Question of the Week: What car exceeded your expectations?


Purchasing a car is always exciting. With the wrong car the excitement can quickly fade, but when you end up with the right car, the joys of getting behind the wheel can extend far down the road. We want to hear about the car you didn’t have high hopes for, yet now couldn’t see a garage without.

Photo credit Sabrina Hyde/Hagerty

You might be attracted to a car because of a performance variant, but end up “settling” for the trim or version more in their budget. But with so many choices out there, sometimes people overlook great option packs without realizing it. Those who choose wisely can often feel like they’re settling by not getting the Hellcat Challenger, only to find that the more attainable Scat Pack is actually a whole lot more fantastic than anticipated.

So let’s hear it. What was the car you didn’t expect much out of, but ended up being way better than you’d imagined?


I’m gonna have to go with the Holden based Pontiacs. They don’t look like much but they’re really well rounded cars.


Old trucks. Pretty much all of them. As an import guy, it is 100% the opposite end of the spectrum, but there is something really awesome about the honesty of an old pick up.


I have had mine since 2009 and one in 1976 then two more in the early 80’s I fell in love with the body style the first time I saw the 1973 Buick Riviera for the day was unbelievable. The trunk that looked like Corvette’s. The space age dash and just over all lines.


Air cooled Porsche 911. Had my doubts, but reliability, build quality and handling have won me over.


1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP.
A great looking, driving and riding car. Super quick, very responsive, great mileage for a supercharged V6. I truly wish that I had never traded it in.
I would love to find another one.


2018 Mustang Ecoboost Perf Pack. Fun to drive, huge trunk (for a coupe), decent back seat (again, for a coupe), 30 MPG hwy, looks great…and it’s cheap!


1968 Dodge Charger with the 440, love the design of those B body cars.


I gotta agree air cooled 911s in particular for me the 993s are my favorite all around driver that i’ve ever driven. After owning then selling off a couple of dozens over the years i’ve learned that certain well cared for examples are by far n away heads above and worth the extra $$.


I agree that the air cooled vehicles are really great but my favorite was a 1963 Corvair Monza Spyder. Putting 150 horses out of a 145 c.i. engine was pretty great.
I needed to spend about $500 to make the car totally streetable. We put stabilizers front and rear, guides on the drive belt to keep it from leaving the pulleys and changed over to radial tires. We also put in heavier gaskets throughout the engine.
The really great thing about air cooled engines is that they run well during runs down I-5 in California during the summer.


I have owned several muscle cars including a big block 396 450hp Nova, but the one that surprised me the most was a 6 cylinder 1987 Grand National Buick. It amazed me just how quick that car was!


The Honda S2000. Bought one years ago always wanting it. Now, I could never let it go.


Honda S2000, year one (2000). I have had quite a few cool and fast cars, (currently have a Golf R too!) but the thrill of 9000 rpm, and screaming thru and out of a turn still knocks it out of the park. Drive it like you hate it…, and you’ll love it!
Also…trouble free at 90k miles.


2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP 5 speed Coupe. I saw my first one in 2013 and had to find one. I have owned one since 2013 and love every minute when I drive it. It handles well and with the 2.0L turbocharged / intercooled motor with direct injection & VVT has all the HP one needs to put a smile on one’s face.


2006 GTO. A fabulous driving car. The LS2 engine with 400HP and 400lbs/ft torque is fantastic. Tremec 6-speed. Independent rear suspension. Great seats. A very fast car that you could drive all day in comfort. Subtle styling, yet very reminiscent of earlier Pontiacs, including the distinctive hood bulges. This is truly a modern version of the '70 GTO, except better in every way. A Corvette with a back seat.


Porsche 993- there is no substitute . I have several collector cars but no vehicle I’ve ever experienced balances the visceral with the refinement of air cooled 911!


2018 Porsche Panamera Turismo Sport 4S
Blown away by performance of twin turbo six plus eight speed transmission is flawless
Stability power and funky good looks


I’m with you Si on that one. Really love my '75 Dodge D200.


I knew I’d love a Morgan 3. But it has become my favorite ride. Like flying a “Sopwith Camel” on the ground. Lots of power, and lots of noise. Leather helmet and goggles. At 79 I can get away with it too. Jim.


1962 Austin Healey - ended up with one in a trade for a 1954 Belair. It was the first similar vintage car that made my mid-year Corvette feel like a '72 Bonneville. Totally blown away by how much fun it was to drive in the twisties.