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Not Wearing Pants
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Discussion Starter #1
Why has this market been completely abandoned? Where are the small, solid roof, nimble RWD cars?

I picked up my e90 330i in April and no matter how much I drive the car, I always feel like I'm behind the wheel of some big, manual-based Buick. The car's so quiet, refined and heavy that I never get the sensation I'm driving. Even at 140+ MPH on the Autobahn the car bored the blazes out of me. Carving canyons on side roads in Switzerland was mildly fun but the car failed to leave me breathless. The car feels buttoned-down and nearly unflappable; the e90 also lacks urgency and the connected feeling I love in cars while also feeling positively massive.

Everyone at work looks at me as if I'm nuts because I shrug when asked about my e90. How could I fly across the planet for a car I don't like? Why did I buy a car I knew bored me compared to my ZHP? Desperation. My ZHP was unreliable and I couldn't find anything truly fun with RWD and a fixed roof.

Anyway, am I alone in this? Am I the only person who still wants a small (sub 3000 lbs) car with a fixed roof?

These options I'm discounting based on age and difficulty finding stock versions:

95 Turbo MR2
95 RX-7
NSX

So what else is there?

Used 911? Some of you guys are hardcore Porsche 911 fans. Is there a model/year range that offers great bang for the buck?

Anything else? No to the Vette, Mustang, Camaro, etc anything American or BMW (sorry, don't trust BMWs to run worth a damn).
 

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I do'nt make mistakes.
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blueguydotcom said:
Why has this market been completely abandoned? Where are the small, solid roof, nimble RWD cars?
I think the market was abandoned due to lack of interest. Years ago, everyone built RWD small cars, but now they don't so there's nothing to base the sporty models on. Its hard to develop a new platform and then use it only for a small volume product. The mass-market drones could care less what wheels drive and have been convinced by advertising that FWD is better. A coupe built on the Miata platform would be great, but they didn't import the last generation Miata coupe either. Small 2-seat coupes don't sell as well as the convertible versions - the M roadster for example will sell better than the M coupe.
 
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blueguydotcom said:
Why has this market been completely abandoned? Where are the small, solid roof, nimble RWD cars?

I picked up my e90 330i in April and no matter how much I drive the car, I always feel like I'm behind the wheel of some big, manual-based Buick. The car's so quiet, refined and heavy that I never get the sensation I'm driving. Even at 140+ MPH on the Autobahn the car bored the blazes out of me. Carving canyons on side roads in Switzerland was mildly fun but the car failed to leave me breathless. The car feels buttoned-down and nearly unflappable; the e90 also lacks urgency and the connected feeling I love in cars while also feeling positively massive.

Everyone at work looks at me as if I'm nuts because I shrug when asked about my e90. How could I fly across the planet for a car I don't like? Why did I buy a car I knew bored me compared to my ZHP? Desperation. My ZHP was unreliable and I couldn't find anything truly fun with RWD and a fixed roof.

Anyway, am I alone in this? Am I the only person who still wants a small (sub 3000 lbs) car with a fixed roof?

These options I'm discounting based on age and difficulty finding stock versions:

95 Turbo MR2
95 RX-7
NSX

So what else is there?

Used 911? Some of you guys are hardcore Porsche 911 fans. Is there a model/year range that offers great bang for the buck?

Anything else? No to the Vette, Mustang, Camaro, etc anything American or BMW (sorry, don't trust BMWs to run worth a damn).
NSX would be my choice. Due to the original entry fee, that would be the most likely candidate to find in stock form. I checked them out when I was looking for something more fun than the Bimmer and without practicality in mind - ended up with a 300ZX twin turbo, which was a bit difficult to find in virgin form. The forums for those cars are a great resource and might be your best bet as far as finding a bone stock specimen.
 

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Not Wearing Pants
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Discussion Starter #5
Jspeed said:
How about getting an S14 240SX and do an SR20DET swap?
Funny I saw a 240SX on my drive home tonight and thought of that. My dad's in the middle of building some stupid cobra race car but after he finishes I bet he could do a 240sx engine swap for me. Retired gearhead dads can be useful.
 

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It's the RWD part that kills it. There are tons of small two door cars out there.

But frankly, most of the buying public does not care if a car is front or real wheel drive.

Most of America is looking for nice, reliable transportation. Tiny cars are not practical for most folks. They buy cars that can meet many needs.
 

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chuck92103 said:
It's the RWD part that kills it. There are tons of small two door cars out there.

But frankly, most of the buying public does not care if a car is front or real wheel drive.

Most of America is looking for nice, reliable transportation. Tiny cars are not practical for most folks. They buy cars that can meet many needs.
they do care. it's just that they have been brainwashed to think that rwd's are bad in the snow. :rolleyes:

and most people in us'of'a buy pickup trucks. the top seller down there is the ford f150.
else it's the minivan or suv. :tsk:

small cars are just not that popular. not like europe or anywhere else in the world.

the sport car phase of the early 90's has gone and past. the suv is almost at it's tail end. the 4 dr sports sedan rwd craze started about late 90's and seems to be still going.
 

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HW said:
they do care. it's just that they have been brainwashed to think that rwd's are bad in the snow. :rolleyes:

and most people in us'of'a buy pickup trucks. the top seller down there is the ford f150.
else it's the minivan or suv. :tsk:

small cars are just not that popular. not like europe or anywhere else in the world.
But less not forget, go look at the tiny cheap small cars in France for example. Their roads are tiny. There is no parking. A lot of folks ride scooters. They could care less about smog there. Crappy polluting little cars. We don't have them because they are huge polluters and they will not meet our safety regulations.

Your best bet is a Z coupe or maybe BMW will bring the 1 series here. But that car will still be over $30k.
 

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chuck92103 said:
But less not forget, go look at the tiny cheap small cars in France for example. Their roads are tiny. There is no parking. A lot of folks ride scooters. They could care less about smog there. Crappy polluting little cars. We don't have them because they are huge polluters and they will not meet our safety regulations.

Your best bet is a Z coupe.
what is the per-capita output of pollutants in france vs. the u.s.? :dunno: isn't it just recently that light trucks/suvs require tier ii standards to be phased in the u.s. and a large % of people in the u.s. operate light trucks/suvs.

i love some of those peogeot's. may not run very well but nice lookin. :thumbup:

perhaps little cars because people are not as obese there :dunno: and gas is $$$.

as for roads, it's usually the older the city, the narrower the roads... it's not like they would tear up heritage buildings and landmarks to widen up the roads for wider cars.

well, if we only we all can afford bmw's. let them have cake i say. :angel:
 

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chuck92103 said:
Most of America is looking for nice, reliable transportation. Tiny cars are not practical for most folks. They buy cars that can meet many needs.
:rofl: a hummer just meets my needs :thumbup: :p
 

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blueguydotcom said:
Used 911? Some of you guys are hardcore Porsche 911 fans. Is there a model/year range that offers great bang for the buck?

Anything else? No to the Vette, Mustang, Camaro, etc anything American or BMW (sorry, don't trust BMWs to run worth a damn).
Depending on your budget, on the high side, 996 GT3, can be had for 75K nowadays.

On the low side, no frills 993 C2.

For the 996, get a dealer one with CPO.

For the 993, get one from rennlist or PCA members. A not well cared for 993 is expensive repair waiting to happen.

And BTW, I am no hardcore Porsche fan, I would have bought the M3 CSL instead of the Turbo, but they decided to not bring that sweet car here.

Lastly, aty loves his Elise, but it is pretty bare bone, and if you are on the taller side, fit will be an issue.
 

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NSX would be a great car if you could find one... you could get a hardtop for a Miata if you don't need any storage. The very first thing that popped into my head was the RX-8 though... mad fun. I test drove an RX-8 for my 3rd time one day... right before test driving a '01 Porsche Boxter. I know,I know... it's evil, but I'd take the RX-8 over the Porsche without even batting an eye. The Porsche is a wonderfully engineered vehicle... but in my opinion just not as fun as the RX-8. It's too solid, too controllable, too much traction, too big of a powerband... it drives itself.

Other options include the Nissan 350Z, Lexus IS300, umm... the Chrysler Crossfire is a Mercedes. I'm hard pressed to think of others... but I'm sure there's a couple more out there.
 

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I feel the same way with my ZHP, it's not nearly as fun as I'd hoped. But other than an E36 M3 or 328i sedan, I can't think of another car that would be better.

The market is not forgotten, Mazda is bringing out a small rear-drive coupe (MX-3 I think?) which thankfully won't be a rotary. BMW will bring the 2 coupe.

I think light front-drivers can be more fun though - certainly an ITR is more fun than my ZHP, same goes for the Cooper S. But yeah, RWD and light would be better still.
 

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Dawg90 said:
The market is not forgotten, Mazda is bringing out a small rear-drive coupe (MX-3 I think?) which thankfully won't be a rotary.
Are you referring to the Kabura concept? It is still only a possibility though. There is actually a forum dedicated to it:

http://www.kaburaforums.com/forums/

But yeah, it would be cool if they do build it.
 

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My take:

Americans don't really want sporty cars (at least not in using the definition you outlined).

They want cars that are big, powerful, comfortable, safe, and hopefully reliable. To the extent that 'sport' versions of these models are offered, I'd say that's because a lot of guys like to think of themselves as the type that drives sporty cars.
 

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Not Wearing Pants
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks for the all the suggestions. I forgot about the Chrysler Crossfire. I've heard it's a blast to drive but I believe it's an automatic. Still I'll check it out.

I know Miatas very well - my family has owned several. They're insane fun and for 07 they're even offering a folding hardtop - http://blogs.edmunds.com/Straightline/1261

The Porsche question - I did some research but not extensive. The 993s seem pretty cheap but they can be pricey to keep running? The early 996s might be a good option.

Kabura = dreamy for me.

This weekend I'll give the new Civic SI a shot. A coworker with an M3 drove one last Saturday and he dug it. He's looking for something more reliable and far less expensive to operate than his e46 M3 (poor guy has been to the dealer for warranty work constantly and they never solve his problems).

Mazdaspeed3 is really high on my to-try list even though it's FWD. I owned a Protege ES and loved it. And I helped a friend buy an 03 Mazda3 hatch/manual - her car's a gas in the twisties. http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=116119

NSX...hmm.

Cooper S: I've only driven the convertible (which was a fat, lousy pig) but ridden in a coworker's Cooper S - choppy ride. Really worried about BMW reliability with the Cooper too.

Anyway, thanks.
 

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Not Wearing Pants
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Discussion Starter #19
HW said:


:thumbup: some style elements could be improved but overall, very nice![/QUOTE]

Perfect. Mazda handling, sub 3k weight, Miata platform...slip in that old 2.3 turbo and they'd have a crazy fast little car that cornered on rails.
 

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I heard Acura is discontinuing the RSX. not sure about the TSX. Seems the cars are a great value but they are cheapening the Acura brand.

I know it is FWD, but I like the RSX. :thumbup:
 
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