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The Best Fun Used Cars Under $10,000

It’s currently promotion season at work, which means late night writing and lots of Pomodoro-ing. When it gets to be terribly late all my breaks turn in to long breaks because of fatigue, and they inevitably end with me surfing craigslist to find out how much a car costs. I’ve driven my car about 4000 miles in the last 2 and a half years, commuting through a combination of public transportation and, more recently, riding my scooter to work. I only drive in to work when it rains and given I live in California I have no real need for a commuter car, but it never stops me from looking. This is what’s on my radar:

‘94 -‘97 MX-5 Miata

A photo posted by MiataCrew (@miatacrew) on


Alright, you already expected this. The answer is always Miata after all. I have a love affair with the first generation Miata’s, and the later examples rock the 1.8L motor instead of the 1.6L. A set of lightweight racing wheels and a factory hardtop and you have yourself a track day terror in the corners.

‘97 - ‘98 E36 M3 Sedan

A photo posted by Mikey Meyer (@mikeyyymeyyyer) on


Affectionately known as the M3/4/5 (4 doors, 5 speed manual), BMW made a ton of these cars. Unfortunately most of them came with an autotragic transmission, but there are still more than a few out there with less than 100k miles and a stick to shift. The E36 is known for it’s raw feel, and while the US-spec version of the car was down 81hp and short a gear as compared to its european sibling, it’s still a car that gives you an immense amount of feedback and an inline-6 that sings and growls.

‘00 - ‘06 E46 330i Sedan

A photo posted by Est. December 2014 (@e46gang) on


#becauseRaceCar. It’s a shame that BMW never made the E46 M3 in sedan form. That would be a car for the ages. The 330i ZHP is the closest thing we had, but I would actually opt for the non-Competition Package. What? Why? Huh? Well, because there are hundreds of plain jane 330i’s being turned in to race cars for the Spec E46 series, and there’s a high likelihood that’s where I will make my amateur racing debut.

R53 Mini Cooper

A photo posted by Davy Koppen (@davygear53) on


The only front wheel drive vehicle to make the cut, who doesn’t love a gokart you can drive every day. The first of the “new” Mini’s is still the best looking of the BMW-produced Mini’s to me. S or non-S, I’d drive the heck out of it.

Now about those promotion packets…