My search for an Euro car has been filled looking at ads for lots of interesting cars, even at my low budget, capped at 2000 Euro. It has however been filled with frustration.
After a few days trying to talk to the owner of a pristine E28, I found out the car was verkauft, or sold. I went to see another E28, a 318, and while it was a fine car, it was slow and very grandfatherly. Another E28, a 525i, looked better, and being originally from Greece, promised to be rust free. But I showed up at the address given by the seller and no one was there and he wasn't answering the phone. I mean, come on, if you are selling a car at least be there! The very nice and very Latin Fiat 850 I found out was also sold...
So I have come away from a pure "Euro" hunt, and looked at a more familiar car, the quintessential grin-inducer, the NA Miata. The first generation Japanese roadster is well known in our community as a fun, and happy machine. I have driven these small cars before, always loved them, always wanted to own one. So is this the time? So here are two MX5 offered for sale very close to my home, (and a surprise at the bottom) which I am currently considering as a next car:
The first car, the red one, is a German spec Mazda MX5. A 1993 model with the 1,6 engine. This car's owner is agreeing to a selling price of 1800 Euro for the car, which leaves me 200 Euro towards better tires, as this car seems to have all season, or low performance tires according to the ad. The owner has been very nice, he lives 45 minutes away from me, and has told me that I can can borrow the car overnight if I want to make up my mind about buying his car. He says the car is mechanically perfect and I won't find a better and rust-free MX5 for this price.
The biggest draw back for me with this car is the German spec, made after 1990. The thing is, I am planning on buying a car here and bringing it back the the US with me when I return in early 2015. This car, being a 1993 model, will not be over 25 years old in 2015, and won't be eligible for importation without federalization. Which means that in the end I will have to sell this car before I return to the US, and then look for another one in the US and hope I find one so nice for the same price. Unlikely.
The second choice is an older car that will be eligible for importation when I return, and not only due to age: this car is a US-Spec Mazda MX5 Miata. The car has been slightly modified for Euro compliance, namedly a rear fog light was installed, the engine tuned for German gasoline, and the headlights were swapped for E-code lights. This car has been slightly modified with wider wheels and rolled lips on all four fenders, and it comes with good quality performance tires, Kumho Ecstas.
The fine print with this one (there is always a fine print!) is that the owner refuses to let the car go for less than 2500 Euro. The car has 118000 miles on the odometer, but it runs very tight, no shake, the engine and transmission are very smooth, and no water leaks into the cabin when parked.
Which should it be? Red German spec for less money, or black US spec for more money? I think the red is a better deal because it is cheaper, but then, I would have to sell it at the end of my tour here and buy something else in the US.
But, does the answer need to be Miata? Shouldn't I consider other open top cars also, if I am considering Miatas? I know that if I got a Miata my wife would complain. Not because I am buying another car, but because it only has two seats, and... well, I am a dad and we have a nine month old boy. While I would love to tell my wife the right seat is for him only, for when he grows up and goes on weekend morning rides with dad, the reality is that perhaps I should be looking at something with four seats, that way both mom, dad and their little boy can enjoy open air motoring.
The problem is, most four seat convertibles are not high up there in the fun league, most don't handle all that well, and most are more cruisers than bruisers. Well, most. Stay tuned on EuroHunt2013 for the next car, something that never graced our shores before.
Here is the ad for the red MX5: http://suchen.mobile.de/auto-inserat/m…
And the black Miata: http://suchen.mobile.de/auto-inserat/m…