NordicSaab Reader
10/14/15 6:28 p.m.

So I have been considering dumping one of my project cars in favor of a simple autocross, track day, and pleasure vehicle. Much consideration has led me to the s2000. Now before the hive yells at me you know what "the answer" is, or consider "the answer", I dont wnat a Miata.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way... I have been looking at 2001-2004 MY S2000 and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. I find a nice example with 80K miles for $9500 and then a car beat to hell for $10K. An s2000 in even the worst condition is listed for $6K+.

The other thing i'm running into is many cars are "rebuilt" titles. I had heard stories years ago that if a thief cut the top to steal the seats the car would be totaled because of the high cost of those parts, but assumed it was more of a legend than anything else. Anyone have experience with this and should I even consider a car with a "rebuilt" title?

I would like to stay under $12K which in my opinion should be enough to get a fair vehicle, especially when the car is over 10 years old. I plan on keeping this car for at least 3-4 years. What should I be looking for in these cars to identify a good car vs a bad car?

Spoolpigeon UberDork
10/14/15 6:40 p.m.

Try to get at least an 02 or up. That will get you some nicer interior trim and a glass back window.

As far as a rebuilt title, it's a case by case basis. Mine had an accident on it before I bought it, but it was minimal and the repairs were done pretty well. The only giveaway was the rear bumper was a slightly different shade than the rest of the car. Then my buddy smashed it up again and the car got a full paint job and it looks better than ever now. So just use your judgement and thoroughly check out any car you're interested in.

ORIF GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/14/15 6:40 p.m.

In reply to NordicSaab:

Owned mine since Feb 2000.

Great fun, reliable, capable daily driver/track car.

This thread covers the major points well, I think.

ORIF GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/14/15 6:51 p.m.

In reply to ORIF:

One added point:

Mine has gone through a quart of oil every 800 -1000 miles since new, now 16 years and 72k miles later.

I tracked it from day one,but had to slow done once the third and fourth child came along

Compression and leakdown numbers still excellent.

The only thing that ever failed was a coil last year.

In regards to the urban legend, I am in the process of replacing the top now for the second time, $650 parts, weekend worth of labor. Skepticism is warranted.

KyAllroad SuperDork
10/14/15 6:54 p.m.

If you mod it at all don't go harder than STR. They seem to be good cars with a fairly rabid following but the ones that get pushed just a little too far break constantly. That's no fun when what you want to do is race.

Oh, and since you are spending that kind of money, have you considered the Kmiata? Lighter, nimbler chassis of the Miata but with a K24 screamer Honda motor.

I'll see myself out.....

chaparral HalfDork
10/14/15 7:04 p.m.

I'd check loan and insurance rates for clean title vs rebuilt title - and see if you come out ahead based on your cost of capital.

Dbussey1 New Reader
10/15/15 7:05 a.m.

I can confirm that an S2000 will be totalled by the insurance company if the top is slashed open and the seats are stolen.

Happened to my older brother - he promptly bought it back and repaired it himself.

JimS New Reader
10/15/15 10:37 a.m.

You say your looking for 2001 to 2004. MY2004 is the first year of the 2.2 engine and 17 in wheels among some other changes.

speedblind HalfDork
10/15/15 1:25 p.m.

I agree that there tends to be very little rhyme or reason in pricing. First and second gen going for very similar money, sometimes AP1s going in the $15k range and AP2s in the $10k.

My best advice is to expand your search beyond your local area. In my area of Northern CA there are a ton of salvage cars and they were all way overpriced. I ended up buying a 2004 w/ 75k miles from a couple in Utah for what I would generally pay for a junker with higher miles, horribly repainted bumpers, etc. The good news is I now have a couple grand in equity when I get rid of it.

racerdave600 SuperDork
10/15/15 2:55 p.m.

Not much to add to the conversation except that around here, they are getting pretty rare. I saw one the other day and was trying to remember the last time I had noticed one on the street. They used to be at least somewhat common place. Are they all being horded in garages, or did they impact something going backwards and get totaled? I would suspect this will lead to price increases for the nicer cars.

CobraSpdRH Reader
10/15/15 3:01 p.m.

I would be somewhat weary of rebuilt title, as they are prone to oversteer and the Honduh crowd didn't comprehend RWD therefore wrapping a lot of them around trees/poles.

I had one for about a year, loved it, and then sold it for slightly more than I paid for it. Can't ask for much more than that.

The adding oil thing seems to be pretty common and always worried me, but it was a fun ownership experience.

badfrogg New Reader
10/15/15 8:50 p.m.

I was on the same mission recently. i wanted a new RWD toy and wanted something modern for not to much. There are just some cars out there that are mysteriously over valued. Take 240sx's, you could buy a totally riced out and beat to hell 240sx with the everything inside and out molested beyond reason (and good luck finding a factory original one), or for the same money you could get a pretty clean 350z.

So since the "M" word is not allowed here i will say 350z as an alt.

speedblind HalfDork
10/16/15 2:40 a.m.

I agree on the 350Z as a viable alternative. Around here they're actually cheaper on average than S2ks.

icaneat50eggs Dork
10/16/15 6:47 a.m.

The ap2 has the bigger and torqued engine and is less tail happy than the ap1.

After 2005? They have electronic throttle and this allows for a simple method to reset the vtec kick in point

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