Race, Daily, Restore: What's Your Type?

Sometimes, a car’s type is just that: the general category into which it falls. But sometimes, “Type” is part of its actual identity, so named to differentiate it from other models or trim lines. Here we have three very different cars that wore their Type proudly: The 1982-86 Toyota Supra P-Type (differentiating it from the less sporty, more luxury-oriented “L-type” trim), Buick’s 3.8-litre 1987-89 LeSabre T-Type (differentiating it from the less sporty, more luxury-oriented “French Whorehouse” trim), and from about two decades earlier, the legendary Jaguar E-type — for our purposes today, the original 1961–64 3.8-litre version specifically.
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.

  1. 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.
  2. Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.

IMG CREDIT: Jaguar E-Type photo from Wikimedia Commons By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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29 responses to “Race, Daily, Restore: What's Your Type?”

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    Race – E Type
    Restore – E Type
    Daily – E Type.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar


  2. Alff Avatar

    Daily FHC Jaguar – I’ve always wanted to.
    Race Supra
    Restore LeSabre. When Tanshanomi isn’t looking, sell it to pay for carb tune on Jag.

  3. Jofes2 Avatar

    Restore: Jaguar E-Type. Motivation unnecessary.
    Race: Toyota Supra. It’s the best handling one and a little too boring as a daily driver.
    Daily: Buick LeSabre. Different and rare in my part of the world, but not too impractical.

  4. P161911 Avatar

    Daily – the E-type (In this fantasy world, it will be 100% reliable and have great A/C)
    Race- the Buick (mine will be the T-Type Grand National) http://www.beforeblack.net/images/86lgn22.jpg
    Restore – that leaves the Toyota (best I remember Japanese cars of this era don’t really fit my 6’1″ 300+ lb. body)

  5. XRSevin Avatar

    Race the Jag. Cheaper than a full resto – LS 7 and side pipes. Does the California Mille count as street driving?
    Restore the Toyota. Supras are to GenX as Camaros to boomers.
    Drive the Buick. It’s a 3.8 and you can always get parts.

  6. GTXcellent Avatar

    Jaguuuuuuuaaaar – oh man, I’d so loooove to show up at the local dirt track with an E Type to race in Street/Stock. BUT, as that is MiSSus true dream car, I guess that’d have to be the daily driver.
    Supra – I’ve obviously never been fortunate enough to drive one, but I’ve honestly never cared for them – even as a young lad when they were in the showroom. So, I guess I’ll restore it, no race it, hmmmm, restore. Yep, restore.
    Buick – Since I only have one choice left – race it. But how? I know – BAJA!

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Race the Buick in vintage Nascar. See above.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        Maybe, but I’ve always been more of a Ricky Rudd fan

  7. Hillman_Hunter Avatar

    Can’t I daily all three in the greatest two-door rotation since Malone and Stockton?

  8. Maymar Avatar

    Restore – E-Type – it’s not even able to reliably kill Lane Pryce, let alone be daily transportation. But it’s pretty, and would look nice sitting, well, no where I own or have access to, but it’d be a nice centrepice somewhere.
    Race – Supra – it’s a more modern take on the E-Type formula (2-seat, I6-powered RWD sports car) and weighs about the same.
    Daily – the one with the big back seat, the engine that can be fixed by every single tech in greater North America, and reasonable fuel economy. Also, like all great cars (IE, the Jag), it’s got a front-hinged clamshell hood. That’s not relevant to daily-driving, but it’s cool.

  9. tonyola Avatar

    Restore – Jaguar
    Daily Drive – Buick
    Race – Supra

  10. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    Race- Jaguar. Competitive in most vintage racing series, and as good-looking as the FHC is, it looks better lowered, de-chromed, and wearing wide slicks.
    Daily- Supra. Turn the boost up and have low-cost giggles on a weekly basis.
    Restore- Buick. Because I wouldn’t want to race or daily it. Sorry.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Yes, then as alff says, when Tanshanomi isn’t looking, sell it (the Buick)

  11. Prince Halibrand Avatar
    Prince Halibrand

    Restore the Jag because its too damn expensive for me to risk wrecking.
    Daily the Supra because I’ve always wanted to have a Supra and I really don’t want to drive that Buick every single day.
    Race the Buick because that’s whats left.

  12. neight428 Avatar

    So, I think I’m with the groupthink here.
    Race the Supra – engine swap and drag race would be my approach
    Daily the Buick. 3.8 4-ever
    Restore the E-Type – process of elimination on this one, the other two would be worthless to just look at, at least the Jag is pretty.

  13. Zentropy Avatar

    This would be a whole lot easier if you’d chosen something other than the LeSabre for the trio. There is nothing appealing to me about this car at all. Wrong-wheel-drive and 4-speed automatic? Ugh.
    RESTORE: Given the requisite turd, I’d restore the Buick and sell it to a member of whatever cult out there worships these lame H-bodies. I’d use that $250 to buy a racing helmet.
    RACE: I’d race the Jag because too many of these are trailer queens, and that’s sad.
    DAILY: Personally I prefer more doors on my daily, but the Supra responds well to street mods that might make it fun on the commute, as long as it’s a stick shift.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      I am deliberately choosing cars of, um “variable desirability” to make it a more interesting conundrum.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        Variable desirability? Jag E Type to Buick LeSabre? Yeah, I’d say you nailed it.

  14. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    Papa Van Twee

    Restore – Jaguar (it belongs in a museum!)
    Daily Drive – Supra (Most reliable)
    Race – Buick (LeMons here I come!)

  15. ptschett Avatar

    As has been typical for me so far in this series, I’d daily the General Motors product.
    However I’m breaking with my usual tradition and racing the European car, which leaves the Toyota for restoration since it interests me the least.

  16. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    OK, before I can make a decision, is the E-Type a fastback like the one pictured or a convertible?
    If it’s the former, my answer would be daily the Supra, restore the Buick, and race the Jag. If it’s a convertible, I’d daily it (as impractical as it would be) and race the Toyota. The Lesabre would stay the same.

  17. Nathan Avatar

    Nathan Bayer
    Race: The Supra. Still has a high cool factor but no weeping if you put it into the wall. Like I did my Corvette. At Road America. Just before the carousel.
    Restore: The Jaguar. Check your neighbor’s paper. This is the correct answer.
    Daily: The Buick. And not by default, but because of it oozes awesomeness. When I was in grade school we had the 4 door version of this car, leather wrapped steering wheel and all. And my dad sold a coupe to our neighbor on the corner. You could get it in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. (I like my coffee the way I like my cars…)

  18. theskitter Avatar

    Race: E-type. Race cars are supposed to take four people to start, run for only hours between rebuilds, overheat if idled for more than 45s, and otherwise constantly blow up. Plus, the noise, noise, noise, noise noise.
    Daily: Supra. Should be an easy adjustment.
    Restore: Buick. My plan in this process is to accumulate the most baffling museum of undesirable cars.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      And I’m assuming that dinner and loud Irish folk music isn’t “partying.”

      1. theskitter Avatar

        I just got that reference.
        9 days later.
        That was fun.

    2. mfbseth Avatar

      This is exactly what I would do. I would love to race an E-type in a vintage rally.

    3. mdharrell Avatar

      Hey, get your own baffling plan! That one’s mine!

  19. ninjabortion Avatar

    I already sort of do all 3 to a P type and love every minute of it. It requires lots of attention and resto work to keep going, i mod it a little to race the thing, and when i’m not on two wheels i really enjoy daily driving the thing, quirks and all.