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The 914's really never got alot of respect whenm they came out as they were made in a VW plant. This was a godsend for me in High school. I wanted a sports car, but couldn't afford the insurance. I found out these were rated the same as a Bug.
They are no bug. I had a 73. 2.0l that was pleanty fast and got 28mpg.
They're not a dragracing car, but on a slollum, these cars can take cars that are 2x+ the engine displacement.
Unfortunately these cars are being rediscovered (like many VWs) and prices have been going up. You would be hard pressed to find a nice one at $3000. Many VW bugs that have been restored top that. There has also been a trend to drop 911 motors in this very light car, making some increadibly fast and nimble machines, but once again way over $3k.
The really neat thing is that there is an underground comminuty that supports these cars (914world.com) there are many aftermarket parts manufacturers that have stepped up to support these car. New stamped steel panels, and rubber parts are readily available for restoration.
Dependability on these is a matter of maintence. They will run forever (as most VW's do), but with a 35 year old car, deferred maintence can really cost, so if your looking find a knowledgeable shop, and read up on some of the Q&A's about buying on on the world site.
Slide 4 MR2, Rust lovers will like this car :-D
Disagree on model yr, later versions with Jaguar XJS esk flying buttresses and wrap around rear window is WAY cool especially on a price point of this fun to drive throw around.
Clearly you are totally out of touch with the used car market and the reality of maintenance and upkeep costs of the cars you recommended. The Miata is the only one that is not likely to bankrupt you if driven on a regular basis.
what about the z cars i picked up an 83 280zxt 5 sp for $800new tires new paint and all just over 100,000 miles bought one of those cheap ebay turbos and now i'm in to it for allot less than $3000 and loving it. was at an auction 6mo ago and i saw 2 300zx t tops v6 1 auto 1 5 sp both silver $1500 each both had around 150,000 miles