Abandoned industrial estates, snowy parking lots, and empty backroads are calling you. What you need is something cheap, rear-wheel drive, and reliable to answer the call. Jalopnik readers have chosen ten cars to get you started on your automotive adventures in the world of hoon.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Zach Hughes Photography
10.) Baja Bug
Suggested By: Baja Bug + Volvo =
Why it's ideal: If you're looking for a basic car that's easy to maintain, look no further than a VW Bug. If you want a fast car that's basic and easy to maintain, make things simple and get a fast VW Bug. From the fairly biased opinion of one reader we get a clear appraisal of the loud, snorting, hopped-up Beetle:
Rear wheel drive, manual transmission, and rear engined. Why is rear engined a plus? Because when one learns to hoon, one inevitably end up hitting something. A front-end collision in a Baja Bug will not slow down an aspiring hoon. An entire front suspension can be bought for dirt cheap at a junkyard, the front body parts are easy-to-mend fiberglass, there's no concern about destroying a radiator, and the engine in the back should survive with little to no damage at all.
Furthermore, all Beetle parts are cheap. Dirt Cheap. And the engines are extremely easy to tune.
But the most obvious reason that the Baja Bug is the most obvious answer is the potential to learn Rally Hooning. Baja Bugs with wide tires are surprisingly capable off-road, and will go many, many places no E30 BMW, Mustang, Miata, or RWD Nissan would even dream of going.
Photo Credit: .sanden
9.) Supercharged Ford Thunderbird
Suggested By: nomind
Why it's ideal: First of all, they're called Super Coupes, which is awesome. Straight from the factory you could buy a supercharged rear drive Ford with a solid Mazda 5-speed. Now you can pick them up just about anywhere and most certainly on the cheap. It's a domestic that's not too old, so parts shouldn't be a problem. Your trade-off will be giving up some of the enthusiast backing you get with a Fox Mustang for a classier, more rounded car. A good Super Coupe is a little hard to find, but squealing, whining supercharger hoonage is waiting when you find one.
Photo Credit: Jon Shaffer
8.) Nissan/Datsun 300ZX
Suggested By: Michael_Delaney
Why it's ideal: Falling squarely in the no-man's-land between modern Nissan Z fanatics and nostalgic Datsun Z devotees, the 300ZX ends up being a dirt cheap hoon's bargain. Criticized in its day for being slow and wallowy, the 300ZX is begging for a fine set of upgrades and modifications, which should not be hard with the money you save over buying a 240SX or just about any other cheap RWD sporty coupe. Also, it comes with T-tops.
Photo Credit: Izrulazhar Jasman
7.) Toyota MR2
Suggested By: Team Spiegel blasts off at the speed of light
Why it's ideal: Toyota built the first MR2 as a commuter car, light for economy with some sportiness thrown in. What the world got was an affordable, reliable mid-engined sports car. Those words shouldn't normally be allowed to share the same sentence, that's how unreal these cars are.
Sharing parts with lowly, ubiquitous Corollas, the MR2 is not the most daunting maintenance proposition, and it's certainly the easiest mid-engined car out there. They have roughly zero cubic feet of cargo room, and though the world of SUVs have made them disconcertingly small, the MR2 is a straight classic not to be missed.
Photo Credit: David Atkinson
6.) Toyota Celica / Supra
Suggested By: Gamecat235
Why it's ideal: Rear-wheel-drive Celicas and their bigger-engined brother, the Supra, may well be the best coupes to come out of the 1980s. They're simple, dependable, and livable, all while giving you the powerslides at the edge of town you really desire.
It's no surprise you see these things at the far reaches of high school parking lots across the country, getting ready to skip class to hit a county road or try out drifting while everyone else is inside.
Photo Credit: howardj2002
5.) Dodge Dakota Sport
Suggested By: milwaukee_slows
Why it's ideal: There's no cheaper way to rear-wheel-drive than with a truck. Without a doubt, trucks can hoon it up with the best of them, and we suggest going for the cheap thrills of a V8 1990s Dodge Dakota. Give up on buying a passenger car and you hit the glorious trio of cheap, available parts, big power, and tail-happy dynamics. They go for well under $5,000 and they're perfect oversteering companions.
Photo Credit: Greg Myers
4.) Fourth-Generation Pontiac Firebird
Suggested By: jdphenicie
Why it's ideal: It's a 275 horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 for a few grand. That pretty much tells the story of a Firebird from the 1990s, and though it may be uncouth or rough around the edges, it's a performance bargain like little else. They're all over the place and parts are just as common. In fact, a Firebird of this vintage will laugh at Nissan and BMW owners because these things are on another level when it comes to parts. The only problem is they're not the easiest cars to work on yourself, as what's under the hood wasn't very well packaged by GM. Replacing sparkplugs will try your patience.
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove
3.) Camaro IROC-Z
Suggested By: rawtoast
Why it's ideal: The 1980s Camaro doesn't seem to offer up many benefits over its 1990s successors, but every dollar you save in tracing your way back to the big hair and cocaine decade can go straight to fixing up that tired V8 into something absolutely awe-inspiring.
Parts are still cheap, but you'll need them to be, as these weren't the best built cars to roll off the line. But who cares if your plastic fantastic dashboard is cracking in five different places and none of the trim lines up when you have ungodly quantities of horsepower? Though you may be paying for it in comfort and class, these Camaros may well have the highest fun/dollar quotient on this list.
Photo Credit: StuSeeger
2.) BMW E30
Suggested By: TheKlic
Why it's ideal: It's cheap to buy, straightforward to own, and it's a perfect driving tool. It works as a single car (at least for a while), it's got great handling, and there's a world of fellow enthusiasts waiting to help you turn your yuppiemobile into a backroads stormer. The inline-six could sound better, but it sure as hell gets the job done, and you even get a little fuel economy dial that when it flicks down from the low 40s to single digits, it tells you when you're having fun. That said, parts are nowhere near as easy to come by for a Bayrische Motoren Werke AG product as anything from the domestics or even the Japanese, but it's worth it. E30s are one of the all time great cars, and we're living in a decade where they're all over the place and affordable.
Photo Credit: Brian Gaid
1.) Mazda Miata
Suggested By: TheKlic
Why it's ideal: The first time I drove a Miata it was unnerving to get so much feedback from a car. To feel what was going on at the wheels. I thought I knew how cars behaved on the road, but all of a sudden it was as if I could feel the exact grit of the asphalt below me, a street that I was practically sitting on, so low were the seats, and just the ease and responsiveness of the clutch, the shifter, the steering, and the engine were like nothing else I'd experienced in a car. All that could be yours and it won't break the bank. Oh, and the top goes down, too!
Photo Credit: aidan.cavanagh