By on February 10, 2014

car.mitula.us

A reader sent me these parameters for picking his next vehicle
I’m at a crossroads. I’m looking for a cheap – laughably cheap – like less-than-$3,000 cheap – car for my next daily driver. It’s got to be economical (near 30 mpg hwy) and fun to drive, with decent aftermarket support (so I can throw a couple mods at it – I’m a gearhead). Oh, and since I’m 6’1″ and have a 1-year old daughter, it needs a back seat.
We can skip the DSM/Mitsubishi reliability warning.
Much to the chagrin of most of TTAC’s Best and Brightest, I am a Mitsubishi enthusiast. Aside from a brief stint in an 89 Volvo 245 a couple years back, I’ve been driving Mitsubishi exclusively since 1996. Any mechanical problems I’ve had over the years were my own damn fault. Such is the price of learning-as-you-go.
I’ve got a giant “Wake up and drive” banner in my garage, and more left over DSM/GVR4/EVO bits than I really know what to do with. I am comfortable rebuilding pretty much anything from ECUs to engines to turbos to even replacing sections of the unitized chassis. I’m willing to negotiate on the character-vs-dependability piece, as I have two other vehicles to rely upon.
My first instinct – the obvious plan – is to pick up another DSM or GVR4; maybe an old Colt or Mirage. Any of the above could easily be a 200-300whp daily driver in short order, without much effort. But I’m looking to lock down my wheels for another 200,000 miles like I did with my bought-new-in-1996 Eagle Talon. I’m not looking to buy another daily driver for another decade after this, so I want it to be really good.
In the meantime, I’m daily driving what is basically a non-air conditioned riding lawn mower with a windshield 40 miles a day back and forth across Phoenix year ’round. I’m proud to be a charter member of the 100HP Club and I love my Rocinante, but I’m itching to get back into something as fun to drive quickly on tarmac as my Pajero is to drive on gravel.
Any ideas? :)
Steve Says:
Here are the two issues I see.
First, you say that you want to drive the vehicle for another 200,000 miles. Then, you say you aren’t willing to spend $3,000 on your next ride.
The avenues for achieving these seemingly disparate goals do exist. But to make it a success, you have to be willing to acknowledge a few things first.
The primary idea you have right now is that you simply don’t want to spend any long-term money in the pursuit of perpetual wheels. Believe it or not, you could do that since you also happen to be an expert in any area of the business where few others have experience or skills. Mitsubishi mechanics, old and new, are not exactly easy to find. I only know of one independent mechanic in over 15 years of this business.
So what I would do is this…
Get yourself a used car dealer’s license and start looking at buying wheels from the wholesale auctions. Start with one vehicle at a time.
Buy it. Fix it.  Advertise it. Sell it. Rinse and repeat.
I know that some folks try to take the tact of buying vehicles on Craigslist and working from there along with other online advertising site. The only problem with that is the time inefficiencies that come with dealing  an audience that is not exactly forthright in their disclosures. You could look at 12 vehicles at an auction over the course of an afternoon versus maybe two by traveling the Craigslist route.
If I were in your shoes, this is exactly what I would do. Take your skills and make them work for you so that you can make money in the long run. However, if time and monetary means make this a bit challenging, I’m sure the folks at TTAC could recommend plenty of DSM and orphaned models that will be worth your investment on a retail level.
Good luck!

 

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152 Comments on “New Or Used? : Excuse Me While I Contradict Myself…...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This gentleman is interesting indeed, almost an albino.

    “Get yourself a used car dealer’s license”

    I would point out this varies by state and in my state it is quite difficult for a “guy” to become licensed on his own.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m having a hard time believing this dude has written a serious inquiry. You don’t get “long term” 200k (and TEN years!) mileage out of a sub-3k vehicle. You barely get 200k mileage out of a -new- vehicle, and even less likely when you’re into purchasing Mitsubishi – a company which has neither a sterling reputation for reliability nor any interesting product in their current US lineup.

      “I’m willing to negotiate on the character-vs-dependability piece, as I have two other vehicles to rely upon.”

      Good, so he has two other cheap, weird, interesting, fun, well-sorted cars from Mitsubishi already. Drive one of those and put some more money into it (or stash it away for repairs), since the budget is so small anyway.

      He’s most annoying.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        RWD I4 Volvos could in theory fit this prerequisite, although mileage isn’t going to be anywhere near 30/hwy. Overall I think this gentleman needs to realize a 3K can serve you well but don’t expect the world from it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          And cars with those cheap/old/efficient/reliable characteristics are NOT fun to drive. That’s why they’re so efficient. No weight-laden options and slow.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Volvo sticks can be fun, my auto is sort of “fun” in that oddball way, but they lack a certain level of refinement. Most 3K cars will be lacking though.

          • 0 avatar
            Swedish

            A Rear Wheel drive Volvo 940 Turbo is very fun to drive and isn’t that heavy compared to a modern car.

          • 0 avatar
            Morgan

            First generation Ford Focus. Stick, reliable, easy to work on, light, quick, and fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          Not sure what the old 200 series go for over there, or what options were available, but short of being t-boned by a semi, burned with napalm or left in saltwater, there is no reason any early 200-series should not be able to go 200K from any starting point.(none of those are enough t kill it beyond repair though, unless maybe if combined) A manual transmission B21E should manage around 25mpg mixed driving too, or more with an electric overdrive, but would require more expensive maintenance than a carbed version.
          And they are FUN, especially in the winter :)

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          @ 28-Cars-Later & @ CoryDL

          I had a 940 for a year and agree they’ll go an additional 10 yrs/200k from any starting point. However, the parts, time and labor needed to do it can be extensive. I got rid of my 940 due to a job change and family relocation – it was a spectacular vehicle but did require its fair share of attention and money.

          The author isn’t valuing his time or parts cost in his decisions.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I saw a very mint looking 940 the other day, in a dark red metallic. It was very clean right in the middle of the slush and nonsense on the roads here in OH lately. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I always admire the huge greenhouse as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I’ve netted 28mpg tops, 240s can be fun to fake-gymkama thanks to their tight steering and weight distribution, but I would suggest stronger sway bars.

          Despite the ridiculous amount of steel in the doors 240s weight about the same as an FRS.

          Parts are cheap if you know where to look, labor will always br pricey unless if you know a local shop well, luckily RWD Volvos are some of the easier cars to figure out.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        I have an old saying when it comes to this mentality.

        “The guy who says he wants to keep a vehicle for three years will likely keep it for five. The guy who plans on keeping it for 10 years, will keep it for maybe 3.

        And the guy who tells you he’s keeping it forever? He’s just playing around with a spreadsheet.”

        There isn’t much to kill a 20 year old car in Phoenix other than the heat. Atlanta is very much the same way (except for the recent weather).

      • 0 avatar

        I dragged a 4G Galant past 140k miles, but it was a money pit. 200k? I really doubt it. These days I see 1G Neons all the time (they flake paint all over, but continue to run), but no Mirages at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Marko

          Interesting…I rarely see first-generation Neons anymore in Massachusetts. You can find them occasionally if you look for them, but even Cavaliers and Escorts of that era are far more common.

          I agree that Mirages and older Galants are basically extinct. One elderly parishioner at my church drives a 1991 or so Galant that’s shockingly free of rust and just had its transmission replaced, though I doubt she drives it very far out of town.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        Don’t forget he’s also going to turbo the crap out of his sub $3000 Mitsubishi to get 200-300whp (that’s right, up to 300 at the wheels) and expect it to be rock solid reliable for 200k miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Otterpops

        Aged 100k mile Japanese cars can be had for 3000 in good mechanical condition. If you’re willing to keep up on maintenance (and, you know, spend money on doing it right) you could get 200k out of a $3000 car. ‘Course in that price range you’ve got to know what you’re doing to avoid buying a turd, but it sounds like this guy might.

      • 0 avatar

        The idea was to get some ideas for a fun-to-drive, non-Mitsubishi runner. It’s more a brainstorming effort than anything else. Considering I’ve talked cars with Derek Kreindler since he was in college, I thought “best and brightest” was worth polling.

        My bought new, $15,000 Mitsubishi went over 200,000 miles and taught me just about everything I know about working on cars. One man’s curse I’d another’s blessing.

        The $3,000 budget is because I’m importing a RHD Delica next year and that’s about all I’m willing to spend on something simple between now and then.

        Two large goes a lot further in my garage than KBB “fair” pricing on something used.

        Annoying indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Also “non-air conditioned riding lawn mower with a windshield 40 miles a day back and forth across Phoenix”. Interesting man indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I remember riding in a cab with broken a/c in Phoenix in August — from downtown to the airport.

        I think I was actually hotter when the vehicle was moving (and blowing hot air in my face) than when I was standing still.

        Steve: I would check my trousers if I were you. If they appear too short all of a sudden; you know what’s going on. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          Otterpops

          It probably was. I mean if you get a boundary layer of warm air when it’s cold you should have a similar one of cold air when the air is warmer than you are, right? Then all you’ve got going for you is evaporative cooling, and if you’re too dry for that, it ought to be heating you up.

      • 0 avatar

        It gets hot, but it’s kinda fun at times.

        Took the truck 7 hours across the desert to work at a rally in California a couple years back. Top speed was 70mph, all 4 windows open, Yokohama MTs roaring away outside, I watched the meat thermometer (ironic, no?) Climb to nearly 115° as I rolled into Coachella with my headphones on. T’was an epic adventure I’m looking forward to recreating again this May.

        It’s a fun truck. Oh, and it’s a Mitsubishi with 202,000 miles on it.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m not really sure where to go with this. OP wants to buy a a sub 3k Eagle Talon and wants it to last another 200k miles?

    Ideas? He needs a miracle.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Obviously the solution is to find a new 300 SRT8, which for $45k cures cancer and is a genuine car, compared to the Ghibli I drove last weekend which has the terrible EgoBoost V6 and is fueled on sub-Saharan African Children’s AIDS-riddled blood. CTS-V, Aluminum is the Devil’s metal, and all that.

      As for the Actual Article – your a non-recovering Mitsubishi addict who is willing to take his DSM-skills to rice-out the same thing you have trended towards in the past, but this time you want 200k miles, reliable AC, and a space for your child. Do yourself a favor; get real. Buy a reliable, responsible, adult car with a good safety record and functional climate control. Ideally it is literally the opposite of the DSM’s in every respect, the kind of car your proto-brain thinks you wouldn’t be caught dead in – a nice Manual Volvo sounds the treat. Then, if you really feel the need for a 300-hp street fighter for whatever Fast and Furious Nitrous-hazed fantasy you are still clinging to – you have something to drive your kid around in that won’t cause him heat-stroke developmental issues, and something to drive yourself around in that proves you might have the same problem.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    ….and I want a pony.

    Let me know when you find this magical combination of vehicle attributes.

    • 0 avatar
      E46M3_333

      I’ve often used the “and I want a pony” analogy, but it seems “and I want a unicorn” would be more appropriate. You could actually get a pony if you wanted to.
      .
      .

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        +1

        • 0 avatar

          You know, it’s funny. Everyone knows about the guy who drive millions of miles on his old Volvo 1800. We’re not exactly tripping over those these days, but they can still be found for less than $5000. Just takes a willingness to put in the wrench time and a desire to drive something that matters to you.

          Oh, and I *almost* said in my question, “and while I’m dreaming, I’d like a pony.” Susie Derkins had some memorable lines over the years.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    What’s the highest mileage you seen in a Mitsubishi? I’ve never seen them above 180K miles. The occasional early 90’s Mirage/Colt perhaps.

    They just don’t last that long, even if you were willing to invest the time and grunt.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The only ones I’ve seen with that sort of 150K+ mileage are full-size Monteros. Sometimes they’re on their original engine with a rebuild or two, transmission two or three, and have rusty bits.

      But, people seem to be willing to dump money into the square body Monteros. The 02+ ones don’t really go over 140K it seems.

      Just like you don’t see any Troopers much over 130, as that’s when the original transmission gets to it’s max life and fails.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I had a 1989 Dodge 2000GTX a.k.a. Galant that I bought at 181,000km, and sold at 322,000 km (200,000 miles). It was not designed with longevity in mind.

      Even with synthetic oil the entire time of my ownership, It developed a blue smoke problem. Replacing the valve seals fixed it at around 275k, but it began smoking again, indicating it was probably piston rings this time. Despite meticulous maintenance, I was already on my second muffler, alternator, and water pump.

      What pushed me to finally sell it was the a/c compressor had failed, and nobody had remanufactured parts for such a low volume model. So I sourced and had installed a compressor, only to find out $800 later that it too was defective.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        My parents bought a new Dynasty which ended up with very similar issues at 80k miles. I think it had a Mitsu engine as well (3.3?).

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Ah yes the infamous Mitro 3.smoke. The root of the issue on these was the valve guides themselved which would come loose in the head. You could replace the seals, but they’d get ruined again and or just leak past the guides.

        Corey, if your parent’s Dynasty had the same issue, it was likely an early example with the 3.0L Mitsu V6. After ’89? the Dynasty had the Chrysler 3.3L V6 which was fairly robust.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I want to say it was an 88. Charcoal metallic over grey cloth. Lotsa wood. First (and last) car they ever bought new.

          • 0 avatar
            mhickman73

            My dad has a 97 Montero 3.5V6 with 256k on the odo. Original transmission, he replaced a burnt valve in the engine. Other than that it’s only had timing belt/water pump changes. I know there’s an outlier with every brand, but this vintage of Montero really is a beast. I spent a fair amount of time in Kenya and they are plentiful (albeit in various states of disrepair). Can’t say the same for a 2001+ model.

    • 0 avatar

      Bought my Talon in 1996 with 7 miles on it. Sold it 14 years later with 214,000 on it.

      Bought my Pajero in 2012 with 192,000 miles on it. Daily driving it now with over 202,000 on it.

      Inexpensive machines capable of easy performance tend to attract slovenly reprobates who fail at maintenance. Doesn’t make the car bad.

  • avatar
    daver277

    If one is willing to work on a car for 2 or 3 days a year and has the tools, skill and spares, I don’t see any problem getting 200k out of a cast-off car. The steering rack screws up… grumble a bit and spend 6 hours on it etc.
    Simplicity is a HUGE key to longevity.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    If you want 200k out of a $3k car, you are going to need a Boring McBoring Mobile (as in, unlikely to have been driven hard) from an under-appreciated nameplate with a rock-solid engine and transmission. A Chevy/Geo Prizm might work, and those have decent (if not overwhelming) mods available.

    Your options certainly open up if you are willing to have the thing laid up waiting on repairs on a regular basis, but as a daily driver, you need something a bit more solid than that.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      The Prizm is actually one of the few cars that he *might* be able to get around $3K and if very lucky be able to drive it 200K miles without too many crazy repairs. Of course the ironic thing is that he would actually have to buy the AT version as most of the manual transmission models I’ve seen will soon require clutch work-half the time it seems that someone is selling their Prizm because the clutch went and they don’t want to spend $1500 on the repair. Of course a three speed automatic transmission Chevy Prizm is pretty much the exact opposite of anything DSM.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Any vehicle can theoretically be kept on the road for an indefinite amount of miles as long as the owner is willing to perform the repairs.

    This sounds like the kind of guy who isn’t intimidated in the least by replacing a blown transmission or rebuilding a differential. My only concern would be parts availability with an old Mitsubishi. Having to visit 5 different junkyards to find a rare part can be frustrating to say the least.

    I would say go with something a little more common but still fun like a mid ’90s Camaro. The fact that most GMs seem to have great ACs is a definite plus in Phoenix.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    The car he needs is a 4th to 5.5th generation Nissan Maxima with a VQ. Been there, done that – had the junk DSM that broke every 2 weeks, then slipped into an Infiniti G20 (an option, SR20DET swap possible) but the Maxima SE’s I had trumped them all.

    My 99 Maxima SE VQ30 was the best compromise between reliability, fuel efficiency, room and power. My 2003 Maxima SE VQ35 was quicker and nicer than the 99 but (way) worse on fuel (like 16 MPG combined).

    Both can be picked up for a song these days….

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      A friend got over 200K out of his ’00 Maxima 5spd, finally got rid of it because it kept failing emissions.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Finding older used Maximas without that 200K already on them is very difficult.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ionno bout that, I see them all the time with well under 200K.

        And if you can’t I30. Often they’re cheaper than the Maxima counterpart.

        • 0 avatar

          +1 on that. I bought an I30 about 10 years ago and it was about $2K cheaper than the Max. The only thing I had issues with in four years was the climate control cabin temp sensor and the CD player.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I bought a 97 I30, pearl over tan, in the early summer of 07, 122kmi for $3900 from the original owner. It had a small dent on the roof near the rear glass from when, according to him, a car wash ripped off his old spiral phone antenna. The only other issue was a tiny TINY rust bubble between the rear wheel well and the bumper. It didn’t grow while I had it. No problems, and returned about 23mpg with mostly in town driving. I only sold it in late 08 because I left the country for a year.

            It was quiet, loaded, well built, and rode nicely. And more rare than a Maxima.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        I picked up my 99 SE in college in 2009 for $3000 with only 81000 miles (131K kms) but it had been written off early in its life and fixed. Paid $3000 and sold it for $3100 just over a year later :)

        The 03 I got from a used car lot with 147,000km for $5800 and sold it just over a year later for $4500. The 01 Civic coupe I acquired after it felt like going from a Cadillac to a horse and buggy – I HATED that slow, basic, high revving…POS. Last time I ever buy a basic appliance in the name of commuter fuel efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I had a ’94 Maxima that stayed within the family until just a couple of years ago with 283K when it was sold, still running ok

      This guy needs an old panther

      • 0 avatar

        I love Panthers, but given OP’s needs I’d be concerned about both reliability and fuel economy. I’d suggest a loaded GM H-body (Oldsmobile LSS anyone?), maybe a super-clean Intrepid/Concorde/Vision with the 3.5 engine, or something smaller and zippy like an Infiniti G20. If he’s in Canada, there’s also the possibility of an old Acura EL, which combined the reliability and repair costs of a Civic with some nice crypto-luxurious affectations.

        • 0 avatar

          Aaand just realize he’s in Phoenix. Scratch the luxurious Civic.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          I can’t speak for the 2nd gen LH cars with the 3.5, but the 1rst gen were prone to transmission issues, and the A/C wasn’t known for its longevity either.

          Nice cars when they work right, mind you.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The 2nd gen Chrysler LH line was like a case of split personality disorder.

            Half of production ended up as clean but worthless low mileage examples clogging up wrecking yards with grenaded 2.7L engines. The other half with the 3.2/3.5L seem to soldier on past 200k miles with reasonable maintenance.

            A good example of this was when I had the ’06 Chrysler 300 Touring I had. The guy who bought it had a ’99 300M with 250k miles that looked beat to hell, but still ran alright. He bought the 300 because he wanted the newest version of his M that served him so well that he could afford.

            Most of the owner’s I know of the 2.7L engined version of that platform swore off Chrysler for life.

          • 0 avatar

            IIRC, the 3.2/3.3/3.5 engines were all fundamentally sound. The LH cars continue to surprise, however. I recently found a 2001 Intrepid 2.7L for sale with 300,000 miles on the clock.

    • 0 avatar

      Maxima has long been a favorite. Loved the early 90s generation with the “4DSC” decal in the back window. Fond memories of doing abuck-forty across Kansas in one of those during college.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    Chrysler Sebring Coupe!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If anything, he would have no shortage of parts cars to scavenge for the next 200k miles.

      Interestingly, it looks like early 2000s Sebring/Stratus coupes can now be had for $3k with under 100k miles. Those (or the actual Mistu badged version) might be his best hope, but I still have my doubts.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Have you ever been in a Sebring Coupe?! It’s faux luxury in the worst post-brougham way. Never seen so much cheap ruched leather. And Montero buttons/knobs. And bad paint. Cheap trim. Lame engine. I could go on and on.

      • 0 avatar
        zaxxon25

        I actually owned a 2003 V6 5MT for 100K+ with zero problems whatsoever (high mileage hwy miles admittedly). No, not exactly a luxury ride but it was extremely reliable transportation with a cheap used entry price, Mistu lineage, and ability to mod. I think it would fit the bill nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The OP is used to driving mid 90s Mitsubishis, a Sebring coupe is about the msot luxurious Mitsu you can get in the US. It would be a step up pretty much any way you cut it.

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      My mom’s uncle in Pennsylvania has a 2001 model in the LX form. Very basic appearance, and his has low miles for a 2001 (70 something thousand), but still gets the job done. When I looked at it briefly, I liked it. I also liked the 3.0 V6 and the fact that it was a covered Mitsubishi.

      This dude could do well with one of those.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Bronco II Not exactly 30 mpg, but get a stick shift anyways. 4wd of course. Tons of aftermarket and a kick to drive once you get used to the top heavy bias and crazy short wheelbase. I’d stay under 12″ of lift and 37″ swampers though.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Not exactly half of 30mpg. You’ve strayed into the “didn’t really read the post” type of recommendation. Clearly the OP would never consider any SUV, and if he did, it’d be a Montero.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        He asked for advise because he’s drawing a blank. If you have something against thinking outside the box, you’re on the wrong site. The Bronco II doesn’t fit any one pigeon hole. Mostly the fun one. Most suggestions lack that. So why are you on my A$$? Sebring? Hello?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I didn’t recommend a Sebring, to anyone, ever in life.

          Your recommendation doesn’t fit any of the requests of the OP. An old SUV that is MINIMUM 24 years old isn’t going to go 200k, isn’t going to be 30mpg, isn’t going to be reliable, and isn’t going to be fun for a highway commute – as they’re well known for being crap to drive at high speeds and unstable. There’s not an “aftermarket” in the sense he wants, and it’s not a Mitsubishi.

          Tell you what, I’ll recommend a Peugeot 504 wagon. It’s on par with yours. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            To meet all his wishes, it narrows it down to about nothing. But who say maximum mpg is paramount? It’s just a suggestion, but any Bronco II on the market for around $3,000 is likely low miles, rebuilt or otherwise well kept. Besides a Bronco II is a classic that’s more ‘sport’ than ‘utility vehicle’. A Montero is just an old SUV with zero aftermarket. Picture some modding or restoring one ;)

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Bronco IIs belong in Ralph Nader’s “unsafe at any speed list.” As you note, the car has a short wheelbase and a high center of gravity (and was built before roof structure strength standards were implented, so who knows what happens to the people inside if it does a 180 on the longitudinal axis). That’s a formula for a car that’s easy to roll.

      Probably gets highway mileage in the low 20’s if you keep the speed down.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I bought a 2000 Civic for $2,000 a few years ago from a guy who couldn’t sell it on eBay for $2,500. It had around 120k miles and needed the timing belt done and it had a few scratches and dents. It was a great little car, amazing in the snow, and parts for it were all available off the shelf the instant I needed them. I ended up repainting the front bumper, replacing the ventilation fan module, and replacing the cat back exhaust (with stock parts). I feel confident that that car would have made it another 200k with the right funds.
    I had lower expectations for the 1999 Galant I eyed at the same time.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Mitsubishi’s are such awful cars; they’re fan base and cars are much like that of VW’s, but even worse cars and more hard-headed owners.

    Yes, a car can be bought for under $3k and last ten years/200k miles. I wouldn’t go the Mitsubishi route though. I’d go with something from the 70’s, nice and solid, original, like a Vega, Monza, Pinto, are maybe even a AMC product. Then keep it running with a little tinkering here and there when something breaks.

    Yes, I’ve been doing the same with my 78′ Chevy. Great car to boot too. But a newer car, especially a Mitsubishi? I wouldn’t think so.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You missed the “aftermarket support” and “30 mpg” requests.

    • 0 avatar
      rdchappell

      Maybe the reason the owners are “hard-headed” is that some people have positive experiences with them, despite what you read on the internet.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        Not from my experience they don’t – they chalk up annual catastrophic failures as “maintenance” or “every car does this”.

        I’d know, because I was one of them.

        I daily drove a 93 Talon TSi AWD for 6 years and boy oh boy was I ever a sucker for punishment with that pile.

        Let me put it this way, the punched $700 eBay score 92 Infiniti G20 I replaced it with felt weird…because it didn’t break and you could actually rely on it. That car had 4 blown struts, rotted floors, bald tires, rotted loud exhaust, rust holes in the fenders, thrashed interior…all the above.

        It was an anvil compared to the Mitsubishi.

        Sister had a 09 Lancer GT, when cold it would take an honest to god 5 minutes of cranking to start! last I checked those weren’t carbureted…

        IMO….they’re garbage.

        • 0 avatar
          rdchappell

          I’m also one of ‘them’, and it’s been fine considering its 14 years old. I’d take it over a Detroit car from the 60s and 70s 100x out of 100 like the original commenter seems to want.

  • avatar
    dude500

    You can buy any $3,000 car and keep it running for another 200,000 miles, but you’d probably be spending $30,000+ of your own labor to do so. You have to ask yourself, is your time really that cheap?

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I think a vehicle like this crosses firmly over into hobby territory at which point the time vs money equation becomes completely skewed.

      Still, I think the OP must be a masochist for taking on a project car that needs daily-driver like reliability while working a full time job with a long commute and caring for an infant.

  • avatar
    Swedish

    I suggest a 1992-1995 Volvo 940 – very durable, very reliable electrical system (better than a 240) but it will not get 30MPG highway. You could try a Volvo 850 which will get better mileage is safer than a 940 but requires more maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      A 940 in decent condition with <200k miles is not going to be <3k.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        In metro-Atlanta they can be had for $1800 to 2000.

        I just sold a 1993 Volvo 240 wagon to a long-time friend of mine for all of $1000. That one had cosmetic issues and those nylon odometers have a tendency to break off. But the Carfax history seemed to have a consistent logging of miles with the one owner it had.

        Atlanta and North Georgia is a cheap car mecca. If you are willing to deal with dents and dings, the unpopular vehicles (or ones with broke a/c) are here for cheap money.

  • avatar
    BC

    Since you’re not worried about reselling your trusty steed, finding salvage title vehicles in good shape will certainly help your quest.

  • avatar
    Rombit

    According to a “reputable” used car pricing site, a 2004 Subaru wrx STi with 400,000 miles on it could be had for just under 3K. That would be fun and sub half million mile STi’s are rock solid!!!!

    This is the type of fools gold we are discussing here…

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I am not sure of the question here. The OP clearly likes and wants another Mitsubishi product. And he wants a daily driver but he wants to treat it like a project car, which is cool if he is into that. And he wants it cost less than $3k and last 200k MORE miles than the 100k or so it will most likely have on it if it is going to meet that price threshold. Sooooo… look for any Mitsu that is in that price range. Then weed out any that are not on a DSM chassis. Then pick the one in the best condition. We can’t give advice on such an obscure vehicle as there are simply not many of those left out there.

    And everyone thinks Mitsubishis suck. They didnt used to suck, they were a pretty damn good car back in the 80s and early 90s. Finding yourself a Galant VR4 would be the best possible option since you can keep it running well.

    One thing to consider as a dad of a 1yo. Do you want to be carting your baby, or even driving around alone, every single day in a 20+yo Japanese econobox with the crash resistance of an origami swan? Is it really worth $200/month to daily drive a crappy old car for the next 200k miles? This is your daily driver and you are a new dad and you have 2 other vehicles already. Have a toy you wrench on, and have a safe reliable non-race car daily driver for kid use. Even get a new Mitsu, they are dealing like crazy on them anyways. Then do like Steve suggested and use your skills to make enough money to pay that tiny little car payment and probably still leave plenty for you to build a killer Evo for your fun car.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “One thing to consider as a dad of a 1yo. Do you want to be carting your baby, or even driving around alone, every single day in a 20+yo Japanese econobox with the crash resistance of an origami swan?”

      This. Crash protection has come *so* far in the last couple of decades. I would love to drive a weird old car myself, but as a new father with a baby due in April I’m grateful the kid will be riding in a current-generation seat in a 2013 vehicle with good safety ratings.

      2014 Honda Accords have excellent safety ratings and you can get an Accord Sport with a manual (0-60 in under seven seconds!) on a ridiculously cheap lease deal.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Can you get the Accord Sport manual on that deal?? I was looking into the national lease deal and it was not for the Sport manual, it was only on the LX CVT. I’d get the Sport Manual for myself if it can be leased under the same program for the same basic price.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Even if you don’t get one of the promotional deals, Honda leases tend to be pretty cheap, because residuals are super-high.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Seriously. If you are a father and can’t spend $200/month on a decent car to keep your kid safe, what are you thinking?

            Sorry, but once the pregnancy kit turned positive, your job changed, and so did your priorities in cars.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Something like the aformentioned Accord Sport or a Mazda6 seems like a great way to still have a little fun and keep the kid safe.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    Speaking as one of the very few (?) posters who has actually bought a sub-$5k car off of craigslist… the Pontiac Vibe is the best case scenario. A Toyota Matrix that sells for half the price, with excellent reliability and fuel economy. Consumer Reports has featured it on their site as “best used wagon” for years. Not that hard to find one with a 5-speed manual.

    Yes the handling, horsepower and interior are appalling but reliability-wise I don’t think you’re doing much better.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Plus 1000 points.

      With a $5k wagon budget and needing another 75k miles without flinching, the Vibe was the perfect car. I went through countless logical gymnastics NOT to buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        A Vibe allegedly hit a patch of ice today on the Cross Bronx Expressway. It fell 50 ft. off of the highway and onto the service road below. Both 54 y.o. passengers lived.

  • avatar
    cee4s

    The Mitsubishi hate train has low steps and wide seats for all…NO chance for redemption in the TTAC mind hive . (But)I bought a 2008 outlander xls new and drove it for 5 years without one penny out of my pocket or any breakdowns, traded it in with 5 years warranty left and bought 2013 rvr gt. The wife loves it aRound town.

    Find yourself a 2008 lancer GTS, it is mechanically equal to any of its counterparts and Esthetically more attractive than all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      AlternateReality

      I have to ask, how many hundreds of dollars did you get for your Outlander on trade?

      • 0 avatar
        cee4s

        19,000$ Canadian… So, many hundreds of dollars. Traded in on a 30,000 new one. The difference also at 0% for 4 years. I guess the Mitsubishi demographic is Canada is quite a bit different from the sub-prime American wasteland debacle.

        • 0 avatar
          AlternateReality

          It would appear so. That is pretty strong!

        • 0 avatar
          Don Mynack

          $19K for trade in! A quick search on Autotrader revealed not a single 2008 Outlander for sale in the entire U.S. for more than $18,999.

          You are the single best negotiator I have ever heard of. Kudos to you, sir.

          • 0 avatar

            Doubly impressive, seeing as used cars usually go for less in Canada than they do south of the border (not sure why, but it’s been so — in some places significantly so — for several years.)

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            That’s $19,000 CAD, not USD. $19k in CAD is ~$17,000 USD according to XE.com. Of course, that doesn’t account for purchasing power parity so that number may be a little misleading. It’s still high to me, but not as much as you think.

          • 0 avatar

            True, although it sounds like cee4s traded his Mitsu in sometime last year. The loonie has really crashed vs. the greenback in the past few months. So, let’s say he traded the Outlander in last spring. In that case, his C$19000 trade-in check would’ve been worth more like US$19000, perhaps even a little more.

        • 0 avatar
          TorontoSkeptic

          I’ve never head that used car prices are lower in Canada, I would think they were quite a bit higher. New prices are definitely way higher so I would assume used is the same?

          I would agree that Mitsubishi has a different demographic here. The only guy I know who owns an Outlander (or maybe it’s an RVR which is what they call the compact version here) is an editor at an academic publishing house. Not exactly the poorest-of-the-poor stereotype people have in the US.

          • 0 avatar

            In 2009, the C4C program drove up used car prices across the States by removing so much supply from the market. This trend wasn’t experienced in Canada. Using southern Ontario as our sample area, and a ubiquitous 60,000 mile 2009 Impala LTZ as our sample car, the Canadian Black Book returns an average value of around $12,000, vs. the $14,500 nationwide US price given for the same car by KBB. Running the same comparison test on other popular cars yields similar results. I’m always surprised by how much more expensive cars are in New York or Pennsylvania versus southern Ontario.

          • 0 avatar
            cee4s

            Exactly, it was the beginning of 2013 I traded in, 18000 trade in and 1000 return customer cash from Mitsubishi . Buying/ selling cars is fun as hell for me, but in this case I didn’t even work up a negotiating sweat.

            Edit.. Reply was to amriply…

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I don’t know why everyone hates on Mitsubishi. Sure, their cars are uncompetitive in virually every arena related to design and functionality, but claiming that they disintegrate when you look at ‘em funny isn’t really fair. Mostly, they’re bought by people who can’t qualify for credit anywhere else, which means most of them are driven without any maintenance at all for as long as the purchaser can keep ahead of the repo man.

    JD Power ranked the Galant as the most reliable midsize for a while there, and on a personal level, I once owned a 98 Mirage bought at 175k and driven to 248k. I replaced the electric radiator fan during that time, but no other repairs were required to keep it running, and everything worked. Okay, well, the timing belt broke, but that wasn’t its fault, and when they put a new belt on it and set the timing, it started right up.

    My point is that they’re not that bad, and if you like them and want one with low-ish mileage, you can probably get it for $3k. My recommendation would be the 02-06 Lancer with a stick.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    dreams can happen. i picked up a $3000 outback for $1100. whats wrong with it? a little bit of rust.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I guess now would be a pretty good opportunity to throw in the ongoing results of the long-term reliability study.

    http://www.tradeinqualityindex.com/QIR.png

    The long-term reliability of Mitsubishis appear to be above average overall.

    Other than the 3.0 Liter engine (and the unpopular Diamante), most of Mitsubishi’s quality control issues have to do with cosmetics. Cheap paint. Peeling dashboards. Rust issues on the rear quarter panels.

    The powertrains have become surprisingly decent over the last several years, and a stick version, albeit rare, can last past 200k with reasonable care.

    If you wish to doubt it, feel free. Hyundai went through a similar curve with a well-publicized warranty and better exterior designs supporting their quality turnaround. But an awful lot of owner feedback from carsurvey, Edmunds, MSN, Blue Book, etc. support Mitsubishi’s transformation into a competitive builder of cars.

    Now if they could only get them to look nice…

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      I have an ’06 Mitsubishi diesel Adventure in PI, a ’13 Ralliart and a AWD SE in the US. Traded an ’11 Ralliart for the ’13. I have not had a problem with any. The cheapo SE makes a great daily driver, and with the 2WD, 4WD and lock switch, it has gotten me out of some real sticky situations. Today the diff lock paid for itself.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah looking at True delta and CR they seem to say the same thing, not the most reliable car brand out there but better than average.

  • avatar
    Opus

    He’s in Phoenix — maybe he could smuggle in one of those late 80’s Mexican VW Beetles. (Not the New Beetle, the original rear-engine air-cooled version. I think they were available into the 90’s if I recall correctly.) Aftermarket potential – check. 200k potential – check. 30mpg – check. “Fun” – debatable check. Carseat access – check minus.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    b13 Sentra, 30-40 MPG on the 1.6, good aftermarket because of the SE-R. They come in 4drs(which are ugly) or a coupe. A low mile JDM pullout with 45k miles is not that expensive, and I’m sure he will be ok with fixing the 5th gear pop out. Of course a SR20DE swap is always available, it will just kill the mpg.

    But it has the same HP as his current whip, and its not a Mitsu.

  • avatar
    George B

    I once saw a 13 year old refrigerator white Buick LeSabre priced at $2600 on Dallas CraigsList because the check engine light was on. If the car really was kept in a garage as claimed and the problem was as simple as bad oxygen sensors, this grandpa car with the 3800 V6 might have been a good candidate for 200k miles for $3k. However, “fun to drive” wasn’t part of the package. While I thought it was potentially a good deal, I chose not to check it out because I didn’t want a big white Buick.

    • 0 avatar

      The LSS or a Bonneville SSEi are more powerful and better to drive than the LeSabre, while being as reliable. I’ve recommended them both below.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I’d love me a supercharged Bonneville. Flush the DexCool out (if it has it), make sure the head/manifold gaskets are good, and drive around not giving a f**k about much of anything. Unless it’s one of those 90s GM cars screwed together by idiots…

        • 0 avatar
          Hillman

          The head gaskets are not that costly. I had mine done for less then a 40K mile DSG service for a VW. The 3800’s will last a good while and there are plenty of junk yard parts for when the transmissions fail. Mid size car with 200 + HP is not bad for fun and you should be able to get one for under 3K.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m guessing it was the lower intake gasket you had replaced. Head gaskets are very, very, VERY rarely a failure point on the Buick V6s no matter what coolant is used. I’ve only seen like two ever go bad and that required some extreme conditions.

            So if you did have to do the HG then you are in rare company.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Costly no, but it pays to get them checked if the car has run DexCool for a long time.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You can get a Lesabre with the RPO Y56 Grand Touring package, which is a reasonable improvement over the basic Lesabre Golden Corral Cruiser.

        You can also just put Bonneville stuff on a Lesabre. I swapped the entire suspension and steering rack from my FE1 Electra with that of an Olds Touring Sedan. You’ll still be stuck with the lame Buick seats though (unless you swap that out too, I didn’t).

        IMO, your best bet when shopping H/C/W-bodies is to look at option codes, not the trim levels. I’ve seen fairly basic Bonneville SE models with an F41 and F83 on the option tag.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Sorry to nag a small point but I I’m sick of this “Fun to Drive” dribble, any car can be a blast to drive under the right circumstances.

      Just look at the 24 hours of LeMons or Chump cars, plenty of granny cars and yet drivers routinely sign up again and again.

  • avatar

    If you believe the VW adds and VW Fanboi, a MK IV Jetta or Golf would be ideal for his high mileage, fun to drive goals!

    Kidding aside, if it’s got to be a Mitsu, he could probably find a ten year old Galant or Lancer for $3K. Although, I’d go with a Maxima or I30 personally.

  • avatar

    My father loves a bargain, and despite being able to afford much better has usually bought cheap (sub-$5k) cars. My parents kept a $5000 1992 Aerostar XLT for eight years and 170,000 miles, and put 110,000 miles on a $3500 1988 3.0L New Yorker. Both of those cars were replaced by a 1993 Saab 9000, which cost $4000 and went for 150,000 miles. So, the long-lasting cheap car is a viable prospect, given good maintenance habits and sensible driving.

    For OP, I’d suggest a late GM H-body. The Bonneville SSEI and Oldsmobile LSS were hardly boring cars. They’re spacious, extremely reliable, safe, cheap, and easy to repair. The 3800 engine was bulletproof and ubiquitous, so parts are cheap. The higher-trim versions came with the Supercharged engine and (in the case of the Oldsmobile) “European”-tuned suspension, so they can be fun to drive and are great highway cars.

    These cars were often babied, and they’re much safer and more efficient than the Panther cars. 30 mpg average might be a stretch, but you could definitely get close to that (depending how much of your travel is highway). I’d suggest a clean LSS from ’98 or ’99.

    Alternatively, I’d encourage OP to look at a Maxima/I30, an Infinti G20 (those might be too expensive), or a 1998-99 Subaru Legacy GT or Outback (the worst of the gasket issues didn’t come up until the second generation, if I’m not mistaken).

    • 0 avatar

      To wit, here’s loaded non-LSS Oldsmobile 88 in SoCal:

      http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=85006&endYear=2015&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&makeCode1=OLDS&searchRadius=300&mmt=%5BOLDS%5B%5D%5B%5D%5D&listingId=362273190&listingIndex=13&Log=0

      Right price, right mileage. Nicely optioned, classy color combo (can’t beat claret on tan leather, no?)

      (Is 359 miles too far to go for the right car?)

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m staring out the window at a Talon and a JDM 200SX with LHD – and I’m in southern Alberta this month where it’s -25C. If these stalwarts can keep these unusual cars as DD’s in a prairie town of 2500, why cast aspersions on an Arizonan with a DSM virus? Everything is doable with enough fortitude. They’re only cars. Besides, hearing that popoff valve on the Silvia(?) when he’s trying to get traction with 30 series tires in a foot of snow is very entertaining. While sawing at the wheel from the wrong side.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    How about a last-generation Buick Park Avenue with the 3800? You should have no trouble squeezing ten years out of it, and parts will be available and cheap. It may not qualify as a fun car, but having driven in Phoenix in August, my concept of fun is having a comfy seat in front of a powerful air conditioner that works.

    • 0 avatar
      Don Mynack

      Here’s a craptastic 03 Lancer ES for $2991 in Scottsdale.

      http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=85034&endYear=2015&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&makeCode1=MIT&searchRadius=100&maxPrice=4000&mmt=%5BMIT%5B%5D%5B%5D%5D&listingId=364175923&Log=0

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    My friend bought a 99 Galant GTZ V6 with just under 200k miles on it about a year ago, and since then its been a very reliable car. Only issues were worn brakes and a battery.

  • avatar
    kuponoodles

    Wow.. He’s looking for a Unicorn or Pegasus.

    Cheap, fun, roomy and economical.
    Not happening.
    6 foot one and a kid but he is wiling to cramp into a mirage? really?
    Let’s Take the fun factor out of the equation.

    That being said.
    4 banger Galants are dirt cheap.

    early 2000’s Galants are dirt cheap. might not hit the 30 mpg mark but really, what else can he do?

    96-2003 Mirage
    and
    high mile early 200’s Lancers are his only bets

  • avatar
    vvk

    SAAB 9000 Turbo
    SAAB 900 Turbo
    SAAB 9-3

    Perfect match.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Nothing says over-engineered quite like a SAAB.

      Perfect for the kind of guy who’s willing to get knee deep in Mitsubishi products.

      • 0 avatar

        Lots of Saabs go 200,000 miles, but I’m not sure ones in OP’s budget would be up to it. For $3000, you get a pre-2003 9-5 (e.g., the ones with the exploding head gaskets). He’d probably be able to pick up a first-gen 9-3 2.0T hatch, however, which would check the boxes — versatile, fun, safe, and cheap. A four-cylinder 9000 would work too, but good ones are getting awfully hard to find.

  • avatar
    dahammer

    How about a 2000 Volvo S40 or V40? Good fuel economy, performance, safety, great looks, big enough for a 6’1″ (as long as no one is seated behind, except a 1 year old in a baby seat). I read this was jointly developed by Volvo and Mitsubishi.

    Or, consider a 1998 Volvo S70 either Turbo or NA, very plentiful and tons of used parts available at junkyards, 28 mpg on the highway. Roomy for a six footer, or go for a V70R wagon, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. If you are a true gearhead and not afraid of rolling up your sleeves for a 10 hour job, you will probably find one with a leaking a/c evaporator. Stick with FWD and you will likely have enough change leftover to pay for your sales tax and registration fees. It’s not uncommon to see these cars reach 300k miles. There are a ton of resources online such as videos and message boards to do your own repairs. Check our Matthews Volvo Site, great mods and great members.

    With that said, and if you’re not a troll, please post an update with whatever you decided. All of your criteria are met with a 1998 S70 with the exception of being a product of the smallest of Japanese car makers who’s annual sales are a pimple on the ass of the parent corporation. Plus, Mitsubishi made Zeros in WWII.

  • avatar
    don1967

    “Get yourself a used car dealer’s license and…”

    Better yet, get yourself a career and buy whatever the hell you want. It’s a car, not a life.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    There are about 1000 Honda Civics for sale in the USA that fit your price range. Lotsa used parts. Rice rocket aftermarket stuff. Plenty of durability built in.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    To me this post reeks of misplaced priorities. Issue #1 is the admission that you are a new dad. Well, welcome to world of traveling with a trophy case in the back seat. This will last until young Jedi is 8, or 7 years +-. I believe 2003 was the year the mandatory child safety restraint hooks were implemented in the back seat of cars. These round hooks embedded in the seam where the lower seat cushion meets the back seat cushion are exponentially safer for car seats than using the seat belt only.

    Hate to be a grump. If you only have 3k, sell one of your other rides, get a reliable safe car that is not a turd and a sweat box for your kid in the summer. You live in Phoenix for f sake, what you save in not needing awd/4×4 you spend on AC.

    Time to grow up. Used Camry, impala, Panther, Mitsubishi if you must but you are most likely going to need to head north of 3k.

  • avatar

    Late 80’s early 90’s 2wd toyota pickup.
    If stuck on Mitsu either a montero or an early 90s mirage.

    Bout it for cars I think you can buy for 3k now and drive for another 10 years.

  • avatar
    Otterpops

    The solution is a 1991-1997 Honda Accord.

  • avatar

    I don’t think the criteria are achievable, but since nobody else has mentioned it…

    How about a late 90’s Dodge Avenger with a blown engine. Swap in a turbo Mitsu powerplant. Fast, cheap, has a decent backseat.

    Won’t go 200k miles without maintenance costs, but nothing will.

    Granted, after a month of bending over to strap a kid in you’ll wish you had just bought a CRV and a fun car.

    As much as I hate driving our Tahoe, I like not working on it, it’s easy to get kids into, and we can drive it 12 hours and not kill each other. Cost way more than $3k though…

  • avatar
    That guy

    A friend of mine recently flipped a 98 Olds Intrigue, he sold it for $2900. It was in great shape with the 3800 V6 and only had 97K on it. It’s probably the only $3K car I’ve ever seen that had a legit shot at another 200K miles without needing major engine work.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    There are way too many other reasons to skip craigslist, tag abuse, lazy sellers, liars, its just a cesspool.

    That being said the only Mitsubishis I’ve seen get to 200k were basic old Colts, but for your situation I’d suggest an old ladys Mirage. DO NOT touch Lancers, they fall into the same trap of young abusive owners as Hondas.

    Also, either you’re going to hit 200k or your Mitsubishi will shred tires with 300hp, it will not do both, you’re pushing the engine passed it limits with the latter day in and out.

  • avatar
    rem83

    If you’re willing to make the drive down to Houston, there’s a low mile ’88 Cordia Turbo listed on our CL, private sale, although asking is a bit beyond your 3k budget. There’s also a low mile ’89 Sigma at a local dealer.

  • avatar

    You have 3 grand and want (I’m guessing order of importance here)

    -A back seat that a kid/seat can fit in
    -A/C
    -if not stone-dead reliability, at least some reliability and ease of maintenance/finding parts/parts cost
    -Ability to make 300whp with bolt-ons (i’m on your level here, forget all these old people telling you to buy a crown victoria.)

    You need to forget Mitsu’s. You’ve had enough DSM’s to know how the story goes. Here are some OTHER ideas.

    -Supercharged W-Body. Grand Prix GTP, Regal GS, etc. Injectors, tune, 3.0″ pulley, intake, bam. 300whp and lose Mustangs from a roll. Cheap and plentiful
    -Saab 9000 Aero (MANUAL ONLY). Avoid the TCS equipped cars. The 2.3L B234R has a forged rotating assembly. 300WHP? Frog that. Grab an exhaust manifold from an older 9000 Turbo, a Holset HX35 from an old cummins (T3 flange, son), big injectors, a 4-bar, a big intercooler, and a clutch/fw that can handle the heat of 400whp. Or if you want to remain sane, a TD04-19t setup with decent injectors is mid 300’s and good driveability, over 30mph highway out of boost. You can work on cars yourself, you know Turbo Saabs are DSM’s slightly refined cousin, man up.
    -Also, how about a Volvo S80 T6 with a built 4L65E in it and some 15g’s?

    Food for thought.

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    If the gent in question is interested, I’ve got my base 2005 Mitsu Lancer ES with less than 95K on it for sale here in CA. Air con works like a tornado. Manual. Power windows. A CD player. But other than that, no frills. Brand spankin new windshield. Tires have only about 1000 miles on them. It was my daily driver for nearly a decade and it did me proud. Fun to drive compared to its competition of the day… the thing has torque till next week.

    $2900

    In any case, he should really look into that vintage of Lancer. Good, reliable machine. Better than the tiny Mitsus.

  • avatar

    I’m glad that the responses weren’t ALL Mitsubishi hate. Appreciate the variety of ideas from those who actually read the whole thing and offered up some really neat ideas. Volvos, Saabs, Nissans, even crappy old GM models I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Variety is the spice of life and none of us gets very far surrounded by yes men and sycophants. Thank you.

    My daughter, for those who think I’m duct taping her to a roof rack, primarily rides in a 2011 Juke, but from time to time, she enjoys riding in the Pajero. I’m not immune to the safety issue.

    For five grand or so, I could pick up any shattered first gen DSM and reliably put 300 to the wheels with stuff collecting dust in my garage. I asked for advice here to get some fresh ideas. And I did, between all the sycophancy.

    In the end, I’ve decided to keep the Pajero for now, import my Delica early in 2015, then see if I’ve made up my mind between an old Alfa Romeo project or building an electric DSM.

    Go fast with class. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Thanks Steve.

  • avatar
    windsormarxist

    Get yourself a Mercedes w201 190 E or D. The secret is to also budget for a Greyhound/Trailways ticket and be willing to go where the best car is. Get something as basic as you can- a nice sunroof goes a long way to make up for non-functioning AC. But, usually if you understand vacuum, you can get it working again. The other great thing about these is 30mpg even with the petrols and enough handling improvements thanks to the Cosworth connection. They are built like little tanks and are the last Mercedes that was built to last 50 years. Get one with 130K miles and you should be able to get that again twice over before having to open up the engine or gearbox. Expect little foibles, but these are easy to do yourself with many handy guides from mercedesource.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    Dear mr Lang: Tack, not tact.

    You take a tack; you have tact. One is a originally sailing term, the other a matter of manners.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know: I just showed I lack the latter. Sorry, but it’s a pet peeve.)


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