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Old 12-18-2012, 07:12 AM   #1
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Help me with some ideas for the next fun car

I just sold my 993 Targa. It is/was a fantastic car and though my primary reason for selling was moving to a house that didn't have quite as much garage space, I also discovered I really missed having a drop top. I've had roughly 10 different "fun cars" through the years and although the Targa was close, it just wasn't the same as open air driving.

Though it may be a while, I am trying to populate a short list of cars I am interested in. The general requirements are:
  • MUST be a drop top
  • Should be something I can drive and not worry too much about (ie don't want to be worried that putting miles on it will de-value it, etc)
  • Price range is flexible, but generally in the $25k-$45k range

My initial short list is as follows. Some these I have driven and some I have not. Part of the reason for compiling a list is since I am looking used, some of these cars are somewhat hard to find for test drives, etc and it may take a while.

2006-2008 BMW Z4 M Roadster
2005 Porsche 997 911 Cab (an early 997 than can have the IMS upgrade)
2010-2011 Nissan 370z Convertible
2009-2010 BMW Z4 35i sdrive hardtop convertible
2006-2008 Corvette Convertible
1995-1998 Porsche 993 911 Cab
2009-2010 Porsche Boxster S
2006-2009 Honda S2000

I REALLY like the 2013 Boxster S, but it will be a few years before those get down to a price point I am willing to pay for a weekend only car.

I had an IMS failure on my Boxster S so I probably want to stay away from M96/M97 cars unless they can have an upgraded IMS installed which eliminates the later ones. Not a big fan of the looks of the 996 cars which is why they aren't on the list though they are a great buy. I really enjoyed my 986s (except for the engine failure), but since I owned one for 4 years I probably won't go there again.

Given the above criteria, what cars have you had your eye on that am I forgetting about?

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Old 12-18-2012, 08:01 AM   #2
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I went from my 986 S to a Lotus Elise. It's a completely different experience from anything you have listed. I completely love it. Depending on how flexible you are and how much convenience you are willing to sacrifice, it is the most visceral interaction you are likely to have with a car on the road. If you're looking for a fun car, you owe it to yourself to look at one.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:05 AM   #3
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I went from my 986 S to a Lotus Elise. It's a completely different experience from anything you have listed. I completely love it. Depending on how flexible you are and how much convenience you are willing to sacrifice, it is the most visceral interaction you are likely to have with a car on the road. If you're looking for a fun car, you owe it to yourself to look at one.
That is a great car. I've never driven one, but have ridden in one. I remember having significant problems getting in/out of it though (I've had 10 knee surgeries). I may have to take a look though.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:11 AM   #4
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All but 1 or 2 should be easily found for a test drive with a little patience. I drove most of these when I was shopping. There's really no way to know what YOU would like, they each have a distinctive character. Random thoughts:

The power of the Vette was awesome, but I didn't like the shifter or "big" feel, with poor forward visibility over the fenders.

The 370Z also had good power, but less suspension feedback than the Boxster.

I liked the S2000, but it lost out due to a lack of trunk space, and also lacked feed back. Probably the best Autocross car in it's class though.

Z4, again, great power, but a little vague rolling into a corner.

The sophistication and storage space of the Boxster won out for me, but H.P. is lacking. Though the newer S models have improved in this regard.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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Drive a C6 Corvette. It really is a lot of car for the $$ and you have already done the Boxster & 993 thing. After a Box S I think an S2K/Z4M/270Z will be underwhelming.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:27 AM   #6
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After owning a Porsche and having the experience with it, and by the way, a great experience. Go for the Corvette.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:50 AM   #7
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Drive a C6 Corvette. It really is a lot of car for the $$ and you have already done the Boxster & 993 thing. After a Box S I think an S2K/Z4M/270Z will be underwhelming.
I ended up choosing the boxster after test driving the newer miata, s2000, z4 and a 350z. It was just hands down much better. You can't substitute the mid-engined feel at all.

Granted I never drove the 911 or the Corvette (C6 is the only one I'd go for) since those were out of my price range (sub $15k).

I do get the Corvette itch every once in a while. Especially when I see a really nicely done C6.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
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Drive a C6 Corvette. It really is a lot of car for the $$ and you have already done the Boxster & 993 thing. After a Box S I think an S2K/Z4M/270Z will be underwhelming.
I completely agree here. I have driven everything on the list MTS, you know the Boxsters & 993 everything else is clearly inferior with the possible exception of Corvettes which are "differentially abled" even superior in some ways. And you do live in their birth state! Corvette finished 2nd to my Boxster S last time I was in your shoes.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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While it's not a drop-top, you can get yourself into a Ferrari 308 or 328 for $30-40k. Apart from the potential repair bills, I wouldn't be *too* worried about driving it, either. Seems like they don't go down in value much, even for those few out there with 100k+ miles. Of course, if you're used to Porsche repair bills, then Ferrari repair costs won't seem *that* much worse.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:17 PM   #10
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #11
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Most of the cars on your list are a step down from what you've already owned (with the C6 being a step to the side). Why not step up and go old-school?

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #12
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Hey Mike, sent you a PM. Regarding your list, my opinions fwiw:

-Corvettes are the performance bargain of the bunch
-If staying with a P-Car, 09-10 Boxster, 911 Cabriolets look strange, that's just me
-My choice from the list would be Z4 M Roadster, highly suggest you drive one

Enjoy the hunt......Mark
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:22 PM   #13
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Man............I forgot the obvious choice............A Mini Clubman.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:33 PM   #14
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I'm looking at replacing my boxster with an elise. They look like fun.

The top isn't auto though, you have to take it of and put it on manually.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by blue2000s View Post
I went from my 986 S to a Lotus Elise. It's a completely different experience from anything you have listed. I completely love it. Depending on how flexible you are and how much convenience you are willing to sacrifice, it is the most visceral interaction you are likely to have with a car on the road. If you're looking for a fun car, you owe it to yourself to look at one.
+1, I still own and drive a 2002 Boxster and I own and drive a 2006 Lotus Elise,I love both cars but the Elise is in a class all of it's own.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:59 PM   #16
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I like the Elise the most because the engine is not a big deal to fix. and second hand the engine makes the pricing more interesting.
The S2000 is next but kind of boring unless the revs are up.
An E46 M3 Convertible migh be to your liking. I had a friend with a white/red with the sport seats with really high bolsters that reminded me of my GT3 seats.
And I've kind of liked the idea of Corvette in a carbon wrap with gun metal colored wheels, sorta like if Batman had to go to the Jersey Shore.

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Old 12-19-2012, 04:09 PM   #17
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I'm looking at replacing my boxster with an elise. They look like fun.

The top isn't auto though, you have to take it of and put it on manually.
Oh, the humanity!

If you think that's a problem, don't buy an Elise because there are many other conveniences missing. The whole point of the car is to put a body on a go-cart and enjoy the process of driving.

Last edited by blue2000s; 12-19-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:12 PM   #18
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I like the Elise the most because the engine is not a big deal to fix. and second hand the engine makes the pricing more interesting.
A replacement engine for an Elise is about $2500 used. And there isn't much that goes wrong with the engine. The most common seems to be a problem with cam lubrication. It doesn't sound as good as a flat-6 though.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:04 PM   #19
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Man............I forgot the obvious choice............A Mini Clubman.
Ha ha ha ! It's a Clubman S - get it right ! Also, it's a special edition Danger Mini that's equipped with all sorts of gadgets that are otherwise not available to regular civilians.

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