Quick Shifts Appendix: Automobile’s Million Dollar Challenge


Quick Shifts Appendix: Automobile's Million Dollar Challenge

Photo Credit: premiercars.com

Welcome to our Quick Shifts Appendix, a stand-alone supplement to today’s QUICK SHIFTS post, where you will find a gear that, like the tach on the rumored 2022 Z06, revved out too far to fit into our classic Corvette gearbox.

To recap, Alex (I) has (have) been following a series of posts over at Automobilemag.com for the past six Mondays. In the “Million Dollar Challenge” that I’ve accepted below, Automobile staff puts together their ideal car collection with, you guessed it, one million dollars!

When participating in this exercise, there are several schools of thought on how best to use the money. Most of Automobile Mag’s players have gone the route of a traditional bridal with something old, something new, something practical, and a big-ticket item to prod with their right shoe (good call on the SLS Black, Mr. Ireson!). While I am very tempted to do the same by starting off with a 458 Speciale (white like Don Johnson’s!) or commissioning my very own 911 Reimagined by Singer (there’s one for sale but the 50ish% discount and ability to go wild with my own customizations on a new one makes the year+ wait completely worth it!) but my OCD doesn’t like all of the disorder associated with this method. What system of display even makes sense for their hodgepodge of international, multi-generational metal? You can’t park a Boss 429 between a 300ZX and a Kaiser; it just isn’t cricket! My technique is much more focused. I will be using my million to curate a sensational assemblage of modern American shock and awe.

Never in the history of mankind has so much performance been available for so few dollars. We aren’t talking about the straight-line simpletons of old either; in 2020, real driving aficionados don’t have to look any further than our shores to find the most involving and enjoyable cars in the world. The attainability of the majority of these cars allows me to build a larger collection than would be possible had I included a Lexus LFA. And, perhaps, best of all, the blue-collar badges affixed to each of my chosen vehicles would save me from 1. the apprehension of having my Aventador SVJ anywhere other than safe in my climate controlled garage and 2. the public disdain that such an extravagant show of wealth would open me up to. In place of these worries would be 1. the ability to comfortably street-park and 2. friendly conversation and hat-tips of respect from passers-by. So, without further explanation or gilding of the lily, I give you my million-dollar car collection:

2019 Corvette ZR1 – $149,900

2019 Corvette ZR1

As I am making a list of American performance cars (on a Corvette-focused website, no less), I had to start with the king of all star-spangled road-course warriors. My ZR1 is Corvette Racing Yellow with matching calipers and interior stitching. It also features the all-important ZTK “big-wing” package and seven-speed manual transmission. In all honesty, I could stop here and be completely content in owning R&T’s 2019 Performance Car of the Year, but just leaving $850,100 just lying around seems wasteful.

2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition – $69,989

2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition

The other (current) member of my dream garage’s “Corvette Corner” is one of the 85 Inferno Orange Z06 Carbons produced in 2011. Like a lot of desirable cars on the inventory-starved market right now, this car is priced a bit steep but, with a million-dollars backing me, I’d gladly still pay MSRP for one of these, making 70 grand look like a deal!

2020 Camaro ZL1 1LE – $74,590

2020 Camaro ZL1 1LE

The previous parking space nearly went 2014’s Best Driver’s Car, but I have a rule about not repeating engines, and the Carbon just edges out its LS7 sibling. The Camaro strikes back and takes the next slot, though with a Crush ZL1 1LE that brings state-of-the-art DSSV dampers, LT4 grunt, and one of the best shifters in the business to the party. It is a 10Best winner, for good reason!

2006 Ford GT – $289,073.13

2006 Ford GT

After slightly overpaying for the three bow-ties in my assemblage, I used my old importing from Canada trick to save money on the most expensive car on the list. There were only four options on the 2005-06 GTs, and my Mark IV Red example has the full quartette to go with its irresistible combination of a clutch pedal and mid-mounted V8.

2014 SRT Viper TA – $105,000

2014 SRT Viper TA

The “Time Attack” Viper takes everything that I love about the Z06 Carbon (rarity, extra focus on aero and handling, and orange-ness) and wraps it in a less historically-significant, but bite-the back of your hand gorgeous, outer shell. It brings 8.4 liters of Euro-shaming, hand-built V10, street-cred to the table.

With “just” $311,447.87 remaining, it is time to make some difficult decisions. I am feeling the need to buy a daily driver and after considering taking a great deal on a new, Blackwing V8-powered CT6-V and a big, cushy 797 HP Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody in the only acceptable color, Plum Crazy, I decided upon two similar, but better options:

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – $70,003

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

I can’t think of a better way to haul the kids around than in a Black Diamond Vagon with the six-speed! Did you know that, in the greatest deal in the aftermarket world, our friends at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering can get near-C6 ZR1 levels of power out of one of these for just $2,695? I don’t think I’d be able to resist that so, let’s say a total of $72,698 for this one.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX – $84,535

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

After mentioning the TRX in so many of the gears of this week’s edition of QS, I had to have one for when rear-wheel drive isn’t ideal. My TRX build ended up at just under 85 grand. I went with tow-tone Flame Red and Diamond Black with no graphics and the stock wheels. Inside, I selected the red-trimmed leather seats, the premium, Harman-Kardon sound system, and the panoramic sunroof. Other necessities were the towing group and the Safety & Security package that netted me head-up display and a surround-view camera.

I had my eye on a pair of snake-branded S550 Mustangs as well but, even with all of this money at my disposal, I have a hard time justifying the premium over MSRP that I’d have to shell out for a new Carbon Fiber Track Pack GT500. Then the GT350R’s 5.2 liter, flat-plane crank “Voodoo” engine made me realize that my best path forward is to get on our sponsoring dealerships’ flat-plane crank C8 Z06 waiting lists and send the necessary percentage of my $154,214.87 surplus to the first one that can get me an R8C Museum Delivery. Provided it doesn’t get the axe for 2022, I’ll take mine in Rapid Blue over Tension and Twilight Blue with a Z07 package to match my C6! Once that is securely in my position, perhaps I’ll revisit ‘Stang prices because the garage does seem to need one!

Your turn! Take the Automobile $1,000,000 Challenge for yourself and leave a comment with the list what cars you would procure if your bank account suddenly featured a one with six zeros after it, all budgeted for automotive fantasies in a wonderful, make-believe world without taxes!

Automobile’s Million Dollar Challenge

C8 Corvette Z06 Rumors, Ram Hellcat Pickup, Blackwing Steering Wheel, a Flyin’ Miata, and More!
The Amazing Corvette Collection You Could Have Instead of One Bugatti
Callaway Corvette Collection Offered for $995,000



  1. The only thing missing from your list is a 1967 Corvette 427 with tri power, and a Bentley 2 door sport coupe.

  2. John, if I were to deviate from my modern American performance directive, an ’09 Aston Martin DBS (the last Aston flagship with a manual available to pair with its Ford/Cosworth V12) would be my British GT of choice.

    And it would be an extremely tight race between the L71 (Convertible, Marina Blue with a Black Stinger), that you mentioned, and a Saturn Yellow 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1 for my American classic parking space.

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