Would like to buy a fun sporty car, need suggestions!



I already have a main vehicle for useful stuff like commuting and groceries, now i want a fun, cheap, play car that i can mess around with under the hood a bit and have fun in.

my initial spending limit is $10k, used definitely. i’ll put more money into it later, so initial performance doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, but it does need to be a solid platform to build on. prefer RWD or AWD. i really like the stylings on cars like the miata, mr2 and 240sx, so if anybody has opinions on these, or suggestions on good years to get, or other models, since i’m trying to get together as many options as possible!



I have a 93 MR2 and I absolutely love it. The baby ferrari styling is sweet, the handling is awesome, the view from the driver seat is great, and the t-tops just make it all that much better. The mid engine design gives it great handling but if you break it loose it’s a bit harder to get it back - -especially if you get a 91 or 92 car before they redesigned the suspension.

Mine’s only the NA (for now. It WILL be a turbo one day :wink: ) and it’s decently respectable in acceleration - -but the turbo cars are monsters, especially if you’re willing to play. There are also a bunch of guys who’ve done crazy things like V6 swaps, etc, who have stunningly fast MR2’s.

Downside? Don’t expect to haul much of anything - -you have 9 cubic feet of trunk space (and a tiny bit more in the front trunk).

Expect to go through rear tires about every 15k to 20k - - they’re a different size than the fronts, so you can’t rotate 'em, and the suspension design means they tend to wear out on the insides of the tire. You could correct that by changing the camber, but at the expense of the awesome handling. Also, the rear tires are expensive. I paid $200 for my last set (Yokohama AVS ES100) but since it’s a summer fun car, and I don’t put that many miles on it per year anyway, I really didn’t care :wink:

Working on the car can be a pain due to the engine location. If you ever have to fill the radiator be ready to take a long time, since the rad’s up front and it has what must be about 20 miles worth of piping under the car to get the coolant to the engine - - -bleeding the coolant is a real trip, I tell ya :wink: The upside to this is that with the rad so far away from the engine, the cooling system is remarkably efficient.

In short, this is a great little car to have as long as you have another car that’s larger for hauling stuff (my CRX dwarfs the MR2 in cargo capacity) and as long as you realize that it’s a summer good weather car only - - I would not recommend driving it in winter, it is flat out dangerous, especially if you put performance tires on it.

Options to look for: Premium sound system (adds a subwoofer behind each seat and door mounted tweeters, and actually sounds pretty decent for a factory setup), leather, factory fog lights.

Areas to watch for: The t-tops WILL leak - $100 or so to replace the weatherstripping and stop that. Obviously these cars are sporty cars (technically GT cars) and are driven accordingly so do a good thorough evaluation on them before you buy. Some of these cars are still selling well above your budget, but you can get a decent turbo for around 7-8k, and a decent NA for 4-5k.


A good friend has an old Miata and loves it. Still runs great and has had minimal issues.


All three are good candidates. With a $10k budget, you are limited to older examples. Therefore, a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a good mechanic is even more important than ususal.


Well if you intend to upgrade later, get a VW GTI. VW fans are a great and helpful bunch.


How about Nissan 300ZX (Z32)? '93~95 are the greatest I hear.


Well, if you can find one in good shape, that hasn’t been thrashed by the “tuner” crowd, a Honda CRX is a fun little car and since it is popular with the tuners there are lots of “upgrades” available. I just would be very leary of any that someone else has been tweaking. I still see some nice stock examples running around though.

A Mitsubishi 3000GT is in a different league, but would not need the upgrades so much. I’ve always liked the looks of that car.

Those are two non-obvious examples that I can think of. I suppose a Mustang GT might be worth mentioning. But I really like the looks of the newest update and I doubt that would fit your budget for a few years yet.


The CRX is an awesome car (I have two of those as well), but it sounds like he’s looking for more of a sports car than a sport compact car. As much as I love the CRX’s, it’s the MR2 that gets taken out of the garage on a nice sunny day.

the 3000GT is fun, especially in VR4 trim, but be ready for lots of repairs. They’re known for breaking.