Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: Daily For Jdah

It is Wednesday, so time for another Mid Week Match-Up, where you get to decide what other people should use to haul around their kids, dogs, and frenemies.  This week we've got a request from Jdah, who writes:

I am considering a new daily driver.  I drive an 04 wrx wagon with 140k, my wife drives an 03 wrx with 205k and we have a 01 euro van for long hauls with the kids.
I love the wrxes. They are fun to drive in wet or or dry and they have been Bulletproof. But honestly after 350k miles of wrx I am tired of them. Also in 5k my wife's car will need a timing belt and an exhaust system.

My thinking is to turn the 03 wrx into a Factory 5 track car, give my wife the 04 and get myself a newish car off lease.

Stick and AWD are a must
Car should hold 5 in a pinch
Be fun to drive and reliable

No bmws- nothing against the cars, just the tools who tend to drive them.

Okay...this  1989 Lancia Delta Integrale 16V found here on eBay might be a little out of the price range from the sale of a few 200k mile WReXes, but with a 230 horsepower Evo ECU tune, 5-speed manual, AWD, and ARREST ME looks -- this could be a winner.  Unfortunately it is neither "newish", "off lease", or remotely "reliable" so I think you guys will need to find something better for Jdah.  Maybe a Golf R32? Audi S4? Comments below.


  1. Mini Countryman Cooper S ALL4 ?

    Might not be so reliable, though.

  2. Gently used Mazdaspeed 6? Mitsubishi Evo or Ralliart?

  3. I'm a BMW driving tool, but I always use my turn signals. I wanted to get into Subarus, but they just suck in every measure. For one, why anybody would get one over an EVO completely befuddles me. They're a bitch to work on, 4wd is pointless, their gearboxes are made of glass, and they're driven almost exclusively by Vermonters and lesbians.

    If it's any consolation, I really wouldn't recommend any "newish" off lease BWMs, just the old ones.

    If making generalizations about BMW owners is acceptable, he can go enjoy his Ben and Jerry's.

    Serious advice: Mazdaspeed 6 is the answer, and I also hate the nouveau riche entitlement set that drive many modern Bavarian cars, giving me and many others a bad rap.

    1. Yeah, I'd like to help but I'm a BMW driving tool too. Not quite sure how to help someone whose purchase criteria isn't based on the car itself.

  4. "they're driven almost exclusively by Vermonters and lesbians."

    Our fearless Editor-in-Chief, the proprietor of this website, daily drives an '04 STI. I know he's not from Vermont, so...

    1. Get him in an E28 M5, we'll bring him around.

  5. The Mazdaspeed 6 was one of my considerations from my MMU a few weeks ago. There is one near me with 100k for $10K. Not sure how long it will remain a fun car to own though. How is their longevity?

    1. Honestly, I'm not sure. I know their MZR DISI engine runs a timing chain and not a belt, and they are built in Japan on a platform pretty close to a JDM Attenza (?). Having said that though, I would think any AWD turbocharged car is going to be a bit more fragile than a NA car with a simpler (read: RWD) drivetrain.
      Then again, I too am a BMW driving tool. :)

  6. I don’t like the retro styling of the MINI and find them underpowered

    Budget is 20ish, but I would stretch it for that Lancia.

    I like Mazdas and might get a Miata because Miata is always the answer, but it wont carry 5 and is not AWD. Is the Mazdaspeed 6 available with AWD. I live in the mountains of Vermont Westen Massachusetts, and need to deliver Ben & Jerry’s to lesbians orphans in all weather.

    Fuel truck- I’ve never driven an EVO and all the used ones seem to be driven hard and put away wet. I will investigate though.

    Zach I like volvo’s (my first car was a 142s and I own an 1800e)but have heard horror stories about ownership of them now.

    Slowboy I am sure you are the exception to the BMW rule but your comment about the “nouveau riche entitlement set” is exactly what I am talking about. that said an M3 is tempting. What years do you recommend?
    By the way- what is wrong lesbians and ben and Jerry’s. Sounds like a winning combo to me.

    Honestly the Lancia is very tempting. It is only an hour and a half from me and I might check it out. I love the interior and imagine the exterior would be better without the graphics. Any idea where the market on these is now? where it is headed.

    Thanks for the advice- all in good fun


    1. I'm very aware why people have preconceived notions about BMW drivers, I'm just lucky enough to live somewhere where people are largely too poor to drive them.

      I'd recommend an E46 M3, but you have to like doing your own maintenance. I've heard of people paying a grand for a valve adjustment (and the rest of a general tune up). Valve shim kits can be had pretty damn cheap these days, so your 15k service is essentially the cost of new gaskets if you do it yourself. They handle like sex and the power is plenty for most. The engine pulls from below 3krpm all the way to redline, an S54 is truly a fantastic machine. The pipes don't make the best sound in the world, and they came in coupe/convertible only, though.

      E36 M3 can be had with 4 doors, but beware, many have received little upkeep. They're not very maintenance intensive, since the US versions aren't actually that special. 240 hp is still pretty nice, and many have actually been maintained fastidiously.

      I cannot recommend an E9x M3, too expensive, not DIY friendly.

      I really, REALLY don't recommend an E30 M3. I passed on one at 10k a year before they blew up. I'm kicking myself in the balls, because that would have been a very sweet investment. I was right to pass on the car, though. They're great little things, but they don't quite live up to the hype. They're just stupid money these days. E28 M5 is a better car for less. It might handle like a car 800 pounds heavier, but if you're after lap times, the only cars from the 80's you should consider say McLaren or Lola somewhere on them, since nearly anything more modern will leave them in the dust.

  7. park $5000 in an E39 540, drive that while you're thinking about it / looking for a reasonable Lancia - sell or part trade if/when you find one - at some point, say "what the heck am i doing", spend the $15k on tools and a couple of vacations

  8. If you are building a track car you need a lot of garage time. Instead of some high cost, off lease German iron with questionable reliability I would get a brand NEW 2015 Mustang GT V8. Brand NEW gives you the best financing and a warranty. The best part is that the re-engineered 2015 Mustang is AMAZING. Anyone that says otherwise hasn't driven one and is just reflecting the old days. Test drive one.

    If you want to save money this 1991 Audi 90 Quattro 20V for $4300 sure fits the menu. AWD, stick shift, and sweet sounds from 3000~6000 rpms. Drive this slow car fast.

    1. I'll see you that Audi and raise you this one...
      1991 Audi 200 Quattro TURBO wagon - AWD 5spd - RARE! - $3800

  9. + 1 on the bmw 540i. Lots of 6 speed ones out there and once you go Bmw you'll see why people like them. E46 M3 is a fantastic car if you can do 2 door. They also made a few X3 stick shifts.

    Seriously these are the best deals in the used market. Other than Mazda few manufacturers care about how a car drives as much as BMW.

  10. + 1 on the bmw 540i. Lots of 6 speed ones out there and once you go Bmw you'll see why people like them. E46 M3 is a fantastic car if you can do 2 door. They also made a few X3 stick shifts.

    Seriously these are the best deals in the used market. Other than Mazda few manufacturers care about how a car drives as much as BMW.

  11. An early 80's 242 Volvo Turbo, 5spd stick. 4 great snow tires and the propensity for taking every turn sideways and a drive train that will outlive plutonium adds up to a great "go to" car.

    Living in northern VT for 3 decades has allowed (demanded?) the opportunity to find a car built for the conditions one lives in. Travel to any area of this country and notice that Scoobies are very rare. They convince owners that ongoing head gasket replacement must happen as frequently on all cars. Of course people afflicted with any addiction rarely think straight. Ask me how I know? My membership in the Subaru Anonymous program came after many blind encounters with blown head gaskets. Admitting this was the first step to automotive sobriety.

    I also drive a 2004 BMW 325 Touring 2wd. Over 10 years and 180K of great service it has never dissolved a head gasket. However, what the hell are "directionals" used for? I vaguely recall being aware of them. WTF, I drive a BMW. Soldier on sideways.

    1. re "a car built for the conditions" - having recently relocated from weather-free NorCal to the gale-blasted methane snowdrifts of the Neptunian sub-polar regions, i've been trying to get a sense of what would be an appropriate 4-season driver around here

      most of the available cars are imported from Europa - older Volvo would be possible, but i was also kind of hoping to score something not available in the US - Lancia and Alfa are seen, but the locals sneer at the rust propensity, parts hassle and weather capabilities, although FWD and snow tires should make it perfectly OK - i guess this would be a good subject for a future Matchup - any additional preliminary thoughts from your NorVer experience?

    2. If I could pipe in KBZ, I drove almost exclusively RWD Volvos in Maine for the few decades I lived there. I equipped the car with a set of studded snow tires and myself with a brain, and never had an issue. I'd routinely make it places my AWD driving friends couldn't. In the rare event I broke traction, RWD = Oversteer = something I can handle. FWD = understeer = have to let off throttle to regain traction, which kills forward momentum (no good for going up hills with corners).


    3. Hey Kailbeezy, The fix for snow is more tires than how many wheels or what wheels are driven.
      As an example...
      We have a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer RWD with a locking rear differential.
      When I bought it 2 years ago it had all season tires. The tread looked pretty aggressive.
      The first snow I back it into the street and put it into drive. It instantly spins both rear tires and I can do donuts on demand. It was really hard to get around in the snow, actually almost impossible. During most braking the ABS kicks in. It was totally unacceptable for the wife to drive.

      I bought another set of wheels and installed Blizzacks. The Blazer was totally transformed.
      It is now a snow monster. Just back out of the driveway and go. I could not believe the difference. We had several deep snows last year and the Blazer and the my Audi 5000 Quattro were the only cars that could make it out of the sub-division. All the soccer Mom AWD SUV's were stuck in the snow with their all season tires.

    4. i get it, and thanks for the reminder - my FWD bias comes from driving a Saab 99 through college and often being the only car in motion in a crowd of RWDs - but the causation and correlation are weakly linked in that case, much more strongly linked with snow tires - so i will worry about the proper issue... rust

      so how about rust recommendations? - either cars that don't have the problem so much, or your thoughts on whether there's a real treatment option that's worth it

      jefe: i will figure out a way to make this sidetrack into a matchup post, ok? - because i have a couple other considerations that aren't rust and snow related

    5. Since Detroit is built on a giant salt mine we probably have the heaviest salted roads in the nation. On these heavily salted roads I commute 550 miles a week. I have done that for 25 years, so I have lots of experience. All my commuter cars are killed by rust and not by wearing out. The car gets peppered by stones during the non-winter months and salt finds those chips in the winter. The trick to making the car last is making sure the undercarriage and structural body stays in good condition so the car can be repaired.

      People always say "new cars don't need rust proofing". Believe that and your car is toast unless you are always trading it in for a new one.
      Start out with a rust free car. Get it Ziebart undercoated including drilling the holes in the body to fill inside. It doesn't hurt to tip the guy $40 before he does the job and tell him you will check his work. Do this undercoating BEFORE it is ever exposed to salt.
      Then find a car wash that sprays the underside of the car. Use that regularly during the winter months.

      I usually skip all the follow up inspections. I also skip all the yearly oiling rituals that other people use. They work, but it is too much work for your daily beater car. (winter beater car is the next thing to discuss) Your project car or nice car should NEVER be winter driven.


    6. Yeah, some folks moved here from Michigan and I was surprised to see cancer on their late model Ford Escape. You never see late model cars with rust on them here unless they came from somewhere else.

    7. For my beater cars I usually keep the car body regularly waxed and cleaned. However, I don't fix any mild body rust as it occurs. It is a loosing battle if the car will continue to see more salt in the coming winter seasons.
      Car color helps you disguise the rust while colors like white make it look worse than it really is!

      The killer for me is when everything you work on just breaks due to rust. You start replacing brake line after brake line, fuel line after fuel line. That can be a real problem as the suspension mounting points are rusted or other structural issues. I start over with another rust free, low mileage car that I usually buy out of state or from an estate. That is usually every 5~6 years or 180,000 miles.

      I have never had a bad engine, transmission, or rear end on all my beater cars because I am a maintenance nut. Rust is what made me retire them.

    8. As the former owner of an E36 M3 I have say it was a marvelous car -- handled well, steering was nirvana, and I saved a bunch of money on blinker bulbs...but to the average dude if I said I drove a BMW they'd say " you must be rich" and an M3 "You must be a rich douche who likes to run over puppies". What they didn't know is that it was a 170k mile M3 freshly restored from an accident/drug bust with a salvage title that I'd picked up fro $6k. That was less than the options cost on the Brand X/Y/Z CUV they were driving...and I'm the dbag?? Anyway, sold that car a year later (broke even) and then proceeded to go through a few other similar cars (about one a year) until I landed on the 04 STi that I'm driving right now. It could be because of my love of the ladies (or ben 'n' jerrys) but I've been stuck with it. Sure, it makes a noise like an industrial shop vac blowing through a trombone filled with loose chunks of whale blubber, and has styling of an 8+ LEGO kit..but it just does everything right. Fits my 3 kids in the (ish)...and bloody fast. is the real kicker. I bought it 4 years ago and it hasn't lost a dime of value. KBB value actually went up in the first 2 years of ownership and now it is back to where it was when I bought it, including the miles I've put on it.
      However...I wouldn't recommend it to everyone -- you really have to be willing to do your own wrenching (I replaced the clutch at 70k miles...$350 cost...but it took me a month...with a lift) and it wouldn't be a good car for a long commute.

    9. When you figured up your cost of ownership for the STi, did you factor in all the flat brimmed hats you had to buy? haaaaaaaaa! I kid, I kid!

    10. People don't get it, but the flat brim hit is a necessity -- have you ever opened a can of monster energy drink while hitting a speed bump in an STi -- FORGET IT! That green stuff gets in your eyes, you'll be blinded, and only a flat-brim will keep you safe.

      Another true thing about STi drivers -- they ALWAYS wave/peace sign/head nod each other from across 4 lanes of highway. I call it the flatbrim salute. Of course I'm not going to NOT wave back to the other STi owner...he might go to school with my kid.

    11. No foolin', the company for whom I work handles warehousing for Monster's parent company. That stuff (Monster) when spilled will turn epoxy-resin coated concrete into syrup if left unattended for 24 hours. We had to cordon off a special part of our warehouse and layer it deep with flat brim hats to protect the concrete. Flat brim hats are the only way to protect against accidental damage... they also protect well against intentional contact with a member of the opposite sex.

    12.'re telling me it's more cost effective to layer the floor in Flat brim hats, vs just equipping all the workers with DC shoes? Cause, they are Monster-proof too.

  12. The Fart can Subaru driver's are the worst on the road in my book..Hate that water-cooled pancake exhaust sound.Go play your video game and stay off my street you phuckers STIG

  13. JB1025 - expressed with conviction for sure. It may help you achieve a more peaceful posture if you see the people in a car so low that, well just freaking low, and so loud and usually driven incredibly poorly, as being really, really pathetically stupid, not intending to offend.

    Everytime someone throws bricks through their windshield or calls the cops with false reports of drug deals and/or child molestation activity they must not make a connect. My bet is they think everyone gets thrown to the ground and is given a cavity search. "What you looking for, MF'er?"

    It helps me to delude myself with these alternative theories so I am not driven to violence by the aesthetic assault alone. My theory is they pay the price for bad taste when they ignore the oil looking like Bechamel sauce for too long and the engine seizes up tighter than they do before another roadside search.

    What else could you possibly do that would cause them to change their lack of thinking. Now onto the outrageous number of E46 and E39 BMW's slammed to the ground bobbing along on 1" of the tire's outer tread. Now those assholes.................

  14. Hate to sound like a old grouch had a pretty hot 56 Chevy in High School and drove a little crazy @ times and i use to like Subarus but so sick of boy& gurl racers and there pop-off valves just so many of them and they think there 4 wheel drive will go any where including the space you are in. Generation Gap you bet if i was eighteen i might be among them
    I just see there stupid antic's on the road go to a track if you want to kill yourself.Yes there are other imports street racers's Honda, Nissan but the Subie crowd seems to attract the most offs.Sorry if this was not the intent of this piece but i do feel better now !

    1. Another way to look at it is that they are budding enthusiasts of which according to popular media (with an agenda) there aren't supposed to be any more of in their generation. Their cars aren't my cuppa, but at least they are doing something other than snapchat in their room. Maybe they just need some direction from older enthusiasts. Their parents probably aren't petrolheads and probably drove them around in minivans.


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