Mr CF, Are You Mad?

I (Mr. CF) have been a long time fan of cars. Having seen every episode of Top Gear at least twice and most Fifth Gear episodes at least once, I’ve visited many (international) car and car tuning shows, my love for cars seems pretty obvious.

Mr CF, Are You Mad?

However, my frugal side has (almost) always been able to avoid these costly mistakes (which is really what they are). We have had our fair share or (nice) cars, but  I’ve always wanted a Aston Martin DB9 or V8 Vantage. Still believe these are one of the prettiest cars out there. And despite their hefty price tag (even used), they could  be purchased and enjoyed by an everyday bloke with sufficient determination and perseverance.

Aston Martin DB9
Mr CF, Are You Mad? Aston Martin DB9

This will however never materialize, not only because in the Netherlands car ownership is very expensive and heavily discouraged, but primarily because it would set back our target date for financial independence by many years. This we don’t find acceptable nor do we think the joy and fun of owning such a car is worth that much extra work/time.

Are There Other Options?

That being said, would it be possible to still own a fast and fun sports car in the Netherlands, without breaking the bank? My love for cars, besides Aston Martins as the pinnacle, has primarily focused on small, light, nimble, fast and somewhat unique cars. The cocktail of  these ingredients for me leads to one of the following cars:

  • Lotus Elise (Mark 2)
  • Lotus Exige
  • Lotus/Caterham Super 7
  • Westfield (looks like a Super 7)
  • Ariel Atom

Still Expensive Options

Based on purchase price, the Ariel Atom is simply too expensive at ~€30,000-40,000. So this is not considered an option. Also the Lotus Exige falls in this category.

Affordable Options?

That leave us with the Locus Elise, which can be found for around €15,000-€30,000 and the Super 7, which can be found between about €10,000 and €25,000. Both are pretty Spartan (read: uncomfortable and small), have few/no luxuries and are real drivers cars. They are also not particularly pretty, albeit the Elise has some nice lines. They are, however, a blast to drive.

Mr CF, Are You Mad? Lotus Super Seven

How Much?

Considering the lower purchase price, let’s have a look at what the Super 7 would cost your per year. Based on an all-in purchase price of €15.000:

  • Depreciation: ~800/year (this is probably a slight bit conservative as most of these cars don’t lose much more of their value)
  • Lost opportunity income: ~€1.050/year (based on €15.000 @ 7%/year, not compounding)
  • Maintenance: ~€350/year (parts only, which are generally pretty cheap as they are easy to find, the engine is just a small 4 cylinder, there are virtually no electronics and the car is relatively easy to maintain)
  • Fuel: ~€300/year (based on 15km/l, 3.000km/year and €1.5/l fuel costs)
  • Insurance: ~€120/year (based on <5.000km/year, “old timer” insurance)
  • Road tax: ~€130/year

So the total overall cost per year is approximately €2.750. If you look at cash flow only, the car would cost you only about €900, which would not be too bad. But to put this in perspective, your net worth would need to be about €22.750 higher (based on 4% rule) + €15.000 purchase = €37.750 to afford the car during FI.

Considering the 3.000 km per year use as noted earlier, at an average of 50km/h, would give you about 60 hours of “pleasure”.  This would cost you about €15/h in cash flow and, assuming 15 years of driving and residual value of €3.000, a total cost of €46/h total costs.

Is it worth that much money, you tell me, I’ve not been able to make that decision yet….but this is about as “cheap” as you can reasonably get for a fun little “exotic” sports car.

How about you? Do you have a midlife crisis yet?


    1. Nope, not yet! It’s still on the back of my mind, but there are a few other things that I want to do first before I’m willing to spend money on a toy car. If my side hustles will go well once we are FI, a toy car might still materialize!

  1. I’m also a car enthusiast. I discovered a cheap alternative. Renting a motorcycle like the SUZUKI GSR 750 on dockx. Including petrol and full option insurance, you’ll lose around 70€ (17,5€/h) for a half day pure fun.

    1. That’s a pretty good rate actually for a half day of fun! Since my motorcyle license from Canada is not transferable to the Netherlands, I would have to do the whole license thing all over again (not looking forward to that…). Motorcycle riding is great fun, that’s l for sure, but I’m still more drawn to a car than a motorcycle. Have not made up my mind yet though.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Buy a Fiat Barchetta!
    Nice to drive and very cheap. You really don’t need an Elise or 7, almost the same fun and a bit more comfort can be bought with the fiat.

    1. Those certainly are beautiful cars! Would love to see your photographic skills imposed on some of these vehicles 😉

    1. Have not pulled the trigger yet, first we need to move. After that, who knows! At least we will have a garage to store the car.
      Take care!

  3. Cars are one of those things that are hard to reconcile with being frugal and trying to reach FI. Unless you’re a $10M+ aire then it’s hard to justify spending so much on a car. At least those luxury homes should appreciate in value, or you can rent it out. Cars just don’t do that.

    I have cars that I ‘like’ but I actually prefer transportation like trains, or planes where I can zone out and read a book, or talk with my wife, or type a blog article on the iPad. Driving is pretty fun, but nearly all roads in the world (except a race track) mean we can’t drive much faster than a smart car can go. And the roads are so busy (in Melbourne, maybe not in country roads) that you have to concentrate the whole time.

    Maybe automated driving will be different and let people think about something else. I can’t see that if it’s a rule that you have to have your hand on the steering wheel.


    1. Have you seen the appreciation of various air-cooled Porsches 911 from the late 1990’s? These are now up a lot from the original value! So it does happen, but not very often with cars that us mere mortals drive.
      As for the other part, for commuting I would totally agree (would love to be driven autonomously to work, no more traffic jams, yeah!). But this is more for your weekend adventures. Still, even for one of the cheapest car option it is a lot of money, which is unfortunate….
      Thanks for the commenting!

  4. My brother owns a Lotus Elise. It’s a great car and really fast. The only drawback is it’s not comfortable. And if your taller than six feet, like me, it’s a very snug fit.

    1. We know, we are 6’2″ (1.87m) and 6’4″ (1.94m), was great “fun” sitting/getting into one. We really need the soft top models, or the wide body models for the Super 7…..

  5. Great dreamcars! We have 2 boring Ford… They bring you from point A to point B.

    You did a very good job in describing the cost/price of owning and operating such a car. How much that is worth to you is a question only you can answer. Would it truly make you happy? Would you want to park in the living room? How about renting a supercar from time to time? OR going to a dealership for a test drive?

    I have read somewhere that the best time to splurge on such items is after FI.

    What looks cool to me is an old FIAT minivan. There is a dealer not too far from here and we pass them from time to time… they look great.

    1. The renting is a great point, which we have considered as well, but a day rental can be quite expensive depending on the model/insurance. The test ride may be a better option!
      That being said, it may be the best option for after FI, at least that way you have the maximum amount of time to enjoy it. Not just in the weekends.

      Have fun driving by the Fiat Dealer 😉

  6. Pretty cool cars you have here! I’m looking for a new(old) car for myself. I’ve been thinking about a Mazda MX5, you won’t find a cheaper sportscar than that probably, however I think I’ll buy some old, boring car..

    1. You may be right, the cheapest models go for around €2-3k, but I’m not sure what kind of trouble you may get yourself into. That being said, there are probably pretty good used MX5’s around the €4-5k mark. At those used prices the MX5 probably is the cheapest sport car out there.

      1. Yeah there are some good ones just above 3k and for 5k you could get a really decent one. However 3k into my debt will give me an additional 9 months of freedom.. Tradeoffs 😉

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