Weekend fun car dilemma

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BigSilverEstate, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. BigSilverEstate

    BigSilverEstate Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hello everyone

    Apologies in advance for long post!

    I have managed to get provisional authorisation to trade in SWMBO's car, which is not getting very much use, and get myself something as a weekend toy. With a bit of a cash top up my budget is around £8,000 and the criteria are:

    - Manual gearbox
    - Quicker (or at least perceived to be quicker) in a straight line than the family barge so sub 7s 0-60
    - normally aspirated petrol engine
    - Suitable in more or less stock form for occasional track / handling day driving.
    - Not a money pit in terms of maintenance, likely total failure, depreciation etc
    - 4 seats would be a bonus but not crucial

    So far I have looked at:
    - MX5 but the mk2 1.8 I drove just felt slow/underpowered to me
    - RX8 which I liked and ticks a number of boxes including 4 seats. However given the rate of depreciation and risk of engine failure on these, the only way into ownership that I think is remotely economic is to get one with engine failure and have it rebuilt with a warranty on the engine. I suspect I lack the time or skills to find an appropriate donor car and make this work.
    - 350z which I also liked (probably the front runner at the mo) though the example I saw was below budget and a bit tired. They are rather big in the flesh though - not sure they are an ideal track day car.

    Other contenders not yet viewed:
    - 986 Boxster (but at this price point they are leggy and I'm worried by IMS failure stories and Porsche garage costs)
    - S1 Elise (prob the ideal car but my money only buys something very old - reliability?)
    - Z4 3.0 (def possibility as SWMBO likes the look of them).
    - Caterfield (would love one of these but I am right at the bottom of the price range and don't really have anywhere to keep one)
    - E46 M3 (though I doubt the 8k examples meet the money pit test!)

    The big question is, rather than all these RWD sports cars, would I be better off in terms of smiles getting a FWD hot hatch / supermini? My budget would get quite a lot of fast Renault Clio / Fiesta etc and they would presumably cost me less to track in terms of tyres, brakes etc.

    So you can see I haven't done a great job narrowing it down yet and am in a bit of a mess!
     
  2. SnowmanC250

    SnowmanC250 New Member

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    MX-5's are great track cars. 8k and a few skills could see a 2.0 engined one pacing with evo's and subaru's but way less issue's with the fact scoobys like popping turbos and evo cost a small fortune! 328I Msport. or get an older E36 325 with the M50 and put a bolt on turbo to see 500bhp without too much worry of engine failure.
     
  3. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    Boxter or Elise would suit the best. All others, bar the Caterfield, will feel like an everyday car.
     
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  4. SL350_SWINDON

    SL350_SWINDON Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Wish I'd never sold my s2 Elise.
     
  5. developer

    developer MB Club Veteran

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  6. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Just going to put a few suggestions into the mix, sorry if i'm a bit out on prices but been a while since I was looking.

    Porsche 944 S2 (3.0 variocam)
    Honda S2000
    Honda Integra type R
    Nissan Pulsar NZR (very rare but 250bhp from 1600cc)
    BMW E36 M3

    For a toy 8k will buy a front drive road legal rally car probably with out of date belts and seats. Maybe a bit battered but will be well set up and quick (think Pug 205 with Mi16 and straight cut box)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
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  7. roastbeef

    roastbeef Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Possibly knocking on the door of mk2 rs focus or in touching distance of. 370z or a supra turbo import serious bhp but if it went pop may be a tad expensive or slk amg I've seen for this money
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    BigSilverEstate

    BigSilverEstate Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks. Great suggestions which I hadn't really considered (other than the S2000 which for various reasons I am not keen on) Haven't really looked at 944s because of age but def worth a look as I know they have a great rep for handling and weight distribution.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    BigSilverEstate

    BigSilverEstate Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Ps Where would I find the ex-race rally cars?
     
  10. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I included a Supra in my list until editing out the cars with hairdryers on them.
    The twin turbo Supra is a fantastic bit of kit. Having said that the N/A Supra is very underrated and overlooked.

    The Toyota/Yamaha 2jz will take obscene power with out complaint. I would place them above the Nissan RB to be honest. If going for the Toyota engine in an import you could save a lot of money and get the Soarer or Jzx100 Chaser. As once sharpened up with decent brakes and suspension they will be pretty much the same to drive (Chaser a bit heavier though)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  11. Chrishazle

    Chrishazle Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Suggestion above about 944S2 Variocam - the variocam is the 968, not the 944S2. You'd be pushing your luck to get a 968 Sport in decent condition for 8k, but you could get a decent 944S2. Do not bother with the 944S - no bottom end to the engine, only sings above about 4k rpm (I had one, so I'm speaking from experience!).

    Out of the above suggestions - and speaking from personal experience - I'd go for a 968 as first choice if budget allows - but research carefully first!. Second choice would be a 944S2, but again research (and history) is crucial. In the past I've looked at MX5's, S2000's etc - the only other one that tempted me was the BMW 8 - but I'm glad I stuck to the 968.
     
  12. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would find a Magazine called Pacenotes, most newsagents will get it if you ask! Always adverts in there either private individuals selling there old car or the Preperation shops selling trade ins. Sometimes the chance phone calls lead to the best finds!
    That's how I found a few of my RS Fords and Italian beasts.

    Recently have seen an ex works Gr.A Skoda for under £4k!

    Also worth joining your local club as many cars change hands between members through the pub meet and club mag!
     
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  13. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I think I had variocam in my brain because I was thinking of the 944 and the 16Ventiller badge on the wing! Its been a While! I love the 944 and 968, they really do work very well. The 8 series is a nice car but in a cruise to St.tropez way rather than a Cadwell trackday way!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    BigSilverEstate

    BigSilverEstate Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    And do these cars pass the money pit test in your opinion? Neither has really been on the radar so far because of age but I have an open mind.
     
  15. gazz

    gazz Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Completely biased opinion? Get the caterfield!

    Plucked mine from winter hibernation and high-tailed it to Goodwood on tuesday.

    Here she is...

    [​IMG]

    Epic fun!
     
  16. OP
    OP
    BigSilverEstate

    BigSilverEstate Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mate having driven a (hired) Caterham at Donington a few weeks ago I need no persuasion! Unfortunately I am not seeing a lot of cars that I can afford on the market and I don't have a garage so the new car would have to live on the road...
     
  17. gazz

    gazz Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    They usually dip in price slightly at autumn time. You may have missed the boat, as they are just starting to climb again now. One or two occasionally pop up around the £8k bracket, but as you say, you really need a garage, and at this end of the market, often a little tinkering too.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
     
  18. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would say you budget would buy a really nice 944, but 968 wise, you would probably be a bit limited!

    My father had a 944 up until quite recently and they are a 'get in and turn the key sports car' Well balanced, easy and practical. The engine is sooo smooth for a four pot and the doors shut with a nice little 'kajunk' Some things can be a bit expensive and awkward. I think the common thing is fuel pipes that require the rear suspension to be dropped! But I cant quite remember. Anyway, that sort of thing will only ever need doing once. and is still only hundreds rather than thousands!
    I spent a lot of time borrowing the 944 (or anything else I could lay my hands on) as I was trying to use my knackared old Ferrari daily:doh:
     
  19. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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  20. mct_cars

    mct_cars Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    944 & 968 are great cars. Buy any 16 valver carefully though - the main issue with these is a fragile top end drive train that can cost mega bucks if not maintained. 944 Turbo engine is bullet proof and easier to maintain but doesn't pass your test. It's power delivery is also a bit old school turbo (nothing, nothing, bang).

    Go back even further and an E30 325i Sport will feel a bit special now - loads of possibilities for track use. E36 328i is a good shout - great engine; most had a new block under warranty and they are renowned for having a restricted air box that once changed gives another 30hp or so.

    Your criteria is very similar to mine later this year for an everyday fun runabout - manual, rear drive, 4 seats and £4k. No rice rockets but Diesel and or turbos are in scope (for tuning potential).
     

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