Hello, and welcome to my new weekly editorial called “what if…??” This is my first entry to this hopefully fun and entertaining section of my blog. My goal is to convey what I might do or decide on situations that I will face in regards to my “auto obsession.” Plus I also want to give a little light-hearted, enjoyable reading to some of you tight-asses out there. Now don’t forget that most of the rambling, okay all of the rambling is based on my opinions and thoughts. So please for faulks sake, don’t get your thongs in a bunch. If you feel that you have some suggestions that could improve or add some fun to this section, please feel free to let me know. I’ll think about it.
“What if I were on a budget ($5,000) and needed a daily driver, what would it be?”
Of course there are so many categories for me to consider. Total cost, reliability, size, comfort, fun-factor, looks, power, mileage, long-term resale value, etc. But since this is me writing the article, I’ll build it around my needs and preferences (which can get pretty strange). I won’t go too much into detail as to why, but here are my demands:
$5,000 Purchase price. (because I’m poor and don’t feel I can afford a huge monthly payment, who does?)
All-wheel drive. (great for inclement weather, especially Chicago)
5-speed. (automatics are for girly boys and left leg amputees, clutches are fun)
4 cylinder, turbo not necessary. (good on gas and maintenance. turbos are fun, but does need more care)
4 door sedan only. No wagons, mini-utes, crossovers. (I don’t wear Birkenstocks, not that there’s anything wrong with that)
Cool factor & looks. (I’m not cool, neither am I sweet to look at. So the poor car has to compensate for all of my “shortcomings”) lol
I may be biased but when it comes to used cars at this price range, I try to stay away from domestic, German, and maybe the Swedes. Don’t get me wrong, some owners might have taken care of their vehicles throughout their ownership. But based on my experience, Japanese imports tend to have the upper hand in retaining their reliability, cost of replacement parts, and ultimately their resale value as they age. Imagine trying to buy a turbo for an older Audi A4? Hell, if you’ve somehow gotten hold of a Toyota Cavalier, I’d really give it up to someone who’s obsessed over the J bodies.
Dammit. I’m sorry for the distraction. I just couldn’t help it.
So based on the criteria I’ve set up, it narrows my choices down quite a bit. I mean, where the hell are you going to find a 4 door, manual, awd, turbo car for under $5k????
Too bad they never sold these here in the States…
The earlier Lancer Evolution would have been an awesome contender!! I’m not an expert when it comes to these older models, but I usually get the II & III variances mixed up since the changes were pretty subtle. But just imagine having this sucker with a 4G63 and a decent turbo giving you around 250 horses. Definitely fits my needs. Four door, 5 speed, awd, turbo, aaand it’s got a friggin’ awesome cool factor!! Check, check, check, check, check!! Too bad it just ain’t here, except in Canada where apparently there’s quite a few of these. Bastards!!
Since I’m all riled up about not getting the earlier Evolutions, we come to the next best thing we have…
The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. Sold here in the States in 91 & 92 with only about 3,000 units sold, this car is rare to say the least. Also equipped with the 4G63 just like its younger siblings, the Galant was roomier and slightly heavier than the Lancers. But with a little less than 240 horses under it’s belt, this car is awesome from the factory. Of course its pretty easy to bump up the power on this bad boy. Especially here in the Midwest where there are quite a few fast DSM’s, don’t be surprised when a stock looking one takes your ass on the light. Besides needing some upkeep maintenance due to it’s age, this car is awesome!! Check, check, check, check, check, check!!
And last on my short list. This is something that might be a little bit more common and familiar to us Americans…
The Subaru Impreza 2.5RS sedan. This generation ran for a loooong time. From 93 up to about the end of 2000, it came in various configurations from coupe to wagon. Naturally we never saw the WRX or STi versions in any of these models, just like how it would look like at the pic up top. No Sir. All we got was a naturally aspirated 2.5L Boxer (EJ25) pumping out a heart stomping 155 donkeys. Of course, the fix is as easy as looking for a wrecked 04 STi, but still. In Japan, you’d go bananas trying to figure out what the hell a Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type-RA was. All check except for the non-turbo thing, but like I said that issue is a fairly easy fix. You can actually carry almost all the hardware from a USDM STi into this mother. From the motor, tranny, wheels, brakes, suspension, and some parts of the interior. Now that would be a sweet project!!
Now, I know some of y’all are gonna ask what the hell is up with the short list?? It is a little tiny, and it sucks ass. But based on the requirements of the article, this is pretty much all we Yanks can come up with. If you do know of a car that I missed and fits the bill, just let me know and I’ll credit you for it! However, I will make an article searching for 2 door cars with the same basic needs as this one has. That might actually yield a pretty decent list (i know it will).
So you ask, “Mr.Cid, what car would you pick?” The answer is kind of simple. Based on the rarity of the VR4, and the several Impreza GC sedans that you might find, for me it will be the VR4. Of course when the wife finds out that I’m taking one home, and it’s got all-wheel drive, turbo, she’ll probably say no. “It’s gonna keep breaking down on you. It’s gonna need stuff replaced. I’m not a huge fan of the all-wheel steering.” Blah, blah, blah. So I’ll probably end up buying a lame Impreza sedan, source a wrecked STi, and do a full swap, just for good measure. Either way, I’ll be sleeping on the couch. But life will be fun, fast, and full of boost. Ye-hey!!