I just want to start off by saying thank you. All the advice and conversation concerning my last post really helped us out, and I couldn't be happier with some of the new cars we are considering thanks to you guys. Cheers!
As the search continues to expand and tighten, we also find that the finances and time are also. Not the way I would expect though. It would appear, as of right now, that when the purchasing time comes in October/November, the budget may be somewhere in the $23k-$29k area now (the old budget applies if I go with something too old or lacking a warranty). This is her new soap-box: the warranty (or at least a dealer/3rd party warranty). All this seems pretty fair, so the hunt continues. Feel free to chime in with advice, experience, or any cars I'm seriously in need of checking out. As you may have guessed, if the money is what is improving, time must not be. I am going to probably need all this time to get myself behind the wheel, with her, of all these cars. So let the hunt begin!
(driving pleasure>cost>performance>reliability>sexy yet low key>luxury)
+'03*, $23k-$29k, 2-door, <60,000 miles, and a warranty of some kind
2014 Subaru BRZ ts
The BRZ is in the fold now. We have a fresh, zero miles, full warrantied sports car here, with more hype than just about any sports car in the last 45 years. But, I grew up around too much muscle to think 150 lbs.ft of torque is enough, so I will need a test drive like no other to change my mind. If I went this route, I'd be attempting to recreate the FRS that was featured on Tuned, with Matt Farrah, the first episode of season 3. (that would be long term... obviously)
~'10 Nissan Nismo 370Z
This is my own addition. We saw one of these last weekend and thought it looked and sounded pretty awesome. I realize these motors have a lot of cooling issues, and are pretty much maxed out, but I'm all about balance these days. And as a weekend/track toy, they seem pretty formidable. I have driven a 370 Base before, and thought it seemed pretty un-refined, fyi. The styling is a little loud too, but It is all functional...
2010 BMW 135i
These seem like great little cars, and a quick tune yields numbers around 400. However, I've seen these things in action and, without some suspension work, they seem like they can be a mess. Still, seems like a great platform that could be a GT for now and a decent platform for tracking later. (Stock, Randy Pobst was able to beat the 370 Nismo around Leguna Seca: who whoulda thought?)
Corvette C5 Z06 or C6
I'm more inclined to say the former because I'm looking for something more visceral and balanced. Plus, minus the need of some oil coolers, the Z06 is a track car. However, minus one or two examples, it can be tricky to find them in mint condition, at a dealer. The C6's might be a little more refined, however, and could be a smarter choice overall.
BMW M3 E46
I have to show my cards here. I have loved this car more than squints loved Ms. Peppercorn, from afar, for all of my post-pubescent life. That said, there are some great examples and horrible examples of this car in the price range. They are super hard to come by, and the maintenance would be expensive. But aren't all good things in life worth working the hardest for? I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't meet my hero and just leave emotion out of it. Hard to say.
2012 Mustang GT 5.0
The Mustang has come a long way with that solid rear end. However, this is a GT/Muscle Car. Besides the Boss, the Mustang, in my opinion, can be shoddy the second you throw curves at it. This would be throwing in the towel and getting a straight-up muscle car like I've been raised to love, and do respect. But just. don't. love...
2005/6 Lotus Elise 111R
As far as I'm concerned, this is exactly what I'm looking for... If only I didn't live somewhere where everyone would assume it's a Ferrari and try to break into it, or scratch it, or breath on it wrong. Also, we are talking about a car that would, on occasion (ie anytime I left the parking lot), traverse the mountainous passes, crevasses, and shear cliffs that are found within the urban streets and parking lots of Ft. Worth. This is the one that makes me hurt that I know it's a stupid decision. But then again, all the best stories in life start with one.
2007/8 BMW Z4 M Coupe
Now this car makes me and my wife bite our knuckles. This is one of those cars that, in our eyes, is sexy, muscular, and understated all at the same time. The rearward cockpit: classic. This car makes us hurt, bad. However, if you thought the E46 was hard to find, this thing is Sasquatch. At least in our price range, this would be tough to find. Not to mention, expensive parts, and a badge that doesn't exactly carry a humble stigma. but what a car....
2010-12 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
I have loved this car on and off for years, and I'll never forget my first encounter: A rockstar soccer player at my high school got one from his folks during our senior year and wanted a race me in my supercharged IS300. I accepted, knowing I would lose... but... didn't. I beat him off the line like (insert rapper name here) beat up (insert famous woman here). So I offered to switch cars and see what's going on. We did and I destroyed him in my car. Obliterated it. Anyway... I think that was pride talking. My wife initially hated this car. But upon seeing a few in person last weekend, said: "there were a lot of cars I've considered she disliked more than the Evo X". So that's a start... This is the only non-coupe on the list, and will most likely remain that way.
Anyway, that's the list the way it stands as of 9/1/2013. If you made it this far, you are truly an automotive enthusiast, a Jalop, bored, or someone who just loves giving advice or expressing opinions. Either way, I'd appreciate some feedback: good, bad, ugly; on the cars, my life choices, how your Labor Day weekend was... whatever. I appreciate you guys, and will be thankful when this is all said and done and I can enjoy my new faithful steed.
Good night and God Bless!