Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: Fun & Topless in Mid-Atlantic

Today's Mid Week Match-Up (the Wednesday feature where you as the reader help match car with driver) comes as a request from DT regular AbnMike, who writes:
I have a request. My friends back east are looking for something "fun" and "topless", and vastly different than what I think of when those two words are together.
Married, two young kids. They are looking at a 2005 Mini convertible. Personally if I were going the mini route I'd go with the original one, instead of the newer models, but their idea of fun is driving it, not working on it. Not my choice of course but I've also heard bad things about the maintenance costs, burning through clutches, etc.




I suggested a Jeep. This is a fun car, remember, as they already have the nuclear family mini van and a Subaru.  They claim that any Jeep for their cash price ($4000 to $5000, no higher) is rattle canned, wore out, etc, but are not against the Jeep.
Any other suggestions for a "fun" car that can be used on weekends or in inclement weather (he rides motorcycles to work), reasonably safe, topless, and with lower maintenance costs or maintenance that can be performed with a Pep Boys credit card and a weekend (oil changes, etc)? Needs to be a four seater and be able to hold two car seats.  Mid-Atlantic area.


DT E-i-C Vince: I'm going to suggest an E46 generation BMW 3-series, not the M3 (that'll cost $200 for oil changes) or a rattle canned salvage 330ci, but for a $5k budget you can buy the nicest 323ci convertible in the country, so why not?  Like this 2000 BMW 323ci convertible offered for $3,610 here on eBay located in Levittown, PA.  Okay, its got a slushbox mated to the basic M52 inline-6 rated at 168 horsepower, but this thing has only 55k miles on the odo and it looks nice.  Should be good for a few more miles before the cooling system explodes.  

22 comments:

  1. 94 Mercedes E320 Cabriolet for $3800 - this one has high miles, but it's built for the ages and life in NorCal means rust won't be an issue - drive it back across the country via the southern route for convertible weather

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    Replies
    1. built for the ages except for the biodegradable wiring harness, which began biodegrading well before Mother Earth was ready to have it back.

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    2. i've heard of that, although my sources say there's an 80% chance it's a $75 fix with a new partial harness - odds this one got to 209,000 miles with failing electrics?

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  2. ^ Beautiful! Think of how much cocaine was sniffed cocaine on that pristine armrest.

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    Replies
    1. As an owner of a 2005 Mini Cooper S convertible, I can give it a positive review on operation costs. Over the past 8 years or so, I have had a couple things worked on (ball joint and power steering hoses) and the costs were reasonable. It is easy enough to do brakes, plugs, oil changes and other basic things. IMHO, not a bad choice for a fun car, though there may be better options that have dropped further down the depreciation curve.

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    2. Yeah, for a sample size of two, I've not had a terribly expensive experience with my 2005 Cooper S Hardtop. I bought it new at the end of 2004 and it has about 105k on it. Expensive stuff was the power steering pump that MINI subsequently warranty-ed and paid for my repair - parts & labor (at an indy shop even) and the harmonic dampener recently.

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  3. Mustang convertible, if their car seats fit.

    Plentiful, cheap, and easy to maintain. Many versions and powertrain options at that price.

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    Replies
    1. Need a little more room?

      Pontiac G6 Converitble
      http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/5257384948.html

      Saab 9-3 Convertible
      http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/5261679428.html

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  4. I was looking for a similar type of car last year for my wife in the Washington DC area. I ended up buying a 2004 Saab 9-3 convertible for $4k with 95K. The car has been great except for the top's hydraulic seals which have started to fail one by one. These parts can be rebuilt, but it's not cheap. Apparently, M-Bs from the same period have the same problem. I wanted front-wheel drive for the winter, but if I were to do it over again I'd have gone with an E46 325ci and gotten a second set of wheels with snow tires.

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  5. uh, anyone notice the flat tire on the bimmer? not a big deal by any means, but odd. Still seems doable - gotta like the no reserve auction.

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  6. uh, anyone notice the flat tire on the bimmer? not a big deal by any means, but odd. Still seems doable - gotta like the no reserve auction.

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  7. M3 oil change kit is $90 for US folks if you do it yourself. More for Canadians.

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  8. Thanks for the suggestions! (sorry couldn't comment yesterday, had to put bread on the table)

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  9. The above eBay E46 BMW has bad tires. Look at the cracking between the outside lugs. Just replace them with tires of your choice. This BMW, plus tires, plus delivery costs are going to exceed $5k.

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    Replies
    1. Good advice for any car with Goodyear tires, cracked or not. ;-)

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  10. How about a older Celica or Mits spyder drop top...

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  11. One of my buddys bought a 04/320 Mercedes drop top under 75K on the clock very nice well maintained a few years ago for $5k

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  12. 02/320 http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5285207034.html

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