Will be making an offer tomorrow on a 1997 Mercury Cougar XR-7 with the 4.6L V8 engine. I love it I love it I love it.
Our mechanic, upon seeing the car, came back in and was like, "You do realize this is a pimpmobile, right?" YES! Ha-ha, yes, that's exactly what I'm going for. After taking it for a drive and hoisting it up, he was like, "This is an absolute... gem."
Nobody is going to mistake it for a Toyota Echo / Yaris in terms of fuel consumption (although I'm looking into one in Antigonish from a guy my mom and grandfather deal with), but on the other hand everybody will know that this is my car. Nobody in my circle of friends and acquaintances is going to be scratching their heads wondering what particular Japanese or Korean subcompact I chose.
And people do shit with these! Look what this guy did! (And more.) Here's another guy working on one. Now with my status as a student, I'm not going to be biting off a whole lot at once. For now, this will be a steady, sturdy base upon which to build. Apparently there's a little air-scoop thing I can do to add twenty or so horsepower, should I desire. Also I need to get a wrap for the steering wheel - it's a bit worn in spots. A new stereo too, maybe - just something with a CD player and an aux in will do nicely. That'll be super easy, because the edge of the (standard-sized) stereo is flush with the panel - it doesn't require me to move anything. Could probably just buy one at Wal-Mart and do it myself. Undercoating will be easy, too. It's been undercoated every year, and keeping that going will be a breeze. Apparently that's like 70 bucks at Wal-Mart. I'll have to get winter tires (and I should get wheels for them - this car has beautiful alloy wheels that really should only be out in the summer) as well. That'll hurt, but it will buy peace of mind.
Full disclosure: I actually don't know very much about cars. I'm just an armchair enthusiast. But by owning one and getting my hands dirty, I'll learn. Excited! Even if this one doesn't pan out, because there are always other good cars available.
1:21am Have sobered up somewhat. I'm going to go see the car tomorrow and I've got a list of things I need to check out and/or ask about. I suppose, in this price range, you can't expect the moon. From what I've been reading, I'm also surprised about how little some salespeople can know about the cars they sell, but then again I suppose I shouldn't be. I've done some more reading, and in the end the smart, safe buy would be, of course, the Toyota Echo. But I never wanted that - I wanted something different, with character and personality. My mechanic said it was good. My mechanic said it was good. I'll use my dark, scary doubts (that I would probably have about any vehicle) as leverage. I really do want this car.