As you may know, I’m going to California in May to buy a car and road-trip home to northeast Ohio with some friends. I’m also trying to put together a list of cars to consider, so in the couple days I’m out there I can find something to buy, which will become my year-round daily, replacing the mostly-rust crown vic.

My budget for this purchase isn’t as high as I’d like it to be (I had been targeting mid-summer for this purchase prior to making plans with friends for this trip). With most of my picks hard to find and at the upper limit of what I can spend, I started looking at cheaper options.

And then it hit me -

A cursory craigslist search brings up a decent number of examples (so it’s not rare, like a manual IS300) for good prices (it’s not prices like an e36 M3). I won’t go broke on gas to drive it 3500 miles (like a squarebody suburban), and if I break down, parts won’t be completely unobtainable (like oh-so-many other cars). I’ve wanted one for a while, and it surely would make for quite a trip home.

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The only concern is the feasibility of it being ‘the good car’ and the daily. This means winter, hanging out at the airport for a week or two now and then, etc. A hard-top would be in order for these scenarios. Another consideration is it being cheaper than my other picks means I might be able to pick up a small truck this summer (which is something else I want, and can help with daily duties as well as hauling parts).

Any input? (As if I don’t know what Oppo thinks about the NA)