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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
6/5/19 7:03 a.m.

$30-$60K...

Miata with an Flying Miata LS swap - less wow factor until folks hear it go, "WTF is THAT??". One of those cars that people who "know" will appreciate.

At the opposite end, any manual transmission Ferrari is a solid choice.  From what I've read over the years, as tedious as they can be to maintain at times, they are more DIY-friendly than one would guess.  I'd probably look for one at the lower end of your price bracket and then plan on spending to the top of the bracket to bring it up to daily driver condition.

In the middle: BMW 8 series, although no drop-top option.

I suppose it also depends on how much of a project you want.  I can think of an endless list of classic cars that would click the buttons with a sufficient investment of funds and time.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
6/5/19 7:28 a.m.

I went through almost the exact same decision. About 2 years ago, also having just sold my Z4M.  We ended up with an NSX, which has been wonderful.  Here’s more on the subject, including how we landed on the NSX

 

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/everyday-supercar-life-with-an-nsx/133453/page1/

 

Nofive_0
Nofive_0 New Reader
6/5/19 7:34 a.m.

I vote for an R8 as well. The early cars are starting to squeak in right under your budget.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2009-Audi-R8-Coupe-quattro/223527633132?hash=item340b4900ec:g:hSgAAOSwFtlc5tng

dherr
dherr HalfDork
6/5/19 7:36 a.m.
tr8todd said:

Take a look at a Noble or Rossion.  Pretty much same car with different names because of the way they are sold here in the US.  They will run circles around most exotics.  User friendly.  Gorgeous.  Seem to have bottomed out around $50K so you can drive it for a couple of years and get your money back.  

Got to second that recommendation. Here is one for sale locally here in DC.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/384848935696548/

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/5/19 7:39 a.m.

When I read "low maintenance, semi-exotic" my only answer can be NSX.  

whalenut_precision
whalenut_precision New Reader
6/5/19 8:23 a.m.

Man, you guys had some great suggestions here.  And a lot of votes for the NSX!  I'll try to find one nearby that I can test drive.  

But you've definitely given me some food for thought that weren't on my radar, among them:

Panoz
Superlite GTR
Factory Five GTM
4C
V8 Vantage
Noble / Roisson
Audi R8
 

I'll have to do some research on the maintainability of those, but really appreciate the food for thought.  

yupididit
yupididit UltraDork
6/5/19 8:26 a.m.

On your list; F Type R. My dream car and not as unreliable as you'd be afraid of. They have such presence and beauty. 

 

Not on your list, R8. I don't know about their maintenance but I'd gamble it. They're gorgeous. 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
6/5/19 8:30 a.m.

I’m not that far from you, about an hour west of Philadelphia, if you want to try the NSX.  

yupididit
yupididit UltraDork
6/5/19 8:36 a.m.

Also, there's this V8 Vantage that looks amazing. I would be proud of such a machine in my garage. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/5/19 8:40 a.m.
yupididit said:

On your list; F Type R. My dream car and not as unreliable as you'd be afraid of. They have such presence and beauty. 

 

Not on your list, R8. I don't know about their maintenance but I'd gamble it. They're gorgeous. 

This is exactly my response.

The Lotus' don't do anything for me.

NorseDave
NorseDave Reader
6/5/19 8:59 a.m.

I'd add Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Maserati GranTurismo.  

A neighbor of my parent's somehow ended up storing a Vantage for his ... nephew?  Anyway, this was a guy who absolutely was not anyone I'd ever expect to have a Vantage tucked away in his garage/shop/storage/overall mess of a building.  I never got a chance to drive it, but he did let me start it up and, yeah, I don't think you'd be disappointed with that.  Plus, manual...

Hard to beat the looks of the GranTurismo, imho.  Not sure about the maintenance, though.  I always hear that if these cars get driven, they're not too bad.  No manual, but they did make cabrios.

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
6/5/19 9:21 a.m.

As I've said before, the problem with the NSX is that nobody wants an exotic with a functional climate control system.

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/5/19 9:21 a.m.

They are very different machines, but the R8 and 1990s NSX get my vote. I have a large pile of Boxsters and a couple Cayennes around here and honestly have no ambition to get one of the newer 911 models. I'd take an old air-cooled one any day though.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
6/5/19 9:23 a.m.

My friend had a Noble.  It was not the most troublefree experience.   I recall his cooked a starter, which is not uncommon, and he had to pick it up in the UK while on business.  His also had a turbo seal let go, which created quite an impressive scene at our local Cars and Coffee.

 

Lots of great suggestions.  IMHO, you should consider two things:

- How much are you comfortable with spending per year on the car?  

- What's your absolute threshold for pain if something spinny and oily departs this world?

Way back when (Dec '00), I bought an S4s, which I absolutely loved for six years.  When I was ready for something else, I bought a GT3 still on extended warranty because the consequences - however unlikely - of a BOOM, were just too much.   Now that I can deal with the consequences (more or less), I have a 360.  My friends and I are buying a ratty-but-running 308 this week too.

Just remembered I tracked service on the S4s on the web for whatever reason: http://www.exit109.com/~mfennell/lotus/service/

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
6/5/19 9:55 a.m.

Ultima GTR?

dps214
dps214 New Reader
6/5/19 9:55 a.m.

You're right to want to stay away from the 996, but you should be ableto squeak a 997 Turbo into your budget if you're patient. Other than that, my next choice would be the 987.2/981 Cayman S. Looks good, drives great, decent power, none of the reliability issues of earlier generations and surprisingly easy to work on. If you want to do your own work and not spend all of your time and money on it you don't want anything made by lotus.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
6/5/19 10:09 a.m.

A good 997 Turbo is still in the $70's if you want a 6MT and a coupe.  Out of the list, I also vote NSX or R8 with the gated 6MT.  A 348 is enticing tho!

dps214
dps214 New Reader
6/5/19 12:18 p.m.

Maybe if you want a super duper nice one, but BaT has sold a handful of them for under $60k, including at least one manual coupe for under $50k, so it definitely can be done. That all said, while I'm sure they are great cars everything I've seen about them is that they're very much set up for GT use at the expense of handling performance (we were briefly looking into autocrossing one and basically everyone said they were terrible at that). So I'm not sure it would live up to the "fun to drive" requirement. But it's still a ton of car for the money, just maybe better suited as a road trip car/cruiser than a weekend warrior.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
6/5/19 12:20 p.m.

Fun-to-drive is a convertible, right?  If so, go get yourself any 92-02 Viper RT/10 and enjoy it.  Buy on price, condition, and miles and not so much on year as there is not a huge difference across the years.  The 97+ RT-10 does have a few nice things like glass windows, more availability of hard tops, standard OBDII 450HP GTS engine.  The 95 and down have the advantage of being true collector cars, cheap to buy, and side pipes!

I have gone from a supercharged C5 Corvette (fast, always broken, just another Corvette) to an E55 AMG with everything done to it (fast, relatively reliable, no presence) to a 95 Viper (slow and hard to drive, reliable as gravity, more presence than Andre the Giant)

If you wanna be snapping necks, get a Viper.  

An NSX is cool and they are fun to see, the other little coupes (Lotus, Noble, 4C, etc)are neat to see as a car guy but are invisible to average derps and most lack a removeable roof which for me is imperative for fun

R8s are pretty cool and still look modern and expensive.

I would suggest staying away from Mercedes and sleepers if you want attention.  Monster Miatas are a dime a dozen to plebes because they look like regular Miatas, Mercedes AMG offerings only get noticed by enthusiasts since that was sort of their whole schtick.  

Also, at least in the rust belt, the Viper gets a lot more complements from your average pickup driving Joe the Plumber than a Ferarri, Audi, or Lambo ever would since it was a halo car of a domestic brand vs a car for rich white shiny happy people.

...My ride to work today...

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
6/5/19 12:35 p.m.

Gen 1 or gen 2 Camaro with LSx and a 6 speed.  Yep, I went there.  An old performance car always gets looks and turns heads.  For that matter go to the Factory  website and build your own car.  If I had the coin, I would.  I will just leave this here...

Stampie
Stampie PowerDork
6/5/19 12:55 p.m.

$60k should buy you 12 running Maserati BiTurbos. Drive one until it dies and then just move onto the next one. No maintenance cost with all the Italian flair.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
6/5/19 1:08 p.m.
Stampie said:

$60k should buy you 12 running Maserati BiTurbos.

That's a nice theory, but it presupposes that there are twelve running Biturbos...

 

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
6/5/19 1:24 p.m.
irish44j said:

I highly enjoy driving my 924S, and the 944S2 is better in every way.  

I also have a 924S and have to say the 944S2 is AT LEAST 20S better.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
6/5/19 1:30 p.m.
LanEvo said:

^^^ In terms of maintenance, I can’t imagine the 348/355 would be significantly worse than the Aston Martins, Jag F-Type, Evora, or Esprit you mentioned.

The 355 makes a cocaine habit look reasonable. The 348 is slightly less so. 

 

Want it to run forever. Want to make lots of noise. Want levels of grip that will make your head spin. Want something you can fix with a hammer. 

Old_Town
Old_Town New Reader
6/5/19 1:37 p.m.

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