What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?
Illustration for article titled Cheap Car Challenge

I’m planning on moving to Vancouver at the end of the year, and I need to find a car. TLDR at the bottom.


A little background; I’m a Master of Architecture student in Halifax, NS. My school lets us take an 8 month work-term anywhere between January and August 2017. The program is structured like this: 8 months in school, 8 months working, then 8 months doing a thesis. I’m coming up on the working part of that. As soon as the work term is done, I’ll need to come back to Halifax.

I’ve got a car here now, but I’m not keen on the idea of driving it across Canada in early January. Shipping costs around $2k from Halifax to Vancouver, and there’s risk of the car getting damaged, so that’s not great either. There’s also the problem of changing insurance, as British Columbia has their own communist version.


My plan is to leave my car in Halifax (my parents live in the province, they’re happy take care of it), and buy something cheap and cheerful in BC. It won’t need to be a daily driver as I’ll probably take transit, but I’d likely drive every weekend. I’m thinking this is a good opportunity to get something fun / unpractical. I’m not a mechanic by any stretch, but I am interested in learning more. Reliability is nice, but I’m not looking for a Corolla. I know I’m planning way ahead, but I’d like to do model-specific research before buying. My budget is low, say up to $6,000. I’ll probably be buying through Craigslist. I’d like to sell it at the end of the 8 months, or if I fall in love with the car, drive it back to Halifax.


- Must be manual

- RWD is preferred

- Cheap, up to $6,000 CDN

- Somewhat reliable or cheap to maintain

- Something older, probably pre-2000

- Weekend driving only.

- I’m a slim 6'3", so I need to fit.

I’ve been considering E30s (either four or six cylinders), NA Miatas, and a few unreliable Brits (MGB GTs and Triumph Spitfires). My dad has a clean Volvo 244, so I’d probably lean to something different. Tell me your suggestions! Also if you have any tips on car buying in this situation, I’m all ears.


TLDR: I need suggestions on a <$6k manual RWD weekend driver.


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