New or Used: Immature Political Baiting and The C6 Corvette

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used immature political baiting and the c6 corvette

TTAC commentator Bucksnort writes:

Sajeev and Steve: This is another request for sports/sporty car buying advice along the lines of the recent query from Jing. I live in the mountains in Colorado where snow is measure in feet, not inches and am 235 miles from any upscale German and Japanese dealer. There is a full complement of local US and basic Japanese dealers, no Korean or European. The sports car must share a garage bay with a lawn tractor mounted snow-blower in the winter so size in an issue. I don’t really need an AWD sports car since none of them have any ground clearance anyway and the extra driveshaft and differential are tantamount to carrying around a permanent fat broad. My other two vehicles, a lifted Jeep Rubicon and an Expedition, can easily handle the snow via ground clearance, lugged/siped tires, or just by crushing it.

I am looking for a small, fun to drive, non-track-day coupe for the mountains in good weather and potentially limited travel use. A used 911 was the main target but I do not want to participate in the M96 engine negative lottery. The newer 9A1 engined 911’s are still too expensive and awaiting more durability data. I quickly eliminated Corvettes due to the previously discussed image and Obama Motors issues and am probably too old for a Korean Car, no local dealers anyway. The editor of Bimmer regularly states BMW’s require a lot of costly maintenance and should not be owned out of warranty (…or 235 miles from a dealer?). That leaves an evoked set of STi (fast, small footprint but roomy, but sounds funny, too boy racer and low resale value), 370Z (similar to STi in performance, engine sounds like aforementioned lawn tractor, no interior room), G-Coupe (logical upgrade from Z, roomier, same engine, better sound, but heavy), 5.0 Mustang (incredible performance but very large, scares the wife, lacks civilities), and Audi TTS (wife favors it […a potentially significant factor], 5.0 performance in a smaller but still roomy package, expensive, potentially horrific reliability). The TTS would be the choice but the TT discussion forums are full of horror stories of expensive failures including an $850 glove box repair. The Infiniti’s appear to be much more reliable for a distant dealer; the only recent forum complaints concern the new A7 transmission which may have already been cured by recent dealer reprogramming of the control module. The 5.0 should be robust but is the largest choice and probably more of a muscle car unless one moves up to the new Boss 302. My decision process is stalled and I am wearing out my welcome at several dealerships. Are the Audi’s really that bad? Are the G-Coupes too sedate? I need experiential input from TTAC members.

Sajeev Answers:

It’s not that Audis are bad, it’s that buying one without a factory warranty without being a wrench-turning Forum junkie is likely to leave you broke and pissed off. And if you’re nearest Audi dealer is that far away…then again, we’ve all heard the nightmares of Audi service departments. The TT is a great choice, but don’t do it without researching the “local” dealership, and finding the best one in your budget.

My advice: get the hell over the Corvette-Obama stigma, because it is the right answer, just like last time. Sure, the interior is packed with flaws: panel gaps and fit-finish isn’t wonderful, but that’s it. Buy a used C6 Vette coupe with Magnaride, 6-speed stick, heads-up display and both tops: ditch the run flats, service that glorious LS2/LS3, leave it in “Competitive Driving Mode” and beat the living shit out of any poseur mobile dumb enough to challenge the BOSS.

Even better, rural Colorado by night shall be epic with gauges in your windscreen and a panoramic view of the stars. Respect.

Steve says:

Sajeev is right. But then again the two of us smashed you over the noggin’ with our last Corvette endorsement. Not to ignore your immature political baiting as well (again), but Bush & Obama did the right thing. Government support and subsidization of the ‘home team’ has gone on for decades in the global auto industry because, to paraphrase the late Willie Sutton, “That’s where the money is.” What Japan did in the 1950’s and China is doing now, is in essence the same as what America has historically done for the Big 3. A strong and highly paid job base is always vital to a country’s wealth, and that’s exactly why most governments protect it. Tough shit.

But back to the question at hand. You believe German cars are trouble prone and the Japanese/Korean models don’t really “do it” for you. I have owned plenty of both and most of what you mentioned above would be perfectly fine. I just don’t get it though. If I were in the mountains I would want to carve up the road with the most precise machine out there. It wouldn’t have to be the fastest, just a car amazingly satisfying to drive from a tactile perspective. Obviously no car would be better for this than a 1983 Lincoln Mark VI. Just rev it to the limits. Keep a few empty paper bags handy, and don’t worry about your wife having to go to a rest stop.

Either that or a Mazda MX-5 with a retractable hardtop. Come to think of it, the MX-5 is probably the best bang for the buck you can get with a roadster. 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.

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2 of 65 comments
  • Saponetta Saponetta on Dec 18, 2010

    Syke, you have me laughing out loud. Is that ever the truth. From experience I can tell you that real buyers on high end sports cars( not the corvette, it attracts mostly classless posers, wannabes and dreamers) just buy the car. they don't have objections on practicality, size or reliability etc. They don't need to test drive, ask a million questions or think about it. You already answered your own question. If you have the 911 bug you'll never be happy until you own one. I have a Carrera S and the car is a dream to own. If a NICE clean 996 is in your budget, thats the car to buy. I sold and was the finance manager at a porsche dealership for many years. There were a handful of engine issues with 996's but it is grossly blown out of proportion. The only consistent failure I saw was rear main seals. Many cars at this point have had them replaced with the updated 997 seal. What most people don't know is that porsche will participate in major engine repair costs, even when the car was out of warranty. I have seen them replace engines and fix rear mains or at least bare some of the cost burden many times. You just have to have the dealer contact PCNA. i'm not going on hearsay like most of the hand holding nternet jockies. Porsche really does this, I was in the Porsche business for a long time. i've seen them replace the engine on multiple owner cars many years out of warranty. They build a very high quality and reliable car and this reputation is important to them and they back it up.

  • Tedward Tedward on Dec 19, 2010

    Both suggestions are right, but I think the mazda might win it with some help, and it needs the help to avoid being a wheezy mess at altitude. I would look for a used mx-5 that someone else has correctly and mildly turbo (or super) charged. No one gets fair value for upgraded cars (the opposite usually) and there are a lot of not-crazy mx-5 owners out there. Hell, owning a mx-5 basically precludes you from being power mad in the first place, which is the great evil/whole point of forced displacement builds depending on who's talking. The Corvette is the far superior choice when considering unmodified vehicles, but only because of where you live.

  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.