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Old 10-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #1
novek OP
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Help me fill the sports car sized hole in my heart

I rented a warehouse a few months ago to store and work on my bike and auto projects. Now that storage of such things is not so much of a problem as it used to be, the urge for a vintage sports car is at it's highest levels since I was in High School...

Criteria:
Vintage
Fits a 6'4" guy
Convertible
Must get out of it's own way, it's a sports car after all.
Must not piss me off with stupid expensive parts, must be able to get parts, easy to keep alive and not strand me and the GF on a road trip to the ocean.
Looks classy, not a tattered heap. Park at a nice restaurant/resort and not be embarrassed about the heap.
Budget is under $10k


Contenders so far:
Porsche 914, prices have gone way up in the last 5 years or so. I'm a recovering VW addict, so I should be able to keep one alive. Seems small these days though I've lusted after one since Jr High (I'm 35). Now that I'm actually in the market, I'm less excited about them. I've driven a number of them over the years, and let a few nice examples pass me by in the years when storage was a problem.

Triumph Spitfire, nice examples seem a better value than a 914. It's a tight squeeze for sure to get me in there, but it's doable. Seems to be a bit classier than the 914, and it's a full convertible. Downsides are that it's kinda slow by modern standards.

Triumph TR6, bigger than the spit, faster to, but not really that fast... Also a bit out of the price range.

MGB, I kinda think they are ugly unless you can find an early one with chrome bumpers. Slow, and seems like a 'girl's car' a bit.

Jensen Healey, I've been leaning in this direction as of late. Not sure if I fit in one, I'll have to drive an hour or so to look at the nearest one I've found. Classy looking interior, and that Lotus engine has the capacity to both move the car pretty good, and empty my wallet I'd imagine.

What have I missed? Any advice?
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
victor441
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Maybe buy a MGB w/ a V8, or or a stock one and drop a V8 in it, they work really well from what I've read and could be a very reliable and fun car if built right...sort of a poor mans Sunbeam Tiger. Many use the aluminum Buick/Rover V8 but a small block ford can be made to fit too and can be made fairly light with aluminum parts.

http://mgbv8.com/ has lots of info...
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
Strong Bad
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Sunbeam Tiger........poor man's AC Cobra
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
novek OP
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MGB w/ V8

So if a Sunbeam Tiger is a poor man's AC Cobra, and a MBG with a V8 swap is a poor man's Sunbeam Tiger.....

I should have mentioned that I'm not after a project, or a build. I'll do the needed to keep it alive and happy, but want to get something ready to enjoy. I've got enough large scale projects going on. Restoring a VW Westfalia that I've had for 20 years, and 4x4 project. Oh and a few basket case bikes strewn around.

I've run across a buick 215 in a Triumph TR4, but it's kinda ratty. I'd definitely consider a well done V8 swap, if I found a clean one.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #5
tommymerle
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don't put a v8 in a MG, it turns into a killer. I know from experience.
How about a Volvo P1800, 1966 is the best year although not a convertable.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:11 PM   #6
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=832908
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
HapHazard
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MGBs, 914s, Jensen Healeys and Triumph Stags fail the parts and reliability requirements to varying degrees.

I'd fail the vintage requirement instead and go with a BMW Z3 - the "Miata for Men"

(Ones with 6s are under 10k now).
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:41 PM   #8
Speedo66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommymerle View Post
don't put a v8 in a MG, it turns into a killer. I know from experience.
How about a Volvo P1800, 1966 is the best year although not a convertable.
Volvoville, a dealer out on Long Island, NY used to do quite a few P1800 convertible conversions. I think it would still fail the acceleration test thought.
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
villageidiot
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datsun roadster

an mgb with a cam, and a bid of head work, and better carb can be a beast if driven right.

triumph tr series
mg midget
bugeye sprite (hard for a man your size to fit in)

id go with an mgb, but as you say, the rubber bumper cars are kinda ugly.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:33 PM   #10
GreaseMonkey
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For what you are saying, I'd suggest a Porsche 912. For a 6'4" guy, definitely stay away from midgets and spitfires.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:58 PM   #11
GSAragazzi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong Bad View Post
Sunbeam Tiger........poor man's AC Cobra
Sunbeam Tiger
Yes yes yes! Only bc you mentioned the Jensen (hard to find parts for sure). Engine and tranny are easy but chassis and body not so much. Great car IMHO.
On the other hand the idea of a 914 is great. Prices are just a bit over but still ok. The bad is that it only shines in autocross circuits. If you can mod one to be a 914-6 then you'll be happy.....very happy.
Another one I like is the tr6 not much performance but great looks and strong following.

Btw I remember the "Chasing Classic Cars" guy mentioning the Tigers are up and comming. You may make some $ at the end. Me? I'm working on a 911rsr tribute out of a 1970 911. Not a convertible but as honest and true as a sports car gets.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #12
nattyMo
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Depends on what you mean by vintage, or sports car for that matter... but...

Have you considered a 89-93.... 6sp C4 Corvette? Not quite vintage yet to my mind but you can find a fair number of low mileage examples in your price range.

It will get out of it's own way, plus you can mod one to become silly fast if you so desire.
Parts aren't out of hand, just don't buy one that needs tires $$$
You'll fit inside with room to spare
Top comes off or folds depending on model,
A ton of aftermarket support,
You can get most parts at any parts store.
You can find well cared for examples that could be pressed into daily use if need be.
They are pretty comfy for distance work
Body rust will never be an issue... ha!
In time it may gain in value, just look at what the later C3's are going for, which were crap to drive in comparison.

The corvette lifestyle is optional.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #13
markjenn
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You must have a different definition of "fit inside with room to spare" if you think a 6-4 guy fits a Triumph Spitfire. Honestly, Spitfires (and most of the cars you're considering) are total POS. They're cool for the vintage angle, but they're truly awful cars from a driving and comfort standpoint, and only a tiny fraction of the 40-50 yo sports cars will be reliable enough to take on serious trips. Those that are this sorted will cost a fortune.

I'd get an early, well-cared-for Miata and be done with it.

- Mark
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
vtwin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nattyMo View Post
Depends on what you mean by vintage, or sports car for that matter... but...

Have you considered a 89-93.... 6sp C4 Corvette? Not quite vintage yet to my mind but you can find a fair number of low mileage examples in your price range.

It will get out of it's own way, plus you can mod one to become silly fast if you so desire.
Parts aren't out of hand, just don't buy one that needs tires $$$
You'll fit inside with room to spare
Top comes off or folds depending on model,
A ton of aftermarket support,
You can get most parts at any parts store.
You can find well cared for examples that could be pressed into daily use if need be.
They are pretty comfy for distance work
Body rust will never be an issue... ha!
In time it may gain in value, just look at what the later C3's are going for, which were crap to drive in comparison.

The corvette lifestyle is optional.
+1 once you get over the Brylcream and white leather shoe image of it. Seriously, my friend has one and he swears he gets over 20mpg and rides and handles very well. He's done a few mods, chrome alloys, cooling fan mod, chipped it and exhaust. They can be had for $8K-11k.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:36 PM   #15
Traveling QMS
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Oh wow this one is easy...

Porsche 356

Every thing you know from the VW transfers... They even come from the factory with adjustable beams.

But you get more power, more smile, but bigger prices.

Now you could go outlaw and a bug motor will bolt in. Save the expensive Porsche engine for resale and use a hot bug engine for play time.

Best part is that they are an investment that looks way better than the stock market.


The 914 is a fun little car, but it just has not performed as well as an investment.


Edit: just saw the 10K budget sign... How handy are you with welding, body work and paint? The 356 is going to be hard to fit into that budget, but you can find a rebuildable specimen in that price range. If you can do the work you just might be able to do it with a small stretch of your budget and just keep making it better over time kinda like a car payment... I'm putting together a 1961 356 T5B Cabriolet right now. Had to replace the front floor pan and fix a few other small rust spots. I'll be into this one with materials including the expensive Glasurit paint about 19,000 USD and of course a ton of my time. I might make 10 an hour on this one if I sell it.

If you are not so handy then the 914 just may be your car. Build a hot pancake for now, then as funds recover, build a nice warm 3.2, install and hang on... The 914 gear box will hold up just fine to a warm or even moderately hot 6. A 3.3 turbo might push it over the edge.

We just found a real nice clean rust free roller 914 in Boise for much less than a grand and it even has new tires.

Traveling QMS screwed with this post 10-21-2012 at 12:09 AM
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