The most common question we get asked is "what's the best car for a budding enthusiast?" Well, Jalopnik readers know just the right cars to buy.
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!
Before we go into specifics, let us say that when you're shopping for a car, pick something that you really love. That's the only thing that will keep you from giving up every time the exhaust falls off (again!) on a bumpy road, or whatever other problem sidelines the car a thousand times. Obviously some cars are better than others, but taste is a personal question. Just because you like '60s American land yachts or '70s Citroëns more than Honda S2000s doesn't make you less of an enthusiast.
We've put together a list that covers all the different bases for the car enthusiasts, and we've picked cars that are affordable, easy to find, easy to get parts for, and reasonably easy to work on yourself.
Photo Credit: saikofish
10.) Fox Mustang
The Tuner Special: Mustangs from the ‘80s are pretty cheap these days and the aftermarket is huge. These Fords (along with Camaros and Firebirds) are the best bang-for-your-buck speed machines out there.
9.) GM B-Body
The Land Yacht: Not everyone wants a corner carver. If you're going to just ingest highway miles, you want three things: a full frame, a V8, and an American badge up front. We'd go with a ‘90s Caprice, Roadmaster, Custom Cruiser, or Impala SS. If you find a good Ford Crown Vic, go for it, too.
8.) Chevy S-10
The Pickup: Nobody makes compact pickups anymore, but the old ones are amazing. They're dirt cheap, reliable, and you can turn them into just about anything. We've seen them set up for drag racing, road racing, drifting, off roading, parts hauling, and lowriding. Our favorite is the Chevy S-10, but Toyotas, Nissans and Ford Rangers are good buys.
7.) Vintage Mustang
The Classic: What makes the ‘60s Mustang great isn't that it's simple, gorgeous and still reasonably priced. It's that no matter what problem you have, a thousand people have already fixed it. The support network is gargantuan.
6.) Mazda 2
The New Car: Want something with a warranty that's fun to drive? Go for the little Mazda. It's not as spacious as a Fit or a Hyundai, but it's a gem behind the wheel.
5.) 1990s Civic
The Fun Commuter: If you know you only have money/space for one car, you need a perfect all-rounder that doesn't break all the time. Enter the 1990s Civic. Just remember our ten tips to keep it from getting stolen.
4.) Baja Bug
The Off-Roader: You don't need a Jeep or a trophy truck to have fun in the dirt, the dunes, or the mud. A tuned VW Beetle will do just fine, and it's easier to work on than anything else on this list.
3.) S-Chassis Nissan
The Drifter: Want to go sideways? The obvious choice is Nissan's RWD sport coupes from the ‘90s. Since everyone else is doing it, you can find them easily, parts are abundant, and anyone can help you work on them.
Suggested By: eNZo288, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove
2.) BMW E30
The Euro: E30 BMWs are still the cheapest way to get a modern classic car. They handle, the straight six is a peach (the 4-cylinder is nothing to write home about), and you can fix them yourself when they break. Their successor, the E36, are great too, but pricier.
1.) Mazda Miata
The Sports Car: If you've young and you're buying a car, why not get one that's light and open, and fun to drive? Get a sports car. The best of all is the MX-5/Miata and there's just no arguing about it.