Nearly nine years ago, we asked you all for the best enthusiast cars under $1,000. Unfortunately for all of us, the car market has shifted just the slightest bit since then, and most of those suggestions now rake in wild amounts on Bring A Trailer. Thus, it’s time for an update: What are the best enthusiast cars you can buy for fifteen grand?
To be clear, none of these will be new cars (unless you can still find a leftover Spark on dealer lots, and for some reason you think the Spark is in any way entertaining to drive), but things you could find on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Bonus points for actually linking to a listing — maybe a fellow Jalop will snatch it up.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest my own cheap fun car, the NB Miata, or the Toyobaru triplets that can still be found under $15,000 in reasonably good condition. But those are the easy picks, the free spaces on the cheap-fun-car Bingo board. What else can we dig up?
The Ford Fiesta ST can still be found under $15k, though immaculate examples are now pulling in well over $20,000. On the other end of the automotive enthusiast spectrum, Tacomas are still priced out — but 100-series Land Cruisers, somehow, skate under the price limit. On a related note, I really need to stop shopping for 100-series Land Cruisers before I buy one.
Those are my suggestions, but what are yours? If you had $15,000 to spend on a car right now, with the only requirement being fun, what would you pick up? Leave your answers in the comments below, and we’ll compile our favorites tomorrow afternoon for you to browse — and maybe buy.