1k: 5-speeds, Boosted: 1996 Volvo 850
The Volvo 850 was released in 1992 as the modernized reboot of the boxy, but obsolete, 240 sedan. Even though power went to the front wheels (a first for a Volvo in the USA), it was every bit as capable a car as its predecessor, if not as boxy. The R version is the hot one to get, but prices reflect its exclusivity, and picking up a modified basic 850 might make sense for the penny pincher. Find this 1996 Volvo 850 here on eBay currently bidding for $1,025 with a few hours to go.
The Volvo 850 wasn’t just the first North American front-driver, it was also the first time Volvo shoved an inline-5 sideways in a car. The combo seems to have worked because Volvo is now the go-to marque for finding slightly out of balance engines mounted off-kilter. An inline-5 has a pretty nasty sounding exhaust note, so you may as well muffle it with a turbo while you are in there.
Under the hood is what appears to be a B5234T — a 2.3 liter inline-5 good for 222 horsepower when boosted with the stock Mitsubishi TD04-15g turbo. This one has a bigger turbo, big exhaust, and the seller claims 280 horsepower and it should be a handful.
See another manual transmission and decently quick late model for cheap? firstname.lastname@example.org
I take that back. I believe that this is not an R model and I think it might be a little bit scary. The car was apparently sold about a year ago in FL for $2K. In that time, 0 miles were put on it. That may or may not be a bad thing but the previous owner, who was a college student, stated that the odo was inop when he owned it. Either there have been zero miles put on it, it's still broken and who knows how many miles are really on it or they just fixed it.
The current buyer is now the fourth owner.
It's a mess. This is the sort of car that you're probably going to part out when you're done with it. Or it's done with you, whichever comes first. My money is on the later.