi 100 Avant (Audi 5000 wagon to those of us in America) – 2.1 L turbo I-5, 130 hp
- 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle VR5 – 2.3L VR5, 170 hp [Yes, the VR5 narrow-angle vee, not the inline five offered later on. I don’t believe the VR5 was ever offered in the U.S./NA Beetle.]
Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:
- RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
- DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
- RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.
Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.
- Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
- Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
- These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
- You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
- You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.