In the last 3 years I had two kids, bought a house and turned 30. My day job title even contains “Sr” (and no I don’t work for a Spanish language TV station). Needless to say my youth is dead. This process of grownupification also changes our perception of time. Most notably, things from the early-to-mid-2000s don’t seem that long ago, when in fact they are.
To illustrate the point, (
here’s what I was listening to in 2003) we’ll run a little series on cars entering the dead zone between their first lives in regular service and (should they survive) classic status. Today we’ll take a look at bottom(ish) of the barrel: sup $10k sportscars. These would make great candidates for barely street legal track beaters or daily drivers for teenagers whose parents don’t like them very much. Let’s dig in…
First off, we’ve got an example of a breed only recently coming back with a vengeance the lightweight FWD sport compact (shut up, VW people). This RSX type S sports 200hp and a 6 speed manual (both impressive in their day), decent blue paint and is relatively free of dumbass aftermarket modifications. 102,000 miles for $9,800:
[sc:ebay itemid=”271143354452″ linktext=”2003 RSX Type S” ]
Ok, fine VW people, I’ll throw you a bone. Here’s a New Beetle Turbo S with a host of go-faster bits applied. It’s safe to say that an early-’00s turbo VAG product is the early ’70s Vega of our generation. “Never again” say so many. These made 100 hp for each of the 1.8Ls from the factory and this guy’s done some upgrades. Possibly worth it just to embarrass the occasional sleepy 5.0 owner. 126k miles and $7,200 asking price
[sc:ebay itemid=”251218165029″ linktext=”2003 New Beetle Turbo S” ]
Next up is a 2003 WRXagon. It’s nowhere near as original or clean as the RSX (has “lots of extras!”), but offers a notch more utility and power. At 105,000 miles, it’s headed right into a costly ownership season (clutch, timing belts, valve adjustments, turbo, etc), after which things should level off…right? Asking $9,500.
[sc:ebay itemid=”111002417269″ linktext=”2003 Subaru WRX Wagon” ]
I’ll be honest, I never really liked the 350z. The overall shape is too geometric and not organic enough and the VQ sounds like ass. That said, for somewhere between $7,500 and $9,900 you can treat yourself to 287hp, six gears and rear wheel drive. Like the others, it’s just a notch over 100k miles.
[sc:ebay itemid=”251218039679″ linktext=”2003 Nissan 350z” ]
As a counter-point to the Z, here’s a drop-top Mustang GT, surprisingly rarely equipped with a manual transmission. We’re talking about cars from ’03, but that interior screams 1997 to me. This one’s black on tan and the seller goes out of his way to highlight you’re bidding on a 10 year old black car from Arizona…be sure to budget for a buffer if you pick this one up. Lowest mileage so far: 89k and $7,900.
[sc:ebay itemid=”370738865806″ linktext=”2003 Ford Mustang GT Convertible” ]
In the future we’ll do a Kings of Depreciation episode, but this BMW 540i is just too good to pass up for now. Clean black paint, nice tan interior, 6MT and…hail damage. Ugh…why do people live in places where large balls of ice fall from the sky? Anyway, this one reminds me of a girl I briefly dated as a freshman in high school…whole package, minus the Acutane prescription. 111k miles and $8995.
[sc:ebay itemid=”150982815973″ linktext=”2003 BMW 540i Sport 6MT” ]