By on November 10, 2011

 

TTAC commentator bumpy ii writes:

It’s definitely going to be used in this case. Anyway, I’m looking to pick up a fun weekend car in another 3-4 years. I like to plan ahead. Here’s what I want:

* 4 doors
* RWD
* manual transmission
* normally aspirated inline 6
* (the kicker) curb weight under 3,000 pounds
* preferably built after the Reagan administration (most everyone had their emissions stuff sorted out by then)

From what I can tell, this narrows the list down to 4 cars (in order of preference):

*Nissan R32 Skyline
*Nissan A31 Cefiro
*M-B 190E 2.6
*BMW E30 325i

Am I leaving anything off? Any particular reason to favor or discount one versus another? Budget: I dunno, up to $10k if necessary. I’m in Virginia, and I’m willing to wait until the Nissans hit the DOT import exemption.

Sajeev Answers:

Why narrow your focus to I-6 motors? They are a bit slow by modern standards and are pricey to make more palatable, unless they are fitted with factory turbos. Oh, and they tend to wiggle like a wiener dog when they overheat, eating head gaskets and warping (aluminum) heads in the process. While I understand the premise of your quandary, all of these vintage racers will get their asses handed to them by a Fox Mustang (or LTD, since you want four-doors) with a full Griggs suspension, late model brakes with ABS and a souped up Windsor motor. Hell you don’t even wanna pick a fight with a 265hp, 6-speed (auto) Camry SE with a few chassis mods. There’s no better bitch slap than Toyota’s best Q-ship, especially from a 70mph dig: the 6 to 3 downshift is just nuts in that car!

And to be a real jerk, let me also tell you what 10 grand will buy in a tastefully modified 4th-gen Camaro or Firebird. They are the most underrated piece of “cheap” iron out there, even with the awful interior and terrible reputation from their collective owners. Buy one, twist the key and be better than 90% of the vehicles on the planet, even box stock.

That said, I am importing a brown Ford Sierra Ghia from the UK, so perhaps I need to encourage you. With the Sierra in mind, the only one from my list would be the Cefiro. If you are gonna be spanked by a new Camry, why not do it with class and style?

Hot Rod Griggs Fox Body LTD, son. Think about it.

Steve answers:

Inline 6? My good God man! What on Earth makes you want to drive an engine from the middle ages? Do you have some type of unique fetish for old Celica Supras and E-Classes?

Actually, I think a late 80′s MB W124 four door would actually be quite close with the weight and engine specs… but why? I’m sorry but I just have no love for the inline 6′s other than their supposed ease of maintenance (which is not nearly the entire equation when it comes to these old engines).

I would think about it some more. Years, many years. Maybe to the point of near death. If an inline 6 is a must have then just get yourself a nice old Merc or BMW for about 2 to 3k and just play with it for a while. There is no good reason to blow $10k on a proverbial Reagan era spec sheet.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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59 Comments on “New or Used: Cefiro!...”


  • avatar
    duffman13

    I gotta go with both Sanjeev and Steve on this one. OTOH, even removing the I-6 from the equation, nobody makes/made in the last 20 years the car you’re looking for. I know because it’s the same car I’m looking for.

    I’m not 100% sure on the weight thing, but a E36 M3 should fit your specs, and assuming you replace all the disintegraty plastic OE cooling system parts with metal ones, should be a fiarly stout vehicle for you and comes with 4 doors in the 97-98 trim.

    On that note, and being that you’re in virginia, this one may be worth driving to check out, even though it is a coupe. It has the requisite cooling system upgrade that I’d say the care requires to be reliable at higher mileage:
    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/2676025902.html

    This one sounds good too, but a little pricey even given the maintenance and mileage:
    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/cto/2690958640.html

    (I’ve been looking for one of these kinda sorta but not in a position to buy yet.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      I’d go with this. I just sold an E36 M3 after owning it for about 7 years and have to say it was my favorite car I’ve ever owned. I’ll probably kick myself later for ever selling it. I don’t know if it was under 3k lbs or not, but it sure felt a lot more nimble than most anything you can buy today.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    1st gen Lexus IS. The curb weight might be a tad above the 3K limit.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      IS200 gets him there… If he really wants to reach the magic 3000 ib. he can Go import one with the smaller engine to save 230 ib. IS300 is the answer for this lost soul.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Pontiac G8. I know its not under 3K pounds nor does it have an I6. But trust me you are better much better off.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      The manual transmission was only available on the top-of-the-line GXP model. The only way you’re finding one of those under $10K is if an eighteen-wheeler crashed into it.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I like how bullet list reads like a BMW spreadsheet.

    I also agree about the straight 6. They’re tractor motors by today’s standards. Even Jeep doesn’t use them anymore.

    IF you want a BMW, then get a BMW, but do yourself a solid and look at the early 90′s 318′s. They’re cheap, light, RWD, come with a stick, and there are a number of aftermarket turbo kits available.

    Otherwise, go newer with an off-lease Hyundai Genesis coupe, or go old school with a classic Nissan 240z, which fits all the criteria and weighs slightly less than my kid’s stroller.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    mid 90′s cherokee. lower it, saw-iz-all the top and hatch off for weight loss. remove hood, remove front fenders, done!

    • 0 avatar
      sean362880

      I had the same thought, but for the 2006-2009 Trailblazer. The I6 in that truck was awesome.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/01/review-2009-chevrolet-trailblazer-lt/

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Nice. I was thinking of the IS300; the Cherokee was a bit too outside the box for me to catch, despite being completely within the specs.

      According to MSN Autos a 1996 RWD Cherokee Sport 4-door with manual transmission weighed 2,995 pounds, so the Cherokee wins across the board, unlike the 3,255 pound IS300. No need to Sawzall.

      That said, if this guy wants to import a old JDM Nissan because he likes old JDM Nissans that’s one thing, but if he’s simply trying to satisfy his punch list he would be much better off accepting a V6 and a little extra weight and getting a Infiniti G35 GMT sedan (3,398 pounds), which will easily be available for under $10,000 within his time frame. In japan the G35 (now G37) is the Skyline. And he would not do badly by going with the Cherokee either.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        It’s hilarious that the Cherokee meets the specs, despite most likely being the antithesis of what the OP is actually looking for. Makes sticking to the listed requirements seem a little ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I actually overstated it, a 1996 inline-6, rear wheel drive, manual transmission, 4-door Cherokee is 2,955 pounds, not 2,995, damn partial dyslexia.

  • avatar

    A Ford Fairmont, and have someone rebuild the 200 or 250 six with an aftermarket alloy head and some other goodies. 200-250 hp naturally aspirated, 300 hp or more with a turbo. Great project, endless parts availability for the Fox chassis, and a genuine in-line six that will surprise quite a few V8s.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      That’s about the ONLY way to get a Fairmont to move under ANY circumstances, bone stock chocked off 60′s era inline 6′s are slugs.

      I know, had one, a ’78 200CID variant with automatic.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    1995-1999 Nissan Maxima Curb Wt. 3000 lbs. 190 hp 3.0 liter v-6. 0-60 under 7 seconds. Price 1,500 to 5,000 USD.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      That era of Maxima was fun and light weight, especially the SE version, but the clutch engages very abruptly. I kept stalling the engine when I test drove one. It’s also FWD.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Love and value Mr. Lang’s advice from a car-buying perspective, but when it comes to enthusiasm, the man has the true soul of a bean counter. And I do not mean that in a nice way. Sanjeev just has issues, though I do mean THAT in a nice way. Fox body vs. any of the cars on the list? Really? And who cares if a Camry can blow the doors off a 325i? That is sooo not the point.

    Obviously, what you want is the nicest 325i that you can find. A nice rust-free car with a good interior is not hard to find. Parts are cheap and readily available, and the build quality is second to none. Easy to work on too. $10K will get you an absolute minter. I will say, as the past owner of TWO ’91 318is’, they are really something special in the sheer driving department, but there is nothing like that silky smooth German six. Two door only though. The 318i four door is not nearly as fun unless you upgrade the suspension. And it is heavier, which matters with the little motor. The Benz is a decent car too – but nowhere NEAR as fun to drive as the BMW, and not as well built either. Nor are go-fast bits as readily available if you are so inclined.

    The Japanese contingent on the list are really really interesting. But do you really want to deal with a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side (most likely) and that has parts that are difficult to come by even in the Internet era? The BMW is gold plated – buy a good one now, maintain it well, and you will lose nothing on it when you sell it.

    And please, if anyone comes across a really mint ’91 318is (no sunroof but with limited slip diff) for sale, I will pay a finders fee.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Love and value Mr. Lang’s advice from a car-buying perspective, but when it comes to enthusiasm, the man has the true soul of a bean counter. And I do not mean that in a nice way. Sanjeev just has issues, though I do mean THAT in a nice way. Fox body vs. any of the cars on the list? Really? And who cares if a Camry can blow the doors off a 325i? That is sooo not the point.

      Well… not to put to fine a point on it but: In this column Mr. Lang = Robert McNamara (as a car executive) and Mr. Mehta = Lee Iacocca. But let me state emphatically this is what makes their partnership work.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      I recommend older Benzes and Bimmers and you call me a bean counter?

      Not to slam you the way you slammed me… but in my travels I really do see what holds up and what does not, and if we’re going for a ‘vintage’ spec sheet, it’s best to start with a stout chassis and modify as needed.

      All of the vehicles that were mentioned fulfill what would be the common sense approach to this. Buy a well kept powertrain for about $2000 and $3000 and then modify to your heart’s content.

      I honestly think this guy would be far happier buying a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Miata (just sold the 99′ I reviewed a couple of weeks ago) but when someone asks for a specific rec based on a list of preferences, that’s what I go with.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        OK, maybe I was a *touch* harsh.

        But in this case the guy is NOT looking to minimize his outlay, which is what you are ALWAYS harping on about (quite sensibly). He says he has a $10K budget. So buy a NICE 325i. They are certainly not hard to find. Join BMWCCA, get your monthly issue of Roundel, and there will be several to choose from in the small ads. You will pay real money for a nice one. BUT, you can’t make an average one “nice” for what a nice one costs in the first place. I would agree not to spend the whole $10K on the car, but spend say $7K and have plenty left for fettling.

        Having owned a W124, they are really lovely cars, but in no way “fun” at all. Just extremely competent. BMWs are fun. The MB 190e 2.3-16 is certainly FUN, but you won’t find a decent one of those for $10K, and the regular w201 is just a slightly shrunken W124.

        As to Miatas, decent cars if you fit in them (I don’t), but they certainly don’t meet the four-door requirement.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    As the former owner of a rear-drive/4-door/5-speed/6-inline car – a black on black 1990 BMW 535i, the car that got me into cars – I think I understand what you want and why you want it better than certain folks who think a Camry is superior to an E30 simply because it has more power.

    Pshaw. Fooey. And for shame.

    I get the appeal of straight-sixes. It’s not for maintanance ease; it’s a sound and feel thing. I’ve since replaced the 535i sedan with a 544i wagon, and in spite of 50% more power and no worse fuel economy, I miss that smooth surly grumble of an M30.

    The E30 is by far the most accessible choice. The aftermarket is robust, DIY support is plentiful, and 10k and some elbow grease would get you a very nice, sorted car. Furthermore, you have a decent selection of some really good engines: pretty much anything in the 50-series of BMW motors, including the ubiquitous M50/M52, the all-around-nice S52, and the fire-breathing S54 and Euro S50. There are also numerous forced induction kits that fit to all of these. They cost considerably less than a 265hp Camry and do considerably more. Since you’re willing to wait and import, I’m sure you know that the E30 came in a wagon variant as well, and I suspect the rear-drive version of this is still under 3000 pounds.

    A W201 is right around or over 3000 pounds, not so easy to find with three pedals, and from what I’ve gathered, a bit more of pain to deal with. But if you prefer the stability and solidity of a Mercedes to the tossability of a BMW, a fine choice.

    I have no idea what a Cefiro is, but a Skyline sedan sounds like a worthy entry on that list. I’m sure you (if not S&S here) know that it fits the the RB25DETT natively. However, I suspect it’s over 3000 pounds in anything other than track-car-gutted form. But if you’re willing to go with something a bit heavier, you may want to add the Lexus GS300 to the list as well. They did not come with 3 pedals in the US, but they did come with the 2JZ motor, and a manual swap is straightforward.

    Judging by your weight requirement, you probably care about handling more than ride. As such, I’d put the E30 first on your list, and ask why you put it last?

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Chevy Corsica 4-door( my Beretta Coupe was 2675 lbs) would run rings around those cars for less than $1500.00 including a handful of bolt-ons. My Beretta could work them over in the twisties and leave them after highway speeds on up.

    Go for Corsica hatchback and offer to haul the competition’s tires to the track for thwem. :)

    • 0 avatar
      MoppyMop

      The only L-bodies that would do what you describe (Quad 4 or 3100/5speed combo) have mostly been hooned to death by now. Even if you can get one that hasn’t, you’re still stuck with the terrible ’90s GM interior.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I asked myself this same question not too long ago and I ended up jumping ship on the 6 cylinder and landed in an E30 318is. My advice is pick the car you want to drive the most often and feel the best about spending money on. You will be reconditioning a suspension buying a (sporty) car of this vintage.

    And whats all this talk of Camrys and Fox bodies? My wild ass suggestion would be an older 911.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Does the RX-8 count as a compromise option?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    While I understand the premise of your quandary, all of these vintage racers will get their asses handed to them by a Fox Mustang (or LTD, since you want four-doors) with a full Griggs suspension, late model brakes with ABS and a souped up Windsor motor.

    Some of us live in a world where we actually look at our cars now and then, and the Fox Mustang is an abomination before the Lord.

    And we also don’t want to rebuild them from scratch.

    He said “fun weekend car”, not “racer”, so who cares if a modern Camry can toast it?

    Underpowered cars have the fun factor of being able to run them at 100% occasionally, off a track, without being suicidal or felonious.

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      +1000. It frankly blows my mind how someone can rank a Camry superior to a R32 Skyline (as included in the OP’s vehicle list), and then call himself a car enthusiast. If we’re using 0-60 times to rank cars, the first gen Miata must be one of the worst cars ever. I understand the OP’s love for the older inline 6 cylinder cars as I drive a MX73 Cressida myself. Even though I’m extremely loyal to Japanese vehicle manufacturers, I have to agree with the other posters: A BMW is clearly what you want. Get one in good condition, make sure it comes with service records, buy a repair manual and start wrenching on the car yourself whenever something goes wrong.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Why would a weekend car need four doors? I think a miata is practically synonymous with “fun weekend car”, but I guess that doesn’t meet all of the OP’s requirements…

    Sajeev’s reply is insane. A Camry? The guy is looking for a sub 3000 lb, RWD manual transmission, I6 car and Sajeev suggests a FWD car with a V6 that weighs almost 3500 lbs. I don’t think you can get a late model Camry SE for $10k either.

    Anyway, the listed requirements have BMW written all over them. The E30 meets all the specs while something as powerful as an E36 M3 is only about 200 lbs over weight. You can get something as recent as an E46 323i and only be 150 lbs over weight. Those should be pretty easy to find too. All of these are available for less or far less than the $10k limit.

    There are non-BMW alternatives if you look, but the bimmers are by far the most common option if you want an I6/RWD/4 doors/manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    I know the allure of a straight six with a good 50-series flowmaster. I used to own a W201 190E 2.6 with the he’s tooth rare 5 speed and factory sport line package. A fine riding, fine sounding and taut handling runabout that have me 20+ mpg with enthusiastic daily driving.

    An experience they was only topped, for the meager outlay, by e30 eta.

    • 0 avatar
      Porsche986

      I was going to leave my suggestion at the bottom, but you’ve covered it! I too used to own a 1992 M-B W201 190e 2.6 Sportline… but an automatic. It was one of the best cars I have ever owned. The I-6 is smooth, the highway ride unmatched, and the seats were the best I have ever owned… (even the back seats mirror the front buckets)… and to boot, mine was not the usual black and red interior… it was tan with zebrano wood. LOVELY suggestion!

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    How bout the last slant 6 Diplomat with the smog crap removed? Get a power nothing bench seat model.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    Not gonna lie, I thought Sajeev’s reply was going to read something like a late Fairmont with a 4.9 out of an F150 and a turbo from a Chevy diesel. Just kidding, sort of. It’s looking like an E30 Bimmer is the way to go here!

    Now if you’ll excuse me there’s an Fairmont Futura with an anemic 200 straight six up the road that’s calling my checkbook.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    If you can get past the I6 how about a Volvo 240 with a Mustang motor/transmission? They were made as late as 1992. You can have one as soon as I get one for myself.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    I have owned a 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-t Type-M sedan for over 7 years now. So can speak with some authority on the matter.

    There are only two things that make owning my vehicle worth all the hassles of a 22 year old grey-import, the fact that it has a turbocharger and its aftermarket Bilstein suspension. You are already starting off without the turbo!

    FYI – I live in Australia and we have a lot of them running about and parts while not necessarily common aren’t rare either. I shudder to think what it would cost to maintain one in the US. Surely the only thing worth the trouble would be a GT-R?

  • avatar
    glwillia

    You clearly want a vintage bimmer, but for the 4-door requirement I’d suggest a 5-series (always thought the 4-door E30 looked a little odd). For $10k you can get a really nice E28 535i/iS, plus some mods.

  • avatar
    George B

    Bumpy, the car you want is made of pure umobtanium. Lots of people want a lightweight RWD fun car like an old BMW, but for a low price used. The problem is 15 or 20 years ago some douche had to have leased an expensive RWD car new and he wasn’t thinking about longevity. Along the way, your car probably made a detour to a BHPH lot and an owner in the hood who spend more money on big aftermarket wheels than on maintenance. Even worn out, your dream car is still attracting bids from anyone who wants a drift car or a good starting point for racing and it’s not like any of these RWD cars were big volume sellers when new. Some compromise plus replacing lots of parts is probably necessary.

    I’d probably narrow down the search by identifying acceptable cars models and then searching for one that’s suffered less abuse. Maybe a good one-owner Lexus IS or BMW E30 exists out there somewhere.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    None of the above. Get a Merkur Scorpio and either drop a 5.0L in it or a 4.0L V-6 from an Explorer.

  • avatar
    svenmeier

    The Mercedes W201 190E is a good choice. It’s build quality is top notch and spare parts are abundant and relatively cheap to obtain.

    I’d say the biggest problem on a W201 is finding a manual transmission. To my knowledge the 190E 2.6 was automatic-only in North America. The standard Benz 4-speed A/T of the day was excellent, though. Smooth, responsive and silent. One of the best automatics of the time and it was still in use in the mid-1990s.

    It has to be said that the manual transmissions I’ve experienced in Mercedes’ cars of that period were rather poor. Vague shift patterns and long throws mean they’re not meant for “fun” and “speed shifting”. In those days Mercedes’ offered you a terrible manual transmission in the hopes that customers would pay extra for the better automatic transmission – many did.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    What is this wanker, a 12 yo?

    If you need someone to validate your automotive purchase you have no clue about any car in the world and should really stick to public transportation.

    Ergo, GTFO of car sites. Rly. I’d be happy to loan you a shotgun to stick in your mouth with a shell to put in it.

    Once again, are you really out of 5th grade?

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Flame much? The guy’s asking for advice, not belittling judgement. Who needs to grow up here?

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        @ dastanley

        You clearly haven’t had a look at the local car sites. The land of the troll barely starts to describe it. And that is without mentioning the MSM sites.

        There’s nothing to see here.

    • 0 avatar
      PJ McCombs

      Bantastic comment! Bye.

      And of the OP’s choices, I’d go a non-GTR R32 Skyline. Lots of them here in Australia, and the grey GTS models look the part while still being a bargain. Can’t imagine they’re easy to get to Virginia, but you’ll be the only one in the state who owns one…

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        I’d actually recommend from GTS up, and 2 doors only.

        The 4 door cars are hideous, and any of those without the bulging fenders are ugly too.

        One of my coworkers has a real serious Nissan Steagea wagon (or whatever is spelled) with turbo, AWD, etc… The intercooler itself is huge.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    Telling someone to kill himself for asking for advise on a car site? Someone ban this fool please.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Why can’t he have a slant 6 Dart?

  • avatar
    drvanwyk

    To throw in my lowly two cents, the first vehicle that came to my mind was the first-gen (1998-2005) Lexus IS300. Straight-6 engine, four doors, 6-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, and a curb weight of right around 3000 lb. Plus, in my opinion they are very fine looking. Yes, it is a newer option than any of the other vehicles you mentioned, but this fact plus it being a Lexus should mean that your maintenance costs will be less in comparison.

    On the downside of course is the fact that it might be slightly over your weight requirements, and they’re just plain hard to find. Some prices have dropped to $10k but not if you want one in good condition from what I’ve seen. In addition the manuals are even harder to find and they have often been modified at the hands of their previous owners. However, I would say that overcoming these challenges would be well worth it in the end, for a quality automobile that seems to suit your needs very well.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    the major problem i have with IS300′s is they were made for japanese businessmen. in other words, 5 foot 5 inches and 120 lbs soaking wet. they were sadly not made for ‘mericans.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I drove Toyotas for decades when I was younger, but there are few Japanese cars I’m comfortable driving today. The Avalon and Camry are among the few. On the other hand, the VW Golf and Jetta are just fine, and the Ford Fiesta is at least acceptable.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    A cefiro???? and importing one to the US?!?!?!? They weren’t fun at all, being largely for people for whom even a base model skyline was just too exciting.
    If you were going to import anything from Australia/NZ(and its a touch over 3000lbs) is a 98-02 Ford Falcon XR6 or VT holden commodore which came with a manual gearbox.
    (Sajeev, Why the Sierra? except if it was an RS500.)

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      After a half-dozen stories are written about it, it’ll be ebayed and we’ll have a nice write-up and link to the auction right here at TTAC.

      It hasn’t got to be a car worth buying if he’s leveraging his notoriety from TTAC into a business venture. It’s only got to be worth selling.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Sorry mate but the VT doesn’t have an I6, it has the 3800 V6 and finding a non V8 manual one is REALLY difficult. Your chances are better with an LS1 and the Monaro front end is a direct swap.

      For the Falcon, ummm I’d say an FG XR6 Turbo. For the years you posted it must be a BA, so I guess those got the turbo engine too (not sure).

  • avatar
    Redshift

    * 4 doors
    * RWD
    * manual transmission
    * normally aspirated (replace inline 6 with) extremely smooth engine with a unique sound
    * (the kicker) curb weight under 3,000 pounds
    * add in meets current safety standards (i.e. 8 air bags, ESC etc.) and you’ve just described a Mazda RX-8.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I totally get the straight six obsession. Anyone questioning, just listen to this clip.

    http://youtu.be/-mKIhlFzg2o

    I don’t care if I’ll get beat by a new camry or not if my care sounds like that, and offers an e30 level of driver involvement.

    I agree its gotta be an e30 but good luck finding a good example. They are unfortunately becoming increasingly rare. The IS300 and M3 are good alternatives if you’re willing to compromise on weight, the RX-8 on engine.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions (except that one). The Cherokee suggestion was particularly amusing. Some specific points:

    The RX-8 is an interesting option, though the high-strung nature of the rotary is not a good match for my laid-back driving style. A good inline six has the feel and sound that can’t be found in most other engine configurations.

    I am firm on the weight limit, since I’m already compromising by letting it go as high as 3000 pounds. Whatever I do buy will most likely be the heaviest car I’ve had, and I want to keep it as low as I can without gutting the interior. If I wasn’t such a hardass, the IS300 would be my open-and-shut choice, but the US-spec IS300 (and the E36 BMWs) are over 3200 pounds.

    I want four doors, partly for easier access to the package shelf behind the front seats, and partly because I find coupe doors to be longer and heavier than I like. I’ve already done the 2-seat convertible thing with the S2000, and it’s a wonderful car limited by the vehicle format (I have no chance of ever passing the broomstick test in it).

    The folks who said I’m looking for an E30 are right. I initially tipped the list in the W201′s favor since four-door E30s seem to be uncommon and I figured that most of them would be turned into autocross warriors or Spec E30 cars by the time I go looking. The rarity and clunkiness of the MB 5-speed tips things back in BMW’s direction.

    I do want an E30, but I think what I really want is a Japanese E30, hence my interest in the Nissans. Under the sheet metal, they were both built straight out of the Nissan RWD parts bin, so mechanical bits aren’t as unobtainium as one might think. The Skyline is a bit lighter and has a better front suspension, but the Cefiro was built in a LHD version.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      Old, light cars are a lot of fun. There’s a rawness to them that I find appealing, but they probably seem like noisy, rattly old hoopties to the general public. :)

      I can totally understand the weight limit.


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  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India