• OK, a BMW is easy, but how can you pass up this? Well cared for M3: <a href = ebay.com/itm/BMW-M3-2-door-Coupe-1998-bmw-e-36-m-3-well-taken-care-of-/181659140225?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2a4bba8081&item=181659140225&pt=US_Cars_Trucks".

  • I was looking for a first gen mustang in that price range, and then I found this beauty. Within budget. I wouldn't buy it, I'd go for a 3 pedal car, but these things are pretty solid for the money.

  • I like my sports sedans with V8s, so I'm gonna go with this future-classic off-roader , and it's ginormous 4.5 liter straight 6.

    • I have an FZJ80 like the one above, albeit a '94 (minor differences vs. the '97 in your link). It is a monster engine. It's saddled with small valves and low compression pistons, biased towards that legendary durability and the ability to run piss fuel in backwater jungles.

      If it ever needs a rebuild I'll make it breathe and squeeze a lot better in the process. It was only rated at 212hp from the factory, and with 35" tires (on mine) it is very poky uphill. Especially with full-time 4WD and a slushbox auto. I prefer the automatic offroad and for towing however.

      The truck is an absolute beast, lots of interior volume, but is still maneuverable due to its short wheelbase.

      Nice choice, in other words!

    • Thanks, and back atcha! I had a 1997 for a couple years and really enjoyed it (other than that #@$#@$ short coolant hose wedged between the firewall and the engine). What surprised me (as a 6'3" driver), was for as large is the truck was, the space allocated for the driver was disproportionately small. I recall wishing for another 2-3 inches of seat track to slide back…..something I would expect in a S2000, but not a 7 passenger SUV!

    • For my money a better 6 cylinder truck engine was the Ford 4.9L I6. Great torque and longevity. Ran a couple to over 400k miles.

  • I just bought a $6,000 6 cylinder last week. Guess what is was.? Shocker, a BMW. Sorry not very creative.
    I found a 2001 330i with 119k from the original owner who had special ordered it and drove it in Germany before it was shipped. He Ordered it m-tech with no sunroof, manual seats, fold down rear seat, and a sports package. With the sale he gave me all documents, booklets, cover, Bentley manual, keychains, Peake tool, service receipts, extra bmw oil ect. I had to laugh, one of the folders came with a factory VHS tape! Only reason he was selling it because he just bought a Tesla. It is a really fun car to drive, pulls like crazy. I have a supercharger in the works.

  • E36 M3 would be the obvious choice, but how about a non-turbo early 90's 300ZX? I'll take this west coast example with only 62k on the clock:


    • I have owned one and it is a terrific car, just a heavy pig. I wish it weighed 1000lbs less. The styling is so good on the 300zx being 25 years old and still looks relevant.

  • As a 5 cylinder "enthusiast" (read: zealot), I take offense to the above statement. In protest, I shall post links to all of the amazing, refined, fast, modern, reliable 5 cylinder cars currently for sale.

    • Hmmmm, you said "fast", so that rules out Acura Vigors, and you said "reliable" so that rules out Audis. I look forward to your Volvo 850/S70/V70 "R" feature!

    • Mercedes did a fair job on the 'refined' part with the later 5cyl diesels, and they're decently reliable, but fast they ain't.

      The Audi AAN motor can make enough power to spin God out of his throne, but 'reliable' is quite a stretch for any of the old S4/S6/200TQ at this point.

      The Acura Vigor was a weird creature.

      I don't trust any of the FWD Volvos any further than I'd trust an Audi of similar vintage (of course, I own an Audi, so…)

    • This space intentionally left blank.

      Had a '99 V70R, it was fast and modern but not refined or reliable. I have a '98 S70 base that is reliable but not refined or fast or modern at this point. The '07's are the newest of the breed but being 8 years old I wouldn't consider them modern, but they are fast and refined. No word on reliability.

      The 850's are no longer modern.

      The current gen 5 cyls from Volvo are terribly unreliable, but they are modern and sometimes fast.

      I think the VW Jetta base has a 5 cyl but it isn't refined, fast or reliable.

      Still, I protest!

    • I'll jump in here with my 98 V70 T5, which I've mildly hopped up. The thing is plenty fast for me, considering it can haul 5 adults and 2 kids. I've got a sports car for when I want to drive a sports car. This is for every other moment of my driving life. It's the only car I've ever bought based solely on cold logic; it's always been the opposite.

      This thing has been so reliable and cheap to maintain, it's insane. I've never, ever had a car been so easy to live with in my entire life. Before you get your knickers in a bunch, I've had lots of cars. Not as many as some, but more than most. That doesn't make me any sort of expert and neither are you. To generalize based on a one or a few cars is just plain unfair and a bit unrealistic. If you don't like them, that's fine. Don't buy them.

      I'm tired of the "modern" Volvo bashing. The FWD is simply marvelous and more than most people need, to tell you the truth. Nobody really needs the AWD and there's more than enough power out of the 5 cylinder. I don't keep cars more than 2-3 years because I get bored, interested in something else and I don't want a bunch of cars in my driveway like it's a used car dealership. But this one, I've had it for 10 years now. It's downright amazing and I don't foresee getting rid of it anytime soon.

      Here's a picture of my V70 from last summer, "I swear, Mr. Occifer, those marks on the road were there before I got here and I don't know why there's smoke coming off my front tires. My cars' just a measly FWD, unreliable, underpowered, Swedish soccer-mom mobile, it couldn't possibly have done that…"

      [img] 4.bp.blogspot.com/-DMnEUGrmCU8/VNwQtMwRDBI/AAAAAAAAF_0/vdskREccoEc/s1600/skidmarks2.jpg[/img]

  • Define "best". That is waaaay too obtuse. What's best for some will not even remotely be a consideration for others. I'm assuming you're looking for a sedan, but I'm just guessing…

    1989 Lexus GS 400 with 92K for $6,999
    [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/187197/WEB85394/01.jpg[/img]

    2007 Ford Fusion with 46K for $5,900
    [img] images.autotrader.com/scaler/544/408/images/2015/1/1/390/331/41374190911.390331210.IM1.04.565x421_A.562×421.jpg[/img]

    BTW, Vince are you getting any of my email?

    • You're right! Brain freeze. It's too darn cold here. Make it a GS300, then go and do the whole TT Supra thing on it at a later date.

    • Those wheels are a cost positive aspect of that particular car. In other words, sell them to some fool and get the ones you want, but not feel bad about replacing the originals!

    • There's your GS300 – 1993, $6K, 71K miles. Retrieve pipe. Embed car. Smoke.

      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/106935/4P0030067/04.jpg[/img]

    • That generation of Aristo/GS300 has no headroom, I'm not unusually tall but I simply do not fit. True also of every ES Toyota's ever sold.

      The next generation ('97, S160 is much roomier. Then they attacked it with the headroom eliminator again in 2005, it wasn't as bad as the early ones but when I put the seat where I want it the top of the windshield is a good four inches from my forehead.

      I don't recall having been in one of the current models.

    • Headroom requirements were not specified. Giraffes need not apply.


      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/5243962/4350/11.jpg[/img]

      …or coupe. You're choice!

      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/5348197/M222691/01.jpg[/img]

    • I'm trying to keep my choices as close to $6K as possible. That amount, a car with 6 cylinders…uh oh, as long as there isn't another 6 in there…

    • Nobody's going to mention the elephant in the room? I know it's not an "enthusiast" car, it wasn't defined what "best" is, the budget is so wide that it narrows down hardly anything, but it's hard to argue with a 0-60 around 5.5-6.0ish…

      2005 Honda Accord EX-L, $8,900 with 71K

      Want a little spice with your vanilla? How about a 2005 Acura TL with the Tech Package for $10K with 75K?
      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/205909/8811/01.jpg[/img]

      I've been thinking about the stigma attached to all of the cars that we've suggested; they're all a little different. Some of them make you look like a downright moron (insert your choice of derogative term) when you drive them or like the Hondas above, blend in to the point of invisibility. Like I complained about before, there's so little to go on here. There just aren't enough specifics. But you probably aren't going to go wrong with either of these, unless you're a manic enthusiast – and I get that. Sure there are issues with either of the Hondas, just like any car. But they're still a safe bet. And they're pretty new, low mileage, reliable, cheap to run, maintain and relatively fast.

    • Must have got the Accord image link wrong. Here it is:

      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/189982/S404630B/01.jpg[/img]

  • There's a lot of alternatives, the Lexus IS300 and the GS300 of similar vintage (the only GS ever to have 95th-percentile headroom, Toyota must think its target market is all short people) are a good option.

    Certainly some of the BMWs, since everyone else is throwing in various 3s I'll be contrary and propose an E39 530i.

    Or maybe a W124 300E wagon?

    Haven't been able to locate any early '50s Hudson Hornets, or early 60s Aston Martins, in the specified price range…

    • Agree on the e39 530i. Consumer Reports called it "The best car they had ever tested", and for once in my life, I agree with them on a vehicular opinion. There may not be a car before or after that was as well rounded and did as many things so well as that car. In sport package trim with a manual trans, it was a sublime place to spend some time.

    • LOL….I tend to agree with you on the Volvo reliability, truth be told—-I think I was doing a little brown-nosing to prevent angering the DT resident Volvo-adoring mods.

    • The biggest problem with the E39 is that it hit an unfortunate point in the evolution of European plastics technologies, when BMW was ferociously taking cost and weight out of their cars and being pinched by EU recyclability mandates. So a lot of the plastics and polymers used in the E39 are utter crap.

      Plastic parts from wire sleeving to windshield/rear window mouldings to some pieces of the cooling system are made from materials that start recycling themselves as soon as they're exposed to heat or sunlight.

    • Hmmmm, I've put a couple hundred thousand miles on e39's, from 528i Tourings, to M5's, and in my experience, if you budget for cooling system refurbishment every 60k miles, disposable window regulators, and disappearing MID pixels, every other component is pretty much bulletproof. My cars don't live outside though, so perhaps interior longevity is different for cars that have a ton of sun exposure.

    • Don't worry about angering any "mods" here. We don't get butthurt. I'm the one who has the most acute case of Volvovaginitis but I'm mostly infected by the older 4-cyl RWD cars. Mostly the 240 but older models too. Bash away on modern wrong-wheel drive mobiles.

  • Alfa Romeo Milano Verde. Unfortunately, this crazy priced one on FleaBay is the only one I could turn up. The last of the real Alfa's with the 3.0L Busso V-6.

  • You can probably find a Benz C36 in that price range.

    Someone, somewhere, is going to propose a B7 or C5 Audi with the 2.7 turbo six, and they're nice cars to drive if hellish to work on.

    Any good E34 M5s left around that price range?

    Frankly, though, when someone says 'is that your final answer' it probably ends up a manual version of:


    (you didn't say it had to be a US car…)

    • "Any good E34 M5s left around that price range?"

      The $5k – $10k price range? Yes, definitely. The DTM5 was in that range. And a good friend of ours recently picked up a '91 E34 M5 with low miles and not many needs for exactly $5k. They are still out there.

    • Shoulda left some more info – V6, turbo, 6-speed, wagon. Other than parts availability and the GM-ification of the Saab DNA, could be fun.

  • 6 cylinders = 911, specifically the earliest water-cooled models:

    My favorite:
    [img] images.craigslist.org/01515_8t8Xlgclnrt_600x450.jpg[/img]
    link to cl post
    And a list:

    1999-2000 porsche 911s on Carbyr

  • For top-down enjoyment, the TR6 and 986 Boxster S seem to be juuuust beyond $10k. So here's something completely different. Corrado SLC with no electrical problems* for $5k.

    [img] images.craigslist.org/01212_jp3PVYHhR64_600x450.jpg [/img]

    *all Corrados have electrical problems

    • Okay, I'll bite. What does a picture of Dominic Chianese have to do with this topic? Is this an in joke or something? Why do I have the feeling I shouldn't have asked.

      [img] peeperstv.com/pictures/381266/dominicchianesesopranos.jpg[/img]

    • Are you referencing a VW Corrado? If you think that isn't just about the most distant correlation for someone who isn't a fan of The Sopranos, it's hilarious. Cripes, I make all sorts of references to things here are on DT that are far less obtuse and I get zero feedback. Come on! You gotta be a little bit more obvious here! You may be a little too clever for the InterWebz, Paisano. Clearly, only I even wondered what you were on about. And to all you Guidos that jump all over me and my comments and state emphatically that you knew exactly what Anonymouse (please pick a user name as stated below) meant, it's too late. That ship has sailed and sunk with a cargo full of Volvos.

      [img] wreckedexotics.com/newphotos/weird/weird351.jpg[/img]

      See? I can make distant references, too! Yep, nobody cares. Still.

    • You're right, they're cool. You can still find them, but they never were super popular so it's a little tougher to find one. I'd spew out statistics about this car, but nobody cares except me so I won't. The Lexus IS300 SportCross…

      [img] images.cars.com/supersized/DMI/5256562/IM074478C/17.jpg[/img]

    • I'll also refrain from posting my personal SportCross experiences because nobody cares about that either. I'll just say that they're great cars with as many limitations as any other. If you're interested in buying one (I know you're not) and you want to know my opinion (I know you don't), I'd say go for it! A nice example will last a long time.

    • K2, poor college student here. So definitely paying attention to this thread. Always love the tid-bits and first hand experience. Also are there really e34's for 5k? my eyes went from ._. to O_O. – F.W.

    • See, Anonymous (Pick.A.Name), you've specified a parameter to the original quandary. This episode of "Match-Up" is just too broad.

      A car that's expensive to maintain and most likely more expensive to insure would not be a good example of a "best car" for someone like you. To sink, let's say, five to ten grand into an older German car would be a mistake or at best extremely risky. Look at this without emotion and just consider the depreciation on these cars. Yeah, that tells you a LOT. A 20+ year-old 5-series for a broke college kid is nightmarish. Unless you're rich or a mechanic named Heinrich, then all bets are off and nobody can tell you anything. That's just my opinion and I expect I'll get flamed for that statement. Thanks for your feedback!

    • What about these?



      or a 4 cylinder(off topic):


  • 95 Taurus SHO – $2000 – sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/4887566033.html

    [img] i.imgur.com/iXVdSQw.jpg[/img]

    74 Citroen SM with Maserati V6 – $4000 – spokane.craigslist.org/cto/4849497133.html

    [img] i.imgur.com/0APsoTC.jpg[/img]

    DeLorean prices seem to have hopped on a hoverboard

    [img] i.imgur.com/ZuXhN2b.jpg[/img]


    vince, could you put up some kind of reminder / warning here to make sure you're logged into your google account before writing up a profound and inspired comment lest google "help" you by fracking wiping it away so you can log in – grrr

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