First, a little bit about me
28 years old, no kids, not married...although the gf and I have been discussing those possibilities. Recently, I was promoted at work into a position that I feel is very stable and long term...I don't make obscene amounts of money, but I'm very comfortable and the future looks bright. So a few months ago, I started to consider the possibility of retiring the 'ol reliable minivan that I've been driving around since high school (yeah...college+minivan=more fun than you'd expect).
...which brings me to...
My car history
At 16, I started driving my parents' Nissan Quest. But as a young kid, I wanted a sports car, so I bought a '91 240sx (head explosion). Then I wanted a truck, so I bought a '92 Blazer (head gasket explosion). Eventually, my parents just signed the minivan over to me, since all my cars kept dying. At 22, the sports car bug hit me again, and I bought my friend's non-running '93 tt 300zx as a project car. After many hours on the interwebz, and many replaced sensors etc, I finally found the problem (idler pulley bearing). I loved that car until one day I had no boost (gotta pull the engine to get to the knock sensor). Then a cat, then a fuel line, then coolant hoses, then the #4 injector...you get the point. Eventually, my wallet called it quits and I sold it a few years ago.
...and that brings me to...
The search for a new weekend warrior
When I first started looking, I really wanted something that was fast out of the box, and I could daily drive as my only car. I didn't want to have to throw a bunch of money at a slow car that requires all kinds of mods, and I didn't want to constantly have to fix problems. I figured a budget around 30grand. The list started with cars like z06, 135i, c63 amg, e46 m3, Cayman S, Boss 302, CTS-v...
But as I thought about it, that's a lot of money to spend on a toy. I would be way too scared to "have fun" with a car like that...we're talking $60,000-$70,000 overpowered vehicles that are just recently out of warranty (some are getting to be 10 years old). Maintenance would be a nightmare, I'd never be able to sell it for anything remotely what I paid for it. On top of that, I'm not trying to kill myself in a car that fast, so how much fun would I really have?
So I started thinking about new cars with warranties...but the selection of rwd sports cars under $30,000 is slim to none. Also, Genesis coupe, FRS/BRZ, and 370z are a little too "boy racer" for me (aka cop magnets).
...finally, I started thinking about the 2 car option. My minivan is still kicking strong (single cam Nissan v6 FTW). It's got 170,000 miles and will need replacing soon; but it's still good for another year. In the meantime, I can pay cash for a cheap, fun, older sports car that wouldn't kill my wallet.
So what's the most fun that can be had at $10,000? Well, that would be a miata+turbo. Bonus: I see old miatas everywhere, so they must be reliable. Maintenance cost is on par with a civic. Short wheelbase means tossable at low speeds. And I keep remembering my (very) few experiences in AutoX with my father's old mk3 Supra (the land boat).
So, this weekend, I will be picking up my new to me car
. It's in New Jersey, but luckily I've been in Maryland for the last couple of weeks for work. After driving it around last weekend, it's clear that I'm going to have to learn to finesse the car. It's really easy the spin the wheels and the light flywheel makes shifting a bit touchy. Hopefully, I'll get the hang of it.
My one concern is that the car and my house are currently separated by 1700 miles desolate highway. After speaking with the previous owner and Brandon at FM, I'm fairly confident it can make the trip. FM did all the work on this car in 2011 and it's basically sat in a garage since then. There aren't any leaks and water temp held steady at 200F after about 30 minutes of spirited driving...but still, it's a long distance that I would have never trusted the 300zx to make it through.
I figure I'll turn the boost way low and watch water temp closely.
Sorry for the long intro. I'm pretty excited right now.