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Thread: £4K for a 2 seat roadster

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    Regular findlay's Avatar
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    £4K for a 2 seat roadster

    Completely hypothetical but £4K buys a whole range of, once expensive, 2 seat roadsters these days. Question is, where would your money go? Recently I’ve spotted (well within budget):
    Z4 2.5 (pre LCI)
    MX5 NC 2.0
    Boxster S (leggy at 130k miles)
    (Merc SLK and Audi TT also in budget but terminally dull)

    Qualifying points: road use only, maybe 2k miles a year. Limited budget for expensive repairs. Something that can live outside. Relatively depreciation proof.

    I suspect the Mazda would rot the most. The Pork would hold the greatest propensity to be financially ruinous and the Zed would be the dullest to drive.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by findlay; 01-07-2019 at 11:37 PM.
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    You forgot

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    Completely hypothetical but £4K buys a whole range of, once expensive, 2 seat roadsters these days. Question is, where would your money go? Recently Iíve spotted (well within budget):
    Z4 2.5 (pre LCI)
    MX5 NC 2.0
    Boxster S (leggy at 130k miles)
    (Merc SLK and Audi TT also in budget but terminally dull)

    Qualifying points: road use only, maybe 2k miles a year. Limited budget for expensive repairs. Something that can live outside. Relatively depreciation proof.

    I suspect the Mazda would rot the most. The Pork would hold the greatest propensity to be financially ruinous and the Zed would be the dullest to drive.

    Thoughts?
    A few years ago mum replaced her Silver Mk2 MX5 with a Silver Mk3 MX5* - 2 litre, poverty spec.

    At the time I mostly mocked it for being the fat and boaty, ginger stepchild of the MX5 world.

    Up until I was at home for a few weeks and stole it to use as my runaround, at which point I decided I probably want to own one.

    As a car to drive in a sporting manner it's a real laugh, good brakes, nice steering, *sufficient* power to make progress - and most importantly it makes you smile when you drive it
    I even got close to a Cliche Bingo Full House when I snapped a pic of my BGF driving it, with the roof down, with a rainbow in the background...

    What impressed me most was how good it is as "a car" - I'd happily own one for commuting in, whether on A roads or motorways. The heating and ventilation all work, so do the wipers, the poverty spec OE stereo played music, the roof was an absolute joy to put up and down (manual roof, effortlessly simple)

    You know it will be reliable, will be good on fuel, will cost pennies to run and parts will be cheap.





    *She then bought a silver 5.7 Monaro shortly before turning 70, because she seems to be on a run of silver cars and the Monaro was the obvious follow on from a Mk2 and Mk3 MX5

  4. #4
    Regular Ian H's Avatar
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    Mx5, cheap fun driving.

    Avoid the boxster, as stated will deplete you of money quicker than a Las Vegas hooker!
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    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Can you stretch to a 3.0 Z4? Iíd have that over an mx5.
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    MG TF, you know you want to....
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    I'd try an MR2, just to be a bit left field. Everyone goes for the MX5 (Yeah, I know....with good reason)


    Or for just over half the price, buy a hugely over engineered piece of recent automotive history, it'll do 155 and sub 4s to 60...and 40 plus mpg...AND its Very F##### Red

    Geddit...you know it makes sense

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  8. #8
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsaunders View Post
    Can you stretch to a 3.0 Z4? I’d have that over an mx5.
    And I should add, that I’ve owned both a mk2 1.8iS and the 3.0 Z4.

    I think the Z is a bit underrated, a hangover from the Z3 (although I would love a 3.0 widebody) and outclassed against the Boxster. But it is a great drive and pretty bomb-proof in my experience. Just get it off the runflats, fast.

    MX5s are great, and I’m led to believe that a good geo on a mk3, or just a mk3.5, gets it on form. However, I think the 6 in the Z adds character, 230 bhp isn’t to be sniffed at and it makes for ‘lazy’ skids and the cabin is way better. I’d probably take a stock Z over a stock mx5 on track too.

    I think maybe the Mx5 is the better ‘brain out, 10/10s’ car, but the Z4 would run it close and is just a nicer thing at 9/10s or less.

    On the fringe of budget is the 350z convertible. Always had a thing for the coupe, so I’d want to drive the rag top before settling on anything else. The only ‘big’ rag top with a slippy diff...
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  9. #9
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    I'd try an MR2, just to be a bit left field. Everyone goes for the MX5 (Yeah, I know....with good reason)


    Or for just over half the price, buy a hugely over engineered piece of recent automotive history, it'll do 155 and sub 4s to 60...and 40 plus mpg...AND its Very F##### Red

    Geddit...you know it makes sense

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classif...us=1500&page=3
    I know of one that is probably for sale. In Sittingbourne, Kent.

    Who is taking the second leg?
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    NC MX5, or Modded NA/NB.

    MK3 MR2 a great shout, especially if you can find a Celica engined modded one :D.
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    Happy to collect from a mile outside Sittingbourne and drop it a mile outside Aberdeen.
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  12. #12
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post

    Happy to collect from a mile outside Sittingbourne and drop it a mile outside Aberdeen.
    Youíve got to give me a little run on it first!

    The owner is 70, has had it for years and last time I spoke to him it was in the category of Ďnot being used, just costing money, really should goí.
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    Regular Tim in Yorkshire's Avatar
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    I presume the Z4s are viable everyday cars?

    I found with my Mk1 MX5s (NA?) they goaded me into thrashing them everywhere, meaning I drove like a twunt.

    Does the Z4 do relaxing as well?

    And some comfort?
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  14. #14
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim in Yorkshire View Post
    I presume the Z4s are viable everyday cars?

    I found with my Mk1 MX5s (NA?) they goaded me into thrashing them everywhere, meaning I drove like a twunt.

    Does the Z4 do relaxing as well?

    And some comfort?
    My Z4, on 18s, non-RFT was always firm but comfortable. I commuted 5 hours a day in it, once or twice a week for a year, so very much doable.

    I think the power throughout the rev-range allowed you to be a bit more lazy. Didnít have to rev the tits off it in order to get barely acceptable performance.

    Plenty of 3-series DNA in that car
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    Z4 3.0 owner here. Just over your budget.

    I bought it because of that wonderful straight six, 3.0 engine, the soft top, reliability, looks (to me) and it's kinda cool! I've had random women stop me and ask for a ride in it. Seriously. That's never happened to me before (queue a wicked Weeman comment in 3, 2, ..1).

    37 mpg on the computer average.

    Nice noises.

    Goes very well, although I was out dragged in a traffic light race by a Mk6 Golf GTI. In my defense I had MeJulie in the passenger seat and a gearbox in the boot.

    350z looks good if a little bloated.

    Honda S2000, would be good if I could find one that cheap or without serious rust.

    I couldn't see anything else at the money that did all these things I wanted a car to do. I looked on PH and Autotrader last night for a replacement, even up to £10k and there's only Renault Magane's and a leggy 135i (which caught my eye).
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    Regular Mike Roberts's Avatar
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    I'd like an NC - Set of skinny ditchfinders and all of the fun at licence friendly speeds
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  17. #17
    Z3 2.8 or Z3 3.0

  18. #18
    Regular findlay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sim View Post
    Z3 2.8 or Z3 3.0
    Dad had a 2.2 Z3 many moons ago and it was a floppy sow of a thing compared to my NA MX5. I wouldn't class it as a "fun" car, more boulevard cruiser.
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    Regular stevem's Avatar
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    E46M3 ... cab ?
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    Dad had a 2.2 Z3 many moons ago and it was a floppy sow of a thing compared to my NA MX5. I wouldn't class it as a "fun" car, more boulevard cruiser.
    Suspension kit

    3.0L is sub 6 second to 60, same power and slightly lighter than the normal 3.0L Z4

  21. #21
    Regular findlay's Avatar
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    Suspension kit would help, but it always felt like torsional rigidity that really let the car down. It was far more inclined to tramline and wander then the MX5 ever did.
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    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    Suspension kit would help, but it always felt like torsional rigidity that really let the car down. It was far more inclined to tramline and wander then the MX5 ever did.
    Thatís probably a fair synopsis. You could buy a Z3 with a roof...

    The Z4 is quite a different beast though. BMW got much better at the old torsional rigidity thing in the 90s. I remember a boast at the time that the E46 cab was something like 2x as rigid as its predecessor and actually gave better figures than the E36 coupe. But then there is marketing and there is fact...

    Anyway, my standard Z4 3.0 was night and day better than my standard nb mx5 1.8iS 99% of the time. I would say that 1% was when I was driving like a cock in the wet and the LSD in the Mazda came into its own. Obviously you could throw mods at the Mazda and switch the ratio around a bit, but thatís cheating. A diff could be stuck in the Z4 too if mods are an option.

    I think that it is just a case of driving some. I think Iím in the Chris Harris camp to an extent. The mx5 isnít some holy grail of sports cars. It is just cheap, tuneable and a very different kettle of fish to the hot hatches of the 90s and early 00s. Itís good, but it doesnít best everything. There are enough competitors out there that will be nicer to jump in and drive errands, have modern performance car performance levels and that extra grunt will make you laugh more often...
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    I’d take a 3.0 Z4 over an MX5 all day long but if the budget can only stretch to a 4 pot BMW or a rough 2.5 one, I’d probably find a nice mx5 or something else.

    Simons Z4 was mine before and I thought it stacked up as a car you’d want to thrash on a Sunday morning mainly due to the 6 under the bonnet. Wasn’t fast as such but was a nice place to be.

    If you want to feel what’s happening under the front wheels there much better things out there.

    I was spoilt at the time as I had the Z4, an M Coupe and a super charger NA mx5 so feel informed enough by my comments. Personally the M coupe drove the best but you know that. Second was the mx5 and then the Z4. I’d take them out in that order everytime given a choice.
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    Almost forgot - how about a Smoadster?

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  25. #25
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrewt View Post
    Iíd take a 3.0 Z4 over an MX5 all day long but if the budget can only stretch to a 4 pot BMW or a rough 2.5 one, Iíd probably find a nice mx5 or something else.

    Simons Z4 was mine before and I thought it stacked up as a car youíd want to thrash on a Sunday morning mainly due to the 6 under the bonnet. Wasnít fast as such but was a nice place to be.

    If you want to feel whatís happening under the front wheels there much better things out there.

    I was spoilt at the time as I had the Z4, an M Coupe and a super charger NA mx5 so feel informed enough by my comments. Personally the M coupe drove the best but you know that. Second was the mx5 and then the Z4. Iíd take them out in that order everytime given a choice.
    Yep, I think Iíd take a supercharged mk1 on Ohlins suspension and with a bunch of bracing over a Z4 3.0 too!
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  26. #26
    I'd be looking at a 2.5 boxster.

    They are a bit cheaper than the 3.2, have a very sweet engine but not as torquey. The price difference between a worn out one and a well maintained one is not vast. (So look for a well cared for private sale)

    No scary IMS issues on the 2.5 but usual boxster warnings to look for worn/noisy suspension, rads, aircon (if fitted). 2.5's often don't have as nice a spec as a 3.2 but same fantastic handling and great induction noise.

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    Last edited by edh; 04-07-2019 at 08:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    I suspect the Mazda would rot the most. The Pork would hold the greatest propensity to be financially ruinous and the Zed would be the dullest to drive.

    Thoughts?
    I reckon you've already nailed it in that sentence.

    as said before the smart money might actually be on the boxster 2.5 rather than the 3.2 as you'd get a newer and not so leggy example.

    I seem to recall from my time in Scotland that corrosion is a real problem for cars that are used year round, so the fewer miles the better as you stand more of a chance of the car having lived its winters in a garage ... perhaps ?
    the older I get, the faster I used to be.

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    I'm getting old.

    I want a Merc R129 500SL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sim View Post
    I want a Merc R129 500SL
    You and the rest of the internets :D

    MX5 or MR2, still for me. Z4 Coupe, if you can stretch the budget a little.
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  30. #30
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    Empty the garage. Find some more dollars. Buy a caterham.
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  31. #31
    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevem View Post
    Empty the garage. Find some more dollars. Buy a caterham.
    Best suggestion I've heard!
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  32. #32
    Left field choice merc slk 280 320 or 350 manual, I'm discounting the spakomatics natch, as assuming you actually enjoy driving, rare in manual & no doubt UB will say they are terrible motors, but a bit different & a six pot, or the sc 4 pots are more plentiful if you are a fan.
    Last edited by lizard; 04-07-2019 at 09:51 PM.
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    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizard View Post
    Left field choice merc slk 280 320 or 350 manual, I'm discounting the spakomatics natch, as assuming you actually enjoy driving, rare in manual & no doubt UB will say they are terrible motors, but a bit different & a six pot, or the sc 4 pots are more plentiful if you are a fan.
    M272 v6 made between 2005 and 2008 are afflicted with balancer sprocket wear. Expensive to fix. 2008 on are fine.

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    Last edited by Uncle Benz; 05-07-2019 at 06:11 AM.
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  34. #34
    Regular findlay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizard View Post
    Left field choice merc slk 280 320 or 350 manual, I'm discounting the spakomatics natch, as assuming you actually enjoy driving, rare in manual & no doubt UB will say they are terrible motors, but a bit different & a six pot, or the sc 4 pots are more plentiful if you are a fan.

    Not a fan of the SLK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post
    Buy that. Seriously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsaunders View Post
    Buy that. Seriously.

    Thanks Simon!

    (I agree, obviously...)

  38. #38
    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    Not a fan of the SLK.
    55AMG with a KW v3 suspension kit and tweaked geo is a better car than you might expect. Sadly a little over your budget.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post
    +1
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  40. #40
    Regular stevem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Benz View Post
    55AMG with a KW v3 suspension kit and tweaked geo is a better car than you might expect. Sadly a little over your budget.
    Drove it today. It still makes all the noises . She still isn't allowed to sell it.
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  41. #41
    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevem View Post
    Drove it today. It still makes all the noises . She still isn't allowed to sell it.
    I miss it. Not quite as much as the Caterham, but significantly nonetheless
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  42. #42
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    Buy Kurt's car
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  43. #43
    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian H View Post
    Buy Kurt's car
    This.
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  44. #44
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    That age of MR2 can be properly lairy. I watched a colleague get completely sideways on the roundabout immediately outside of work years ago, and I'm still not sure if it was deliberate or not.
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  45. #45
    Regular findlay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post

    There is a VVTi MR2 locally for £1.2k. I know Harris prefers MR2s to MX5s which did make me wonder if they were worth a punt!



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  46. #46
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    Test drive it and then buy Kurtís :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post
    Test drive it and then buy Kurt’s :D
    No commision has been offered, just in case you're wondering!

    I've driven mx5s and mr2s extensively. They're both great cars IMO so I am not sure why the otherwise brilliant Harris has an issue with the mx5, but if it helps that he prefers the mr2 then great!

    A 190bhp Yamaha developed engine that revs to 8k (and is more reliable than the stock 140bhp 1zz unit) makes a much better car though. Similar fuel economy to stock as well. High 30s mpg is routine in road use.
    Last edited by KurtR; 09-07-2019 at 11:27 AM. Reason: typo

  48. #48
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    Not on commision but £800 for 40 extra BHP, more revs, and great reliability = a no brainer? I'd like to think you get most of that £800 back at resale too.
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  49. #49
    Regular Mike Roberts's Avatar
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    Has he bought Kurt's car yet?
    Takes a lot of skill to look this bad you know...

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post
    That looks good for the dough.

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