Midlife Crisis Sports Car?

My wife thinks I’m insane, because I want to buy ANOTHER car-- a sports car, something I’ve wanted since I was 16 years old. So, what do you think? It must be used, fun, convertible, and not too ridiculously expensive to maintain ( I looked at used Ferraris-- affordable, until you take them to the shop-- same for Porsches). So, how about it? And please, don’t say “Miata”-- I drove a 2005 version-- WAY too wimpy (my Subaru could kick its butt!). Thanks, Jeff.

You may actually want to take another look at the 308s, they are not that cheap to maintain but they may be the most reasonable deal in the performance class. There do seem to be quite a few of them running around, so they can’t be that expensive to keep on the road.

The most affordable late model porsche will be a used boxster (I know, too wimpy). Personally, I would look for an air-cooled 911/930 (much cooler than the new ones, and not as wimpy as the boxster). If you find a good independent shop, maintenance/repair on the porsche should be more affordable than the ferrari.

You may also want to test drive a M3 roadster, much more impressive than the standard Z3/Z4, and pretty low profile compared to the ferrari/porsche (every one thinks it’s just a Z3 that belongs to someone’s mom). A friend of mine has a couple, and they actually kick butt (especially with a chip). You may find a decent used one in the $25-30K range.

There are always late model vettes (I know it’s not really a sports car, it’s a viagra commercial), but they do give impressive performance for the money. Older vette convertibles are sorta cool, if you are a fan. There are also a ton of used vipers kicking around if you like them better.

get a 93-96 MR2 turbo with t-tops. You can do insane things with those cars. You’ll have a LOT of fun with it.

Nissan 350Z? Not my cup of tea, but they do make a convertible.

I’d mention the BMW Z4, but I’ve never liked the way they look.

Honda S2000 fits the bill. You have to be willing to rev the motor.

How about an RX-7 if you can find one. Great car.

Another (outside the box) thought; buy a motorcycle. For under about $10K you can enjoy your midlife crisis at velocities that would require a $100K car. Just a thought.

Yeah, I forgot about that one. Forget the 350Z, go with the S2000.

The 350z has a much nicer motor IMHO as a daily driver. The S2000 you have to rev silly to get the nice power out of it.

If your going to have a midlife crises you might as well go all the way, and buy used Corvette convertible.


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Not everyone likes those silly fluffmobiles you touted earlier. Corvettes regularly eat them for all three meals on road courses everywhere. The corvette is the best batrgain in a real sportscar anywhere and has been for decades.

And buy a coupe. It’s chassis is stiffer than the convertible and you won’t notice the wind noise nearly so much in the coupe at 150.

I agree vettes are a very good “bargain” in terms of performance for the price (as I said in my first response ). Other that the early (pre-stingray years) I do think they are somewhat “aesthetically challenged” (i.e., they look like they were designed by a 12-year old boy). The OP was talking about ferrari and porsche, it didn’t sound like he was bargain hunting.

For my midlife crisis sports car I bought a Saturn Sky Redline. Looks cool, 260 hp, and about $30K. There’s about a 6 month waiting list for the turbo (redline) version though.http://www.truedelta.com/images/ext_photos_250/ext713_1.jpg

The Saturn Sky is a beautiful car at a beautiful price…turns my head everytime I see one, which isn’t too often.

Otherwise, if we’re talking higher end, the BMW M3 is a great choice in my opinion. And what about an older Porsche Boxter?

A nice looking car that fits all your criteria (especially the maintainance factor) will be largely up to personal taste…have fun though! Can’t wait till I’m at that stage, i.e. have the money to buy a really nice car.


By the tone of your terse response, I thought you were trolling for Corvette lovers. I just couldn’t resist giving you what I thought you were asking for. I really don’t have a problem with a Porsche, Ferrari, or Corvette. I prefer the C6 to any other, but esthetics are personal. I also prefer the Cayman to the 911. Much prettier, and still very fast in the S trim.

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The Saturn Sky has taken on the nickname “baby Vette”. Personally, I like the Sky much more than the 'Vette. You can’t push a 'Vette anywhere near its limits on public roads anyway, so why part with all those pictures of dead presidents for something nine million others have that you can’t really use anyway?

I have some friends with vettes who love them, they just aren’t my thing. They do offer a bunch of performance for the price, so they should get credit for that, but I really do dislike their looks (especially the current ones); and they have become an american midlife crisis clich? (so have new porsches).

I’m also not very interested in any of the liquid cooled porsches (except maybe the 928S), the last 911/930 models that I really liked were mid/late 70s models. Honestly, these days I would rather have a nice 356 convertible (or maybe a dino). There’s more to life than horsepower.

It would help if you told us your price limit.

Porsches are not cheap to buy or maintain. The cheapest new one is at least $50k. A 911 engine rebuild is about $10k. Rear tires last about 10k miles and front ones about 20k. A set of four costs at least $1k. Unless you have a money tree in your back yard, stay away from 928s. The only Porsches that can be considered half way reasonable are the 944 and 968.

Corvettes have improved greatly in the past few years. Therefore, it is to your advantage to buy the newest one possible.

If you would like a classic, traditional, British car, consider a pre-1968 Jaguar XKE. However, a decent one will cost at least $30k and they are not low maintenance cars.

The Nissan 300ZX Turbo (not the 350Z) and Toyta Supra Turbo are both fast and cheap to buy. Maintenance will not be cheap but still not as much as a Porsche. The hard part is finding one that hasn’t been trashed.

The third generation Mazda RX-7 was very fast. However, its turbocharged engine was fragile.

Early models of the Infiniti G35 coupe are fairly cheap. Since they are essentially Nissans, they are not too expensive to maintain. 0-60 time is under 6 seconds for a stock example and there are many engine and suspension modifications available.

The two generations of V8 Mustang before the current one are another possibility. The best of them was the SVT model with independent rear suspension. Mustangs benefit from suspension upgrades such as those from Saleen.

The OP said used ferraris and porsches were “affordable,” so I was assuming we were talking about the $30-50K range (price for a decent 308, older 911, or newer boxster). IMHO, the 944/968 are not very interesting; and a lot of them were used as yuppie-mobiles, so I would be very careful to find a well maintained example.

For that price you should be able to find a very decent 928S, I don’t know about the OP, but thats about the only liquid cooled porsche I would find very interesting. I agree that you would want to plan on spending at least several $1000 during the first year to get it correct (true of just about any used car).

There are tons of choices in that price range, it’s just a matter of personal preference, although I would probably limit my choices to something old enough to be appreciating, or at least holding it’s value.

He could also buy a brand new lower-end car and have a completely hassle-free experience, but it sounded like he wanted something a little more exotic.