Fast Car

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Eric, I’m looking to get a fast but reasonably priced car. I don’t want to spend more than $15,000. What do you recommend?

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      • All this talk of the miata I keep seeing, I wonder what a Miata would be like, period. You all (others, really) make them seem like fun to drive and own.

        I’m suddenly reminded of an s-10 with a v-8 I saw once. When it was reved up it would gouge a circular pattern in the radiator.

        I lost all interest in v-8 s-10’s after that. I imagine the miata would be the same, a.k.a. too big for its britches. Kinda like some kings we have these days too, eh?

        • The Miata is a fantastic sports car. It’s not especially fast – but that’s not what sports cars are supposed to be about, not primarily.

          Sports cars are about handling, most of all. And not just that. They’re – ideally – about connectedness with the road. The best ones almost intuit your intentions – and give you communicative feedback such that you and it are a merged entity, like two expert partners doing a flawless dance together.

          But, the Miata is more than just that.

          It is also as reliable and endlessly durable as the high-water-mark Corollas of the mid-late 1990s. You can literally take a Miata club racing every weekend – and drive it to work during the week. You may need to buy tires and brake pads more often – but the engine will never give you trouble and even the clutch will last seemingly forever. These are 20-year cars, routinely.

          Few – if any – really good sports cars have ever come close to delivering the Miata’s combination of brilliant poise and fun-to-drive at such an affordable price and with almost no hassles or downsides.

    • Overpowered and nose heavy!

      A car can have too much engine. It’s not a lot of fun when you literally can’t make use of 40-50 percent of the output. All you do is spin tires. That’s amusing for a while, but gets old.

      I know a guy who put a 302 into one. The car also has a Corvette IRS out back. He did that not so much for handling reasons but to handle the V-8’s torque and hp. The factory Miata wheel/tire package was completely overwhelmed.

      It’s interesting – and very fast. But it’s something I’d never do. It goes against the whole point of owning a car like the Miata.

  1. $15,000, to some People, that’s a lot of money.

    Why wouldn’t you buy a cheap beater and use the rest of the money to buy PM’s? Just something I wondered, for myself, more than anything. But also on a bigger scale,… i.e. this is someone who knows Austrian economics yet decides a second vehicle makes more sense than buying PM’s. Just wondered about that thought process, not that I’m innocent.

    Also, from another thread, I’m kind of guessing but it seems to me the reason, ‘now isn’t the time’, is for the same reason you want to buy a second vehicle.

    The Moon is Down is a very short bit of reading every Freedomista should take a gander at and reflect upon,… but that’s jmho.

    • “$15,000, to some People, thatโ€™s a lot of money.”


      A person with good mechanical skills can go fast for much less, of course. I only used $15k as the benchmark because that’s what the question was. Obviously, anything new is out. But, $15k can buy a solid/presentable used performance car. I based my recommendations on the assumption that the questioner is not looking for (and may not be capable of doing) a full resto/car that needs major work to be driveable. Rather, I assumed he wants a car that’s in good overall shape – and which can be hopped up relatively easily/cheaply.

  2. Thanks buddy! Just what I was looking for. I might have to come visit you with my new “driver” and get you to help me “hop it up”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. A used fast car!

    $15k is plenty for that. And you’ll have lots of choices, too. You could, for instance, buy a mid-1980s/early 1990s Mustang LX 5.0 or even a GT. $10k (or less) ought to be sufficient to buy a very presentable, mechanically solid “driver.” These cars are both easy and inexpensive to hop up, too.

    Probably, you could also find/buy a solid mid-late’90s/early 2000s Camaro/Firebird.

    If you’re not hung up on a coupe, a stealth option would be to buy an older Crown Vic. Ideally, an ex-cop Vic. Easy to make a very fast car out of one of these – and because the car itself will cost you almost nothing ($5k or so ought to be enough to buy a “driver”) you’ll have plenty of money for speed parts/upgrades. Dirt cheap to insure, too.

    You could also go older – and buy something along the lines of a mid-early ’70s Nova or Ford Maverick, or Dodge Dart (or similar). These cars share running gear with their more popular (and costly) muscle car cousins, so mechanical parts interchange. You can register them as antiques in most states – and less (or no) hassles with emissions, especially the pre-’75 models.

    Or, you could buy a more recent vintage Miata – they’re abundant and cheap and known to be bulletproof – and add a turbo/other upgrades.

    There are lots of possibilities – provided you’re not hung up on new!


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