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Q: Cheap sports car

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Looking for an inexpensive sports car. Under $7000. Thinking about an old MGB, RX8, Miata, Eclipse convertible. What advice can you offer?

A: The Miata is a good choice. They are fun to...

The Miata is a good choice. They are fun to drive, there are many clubs for them and performance upgrades are readily available. Their small size makes them easy to work on; they are quite simple.

The Eclipse is probably the fastest of the ones you listed, but the hardest to work on and the most prone to problems. Not to mention, they get driven hard and beat up. Buying an older one is likely to have many problems. If it doesn't, most well kept Eclipses are likely selling for over $7000.

The MGB has a cult following, and is an older sports car, so it's not likely to perform like the others. This one would be the last on my list if I were looking for a cheap sports car.

The RX8 is a fun car. It has a very different power plant with a rotary motor. They don't last as long as piston type motors, but are a blast to drive. Finding parts is harder to come by and many people just don't like working on them.

Another car to consider is a Honda S2000. New, they are expensive and not as common as the others. But if you take your time, you can find some good buys on them. Of all the cars listed, I would take it first. They are very fast, rear wheel drive and there are a number of things you can do to them to make them perform better, if you're into that sort of thing.

Some other lesser known options are the Pontiac G6, or a G8 if you can afford it. They are solid. The G6 is front wheel drive car, which I don't really appreciate in a performance car.

The Dodge Neon SRT-4. Harder to find but a good performer.

Another serious performer, but harder to come by at that price point is the Infiniti G35. Built by Nissan, it is a quality car.

One of my favorites that I almost forgot to mention, would be a Lexus GS 300 or the Lexus IS 300. They are more complex and expensive to fix, but perform just like the S2000 and the G35. Of the four, the S2000 is the easiest to maintain.

As I write this, I keep recalling other cars. Another one is the VW GTI. I don't particularly appreciate German cars. Their repair needs can be up there with the Eclipse as the most likely to break down. In the German car options are Audi, which in most cases is just a VW. If you can find a good Passat, they are fun to drive and often in AWD.

Hyundai makes the Tiburon. I haven't had the pleasure of working on one or driving one, but have seen them zooming around me a number of times.

I think the last one I will mention is a Ford Focus. They make a few performance models that are harder to find. But I hear good things about them.

Good luck with your search. Be sure to book us for a used car inspection when you find a car you're interested in.

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