Akeaka
Akeaka None
Jan. 10, 2013 2:03 a.m.

Hey all, I'm new to this whole car thing and am looking to buy my first vehicle soon.I live in Marin County, and am looking to move into a business market, so my car have an impact on that. I have a capstone of 10k, but would prefer to stick to $5k or so if possible. I'm looking for something as visually appealing as possible, yet inexpensive in the long run and reliable.

I've had my eye on BMWs for a long time, and the name e36 keeps popping up as a good Bimmer to get, but I've heard they can be money sinks if not taken care of properly. Is it worth while to even consider something like this though? I've got some basic mechanical know how, and am quick to learn, so I'm not too worried about basic repair and maintenance, but I don't want to spend every penny I make on keeping it running.

I'd likely use this car to commute and drive around the city.

Thanks in advance.

foxtrapper PowerDork
Jan. 10, 2013 4:48 a.m.

I'm a little confused. Your title says one thing, but your description of a business car is a different thing. Which are you looking for, and what do you need it to do?

JohnRW1621 PowerDork
Jan. 10, 2013 4:54 a.m.

Do you have the cash to buy the car outright or do you need to finance the purchase?
Financing can have a great effect on how old of a car you can go with. Buying outright is the best way.

Travis_K UltraDork
Jan. 10, 2013 5:13 a.m.

Weren't we just talking about this? http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/70000-jag-for-7000/59002/page1/

dean1484 UltraDork
Jan. 10, 2013 6:53 a.m.

Sexiest car? ok 928 would be on my list.

But from your description go get a Honda civic or accord or a Toyota corola.

Gearheadotaku UltraDork
Jan. 10, 2013 7:11 a.m.

Sounds like you need reliable transportation first, looking good second. If you're late to that big meeting because the car won't start, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Go for domestic and simple. G6 or Impala come to mind.

N Sperlo UltimaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 7:22 a.m.

I'd worry about reliability before sexy. If I go sexy (under 10k), I go Nissan S or Z chassis.

pinchvalve UltimaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 7:28 a.m.

Sexy to whom? Are you trying to appeal to straight young ladies, straight young men, gay ladies, gay men, TVs, Bis, octogenarians, teens?

The good news is, it doesn't matter because the answer is Miata.

MadScientistMatt SuperDork
Jan. 10, 2013 7:55 a.m.

I have an E36 myself, and $10K would buy a REALLY nice one... but it would also buy a decent example of the next generation, an E46.

But if you wanted basic, reliable, professional looking transportation - I'd say Accord or Impala. Finding E36s that haven't been driven into the ground can be a bit of a challenge. (Although if you find a low miles one that's been well maintained by the previous owner - well, that's what I did, and the only time I've regretted it was finding out just how long a DIY clutch job can take and how expensive OEM flywheels are.)

mazdeuce HalfDork
Jan. 10, 2013 7:58 a.m.

You can get into a 912 in maybe good shape for $10k. Does it have the potential to frequently leave you stranded and cost you and arm and a leg in costs and be slow and uncomfortable, but it is sexy.
I'm going to be here all day giving bad advice by the way. It's that kind of day.

SCARRMRCC New Reader
Jan. 10, 2013 8:02 a.m.
foxtrapper wrote: I'm a little confused. Your title says one thing, but your description of a business car is a different thing. Which are you looking for, and what do you need it to do?

and that is the question.

Is it to show off to people as you drive by?
you can't really show off in a 10k car in the business world.
Is it to show off to people that will be riding with you a lot? you can't really show off in a 10k car in the business world. get where I am going?

Do it smart: get something cheap, and understated, like a corrola, in TAN. go under the radar, but make sure it is clean, no dents, no rust, no stragnely colored body panels NO BODY KITS "RIMZ" OR MODS. Something your granddad would drive. show that how YOU look is more important than your car. then when you can afford a car that will impress people, buy that.

BoxheadTim PowerDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:10 a.m.

If you're talking about a 912 as opposed to a 912E, $10k these days buys you more "maybe" than "good shape". I wouldn't consider a 912E, though. A 912 actually is quite a neat car, but the cost of engine rebuilds on those is on par with 911s, as is the cost of bodywork etc.

93EXCivic MegaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:12 a.m.

Mercedes Benz 560SEC AMG

SlickDizzy UberDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:21 a.m.
SCARRMRCC wrote: Is it to show off to people as you drive by? you can't really show off in a 10k car in the business world. Is it to show off to people that will be riding with you a lot? you can't really show off in a 10k car in the business world. get where I am going?

THIS. I have one friend who has done VERY well for himself since graduating college. His winter driver is a Porsche 996 turbo. Yes, you read that right.

As cool as a lot of older Euro cars are, they're not really going to impress anybody who knows anything. In this sense, a really nice newer Accord or whatever would probably be your best bet. Plus, if you're maintenance-shy enough to think that an E36 could be a PITA, you probably shouldn't be shopping in the $5-10k Euro bracket...E36s are tame compared to the maintenance required by a Jag or Mercedes.

Matt B Dork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:30 a.m.

Get a decent Accord/Camry/Altima and be done with it. They'll give a better impression than their smaller siblings (Civic/Corolla/Sentra), but won't be much to buy or maintain. Given the right options, some of them aren't bad to drive either.

mad_machine MegaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:38 a.m.

Somebody mentioned the Nissan Z.. for business use, I would consider the Infinity version. Either the g35/37 coupe or sedan. They are reliable, good looking, a little thirsty due to the V6, but still able to get out of their way in a hurry, and they are a step up from the econocars that people seem to be steering you towards

SlickDizzy UberDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:39 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: Somebody mentioned the Nissan Z.. for business use, I would consider the Infinity version. Either the g35/37 coupe or sedan. They are reliable, good looking, a little thirsty due to the V6, but still able to get out of their way in a hurry, and they are a step up from the econocars that people seem to be steering you towards

You aren't going to find one worth having under $10k though, or I'd own one...

Full disclosure: I am currently shopping in this price bracket and am looking at the 318ti, E36 M3, E46s, Corolla/Matrix XRS, Lexus IS300, R53 Cooper S, Audi TT, and a few fringe candidates (C230, Boxster, etc). I will most likely end up with a 318ti, E46 or R53...but I'm more interested in buying the car that impresses ME the most, not someone else

Woody MegaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:49 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: You can get into a 912 in maybe good shape for $10k. Does it have the potential to frequently leave you stranded and cost you and arm and a leg in costs and be slow and uncomfortable, but it is sexy. I'm going to be here all day giving bad advice by the way. It's that kind of day.

If you're shopping in the sub 10-k range, you're not going to save an appreciable amount of money buying a 912 vs. a 911.

GameboyRMH PowerDork
Jan. 10, 2013 8:53 a.m.

C3 Corvette, buy one in decent shape and put money into bodywork, paint and exhaust. It'll turn all the heads, all the time, and classic rock will play in the heads of everyone who sees it.

BUT if you want to attract ladies, no specific kind of ladies, or impress a bunch of suits, then it's all about getting a car that appears expensive, even if Chris Bangle got his awful mitts all over it. And a retractable roof helps a lot with the ladies. Put any extra money into paint and keep it looking show-car-good.

chuckles Reader
Jan. 10, 2013 9:17 a.m.

If you like the E 36 you should just shop for a well-maintained example with under 150,000 and buy it. You could get a very, very nice one for $5000 if you're patient. I think they are great to drive and to look at.

4cylndrfury UltimaDork
Jan. 10, 2013 9:31 a.m.

IS300 1st Gen G35 Sedan Pre-beak TSX

jstein77 Dork
Jan. 10, 2013 10:00 a.m.

+1 on all of those.

Matt B Dork
Jan. 10, 2013 10:24 a.m.

I didn't realize the prices had dropped that far on those three. After doing a cursory search you are correct and I change my answer.

+1 on those too

fidelity101 HalfDork
Jan. 10, 2013 10:34 a.m.

hands down, with bias aside.

dean1484 UltraDork
Jan. 10, 2013 1:27 p.m.

To the OP:

I am the Boss. I am a consultant. Now I could go out and get a s500. (I sooooooooooooo want one) or a 740 or 540 sport. BUT There is a perceived level of wealth that comes with these cars that would rub my clients the wrong way. I know this to be a fact. I have got jobs because I drive regular American cars with the exception of my 25 year old 924s and that sure does not project opulence. I had a client tell me that we got the job because the competition projected a false persona and that they did not want to be the ones paying for there 90K MB. The fact of the matter is that the MB in question was probably only worth 20-30K but that does not matter it is what the person handing out the $$$$$$ thought.

I guess what I am saying is that projecting an image that really is not U is not really beneficial. In fact driving a car that overstates who you are can really rub some people the wrong way.

So go get an appliance that is in "like new" condition and save some more $$$ up and get a miata or a 3 series or some other toy to scratch the itch.

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