Everyone wants to go faster and look better than everyone else - it’s some unwritten instinctive law of the jungle. That’s why I asked you pleasure seekers to find the best sports cars that will outpace and outshine other cars at twice the $30,000 budget on eBay. Here are your ten best submissions.
This BMW Z3 2.8 is the Mazda Miata for people with an appreciating 401k. The coupe, referenced hereafter as the clown shoe, is the automotive equivalent of a whoopee cushion at a corporate merger. It’s almost prohibitively expensive, but you can’t help but crack a smile because it ignites a child-like sense of wonder every time you use it. This one, while not the M model, is the next best thing and doesn’t have the ridiculous repair costs associated with anything from BMW’s Motorsport division. It may not be the Ultimate Driving Machine, but it’s close enough.
(Suggested by JayHova)
This Ferrari Mondial is an Italian car with an engine in the right place. It’s the right color. It can also make a pretty decent noise if pushed past reasonable limits. It can also gets its high-strung, passionate doors blown rightly off by a base model Toyota Camry. I honestly think that this car doesn’t deserve to be a modern classic, but recent market values have disagreed with me to the point where now I’m debating whether or not to put a bid on one and wait out a hefty profit. Not all Ferraris are created equal, people. On the bright side, at least it isn’t a 400.
(Suggested by nermal)
This Dodge Viper is what happened when an American car manufacturer looked at the supercars coming out of Italy in a drunken haze and said “Hell, I can make that!” The result was a car with a truck engine, interior materials that were comprised almost entirely of casting flash, and panel gaps so wide that they required a valid U.S. passport. It was also one of the best looking and iconic cars of the decade, evolving into the current iteration which is stellar to say the least. The fact that you can get a V10 engine in anything for this kind of money is just ridiculous. Only in America.
The Lancia Fulvia is a car that I could certainly see pushing auction price limits in a decade’s time. After all, it’s an underrated Italian sports car that has a bit of motorsports heritage. It may be temperamental, but among the sea of bespoke Italian vintage near-racers, this one may have the best bark and bite, which is a hell of a tall order. Every weekend in this car is an Italian getaway. Andiamo.
(Suggested by JayHova)
Who wants an Acura NSX? The answer is everyone. For some reason, the NSX has gone from quirky sorta-kinda sports car to iconic masterpiece that commands used supercar money that just so happens to have an Accord engine and come with an optional automatic transmission. This one, even with its 200,000 miles on the clock and slushbox is a bargain because it’ll jump up in desirability and collectability when the new NSX hits US soil sometime in the next three decades. It’s still cool, and better yet, it’ll always be cool.
This Nissan Skyline GT-R is the car that every 18-turned-30-year-old man-child with a ‘96 Acura Integra with an LS non-VTEC engine swap wishes was in his rented garage. It’s a car that’s impractical for US roads, has an engine with parts on backorder around the world, and at the end of the day, it’s a nearly three decade old Nissan. Why do I want one so badly then?
(Suggested by Sir HoonsAlot)
This is the last car in the country to come with pop-up headlights. That should give you an idea of how far back GM was with design in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. The focus of this Corvette Z06 was to make a car that could smoke anyone on any drag strip, stock-for-stock, regardless of price, and holy hell, did it ever deliver on that promise. It also was quite good at doing turns, which are necessary, if only to avoid the brick barrier at the end of the quarter mile.
This super-clean 2008 Cayman. 38k miles, 5-speed manual, great colour combo, 2 owners and recent tires. And it’s only $27,500.Great looks, a true sportscar experience, decently quick, fun to drive at all speeds, and will retain good value so that you don’t lose too much when it comes to selling it. Sure, you can get an S for that kind of money, but it will have more miles and a lesser condition. I’d rather have a cleaner weekend ride.
(Suggested by Alex87f)
Stop everything you’re doing and buy a Porsche 912 right now. Vintages Porsches are like mutual funds. They’re so diverse that any one you pick will likely go up in value with the market, regardless of any one of its individual components. When you add to the obvious financial gain by realizing that this is an investment you can drive everyday and have a blast every time you switch on the boxer engine, it’s a no-brainer that is just as smart a buy today as it was five years ago.
(Suggested by chucchinchilla)
This Honda S2000 is the rarest of them all: An AP2 with almost no miles on it because, I’m guessing, the owners just lost the keys for nearly a decade and forgot that they owned a garage. In any case, this is the closest thing you can get to a factory fresh Honda S2000, which is the next best thing to one with 150,000 miles, because they’d be identical, save for the $10,000 discount you’d get on the used one. Buy this and drive it because that’s what it was built for.
(Suggested by Dave)
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.