This was my Mustang for I think four years. It was a beautiful car, and was fast as shit (12 sec 1/4 mile and I've been up to 160mph in it), but I had to sell it in '06. It got 8mpg and required at least 91 octane to run well and not ping. It was an expensive car and I was looking college in the face, so I had to sell it. It was a gift from my father, he bought it for $7,000... which was a great deal considering what we got for it. There were some serious issues though, with the car. It had a bent frame from having a big block in it before we bought it (While I owned the car it had a 289 stroked to 302).
Eh, it had it's problems and it was too impractical for me to keep. Selling it was the only thing I could do to save myself, and I'm glad I did it, but I'll probably miss that car for the rest of my life.
After selling the Mustang, I wanted a little gas saver but not a pushover. I wanted something with definable purpose. The miata is what I found. A perfect track car out of the factory, and it was built to be. I found two in the paper that were relatively close, one for $3,200 from a dealership and one for $2,900 from an individual. I only had $4,000 to play with, I knew I would have to get it registered and tagged and maybe smogged and I wanted money left over to fix up the car... so I went to see the privately owned one. In the paper, they were identical. Both with 100,000 miles, AC, good condition, blah blah blah.
I was in a hurry to buy a new car because I had just sold my mustang and I needed a way to get around. I lived in a big area where everything was really far from everything so walking was pretty much out of the question and I was about 45 minutes away from the nearest bus stop if I were to walk, and it would only take me to LA or SF. I went to see the one for $2,900. I looked over it really fast, the body was fine to acceptable, there was nothing seriously wrong with it from what I could tell (but I should have spent more time looking over it). I opened up the door, the steering wheel was TINY, like from a go cart, and there were wires hanging out of it all over the place, and the shifter knob was missing, so I was just grabbing a rod with threading on it. There was no shifter boot and the shifter seal was missing. That's right, it wasn't there at all. It was a hole from the inside of the car that went down into the transmission. The smell of hot grease shot up from the hole into the cockpit, and it wasn't pleasant. I looked past that though, knowing that it wasn't a big deal. Everything had shitty red paint on it, like someone had taken nail polish or whatever and wiped it all over the air vents and things like that. It was UGLY... but again, I was looking for potential.
So, I took off in the car, and it all came to me, the potential I was looking for was realized on the short drive around the block. I had driven a 100cc Kart before, one that pulled 17,000rpm, sat one inch above the ground, and could easily do 110mph (not kidding), and the Miata felt the exact same. It was snug to the ground, extremely responsive, snappy, and extremely well balanced... and it got good milage. I was excited, and took the car without question, tossed him the $2,900 and left.
That night I found out that it has a salvage title, and wasn't tagged from the guy I bought it from... and he had no pink slip. I was afraid it had been stolen. There is no AC, and the milage wasn't really 100,000 miles, it was 120,000. I felt cheated, but I was still happy.
The top had like 4 tears in it, one on the passenger side that I could stick my head out of. The brakes were grinding but didn't need to be replaced, they were just grinding for some odd reason. The top wouldn't seat correctly, so there was a 1/4" gap on the driver side where air would shoot in. It was so loud on the freeway, between the open whole in the floor that went to the transmission and exhaust, and the holes in the top, it was like I was riding a skateboard w/ a 1.6L I4 attached.
It rained a lot right after I bought it, the inside of the car was always damp, and when I'd drive on the wet asphalt, greasy water would shoot up from under the car and cover the bottom side of my right arm. It was bad... but It couldn't have bothered me less. The car was so fun to drive, pulling 7000rpm at the drop of a hat and shifting with such little effort, and so quickly. I had a lot of fun out in the country that spring. Pulling 90 degree turns rated at 10mph at 50mph with the back end sliding out all over the place and doing 115mph around the exit of 99 to 198.
So, I put up with the car, and I'm glad I dealt with it so well. It turned out to be one of the best cars I've ever had. I mean, it's not NICE still. It needs a lot of work, but really, for having 177k miles on it and had taken it around Ca right after buying it, it hasn't given me a problem. Dead battery and slave cylinder for the clutch, went out on me, but that's a relatively normal set of problems. (I broke the differential though, but that was my fault. You don't want to do that by the way because you'll never be able to find one for less than $900, used).