By on December 17, 2010

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 [email protected], and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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65 Comments on “New or Used: Immature Political Baiting and The C6 Corvette...”

  • avatar

    Steve’s right. Unless you have a machismo thing, the Miata is going to be the most fun/$.

  • avatar

    Likewise, agree with the Miata.

    However, given all the little niggling complaints about every possible choice, this guy is not seriously looking for a car. Rather, he’s getting his jollies baiting Sajeev and Steve; and that’s all the more he intends to do.

    Another auto blog junkie. Knows all the details, has all the opinions, absolutely refuses to ever touch his wallet. Yep, I can well understand that the local dealers are getting sick of you. For once, my sympathy is with the car salesman.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree! (and also about the Miata)
      An enthusiast should not be buying a toy car ‘on spec’ or asking an ‘authority.’ That’s just a step below bench top racing and will lead to being talked into something you don’t like. If you can’t find a toy you LOVE (an irrational choice that does not need justifying), keep looking. Be happy!

  • avatar

    I’ll third that about the MX5. Take a tip from someone who owns one. It’s a nice toy and you can actually carry stuff (sort of). 32 mpg, too! Mine’s a 2007 sport.

    • 0 avatar

      My parents own a nearly new Corvette. You mention the service problems of Germans cars? Well hate to break it to you but my 13 year old VW as been cheaper to own for 3-4 years than my parents’ Corvette has been in the first 25K miles.

  • avatar

    Look for a Lexus IS-F. It has 4 doors, but is practically a coupe in terms of external and internal dimensions. It is a higher quality car than anything on your list and doesn’t have any negative qualities beyond being styled like a sedan. It would be worse if it was as sedan styled like a sports car, like a certain two ton Porsche product. Besides, buying a Toyota is an up yours to the organized crime administration.

  • avatar

    If you want to avoid a car that suffers from government boosterism, you’re going to have to build one yourself.  There’s no such thing as an ideologically pure ride.
    Or, let me put it this way: when I was young and stupid I bought a Lada Niva for similar, if opposite, political reasons (plus it was really, really cheap).  It isn’t an easy balance because ideology can force somre really irritating compromises, as said Niva proved.  If your level of absolutism won’t let you buy a Corvette, then that’s your choice, just as it is for the “Buy American” crowd, or the “German Engineered” crowd, or anyone that uses terms like “heritage” and “pedigree”.
    But I do advise this: think about what your objections are rationally.  Is it government interventionism?  If so, then you’re screwed for anything save a Caterham, and even then you have to deal with government’s hands in the oil industry, the roads, etc, etc.  Is it because you don’t like the Democrats or the UAW?  If that’s the case, think very hard about why and think doubly hard about how the current C6 was in-play well before the current round of bail-outs started.
    Basically, give it some thought.  I’ve done the same, and I’d probably buy a Corvette**.  Mind you, I’d convert it to CNG or LPG and fuel it with biogas, but that’s my hang-ups in play.
    ** you know, if I could afford it

    • 0 avatar

      Mind you, I’d convert it to CNG or LPG and fuel it with biogas, but that’s my hang-ups in play.
      I was waiting for the punch line, and you delivered. :)
      @Bucksnort: Don’t let the bailouts bother you; I wasn’t for them either, but it’s over now.  Ideological fervor must always find an end point (often unpleasant), and I’ve long given up on boycotting as an effective means of ‘sending a message’. It hasn’t worked between the US and Cuba.
      I agree with your concerns about the various rides you mentioned, except for the Mustang.  Just get it, and enjoy.  Your wife will learn to love it.

    • 0 avatar

      Basically, give it some thought.

      You ask the impossible!

      Sometimes I wonder – how mitigated would the anti-GM kneejerk have been if the initials didn’t lend themselves so well to ‘Government Motors’? I could easily see the reaction overall being 25% to 30% less, taking into account the number of jerking knees and the tenacity of the jerking. I bet most people haven’t put enough thought into it to even remember it had there not been a good catchphrase.

  • avatar

    Some people have horror stories about their Audis. I bought mine with 65k km and have put on 30k km since. I have the Audi certified warrenty but have not needed it once. I have, however, spent about 4 grand on maintenance and replacing wear items in that time (all done at the dealership). Most recent being a 400 dollar battery replacement.

    For me the biggest thing is the dealership. You have a good dealership with a good service department and, no matter what the make, you should enjoy the car. A friend of my mother-in-law had a 1.8T A4 and the engine died. She had 130k on it. She always had regular maintenance done at the dealership and because she never missed a maintenance cycle, the dealership said the engine should not have died so they replaced it for her out of warranty. My father’s 2000 A6 currently has an ABS warning light on, has for 2 years (no other issues with the car since new). The brakes work fine but the nearest Audi dealership is 3 hours away and no one else can clear the error. So he just lives with it.

    I love my Audi and will always buy Audi, partly because of the dealership experience I have had. But I would not buy one if there was not an Audi dealership close….

    Friend of mine has a MazdaSpeed Miata….that car is a freakin riot. Really fun.

    • 0 avatar

      How in anyway can you describe these issues on 3 different Audis and say they are either reliable or do not have any issues? I don’t see what there is too love.

      $400 battery! My parents 2002 E430 4matic has two batteries (under the rear seat) and neither costs more than $80 each, and only one has been replaced (once). At 176k miles, they have had their share of issues mainly relating to wear parts on the suspension and a BAS/ESP and SRS sensor replacement.

      Especially when my “boring” or “vanilla” 1998 Acura 3.2TL has 133k miles and since new (according to original owner I purchased from this past summer), has only had the EGR replaced.

      My 2007 Outback is too new for anything to really occur, but nothing has and with a manual, locking diff, and 50:50 split it’s a blast to drive in any condition (considering it’s high center of gravity) but it’s definitely not luxury. The STi would be a blast, around these parts of the Rockies there are several Porsche owners who drive turbo model Subarus (WRXs, GTs, or XTs) most of the year…maybe it’s the flat engine sound or well engineered and tough chassis and components.

      Finally, the Vette is a great option or why not a used Viper? The Stang wouldn’t be bad for trips either, you have extra room to put luggage with the rear seat…the Vette also has quite a bit of room and a good suspension (base or MR) for long treks.

    • 0 avatar

      I can say that my Audi has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. I owned 4 Fords before. One required an engine replacement at 80,000km. The other two (focus) had a design flaw that caused the brake booster to lose boost at high altitudes, causing one accident. There was a TSB for the issue but it did not worked, had it in 9 times to try and fix it, never did get fixed. Transmission fell off of another Ford (escort) at 76,000km. In the two years I have had the Audi, no problems aside from wear item replacement (brakes, tie rods etc) Just happen to be that time in a car’s life where those need to be replaced. My father’s A6 is a 2000 and has 156,000km. Not one thing wrong with it in 10 years except the ABS light. He used to have a 1998 Ford Explorer. Developed the problem of the ABS kicking in on the highway without the brakes being applied, that started at 67,000km. Almost killed him. Had it in 6 times, ford never could fix it.

      So yes, Audi has been the most reliable car maker my family ever had. Even at high mileage they don’t have interior rattles when hitting bumps.

      You can’t compare a Porsche to a vette. Ever see that Top Gear episode where Clarkson reviewed the vette and was able to push the bumper in with his hand? I prefer my cars not be made with packing materials.

    • 0 avatar

      So, they’re more reliable than any other manufacture your family has had…which is only Ford from what you’ve provided. Still, doesn’t say a whole lot, does it?

      All cars have plastic bumpers, and most always have a little “give” or flex. You should stop worshiping at the alter of Clarkson, and maybe obtain your own experiences by driving the vehicles. Saying their rubbish without stating any experience is rubbish.

      The C5 and C6 models I’ve driven have been quite a blast! Especially the 2002 Z06 I drove with a friend from Houston to Boise, the car was comfortable for the two days we drove and fit all our stuff quite nicely.

    • 0 avatar

      My A6 has plastic bumpers. As most cars do. But try as I may, try as I might, I could not get my hand to dent it. Clarkson, despite being a poor car journalist, did prove a point. He placed his hand on the vette, pushed and a large dent easily appeared then popped out as he let his hand off. And the seatbelt adjustment plastic bit popped off too as he was taking a corner. Simply put, you saying I worship Clarkson for observing that he was able to apply light pressure and dent a vette is just ignorant. You should not be able to dent a car by placing a hand on it. And a seatbelt adjustment should not fall off in a new car. He did mention he enjoyed the car but it was already rattling from the garbage interior quality. So let’s just call it as it is. The vette is power on the cheap. There is a reason it costs less than the competition. For someone who simply wants bigger HP numbers than the other kids on the block, it’s a fine choice. But if someone wants a fast car that’s also quiet, that can’t be dented by leaning on it, has AWD and has the best interior in its class than you can pay more for an Audi or Porsche. But the vette IS NOT equal. 0-60 times sure, power, sure. As I said, power on the cheap. You can get 0-60 in under 5 seconds with a crap interior that rattles without any luxuries or you can get 0-60 under 5 seconds in a nice car that does not rattle, shake, has AWD, does not have parts that come lose after 1000k….but you have to pay more to maintain it.
      There is more to a car than 0-60 numbers and HP ratings. And being that it would seem the Vette does not have bullet proof reliability in its favour, I would say if you want to be very fast in a noisy bit of plastic buy a vette and save some cash. If you ever hope to impress a woman by having her ride in said car….get a German one. And expect to pay more for it.

    • 0 avatar

      @texn3- Do you really think this jobber could handle a Viper? The point is moot anyhow, Chrysler took bailout money too.

    • 0 avatar

      @ frizzlefry I think what TEXN3 is trying to say is, people repeat what Clarkson says instead of forming their own opinions. Pushing in a bumper as a judge of quality is as useful as slamming doors and kicking tires. Somewhere out there, there are people who think my 350Z has a renault engine, because Clarkson said so.

    • 0 avatar

      $400 for a battery? The Porsche forum I read tips people to go to Walmart and get a perfectly acceptable $100 battery. I can’t remember the last time I replaced either of my A4’s batteries (which means I’m due) but I sure didn’t spend $400. Pressed for time? Locally, I’d call AAA who will come out and replace the battery on the service call – at a competitive price. Also having good luck w/ Audis – ’99 @ 150k miles, ’04 at 120k miles and ’02 A6 at 84k miles (hmm, except for when the latter et the turbos under CPO warranty).
      There are enough independent shops where I am so I don’t worry about the dealer, but that is highly variable. If I have to drive an hour to get a car serviced, I’ll drive another type of car.

  • avatar

    Miata’s are globally one of the most raced vehicles in existence for a reason. Having said that, I’d never own one. An RX-8 will be substantially more practical, and equally gratifying to carve up the mountains with. Granted, you’d have to plan out the route to your gas stations very carefully being way out in the middle of nowhere because that Renesis motor can really suck down the gallons. Having said THAT, get a ‘vette…it’ll take up a bit more room in that garage of yours…but I can assure you it’ll be worth it.

  • avatar

    How about a Honda S2000?  Great for corner carving, and a power top that goes up and down in seconds on the sunny days. They really are a blast to drive, and that engine sings at 8,000 RPMs.

  • avatar

    If a mustang is too large, so is a corvette. Miata, RX8, S2000, Solstice are the standard answers. If a STi is too boy-racer, a WRX is a slightly more subdued alternative. Or Legacy GT.

    • 0 avatar

      The Corvette is 300-400 lbs lighter than the Mustang, depending on the spec of each.  

      The Corvette is actually shorter, lower, and lighter than most 911s.  It doesn’t look it, but it’s true.

  • avatar

    Don’t over-think or over-spend here.
    Get a Miata, and ride off into the sunset. Whatever extra you spend at the pump you’ll save in the shop.

  • avatar

    Late model NSX.  If you have an Acura dealer nearby, you should be fine.  They are reliable, and an absolute blast to drive (especially if you add forced induction).  If track prowess isn’t high on the list, the targa would be nice to have for those sunny mountain days.  Otherwise find an earlier coupe.

  • avatar

    I would go with the 5.0 or a pre-owned M3.  You can probably find a Bosch certified indie shop in about every town up in the Rockies.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    I can speak high praise for both the A3 and A4. Myself and my family have had really good luck with Audis, but I do understand there are afew horror stories out there. I suppose every brand has them, and when you talk luxury rides, you talk pricey service. It’s just the nature of the beast.

    I do find your childish “government motors” issue quite funny. I guess you didn’t realize that Audi is owned by VW, who is partially owned by  the very activly involved German state of Saxony. Nevemind that any car you buy these days is going to have Chinese components in it, and all Chinese companies are tecnically the property of the government.

  • avatar

    What about Solstice or Sky? Warrantied at your local Chevy dealership because it’s got mostly Chevy parts in it but like the Sky is sold in Europe with decent interior and plenty of power for high altitude, yet small enough(much shorter length than C6/C5) to store things around in the off season.

    Plus you’ll have the most unique looking of any of the cars already mentioned!

  • avatar

    Solstice Coupe?

  • avatar

    when I was young and stupid I bought a Lada Niva for similar

    is the Niva the 4×4? if it is i heard many folks had high praise for them, one guy in northern bc welded the rear diff together so is a permanent non slip diff.
    Goes as far as the mountain goat goes.
    too bad they dont get brought into Canuckstan anymore.
    Their down fall was circa 1982 when one of their General decided to blow the Korean jet liner out of the sky near Kamchatka peninsula!

    Or go buy a Vee10 Viper monster. Totally political incorrect.

    • 0 avatar

      It is 4×4, with locking diffs. Regarding plain, I watched a recent Russian documentary, that claims that it was spy plane that would not respond to command to land, so Soviet military had no choice but shoot it down. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what retired general and commander were telling in the film.

  • avatar

    The Miata, as good as it is, has a cramped interior.  I’m 5′ 10″ and it’s too tight for me.  The Boxster/ Cayman would be my suggestion.  I’ve had one for 4 years and seldom need to go near a dealer.  Basic service is easy and I’ve had no reliability issues or unexpected repairs.  Nothing better for carving through the Rockies!

  • avatar

    I think you can get a G37 coupe with awd. When it comes to what I want in a car, I generally disregard what other people think the car says about the driver and ignore the “but everyone has one” line. If the car fits everything you’re looking for, what does it matter to anyone else? The Corvette is a great sports car bargain, and I wouldn’t discount it on the basis of politics.
    While we’re talking about American muscle, I’m surprised nobody’s recommended a GTO, G8 or 1st gen CTSV?

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    C3 ‘Vette, no seriously  It will be easy to buy snow tires for that size of tire, the styling is freaking cool, and you can modify the hell out of it for relatively cheap.  And if the engine goes south, LSX it.  Check eBay, they’re not even that expensive unless you’re talking about one of the truly collectible models.  Dare to be different.

    • 0 avatar

      Whoa there.  I love the C3 ‘vette – it’s why I bought one.
      But almost every time I got in that thing something new was wrong with it.  Parts came off the interior in my hand.  The gearboxes are crap.  I’d do an LSX swap right away – any of the emissions controls on the lower cost (later) models are horrifying… but the vacuum tubes run half the car, and they are a nightmare.
      On the plus side, the body wouldn’t rust from the snow, and there shouldn’t be depreciation if you buy the right year (avoid the late ’70s).  If I were to get another one, I’d pay for one that someone else dumped a ton of money into.  THe previous owner had dumped a lot of money in mine – as did I – but it apparently wasn’t enough.

    • 0 avatar

      True story. My dad had a 74 he bought new and owned for 27 years, hating the car every single day. He only kept it for so long because it was a rare build and he was hoping he could get some of that stupid money people were paying for original cars before the classic market took a dump. He did okay on it but I can’t imagine owning a terrible car you can’t even really enjoy driving on the off chance it shoots up in value one day.

  • avatar

    Sajeev and Steve:
    {I’ll match your “immature political baiting” with “inept and irrational neo-Keynesian economics.”  GM would have come out of bankruptcy as a smaller and leaner company w/o government intervention.  The US would have had to cover part of the pensions for far fewer billions of dollars than they printed.  The intervention was a purely political act.  It had no rational economic basis.  As has been stated previously in an article posted on TTAC, the US has approximately the same excess auto plant capacity now as it did before the bankruptcies.  Nothing has been accomplished.  As Ed implied in the NYT, it’s the same old GM.  How long do you think it will be before the Korean, Chinese, and Indian auto company impact on GM leads TTAC to GM Death Watch II?  This is not even close to being over.}
    Back to Cars.  I spent some uncomfortable seat time in C6 and later Corvettes.   Surely people taller than me (6′) buy them but I cannot figure out how they could see out the windshield.  I was looking directly at the visor.   Everything else I tried has good seats and visibility…maybe not the Z on the latter.  Also, something I did not initially mention, spare tires are a very useful thing where I live and well worth the weight penalty.  At my driving skill level,  would the new Mustang 5.0 be a viable alternative to a used C6?  I don’t need the top speed, the 5.0 has good seats, and a spare.  [A driving school in PHX or Pahrump is in the plans.]
    I could not fit into a Miata either although the RX8 was incredible  [I had an RX2 and a Rotary Pickup].  The RX8 just needs more beans.
    I loved the IS-F but they still go for over $40k used.   I was tracking those prices for a while;  they actually increased last summer.   Everything else can be had in the $20’s used.
    The Z is a sentimental favorite but there is a persistent rumor of a new V6 coming for the Z/G37c series, perhaps from an external source.
    The hemi Challlenger was one of the most fun things I drove…pure grin factor, no handling, great sound.
    The above posts are pushing back in the direction of the Mustang 5.0  Do any TTAC participants have any experience in the new  5.0…..versus the C6 or even C7?

  • avatar

    Caddy CTS-V (coupe?) or a Honda S2000


  • avatar

    ’05-’06 GTO
    That car is awesome, and the bailout wasn’t the Aussie’s fault.
    Or an ’08-’09 Bullitt if you truly just can’t stomach buying a GM car.
    The 5.0 is great, and I’d get it over the C6, but there is no reason to spend over $30K unless you really want to.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree.  Used 5.0’s should be hitting the market soon.  The GTO is decent but the 5.0 basically trumps it on all criteria but doors.

    • 0 avatar

      Both are a 2-door, Pontiac G8 is the 4-door you’re thinking about. Another great sport sedan, although I’d check out the CTS then.

      Remember, any used car is only benefiting the current owner, not the manufacture.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “{I’ll match your “immature political baiting” with “inept and irrational neo-Keynesian economics.”
    ‘Keynesian economics’ is a simple theory. The reasons why the government stepped in go far beyond a theoretical construct.

    “GM would have come out of bankruptcy as a smaller and leaner company w/o government intervention.”
    No, the cost of the bankruptcy in conjunction with the intense fiefdom mentality within the stakeholders made the ‘smaller and leaner’ outcome impossible. The bankruptcy would have taken YEARS to work through, and GM along with it’s primary suppliers could not afford that time.

    “The US would have had to cover part of the pensions for far fewer billions of dollars than they printed.”
    True, the pension plans and medical benefits programs would have likely recovered a small fraction of their revenue needs. I still think these should have been tethered to the future performance of GM.

    “The intervention was a purely political act.”
    No, it was an economic one. Both the ‘conservative’ President and the ‘liberal’ President supported it.

    “It had no rational economic basis. “
    Millions of jobs, spillover effects to other companies, and the tax base for several states depend on GM, Ford and Chrysler. Ford would have gone bankrupt as well due to the severe impact a C11 from GM and Chrysler would have on many of their key suppliers.

    “As has been stated previously in an article posted on TTAC, the US has approximately the same excess auto plant capacity now as it did before the bankruptcies.  Nothing has been accomplished.”
    That’s a narrow lens. The bankruptcy and bailout substantially lowered the operating costs for GM, Ford and Chrysler. Those cost reductions are why Ford’s stock has gone up nearly 10 fold, GM’s profits and product line-up have improved considerably, and Chrysler… well I would have preferred if that company was split up and liquidated. I like Chrysler circa 1990’s but after 10+ years of foreign mismanagement, Chrysler would likely add more value as a split up entity.

    ” As Ed implied in the NYT, it’s the same old GM.  How long do you think it will be before the Korean, Chinese, and Indian auto company impact on GM leads TTAC to GM Death Watch II?  This is not even close to being over.}”
    GM sells millions of cars profitably in China. The ‘Koreans’ are a grand total of one company that has only done well very recently. India’s auto industry has virtually no exports to North America… other than what Ford sold to Tata which is not very much.
    Overall, you will definitely enjoy the 2011 Ford Mustang. One of many class leading products developed and produced by folks in the USA and beyond.

    • 0 avatar

      Not so fast Steve:
      A non-bail out bankruptcy could have also been arranged.  There have been other corporate bankruptcies arranged in advance.  A non-bailout GM would have been far leaner and meaner.  Instead we simply got a smaller GM….version 1.1 instead of 2.0.  It does not appear the tax-base has improved much in the affected states.  Maybe all those Mexican/Canadian/Asian jobs have something to do with it.
      Bush was hardly a conservative president and one thing he did at the end is conveniently overlooked by neo-Keynesians.  When Bush initiated the bailouts, he clearly stipulated the incoming president could refute them and call all the money back.  Instead, the leftist president dramatically increased the bailouts.  Funny Bush is still getting blamed for things.
      Excess auto capacity on planet earth is not going to decrease.  The weaker firms need to leave the market.  That is how it works.  If no firms leave the market, once the “free money” effect is gone, the whole process starts again.
      As for GM selling millions of cars in China….exactly where are those millions of cars made? In the long run, it isn’t going to be in the US.  So how did that save all those US jobs.
      Finally, relative to the “narrow lens,” it is difficult the isolate the auto bailout, Obama motors and the confiscation of bondholder assets without looking at the broader political/economic issues of the mortgage, banking, and health care mess.  Those issues don’t appear to be going well either.
      The auto industry bailout/capacity/labor issues are not over.  We have just seen the first act.
      I do agree with you on the quality of the comments on my original question.  That’s why I sought advice here.  I am back to leaning toward the 5.0…although the Boss 302 is beckoning but I probably do not need or cannot effectively use that level of performance.

    • 0 avatar

      Millions of jobs, spillover effects to other companies, and the tax base for several states depend on GM, Ford and Chrysler. Ford would have gone bankrupt as well due to the severe impact a C11 from GM and Chrysler would have on many of their key suppliers.

      My company has done nearly half a million dollars in business with Ford since the bailout. Even if Ford had survived, our projects almost certainly wouldn’t have – and we would be out of business, and that would have severely impacted the companies that do our sheet metal laser cutting, powder coat, supply servo systems and motors, and on and on. And it would have had knock-on effects from our employees, too – being out of work would curtail a lot of discretionary spending: At netflix, at the local pizza joint, at shutterfly during Christmas…

      People forget how far that ripple goes. And all of that would have hit right when all of those businesses were at their most vulnerable. Even businesses with fundamentally sound and profitable work can bite the dust if cash flow drops for too long, which is why these things can have a much, much greater impact than the dollar amounts would have you believe. You can’t just get that lost productivity back, even if the economy improves rapidly again.

      This was far beyond partisan polemics, as the broad support from both parties – amidst disapproval from the general public – showed. It was a rare instance of our leaders actually leading, doing the best thing for the country and world despite the cheap political points they could have garnered by playing to populist anger. It gives me hope that when it comes down to it, the guys in charge aren’t willing to sacrifice the country on the altar of angry showmanship – as happened with the men who stood up to Nixon even despite personal cost and little prospect of reward or recognition.

      The vapid partisan bickering I’ve seen here and elsewhere ill-suits a nation whose people are supposed to pledge allegiance to the flag, not to a political party.

    • 0 avatar

      Hold on a second — I thought trickle-down economics was just a myth, which is why our noble politicians were trying valiantly to hike the taxes of the fat cats…
      No matter how tightly you wrap it up in the flag, I fail to see how lavishly supporting a segment of the economy that was growing increasingly uncompetitive and out of touch with the market benefits the country as a whole. Times change, and people and organizations adapt — and the transition is gentler without government interference.
      (My firm, by the way, lost nearly 40% of our contracted revenue due to bankrupt and ailing clients. None of our clients were politically well-connected enough to warrant government bailouts, so we hunkered down and innovated. We’re now in a new market and doing better than we were before the crash — and we’re by far from alone in this.)

    • 0 avatar

      @darkwing: Supply-side econ has been thoroughly debunked.
      +You can’t stop from doing the economically healthy thing, just because a pizza guy and some businesses that don’t or won’t plan for 4-year recessions/crashes refuse to build up a war-chest. (btw, Americans have just about the lowest Marginal Rate of Saving for any ‘developed’ nation)
      The bailout was most-likely more about political tiddlywinks than anything else. With at least 3 different types of economic cataclysms going on all at the same point in time, there was just no room to Allow GM to go down as it should have, into the destructive part of ‘Creative-Destruction’.
      In a healthier econ and a bull market, with everything else running well, or just a vanilla recession, they should have been allowed to fail, symphonies of tiny violins notwithstanding. -Because that is just what goddamned happens in the free market; the sick companies get washed out, esp. in tough times.
      The only thing the gov. did was to punt the ball a few years and give the broken culture another chance to destroy itself later on.
      I think RF once quoted the entire % of the US econ that GM represented, and as I recall it wasn’t that much. +And there is Always a debate in econ about just how far the chain-reaction or feedback-effects go. The general trend is that for each degree of separation, the effect usually drops off at a log or exponential rate. There was more than 1 near-circular logic debate posited that just never turned out to hold in the regressive analysis.
      Now where is R. Lee Ermey or Paul Volcker to hire as the restructurer and kick some a** when you need them?

  • avatar

    Just went through the exact same experience and I bought a C5 conv 6 spd. As much as I admire and recommend Infiniti’s, Acura’s etc I’d have to say for me it was a choiced between a great car that never requires fixing and is missing from my childhood memories and one that will require my mechanical affections and has at least 8 cylinders and will fry the tires on command just like my neighbours old vette. For me the great Infiniti would bore me to death in short order. I need to be needed by something with bolts on it. Then I like to buy her some things but nothing really expensive and not something that causes me to drive any further than the hardware store. (just changed the front turn signal fixtures $44 canadian each – got to love that)

    It’s me not the car that is the problem one will find you. I did all the technical searching and ended up buying a car because it was a former student selling it and it was made from fiberglass and would always look good. I thought that was a good enough reason. For some of us it’s kind of like finding a wife – you have this big long list of stuff, search for years and then say forget it, I just want brown eyes. Worked out great for me.

  • avatar

    Don’t let your politics interfere with your driving fun!!!
    If you want minimal trouble with your funmobile, a Miata or an S2000 is the way to go. The ‘Vette has a troublesome frequency of repair record, according to Consumer Reports. On the other hand, it’s probably a lot cheaper to fix than the Germans, and it’s good if you want to be able to leave everyone else in the dust. Also gets surprisingly good mpgs on the highway.

  • avatar

    All these Corvette experts, and not one mentioned it’s a C5 in the pic. Not a C6. Lame…

  • avatar

    Miata owner. Most fun to drive reliable car I have ever owned, including two Corvettes. 5 feet 10 and 230 and I am not cramped. Get a used one and turbocharge it. Flying Miata is in Colorado they can help you. At 65 I have owned a lot of cars and without question the Mazda is the most reliable and with it turbo it will be fast.

  • avatar

    You said you are up in the mountains which I assume means twisty roads.  Screw all the high hp cars that will just get you launched off the side of the mountain.  You want a handling machine supreme.  For a coupe you are talking two cars: RX-8 and a MY2009 or newer Cayman (along with a good independent Porsche mechanic).  Why MY2009 or newer?  Because Porsche resolved the IMS issue in that year.  I would recommend a MY2009 or newer RX-8 as well because that car received major mechanical improvements that year as well.  The choice between the two is relatively easy.
    1) If you can’t find someone to work on the Porsche, get the RX
    2) If you need a back seat, get the RX
    3) If you can’t afford the Porche, get the RX
    4) If you want an auto, get the pdk in the MY2009 or newer Porsche
    The only other corner carver that comes to my mind is the Lotus Elise, but is it horribly impractical compared to either the Cayman or the RX.  But it does come with a Toyota engine and is so basic there isn’t much to break
    Oh and I agree with much of the above commentary.  Obama didn’t start the bailouts, Bush did.  That is a FACT that is conveniently overlooked by FAR too many conservatives.

    • 0 avatar

      Good advice.  Would love the newer Cayman but they are still pricey at this point….and you hit the major issue…”….good independent Porsche mechanic.”  That is also 235 miles away.  I also agree about the Elise.  Have driven two, dead solid reliable, but ingress and egress is an art form and you cannot take your lunch…no room.  The RX would be perfect, but…..I live at 6,608 feet.  All the good roads are higher…top out at 11k feet.  You lose a lot of hp at these altitudes land the RX does not have that much to lose.  A blower could fix that.  One learns not to get in stoplight events with diesel pickups here.  They are pressurized back to sea level.
      Also, see about two posts above this reference who started what.   The initiation of the bailouts by the former president explicitly included language to the effect the current president had full authority to stop the bailouts and call back all the money.  The bailout recipients had to abide by that clause.   A fact overlooked by all liberals.  We know what happened after that.

  • avatar

    The Caterham dealer is in Denver.  I know which I’d rather have for the run to Woodland Park to Deckers.  There’s probably even room for a (collapsible) fishing rod.

    • 0 avatar

      USAF Mech:
      I have thought about that several times.  Need to make a trip there to check it out.  Apparently there is a big Super 7 community there.  OTOH, the Elise’s could probably be considered more “practical” if such a term could ever be applied to a Lotus.  The Elise’s I drove were actually comfortable, and I could see out of them unlike the Corvette.

  • avatar

    Let’s just agree to disagree on the politics.  MY2004-05 are the years to avoid in RX-8s.  MY2006-08 are the years to look at if you want a turbo-charged RX-8.  First of all, the cars are dirt cheap. Second, there is far more support for the Gen 1 car because there are a lot more of them.  Places like are good places to look into mods for the car.  Might even be able to find a classified for a turbo charged one there.  I’d look for one the conservative side of boosting, probably around 300 hp total (not much more), which should be right up your alley.

    • 0 avatar

      That is the same thing I said to Sajeev and Steve.
      Are those factory turbos on the 06-08 RX8’s?  The new ones are not pressurized.  I have not been following Mazda so am ignorant of the changes by year.
      I had both a RX2 and a Rotary Pickup in my college days.  The latter was actually more fun…total stealth….did not have the top end of the RX2 but had lower gearing so could get to 100 in a hurry.  I had fun embarrassing BMW owners.  Put it on the market for $1k; it burned 1 qt every tank of gas, could lay a smoke screen at a stop light.  A guy called me up and bought it over the phone w/o even seeing it.  Paid cash at 0700 the next morning.  A couple of months later he told me he rebuilt it and was racing it in some small truck class.

  • avatar
    Matthew Sullivan

    MINI Cooper S.

    de-winged Evo X

  • avatar

    The RX-8 was never turbo charged by Mazda and Mazdaspeed never offered a turbo kit.  Because of the relatively large number of Gen 1 RX-8s versus Gen 2 RX-8s, aftermarket products like turbos and engine management for a turbo are available for Gen 1 (2004-2008).  Most of the cars with engine failures were 2004-05, hence the reason to avoid those years.  The car is only 3,000 lbs which is a feather weight compared to most cars (except Lotus) so a low boost kit getting you to around 300 hp should get you the hp you want without undue stress on the engine. The RX community was severely disappointed when Gen 2 came out in 2009 with no hp increase, which is a shame because the R3 version of the RX-8 (2009-11) is a REALLY nice car.
    It’s also a shame the Elise is so impractical (and expensive).  My wife would HATE the car, but I could see zipping around in it during the Summer.  Not much out there quite like it

  • avatar
    M 1

    Learn to drive (honestly, the Tales of Danger are 99% hyperbole), and blow $30K on a barely-used 2000+ Gen II Viper with ABS, and beat the ever-loving hell out of every other piece of junk mentioned above. Practically every Viper owner I have ever met (but especially Porsche owners) has a story about what they used to drive, and how they switched after having their ass handed to them by a Viper. (This assumes you’re old enough to not run out the tired crap about penis size yada yada; I assume if you’re planning to buy a sports car and don’t already own something Japanese, you’re probably already over that envious green speedbump.)
    Few people have them. They don’t break, ever. Even if you beat the shit out of them. They’re easy to work on (they DON’T break but even they need plugs and oil occasionally). The aftermarket is huge and affordable. They don’t break. They can corner so hard your eyeballs will come out. They brake well enough that you will live. With better pads and rotors they brake well enough to lap comfortably in real-racecar GT2 qualifying range at many tracks (I have done this many times). They are faster than shit. They don’t break. People who don’t know enough about cars to think about penises when they see a car they don’t have actually love them. This includes many people who don’t have a penis. If that matters to you. They don’t break.
    Bottom line is, if you’re a car-guy and you don’t have a Viper, it is very likely you are actually the poser. But hey, opinions are like Vettes — everybody has one.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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