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BradLTL
BradLTL GRM+ Memberand New Reader
7/7/08 8:05 p.m.

Ok, so by the topic I am already admitting that I am insane for even asking the question. I am considering getting rid of my 2003 Boxster S for another car. I've only had the Boxster S for 4 months. I blame getting a new house and planning a wedding! At least that is my excuse.

Truthfully though, it has nothing to do with money. It is really about satisfaction. I feel like I need to explain that, the Boxster S is absolutely one of the best cars in the world. There is no doubt about it, and as Porsche says, there is no substitute. In fact this is my second. I had a 1998 2.7l Boxster that I owned and loved for 4 years. That may be contributing to this delima. Trouble with the Boxster is, I can't tinker with it or I am afraid too. I've already spent $1000 replacing the front rotors and pads, I can see another $1200 in the near future for tires. I just think about other cars and how I could have spent the $2200 on a set of race wheels and tires, an exhaust, an intake, shocks....

Anyway, enough of that. Now that I've set the stage of where I am now, here is what I would consider trading (down?!?!?) for:

  1. Looking for a good "platform" car, something that could built up and upgraded.
  2. Base cost is flexible, but looking in the ~$5k to $7k range.
  3. Would prefer a coupe, but willing to consider convertibles with hardtop options and certain sedans
  4. Reasonable aftermarket and spare parts options (prices don't have to be rock bottom, but I do need to be able to get parts)
  5. Ideally it would be a little out of the ordinary, either by make or model.
  6. Needs to be RWD or AWD
  7. Better than 15 mpg
  8. Should perform at: getting me to work (at least part time), autocross, HPDE, track days, any other "car guy" event that I might feel like trying
  9. I should be able to work on it some myself (limited only by skill level and spare time)

So what are your thoughts? Be as detailed as you can, list the car, the year range, what mods, any experiences, and handy links you might have, etc.

Thanks for tolerating yet another car list thread! Brad

PS. The article a couple months back about the cheap alternatives to the newest round of sports cars was great. GRM should start an index! I find myself paging through back issues just looking at the pictures for interesting car ideas!

Sonic
Sonic New Reader
7/7/08 8:14 p.m.

i get to be first to say it this time: Miata.

If you don't like that, how about an E36?

Bothhave great aftermarket with nearly unlimited options , ample car and part supply, knowledge base, and places/classes to run. Both are fun to drive, RWD, respond very well to mods, will grow with you as a driver, are cheap to run, etc.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow New Reader
7/7/08 8:15 p.m.

I guess I will be the first to say it...

Miata

Edit: Dang! looks like Sonic beat me too it...

BradLTL
BradLTL GRM+ Memberand New Reader
7/7/08 8:24 p.m.

I wouldn't put a Miata as "little out of the ordinary", especially not on this board!

An E36 was one of a couple options I was thinking. I am really trying to come up with a few options and try and get some rides / drives in them to really make a decision.

Sonic
Sonic New Reader
7/7/08 8:39 p.m.
BradLTL wrote: I wouldn't put a Miata as "little out of the ordinary", especially not on this board!

OK...a little more obscure than the Miata (though there's a reason they are so popular on this board).

How about a second generation MR2 Turbo? Those look like fun to me, there are plenty of parts out of Japan, Toyota reliable, etc.

or

A last generation 300ZX turbo. 300 hp, parts are available, and they seem to be cheap. They are a bit heavy and I hear they are a royal PITA to work on though.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
7/7/08 8:40 p.m.

M Coupe?

jamscal
jamscal HalfDork
7/7/08 8:44 p.m.

I had an '01 Boxster S and sold it about a year after I bought it. The wife got an Odyessey and our third child was on the way. (Among other things).

Now I have a 98 Grand Cherokee and a '94 Golf Sport (Project).

DO NOT SELL THE BOXSTER!

Josh
Josh Reader
7/7/08 8:51 p.m.

I say you can't go wrong with either of the options listed so far. Look in my driveway for proof :). The e36 will be a bigger pain in your backside to maintain, and a little more expensive all around than a Miata, but has its rewards too. The E36 is better year round, on trips, and not such a huge step down status/luxury wise from the Boxster. The E36 Both get remarkably similar gas mileage (32ish hwy, mid 20s driven spiritedly around town).

I don't know what it is about the Miata though, it's just such a well balanced enjoyable thing, especially with suspension mods, good tires, and a good alignment. By all accounts my E36 should be the "better" car, it cost more, looks better, doesn't feel or sound as low-rent as the Miata, is much more comfy, and much faster, but I honestly have driven it about 100 miles in the last couple months. I just always seem to pick the Miata when I have to grab a set of keys and it isn't below freezing. And whenever I think about selling one (and quickly talk myself out of it), it's usually the BMW. So basically I think I am saying get one of each :). That's working out pretty good here.

Although if I had to keep myself to one car I think I might go for an early S2k. They aren't nearly as scary to work on as the boxster, offer similar performance and (lack of) utility with better reliability, but are a little over your price range. You probably won't want/need to mod it much though, beyond shocks, wheels, and a steady diet of track tires and brake pads :).

Josh
Josh Reader
7/7/08 8:56 p.m.
Tim Baxter wrote: M Coupe?

That's kinda more of the same maintenance wise, and it's unlikely he'll come out ahead financially selling the boxster to get one. Sweet ride though. I'd feel kinda bad DDing one, eventually there aren't going to be many nice ones left. It's already damn near impossible to find a nice one under 20K.

pigeon
pigeon New Reader
7/7/08 9:36 p.m.

You're describing my '99 E46 BMW 328i sedan. Not really out of the ordinary and it's a sedan, but it fits all the other criteria to a "T", including being for sale in the stated price range (hint, hint - PM me if interested). Easy to work on, upgrade paths available including supercharging kits, several different suspension kits (Bilstein PSS9, H&R Cup Kit, etc.), it's already got comfy full power heated leather M3 seats in it which will hold you in place for track duty even though they weigh something like 60# each, Schroth makes a plug-in harness solution, you can autox and HPDE with BMWCCA and not have to run in the "other" group RWD, solid 5-speed with many short-shift kits available if that's your thing. Gets 28MPG combined and 35+ on the highway. Classic good looks too, can drive it anywhere without embarassment.

Scott

Osterkraut
Osterkraut New Reader
7/7/08 10:33 p.m.

Oh man, if this was a less mature board, I'd say the OP was trolling!

What's an MR2 Spyder going for these days?

neon4891
neon4891 HalfDork
7/7/08 10:39 p.m.

miata, C4 'vette

I would love an MR2 spyder

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed New Reader
7/7/08 11:20 p.m.

As a general rule, when you say " a little out of the ordinary" you are increasing the cost of modding as there will be less aftermarket support. I know how how you feel though, it's nice to have something a little different.

I think you will have to go Japanese if you want to keep the overall cost down. Here are my suggestions.

Subaru WRX/Legacy GT. AWD sweetness, large aftermarket support. Both have 4 doors and I know you said a 2 door coupe/vert but these are nice.

The sports cars: MR2, S2000, 300ZX/350Z, RX7 or even a Supra if you could find one. Anyone of those might fit the bill.

It's a difficult choice coming out of a Boxter S but ultimately for the best all around support and cost is the .............ta da.............Miata. You could get a removable hard top or even a good used PRHT. I know a lot have been sold but on any given day here in Michigan you see very few. Good luck on your decision, it's a tough one.

Just re-read your post and saw the $5-7K range price so that will eliminate most of my suggestions.

walterj
walterj HalfDork
7/7/08 11:35 p.m.

Duuuuude! DO NOT SELL THAT CAR.

I sold a lovely VFR-750 when I had the 1st kid under the premise that "Hey, I can just get another, newer one later".

Grandfathering only works until the grandfather dies.

2.0dohc
2.0dohc New Reader
7/8/08 2:31 a.m.

240sx? there is enough aftermarket that you can do anything you want with them

Luke
Luke HalfDork
7/8/08 4:08 a.m.

Alfa Romeo GTV6?

Out of the ordinary, excellent V6 engine, can be had for $5-7k, coupe, reasonable aftermarket and scope for performance modification, RWD and very well suited to track days. Better than 15mpg shouldn't be a problem either.

Check out the Alfa BB (http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/) for more information.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
7/8/08 5:29 a.m.

Pretty much any 3 series BMW will satisfy you. They are generally easy to work on, aftermarket is colossal, fun to drive and parts aren't expensive at all for a German car. Even an E30 is fun...just don't buy one with a 4 banger.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver New Reader
7/8/08 6:08 a.m.

mustang? if you are willing to put up with alot of suspension upgrades... mustangs are a great engine in a chassis that dates back to 1978. bandaids do exist though, but to get the car to perform to a great level your in about $5k in suspension. I have a 1997 cobra with the 4v V8 and get 19-20 mpg out of it (premium only though) for you I would go and find a 87-95 car with the 302. LOTS of motor upgrade options from mild to bat-E36 M3 insane.

camaro perhaps? 82-on funky ergo, but a better suspension then the mustang stock, however if modifying is your goal the mustang tends to be lighter.

XR4ti/mustang SVO turbo 4 power that has alot of demon tweaks out there, it nails your funky spec, merkur what?

impreza 2.5rs- AWD never get stuck in snow, rally car legacy... mom has a 2004 with an auto. only complaint is that it seems to slip alignment easily.

I have an E30 as a beater, great little car. cant wait to auto-x it sometime just to see.

keep the Porsche paraphernalia im sure any owner accumulates and get a 944?

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/8/08 6:59 a.m.
Apexcarver wrote: mustang? if you are willing to put up with alot of suspension upgrades... mustangs are a great engine in a chassis that dates back to 1978. bandaids do exist though, but to get the car to perform to a great level your in about $5k in suspension. I have a 1997 cobra with the 4v V8 and get 19-20 mpg out of it (premium only though) for you I would go and find a 87-95 car with the 302. LOTS of motor upgrade options from mild to bat-E36 M3 insane. camaro perhaps? 82-on funky ergo, but a better suspension then the mustang stock, however if modifying is your goal the mustang tends to be lighter. XR4ti/mustang SVO turbo 4 power that has alot of demon tweaks out there, it nails your funky spec, merkur what? impreza 2.5rs- AWD never get stuck in snow, rally car legacy... mom has a 2004 with an auto. only complaint is that it seems to slip alignment easily. I have an E30 as a beater, great little car. cant wait to auto-x it sometime just to see. keep the Porsche paraphernalia im sure any owner accumulates and get a 944?

I agree with all but the XR4Ti. I LOVE my XRs but their suspensions = ass when it comes to real driving.

I am considering clean slating the suspension of the XR because the fronts are just plain crap. I would love to stretch a Miata but in reality I think my best bet is to go with something closer in width with a proven history... No comments beyond that yet.

P71
P71 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/8/08 8:21 a.m.

P71?

No, it's a great car/platform but that's a scary long step down from a Boxter S (though the $2200 would get you into one ).

Seriously, I'd look at RX-7's, specifically the 2nd Generation (FC). $5-7K will net you a really nice one (Turbo II at that) and they are super easy to work on. The suspension is great and parts are readily available.

Chew on this:

minimac
minimac Dork
7/8/08 8:23 a.m.

E-30. Lots of $$ left over and plenty you can tinker with. Even has a usable back seat that will fit a car seat........just thinking ahead.

Volksroddin
Volksroddin New Reader
7/8/08 8:33 a.m.

selling the Porsche, well get a 914 or classic beetle. Bolth of them have great after market suport.

skruffy
skruffy Dork
7/8/08 8:55 a.m.

I vote for getting over your fear of the p-car. You'll take a huge step down in performance and luxury with anything listed in this thread.

What do you want for the Boxter if you don't mind my asking?

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/8/08 9:17 a.m.

Also you don't NEED the $1200.00 tires if you shop wisely you can find good tires for great money.

EricM
EricM Reader
7/8/08 9:33 a.m.

I am not sure of the gass milage of a corevett but the C4;s can be had under $9K (or did I just make that up?)

I had concidered a 'vette, but for some reason I am looking to get back the '88 Fiero GT let go :-( That is the only car that I have missed after selling it, and the list is long and includes Porsches VWs Toyotas and (other) Pontiacs.

What about a Lotus? Or is that back into the Too much money, and scared to modify arena?

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