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  1. #1
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    $2,000-$3,000 car

    Ok well, the wife needs an automatic car. It is (for all practical purposes) her first car. She didn't drive in Seoul much (lots of public transportation) so she's not all that great at driving (were 0-1 on the actual driving part of the driving test, going for attempt #2 soon *but* I only have two sticks, and she really needs to not worry about shifting too, trust me).

    Soooooo, I thought a nice somewhat reliable automatic in the range of $2,000-$3,000 would do, however I'm not sure what. There are some small dealers around us (the kind that seem shady even though they probably aren't), and one has this seemingly mint Chevy Lumina marked at $5,995 which is high, but maybe they'd take just under $5K.

    Still a bit more than I wanted to spend. Any ideas on makes that are decent that we should look for (she isn't comfortable with older cars so it shouldn't be a '72 Mercedes, etc.)

    Yes, we want a new, dependable, decent car for $3,000 (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... errrrr). Suggestions of where to start?
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  2. #2
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    Look in local newspapers.

    Private owners are more willing to let go of good cars for less money than any dealer. More often than not, they just have too many cars or just need the money and will take whatever they can get fast.

    You're also likely to get a better quality car as they generally maintain them better than some guy who wanted to get rid of his heap at the dealer/car lot.

    Some dealers do have good deals on cars they just want to get off the lot to make room for other ones they have; but I still think you'll have more luck with a private owner.

    Good luck either way.
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  3. #3
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    A Honda would prolly be good... I'm not much of a 4 cylinder person but they are good cars that hardly break down...

  4. #4
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    Chicken,

    Have you ever looked at Recycler or recycler.com for a used car? There's some pretty good deals listed. Also, make sure you bring a mechanic along with you when you are about to buy a preown car to make sure it's not a lemon that you are buying. Oh, almost forgot, ask for any maintenance records (tune-ups, etc.) and especially for Hondas/Acuras. They tend to break down alot faster than other makes if they're not properly maintained (ie.. axles, cv boots, transmission).

  5. #5
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    I just sold my ford mustang '96 loaded for $3500
    I regret it so much, i loved it, it was in perfect condition,
    if someone here is from Okeechobee,FL the mustang is there
    If You can get a mustang for her.

    My friend bought '95 Chevy Blazer from old lady for $2000
    I like SUVs, and Im gonna buy one in the future, I love Lincoln Navigator.

    I think You should look at private party ads, no dealers,
    dealers always have more expensive cars and in bad condition.

    I guess You could go to car auction, You can get a really good deal there.

    I know one dealer in Miami, FL area who has a decent prices so if You want address PM me.

    Ok. good luck

    Thomas

  6. #6
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    If your wife in not to concerned about having a stylish car, then go for an older toyota tercel.

    They have to be about the most reliable, long lasting cars i know of, and they alwas sell for cheap.

    I have one that ive owned since the mid 80's and despite the fact that it has ~ 360 000 KM on it, more than half on dirt roads, it still runs great, and the only thing i have had to replace is the brakes. (and the paint job (I've always wanted a car with flames painted on it )

    Only problem is that I think it is not so easy to find a tercel with an auto transmission.

  7. #7
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    I'll sell you one of my camaro's , its not automatic, its six speed and nowhere near the $3k mark....
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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by WoodShedd
    Only problem is that I think it is not so easy to find a tercel with an auto transmission.
    Hmmm... where do you live? In the US it's hard to find almost any car without an automatic transmission!

    A Tercel is pretty small, but not a bad car. I have a friend who took one to 120,000+ miles before trading it for a deisel Jetta. You could also get a mid- to early-90's Corolla with fairly high mileage in that price range. And if you can find a Geo Prizm it's essentially the same car, built in the same US Toyota plant that the Corollas were, but would probably cost less.

    I'd check the listings at cars.com -- most of them will be from your local newspaper, sometimes they are a little stale, but you can also read reviews of each car model that might help to make a decision.
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  9. #9
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    It would be easy to find an automatic late model tercel, but I'm not sure about the older ones.

    I'm in Canada, and its the same here; almost all vehicles come with an auto transmission.

  10. #10
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    I would also recommend a private owner.

    <Personal Story>
    I bought my current car off a neighbor who wanted to get rid of it cause they were moving. So I got the car for $200 including the title. I admit, it needed a little work, but so far my biggest repairs was the alternator, & fuel pump within 2 years (knocks on wood). Its an 86 Dodge that prolly has about 200,000+ miles. It isnt the nicest car, but it runs great. I have had it for almost 2 years
    </Personal Story>

    Like what was already said, if you do buy any car for cheap or any car for that mater, make sure you bring a mechanic along.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Jag
    I'll sell you one of my camaro's , its not automatic, its six speed and nowhere near the $3k mark....
    Greg, I know Camaro owners love their cars, however I'm a Porsche guy (have owned 3) and wouldn't be caught dead in anything other than a '68 Camaro convertible. Anything other than that and I duck down so no one sees me

    I suggest you come over from the dark side and drive a Porsche. You'll never go back...
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    • Chicken

  12. #12
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    oh how dare you . I have a 98 z28 and also one of the lucky owners of a 35th anniversary SS ..... I got your Porsche right here!
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  13. #13
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    Originally posted by Chicken

    Greg, I know Camaro owners love their cars, however I'm a Porsche guy (have owned 3) and wouldn't be caught dead in anything other than a '68 Camaro convertible. Anything other than that and I duck down so no one sees me

    I suggest you come over from the dark side and drive a Porsche. You'll never go back...
    my dad had a porsche, never did like it that much other than it was an easy car to spin. there a bit dull, but i like audi's and vw's.

    i have a new convertable vw golf, very nice car.
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  14. #14
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    I have a '97 Transam and a '91 Camaro and I have driven Porsche and BMWs, back in Europe, and I can tell you this: I love a healthy V8.
    Of course, nothing beats a big block

    But, back on topic, I'd recomment you buy your wife a Toyota, they're virtually undestructible. A friend of mine bought a '91 Honda Accord wagon and was very happy with it for the first two weeks but now it needs a new $600 clutch

    The great thing, when you live in Southern California, and you only have to worry about the engine and transmission, the car body usually ages gracefully.
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  15. #15
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    I always use AutoTrader.Com

    I have connected to tons of sellers through them, and have bought 2 cars from people who list on their

    My recommendation for beater car, that is realible for under 3k. 1987-1993 toyotta celica. I bought an 89, to drive back and fourth to work, the car now has 175k on it, and running like a champ, only paid $2500 for it also!
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  16. #16
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    I'm not entirely certain about reliablility, but you can find a fairly new Dodge Neon or Ford Escort pretty cheap. I see a lot of model year '97 and up for less than a 4,000. Even the Chevrolet Cavaliers are cheap enough.

    Keep in mind though, she is the 'wife' and you'll probably end up giving her the Porsche while you drive the training wheels.

  17. #17
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    hey chicken, and what is wrong with the missus driving the ferrari which you've always managed keep a seret from all of us

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by thebyp2
    my dad had a porsche, never did like it that much other than it was an easy car to spin. there a bit dull, but i like audi's and vw's.

    i have a new convertable vw golf, very nice car.
    What model did father have? Curious as you found it dull, yet find a vw golf a very nice car (I've got no opinion about Golf's either way, other than personally, I don't find them nicer than Porsches).

    So no one thinks the Lumina is a wonderful choice eh? The Toyotas are good but that also generally makes them pretty pricey. I was looking at some and the pricing was up there. Will look again.

    Vigor, yeah, I'm using AutoTrader.Com to get an idea of what's what.
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    • Chicken

  19. #19
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    Chicken,

    Check out http://www.ebaymotors.com/

    Here are cars that are in $2000-$3000 price range:
    http://cq-search.ebay.com/search/sea...us=MetaEndSort


    Good luck with the search.
    Last edited by Bogdan; 06-09-2002 at 02:15 AM.

  20. #20
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    Hmmmm, I'm not so sure about buying a car off ebay. One of those things you at least need to look at, drive, take to a mechanic to have checked out, before you get it home and it breaks down anyway. At least I feel I've 'kicked the tires' so to speak...
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  21. #21
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    Originally posted by Chicken
    I've got no opinion about Golf's either way, other than personally, I don't find them nicer than Porsches).
    Wow. Neither do I, and I own a GTI, all loaded with leather interior, all the little luxury touches like heated seats and automatic rain-sensing wipers and all that silliness, and an aftermarket (Garrett) chip popped into the 6-cylinder engine. Nice car, but it's no Porsche!

    I'd also wonder what model it was... and for that matter how a car that is "easy to spin" can also be "dull." Seriously, a real sports car is often not that easy to drive if you don't know what you're doing, especially when you're talking about a powerful engine and rear wheel drive and a pronouced tendency to oversteer (or to spin, in layman's terms) instead of the more mundane, tuned, and "safer" understeer of most cars. Like, unfortunately, my GTI. Compare it to an Audi TT, which is built on the same chassis as the Golf and GTI but with a different engine and RWD... and after the first year of sales was redesigned for the US market with the addition of extra spoilers and a softer suspension and such to try to tame the car because some buyers couldn't keep it on the road.

    Well, as far as I'm concerned if you can't drive a sports car don't buy one.

    Sorry, my rant is over. Sore spot.

    So no one thinks the Lumina is a wonderful choice eh? The Toyotas are good but that also generally makes them pretty pricey. I was looking at some and the pricing was up there. Will look again.
    No, no one thinks a Lumina is a wonderful choice. Maybe an acceptable choice, but definitely not wonderful!

    Used Toyotas aren't the cheapest cars around, but tend to be a better value, that is less overpriced, that used Hondas for example. And are every bit, in general, as good a car. You could look at less common models, which will have lower prices, like Subaru or Mitsubishi... but the less common a car the pricier will be replacement parts and the less likely will be availability of third-party parts. The best bet for all of those considerations might really be something like a Cavalier... cheap, and really not a bad car, and with a well-stocked aftermarket. But dull, definitely.
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  22. #22
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    My personal suggestion is a small foreign car. I bought a Nissan Senta (88' I think) about 4 years ago with 187k miles. The car is slow yes and it takes a good amount of effort to get it going on the highway BUT it has been the most reliable care I have ever owned. My fiancee who just got het liscence 6 months ago still drives it till this day with 257k on it.. The thing about 2000.00 or less is say youe wife (like my fiancee) which is automotivly(sp?) challenged and gets a bump here or a scratch there or a mailbox here its kinda like Who Cares? Its kinda like a kid getting a first cat they should always get a dependable beater that they can basically learn everything on. Now think how pissed you are going to get when she "bumps" into say that handicapped parking signs with that 5k lumina compared to how pissed you would be when she did it with the 1000-1500.00 Nissan. So enough rambling my choice would be a nice Nissan Sentra 88 to 92ish. You may even find a nice maxima 89-92 or so for around 2-3k with decent miles.. Anyways good luck and let us know what you end up getting..

    (note only maintainence I have needed on the nissan was tires and a radiator which I got at the junkyrd for 25 bucks almost new. )

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by OKIHost
    The thing about 2000.00 or less is say youe wife (like my fiancee) which is automotivly(sp?) challenged and gets a bump here or a scratch there or a mailbox here its kinda like Who Cares?
    Heh yes, I don't want to spend weeks looking for the perfect car and have her destroy it in a month or less. Not that she will, but it is her first car, so the chances are good that this one might not make it -we're going to take a look at what the local dealers have, just to see, get ideas on pricing, etc. Maybe we'll even find something in the Toyota or Nissan or Chevy range.
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  24. #24
    I would definately look into a Mazda. They are very solid cars, from my experience. I had an older Mazda 626 that never needed anything other than brakes, tires, and oil changes over the years I owned it.

  25. #25
    i have an escort stored at home and my mum has a nissan micra. both are stunningly reliable. the escort was previously dads car and hes not kind to them and its in good nick all things considered. the micra is a miracle. ive never seen a car take so much stick. ok both are manual but im fairly certain there are auto versions. insurance is low, parts are common, running costs is low. theyre both no frills cars, but both often do long trips with heavy loads. the micras a j reg in blue, you know the one there are MILLIONS of, they were immortal. the focus is nice as is the fiesta, the you should get some nice festas in your price range, including autos. altho those are euro models so im not sure on the us equivs.
    and while were on sports cars, ferrari, corvette and buggatti rock, i love the ideology, you know its 3 blokes with a few drinks sat round going hmmm exactly how stupidly large an engine should we put in this car??? then you have my real faves, jaguar, aston martin, tvr (their ideology, take a bathtub attach two concorde engines and a set of roller scates). then again everything pales next to the norton nemesis, i really wish they made that have to settle for a duke or a kwaka, maybe an r1 one when the insurance is less silly, or a 955i daytona.
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  26. #26
    I have a '92 corolla and it's been a very reliable car - not too much maintenance and the thing has been running fine.

    DO NOT get a tercel - sorry to all the tercel fans out there, but they are the biggest POS cars ever manufactured. Sure, they'll go forever but I mean something just strikes me a little odd about a car in which the right side mirror is optional

    My friend has a tercel that died a while ago (must have been over 15 years old). The thing was lovably referred to as the 'beer can' becuase thats basically all it was.

  27. #27
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    I'd also have to recommend something like '95 Dodge Neon or newer if you can find one for less then 3,000, which you may be able to do. I haven't really been car shopping lately, so I'm not up on used car prices anymore. Anyway my Dad owned a Porshe 928 and man that thing was nice. Always had me glued to the back of the seat. Leather seats, power windows (Amazing for a 1983) and six speed (I think, might of been a 5-speed) . Never got to drive it though, which totally sucked. It's probably a good thing I never got to drive it though, probably wouldn't be typing this message if I did. I guess you could say I sort of have lead foot. I don't know, I'm still in love with that BMW I drove awhile back, the steering was so smooth and the brakes so nice, and the hum of the engine, or the grinding of the gears. hehehe I'm not much for driving stick.

  28. #28
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    Originally posted by VIPsNet
    I just sold my ford mustang '96 loaded for $3500
    I regret it so much, i loved it, it was in perfect condition,
    if someone here is from Okeechobee,FL the mustang is there
    If You can get a mustang for her.
    you have gotta be crazy lol a mustang?

    camaro i have a 95 Z28 pretty quick but just find like a 93+ v6 model if you can find a great deal on one.

  29. #29
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    Originally posted by richy
    maybe an r1 one when the insurance is less silly, or a 955i daytona.
    If you want to go there...I'd personnally buy a GSXR. Or a Daytona, yes
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  30. #30
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    I just went this weekend and picked up a sweet little 1997 Geo Tracker I bought off of Ebay for $3150.

    80K miles, thing looks like new. Drives and runs like a new one.

    I also bought a 1994 full size conversion van 2 months ago for $3000 exactly, it's got kinda high miles though (145K) but runs real good, I've had to put some work in it though (front end upper and lower control arms, tires, brakes, mainly).
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
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  31. #31
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    Re: $2,000-$3,000 car

    Originally posted by Chicken
    Ok well, the wife needs an automatic car. Yes, we want a new, dependable, decent car for $3,000 (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... errrrr). Suggestions of where to start?
    LOL, I would get a new wife who already HAS a decent car... cheaper

  32. #32
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    Originally posted by richy
    the micras a j reg in blue, you know the one there are MILLIONS of, they were immortal. the focus is nice as is the fiesta, the you should get some nice festas in your price range, including autos. altho those are euro models so im not sure on the us equivs.
    Nothing like the Micra in the US, unfortuntately. I've driven one, a rental a had in Ireland once and you're right it's nice. Also here no older Focus, just the new one introduced a couple of years ago.
    Originally posted by MadSkilage
    My friend has a tercel[...] The thing was lovably referred to as the 'beer can' becuase thats basically all it was.
    Yeah, to be honest I'd hesitate to put someone I love in one of those here in the US -- the land of the Expedition and the Suburban and the Canyonero. A couple of years ago I gave my old Geo Storm to my girlfriend and I was always nervous about that -- and at least that had an airbag, and a little more protection than in a Tercel... but it always bothered me. Until about six months later when she rolled it over and came away with a scratch so maybe it wasn't so bad after all.
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  33. #33
    good plan.

    ok so now we need some wives with cars, pref a good job and a big house. hmmm lol me want
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