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NBrown84
NBrown84
12/10/12 8:47 a.m.

I just sold my ST Civic this past summer in hopes of picking up something RWD. My obvious first thought was a Miata. The only real downside is that you can find them everywhere. I want to get something with some personality. I've looked into the following vintage cars but I'm afraid to commit to something and find out that parts are in short supply or they're difficult to work on etc...

Please let me know your thoughts. Are any of these are worth getting over a Miata?

Datsun Roadster Datsun 240/260/280 Datsun 510 Mazda RX7 (1st gen) Porsche 914 BMW 2002

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
12/10/12 8:52 a.m.

IMHO I would rather have any of those over the Miata except maybe the 280ZX. I think any of those are easy to work on then a modern car unless you have rust issues.

What about the Brits? The MGB, Midget, TR7 and my favorites Spitfire/ GT6 are all stupid easy to work on and have great parts support. They will also be less costly then the choices you posted up.

Of coarse an alternative would be to do a vintage style build on a Miata like Flyin Miata did. I think there is a build thread somewhere on here.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic HalfDork
12/10/12 8:54 a.m.

Every car you listed is stone age simple and has a rather large following.

ransom
ransom SuperDork
12/10/12 9:08 a.m.

I'll admit to being biased toward older cars.

Newer stuff tends to function better in lots of ways, large and small (stiffer chassis, better defrost blower motor, everything in between). I find older stuff often easier to work on, but it'll probably need more work.

My personal favorite approach is to start with something old and make functional upgrades. I have a BMW 2002, and the addition of using Megasquirt to do EFI made a huge improvement in how it drove. Of course, you can get carried away with this, which may or may not result in happiness...

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/10/12 9:13 a.m.

if I do a craigslist search on any of those cars I don't find much. They all have large enthusiasts communities but parts from an enthusiast of a rare care are gonna be more than parts from craiglist or u pull it, generally speaking.

the local u pull it yard had about 5 miatas last time I browsed the import section, and I have seen a number of them being parted out on cragslist as well.

that kind of stuff will make them cheaper to own and easier to work. but mechanically they are significantly more complicated than the old stuff... especially the electrical stuff. I don't think they are hard to work on, but harder than a 240z or something.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
12/10/12 10:51 a.m.

The questions are how much you like to work on cars and how much $ do you have? $4k will get you a Miata with a great driving/wrenching ratio. The same $4k will buy you something old and worn out which may be equal or better fun when on the road, but the driving/wrenching ratio won't be so pretty. OTOH if you're willing to drop 2-3x that you can get something old with most of the problems sorted through.

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
12/10/12 1:38 p.m.

I would probably get an older car instead of a miata, probably not any of the ones listed though. Even in california they all rust badly, and datsun roadster parts are similar in cost to 60s ferarri parts from what I understand. What about something like an E30 bmw, porsche 944, mercedes 190e (one of the more fun versions), etc. New enough to not melt in the rain, but still old enough to be more fun. Otherwise, look around and see what vintage cars are available in nice shape in your area. I know its not too hard to still find a nice triumph tr7 or something like that.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UberDork
12/10/12 2:23 p.m.

I would take $4,700 to this guy. Then drive away happy and quietly slip a 5-speed manual into it.

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/cto/3433702137.html

Datsun 240Z parts are still reasonable (as compared to Datsun Roadster's and 510's). Last summer some dude had a running 2400cc engine and 4-speed trans for $250 way over in Iowa - stuff is still out there.

I also gauge the cars if there are suppliers still NEW selling fenders/hoods/interior parts - 240Z? Yes. 510? Roadster?

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/10/12 3:24 p.m.

the Fiat 124 is not a bad car too.. but does require more maintance than it's brit competition.

Also, look into the BMW E21.. the model between the 2002 and the E30. I see less of them on the road than I do 2002s

If you want RWD fun. the Volvo P1800 is nice

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 Reader
12/10/12 3:40 p.m.

Z car for sure. Simply, reliable, torque-y straight six, lovely engine sounds, and a huge aftermarket. Just make sure you get the best example you can find (unless you feel like doing LOTS of rust repair).

EvanB
EvanB PowerDork
12/10/12 3:41 p.m.

Peugeot 505 turbo, you definitely can't find them everywhere.

oldtin
oldtin SuperDork
12/10/12 3:59 p.m.

Are we talking daily driver duty or for fun? Of course, the big question - budget?

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/10/12 9:45 p.m.

you had to bring logic into it, Oldtin

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UberDork
12/10/12 9:48 p.m.

You could just buy my Alfa Romeo Spider

phaze1todd
phaze1todd Reader
12/10/12 10:01 p.m.

First Gen Celica!

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Reader
12/10/12 10:19 p.m.

Having owned 3 Z-cars (2-280's, 1-240), and current owner of an e30-eta and an e21, I would vote for those - e30 probably being the best for a daily driver type thing, with an i car being sportier - still plenty of parts availability, and they're rather robust.

The Z and the e21 are more fun than the e30, but both need to tighten up the suspension a bit to be really fun.

For the e21, a guy on bimmerforums does urethane bushings for the e21s (lot's of satisified customers), and there are a few simple upgrades that'll really wake the car up (see the FAQ section).

Z-cars are the bomb. Most fun was my 280, with 240 bumpers (remove the bumper shocks), larger throttle body, urethane bushed throughout, 2-1/2 exhaust, 3.73 gears (stock are 3.55s). Woke the car up a lot, great fun realtively cheap.

Z-cars > e21> e30. is my $0.02....

novaderrik
novaderrik UltraDork
12/10/12 10:29 p.m.

old, new- whatever.

buy what you like- who cares if other people own something similar..

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 PowerDork
12/10/12 11:06 p.m.

Miata-like but less common...though still current...MR2 Spyder?

curtis73
curtis73 UltraDork
12/11/12 2:27 a.m.

I won't speak intelligently concerning the cars you list, but I ALWAYS choose the vintage first. Vintage is cool.

Roll up to the club in a brand new $25k Camry and you don't go home with a date. Roll up in a clapped-out $1200 Spitfire wearing a tastefully metrosexual scarf and you have to ask the ladies to take a number.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese SuperDork
12/11/12 4:17 a.m.

In reply to curtis73:

So, that's your secret, eh?

I personally find new cars more boring than old cars. My only requirement is that it's easy to work on. I like working on cars as much as doing anything sporting with them. I also tend to get bored really easily, so having something that has a lot of room for improvement through small modifications and fixes is much more enticing to me than something that's already damned good.

Having something that no one else sees all the time is nice, too. That reflects in my fleet of an 08' Astra and a fairly clean '89 Accord Coupe. I see a Miata every time I leave my house, and it's almost always a different Miata every time. I can't remember the last time I saw a Datsun ANYTHING, much less a clean Z or 510. Even an E30 isn't common, is easy to work on, capable, and of course, one of the GRM holy trinity.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
12/11/12 6:53 a.m.

There are really two ways to get something automotive that is cool and unique... be the the first, or be one of the last. I can not afford to be an early adopter so last it is.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
12/11/12 8:15 a.m.

Of those saying "vintage," how many of you are working on a vintage and how long has it been since you were able to drive it, or has it even been drivable since you purchased it?

Who cares if you see a lot of X car? Build it the way you want and know when the local flat bill crew wads it up trying to play Ken Block, the supply of readily available cheap parts will remain.

But I admit, I hate working on cars and do it out of necessity. I'd rather be driving than wrenching.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/11/12 8:34 a.m.

my vintage saab has been off the road a year.. most of that time spent looking for somebody who would even look at the transmission. Then it took a few months to get it rebuilt due to a scarcity of parts.

now that parts are being shipped again. The trans is back together and I hope to have it on the road this spring.

If not for the transmission issue and a lack of money.. It would have only been off of the road a couple of weeks or a month

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
12/11/12 8:35 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Of those saying "vintage," how many of you are working on a vintage and how long has it been since you were able to drive it, or has it even been drivable since you purchased it?

I drive mine every day. It is really not all that unlivable at all - I put 900 miles on it last week including getting caught in an ice storm. Having the motor on top of the rear wheels makes for great low traction handling.

It has everything I need and none of the nanny or insurance lobby crap I don't care about. Great seats, good solid handling, sounds great, gobs of torque, 2600lbs and 20-27mpg. It cost about what a new Focus would but it will never depreciate unless I ball it up - so I justify the fact that if I do have an engine / trans issue it is going to hurt the pocketbook but not as much as the 10k hit I'd take on a Sonata in the 1st 4yrs even when nothing goes wrong.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
12/11/12 8:46 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
z31maniac wrote: Of those saying "vintage," how many of you are working on a vintage and how long has it been since you were able to drive it, or has it even been drivable since you purchased it?

I drive mine every day. It is really not all that unlivable at all - I put 900 miles on it last week including getting caught in an ice storm. Having the motor on top of the rear wheels makes for great low traction handling.

It has everything I need and none of the nanny or insurance lobby crap I don't care about. Great seats, good solid handling, sounds great, gobs of torque, 2600lbs and 20-27mpg. It cost about what a new Focus would but it will never depreciate unless I ball it up - so I justify the fact that if I do have an engine / trans issue it is going to hurt the pocketbook but not as much as the 10k hit I'd take on a Sonata in the 1st 4yrs even when nothing goes wrong.

Your Porsche is not "Vintage" like a 510 or 914.

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