Mid Week Match-Up: Something Less Sketchy

This week’s Mid Week Match-Up comes from reader OGwagon who writes:

My girl’s Toyota 2002 Corolla is getting too sketchy to drive after doing
a 720 on the 101 that ended in an unhappy meeting with the guardrail
following a deluge last December. Being located in the Bay Area there
seems to be a plethora of cool interesting rides to choose from.

She wants something economical & is looking at other Corollas
including some salvage titles. Her budget is $8K. Delightfully she
really enjoys driving a manual, so though they are getting increasingly
rare that would be a big bonus. We’ve looked at Camrys, Priuses (Prii?)
& a Hyundai wagon but none felt right to her.  I was all psyched on
the 5speed Jag in Santa Barbara fer $5K but know that the price of entry
is only the beginning with those beautiful creatures.

It is a great era to be a driver of cheap cars — the list of modern/reliable/safe cars that can be picked up for $5-8k and driven everyday is almost limitless.  For a fraction of the original MSRP you can pickup something like this 1996 BMW Z3 offered here on eBay for $4,500 buy-it-now  located in Los Angeles, CA.

 What manual transmission vehicles for less than $8k do you guys recommend to OGwagon for his girl?  Comments below.