associate news editor caleb miller is new to the car and driver family, so when his 2000 mercedes-benz s430's airmatic suspension unceremoniously collapsed, he thought it'd be a good idea to ask the window shop crew to help him find a replacement. miller set a $7000 budget and asked that we consider something fun and reliable. in the interest of saving the manuals, something with a clutch pedal would be nice, too. after the team stopped trying to convince miller to just drive the s-class and tell people it's stanced, we showed him what we found on craigslist and facebook marketplace in his price range. it turns out many of us have perverted definitions of fun and reliable.
senior editor elana scherr selects a very long and low-mileage lincoln town car with ford's 4.6-liter sohc v-8. we remark on the modular v-8 and get pulled into the opera window on the c-pillar, and we argue about whether or not the town car got bbs wheels. miller doesn't seem impressed, so we let contributor jonathon ramsey take over.
ramsey finds a 2006 jaguar xj8 l that has enough leather and wood to comfort anyone coming off an s-class. the reliability of the retro-styled all-aluminum jaguar comes into question, but then we get distracted by deputy testing director k.c. colwell's lesson on the leaper and the growler. colwell takes over the screen after ramsey and shows us that he took the challenge seriously when he shares his 1999 bmw 528i manual with the sport package. the turbine-style 32 wheels are from a 540i with the sport package, the car looks clean, and the e39 5-series brings up a lot of fond memories like road & track editor john pearley huffman's story of a close friend whose e39 caught fire in a driveway.
pearley's choice won't surprise any regular viewers. the 2002 toyota tundra promises years of trouble-free service. the group can't deny its reputation for reliability or the appeal of the five-speed manual, but the bare-bones regular-cab truck lacks s-class luxuries, like carpet. finally, deputy editor tony quiroga takes over and shows off a cream-colored 1978 lincoln continental that no one appreciates, especially miller.
as usual, the episode jumps the rails and the discussion goes off subject. watch until the end to watch some '70s classics diving their way through panic stops.