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mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 2:40 p.m.

Hey guys, as you can probably tell I'm new here, but I really need some advice. Its been about 3 months of car searching now and I still feel like I'm on step one. I'm trying to find a car under $5k to drive in the summer as a DD but also do some light auto crossing with to learn the basics. I used to drive an accord which was fairly quick and all but I absolutely will not drive another FWD car. (no offense to the FWD guys out there) I thought I had my mindset on a WRX until I had a couple of buddies try and convince me that it wouldn't be fun and I wouldn't be able to learn full car control. So now I'm back to square one. My only real option now I guess are a BMW 330i, RX-8 (I found one with replaced seals but I'm still worried about it blowing up), or the WRX. Does anyone have some experience with both AWD and RWD? Oh and I forgot to say, I am almost comedically tall, I am not even close to being able to fit into a miata.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
2/3/20 2:43 p.m.

Seriously, I can have fun in anything.

Edit: sorry, that might come across as a little snarky, not my intention. You'll find this to be an incredibly supportive group of people, and I'd hate to be the one that made it seem otherwise.

I think any of the cars you mentioned would be fun. I have the same concerns about rotaries, and also haven't ever bought a BMW due to being spoiled with Japanese reliability.

You'll get lots of discussion, I think, but I'd like to add another "out of the box", weird suggestion, to either consider or discard: a crown victoria or Grand Marquis.

Known by the Ford internal platform designation as a Panther, they're cheap, tough, easy to maintain, parts are cheap, rear wheel drive. Look for a P71 package (police interceptor). There's even a Spec Panther race series being started.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/3/20 2:45 p.m.

Is it a car?

Then you can have fun with it...

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 2:46 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

lol ya, I guess that's true, you can hoon just about anything, I'm just afraid I won't be able to learn much about oversteer or controlling the attitude of the car using the throttle, I get the impression AWD sports cars are point and shoot....

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
2/3/20 2:48 p.m.

You can learn full car control in AWD, no problem. I have autoxed FWD, RWD and AWD, and while autoxing each one has its own way of being driven, the basic car control skills are the same. The 2018 WRX I drove (not my car), was definitely not a point and shoot car, you could easily get understeer if going too hot into a corner. Maybe when you get into well prepared cars, that it may be that way.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/3/20 2:48 p.m.
mitchfishman5 said:

In reply to Floating Doc :

lol ya, I guess that's true, you can hoon just about anything, I'm just afraid I won't be able to learn much about oversteer or controlling the attitude of the car using the throttle, I get the impression AWD sports cars are point and shoot....

Just buy what you want.. drive it.. learn it's limits.. then sell it.. buy something else and learn that one.. stop worrying about it...

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
2/3/20 2:49 p.m.

Don't buy a $5K WRX. 

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 2:50 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Bad experience or something?

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
2/3/20 2:52 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Don't buy a $5K WRX. 

They get trashed, and aren't the most reliable even when they're maintained.

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 2:55 p.m.

Do you guys have a suggested alternative?

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
2/3/20 3:03 p.m.

What else do you need the car to do when you are not flogging it? 

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 3:07 p.m.
dean1484 said:

What else do you need the car to do when you are not flogging it? 

Just not blow up laugh I mean having back seats is a plus but not a necessity.

TopNoodles
TopNoodles Reader
2/3/20 3:09 p.m.

A Crown Victoria has very neutral handling, you can almost always get oversteer or understeer on command. The size and weight won't win trophies but it's very rewarding to drive. $5k will get you one of the best examples. $5k for almost any other RWD car will hardly get you something that is all in one piece.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
2/3/20 3:10 p.m.
TopNoodles said:

A Crown Victoria has very neutral handling, you can almost always get oversteer or understeer on command. The size and weight won't win trophies but it's very rewarding to drive. $5k will get you one of the best examples. $5k for almost any other RWD car will hardly get you something that is all in one piece.

Agree on the Crown Vic, see my edited reply, above. I've owned three of them, wouldn't mind having another.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
2/3/20 3:15 p.m.

A working car is a fun car.  A broken car is not.

Buy something that will help you maximize your seat time.  And rub it in your friends faces when they need to co-drive your econobox at the next event because they broke their budget BMW.

I'm not saying BMWs, WRXs, etc. are unreliable.  But with a $5K budget you could be buying yourself into a heap of trouble if you don't have lots of time, energy, and money to fix/maintain them.

 

Its a shame you are comically tall, because this is the easy button right here:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/471672040221347/

 

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
2/3/20 3:19 p.m.

 The problem with the Crown Vics is that they SUUUCK.  Automatic only, boaty suspension, just crap all around.  

If you want to autocross something and don't fit a Miata, there are an endless supply of BMWs out there.  It doesn't need much to be an enjoyable drive and the handling will at least give you useful feedback to your inputs.

If your budget it 5K, unless you KNOW that certain maintenance items have been done, plan your purchase to be less than 5 by the amount those things cost.

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 3:36 p.m.

In reply to KyAllroad (Jeremy) :

The automatic only was a huge turn off for me, I reallyyy reallyyy want to get better with stick. The miata is the perfect car for what I am looking for but I guess that's where being tall falls short. 

mitchfishman5
mitchfishman5 New Reader
2/3/20 3:37 p.m.
mitchfishman5 said:

In reply to KyAllroad (Jeremy) :

The automatic only was a huge turn off for me, I reallyyy reallyyy want to get better with stick. The miata is the perfect car for what I am looking for but I guess that's where being tall falls short. 

no pun intended

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
2/3/20 3:49 p.m.

The main thing you need to have straight before going awd-shopping is that it doesn't really change the handling of the car until you're in a situation where a fwd car would have wheelspin. Some people talk about it as if AWD cars had inherently different handling, but they don't. They tend to have similar weight distribution and understeer tendencies to FWD vehicles. There are  AWD vehicles out there that ARENT just fwd cars that lunge forward harder during power understeer, but they're rare and again mostly come down to the vehicle's 'natural' weight distribution, although there are some where the power distribution is rear biased enough to make it actually act different than a fwd even when you're not in the tire-spinning zone. 

This is mostly pavement-oriented talk. Dirt/snow makes a better case for awd cars driving significantly differently than FWD. 

Honestly unless you're trying to pick up power oversteer skills i don't see what an awd car would prevent you from learning. 

 

 

ShinnyGroove
ShinnyGroove Reader
2/3/20 3:52 p.m.

Saturday I saw a guy drifting a brand new 911 Turbo around on a wet pad like a hooligan.  It looked pretty fun to me!

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
2/3/20 3:56 p.m.

The car set up will have more to do with it's balance then the drivetrain layout; I've driven some FWD cars that were really edgy oversteering beasts. My Wife's old Geo on the stock Firestone tires was very prone to trialing throttle oversteer.

For the purposes of learning car control any decently balance car will do. Find something that fits both you and you're budget and then just get lots of seat time.

As for things like throttle steering; I can do that in my wife's SUV, once you learn the car control basics they can be applied to anything. The car control basics do not change based on platforms; if you let off the gas the car tightens it's line, if roll into the throttle the car will widen it's line. It's all about managing weight distribution. For training purposes on pavement I like front engine rear drive the best.  I like FWD in the dirt as you get away with things you can't in a RWD car. AWD let's you get away with things on dirt and pavement. Rear/mid engine cars while generally having higher limits can be rather dicey to learn the absolute edge with (some are more friendly than others).

About 2 years ago we bought my son's  05 Imprezza RS for $5,700 (it's immaculate) again just find any decent handling car that will be reliable.

MTechnically
MTechnically Reader
2/3/20 4:01 p.m.

As others have mentioned, any car can be fun. With that in mind and your apparent interest in BMW's I would recommend finding the most well documented E36 or E46, manual, sedan you can find. I'd actually recommend against a 330i since they are generally more desirable than their lower displacement brethern. These cars are old at this point, so maintenance and condition really are key.

E36 325/328i sedan would be my pick of the lot. Lots of aftermarket support. Fun to drive. M50/52 are just that little bit more sturdy and are simple to work on. If you don't have records of the last time the cooling system was serviced, plan to do it immediately. Otherwise the drivetrains are pretty stout. The interior will almost certainly be falling apart, but that's just the life of a n E36 owner

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
2/3/20 4:06 p.m.

if it snows where you live, AWD is a nice-to-have thing, but is not mandatory unless you get snowmageddon several times per winter.  I live in the Detroit area and my daily is a RWD pickup with a manual trans and winter tires and 200 lbs of ballast in the bed.  it goes just fine.

fun is where you find it.  dynamically, it all comes down to managing what you're asking your contact patches to do, and understanding how they will try to satisfy those requests.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 SuperDork
2/3/20 4:50 p.m.

Around that price range, I'd be looking at 350z, G35, mustang, Camaro. The bmws drive ok but will cost more to maintain and repair

codrus
codrus UberDork
2/3/20 5:11 p.m.
mitchfishman5 said:

I guess that's where being tall falls short. 

How tall are you?

I've seen 6'3" people make Miatas work.  Foamectomy, cutting the seat mounts ouf of the unibody and bolting it to the floor, or (the biggest step) a dropped floor kit are all options if you're sufficiently motivated.

Also, I dunno if they're down to the $5K price point yet, but the NC supposedly has a lot more room inside.  Think of it as a short-wheelbase convertible RX8 with a motor that doesn't blow up as quickly.

 

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