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Alright car gurus, need your help---

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33 replies to this topic

#1 of 34 OFFLINE   KeithR


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Posted April 03 2002 - 08:56 AM

I am being transferred from NYC to LA this summer, and have begun the search for a car. I am 25, so no exotics please as the insurance will kill me.

I am looking from 30-40k. Some things to note is that I am 6'2" so a lot of roadsters aren't particularly comfortable. Also, since LA is traffic-laden, that is something to take issue with as I will likely have a 30-45 minute commute to/from work. I love manual transmissions as well, and have thought about either a moonroof or straight convertible.

Anyways, enough of that--let me know what ideas I should be looking into. I have no problem buying used either, and actually may prefer to buy a 2-3 year old car to not take the hit on depreciation.

I have been leaning towards a Vette, but haven't driven one yet Posted Image

#2 of 34 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted April 03 2002 - 09:18 AM

I'd look for a used twin-turbo Supra; 320 hp and super light, and still gets decent mileage in town.

#3 of 34 OFFLINE   Leo Hinze

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Posted April 03 2002 - 09:37 AM


and still gets decent mileage in town


Depends upon what your definition of 'decent' isPosted Image

Sounds like you want a BMW 3er coupe. It does not have the straight-line acceleration of a Vette, but handles just as good, and has a useable back seat to boot. You can get a manual transmission as well. A brand new one can be had for under $40k, but you can find 1 or 2 year old used ones for much less.

An M3 will match the Vette, but good luck finding the current gen under $40k.

#4 of 34 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted April 03 2002 - 10:44 AM

I would love to have an M3 as well, but it starts at $45k. Maybe it's under $40k used if you'd go that route. But if you would rather go for luxury over performance check out a 330Ci Coupe.

I'd also recommend calling 1-800-334-4BMW and asking for their free promotional dvd, or ask for it at your local BMW dealership. I'm sure it would sway your decision if you took one look at that. Posted Image Run a search for bmwfilms.com in home theater software section for all the rave reviews of the DVD, also called "The Hire."

Other recommendations:

-Infiniti G35 *Coupe*

-Nissan 350Z (coming soon)

-Audi TT Quattro Coupe

#5 of 34 OFFLINE   Tom Meyer

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Posted April 03 2002 - 10:53 AM

as I always suggest to people looking to spend 30-40k on a car, check out the Volvo S60 T5. Damn fast, better styling than the BMW or Audi and probably cheaper insurance costs cuz no one's gonna steal it.

#6 of 34 OFFLINE   Mark Leiter

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Posted April 03 2002 - 11:00 AM

Being a '95 C4 (corvette) owner, I might be a little bias. But I would definately go with the vette. The newer C5 ('97-'02) models are even nicer than the type that i have. They are alot easier to get into and out of, the build quality has been improved dramaticly and when they moved the transmission to the rear of the car it it vastly improved the overall leg room in the car. They are also alot faster.

The biggest downfall of the C5 is that since it IS a transaxle, there isn't room for a spare tire. So all 97 and newer vettes must have run-flat tires on them. A new set of tires runs about twice what they do for my '95.

Used coupes can be had for under $30K and verts are going for about $34k+.

If you're interested there is a great web site for vettes where you can get a lot of great info:


If you can afford it go for it. Easily the best money I ever spent.
Mark F. Leiter

#7 of 34 OFFLINE   Aurel Savin

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Posted April 03 2002 - 11:08 AM

Get a MINI Cooper S ... and take the money you saved to take out all those LA honeys Posted Image

I think if you like driving a manual there is nothing more fun, and the car has amazing room inside.

#8 of 34 OFFLINE   David-S


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Posted April 03 2002 - 11:09 AM

How bout an Audi? You could get a really nice A4, or probably an S4 for that much... Similar performance, handling, lotsa people like them... Also check out the Acura 3.2 TL.... 'nother nice car

#9 of 34 OFFLINE   Jody C Robins

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Posted April 03 2002 - 11:18 AM

Mustang Cobra. Convertible if you like. The 2001 Cobras are very fast. I have a 98 GT, and I love it. Fun to drive, and no problems yet.
Jody C Robins

#10 of 34 OFFLINE   Keith Mickunas

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Posted April 03 2002 - 11:45 AM

Look at the VWs and Audis. Lots of nice features, good quality, great ride, and reasonably priced. If you really want great fuel mileage, get a Jetta or Golf TDI. The VW diesels are the most effiecent non-hybrid cars sold in the US. Granted they only cost around $20k, so probably don't have everything you're looking for in a car. But at 40-50mpg, they're pretty sweet.

#11 of 34 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted April 03 2002 - 12:43 PM

Mazda Miata. theres your convertible. Too slow you say? No problemo, Just pick up a shiny Yamaha YZF-R1 or a Kawasaki ZRX-1200R on the way back from the car dealer. Buy both with $30,000 and have enough to spare to take a two-week on a cross-country vacation.

But seriously, consider a bike. Can be blindingly fast, low insurance, Lane-splitting is legal on them in Cali,carry a decent amount of stuff w/bags, and even the "gas hogs" get 40mpg! True, you have trouble carrying another person in comfort (count cars on the way home, how many have two or more people in them?), or a new TV. But thats whats the cars forPosted Image
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#12 of 34 OFFLINE   Mike_Mig


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Posted April 03 2002 - 06:23 PM

I just got an '03 Cadillac CTS fully loaded. The navigation system is great and the sport driving mode is really fun to drive in. It has a 3.2L V6, 220 hp I believe. This is a superb handling car, believe me it can stay on the road at almost any speed. Caddy took it to germany to the Nurburgring (sp?) test trak where Porsche and BMW test their cars and really set it up nice. Fully loaded is about $40K. I am 24 and am paying about $1500 a year for insurance, albeit in Missouri. LA would likely be more. Check it out here cadillac It is also the first Caddy in years to offer a manual trans which is the same GM trans used in a BMW model, not sure which one.


#13 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Banks

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Posted April 03 2002 - 06:27 PM

I second the Mustang Cobra. The 2003's are about to go into production. This year they are factory rated at a conservative 390hp, 390lbs/ft. torque. Actual numbers are near 420hp at the flywheel. They used the Eaton supercharger that is currently used on the Lightning, for the added horsepower. Also this year you get an upgraded independent rear suspension and Tremec T56 6-speed transmission.

Ford set out this year to build the fastest Mustang yet, and they have succeeded. Initial reports show that the car will run the quarter mile in under 13 seconds. That's well into vette territory, but you can hold 4 people and have a decent trunk. The coupe has an estimated price of $35,000 and $38,000 for the convertible.

If you can't tell I'm in love with this car. After purchasing a Lightning last year, I felt that it needed a companion in the garage. So I ordered a Torch Red coupe with chrome wheels. I'm awaiting arrival sometime in July.

You will not be dissatisfied with SVT vehicles.

Check them out here SVT Homepage
My addiction

#14 of 34 OFFLINE   Mark Larson

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Posted April 03 2002 - 06:28 PM


The navigation system is great and the sport driving mode is really fun to drive in. It has a 3.2L V6, 22 hp I believe.


Posted Image Posted Image PRICELESS!!!

#15 of 34 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted April 03 2002 - 08:12 PM

Mark- hehehehe. Hope that's street legal!

Michael- Oh hell yea!! How could I forget a Cobra?? Nothing matches the mighty Mustang engine tone. It says "Why in the world are you thinking about racing me?!?!" Posted Image Definitely test drive one of those Keith if that's your type of car, simply awesome stock.

Michael, how much is a Cobra? SCC Mag says it's about $55k.


#16 of 34 OFFLINE   Bill Kane

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Posted April 03 2002 - 09:10 PM

I'll offer a dif'rent slant to these dream roadsters. No one has picked up on Keith saying he's gonna be in the LA commute. It's rugged. I was down there last week and it took me an hr and a half stop 'n go around 9am from Newport Beach (Orange County) to the north edge of LA on "The 5" as they say. On my CB radio I heard a trucker say this is every day! So there's alot to be said for an auto tranny in creep-along traffic. That said, I'd look at a Jeep Liberty, 3.7L V-6, 4WD low range, fuel economy 16/23.

#17 of 34 OFFLINE   JasonMC


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Posted April 03 2002 - 09:11 PM

I own a BMW 540 and my brother just bought a 2002 BMW M3 Convertible. The M3 brand new will run you a cool $60,000 so it's out of your price range. The performance and luxury of BMW's can't be beat in my opinion. I have driven Audi's, Mustang Cobra, and a Vette. By far, the most refined cars have always been the BMW's in my opinion. A new 330ic (convertible) will be under $40 Grand and is an awesome vehicle. You can't go wrong with a BMW.

#18 of 34 OFFLINE   Justin Doring

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Posted April 04 2002 - 01:30 AM

Coupes are fun! All things considered, you won't find a better car than the BMW 3-series in the $30,000-$40,000 range. Going used is not a good idea with them, however, because they hold their value so well. You could get a well-equipped, if not fully loaded, 330Ci or 325Cic for under $40,000 out the door. The Audi A4 isn't a coupe, but it's very nice looking. It's a more luxurious car that gives you more features for the money, but the BMW definately has the edge in performance and reliability. You could get a fully loaded A4 3.0 Quattro for under $40,000 out the door. If you wanted to go Japanese, there is the new Infiniti G35 Coupe that looks very nice. It's a lot faster than any of the similarly priced German cars, but it can't touch them in terms of build quality, fit and finish, and handling. If you want total performance and little luxury or practicality, the Corvette is the way to go. It's basically 90% of the performance of a Ferrari for less than one fifth the price! It also bests every non-Turbo Porsche in every area for less than half the price! The Corvette can be used as a daily driver (provided you have only one passenger), but it's not as comfortable as the German cars. The interior is also more cramped and cheaper than the Germans or Japanese, but it is much better than the previous generation Corvette. The Z06 and convertible models are closer to $50,000 than $40,000, but GM is offering 0% financing right now, so that might factor into your decision. Of course if you want to go used you can get a '97 Jaguar XK8 coupe or convertible for under $40,000 out the door. This would more than adequately satisfy both your luxury and sport needs. In my opinion, $30,000-$40,000 is the sweet point in the new car market. A decent car can't be had for under $25,000, and they start getting nice in the $30,000-$40,000 range. Above that, the differences are much smaller and diminishing returns really kicks in.
"Home is where the theater is!"

#19 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Banks

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Posted April 04 2002 - 04:16 AM

Scott- What you are looking at in that article is the 2000 Cobra R. Only 300 were built. It was meant as a factory race car. The car came sans A/C, radio, and backseat. It was meant as a factory racer. Don't put much faith in Sport Compact for test numbers. I have seen these cars go mid 12's all day stock and they are hell on a road coarse.

The 2003 will be a daily driver. The only option on them will be chrome wheels and a wing delete option. The coupe is est. at 35K and 38K for the convertible. It has the same horsepower as the R and A/C to boot.Posted Image

JasonMC- I drove last years M3. That car is on rails. Probably the best handling car I have driven next to the Z06 vette. The problem with the vettes, to me, is that the interior is way out dated and feels cheap. Also, the vettes are depreciating way to fast. Give me a back seat and 15K in the pocket for near the same performance.
My addiction

#20 of 34 OFFLINE   Kevin P

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Posted April 04 2002 - 06:48 AM

If you have $40K to spend on a car (I wish I did, and I'm a 30-something tech professional, sigh...) I'd get TWO cars, both pre-owned to save money, e.g. spend $20k on each, or $15k and $25k, or something like that. One car would be an efficient car with an automatic for that nasty LA commute, and the other would be a fun fast car, say a coupe or convertible with a manual for the weekends and for fun. This way you have your fun sporty car, and then you have something more practical and comfortable to drive in traffic. Plus if the practical car is bigger, say a wagon, you have room to carry stuff in it, which is hard to do in a Vette! KJP

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