Previously owned: Peugeot 306 1.4, Nissan Silvia S13 Q's, Nissan 180SX
Currently owned: Mazda RX-7
On the shortlist: TVR Cerbera, Nissan 350Z, Mazda MX-5, Porsche 911 GT3, Honda S2000, BMW M3 (E46), Vemac RD180
Rest of Europe:Alpine A610
Why I chose it: "I remember reading about these when they came out: so much sleeker than the contemporary 911 yet equally rear-engined and packing meaningful power in a reasonably light, compact body. The ad mentions chassis rust having been fixed, which is encouraging - coupled with the fibreglass body and straightforward engine, this should be reasonably easy to keep on the road."
Lotus Elise S1 111S
Why I chose it: "I'd want a pure, lightweight car in a five-car garage, so the S1 Elise fits the bill. The 111S was regarded as having just the right amount of power, this car looks great in red on six-spokes, and mileage is reasonable. Finally it's being sold by a knowledgeable private buyer, generally a good sign. [Sadly Tom's original choice has already sold; see the rest of the S1 Elises for sale here - MB.]
Why I chose it: "Boxsters are conspicuously good value, as well as very appealing with that howling flat-six and mid-engined balance, but still everyday usable. The only caveat is engine reliability, but this post-facelift direct-injection car squeaked into budget, allowing me to save my engine rebuilding budget for the other choices."
Cost: £30,000 (midpoint of the auction estimate range given)
Why I chose it: The Riviera beautifully exemplifies confident, wholehearted American design, with subtly flowing lines and great proportions unencumbered by practical concerns. The '65 model got the originally intended hidden headlights and lost the tacky fake side vents, making it the purest visually. A 'personal luxury' coupe, the Riviera is not so outrageously huge as to be unusable in the old world, nor as soft or under-braked as many contemporaries."
Japan:Mazda RX-7 Type RS
Why I chose it: "I put my actual money into an RX-7 in 2012 and the acceleration, balance, compactness and looks haven't paled, four and a half years and several track days later - so I'd need one in my fantasy garage. The '99 onwards cars had some incremental improvements, and a low mileage, near-stock import is a good starting place if you want it to spend more time on the road than being fixed."