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View Full Version : Ideas for a compact 80's Gas Saver/Driver?



Tony_SS
03-17-2010, 08:37 AM
I'm in the market for a cheap little gas saver, but wanted to look for something somewhat fun to drive. Back in the day I had a 91 Suzuki Swift GT, but those are rare and fetch a price.

Any other idea's? I'd like it to be a late 80's very early 90's car. Budget is $1500-2000. :)

http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/images/car_spotters_guide/1983/1983_Oldsmobile_Firenza_SX_Hatch%20back.jpg

rebelgtp
03-17-2010, 09:53 AM
Are you looking for FWD, RWD or AWD? For a FWD that can be quite fun to drive, and is not the typical Honda or Toyota, I recommend any of the Mopar 2.2 or 2.5 Turbo cars. My preference is for the Charger body. Shelby did the GLH and GLHS based off this engine platform.

AWD I have a preference for the 80's Audi 4000 (or 90) Quattro, though there are the Subies you can scoop up as well.

Nessumsar
03-17-2010, 09:56 AM
The '89 Honda CRX was rated at 59mpg highway. They handle well, and with some slight mods can be pretty peppy too!

formula
03-17-2010, 10:00 AM
i'm dd'ing a mid-90s saab 900 right now. The best heat I've ever experienced in my life, power windows, power locks, cruise, heated seats, 6 disc cd changer, and 33 mpg for 1100 bucks.

Plus it's been AWESOME in the snow this year.

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e95/strawnwe/THESAAB.jpg

Tony_SS
03-17-2010, 10:07 AM
I'm leaning toward a FWD hatch back... some great idea's so far.

These seem fun..
http://images.craigslist.org/3n03kf3md5T05P15R7a3f59ff75706f3e116e.jpg

Something about them screams high maintenance though...

alowerlevel
03-17-2010, 10:17 AM
Back when I was 19-20 I had a '89 Beretta with the v6 and 5 speed, it was a assload of fun and I beat the hell out of it and never had any problems in the 2 years I had it
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s37/alowerlevel/My%20Cars%20and%20Trucks/Beretta/858cfb5d.jpg
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s37/alowerlevel/My%20Cars%20and%20Trucks/Beretta/458b6648.jpg

rebelgtp
03-17-2010, 10:18 AM
That is actually the Dodge Daytona, same platform I was talking about. They are actually fairly basic rigs compared to some of the imports especially. They have either a 2.2/2.5 NA motor, 2.2/2.5 Turbo motor or a V6 in the later models. Some of the Shelby cars came with some parts that could be difficult to get these days, however there were tons of these cars built and you can rarely hit a scrap yard without finding a a few.

Tony_SS
03-17-2010, 10:50 AM
Beretta's are dirt cheap... They dont look half bad.

Which engine?
2.3 L Quad-4
2.8 L V6
3.1 L LH0 V6
3.1L "3100 SFI" V6

alowerlevel
03-17-2010, 11:35 AM
The Quad-4s are great little motors, mine was a 2.8 though

andrewb70
03-17-2010, 01:48 PM
The '89 Honda CRX was rated at 59mpg highway. They handle well, and with some slight mods can be pretty peppy too!

Another vote for a CRX. I believe you want the HF model, which had the most fuel economy.

Andrew

CRCRFT78
03-17-2010, 03:03 PM
Another one for the CRX. Had some of my best times flying around Cali in that little bucket. Wish I still had it. Or another one.

PROTREE
03-17-2010, 03:50 PM
dodge Omni GLH

rebelgtp
03-17-2010, 04:01 PM
dodge Omni GLH

Technically the GLH was a Shelby but yeah the same platform I was talking about earlier. My father actually had a GLH when it was new and man was that thing a riot to ride around in! I seem to remember they did a race (I think at Laguna Seca) between a GLH and an original GT350 and the GLH had won. It was mostly because of handling and better braking though, acceleration was fairly close between the two cars.

68Formula
03-17-2010, 04:26 PM
How about a Corvair? You got it, drive it!

novaderrik
03-17-2010, 04:35 PM
How about a Corvair.
they didn't build too many Corvairs in the 80's and early 90's..

shmoov69
03-17-2010, 07:12 PM
I'll never own another Daytona. I bought it for $900 at a deal. 1 yeAr later I had put over $2,200 additional in it......ended up selling it for $700!
I learned alot on that car......when to quit the bleeding early! Lol.

My vote would be a Civic or CRX if you can't get a good mid size Buick first.

DarkBuddha
03-17-2010, 07:25 PM
If you are serious about decent mileage, avoid the Daytona and pretty much any turbo car from the '80s. They simply didn't have the tune right enough to get power and mileage. My XR4TI is a good example... I love the car, but the 2.3 turbo motor only gets 17-22mpg, maybe 25 on the highway. That is not good comparatively. There are tons of '80s NA import cars that will pull 25-35mpg no problem... Civic, Corolla, Sentra, etc. If I were looking for something like that, I'd seriously consider a Nissan Sentra SE-R... great handling, good power, good mileage, lots of potential if you decide to get more serious with it.

Takid455
03-17-2010, 08:02 PM
I drove a 87 daytona for a few years . 5 spd turbo. I installed shelby suspension from a wreck. I couldn't kill the car. I seriously tried too. got 30 mpg on highway crusing at 85. dang limiter kicks in a 125 though.

derekf
03-18-2010, 04:26 AM
There's a lot of folks that love the E30 (80s BMW 3-series), even over its successors. Never had one so I can't speak for their quality.

JEFFTATE
03-18-2010, 04:29 AM
Go for the CRX .

Tony_SS
03-18-2010, 05:53 AM
So how many miles on a Civic CRX are too many? Found an 88 CRX but it has 253k... seems like a little much.

monteboy84
03-18-2010, 06:06 AM
I had a 1988 Daytona with 88k original miles on it, interior was perfect, paint wasn't too bad.....

One of the worst cars I ever owned. It didn't get 30mpg, it handled like crap, and the 2.5L ran like garbage when perfectly tuned. I had to swap the flat tapped cam for a roller because it was spitting followers, and went through 2 head gaskets in it, because that's just what they do.

Buy something, but don't buy one of those God-forsaken things....

Dstoltenberg
03-18-2010, 02:52 PM
Chevy citation, buddy has one, damn thing handles like a 'vette believe it or not. Definitely worth looking into...

twosaturns
03-19-2010, 04:53 AM
the domestic economy cars were never very good. they built millions of K cars, daytonas, chargers, citations, etc- how many do you still see on the road? NONE. someone mentioned there are plenty in the scrapyard; why? because they SUCK.
my brother went through a couple of '86 daytonas. they SUCK.

find a '86-'88 GTI 8 valve. rock solid, easy to work on, very reliable. the 16 valve ones have a little more hp, but are high maintenance.

twosaturns
03-19-2010, 04:53 AM
Chevy citation, buddy has one, damn thing handles like a 'vette believe it or not. Definitely worth looking into...
I guess you've never driven a corvette.

wedgehead
03-19-2010, 06:05 AM
Why are you limiting yourself to 80's and early 90's. I would look for a late 90's car much better in terms of reliability and parts availability. should also be able to find one fairly cheap. Honda civic, toyota corolla, gm j car .

monteboy84
03-19-2010, 06:37 AM
Mid 90's Saturn twin-cammers were pretty good cars, got good mileage (~40mpg) too. Just make sure to run good oil and keep up with the oil changes.

twosaturns
03-19-2010, 07:15 AM
Mid 90's Saturn twin-cammers were pretty good cars, got good mileage (~40mpg) too. Just make sure to run good oil and keep up with the oil changes.
yeah, they drink oil, but otherwise are great cars. you go to a gas station to fill the oil and check the gas. any '93-'02 SL2 or SC2 are good, cheap and plentiful.

monteboy84
03-19-2010, 07:38 AM
you go to a gas station to fill the oil and check the gas.

True! :hand:

rebelgtp
03-19-2010, 08:21 AM
Yeah my dad had a SL2 I believe it was (4 door twin cam) that was a great little car and he drove the piss out of it. I swear it was still going strong at 300,000+ miles. He drove it a minimum of 150 miles a day for work.

Gitter Dun
03-19-2010, 03:26 PM
I agree with kieth, CRX is not a bad choice but I would go with a GTI

2ndgenhunter
03-19-2010, 04:26 PM
I'm not much of a ferd person. But the later 80s early 90s escort GTs were pretty fun.
They take a good bit of abuse.

Then there is alway the fiero. Them things are taged go-carts.

Good luck!

79-TA
03-19-2010, 11:15 PM
How about a 4 cylinder fox body?

It could even make a fun little turbo experiment . . .

MonzaRacer
03-21-2010, 12:01 PM
V6 first gen Cavalier saw one 2.8/3.1,,, 5 speed Convertible, could have bought one for $700, should have bought it, had head bolt broke and blown head gasket.
Berettas are good especially with 2.3 Quad 4 5 speed.
Another is cross breed, put a 2.3 Quad 4 5 speed in an older Fiero!

twosaturns
03-21-2010, 03:19 PM
V6 first gen Cavalier saw one 2.8/3.1,,, 5 speed Convertible, could have bought one for $700, should have bought it, had head bolt broke and blown head gasket.
Berettas are good especially with 2.3 Quad 4 5 speed.
Another is cross breed, put a 2.3 Quad 4 5 speed in an older Fiero!
quad4's have lots of issues, that's why GM abandoned them after a few years. the ecotec is a much better engine.
I think the OP is looking for a good DD, not a basketcase project.

shmoov69
03-21-2010, 07:01 PM
I guess you've never driven a corvette.


I think he was meaning a Chevette! Lol