Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car

12346

Comments

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I agree on the Miatas. I love them, but they aren't so comfortable for the tall fellows. Come to think of it, my wife says I look like a Shriner in a clown car in pretty much all the cars you listed even though I am comfortable in most of them.

    What year and model Z3s are you looking at and how much are they going for?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    I'm looking at late 90s with the 6 cylinder engine and they seem to be hovering around $8,500. Of course I'm talking about really nice, well cared for cars. In my opinion, any modern car needing lots of body or mechanical work is virtually worthless in today's economy.

    e.g. A nice, really NICE 1994-95 Miata can be had for $4,000. People are trying to sell beat up ones for $2,000, that would easily take $4000 to make right. Ergo, the car has no value whatsoever---well perhaps for parts.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    The Miata appeals to me for its design, simplicity, ruggedness, price and cost-to-own, in no particular order. Any 1990-1998 model that's been very well maintained, with low to average mileage, would satisfy me.

    The Z3 and Boxter are very nice, but the cost of repairs and maintenance are concerns. These concerns wouldn't be deal breakers for me, however, if the right one came along, because in the end their other attributes trump the cost of ownership issue.

    As for the MINI, the only one I'd consider would be the standard model, not the S, because the ride/handling combination is more to my liking for a daily driver. I've driven a standard one, and the relatively modest acceleration wouldn't bother me.

    If I bought a MINI, it would be a new one, because the used ones hold their value too well to make them an attractive proposition. Regardless, in the end the MINI wouldn't be #1 on my list because I prefer RWD in a sports/sporty car. That said, I'd consider the VW Polo or something similar because it probably would have many of the MINI's attributes, at a lower price. While the MINI is attractive in some ways, it's neither an economy car nor a sports car. The base MINI should be tuned to run on regular gasoline, even though at the end of the year we're not talking about much money. The MINI's high resale value sends a strong signal that the market disagrees with me on the MINI. What am I overlooking?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    Probably you are overlooking that the MINI is a very well-built car indeed and a cut above the rest. Also if you buy a 2003 MINI you get 2009 "status" because they look the same. The great handling, panoramic sunroof, excellent fuel mileage, and nearly endless list of factory and aftermarket support all help to make the car very appealing.

    MODERATOR

  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    I find the Z3 attractive, much more than the flame surfaces Z4, but I can certainly see why some people call it a boot. I noticed the late 90's prices have recently dropped, I wonder if it 90's cars just seem so old now.

    I like the Mini alot, but are prices below $10k yet ? I don't know what your budget is but for a weekend car that would be the highest I would go.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    Yes I think with some shopping and driving a hard bargain you can definitely score a clean 2002-2003 MINI for under $10,000. But not that much under $10K. Anyway 50% residual in 6 years is pretty impressive resale.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    I just finished reading Edmunds "Inside Line" review of the new Fiat 500 Abarth. It sounds like your kind of car, Shifty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    small car, small target, that's my motto.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    Not sure how to interpret that, since the same would apply to the MINI, a car you like.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I'm assuming the Mini your refering to is the hardtop model. The other cars you're considering are convertibles. I'm coming in late in this discussion and haven't read this whole thread, so maybe this topic has already been covered, but how important is to you to be able to drop the top? File this comment under "no duh!", but deciding whether you want a convertible will help you decide.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    I'd settle for panoramic sunroof or large SR. Northern California is not exactly tropical, so a drop top at speed, if you're lucky, is something you can do comfortably maybe 10-20 days a year (during the day).

    MODERATOR

  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Well, if California has only 10-20 days per year of comfortable drop-top driving then, here in Indiana, we must have a total of one! LOL! If I lived in sunny California, I'm guessing I'd be able to drop the top of a convertible (at least for a portion of) around 100 days a year, no? However, if we're talking extreme northern California, I suspect your estimate is correct.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    I guess it depends on your tolerance. If you are NEAR the ocean, it doesn't get hot very often--inland in northern CAL of course it gets godawful hot. But near the sea, there's usually fog in the mornings, then burn off, then really cool ocean breezes and more fog around 4 PM. I just don't see that many convertible in San Francisco unless you go inland.

    Of course you can do the "heater on, windscreen installed, windows up" routine on modern convertibles and stay reasonably comfortable except for your head.

    MODERATOR

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    Maybe 10 years ago I was in San Francisco and rented a Sebring convertible for a day and just headed down the coast. Must have been one of those ten days...

    I will admit that by evening time we were doing the heat on and windows up trick and eventually had to yield to the inevitable and put the top up...
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I've been out of the loop here for a while (apparently, buying a new house will do that). Perhaps this thread was meant for discussion purposes only. But, if not, how has your search gone?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    I guess the last time I was seriously looking, I wanted to check out a hot-rod Miata, but alas, I cannot fit in the freakin' things!! I was all ready to sign a check for a '95 M edition but after a 15 minute ride, and then crawling behind and under the car thinking of ways to modify the seating, I came to the conclusion that modifications that I needed would be fairly complicated (cutting into the rear bulkhead). I needed at least 4 inches, maybe 6. That's a lot, and a thin seat isn't going to give me that.

    Someone offered me a really good deal on a BMW M3 coupe, which was fun to drive, but the thing is so ugly I just couldn't imagine myself in it.

    In the past, when I buy a classic car, it usually sort of "hops into my arms", like at the Pet Rescue Center. If I push and convince myself to buy something using all kinds of thinking, rationalizing, etc., I usually end up regretting the purchase.

    Usually, my classic car purchases are a done deal in 10 minutes---at least the commitment I mean.

    MODERATOR

  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Too bad about the Miata Shifty, they are a hoot to drive. Now if you are interested in a 240Z, boy do I have a car for you! LOL :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    That's a nice car but I'm too young for an automatic right now....maybe after my left foot gets caught in the thresher... :P

    MODERATOR

  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Of course if you get both caught in the thresher, you might be able to fit into the miata more comfortably... :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    Gee, you always see the positive side of everything! :P

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    Shifty, how's your MINI doing? Is it living up to your expectations? Any issues?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    Thanks for asking! It's going great. What a fun car! As you know, I added some little gizmos to it (armrests, sunroof wind deflector, strut tower re-inforcers, cooling fan protector, new CD with USB and MP3 ports (so I can play podcasts or stream Pandora into it) rear bumper protector, seat-pulls, rallye lights on the bumper and, of course, a reduction supercharger pulley, gives definitely boosts power noticeably.

    Issues? Pretty hard riding with the sport package and 17" wheels, (but not as bad or noisy as the old run-flats) a few more squeaks and rattles than I'd like (I'm working on that) and, when it's cold outside, I do hear the beginnings of a throw-out bearing that's not happy. But that could last years.

    Put about 10K on it already, no problems.

    The car is really quick. I wasted some doofus on a Harley yesterday. All I saw was him screaming (well his mouth was open, I couldn't hear anything) and giving me the finger as he disappeared in the rear view mirror. Entirely his fault for trying to pass on the right, in a breakdown lane, on a bridge. That's not going to happen.

    I'm lovin' it.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    edited December 2010
    Great!

    It'll be interesting to see how the FIAT 500 fares in the U.S. I predict it'll sell reasonably well, especially after the convertible and Abarth are introduced. It'll also be interesting to see whether the 500 will cut into MINI sales, or expand the market for B class cars.

    I understand that there will also be an electric version, but that doesn't interest me. The small 500 based SUV that will follow should be interesting, though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    Yeah I agree. I think electric cars, as they are right now, will be a pretty big flop--after all the hype and smoke and mirrors and GEE WHIZ factor fades away. Too expensive for what you get.

    MINI could stand some competition. Right now there's really nothing much that competes with it directly.

    MODERATOR

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,682
    edited December 2010
    What year is your Mini shifty?

    A neighbor down the street just got a new Clubman. Nice car. It's kinda the update of what the BMW 2002 was back in 1970 or so--a beautifully performing, sporty, and yet economical BMW 4 cylinder.

    They have fairly loaded Clubman (two sun/moonroofs??? on one small car??) for just 22k at the local Louisville Mini dealer. They are blowing the 2010s out the door. It even has a manual, which I much prefer.

    Since I got a Mazda5 manual 6 months ago, however, which was a much cheaper and more practical car for my family needs, I'm plum out of luck on ever getting that...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    That's a good price!

    Those "two" roofs.....I think only one actually opens.

    Mine is a 2003. In 2006 they went "turbo" and I don't like turbo cars much.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,182
    edited December 2010
    Were the issues/weaknesses to watch out for that you mentioned, at the time you were shopping for a MINI, resolved in the second generation cars?

    Also, how do prices for parts and general cost of ownership between a naturally aspirated MINI and, say, a Civic or Scion Tc?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    I think MINIs were pretty squared away by 2006. Of course, they are German, so they will have electrical problems.

    I'd say that during warranty of course, there wouldn't be much difference in maintenance costs between a MINI and a Scion, but after warranty---put it this way, these are two very very different automobiles. My Scion xA was almost the same size as a MINI, but felt light and cheap in comparison. Also cost a lot less, so fair is fair.

    MODERATOR

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,682
    How many miles do you have on it now? And what kind of mpg are you getting?

    They still are available without turbo, I think?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,501
    You can buy them without a turbo, yes, but they aren't all that much fun as a base car---they're okay for most people I guess. I recently drove a base MINI with paddle shifters, and it was just fine for everyday driving.

    I have 72,000 miles on it now. My worst possible mileage is 26 mpg, with my foot deep into the Boschware, and on the highway I have achieved up to 33 mpg. I think this is optimum with a SC Mini, unless you get into hypermiler silliness.

    You know, for a used car with lots of options and perhaps 1/3 the cost of a brand new one all decked out, I'm pretty happy.

    I rather like the "liberation" of a car with some paint chips, a few rattles, etc---I don't have to worry about it anymore.

    MODERATOR

This discussion has been closed.