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What do you guys spend on your cars?

 
Old 07-01-2019, 04:16 PM
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Default What do you guys spend on your cars?

Keeping the thread pretty open-ended here.
- How much do you guys spend on your cars as a % of your income? In some ways our miatas fall under both vehicle and hobby categories.
- At what point do you think is the right time to "splurge" on something more fun? i.e. which life hurdles first? how much is too much?

To answer above for myself, married, own home, no kids. Our passenger vehicle is worth ~2.5% of our annual income, the miata is ~1.25% of our annual income in value, then I allocate ~2K a year for track days.

As much as I love my Miata car, as it's the car on which I've learned lots of skills, I'm getting a bit tired of fighting the rust, and wrenching on old bolts. I'd like to "step up" to a newer roadster. Perhaps one that is more comfortable and all-purpose...

Last edited by chitty chitty bang bang; 07-01-2019 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 04:41 PM
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Personally, I've had mine for 15 years now, and have probably dumped way too much into it over the years and various revisions and setups it's gone through, so I don't even keep track anymore.

Mine sat with a dying/dead motor for about 3 years while we built our house. Once that was done I started wrenching on it again and it's now my daily driver again. That said, maybe $2k a year on it for the last two years, then there were 3-4 years in a row where I spent $0 on it, so I don't really look at it like an annual budget.
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:01 PM
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I spent probably $30k over about 12 years including the car to build my first one. After the crash, I parted a lot out and took the build in a somewhat different direction - so at that point I kind of wiped the slate clean, cost wise. Over the last few years of that timeframe I had gotten a whole lot smarter... early on I wasted a lot of money on EFI bandaids, 17" wheels, cheap mods, not knowing the value of used parts I sold and taking a loss, etc.

On the second car I'm under $15k all in, most aftermarket parts came from the old car, so factoring that in.. And its reliable. And I still have a shed full of spares... probably a couple grand worth there when I get around to selling it all.

I do 0 track days, just fun weekend driving.
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:24 PM
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Kind of a bell curve type thing.

You discover track days and want to go faster.

Spend more money and go faster.

Costs go up yet love the pace, want more.

Spend more on faster car and more track days.

Eventually consumable costs are stupid so go back to Miata. Drive harder get faster have more fun while becoming better driver.

2K is like 2 track days. I want at least 8-12 a year $$$
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:44 PM
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I've had my first Miata (a 1990) since 2002. It has over 250K now. Been turbo'd since 187K. Daily driver. Rust free TX car. I drive it cause I like it. I've thought about getting a 2019 to share the DD duties and also as another available track car. May do that in a year or so.

I'm with you. I hate rust, having gone to high school in NE Ohio. There are a lot of completely rust free older Miatas down here.
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:47 PM
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For me it is simply a toy to amuse myself. I started with a $2,500 beater car and I tinker with it. If I started with a $25,000 car or a $250,000 car I would want to tinker with it. So why not start cheap? If I tear it up I will replace it with another and salvage as many of my go-fast parts as I can.

As for percentages, couldn't tell you. And I might not own up to it depending upon who was listening. The house is paid for, the kids are out, the vehicles are paid for, we are fully funding both 401K's to the limit, along with Roth IRA's to the limit each year. I spend too much money eating out at restaurants every weekday for lunch, always sit down quality. As for the car, sometimes I drop a few grand, sometimes I pinch pennies and run second hand parts into the ground. I typically run used tires, and even used brake pads a few times.

People fish, hunt, watch other people play sports, raise horses, build model trains, fly airplanes, play video games, **********, ride dirt bikes, ballroom dance, play musical instruments, make stained glass windows, shoot skeet, practice billiards, make origami, bowl competitively, runway model, sing karaoke, or just sit on the couch, and that's just Vlad. I don't know what the rest of the forum does with their money and time, but I just like to tinker on the car a bit.
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:51 PM
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I'd say $2k is 4 local track days, or 2-3 far away days, if lodging is needed..

My local track is 1.5hrs away. $225 to drive + $100 gas + tires and brakes, food
I figure about $400 per day.

I'm in my 5th miata, 3rd that's boosted. And after 4-5 years of tinkering with these cars, I no longer waste money on stupidity.

I probably have about 10k in my car, including the car purchase. Its reliable, hella fast and full creature comforts.

No annual budget. When I get an itch, I impulsively buy stuff. Like I just bought xidas, cause a member was selling a brand new set for a few 100's off retail.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:21 PM
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From any rational standpoint I’ve spent too much on vehicles. Currently have four: 2016 Odyssey, 2018 Mazda6, 2000 Excursion, and 1995 Miata. LOTS of money sunk into the Miata, I don’t want to even think about it.

Figure $3k a year for track days. I sleep in the Excursion so that saves on lodging.

Milestones? Guess it was when we had our last kid and had the cash available. Sure, cash could have been put to “better” use I knew if I didn’t get it done now it probably wouldn’t happen. Hopefully I’ll be able to amortize the Miata spending over many years, which will make me feel a little better.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:22 PM
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I've spent about 5x more on my race boat in 3 years than I have on the Miata in the 10 years I've had it.

Race weekend is over $800 doing it cheap. Could save a bit if I had a hauler / sleeping quarters but that would have its own expense.

I'd say I don't go over 15% of my annual salary, but it really doesn't matter right. We all have different incomes and live different lifestyles. I don't have kids or a grilfriend. So it's a stupid figure to toss out there. Spend what you can afford once you're fed and sheltered.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Erat View Post
I've spent about 5x more on my race boat in 3 years than I have on the Miata in the 10 years I've had it.

Race weekend is over $800 doing it cheap. Could save a bit if I had a hauler / sleeping quarters but that would have its own expense.

I'd say I don't go over 15% of my annual salary, but it really doesn't matter right. We all have different incomes and live different lifestyles. I don't have kids or a grilfriend. So it's a stupid figure to toss out there. Spend what you can afford once you're fed and sheltered.
So true. Kids are expensive! Not just the direct costs ($2k a month for daycare, diapers, food, other supplies) but also the indirect costs. We have a much bigger home than we’d have without kids, larger cars, more life insurance, and less demanding (and therefore less lucrative) jobs. Totally worth it for me, but damn!
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Old 07-01-2019, 07:11 PM
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Wow, really intriguing responses guys. Thanks for walking me through your rationale. It sounds like a common theme is that Miata is the most cost-effective way to scratch the itch, but when it comes to properly prepping the car, you guys are quality and value oriented.

A few initial conclusions:

- Don't have kids... until it becomes the most rewarding event one's life, then baby them like Miatas
- I'm staying away from boats. Damn, Erat!
- I'd love to have a clean southern car
- A poorly prepped car is more expensive than a properly prepped car.
- Vlad sounds like a busy man

Some follow ups:

- Do you guys ever think about getting something slightly "nicer"? S2ks are running ~$10-15K these days, and ~50-60,000 mile elises in the $25-30K range, and NCs and NDs in between. These platforms are all more presentable and more significant-other friendly with comparable running costs and are getting pretty close to the "all in" costs some are quoting above after upgrades.
- I get the slippery slope of car upgrades vs working on the nut behind the wheel. Has anyone considered Karting to supplement their driving, or even fully replace the miata itch with karting? I do league karting in the winter here at a local track and love the tight "spec" competition and focus on race-craft in addition to running a perfect line - I rationally see getting into this more as it is much more economical than track days for more speed, but these are less presentable.
- How do you allocate your time to miata, vs other aspects of life (significant other, kids, other hobbies)?
- The 2K i mentioned was for entry fees which run about 450 a weekend around here.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:32 PM
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I own a pro gas animal engine go kart, that thing fun! It will pull enough Gs to make your ribs hurt.

We have local kart club racing, it's super cheap, but I dont race it, not enough free time. I just show up at the track a couple times a year and blast around.

Between 3 little kids, miata, go kart, sailboat and ktm 500 motorcycle, it's hard to find time for all these toys
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:39 PM
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Generally i keep the yearly operating budget well under 10% of household income for cars. I might spend more than the 10%, but if so, that comes out of my "play money" that i can do whatever i want with.

I suspect the question you're really asking is one i'm wrestling with. It's easy to jump ship to something nicer in the context of a jack of all trades car you drive often. In fact, i would highly recommend it.

I have a 98 Montero that's pretty cool. I'd like to turn it into something boring like a 2nd gen Tacoma.

I built a stupid NB1. It sucks on the street, so i built another stupid NB1. It's a little better on the street, but not really what i was looking for, so i bought an S2000. It's better than the second NB1, but not in a huge way. Still needs some tweaking.

I don't know what the answer is. Late NC Grand Touring probably.

So yeah. I currently have:
1993 Miata
2000 Miata
2000 Miata
2000 S2000
1994 Land Cruiser
1998 Montero
2006 4runner.

Of the list, only the more aggro 2000 Miata and the 4runner are the "right" vehicles.

Good luck, fam.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:45 PM
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Edited to better answer.

I spent about ..a huge chunk on my car, before I was married and owned a house. Now I spend a lot less on it.
No Kids

Last edited by ryansmoneypit; 07-01-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:02 PM
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Every single one of those other cars/trucks are amazing. I love the boxy montero, 80 series cruisers, and mid 2000 4runners. N+1 is sounding pretty good...

As far as my earlier question goes, yes, I think you hit the nail on the head. I am trying to find a jack of all trades vehicle: A reliable, affordable, fast, track day car that is comfortable to drive to the beach and holds a nice idle, and does not overheat and isn't so heavy to carry financially even if it comes out to play only on the weekends.....ehhhh

At the same time, I am probably looking for you guys to say miata is always the answer, replace the rusty rocker, hammer the frame rails straight, change the bushings, hubs and bearings, tune the idle and keep on driving.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:14 PM
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I’ve gone through these gyrations more times than I can count. I’ve had my Miata for 3 years, and probably have close to $20k into it. If I were doing it over again from scratch, I could probably get the same results for half the expense. Along the way I developed a wicked track habit that has become very important to me. When I go to track days, there are a lot of nice newer Porsches, Vettes, etc. and I know that I have the means to put myself into one of those cars if I really wanted. The following considerations have kept me from doing so:

- they don’t seem to be having any more fun than I am.
- actually, they seem to be having less fun than I am because they are worried about wrecking a valuable car, and I am not.
- I currently don’t bother with track day insurance, and they need to, which almost doubles the cost of a track weekend.
- tires and brake pads are practically free compared to those nicer cars.
- I am running full safety gear and they are running stock seats and seatbelts, because to justify such a car, you need to daily drive it.
- because I am safer and I give fewer ***** about my car, my skills are progressing more rapidly than theirs are.
- I know myself well enough to know that if I got an $80k track car, I would still tweak on it just as much as the Miata. The upgrades would cost way more money though.
- As a corollary, I could build almost any level of performance into this car for less money than I would sink into those cars. An LS/Tremec swap would still be cheaper than a Cayman S, and the performance would still be better.
- the other Miata guys I meet at the track are generally good solid dudes who know how to drive and don’t need to brag. The rate of pretentious dicks starts to go up dramatically when you start hanging in the 911 part of the paddock.

Sometimes I’m still tempted, and ego is always at play. I think about getting into something like a Camaro ZL1 or a Mustang GT350, which would be pretty hard to outgrow from a capabilities standpoint. I have a great job that’s reasonably stable, but I sometimes think that all of this could go away tomorrow. I have a family to support and college to pay for in the future. At some point the things you own actually own you.

If there’s one thing I’d really like to change, it’s comfort to/during/from the track events. Driving a non-AC Miata for three hours on the highway in the summer sun is pretty brutal. It’s pretty likely that I’m going to trade my daily for a decent truck and start towing to the track. At that point, the rest is really for show.

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Old 07-01-2019, 10:20 PM
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Based on what you have said, Miata with MK Turbo kit, Xidas, V8R 11.75 brakes, and about 230whp will be perfectly balanced and reasonably priced forever. Durable, fun, competitive, and reliable for the long run.

Why do I keep making life difficult?

Dammit.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:28 PM
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I'd go NC. NA/NBs just aren't near as pleasant on the street. If that's not important at all, then Sixshooter hit the nail on the head. If it is important, then screw a bunch of NA/NB, unless you want to buy my surplus NB. In which case, full speed ahead. A jack of all trades is a compromise, so whatever you're least willing to compromise on dictates the car.

There's a TON of cars that fit your list of wants on a sliding scale. To me it sounds like your displeasure with your current car is that it's just.... old and crusty, which means it's going to be a heavy compromise in reliability and comfort.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:36 PM
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Yes, I think I will buy something like this for creature comfort... put my driveline into it over the winter, which is leafy's old trackspeed motor + 6speed + 6258, and then do all of sixshooter's spoonfed suggestions...

https://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/d...909886777.html

Thanks Mturbo, this forum definitely checks all the right boxes. Cars, cats, financial advice.
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Old 07-01-2019, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by chitty chitty bang bang View Post

Thanks Mturbo, this forum definitely checks all the right boxes. Cars, cats, financial advice.
You forgot “Dr. Phil tough love” as well.....
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