Sports cars are an indulgence. Comfort, space and even reliability are all sacrificed on the altar of Handling and Speed. And if that altar is busy, then all that can be offered up to the God of Beauty and Allure instead. In most ways, sports cars are just like other cars. But it’s the ways in which they’re no like other cars that matter most.

Sure, there are a few of us who hit it big when they’re young and can afford to buy a brand-new Ferrari. After all, when your initial NHL contract includes an $4 million signing bonus, the $350,050 price of 488 Pista seems almost inconsequential. And all the guys who graduated from high school with you last year, will be envious when you drive it through downtown Saskatoon.

But a first sports car for most of us will be a used sports car. And two sports cars stand out as the greatest used sports cars of all time. One of those is better than the other, but the other one is radically more affordable.

So it’s a tie.

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Trucks aren’t about beauty. But there are beautiful trucks. Trucks aren’t about comfort. But a comfortable truck is a better truck. Trucks are about work. And a truck that can’t work isn’t much of a truck.

Evaluating the greatest used pickup of all time requires a clear-eyed evaluation of how well a truck can be used to get things done. All the other things that matter a little, only matter a little. Working matters a lot.

Finding the greatest half-ton pickup means ignoring big one-ton duallies, and even heavy duty ¾-tonners. The half-ton pickups are trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. Full-size trucks that are also used as everyday drivers and family haulers. They are the heart of the North American market.

The greatest used half-ton pickup truck of all time is beautiful, is comfortable, but most importantly, it works great. First, though, let’s understand why pickups rule North America.

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Things have gone well. The IPO sold out 20 minutes after the market opened, smart accountants have sheltered your accumulated wealth in several creative ways, your health is good, the house is paid for and the pool cleaning guy comes every single day because, dang it, you like a clean pool. Now’s the time to dip a bucket into your river of revenue and buy your first million-dollar car. Or two-million or three-million or, hey why not, go deep into eight figures for that perfectly extravagant used car.

Back in March 2019 Bugatti sold what it says is the most expensive new car of all time – the single “La Voiture Noire” went to a “Bugatti enthusiast” for $12.5 million. But that’s an anomaly. The world’s most expensive cars aren’t new, they’re used. Often well-used too, doing things like winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, earning world championships and hauling movie stars from Malibu to MGM and back in the 1930s. Noble work.

But classics, no matter for how much they trade hands, are still also used cars. Big prices don’t patch leaking gaskets, rust doesn’t know it’s dining on Ferrari steel, and you can’t store a car in a safe deposit box. And if you’re not happy before you drop seven figures on a car, that car isn’t likely to make you happy just because you own it. Living life with money doesn’t guarantee anything beyond being able to afford what you like.

That in mind, a million-dollar car has its own challenges. There’s a reason a car sells for a million dollars, and it’s not because it’s a Camry. A hyper-expensive car will certainly be rare, definitely high-profile, likely powerful, probably temperamental and usually pricey to maintain. There’s nothing normal about a classic. Except the normal things.

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Toyota’s 1992-1996 Camry (XV10) is the greatest used car ever. Here’s how it got to be that.

Paint fades, that new car smell wafts away, upholstery wears, and dings and dents are inevitable. Great used cars don’t avoid those indignities, they wear them as battle scars. They’re indomitable and intrepid; reliable and resilient; and cheap to keep on the road. A great used car has an aging nobility to it. So, the greatest used car of them all is the 1992 to 1996 Toyota Camry.

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