Cheap cars

Top 5 inexpensive cars for track warriors


Track days and long road trips are the two best ways to get to know your car. But buying a car for the track can be a daunting task, especially since you’ll beat it mercilessly and it has to last. Powertrain layout, maintenance, and even day-to-day handling could be a concern. With that in mind, here are five great starting points for a track car, all typically on sale for under $ 10,000.

The front-engined non-turbo 944s make an ideal base for a track or race car.

Porsche 944

Clean examples of early non-turbo Porsche 944s can be purchased in the range of $ 5,000 to $ 10,000. They don’t produce a ton of power – they’re in the range of 140-200 horsepower – but they only weigh around 2,600 pounds. In addition, the engine is in the right place, driving the right wheels. They also have powerful brakes and a nearly 50-50 weight ratio. Check out some great examples on eBay Motors now.

Early Miatas can be purchased well below the $ 10,000 mark.

Early Miatas can be purchased well below the $ 10,000 mark.

Mazda miata

No track day list would be complete without a Mazda Miata. It’s the ubiquitous driver’s car for a reason. Miata’s are easy to handle, light in weight, and provide excellent mileage for long trail rides. They are dynamic cars, which means maintaining your speed when cornering is more important. Stronger cars can compensate for slow corners with power, but the Miata forces an enthusiast to drive well. The feel of the shifter and clutch is also almost perfect, gear parts are readily available, and consumables like brakes and tires are relatively inexpensive.

The GTI is an excellent driver on a daily basis and will follow the track.

The GTI is an excellent driver on a daily basis and will follow the track.

Wikipedia

Volkswagen Golf GTI

A 2000s front-wheel drive GTI can be bought for under $ 10,000, and we’ve seen some good examples for as little as $ 6,000. As well as being a great driver on a daily basis, the GTI is easy to handle on the track and will follow most of the cars on this list. The MK5 version (2003-2009) delivered 197 hp from a four turbocharged; the six-speed manual and dual-clutch automatic are both good. Check out some great examples here.

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 328i can move easily on a track, has excellent steering feel and its badge carries weight.

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 328i can move easily on a track, has excellent steering feel and its badge carries weight.

BMW 3 Series

Like the GTI, the BMW 3 Series cars of the 2000s are excellent, inexpensive track cars and have a little badging, to boot. We suggest a propulsion and a manual, of course. You’ll also have a choice of two or four doors, which might add some utility to the equation; the end result could also be a good daily driver. Six-engine inline cars are silky smooth and easy to find, and the steering feel is out of this world. Check out some examples here.

The Mazda RX-8 wasn't a great sequel to the magnificent RX-7, but it was quick, light, and rear-wheel drive.

The Mazda RX-8 wasn’t a great sequel to the magnificent RX-7, but it was quick, light, and rear-wheel drive.

Mazda RX-8

The early RX-8s are below the $ 5,000 mark and the most recent (2008-2012) straddle the $ 10,000 line. These aren’t too powerful (232bhp), but like the Miata, the RX-8s aim to build and maintain momentum. They look and sound great with the tiny 1.3-liter rotary engine, but they’re a bit more fragile and harder to work with than your average front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, and piston-engine vehicle. It was the last hurray for the rotary engine in the United States, and we think that’s worth something, too.

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