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Chrissy New Reader
10/1/11 10:02 p.m.

Sonic and I are looking to get a new fun car. We just sold our 90 Miata that was pretty beat. The rest of our fleet looks like: 07 lowered Mazda 3 hatch, 99 Land Rover Disco II (towing vehicle), 91 Civic wagon (lemons car) and 96 Saab 9000 turbo (ex BABE Rally car)

The 3, Civic and Land Rover aren’t going anywhere. The Saab was a good daily for a while but really isn’t doing much for us. We are looking for a car that’s a great grand touring car that’s sporty and fun. There are so many times we’ve wanted to take a different car than the 3 but the Miata was too stiff and lacked the cargo space. Saab is fine but it’s too big and isn’t all that fun. This car would be a daily driver but also used for 2 people, a few bags and usually a decent cooler for trips from PA to New England.
Our constraints are that it should be less than $8000 cash, or newer to qualify for financing. Also will not be red.

Some of our ideas have been:
87+ Porsche 944 Turbo (w/ and w/o LS1 swap)
M3 (E36 & E46)
M roadster or coupe (cargo of roadster is a concern)
Early C6 Corvette
996 C2

The car probably won’t be used for the track but we’d like something entertaining. Fuel Economy isn’t a huge issue but everyone likes good gas mileage. Back seat optional.
Also, in 5 years, this will potentially be replaced by an Aston Vantage (need to pay off student loans first)

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/1/11 10:07 p.m.

5spd Lexus SC300.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/1/11 10:07 p.m.

5spd Lexus SC300.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/1/11 10:08 p.m.


Travis_K SuperDork
10/1/11 10:34 p.m.

The only real answer for a grand touring car s a Citroën sm, but I could see one of those not working out so well as a daily driver. The others I would suggest would be: Porsche 928, Mercedes 300ce, 450slc, 500e(if you don't mind 4 doors), or 560sec, BMW 6 series, or maybe a Jensen interceptor.

mmosbey Reader
10/1/11 10:35 p.m.

I like my Infiniti G35 6MT Coupe. 2+2, 280 hp, rear drive, 6 speed manual, LSD, and a really nice brake package. Nice sounds, and a sticker on the trunk lid telling you how to arrange your golf clubs so you can carry two bags.

Option out the back seat, and you have a 350z.

Both are just above the top of your cash price range, but are new enough to let you exercise the finance option.

I'm am hoping you have an aftermarket suspension on your Miata, because I've always found Miatas to have a compliant suspension, and I suspect you'll find the G35 6MT will be harsher than a stock Miata. Other cars on my list were the C230 Coupe (less sport, more appliance with a non-comical back seat, good chassis). I didn't get to try, but was interested in the Audi TT, Crossfire and RX-8.

Last thing: I've always wanted fitted luggage. Next Miata, and I'm getting a set.

pigeon Dork
10/1/11 11:53 p.m.

I had a 9000 CSE non turbo and know what you mean - huge cargo capacity and somewhat comfy but I never had the urgent just go for a drive. I've done a 944 Turbo; they're old cars now and not paragons of reliability. When they're running well they are lots of fun. Not what I'd call a GT car though.

E36 M3 is at the bottom of the depreciation curve - you'll be able to sell it for the same money in 5 years. That would be my choice.

ansonivan Dork
10/2/11 12:54 a.m.

2001-2003 bmw 530 6 spd.

You'll cover great distances in excellent comfort while enjoying surprising fuel economy. E39's are a ton of fun through the twisties also, large yet agile.

Do not buy a 540 or M5. Let someone else have the speeding tickets.

pres589 Dork
10/2/11 9:34 a.m.

Acura Legend Coupe, either generation, but I prefer the first. That said they're really old now and would probably be a restoration project before really being useful.

Sonic Dork
10/2/11 10:48 a.m.

Good thoughts so far. Here is a bit more to narrow it down.

-Manual transmission only.
-Small-ish overall size. The Saab is already too big, so want something smaller, like a 2 seater or 2+2.
-NO VW/Audi products. Ever. Just because.

I hadn't thought about the japanese middle luxury coupes mentioned. While I love the look of the second gen legend coupe, finding one in decent shape with a manual transmission that hasn't been ghetto-ified yet, is near impossible. The SC300, while full of potential, would take a bit of work to tighten it up. I'll keep my eyes open for one though. G35 Coupe: Hadn't even thought of that, probably need to drive one. While I know it is very good, it just doesn't speak to me, though perhaps a drive will change that.

Pigeon: Yea, I have the same concerns, but I've always wanted to try a 951, and was hoping that finding a nice one that has the timing belt and clutch done would give a less hassled ownership. I've had an e36 M3/4/5 before for about 3 years, and it was a great car, and is really the benchmark that I am measuring all of the others against, just trying to keep an open mind about what else is out there.

pigeon Dork
10/2/11 11:15 a.m.

Don't let the timing belt scare you on a 951 - they're pretty easy to do, someone local to you here has the tools available to do the job, and unless the car comes with a receipt you'll be doing the job anyway. 944s have a simple access port in the bellhousing to check the clutch disc depth, which should be done as part of the PPI anyway, so you'll know how much clutch life you have. It's the rat's nest of vacuum hoses and old wiring, worn out suspension and worry over the health of the turbo that's hassle with owning these cars. When they're right though they're really great cars.

If I were to get another one I'd get a Chevy-powered 944. There were 2 944s at the track last weekend - one turbo with an immaculate engine bay and what looked like lots of upgrades that was being constantly worked on over the weekend and one LS1 converted car that just ran like a scalded cat.

ST_ZX2 Reader
10/2/11 11:45 a.m.

I think the 8 series BMWs (840/850) can be had for that kind of loot.

amg_rx7 HalfDork
10/2/11 12:33 p.m.

For a GT, I'd love a 'vert. Maybe a Mercedes SLK w/ a V6. Or a CLK 'vert.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/2/11 12:51 p.m.

SC300 doesn't take a whole lot to tighten up. Springs, mild upgrade struts, you're good to go.

And at this point, they only really need tightening up because they're somewhat old. But very reliable. It's more replacing old stuff than it is fixing something that was wrong from factory.

And besides, they're BEAUTIFUL!!!

Sonic Dork
10/2/11 4:24 p.m.

Benzs = Automatics = no thanks

An 8 series, while beautiful, is probably a car I could afford to buy, but not own, and they are hard to find with a manual.

In looking at SC's before, I seem to recall that some parts like bushings are quite hard to get, which would be my concern in getting it tightened up, as I'm sure the bushings on any 18 year old luxury car are ready for replacement. I am convinced of their reliability, but want to make sure they can be made fun without a dramatic amount of work.

Pigeon - I agree that an LSx 951 might be the best answer, but they are hard to find to buy, and expensive to find a good one. Right now I can't get into a big car project for at least a year due to current Lemons builds and house work. If I got a nicely driveable 951 I could pull the motor in a year or two when I was ready for the LS swap, and I'm thinking that I could get some good recoup on stock, working stuff.

mad_machine SuperDork
10/2/11 4:29 p.m.

can you find an NSX at that price?

Chrissy New Reader
10/2/11 4:42 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: can you find an NSX at that price?

Talked about it but I think I might like something a bit newer? Never driven one so it might be worth considering.

talljosh85 New Reader
10/2/11 4:47 p.m.

On the manual SC300 vein, maybe a N/A MkIV Supra? Targa, better suspension, and if you get motivated the 2JZGE can be modded. Maybe a bit out of the price range though... Hmm....

Sonic Dork
10/2/11 5:39 p.m.

As much as I would LOVE an NSX, I don't want to put out more than about $9k in cash now as I have that liquid and available. If we get something more than that, it has to be new enough that I could finance part of it for 2-3 years. NSXs are old enough that I don't think most banks will touch them for financing.

Same thing with the Supra and FD RX7, too pricey to pay cash, too old to finance.

1988RedT2 Dork
10/2/11 6:14 p.m.

I can't imagine it would be very easy to find a Lexus SC with a manual either.

I think your E36 BMW thought is on the right track.

clownkiller Reader
10/2/11 6:45 p.m.

Consider a wagon? 5 speed BMW, not mine btw>


2003 BMW 325i 5 speed manual RARE!! - $6900 (Lawrenceville)

Date: 2011-10-02, 3:47PM EDT Reply to: sale-3ajsn-2614047565@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

2003 BMW 325it

station wagon

5 speed manual transmission

120k miles

Has leather interior 8/10 with privacy cover in the rear. Exterior is a 9/10 with no dents, just typical wear. Runs great and shifts smooth.Wired for a subwoofer, no cracks on an glass. Sunroof works, all windows work. Tires are pretty new, in great condition. Engine bay is very clean, no oil leaks or anything messy. Has keyless entry and factory alarm. Amazing family car for a great price. Can't beat this price for a BMW wagon. Come take a look at it, you will love it!

404-207-5802, send me a text if you'd like to come look at it. Calls only after 2:30 please.

Chrissy New Reader
10/2/11 7:18 p.m.
clownkiller wrote: Consider a wagon? 5 speed BMW, not mine btw>

Love us some wagons! My DD is a Mazda 3 hatch which is absolutely perfect for just about everything we do. Great gas mileage, sexy when lowered and never had a problem and its nearing 100,000 miles.
Not sure that this addition to the fleet should be a wagon. Might be a bit redundant- Thinking that a 2+ seater or sedan is more what we're thinking about. E36 M3 is looking like a front runner though.

belteshazzar SuperDork
10/2/11 9:26 p.m.

uhh uhh wait wait don't tell me....


Sonic Dork
10/2/11 9:36 p.m.

P71, sure, it meets the criteria of small-ish, manual transmission, sporty, fast...

I did think tonight that we may need to drive a GTO. Though bigger/porkier than I would prefer, it might be fun to have something with a V8.

sanman Reader
10/3/11 12:55 a.m.

Z32 300zx is your price range and worth the money.

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