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Old 06-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Yet another "Help me find a daily driver" thread -> Search complete!

Alright, I'm looking for suggestions to replace the Saab. Since many of the models I'm interested in are fairly rare, I want more ideas to expand the search.

Necessities: 4 doors, available under $5k.
Preferred: Manual transmission, reasonably powerful/fun to drive

So far, here's my (incomplete) list, off the top of my head:

Ford Contour SVT
Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
Subaru Forester
Subaru Legacy
Saab 9-5 AERO
Infiniti G20 (...if I could find one with a VE swap...)
Nissan Sentra SE 2.0
BMW E30 325is (not likely I'll find one it good enough condition)

What else should be on my radar?

Last edited by mgeoffriau; 06-21-2010 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:25 PM   #2
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94-96 Acura Integra 4 door. Extremely reliable, fun to drive, and tons of aftermarket if you ever wanted to juice it up. I put a B20B in mine for $700 bucks and it's great.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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Nissan Maxima. nuff said
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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I had a contour, it was crap. How many of them do you still see on the road? I would avoid that car.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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94-96 Acura Integra 4 door. Extremely reliable, fun to drive, and tons of aftermarket if you ever wanted to juice it up. I put a B20B in mine for $700 bucks and it's great.
Good call...finding one in decent unmodded shape is damn near impossible, unfortunately. But it's on the list.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:47 PM   #6
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I had a contour, it was crap. How many of them do you still see on the road? I would avoid that car.
Crap how? Mechanically? There's a surprising number of good condition SVT's still out there:

http://craiglook.com/cars.html?q=contour+svt
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:19 PM   #7
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Anyone driven a mid-90's Mercedes C220? There's one for sale locally on a used car lot. I'm guessing they are dog slow what with the little 4 cyl and auto tranny?
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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Anyone driven a mid-90's Mercedes C220? There's one for sale locally on a used car lot. I'm guessing they are dog slow what with the little 4 cyl and auto tranny?
Think about maintence cost
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:38 PM   #9
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I'm in pretty much the same market.

Knock anything European off the list for our price range...hell, for double our price range. There isn't a damn Audi, Saab, Mercedes or BMW that will get you down the road for 2 yrs without costing a house payment worth of shop work under $10K.

I've been surprised at the decent Acura offerings that still look nice, and would be fun and reliable...Integras and Legends mostly, the original two imports, and still old standbys. Every TL I've looked at has had some odd sort of problem. Lots of well under book Camrys right now just out of our price range.

Ohp! Missed the manual tranny part since I'm specifically looking for autos (wife). Funnest deal I've seen around is an all black bugeye WRX wagon, standard, clean, and $8K with a tick over 90K miles.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:43 PM   #10
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I'd like a mid 90's integra or a civic as long as its clean, but a clean little Hank Hill style ranger or toyota truck would be ideal
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:46 PM   #11
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I'd like a mid 90's integra or a civic as long as its clean, but a clean little Hank Hill style ranger or toyota truck would be ideal
For who? I've got a Toyota Tacoma 2wd V6 already, this car is to replace the Saab my wife drives daily.
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:12 PM   #12
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Crap how? Mechanically? There's a surprising number of good condition SVT's still out there
Had trans probs at under 5K miles, trans light coming on, 2 different dealerships kept saying that nothing was wrong. Trans took a **** at somthing like 70K (this was over 10 years ago so exact details are foggy), had to replace the entire trans case because of cracks. No impacts on outside or anything like that. Engine took a crap about 15K miles later. Trim and weather strip on the inside and outside fell off all the time. Just outside of warranty I switched the A/C on and there was a load bang/pop inside the dash and the heat/ A/C never worked again. Just outside of warranty I got a recall that said that dash lights could stop working (seems like there was a fire hazzard or some danger that made me bring it in). The dash lights stopped working about a month later and no dealer would do anything because it had been in for the recall already. Very early the windshield cracked from behind the cover, no impact damage, must have been a defect, dealership wouldnt cover it. Paint comming off the hood, trunk, roof even though I washed/waxed. Had to get alignments constantly, never knew what the problem was there. There were other problems, but that was 10 years ago. My car had all those problems in 4 years.

There is a reason that they only marketed the car from 1995-2000. Too many quality problems.

You know how when you type into Google and it puts sugestions below trying to guess the search you are going to type in based on what people are searching for most? The first one that Google throws up if you type in FORD CONTOUR is FORD CONTOUR PROBLEMS.
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZZYZZZ View Post
You know how when you type into Google and it puts sugestions below trying to guess the search you are going to type in based on what people are searching for most? The first one that Google throws up if you type in FORD CONTOUR is FORD CONTOUR PROBLEMS.


To be fair, I'd guess that's probably true of a lot of cars. Still, appreciate the info. Makes me kind of sad, though. I still like the Contour SVT, sad to cross it off the list.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:16 PM   #14
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You can't go wrong with a G20. We have an '02 Sport 5spd and it still runs like new with 227k miles on it. We have previously owned a '99, a '95, and a '91 all with high miles and never any major issues.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:24 PM   #15
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On the SR20 forum there's a P10 with a VE swapped in that I really want...unfortunately it's not local and the guy won't respond to PM's. I've owned 2 B13 SE-R's and my Dad currently drives a Sentra SE 2.0 (which, if he finds a Maxima/I30, I might try to buy from him to replace the Saab).
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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I would pick up a clean G20 if I could find one.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:35 PM   #17
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I will say, while the whole SR20DET/Silva scene is played out, the SR20DE is still a badass little motor. Feels so much stronger than its specs. I drove my Dad's Sentra a few months ago and was shocked at how hard it pulled...felt stronger than the Saab which is a 2.0l turbo with 30 more hp.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:46 PM   #18
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Be more specific!

You want:
#1: A perfectly reliable 100% DD with no intention to mod that will never need anything for under $5k.

#2: A part-time DD when it's not broken or I'm not working on it that isn't too fast but has 4 doors and parts are readily available so I can work on it myself for under $5k.

#3: I shouldn't kid myself, this thing is a toy, I value the ability to mod it and don't need it to run but half the time for under $5k.

Questions to answer:
How fast does it need to be?
What kinds of things does it need to carry?
How many times per month will you have more than 2 people aboard?
Will kids ever be aboard?
What kinds of tools/experience/facilities do you have to work on it?
How much per year will you spend to keep it running besides gas/oil?
Can you afford downtime for any reason?

In the end, I have to agree with Bond. Find a mid-mileage late '90's Maxima V6 and have a look through the Stillen catalog.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:48 PM   #19
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I've always thought the 2nd gen contour was a damn good looking car. Particularly for a ford. I doubt I would ever actually buy one, but I can see the attraction. They are based on the same platform as the Mondeo and they sold TONS of those here in the UK. They didn't sell well in the states because americans didn't like them, not because they are bad cars

Having said all that, I would go for the Forester. Been thinking of getting one myself for some time now....
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #20
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My dad had a Contour. Hella bad torque steer in the thing. No major problems, but a lot of the minor ones. Trim pieces constantly coming off; I think he reglued just about every piece on the thing. Clearcoat on the paint oxidized quickly. Easily buffed out, but I think he had to do it twice every year, in spite of frequent washing/waxing.

Sort of and in-between car. Not enough performance to be really sporty, but not enough mileage to be an economy car.
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