5. Makoto - 1998 Ford Escort zx2.
I hated this car, it was absolutely awful. It ended up in a ditch. I’m okay with that.
4. Camry - 2002 Toyota Camry
It was free to me. It was solid and reliable. It held a good number of people. Had cruise control. Point A to Point B. My father used to refer to it as his “poor man’s Lexus” before he gave it to me.
3. GA3 - 2000 Honda Logo TS
Roughly as powerful as the Honda Civic coming in at number 2 before it was tuned, most people with a passing knowledge of my work on Jalopnik already know a lot about this car and how far it has come since I picked it up for about $975. It’s a Honda Civic in a smaller body. But it’s still a D-series motor. It IS possible to put a VTEC head on it, it is also possibly to swap in a B or K series. There are examples of it being done in YouTube.
For all intents and purposes, it’s a Civic variant, even though it’s not called that, not identified as such, but it shares plenty of components with other Hondas, including having the three point leather wrapped steering wheel which can also be found some Preludes and in the DC2 Integra Type R. The design language of the lips and side skirts are pretty identical to the higher Civic trims and the automatic folding mirrors are the same as the Type R. It’s just a squashed version that also comes in 4 doors. It was the experiment that became, in 2002, the Fit.
I still have a lot of work to do on it, and unfortunately, living in Tokyo, I no longer have a real place to work on it. Sad. :/
2. Miyuu - 2000 Honda Civic hatchback
Did a lot of the work myself, did tons of modifications, think my choices as clearly shown for a modified Honda were rather sedate, except for maybe the carbon fibre hood... Got stripped in front of my house while I was sleeping. Used the money to buy number 1 on this list.
1. 3er - 2000 BMW 3-Series
Honestly, the 3er was the best vehicle I ever owned. It was mostly reliable, less so than the Camry, but unlike the Camry, was CPO and BMW covered the work. It was 240HP, Bose audio system, and so smooth. I want to point this out, for those of you in Texas, I bought this from BMW of Austin, and I was very happy with the sales part of it... And extremely unhappy with the service. As some things started to go wrong with the car, and I remind you this was a CPO, BMW of Austin eventually just “declined to honor the warranty for these repairs.”
Classic BMW in DFW (Plano, specifically, I think), swung into action and covered all my future problems from that point on. They even put one of their sort of calling card Texas flags on the back for free, and always treated me like I mattered just as much as someone who had not only bought the car from them in the first place, but just as well as someone who paid a hell of a lot more for their brand new best of everything model. I never, ever had to wait to be seen, I always got time with the head of the service department, I was always given a choice of beverages, I don’t think I ever heard a single “no” or “that might be difficult.” Just a “We’ll figure it out, and get back to you” or “we’ll send you regular updates and keep you in the loop.”
Although I got rid of the car after moving to Japan, I told Classic BMW that no matter where I ended up in the US, if that ever happened, my next BMW would be from them, delivery be damned. I would never even drink the coffee offered at BMW of Austin. Not only did they possibly lose a return customer (obviously at the time I got the 3er, I had no idea I’d end up in Japan), but they now have to deal with me repeating this to any other BMW fans.