The Truth About Cars » C5 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » C5 New or Used: What Offset Panther Love? Fri, 03 Feb 2012 15:00:46 +0000  

Dan writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’m a longtime TTAC reader and I was hoping you guys could give me a bit of advice about an upcoming car purchase. I recently graduated college, and with no debt to pay off and a fairly good income I’m looking to get myself a second car. My current car is a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis in incredible shape with around 130k miles on it, It currently has some minor powertrain and suspension mods as well. I have no plan on getting rid of this car, as it has quite a bit of useful life left in it and is extremely practical. I’d like to keep it as a winter car/possible project car, and the residual value of it (~3kish) is low enough that it doesn’t make sense to trade in. However, having wanted a sports car since I started driving, I’d like to go ahead and get one now that I’m in a position to do so.

My (possibly strange) requirements are as follows:
1. It must be fun and engaging to drive
2. It must be blue
3. It should be a convertible, preferably a 2 seater (I’m open to a fixed roof car as well, but would prefer a convertible)
4. Must be either a manual transmission or a dual clutch
5. I would prefer that it be a rear wheel drive vehicle
6. Fuel economy is a non-issue so long as it gets above 20 mpg highway
7. I don’t mind some maintainance, but I would like something thats fairly reliable and not TOO expensive to maintain (I don’t expect panther-like reliability but, for example, $1500 spark plug changes on a Boxster would be a bit much)

I can spend a max of $30-32k on it, but ideally I’d like to keep it ~$25k. I’ve looked at a new Miata, Mustang GT (Convertible is rather pricey), and the Genesis coupe (it’s not a convertible but I liked the looks and interior enough that I’d consider it). I’ve also given some thought to the following (newer, low mileage) used cars: Honda S2000 , Mazda Miata, Porsche boxster(mentioned above), BMW Z4, and a co-worker of mine also mentioned that I might consider a C5 corvette as well. I think they’re all great cars, and each has its own strong/weak points. The S2000 and the Miata are probably the most serious contenders, but I’m trying to keep my eyes open. I’m torn as to what I should get, and I’m also wondering if there’s any cars that I missed that are worth looking at.

Please let me know what you guys think, I’d love to hear back from you on this.

Sajeev answers:

Sir, I take offense to the notion that your Mercury Grand Marquis isn’t able to satisfy your latent sports car needs. You, my good man, need a proper tongue-lashing for such blasphemy.  Your disrespect of Panther Love, this website and the esteemed B&B will not go unpunished, that I promise you.

Of course I’m just kidding, but that’s really not the point.

There are only two cars that are ideal for your situation: a C5 Corvette droptop with non-stock tires (as run flat rubber is the work of the devil) or a Miata.  One of these covers the high performance spectrum unbelievably well (LS1-FTW) and the other is the stuff of “momentum car” legend. The question you must ask yourself: do you treat the gas pedal like a conventional light switch or a twisty-knob rheostat? Because each car demands a unique outlook on life.  You decide which one is right for you.

And finally, how dare you consider a droptop two seater when all you need is a $1000 Webasto moonroof retrofit on your MGM to solve this dilemma?

Steve answers:

I am lucky enough to have driven every ‘newer’ car mentioned on your list. The personalities certainly run the gamut and to be blunt, you won’t know until you drive them. Hey, worse problems can be had in this world.

My biased advice? None of them will offer even half the bang for the buck of a 1st gen Miata.

For less than $5000 you can get an exceptional sports car that can be customized and accessorized to utterly insane degrees. You name the sports car conversion you desire and chances are it’s already been done with a NA Miata.

Even in stock form these vehicles are absolute blasts to drive around town. I now enjoy a 95 model to such satisfying ends, that I haven’t even bothered putting an aftermarket stereo system in the thing. All it has is a gaping hole in the middle of the dash. But I don’t care. The tailpipe, pedals and steering wheel give me all the tuning I need.

So why blow $30k when a $5k does a better job of putting an ear to ear grin on your face?

Not only do the NA Miatas offer robustness, simplicity, and satisfy all of your remaining criteria. But they also have a lot of older owners who take good care of their vehicles and maintain them to a T.

Find a good one. Buy it. Keep it and drive the Panther when a road trip beckons. Good luck!

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
]]> 60
New or Used: I Want Something Like My Honda, But… Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:23:37 +0000  


David writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’d like your take on a replacement form my 2003 Honda Accord coupe. It has a 4 cylinder and a 5 speed and has been a pretty good car.  But I miss rear wheel drive.  In my younger days, I’ll be 60 next year, I had a Porsche 912, a Cortina GT, various Volvos and VWs before I ended up with pick up trucks before the current Honda.

I like the Honda, I just wish it was a bit lighter and rear wheel drive.  What are my options these days for a RWD car that doesn’t break the bank, gets decent fuel mileage and is dependable?    I’ve been thinking a used Miata or S2000, but would prefer a coupe.  I’m not really into BMW’s for various reasons.  What do you two think?

As a replacement for the Honda I’d spend $15,000 to $25,000.

Steve Answers:

Cheap to own? Well there goes all the Benzes, Bimmers and Audis I could have recommended to you. A lightly used Corvette with low mileage from the mid-2000′s is also a prime option here. However given that you want ‘lighter’, you may also want ‘smaller’.
I would drive the Vette and see if that’s for you. Have you driven the Vette yet? Okay. If that’s not your speed then consider the following idea.
‘All wheel drive = Rear wheel drive in the USA’

In North America rear wheel drive only sells if it has a truck or European bent.  However when you consider all-wheel-drive into the equation the entire world becomes your oyster. Except you happen to want… two doors?

The Infniti G35 is an obvious choice. I would also consider a 2009 Ford Mustang GT or perhaps a slightly older special model like this one. Drive these three cars if you must have the coupe and see which one is ‘just right’.

Sajeev Answers:

David, its pretty tough to beat a Mazda Miata for your price range and requirements.  If it doesn’t come with the hard top, buy one separately.  Maybe you’ll be smitten by the added Honda interior refinement (in my opinion) of the S2000, and that higher power, high revving motor is certainly a sweetheart. Maybe the added punch of a Solstice/Sky with the turbo mill and a little extra bulk?

Funny thing is, I went to both the Pontiac and Saturn websites just to see if they still existed.  And they do! When you select the Sky, there’s a frame on the webpage that suggests you should also look at a (C5?) Corvette. And maybe you should: stupid amazing highway fuel economy with a stick, insane power and performance that simply can’t be matched by smaller roadsters.  Not that I expect you to divert from a Miata, but maybe the Internet knows better.

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

]]> 47
“There’s One Industry That’s Maybe In Worse Shape Than The Auto Industry And That’s The Automotive Publication Industry” Mon, 10 May 2010 15:34:21 +0000

Chief Engineer for GM’s Corvette program Tadge Juechter probably didn’t blow any minds by pointing out that car magazines have reached the point where lying (or at least printing disingenuous information) in order to goose interest in their upcoming issues has become standard procedure. He sure did get a chuckle out of the assembled Corvette nuts though. Meanwhile, don’t hold your breath for a V6 (or mid-engine, or hybrid) Corvette… no matter what Automobile Magazine might tell you.

UPDATE: Automobile Magazine fires back after the jump.

Automobile has added the following editor’s note to its piece on the C7 Corvette: recently posted a video of Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter lambasting Automobile Magazine for our story on the next-generation Corvette. Juechter implies that our article was sensationalist and misattributed information to him. Automobile Magazine stands by its story.

It is clear that, in his appearance before the Corvette faithful in Bowling Green on May 1st, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter regretted speaking as freely as he did to our reporter, industry veteran and Corvette owner Don Sherman. Mr. Juechter can spin his comments all he wishes, but a careful reading of our story, which is reprinted here, reveals that 75% of the story consists of verbatim quotes from Mr. Juechter himself. At the end of our piece, Don Sherman prognosticates about the future Corvette; it is crystal clear to the reader that at this point in the story, it’s Don Sherman making educated guesses, not Tadge Juechter speaking. At no point did Don quote Mr. Juechter as definitively stating that a V-6 is in the works for C7, but he did indeed predict that a V-6 is a POSSIBILITY, based partly on Mr. Juechter’s comments that most certainly implied that this is the case. Don also makes it clear that, in his opinion, a V-8 is a certainty for the next Vette, but speculates that it might not be standard equipment.

It is a bit rich that, at this juncture, Mr. Juechter stands in front of a Corvette crowd and says about Automobile Magazine, and about print automotive enthusiast magazines in general: “Don’t believe any of what you read. Most of it will be wrong. They may guess on some things luckily, but most of the time it will be wrong. It can [even] be attributed to me and be totally wrong.” Well, when 75% of the article is verbatim quote from you, Mr. Juechter, is the article 75% wrong?

Mr. Juechter wishes to dismiss the entire category of automotive enthusiast print magazines out of hand. This is a strange approach, given that Automobile Magazine and its competitors play a major role in promoting Corvette enthusiasm, even now when, as Mr. Juechter readily admits, the next-generation Corvette is still years away.

Joe DeMatio
Deputy Editor

]]> 16