1 2 3
BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/5/21 8:13 p.m.

I really should've created this thread years ago and just updated it with the bad ideas of the week instead. Anyway I've been noodling what I'd be replacing the Alfa with in the longer run, because I like to overthink things. Came to the conclusion that instead of another new car, I'd probably replace it and the truck with some $15k-$20k SUV-shaped appliance that can tow and add another car to the fleet instead that fulfills the following requirements:

  • I've always wanted one (or owned one in the past)
  • Despite my E36 M3 car buying skills, I want to reduce the likelihood of flushing too much money down the toilet on deprecation
  • Chance at appreciation would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath as I think the market doesn't have that much higher to go and expect at least a price stagnation

I do have a bit of money set aside, but it's not quite clear how much I have to dump into the house and workshop buildings, which will influence the final decision. So I ended up splitting it into three price ranges.

1. The stretch goal cars

Buying one of these will likely mean taking out a car loan to cover the shortfall and/or require selling another car or two. These cars are on the YOLO list though:

  • Aircooled 911 turbo - yes, the original pre-1990 widowmaker, not interested in the newer models (yes, I know a 996 turbo is objectively a better, nicer car - don't care). Prices on these have been coming down over the last 5-6 years from $stupid despite the overall rise in prices on a/c 911, but realistically, this is the most expensive car in the list both to buy and run, and I can just about stretch to a condition 3 example. Condition 3 is fine though - I want a driver, not an object to polish and keep in a cocoon. 
  • Original NSX. Manual, of course.
  • Porsche Cayman R. Maybe. Mostly because limited edition Porker, but I don't think I'd be willing to use it as Porsche intended, so this one's a maybe.

2. The mid-range cars (ie, below $50k)

  • Lotus Elise. Still miss my S1 Elise, but I already have a single minded car (the Maxton). Most expensive car in this section list, again
  • Porsche 987.2 Cayman S. Maybe, but that would probably end up being a replacement for the BRZ, so we're looking a deprecation from track use.
  • Nicest, most original Evo VIII or IX I can find. Problem would be that I would then be doing unspeakable things to it and end up with a car worth less because modified.

3. The not-so-expensive cheap and fun car range ($20k and below)

  • A really, really nice Bertone X1/9. Yeah, I keep watching too many X1/9 videos on YouTube
  • Saab Sonnet III
  • JDM import Mini Cooper (not a BINI)

Me being indecisive me, I'm torn between the "no regerts" category 1 or category 3 with a view to looking into category 1 in 2-3 years as I don't think current price levels are going to be sustainable much longer. OTOH some recent events very much drove the point about one's own mortality home, hence the no regrets section, because these are really cars that I would want to own before I'm too old and decrepit to enjoy them properly (or actually get in and out of them...)

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
9/5/21 8:19 p.m.

Does it absolutely need to have a turbocharger?

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/5/21 8:30 p.m.

In reply to Woody (Forum Supportum) :

That is a good question. I wasn't necessarily planning to sell my C3.2 cab, but that car is really a longer term project. So having another SC, C3.2 or 964 that's actually usable would be a nice option, but I'd probably want one that was a little breathed on. But I wouldn't say no to the right car from the right owner either.

I came across an SC with a twin plug Andial 3.5L that would have been perfect, but unsurprisingly it moved too quickly for me to put together a deal.

So yes, I think you have a point.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/5/21 8:32 p.m.

A 1988 to 1989 BMW 325is in near mint condition. 

The e30 M3 has gone astronomical and the 1991 318is is up there as well as one year rare.  Yet the 6cyl are out there and they're great.

Enjoy the drives but keep it nice.  Never loose a dollar.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/5/21 8:38 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

I've owned an '88 ix and while I agree with you from a not-losing-money perspective, I probably would go older.

Although I haven't looked at how much E30 Alpinas are going for these days.

My main issue with BMWs is that I massively prefer the bikes to the cars.

bmw88rider UltraDork
9/5/21 9:41 p.m.

Watching with interest on ideas. I'm in the same market right now with the everything paid off including the car and getting a really nice promotion recently. 

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
9/5/21 10:03 p.m.

I've been eyeing Alfa 4c and elises. I have to pounce on both before they slip@- like the 911, out of my range. 

rodknock Reader
9/5/21 10:12 p.m.

Find the cleanest 350Z with low miles and hold on to it until all the drifters crash the rest of the 350Z's into the wall. 

Tom1200 SuperDork
9/5/21 10:31 p.m.

An air cooled 911 isn't likely to go down or go down much but I must say the budget stretching aspect makes me recoil a bit.

I'm cheap so I usually default to the cheap option. X-1/9s are budget friendly and fun to drive plus you won't see them everywhere.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/5/21 10:45 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 said:

I've been eyeing Alfa 4c and elises. I have to pounce on both before they slip@- like the 911, out of my range. 

4Cs seem to have jumped in price recently quite noticeably. It was actually a toss-up between putting the Elise and the 4C on the list - I've driven and nearly bought a 4C and I'd love to get one, but in the same vein as the Elise, I think getting one would basically duplicate the purpose of an existing car (the aforementioned Maxon), like with the Elise.

rodknock said:

Find the cleanest 350Z with low miles and hold on to it until all the drifters crash the rest of the 350Z's into the wall. 

It's an interesting idea - kinda like the 240SXs drying up for the same reason. Problem is that these Nissans just don't do it for me and I suspect I'd have to own one for a decade or so to make me not lose money on one. Despite appearances, I don't mind owning certain vehicles for a long time, but I just don't seen the 350Z/370Z being one.

Tom1200 said:

An air cooled 911 isn't likely to go down or go down much but I must say the budget stretching aspect makes me recoil a bit.

I'm cheap so I usually default to the cheap option. X-1/9s are budget friendly and fun to drive plus you won't see them everywhere.

It's the aircooled Turbo that would be a budget stretch - the aforementioned SC with the Andial engine would've been much budget friendlier and would've been at the top end of the range that doesn't require me to talk to financial institutions. The weird thing with turbos is that according to Hagerty, their prices peaked a few years ago and especially for driver condition ones, have come down considerably. I've got my eye on one that's maybe ten grand more than a similar age N/A turbo look 911. Of course the turbo look one only looks like it's sitting there plotting to kill you, when the turbo actually is.

Getting yet another a/c 911 is that it's a car I'm pretty familiar with, at least the non-turbo variants. Unfortunately I also have first hand experience of how much these things can cost to run. OTOH there is a question of how many of those I really want to stuff into my shop/garage[1].

I would love another X1/9 as I've owned a couple. My main concern is finding one that is in good enough condition to actually wanting me to open my wallet, especially as some parts are getting hard to find - apparently you can't even get windshields anymore. Heck, I haven't checked lately if you can get decent tires for them as the stock wheels are 13" and IMHO they look goofy with 15" wheels. But they are truly Italian exotica on a budget.

[1] All of them, being the correct answer, of course.

dps214 Dork
9/6/21 12:12 a.m.

I mean the whole used car market is insane right now. Basically all porsches are up at least $10k over what they were two years ago so unless you're willing to bank on the market not recovering ever, buying pretty much anything right now and hoping to not lose a bunch on depreciation is a bad plan.

That said, high mileage cayman Rs seem to be only as ridiculously overpriced as they always were, just in shorter supply, so maybe that's your choice. But you're still paying $60k for a 987 with aluminum doors and bucket seats... I've really never understood the appeal of those cars other than the rarity factor.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/21 6:28 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

From most of the cars on your list it seems you either hate yourself, or your bank account. 

Find a nice non-totaled Elise, sell the Maxon, and possibly have the most reliable car in your fleet?

CrustyRedXpress HalfDork
9/6/21 8:26 a.m.

I've never considered a car an investment, but understand that some people do. If I was looking at them like an investment I'd be asking these types of questions-

How does rarity impact value?

Are any of the cars historically significant?

What is the average age of the buyer and what does that have to do with value?

Is the market driven by individual buyers, or by influencers/publishers picking the latest "meme car"?

What socio-economic group does the average buyer belong to?

If the stock market looses 20% next month, how will that impact the value of the car long term?

All that said, just buy the NSX and be happy with life. It's a great community!




MrChaos UltraDork
9/6/21 9:47 a.m.

everyone loves a mini

Sonic UltraDork
9/6/21 9:53 a.m.

If you find yourself up near Philly, you can take my NSX for a drive to see how you like it.   I bought it for very similar reasons, and fortunately it has appreciated by at least $10k in the 4 years I've had it.  

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/6/21 10:23 a.m.

In reply to Sonic :

Thanks, that would be splendid as I've not even sat in an NSX, let alone driven one. I'm three hours from Philly so it sounds like a "GRMer meet" trip might be pretty easy. Got to get out of the house occassionally after all...

In reply to MrChaos :

It would be nice to have a good one for once that doesn't consist mostly overlapping postage-sized welded pieces of scrap metal like my last one...

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

That's why I called it investment-ish, not as an investment. More like a vehicle with a higher likelihood of me getting most if not all of the purchase price back if I sold it 2-5 years later rather than losing 50%+ of its value. Anything else is gravy.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/6/21 10:26 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to BoxheadTim :

From most of the cars on your list it seems you either hate yourself, or your bank account. 

Find a nice non-totaled Elise, sell the Maxon, and possibly have the most reliable car in your fleet?

The Maxton isn't going anywhere - it's too much fun to drive. The only reason it isn't being driven right now is because it's blocked in by the <expletive deleted> BRZ.

Olemiss540 HalfDork
9/6/21 10:26 a.m.

How about an atom? You have motorcycle experience but have you ever experienced motorcycle speed in a 4 wheel vehicle?

How about a well put together kit car? I love the ford GT and Daytona coupe cars. 

Love the NSX idea. Also lived the 996 gt3 and turbo I owned and would recommend them for great drivers that have the look back appeal and an AMAZING engine.

Hate aircooled cars for the maintenance requirements. Cant imagine trying to keep and aircooled turbo motor cool enough to survive any sort of abuse with frequent rebuilds. 

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/6/21 10:37 a.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Ariel Atom is pretty close to the Maxton, other than it being genuinely fast whereas the Maxton just feels fast. That also kinda sorta covers the kit car side of things.

I'm mostly (other than the Caymans in the list) looking at rounding out the existing fleet rather than duplicating a vehicle that serves the same purpose.

For some reason a 996 turbo doesn't appeal that much unless I was looking for a DD. The GT3 appeals but non-rebuilt title ones are well outside my budget as I haven't seen a clean title one for less than $100k for a while, and the last bunch I saw were more like $125k and up.

I think when it comes to aircooled 911s I like 964s and older, and am well aware of the maintenance requirements. But the longer I think about it, the more I wouldn't necessarily want a stock one unless it's a turbo.

do like the idea of an NSX, but I think other than an NSX or a hotrodded a/c 911, I might buy on the cheaper end of the market and wait things out a bit more to see where the market is going.

preach (fs)
preach (fs) Dork
9/6/21 10:42 a.m.

Great picks.

Tough but:

1. NSX

2. 911 Turbo/987 Cayman S; You already have an AC 911 so go with the better chassis 987.

3. Mini

911 Turbo money, I'd be looking at a 356.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/6/21 10:46 a.m.

In reply to preach (fs) :

356 is an interesting thought. I know my wife likes the look of them and so do I, and oddly enough I had been looking at the odd 356 on PCA Mart.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/17/21 7:38 a.m.

Be careful what you wish for - I was about to post on the x1/9 forum if anybody knew about a really nice X1/9 for sale.

Then I stumbled across a post that Midwest Bayless has what is probably the nicest X1/9 in the country for sale. At a *gulp* price though...

Opti Dork
9/17/21 8:17 a.m.

NSX is hard to argue with. I remember when I was in college I could just get into the bottom of the NA1 market and now I probably couldnt even get close, At least the ones I see around here.

Not mentioned but ones Ive been considering as similar investment-ish cars. I dont necessarily want to make money off them, but I think I could probably buy something expensive and cool, and have it atleast hold its value or maybe appreciate. I always look older, my thinking is scarcity and demand drive price. I watched GMT400s go from worthless  to sought after in a very short period all while being an incredibly common truck, but a super clean well cared for one is very hard to find. So even if something is common, with age, you can have artificial scarcity if its really well sorted then all you need is a little demand, and poof value. I like this cause I could buy at the bottom of the market and sort it myself, so I have something to tinker with and Im adding value.


Viper (might have missed the boat on these, when I first started looking you could get a forged bottom in GTS for the high 20s low 30s)

C4 ZR1, always wanted one of these and missed on a couple when I was in college. My thoughts are they dont seem to have the meteoric rise lately that many things have (which makes me worry about losing 20% on a market correction) and have been more steadily appreciating over the last ten years. They only made 6900 of them and i see a surprising amount that are really rough so a nice one is getting harder to find.

Terminator. A friend just did this one, I dont think I could resist the urge to modify it

GT350R. I was very intriqued by these and its one of the few new/er cars Id consider. I think the Voodoo makes it special enough it will be valuable one day. Who knows if that 10 years or 30 yrs though. The reliability concerns stopped me from doing it though.

C6 z06


docwyte PowerDork
9/17/21 8:26 a.m.

Mk4 Toyota Supra Turbo.

Out of your list, I'd choose the NSX.  I've never driven one but other than the lack of power they're supposed to be quite nice.

Honestly you're knocking out the best car on your list, which you've mentioned multiple times.  Buy a 996 Turbo!  Mine has been bulletproof, the performance is spectacular, they drive wonderfully and they're going up in value.

lnlds Reader
9/17/21 11:53 a.m.

Evora 400 as an NSX alternative

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners