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Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car

13

Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "...you threw quite a curve ball in the Mini/C5 switch... "

    Yeah, but it's the kind of brand/model hopping that a lot of us car nuts, or to put it more gently, car afficionados, can identify with, I'm sure. I sometimes buy and sell a couple of cars in the same day...in my fantasies, fortunately. Jay Leno does it for real - although maybe he buys and keeps many more than he sells - while many of us just do it in our minds. Can other Edmunds readers identify with this pathology?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    How are you going to haul your junk around in a Corvette or a Corolla? IMO you should get a Protege5 for utility, and a circa-1992 NSX or MR2 for play.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I like the NSX a lot but it takes about $30K to buy a really nice one (really nice) and that's a lot of cash for a 15 year old car. Also I might end up on a chain gang in a Vette or NSX....it's this RED MIST that takes over....
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Since you are a bona fide enthusiast these are a few cars that came to mind for recommendations:

    1) 2002-07 Subaru Impreza WRX/STi. Good rally-type cars from what I've heard and seen.

    2) 2000-03 Nissan Maxima. If you get the SE model you have a great sports sedan with a top-notch motor (3.0 dual-cam V-6)

    3) 2003-05 Honda Civic Si. These are different from the garden-variety Civics (made in England); I've driven them and they're quite fun, almost Alfa-like.

    4) 2000-05 BMW 3-Series coupes. To some, the pinnacle of driving fun; I'm pretty sure you can find plenty of those in the Bay Area.

    5) 2000-05 Saab 9-5 Aero. Maybe not on your radar, but again, I've driven them and they're pretty quick. Not sure if you want to put up with Saab bugaboos again.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Good list.

    STi won't work because it is hideously ugly. Does Subaru even HAVE a styling department? Fun car though!

    Never drove a Maxima or an Si. Hmmm, might be fun to try out.

    BMW 3 series---too troublesome. All my friends have trouble with them as they age. Also too small for me. Very cramped inside.

    I might consider a 5 series however.

    Saab---ditto, way too troublesome, horrible resale.

    I really can't be breaking down. I need a very high standard of reliability.
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,976
    C5- easy, cheap to maintain, but reliable??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well it's more a matter of how easy it is to fix and how cheap. BMWs are not easy cars to work on, and they cost a lot of money to repair. I'm done laying on my back in a driveway and I'm simply not going to pay $300 bucks a pop for power steering hoses if I can help it.

    So it's either German + warranty, or Japanese w/wo warranty, or American "buy dirt cheap take your chances".
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,976
    Sounds like a plan - a Porsche-owning friend of mine said I'd be happier with a Corvette, given my desire to work on what I owned. He never touched his, became fast friends with his mechanic...
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    There is always your fallback choice: Mini Cooper Clubman starts at $20,600.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    True, true, but did you read the caveat?

    "Of course any self-respecting MINI owner knows that the British Marquee's dozens of options and customizations will raise the average price by thousands of dollars..."

    In reality, this car with just a few options will cost me $23K + t&l so I'm in $25K....for a STATION WAGON!

    As Peter Egan used to say, his only rationale for buying a new car, which he rarely has done (once I think, although his wife buys them) is for how it looks. It has to be so tempting and enthralling that reason goes out the wind. The new MINI did that for me, but I'm not sure the Clubman is as compelling or handsome a design package overall.

    Besides, have you ever met the kind of people who owned the original Travellers? Just a touch eccentric to say the least.

    I'd have to see one up close. I don't need to carry "stuff". I've got a beater for that.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Unless they make stuff like the steering wheel an "option", you could do okay with the base model IMO. I was thinking you didn't have the space for two cars.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,373
    So it's either German + warranty, or Japanese w/wo warranty, or American "buy dirt cheap take your chances".

    I bought a new Mazdaspeed3 in July and I've been very pleased with it. It's fairly practical yet it is a real blast to drive. The MCS handles a bit better, but the Mazdaspeed has a usable rear seat as well as decent cargo space. I'm certainly not ready to give up my Club Sport, but the Mazdaspeed is an entertaining change of pace. Methinks that I'm going to install the Mazdaspeed Cold Air Intake(@25 hp, $300) and take the little beast to a few few track days next summer.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's a mighty optimistic number for a CAI I must say!

    I drove that car and really liked it. Watch the torque steer on the track though.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    A CAI (freer intake plus colder charge) probably does more for a turbo than a regular n/a engine.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,373
    That's a mighty optimistic number for a CAI I must say!

    I thought so too, but I've seen more than a few independent dyno tests that seem to validate that number. Mazda claims that their CAI intake and exhaust together add 30 hp. The dyno information indicates that the exhaust is only responsible for 5-7hp of that increase.

    I drove that car and really liked it. Watch the torque steer on the track though.

    Absolutely. The car rewards smooth control inputs, and slow-in, fast-out is the preferred strategy. Aside from the torque steer, I've been surprised by how neutral and planted the car feels in the corners.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Hyundai Genesis Coupe: compact/midsize RWD starting around $20k for the 215ish hp turbo 4.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,555
    What's with that rear window line that dips down? Makes the door look misaligned. More of that "style" from Korean automakers I guess... :confuse:
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Visibility. You can actually see out of it, instead of just having a purely decorative piece of glass behind the B-pillar.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,555
    Does it being dipped maybe a couple cm really make a difference in visibility? Couldn't they at least have aligned the door window with it?

    Oh well, I am not saying it is really ugly or anything, just a little odd. It's hard to make a broken line look good.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    It's not so much for the giants among us, but it does keep the bottom of the glass below eye level for shorter drivers. They could have lowered the door glass to make it level, but then the front end of the door would be really awkward. It's a compromise between style and practicality.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah well I'd put it on MY dyno before I'd believe it. There ARE ways to cheat, not that anyone ever does that, heaven forbid:

    http://www.turbomagazine.com/tech/0402tur_dyno_tricks_problems/index.html

    Seeing is believing I always say.

    the problem is that one can't just add up the various HP claims for each component. It doesn't work that way. If the CAI claim is 25 and the exhaust is 15 and the pulley is 10 and the chip says 30, that doesn't mean you get 80 when you're done.

    But if they'd let you run your own dyno tests and bring the parts back if they don't give 30 HP, well that's fine I guess. Then you're only out the dyno time and a bit of your own labor rather than $500 bucks for little or nothing if the claims are not accurate. OR you've proved that it was all worth it.

    I'd especially want a dyno by-back arrangement with a CHIP.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,373
    But if they'd let you run your own dyno tests and bring the parts back if they don't give 30 HP, well that's fine I guess. Then you're only out the dyno time and a bit of your own labor rather than $500 bucks for little or nothing if the claims are not accurate. OR you've proved that it was all worth it.

    The dyno tests that I referenced were found on several Mazda-specific boards. The guys who fitted CAIs to their Mazdaspeed3s almost always showed a 20-25 hp increase. A lot of these before/after dyno runs were performed at shops that had absolutely no financial interest in the outcome. I also tend to think that Mazdaspeeds own numbers are valid, if only for the reason that they would want to maintain a credible prescence in the aftermarket community.

    I'd especially want a dyno by-back arrangement with a CHIP.

    I'd trust any chip/reflash marketed by Jim Conforti or Steve Dinan, but anything else I'd want to see with my own eyes...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I simply don't believe those numbers, sorry. Not from a CAI alone I mean. What was in the stock air cleaner, a cinder block?

    It makes no sense. Mazda runs the stock air intake to the grille. How much "colder" air can you get?

    I'd bet a sizable sum on this one, using my friend's dyno.

    But whatever. Put it on, have fun, I'm sure it "helps" at any rate. Stock air boxes do tend to have a bit of restriction to keep annoying intake noises down.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,373
    I simply don't believe those numbers, sorry. Not from a CAI alone I mean. What was in the stock air cleaner, a cinder block?

    Well, read for yourself.

    "Stavana is coy about how much power these bolt-on Mazdaspeed Accessory pieces produce, but our test numbers suggest at least 25 hp, which would put the Mazdaspeed in the same territory as the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STI."

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Now I REALLY don't believe it. I've driven a lot of EVOs and I have driven this car (without the cat back and CAI) and I really don't think the cars are in the same league.

    But....if we add the catback exhaust, and the CAI and we add "coy" to all those, and Edmunds "test numbers" (whatever that is), then maybe real world is around 15--20HP HP?

    That would make sense to me anyway. Figure 5-8HP for the CAI and 10-12 for the cat-back. I could live with that :P

    SPEAKING OF EVOS: -- still a car on my list. I came *real* close to closing a deal but I did a lot of investigating on how to get rid of the absurd rear wing---but alas, it's not so easy. While I could see the wing for $$$, I'd still need to buy an aftermarket trunk lid and match the paint (and drill for emblems and rear brake light). It's bad enough having to pay the $$$ price for an EVO but then adding another $1,500 or so just to get RID of something....also it was yellow, not my fave color.

    I love EVOS, as if you couldn't tell. They are great little cars, too, nearly bullet-proof.
  • You can't just swap decklids with a more pedestrian lancer? SCC did that with their WRX STI when they wanted to dump the wing. They put up an ad on craig's list or something and found someone who was willing to swap the whole decklid out. They got the regular trunk from the WRX and he got the STI trunk with the wing.
  • How about this one/??

    Lancer lightweight
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Oh that's an RS right? I think that's the one that has no sound-deadening material in it?

    I drove one of those, and they are....um...spartan to say the least.

    Geez, look at those prices for a 2006 stripper model. EVOs have great resale and they're usually gone in a red hot minute.
  • I have never driven a EVO that wasn't stripped for racing. How loud are the stock ones? This summer we are buying a new car and I would prefer to buy a new one from my autogroup but that kind of limits my choices. It needs to be fairly quiet inside though since the first big trip will be a cross country trip from CT to Texas and my wife is sensitive to loud noises.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Stock ones are fine on noise levels, quite tame. The ride is a bit harsh however.
  • Harsher then a MINI Cooper S with coilovers and Runflats?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    No, only a shopping cart running over cue balls is THAT bad.
  • Well they were 16 inch run flats... :blush:

    I think 27 year old kidneys are a little more resilient then... Wait how old are you again? :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'm 106, why?
  • Well preserved for your age. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I made a deal with the devil, but that was a long time ago. Now of course it's a buyer's market. I got in early.

    Actually I am well preserved but I'm exhibiting old fart tendencies while car shopping. Things like "heated seats" and "Xenon headlights" creep into my shopping list.

    Why when I was a lad, ANY seats would do, and headlights were optional. As was a roof. The only heated seats came from the exhaust pipe.

    What have I become? :cry:

    Well, at least I still like to drive fast!
  • Heheh I have been spoiled by those darn Xenon lights. Whenever I drive in a car without xenons I feel like I don't even have headlights.

    Is it just me or does it seem like a large portion of the EVOs for sale on cars.com, ebay, autotrader, etc. have salvage titles?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah, EVOs have what I call "Viper Syndrome" wherein driver without necessary skills pushes very fast car to its limits, and of course driver without NS (the DWNS to be accurate) doesn't KNOW what those limits are until about 1 second after he has reached them.

    With the EVO, I noticed as I was driving one really hard for the first time, that I really underestimated the accuracy of the steering and the rapid turn in. I was waiting for the car to "set" but it was right THERE---it goes where you point it.

    The Viper you drive like a cowboy, just hold on and go YEEEEHAW!!! and hope for the best. A good driver can really hustle them around, but you have to work hard and pay attention. EVO is a lot easier---and maybe that's why people get into trouble---not so much warning that things are about to get ugly. The Viper gives you plenty of warning I think, or so I'm told. I never dared drive one that fast, it's beyond my skills after 130 mph or so.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Still thinking about a MINI? I really like the S, but a supercharged Chrysler engine kind of scares me. I know these cars had a lot of issues when they first came out, but are they holding up as solid cars over the long term?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I've done exhaustive research on owner feedback, and it's good on the MINI, at least after 2003 or so. Prior to that, there were a few glitches with the base model transmission, some motor mount issues, and a rear shock issue. That's about it.

    I made an offer on a 2003 Cooper S, nice low miles car, but the owner turned down $16,000, which I thought was more than fair. So I walked. I'm not paying a penny more.

    Now I'm looking at a one-owner 1999 BMW 528i, super clean, with NAV, roof, and the other options, 110K miles but all dealer-serviced and all services ticked off in the book, right on time. I'm thinking of offering $7K on this one, because the AC doesn't work and I'm allowing for the "Hans/Dieter" syndrome, which translates into at least $2,000 in repairs for anything with a BMW logo on it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    $7,000 would be an attractive price point for the example you describe, even if you should have to invest an additional $2,000 in the first six months for unforeseen repairs, and/or to make it perfect.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The boys on the "Real World Value" board, those knife-sharpening experts that they are, think I'm a bit high at $7K---but I failed to mention to them that the car had NAV. On the other hand, the owner did confess to a fender bender many years ago (car backed into the rear quarter) but it's not on CARFAX so I don't really care. However, the used car guys did factor that in, as they are trained to do. They were thinking $6K. I suspect the owner might not go for that, but one can try.

    Like I said, I'm like a fat cat right now. I have a car to drive, I have cash, so I can just walk away from any deal I don't like. I can FEEL the power--LOL! (not that plunking down $16K for a used car is chicken-feed to me).
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    FEEL THE POWER... oh yeah, baby. :P

    I love BMWs, although I have not owned one for many, many years. I still read about them and occasionally entertain fantasies of buying one. So your expression of interest was enough to make me do a little looking and I came across this beautiful (and expensive) 5-spd example:

    528i 5-spd Sport

    Pertinent to your potential purchase is the following quote:

    My knowledge of BMWs is extensive and I work with them professionally.... In looking for a pre-'01 style 5-series I wanted to avoid the clumsier steering systems on the 540s -and the fuel economy- and I could not get a '99 or '00 528i: Be informed that BMW North America is on the verge of receiving a class action lawsuit for not recalling continued failures of the improperly assembled dual Vanos units on the '99 and '00 2.8L motors.

    You might try to determine if the sellers allegation is based in fact.

    Good luck... is yours a manual or auto?

    james
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    class action lawsuit for not recalling continued failures of the improperly assembled dual Vanos units on the '99 and '00 2.8L motors

    Upon reflection, if there were a serious problem with an eight year old engine, it probably would have self-destructed long ago. :P

    james, just talkin' to himself here.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yes one would think that at 100K something bad would have happened already.

    The weakest part of these cars (and the 3 series) is the cooling system.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I hadn't heard about the cooling system weakness, but has it been corrected in newer BMWs?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dunno. But yes, 90s BMWs are notorious for cooling system failures at around 80K or so. Best if you have one to just replace the radiator, water pump and thermostat housing at 60K and save yourself some trouble.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I replaced the radiator on my '87 325 at 112,000, because it developed a leak, and was too old to repair. Fortunately, it never overheated. I imagine that if it was an ongoing problem on the 3 and 5-Series of the '90s that BMW would have been addressed it at some point.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Shifty has been driving a Subaru for what seems like forever now. Simultaneously with the economy the way it is, prices have fallen on some great luxury cars and lots of older fun cars. I suspect this has caused Shifty to be on the prowl a little bit. Am I wrong?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Shifty is always on the prowl. I've been sniffing around Miatas (too small for me), BMW Z3s (ugly as sin but fun to drive and reasonably priced), Porsche Boxster S and MINI Cooper S.

    The Miatas are dirt cheap, the Z3s are now starting to drop below $10K, but the Boxster S is still holding fairly strong pricing, regrettably for me. The MINI resale continues to be very strong as well.

    These would be second cars. I'm very happy with the Subaru and its ruggedness and abilities in bad weather. It's been a very cheap car to own and run.
This discussion has been closed.