Fun car for about £6k - Avant
Throuigh surrendering a no-longer-needed insurance policy, I'll soon be lucky enough to have some money to spend on a 'fun car'. I want to put the majority of it aside (I'm a chartered accountant after all!) but about £6k would be a reasonable amount to spend leaving a bit more for insurance (this will be a low-mileage car in addition to the Golf estate, so I'll need a new policy).

It definitely has to be a convertible, and the obvious choice is an MX-5 1.8, about 5-7 years old. I've thought of:

Toyota MR2 - not many around but possible
Honda S2000 - too expensive
MG TF - too much of a gamble
1970 Triumph Vitesse 2 litre - I'd love one but I'm no mechanic and it would cost too much to have someone maintain it
VW Golf convertible - all reecent ones have the rather tame 2.0 non-GTI engine.

So I keep coming back to the MX-5. Am I missing anything?

(Please, no sensible suggestions that this is a bad idea and I should put it all in the bank....)

Fun car for about £6k - mlj
Lots of BMW Z3s available at this price. It would be 8-10 years old but many appear to have been well looked after. A colleague picked up a '99 model about 18 months ago, it has been excellent.
Fun car for about £6k - Paul Robinson
Saab 9 3 convertible?
Fun car for about £6k - Roger Jones
If a two seater, it surely has to be the MX5. If you need more space and luggage room, the Saab is a great idea. Easy choice really? I don't think you're missing anything. In a different budget bracket, I'd have no hesitation in suggesting a MB W124 Cabriolet, but I'm an MB enthusiast.
Fun car for about £6k - teabelly
Get the vitesse! Insurance will be just over £100 a year. Free road tax. I am no mechanic and they usually cost buttons to run if you find a well looked after one. Mine usually costs about £150 a year for service and MOT as a max. Every couple of years something more major will need doing and it will be a few hundred quid. Even a rough one won't be that expensive as most of the parts are available and cheap. First thing to do is to fit electronic ignition and a kenlowe fan if they haven't been already as they both help reliability and usability.

You can pick up half decent ones for £3-4k which is plenty of change for repairs. Probably a minimum of 5 years worth even with something big going wrong each year. Make sure you get one with overdrive.

Look on the clubtriumph or Triumph speed six club websites as they will have the best ones for sale and will know the best people to look after one. The main triumph show is usually on in July at the Stafford County Showground if you want a mooch around some of the best examples. They are usually a couple for sale at any one time too.
Fun car for about £6k - Wilco {P}
Has to be an MX5.

Have a browse over at

Fun car for about £6k - Citroënian {P}
Another vote for the MX5 - we've had our 04 1.6 for about 18 months and it has been a joy to own and drive. It's a brilliant package and even it we don't drive it for a few weeks I never think "will it start?"

If it's a high days and holidays car I can't think there's anything much better than the MX5.

Just be careful with the 03 cars, they did something silly with the clutch and there are a lot of reports of clutch judder that needs sorting - HJ Car by car details this.

We might be selling ours soon but it's not down to the car, you could get a decent for £6-7k
Fun car for about £6k - perleman
MX5 for hassle free fun
Porsche 968 for excitement & passion if you can chuck a few k a year at maintenance. 240 BHP 3 litre, perfect weight distribution, standout from the crowd & beautiful design. Group 20 I believe though
Fun car for about £6k - bazza1603
Get one of these!! 1970 Triumph Vitesse 2 litre - I'd love one but I'm no mechanic and it would cost too much to have someone maintain it

I had a Spitfire. get a Hanuals manual, a decent tool kit and join the Triumph Club...(and Breakdown cover just incase! however my insurance for £130 a year covered for full European breakdown FOC). If you can gap plugs and points and change the oil thats half the battle. I learnt quickly to time and adjust the tappets.

These cars actually cost peanuts to run except perhaps the fuel. Normally its rust that the costly part...

Low Insurance and no tax is a good send....
Fun car for about £6k - Mapmaker
I'd vote with Roger - for a W123 or W124 coupe. Spend half the money on the car, and prudently reserve the other half for keeping it running.

Fun car for about £6k - Kevin
>Porsche 968 for excitement & passion

A decent 968 convertible for £6k? I doubt it.

Much better bet is a 944 S2 or possibly Turbo convertible.

Fun car for about £6k - Avant
Many thanks for the suggestions everyone. Looking at Autotrader there are more MR2s around than I thought - anyone have experience of these compared with the MX5?

Very few Vitesses around: I'd guess that the great majority are cheriched and kept long-term.
Fun car for about £6k - bostin
An early Lotus Elise in the winter wouldn't be too far off your budget........
Fun car for about £6k - Wilco {P}
Very simialar reliability wise and fun content. However, MR2 is much less practical than the MX - in terms of luggage capacity. I can fit a weeks worth (with some care) of luggage in the MX, this tipped it in favour over the MR2 for me.
Fun car for about £6k - Roger Jones
WIlco beat me to it. I've seen several such reports of the impracticality of the MR2 compared with the MX5.
Fun car for about £6k - barchettaman
Fiat Barchetta.
You'll get a newer, lower-mileage one for your 6k than an MX5.
Not that you'd need to spend that much - 3.5k/4k will get a good one.
Handbuilt in Italy (not sure if that's a good thing though....)
LHD for exclusivity and Continental jaunts.
Turns more heads than a Boxter (not hard).
Pretty, fast, stylish and comfort OK for me (6'1", 16 stone)

I had an early '95 example, the only thing I needed to replace in our two years of ownership was the (original) battery, and it got driven hard. I still miss it. Can you tell?
Fun car for about £6k - Alanovich
Have you considered an Alfa Spider? Fun by the spadeload.
Fun car for about £6k - Avant
Well I have now - thank you.

I'll certainly have a look at one or two Spiders, but HJ's car-by-car breakdown isn't very optimistic. Could be as much of a gamble as an MG.

I also looked on Autotrader (isn't that a useful site!) at Audis (TT and 80/A4 convertibles) and BMW 3-series convertibles: for the amount I want to spend they're all well used and it would be a matter of luck whether I got a good one.

It looks more and more like an MX-5: there are lots around to choose from and they seem to give less trouble than the other possibilities.

This is a 'carpe diem' idea: to have some fun with it while I'm still young enough (rising 60) to enjoy it - and while we still have petrol! It strikes me that that's exactly what the MX-5 is for.

Fun car for about £6k - Avant
Just resurrecting this thread for an update....

The MX-5 was fine but although we both loved driving it, SWMBO who has an arthritic knee found some difficulty getting in and (particularly) out. She doesn't want to stop me having an MX-5 if nothing else is as much fun - but we also tried a BMW Z3 (thank you for the suggestion MLJ) and she had no trouble with entry and exit.

There are quite a few around, though to get a decent one I'll need to spend somewhere between £7k and £9k. We tried a 3.0: lots of performance but very boomy at low speeds for some reason. I must try another: the salesman said they were all like that but in the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies, 'he would, wouldn't he'!

The 1.9 is too slow to be fun (at least to my way of thinking) - anyone know if a 2.2 would give almost as much performance, at least at UK speeds, as a 3.0? I'll try one this week.
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - Avant
Again many thanks for the helpful advice on this thread a a few weeks ago.

Eventually I went for a seven-year-old Y-registered BMW Z3 2.2 with 70,000 miles - that seems to me about the right mileage. There were a couple of tempting low-mileage examples of a similar vintage on Autotrader, but they could have spent their lives pootling down to the shops, or (even worse) being driven fast and furiously the two miles to and from the station every day.

The 2.2 has ample performance, particularly as you would expect higher up the rev range. Subjectively at least the diesel Golf feels quicker off the mark than both the Z3 and the MX-5 we thought carefully about (see above). But overall it's great to drive; the weather has been kind and the hood has been down all the time. And you can't beat the sound and smoothness of a straight six, boosted in this case by a mellow exhaust note.

It came from James Paul, a specialist independent BMW dealer on the A281 between Guildford and Horsham. I'd recommend them as they know their BMWs, choose them carefully and give them a thorough PDI and valeting before sale. This one is immaculate and looks nothing like 7 years old. I'm not a natural haggler but managed to get it for £8k compared to the original asking price of £8995.

Touching wood, the Z3 should give plenty of fun for some years. I still have the Golf which will go on doing the bulk of the mileage. Elephant were the best value insurers and gave an introductory 3-year NCD despite this being a new policy.

I like to think that middle-aged people like SWMBO and me driving a Z3 look reasonably natural - MX-5s are lovely cars but there is just that look of mid-life crisis about older people driving them. (That said, if anyone else out there is having a mid-life crisis and cares to admit it, let's hear from you....)
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - Pugugly
Enjoy it - you're tempting me.
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - barchettaman
Enjoy it, hope the sun stays out.
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - ohsoslow
I like to think that middle-aged people like SWMBO and me driving a Z3 look
reasonably natural - MX-5s are lovely cars but there is just that look of mid-life
crisis about older people driving them. (That said if anyone else out there is having
a mid-life crisis and cares to admit it let's hear from you....)

Mid life crisis? Could be me then. Bought my MX5 as a toy two years ago, ten years old, £2k. Best thing I've bought for that money for ages. If it goes bang in a big way I'll just buy another. Fun, cheap as chips to run and easy to maintain. I'm at an age, 60, where I don't care what people think, MLCrisis, girly car etc etc!

I'm having fun! I hope the Z3 does the same for you..
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - Avant
Brilliant - that's just the way to go when you get to a certain age! I'm 60 on 16 August and I think this is the age when you stop caring what people think (being honest, I'm not sure I ever have, very much).

The Z3 is already 'doing the same for me' after only 2 days, and hopefully will continue to do so - I say 'hopefully' as SWMBO is taking it to work tomorrow........... :)
Fun car - ended up with a Z3 - Citroënian {P}
good choice avant I'm sure you'll enjoy the z3, hope we get the weather for you to enjoy it-we seem to be at the moment.

Our fabia made me stop worrying about what other people think of my car. I'm probably a bit big for a typical mx5 driver, but it really suits my better half. Funny how all the marketing nonsense works and we all pigeonhole cars and their "suitable" drivers. If one can fit in it and drive it then we should all drive whatever we like!
Z3 - a year on - Avant
Blue's thread about a good drive in his dad's Z4 put me in mind to resurrect this - and to recommend the idea of a fun car to anyoine who can afford it. Financially after just over a year my Z3 has done a lot better than if I'd put £8.000 into equity shares.....and of course it's ben a lot more fun.

Thanks again to MLJ for suggesting it. Touching wood as I type, it's done 5,000 miles in its year with me and it hasn't missed a beat. I could have had a newer MX-5, and its handling would have been a bit sharper, but there's something about the noise of a straight six that a four can never equal.

I'll probably flog it later next year to pay for younger daughter's wedding. I'll miss it -maybe not as much as I might have done as SWMBO is getting a Mini Cooper convertible.....
Z3 - a year on - ohsoslow
Blue's thread about a good drive in his dad's Z4 put me in mind to
resurrect this - and to recommend the idea of a fun car to anyoine who
can afford it.

I'll second that Avant.

My old MX-5 is still going well and still giving me loads of enjoyment for little outlay. I couldn't justify spending more than the £2k that it cost me just for a fun car. I will stick with it until it fails beyond economic repair. Not everyones choice, but works for me.
Fun car for about £6k - barney100
I would look for a Saab convertible or the Volvo looks really good but a dealer told me sufers fronm a bit of scuttle shake....whatever that is. I ended up with a Merc Clk convertible and it didn't cost the earth. If 2 seats were the priority then the BMW would take my eye.