Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    VWVortex


    The Car Lounge
    Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
    Results 1 to 35 of 61

    Thread: The $1500 Miata -- does it really exist?

    1. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-17-2009 11:31 AM #1
      Every CL regular has heard of the $1500 Miata. It's something dozens of us have probably searched for in our spare time. But when the market for even 1.6L NA Miatas in any kind of decent condition is saturated with $4-$5,000 cars, the buyer must naturally ask himself one question – how much does a $1500 Miata really cost?

      Well, here's my answer.

      On January 9th, I shook hands on a Miata I found listed on the local D.C. Craigslist for $1500.
      The specs:
      1990 with 210k miles – original engine and three owners (me included)
      Working AC
      New top (glass window)
      New timing, accessory and alternator belts
      New water pump
      New valve cover gasket
      New PCV valve
      New battery
      New spark plugs/wires/boots
      New cone filter (airbox delete)
      Good clutch and shifter
      Smooth running, no strange noises or rattles.
      New brake pads and rotors (EBC Greenstuff + DBA drilled/slotted rotors)
      All suspension components in good shape
      New coolant and heater hoses

      Issues at purchase:
      Prior collision damage on front driver's side and rear passenger side – minor. Minor unit body damage was repaired prior to the P.O. purchasing the car.
      Small coolant leak from radiator
      Driver's side headlight droop
      Catalytic converter heat shield loose and rattling (cat was replaced and they re-used the heat shield – poorly)
      Oil leaks from CAS seal, front crank seal, drain plug and possibly rear main seal
      Trans leak from rear seal and possibly drain plug
      Torn inner tie rod boot – passenger side
      Hood prop hinge retention bracket missing
      Dipstick handle broken
      Missing HVAC/radio surround trim piece
      Crappy aftermarket head unit
      Carpet, seat belt guides and other various interior trim pieces were removed for new top installation and never replaced – all retention bolts and tabs missing
      Torn upper/lower shift boots
      Missing shifter/center console insulation
      Mismatched tires: 2 all-season, 2 summers, different sizes front and rear
      Minor rust in driver's side rocker panel and passenger side door window frame, and some superficial rust in other places.

      Spending history:
      $1350 – Purchase price

      $100 – OEM 14" Daisy wheels w/ good tires
      $100 – radiator
      $18 – radiator cap (preventative)
      $24 – upper shift boot
      $16 – rear main seal
      $8 – oil cap (preventative)
      $5 – cam angle sensor seal
      $18 – camshaft oil seals (two)
      $7 – crankshaft oil seal
      $4 – main crank bolt
      $4 – crank pulley Woodruff Key
      $12 – transmission front & rear seals
      $6 – hood prop retention clip assembly
      $28 – headlight retractor arms (two)
      $31 – valve cover gasket (preventative – valve cover had to come off for crank/cam seals)
      $19 – tie rod boot
      $27 – power steering pressure hose
      $14 – dipstick
      $100 – new head unit
      $60 – new HVAC/radio surround trim
      $20 – various interior and exterior trim clips and bolts

      So the total damage, not including excise tax, tags, registration and inspection costs so far -- $1977. $200 of that was purely optional (replacing wheels/tires and the head unit) and could have gone months without a fix. Realistically, the radiator could have too, but I didn't want to chance it.

      So that leaves us with a $1777 Miata that passes Maryland inspection and emissions, doesn't puke oil all over itself when you rev it past 3k RPM, and absolutely loves being treated like a Miata generally should – like a sports car.

      So what's the catch? Well, you can't be afraid to tear your motor half apart to fix 210k miles worth of neglected rubber. It doesn't take much more than simple hand tools, patience and an internet connection, but if you're not mechanically inclined, it's not going to be terribly fun for you. If you're counting on a shop to do this stuff, well, let me put it this way: I spent $18 for the inner tie rod boot and $27 for the power steering pressure hose. The shop that did my safety inspection wanted $800 after labor to replace these parts, and that's some of the easy stuff.

      So, if you have a couple torque wrenches (or maybe just a really nice one) and a few weekends to kill, then yes, there really are sub-$2k Miatas in this world. Good luck finding one -- I'm glad I did.


      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    2. Member strskatr05's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 24th, 2007
      Location
      Falls Church
      Posts
      1,571
      Vehicles
      2013 Chevy Cruze
      02-17-2009 11:33 AM #2
      Good post
      My Fitness Apparel Company: SwagTagTees

      Instagram

    3. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 20th, 2001
      Location
      Philthadelphia
      Posts
      11,300
      Vehicles
      '11 tundra, '03 sv1000, 14 grom
      02-17-2009 11:35 AM #3
      not a bad deal. 210k scares the carp out of me though
      Demokratikally Elekted Fist Lieutenant of the Outside Cavalry of the Independent People's Republik of Offtopikstan
      Quote Originally Posted by GodSquadMandrake View Post
      That's too bad but, VWVortex said so... so you have to do it now.

    4. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-17-2009 11:37 AM #4
      Quote, originally posted by mad8vskillz »
      not a bad deal. 210k scares the carp out of me though

      A couple of guys I met when I had my Mazda6 are opening up a speed shop not too far away and I hope to get this car over there for some dyno time. I want to see what 20 years and 210k have done to its power output.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    5. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-17-2009 11:44 AM #5
      My $1500 Miata:

      1993 Miata - 63k miles, white w/ black top
      newer top w/ glass window
      new timing belt, water pump, misc. seals, fluids (coolant, oil, diff fluid IIRC), new front brakes, all with about 1k miles on them
      Minor dings/dents and typical light rocker rust in front of rear wheels, previous light unibody damage up front, body not clean, but car mechanically solid

      Purchase price, $1500
      1-way plane ticket to Massachusetts via Southwest Airlines: $63
      Gas/tolls/food for the trip back: $50 (probably wasn't that much)
      KYB GR-2 rear shocks to replace leaking originals - $115
      NAPA rear rotors and pads - roughly $30 total IIRC
      Sony 6.5" speakers to replace blown originals - $50
      2002 Miata 15" alloys w/ good tires - $90 (car came with good snows on steel wheels)

      Before tax, registration, and inspection (which it passed with flying colors after replacing shocks and rear brakes myself), I'm into the car for about $1900, including my travel costs and new wheels/tires that it did not need to pass inspection. I've put 15-16k on it since I got it in April '08, and I've driven the crap out of it.

      What it looked like before I started butchering it with flat green paint and a light bar:


    6. Member chuckwizowski's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 12th, 2007
      Location
      301
      Posts
      208
      Vehicles
      2009 Honda Fit, 1979 Rx7, 1969 Beetle, 1993 Miata
      02-17-2009 11:46 AM #6
      Good read!
      I too am in the "Looking for a sub 1.5 stack miata" boat, in DC too nonetheless. Hopefully this summer i'll find "the one."

    7. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-17-2009 11:50 AM #7
      Summer's the wrong time of year to be looking for cheap Miatas...

    8. Member chuckwizowski's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 12th, 2007
      Location
      301
      Posts
      208
      Vehicles
      2009 Honda Fit, 1979 Rx7, 1969 Beetle, 1993 Miata
      02-17-2009 11:53 AM #8
      Quote, originally posted by mynameisphunk »
      Summer's the wrong time of year to be looking for cheap Miatas...

      I know I know, but I don't have a job during the school year (read:$16 to my name)

    9. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-17-2009 11:55 AM #9
      I did get lucky with mine, buying it in mid-April - right at the beginning of convertible season and the associated price hike.

    10. Member Jetty!'s Avatar
      Join Date
      May 9th, 2006
      Posts
      18,489
      Vehicles
      2007 VW GLI, 2004 Honda S2000
      02-17-2009 11:57 AM #10
      This one is $2500 but it might be worth it for those not mechanically inclined:
      http://hartford.craigslist.org/cto/1032737968.html

    11. Member freedomgli's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 25th, 2002
      Location
      USA
      Posts
      8,809
      02-17-2009 11:58 AM #11
      Good read. Besides scamming Alzheimer's patients or getting one as a partial gift from a family friend there really is no such thing as a $1,500 Miata as they all will need some work at that price point. I know, I know, we've all heard the tale of that one guy buying a near mint BRG '91 with hardtop included for like $800 but those are "once in a lifetime" deals that fall far outside 6 standard deviations. The real question is how much crap not working/looking good are you willing to put up with and how much repair work can you do yourself. Most people can't or don't want to work on cars. Therefore, all the work you just performed would cost significantly more if you paid a dealer or a good independent mechanic to do the work.

      Quote, originally posted by chuckwizowski »
      Good read!
      I too am in the "Looking for a sub 1.5 stack miata" boat, in DC too nonetheless. Hopefully this summer i'll find "the one."

      They're all over the place you just have to look. My friend in Alexandria just sold a red '90 for $1,500 but it didn't look that great (mismatched red paint dented in places) and it had a cracked windshield but it ran fine.


    12. 02-17-2009 11:58 AM #12
      Great Post!

      I'm pretty close to getting 100% debt free and I've decided the first thing I'm going to save for after I'm done is either a 1500$ Miata to tinker with next summer or a new Motor for my Gokart.. which is also about 2000$ said and done.

      Unfortunately I've noticed quite an abundance of the 4-5K NA Miata(s?i?). Not nearly as many of the 1500$ unwrecked examples.

      Someone here wanted 1000$ for a wrecked one. mashed up hood and two fenders. Probably needed a radiator too.

      On the other hand I saw an R with a new clutch and a hard top for 4500...


      Modified by citat3962 at 10:00 AM 2-17-2009


    13. 02-17-2009 12:00 PM #13
      $1500??? Over priced.

      this guys was $250
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4248076


    14. Member Art Vandelay's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 20th, 2005
      Location
      STL
      Posts
      9,868
      Vehicles
      SVO
      02-17-2009 12:02 PM #14
      $4k - $5k is cheap where I live. There is a '96 M local to me with 145,000 miles on it, asking $6,900. He will probably get close to that.
      JSW TDI, Mustang SVO, et al.

    15. 02-17-2009 12:12 PM #15
      good score (i saw your car when it was on CL as well)

      i know where therfe is a 1700 miata with a simple relay issue for 1700, with a hardtop and flyin miata turbo kit as well the hardtop does have the glass shot out via bb gun though


    16. 02-17-2009 12:18 PM #16
      How about 1 grand?

      http://forums.vwvortex.com/zer...age=1

      This was a fun project while it lasted. I had to let it go, mostly due to garage space.....the house underwent a major renovation this past year and I needed to store tools, lumber, kitchen cabinets, etc, etc....

      I found a buyer *instantly* for the car, and besides labor, broke even.

      I think he was from Flint.....said he was turning it into a track car.

      Thanks again to everyone that helped out, and to Juniper for those mirrors!


    17. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-17-2009 12:19 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by purplejettahondaeater »
      good score (i saw your car when it was on CL as well)

      i know where therfe is a 1700 miata with a simple relay issue for 1700, with a hardtop and flyin miata turbo kit as well the hardtop does have the glass shot out via bb gun though

      I'd consider that an investment, shot out window and relay issues or not.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    18. 02-17-2009 12:23 PM #18
      ive been talking to the owner about it (cool guy has auto-x'ed a few times and taken it to summit pre turbo and coilover install, i forgot to mention the coilovers didnt i )

      hopefully my job situation will be better shortly and i'll be able to take it off his hands

      (in fact by this time next week i may have a monthly car allowance)


    19. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-17-2009 12:28 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by purplejettahondaeater »
      ive been talking to the owner about it (cool guy has auto-x'ed a few times and taken it to summit pre turbo and coilover install, i forgot to mention the coilovers didnt i )

      hopefully my job situation will be better shortly and i'll be able to take it off his hands

      (in fact by this time next week i may have a monthly car allowance)

      Good luck!

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    20. 02-19-2009 11:00 PM #20
      Those are great stories! Here's mine.

      I got lucky over Christmas break. I was looking for a car in the $3-4K range on craigslist, and looked at a few dozen cars. On a whim, I looked on Jacksonville, FL craigslist, since my brother-in-law lives down there. I saw a 93 for $1300. I called my brother-in-law to go look, thinking it would be nothing like described. He called me five minutes after he got there, and said "buy this car!" I went and got a cashier's check and express mailed it. Two weeks later, a guy in my car club going home to FL over Christmas brought it back to NC for me. I gave $1200 for the car, paid my friend $100 to bring it back, and took delivery of of a '93 with 107k on the odo, a cracked rear finish panel, some pealing clearcoat on the trunk and a rough idle. I had my old wrecked miata (which I'm parting, BTW) so I switched the AFM, and it runs perfect. I threw in a roll bar I had purchased for my other car but hadn't put it in before it was wrecked, bolted on the 6ULs from the old car, and the headrest speakers, some wet-sanding and polishing, and here's what I've got:







      Modified by Gazornan at 11:04 PM 2-19-2009


    21. Member racer_41's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 27th, 2003
      Location
      Chicago, IL
      Posts
      1,069
      Vehicles
      06 GTI 150Km!
      02-19-2009 11:34 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by Gazornan »
      Those are great stories! Here's mine.

      Modified by Gazornan at 11:04 PM 2-19-2009


      WOW. Brings back the memories. I had a red 90 for ten years and had only 78K on it when I sold it.

      Those wheels are some of the best looking ones I've seen on a Miata...

      except my old 15 x 8 Panasports

      damn I miss that car. One of these days.


    22. 02-20-2009 02:01 AM #22
      My story:

      I had been looking for a 1.6L Miata for four or five months. I looked at AutoTarder, Cars.com, Craigslist and KSL Cars (a local site) at least every other day... literally. Finally in November 2006, I found an AutoTrader ad in Los Angeles for a 126k '91 stripper in my preferred color for $1800. I sent a local friend to inspect it, and he gave it a glowing review. So I negotiated a $1600 price with the seller, then mailed my money to my friend and had him buy it and park it in his garage. Two weeks later I flew down and drove it back home.

      How it looked on the trip home:

      Its flaws were few:
      -the OEM top was severely sun-worn (LA car its whole 2-owner life) and had a few small rips. When I sent my money to my friend, I ordered a new Robbins replacement top and had it drop-shipped to my friend's house. We installed it together in his garage before I left.
      -all four tires matched and had lots of tread, but one of the fronts had a substantial chunk missing from its outer sidewall thanks to a curb incident. Rather than just replace that tire with an identical new one, I phoned the Tire Rack and had them drop ship a set of Michelin X-Ice tires to my friend's house; we installed them before I left. I was planning to use the Miata as my daily driver through the winter, so I would have had to do this eventually anyway.
      -the rear camshaft seal was weeping oil. A classic weakness, I didn't bother to do anything about it since I knew the engine was just going to come out eventually anyway.

      Everything else mechanically was in perfect condition. The paint and all body panels are original. It passed our emissions and safety inspections with ease.

      And now it's sitting on jackstands in my garage. A not-quite-up-to-date photo:




      Modified by TurboMinivan at 12:03 AM 2-20-2009

      Dempsey Bowling
      Sales Consultant at Doug Smith Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram/Subaru/Kia/used
      My fleet: 91 Miata, 98 Wrangler Sport, 01 Suburban 2500 8.1L, 14 Impreza Limited, 03 Protege LX

    23. Member Phil Pugliese's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 18th, 2000
      Location
      Reno, NV
      Posts
      2,189
      Vehicles
      2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI
      02-20-2009 03:23 AM #23
      in 99 I paid 1000 for a 90B w a HT. It had 122K on it and every panel was a different shade of red. Gave it some TLC then sold it 6 mo later for 3800.00. That was the first of 6 Miatas
      CLICK * POINT * CHUTE

    24. Member digiddy's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 30th, 2006
      Location
      Baltimore,MD
      Posts
      4,535
      Vehicles
      '04 Subaru Impreza Wagon
      02-20-2009 07:22 AM #24
      I bought my first car which was a miata for 1500 bucks...

      Heres my spending history...

      Crank pulley "rebuild"- $280
      Fresh Radiator off miata.net classifieds- $40
      ____________________________________________


      thats all the cash I spend on making it run besides the tags and inspection and oil changes...

      Bought it with 162k on the clock and sold it with 168k



      guess it just comes down to luck


      Modified by Theoffspring99us at 7:24 AM 2-20-2009

      I survived the great vB transition of 2010....
      '04 Subaru Impreza Wagon

    25. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 20th, 2001
      Location
      Unreal VA
      Posts
      41,017
      Vehicles
      NB Miata, تويوتا تاكوما
      02-20-2009 10:38 AM #25
      There's a $1300 Miata in our area on CL now:
      http://washingtondc.craigslist....html

      it has a new top (looks like a normal zippered plastic window OE replacement) and battery (probably non-AGM), that's conservatively worth $400 right there.

      Splinter - Team Post-Killing Ninja
      I don't practice llanteria

    26. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-20-2009 10:44 AM #26
      Quote, originally posted by AKADriver »
      There's a $1300 Miata in our area on CL now:
      http://washingtondc.craigslist....html

      it has a new top (looks like a normal zippered plastic window OE replacement) and battery (probably non-AGM), that's conservatively worth $400 right there.

      That's a very good deal....someone grab that!


    27. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-20-2009 11:10 AM #27
      Quote, originally posted by AKADriver »
      There's a $1300 Miata in our area on CL now:
      http://washingtondc.craigslist....html

      it has a new top (looks like a normal zippered plastic window OE replacement) and battery (probably non-AGM), that's conservatively worth $400 right there.

      Yep, that's a good price. The only thing that turns me off is the steelies, but that's an easy fix.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    28. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-20-2009 12:26 PM #28
      Steelies is an EXTREMELY easy and sub-$100 fix.

    29. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-20-2009 12:41 PM #29
      Listing is already deleted. My GF would have bought it otherwise.

    30. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-20-2009 12:42 PM #30
      That was fast.
      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    31. Member
      Join Date
      Nov 9th, 2006
      Location
      London, England (Euroland of course)
      Posts
      875
      Vehicles
      1990 Mk2 Golf GTi 2.0 8v
      02-20-2009 02:16 PM #31
      You guys chase these Mazda MX-5s?

      wow.


    32. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-20-2009 02:20 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by Shaz8389 »
      You guys chase these Mazda MX-5s?

      wow.

      It's a dead-nuts reliable, lightweight sportscar and if you can get one that runs for $1500, it's a steal.

      No reason not to chase them.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    33. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Location
      Hanover, PA
      Posts
      9,792
      Vehicles
      2006 Escape 5MT, 2010 Prius
      02-20-2009 02:24 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by Shaz8389 »
      You guys chase these Mazda MX-5s?

      wow.

      The one posted on craigslist just above was a reasonably nice condition, recently serviced '90 with a new top, new battery, new rear brakes and shocks, for the equivalent of 900 british pounds. Is that not a damned good deal over there for a heck of an entertaining car?


    34. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 29th, 2004
      Location
      Annapolis, MD
      Posts
      37,129
      Vehicles
      '13 Focus, '08.5 MS3, '97 Wrangler, '90 Miata
      02-20-2009 02:28 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by mynameisphunk »

      The one posted on craigslist just above was a reasonably nice condition, recently serviced '90 with a new top, new battery, new rear brakes and shocks, for the equivalent of 900 british pounds. Is that not a damned good deal over there for a heck of an entertaining car?

      Evo did an entire bit about buying a cheap MX-5 in a recent issue. Their goal was to get one for under £1,000

      They're just as rare over there.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com
      @SSLByron, @leftlanenews

    35. 02-20-2009 03:31 PM #35
      Damn it I want a miata now. Thanks!

    Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •