Performance car for 3K? - techvac
Need your help on this one, need something fast and exciting for £3000?

I quite fancy a Calibra Turbo 4x4, but worried about transmission problems. But I need some more ideas before I commit.

Thanks for any help given.
Performance car for 3K? - joe
This sounds like fun, the backroom love a challenge!

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, it might be a false saving to get something as complex as a calibra 4x4 turbo. There a lots of cars like this about for this sort of money, but I suspect the reason for this is that people are worried about the potential cost of problems.

There are number of ways that such a car could break down to such a degree that the repair costs would cause the car to be scrapped. If you bought one, you would need a large slice of luck.

On the other hand, you do want a bit of bang for your buck. I was in a similar position to you 9 months ago. I settled on a Seat Toledo GTI. I got it for £3k, it had 50k on the clock (genuine) and was very clean. Leather, traction, abs, electric everyhing, alloys, sunroof, aftermarket cd stacker, aircon, front fogs, alarm/immobiliser etc.
It is a golf GTI engine, has 150bhp, will do 130mph, is quick and handles well. The brakes are excellent.It has trip computer. As an added bonus it has a huge boot. The equivalent golf GTI would have cost me 50% more. Bargain!

There are quite a few about, do an autotrader search to see what they go for.
Performance car for 3K? - Burnout2
£3k? Tricky. Even now, it looks good but the Calibra was never the best built car in the world, as I fondly remember the from the pre-ecotec 16v example I was hooning around in nearly 10 years ago. Great engine, shame about the rest of the package. I seriously doubt there are many few owner, unmodified, scrupulously maintained Turbos left out there - let alone carefully driven ones. The rear diff and turbo are also likely candidates for trouble.

Two candidates which stand up better to the passage of time and high miles; Mazda MX-6 & Honda Civic 1.6i VTi. Both quick rather than spectacularly fast, but reasonably insurable, and the right examples won't cost you their purchase price over again in first-year repair bills.
Performance car for 3K? - Wally Zebon
Instead of a Cally turbo, why not go for the V6 or even a Cavalier V6. I used to have a K reg Cav V6 and it went like stink! 170bhp, traction control and everything.

And the best part is it only cost me £1000. OK it had high mileage and needed a cam belt change, but even if you spend another grand fixing it up, you could still have £1000 to play with!

Performance car for 3K? - techvac
Thanks for your views fella's.

Hmmm I see what your saying, it would be pretty suicidle to get a car that has a 50/50 (if not more) chance of going wrong in a very big way, plus I havent got alot of money in reserve for repair bills.

I think I will go for jap reliability, so probably MR2 or celica.

Performance car for 3K? - lordwoody
At that price I'd be tempted by something a bit classic. specialise in Mk.2 Golf GTIs and though their stock is small the cars they have are usually the best, though not cheap. Buy a good one now , keep it immaculate and in a few years time you' might have an appreciating classic. I think the Mk2 GTIs were the last of the real Golf GTIs, before they became slow and bloated. As a Saab enthusist I'd also add a 900 Aero to the future classics list as well. ( The classic 900 shape, not the new one) Spares for these cars are still readily available and there are plenty of independent specialists about.
Performance car for 3K? - Gazza
Something quick, fast A to B car :-
1. Early to mid 90s Honda CRV/Civic/Accord/prelude vtec
2. Any GTi
3. Subaru Legacy Turbo
4. pre-93 Mitsubishi VR-4, etc.
5. pre 94 Toyota Celica GT-4
6. Nissan Sunny GTi-R
7. Mazda 323F V6
8. Ford Mondeo ST24

Just good fun to drive :-
1. 94-on Nissan 200SX with LSD (i.e. Touring)
2. Early to mid 90s Nissan 300ZX
3. MR2
4. Toyota Supra Turbo
5. Porsche 944

With only 3k to spend, you need to be very careful and take you time. It could be months before you find a good AND cheap one. If you spend your money right, you should be able to sell it for 3k one or two years later without paying for repair.
Performance car for 3K? - teabelly
A friend of mine has an M reg 4x4 turbo with enormous mileage on it. The biggest challenge is the hopelessness of vauxhall dealers in being able to fix anything that does go wrong with it. He had a transmission fault when he first had it which turned out be something simple in the hydraulics and was a £70 part and half an hour rather than the £3k vauxhall quoted to replace the whole shebang. Somewhere on the net is the entire workshop manual for the car but with a little knowledge you can work out most problems without it.

If you can get the turbo in 2 wheel drive form then that would be a good compromise.Good bang for buck money then something like the toyota celica, nissan 200 sx (rear wheel drive tail out fun) or even something more rare like the alfa 155 v6 would be other possibilities. A peugeot 205 1.9 gti would give you the most fun of anything I reckon and good ones can be had for 2k which gives you cash for mods or repairs.
Performance car for 3K? - Wilco {P}
Another Honda suggestion - how about an old shape Prelude. Might be able to pick up a 2.2 VTEC for your budget?
Performance car for 3K? - techvac
Some great suggestions coming in! I like the sound of Prelude 2.2 Vtec, MR2, & I've just been to look at and they have a cracking mk2 up for sale, choices, choices. I am going to have to give this some serious thought, as I want my new motor to keep me entertained for a few years (hopefully).

Performance car for 3K? - Phoenicks
When i worked at Vauxhall a few years ago the Calibra Turbo's were always in for blown engines and knackered gearbox's. same for the Corsa Gsi actually but thats a different thread.

I think Jap would be great but perhaps stay to non turbo'd cars. The turbo on a sunny gti-r will set you back - £600-£1000. a big expense.

i'd go Prelude as i've heard Honda has never had a VTEC go bang. might be the odd one that might have gone but would be a rare occurance.
Performance car for 3K? - Jonathan {p}
Having owned one, I can say that a mazda mx6 would be an excellent car for the money, easily available for that price, extremely reliable, a sweet 2.5 v6 engine and 167 bhp. 0-60 in 7.5 isn't stupidly quick, but good enough. A well looked after one will last for 300k.

Nice looking, reasonable boot and rear seats and a rarity factor that you won't get with a vx.

Performance car for 3K? - Steve G
Alfa Romeo 155 ?
Go for the 2.0TS or 2.5 V6.
3K will buy a P/R plate, great drivers car and a little bit different.
I also had a pre-ecotec 16V Calibra - great engine everything else is very average and uninspiring (sold it after 3 weeks !).

I would also recommend a 205 1.9GTi. Find a 1992 example without a CAT and with PAS and you will be very happy - still the best hot hatch ever !

Good luck and let us know what you buy

Performance car for 3K? - CMark {P}
Looking for 200 horses in a low profile Q-car? Consider the Rover 620Ti. I had 35,000 very happy and 100% trouble-free miles in mine and 3 grand should get you a 96 or 97 model.

The Car-by-car breakdown indicates potential problems with blown head gaskets and oil seals, things that should be pretty easy to detect by anyone suitably qualified.
Performance car for 3K? - No Do$h
200sx is a smasher, but watch the turbo. Any unpleasant smoking and say goodbye to £1000.

MR2 is fantastic, but watch the shocks/suspension. The earlier mkII was soon upgraded as the handling was bleedin' terrifying.

MX6 is ultimately a probe with a different body (built in the same plant in the US, so not really a japper at all). They can tramline like crazy, but not a dreadful car.

For my money, I would say go with a Civic VTi. Not such a hairdresser's car and if looked after can outrun most of their competitors in reliability, economy and performance. Just watch the parts bills!
If I don't reply it's nowt personal, I'm just working!
Performance car for 3K? - clachnacudden
Come on no one has mentioned a Porsche 924..of course for 3K you might not get the cream of the crop but it#ll bring a mile to your face...

personally I would hold off save a little and get a 944 but either way as long as it doesn't break down you'll have a great time....
Performance car for 3K? - Cyd
I have a 820 Vitesse Sport with 129k on the clock which drives like new (actually, on the 1/4 mile strip it can better the Autocar figures). Same engine as the 620Ti mentioned by CMark, but with slightly lower gearing and a very close ratio box it does 30-70 in just 6.8 with another 9.9 secs bringing up 100. On to 143. Standing 1/4 in 15.8, terminal 90. 0-60 isn't so good at 7.3 because despite traction control it struggles to get its 200bhp down over the first 10mph or so. Suspension is a bit hard for some but I like it, same goes for the very digital Torsen diff. It puts a smile on my face every time I flex my right ankle (easy when you live in the country). And they can be picked up for peanuts 'cos few people apreciate them. Apart from a gearbox rebuild at 95k and needing HD HT leads, mines been perfect.

All quoted figures are from Autocar roadtest.

Performance car for 3K? - BB
I agree with the earlier comments about a VW Golf Gti. I bought my first Golf Gti 6 years ago and have had another 5 since!
The mkII is a great deal of fun, but as they went out of production in 1992, you are looking at a J plate at best.

Consider a mkIII VR6 also. Although it is a bigger car, it has the power with its 174 horses. 0-60 time 7.4 secs and on to a top speed of around a 140. You can probably pick up a K or L plate with a smidgen less than a 100K for around 3K (ish).

Performance car for 3K? - lordwoody
I suggested the Golf earlier and specifically suggested Mk2 as I felt that some people consider this the last "real" Golf GTI and thus it may be destined for classic status in a few years and might, if well looked after, not actually lose much money and might eventually appreciate.
Performance car for 3K? - NitroBurner

How about a Carlton Gsi3000 24v? Had a 12v for ten years & it was never less than brilliant..

Superb performance, great rwd performance, comfortable, roomy, reliable, good parts availability, I could go on....

Bit pricy on fuel & ins (gp16) but that's about it...

Even though I may be biased, think you could do a lot worse...
Performance car for 3K? - Monaro
I would say go for the Civic too. Or maybe an Accord 2.3 non type-R. A friend has one and is very impressed - Q-car though.
Paul C

Value my car