Dave loves his vintage sports cars. But now that he is approaching 70 years old, he finds getting in and out of those older cars to be uncomfortable. He wants to get something a bit more modern while retaining a manual transmission. What car should he buy?
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Here is the scenario -
Ok Boomer, getting too old for my sports cars.
I like sports cars, but as I’m nearing 70 it’s getting hard to get in and out of them. I have a ‘74 TR6 and a ‘74 914 for fun and a CR-V and a Frontier for day-to-day use. I’m thinking of a sporty coupe for my declining years.
I like the connection with the road the sports cars give me, no electronic nanny’s, just me, the car and the road so I would like to keep that. Being able to do my own wrenching would also be nice, I live in a rural area with just the common car dealerships 25 miles away. It has to be a manual, I want that connection. It has to handle well, I like going around corners.
I can spend up to $30,000. I do not want an automatic, a convertible or something I need to take a long drive to the dealer for service.
Budget: up to $30,000
Daily Driver: Sort of
Location: South Central Oregon
Wants: Manual, modern-ish, comfortable
Doesn’t want: An automatic convertible.
Dave I applaud you for wanting to keep the sports car experience going even if your body is fighting you on that front. If I understand you correctly, you don’t want to give up a sports car completely but rather move away from the low and small vintage rides.
You could move into the muscle car direction and there are a number of Mustangs, Camaros and Chargers available with three-pedals sub $30,000.
Though something tells me you want a vehicle that is a bit more focused. The Chevrolet Corvette is probably not the car you want, but it seems it’s the car you need. They are super capable and fairly comfortable. Vettes are easy to service and parts are readily available. I imagine that you don’t want to be the stereotypical “old guy with a Vette” but when you are enjoying life with 400 horsepower, who cares what people think. Here is a clean-looking C5 generation Z06 with only 36,000 in your region.
Dave, there’s no reason you absolutely have to give up performance for comfort. A car from Cadillac could provide both speed and luxury. An interesting two-door like this 2011 CTS Coupe could be unexpectedly great!
Think of this like one of those Camaros that Tom mentioned, except this car is not focused on raw performance. The V-6 engine in the Caddy won’t make power like a muscle car but with RWD and a manual transmission, it will still be fun to throw around corners. And it has very unique design.
I would rather get you in an ATS-V or CTS-V wagon but they’re priced higher. These command high costs for a reason, though. If the V-6 CTS is too tame, consider one of Cadillac’s “V” rockets and remember comfort doesn’t kill speed.
First, Dave, let me remind you that according to most people, 70 is the new 25! I’m pretty sure I heard that somewhere. If you’re still interested in a manual sports car, I’d say your youth glands are still pumping something, so you may as well take advantage of that. And I think I know a car that feels a bit like a more modern take on the small, nimble, quick cars you gravitate to: an Audi TT!
Sure, the engine is at the wrong end, but the TT’s character feels like an update of your old 914, and I’ve always loved the clean look of the TT, especially in coupé form.
I’ve driven these a bunch, and they handle great, are genuinely fun to drive, and, yes, I think they’re pretty comfortable, too. I’ve road-tripped in them, and while they’re small, the seats are quite good and it’s a world of difference from your ‘70s cars.
Here’s a nice charcoal gray AWD one with a six-speed manual for under $10,000! In Oregon, even. A steal! Sure, mid-2000s Audi/VWs have their share of issues, but among the drivetrains of that era, the 1.8 turbo was one of the better ones, I think, and, you know, it’ll still be a step up from the Triumph, reliability-wise. I’d hope.
I really like these cars, and I do think you’d enjoy it. You’re only 70 once, remember!
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