This next car comes as a tip from Art C who writes: I totally forgot Mazda put a stick in a minivan!! Could be a fun DD for someone to haul around drums or kids or all sorts of bulky items. Yup, only Mazda would put a 5-speed in a car that seats 6 people (7 with the JDM center seat setup known as the Karakuri seating system, which apparently didn’t meet USA crash standards but was good enough for Japanese and ROW). Find this 2009 Mazda 5 Touring offered for $4,400 in East Windsor, CT via craigslist.
BMW built an astonishing 2.5 million E30s in coupe, sedan, estate & convertible trim from 1982 through 1994. The ursprünglicher gangster BMW 3-series was a successful yuppy-mobile when new and has generated a significant cult following as a cheap, fun & reliable sports sedan…but don’t expect the prices to stay low forever. This next example is offered with the low power Eta inline-6, but it has a manual gearbox and is free some a sunroof, so I give it 1.5 thumbs up. Find this 1984 BMW 325E offered for $8500 in Sun City, AZ via craigslist.
I’ve wanted to own a C5 generation Corvette Z06 since they came out of the factory for the 2001 model year for its blistering performance and basic good looks, and that desire didn’t wane as they’ve depreciated in price. My biggest concern (aside from things like shifting tectonic plates making my house closer to my neighbor and zombie sasquatch invasion) is that I’ll miss the window to buy the zed-ought-six before they become the playthings of wealth collectors. Find this 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 bidding for $7600 reserve-not-met with 5 days to go located in Morgantown, PA via eBay.
Back in 2004 the suburban warriors and middle aged house wives (and house husbands) who jumped on the opportunity to buy the base model of Porsche’s first SUV were probably not familiar with the term VR6. But if you tell a proper car guy, he’s gonna say, Jetta or Golf? Because the VR6 is synonymous with Volkswagen and those Porsche jacket wearing folks didn’t know they’d just purchased something that shared an engine with a Golf. But the jokes on Porsche because the little VR6 is cheaper and easier to maintain over some complicated twin-turbo Porsche and I’d rather fix this thing on the side of the trail than something with a boosted V8. Find this 2004 Porsche Cayenne offered for $18000 in Colorado Springs, CO via eBay.
I knew a guy who purchased a (new or almost new) Nissan 350Z convertible that looked very much like this next car. It had a manual gearbox and a ragtop and he loved that car. Drove the daylights out of it. Until the day he rolled his topless Z somewhere up in the mountains and ended up with a massive headwound (broken collar bones, broken arm, broken everything, released from the hospital still with dirt in his bloodied head because they couldn’t find his insurance card or ID and he didn’t know his name, so they thought he was a deadbeat) and doesn’t remember 24 hours of his life. But here is the kicker, because after he got out of the hospital he took the insurance payout and purchased a Toyota Prius. No joke. I guess what I’m saying is…don’t drive a 350Z and bash your head on a rock, unless you want to drive a Prius. Find this 2006 Nissan 350Z offered for $6,500 in Lake Forest, CA via craigslist.
These next two cars make for an interesting comparison because they are both front-wheel-drive and equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, but the similarities end there. In fact, the thing that makes these car even remotely interesting to compare is that they are sold by the same seller in one craigslist advert. Would you prefer this 2009 Volkswagen Golf offered for $4000 or 1994 Mercury Tracer offered for $1200 in Hartford, CT via craigslist. Tip from ME
-five grand doesn’t get you much in a used car nowadays, particularly given the current level of insanity with late model used cars. You could get some 60k mile used 5-year old economy sedan or a 7 year old SUV…or you could put your man pants on and buy a 13 year old BMW M6 with a V10 and 6-speed manual gearbox. Find this 2009 BMW M6 convertible offered for $25,000 in Fort Worth, TX via craigslist.
The third generation of Audi’s S6 platform is known for having a V10 engine that shares some similarities with Lamborghini’s V10 that lived in the Gallardo. The V10 is simultaneously the best thing about the C6 generation Audi A6 and the worst. The best because everybody needs a V10 and the worst because you might spend more to maintain it than Caltrans spends to maintain the 405 freeway. Today’s S6 is offered for a price that is somehow lower than the slammed suspension. Find this 2008 Audi S6 V10 offered for $8999 in New York, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Seeing a car like this reminds me that Honda made some great manual transmission equipped cars back in the 1990s and this one is…whoa…2010? Are you serious? A 6-speed manual in a 2-door Honda coupe in 2010? Hang on. Consults various interweb sources of information. This is the 8th generation Accord, 2008-2012 and obviously it was available with a stick, it was replaced with the 9th gen Accord 2013-2017 which was also available with a 6-speed in the i-4 and V6 coupe, which was then replaced by the 10th generation Accord which started in 2018 and was available with a 6-speed in a sedan (the coupe was discontinued) until the 2021 model year when Honda made the Accord only available with some terrible CVT or a 10-speed-slushbox. We only have ourselves to blame because instead of driving new cars we’ve been tooling around in old depreciated manual-gearbox BMWs and 60s muscle cars but I still weep for the future of mankind. Find this 2010 Honda Accord Coupe offered for $8,600 in Sunnyvale, CA via craigslist.
I’ve spent the better part of the past six months complaining about how expensive used late model (5 year old-ish) cars are these days and for good reason, they are stupidly priced and total garbage. But this next car is only one of those things. I’ll give you a hint — it isn’t overpriced. But it is one of GM’s bargain basement parts-bin specials that are sold to unsuspecting buyers who could have gotten a Toyota or Honda. But the lowest optioned Cruze was available with a 138 horsepower 1.4 liter Ecotec turbo-4 that was attached to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. Find this 2014 Chevrolet Cruze offered for $5900 in Space Coast, FL via craigslist.