Last post on Oct 12, 2012 at 4:22 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler
#12 of 19 Classic vs. Modern
Oct 11, 2012 (7:34 am)
"Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ vs. Datsun 280Z"
By: Rob Sass
"My interest in cars remains stuck in the early 1970s--when I was spending most of my time trying to retrieve the copies of AutoWeek that had been confiscated by my second grade teacher, Mrs. Wilks.
While my iPod may be full of downloads from the likes of Dirty Pretty Things, The Kooks and Grizzly Bear (and very little from Led Zeppelin, the Stones or Pink Floyd), my garage contains nothing built after 1991. And frankly, I like it that way.
Not much in the way of new cars gets me particularly excited. But I have to admit to taking a huge shine to the totally hot 'Subion' twins, the FR-S and BRZ, probably because they remind me of the Datsun 240Z, 260Z and the pair of 280Zs that have occupied my garage from time to time. Naturally, I have to wonder how they'd stack up against the FR-S and BRZ as daily drivers in terms of satisfaction and cost of ownership.
As a daily driver, the 280Z makes more sense than a 240 or a 260Z. The combination of electronic fuel injection, an available 5-speed (the last year and a half only), bumpers capable of standing up to a parallel parking incursions and really good factory A/C make it the most practical (if not the prettiest) of the first generation Z-cars.
As expected, performance-wise it's not really close, with 0-60 times in the mid sixes for the moderns vs. the high-eights for the classic Z-car. Fuel economy? The comparison gets even harsher. Around town, I usually see about 17 mpg and 24 mpg on the highway in my 280Z. Not bad for a mid-'70s performance car but just pitiful in comparison to the moderns. The BRZ with a manual transmission is rated at 22 city, 30 highway and 25 mpg combined.
While I view both the FR-S and the BRZ as extremely good-looking cars, I give the edge to the Z, which has so many styling cues cribbed from other great GT cars like the E-Type and Toyota 2000GT. I am, after all, terminally mired in the automotive past.
Still, the exhaust note, the higher percentage of admiring glances and appreciation in value will make the Z a better proposition in the long haul, right? Probably not. It sort of depends on where you live: As rear-drivers, neither the moderns nor the Z-car can really be expected to do all that well in the winter without a set of Blizzaks or Nokkians.
The real difference is the fact that neither the Scion nor the Subie will look like the remains of the Titanic after just two winters. Early Z-cars were rusters of the highest magnitude. And while you'll likely not spend much maintaining the mechanicals (early Z-cars are notoriously reliable), the super clean, low-mileage, rust-free 280Z that you might pay more than 13 grand for today (according to the Hagerty Price Guide) will likely be a three grand project car after a few winters of salt exposure.
While it's too early to tell for certain, I would expect the FR-S and BRZ to enjoy Mini Cooper-like resale value. Sadly, if used as a daily driver in most parts of the country, the classic Z-car will cost far more to own over three or four years than the Scion or the Subie simply by virtue of its flimsy construction and nonexistent rust-proofing. This round of classics versus moderns goes to the moderns."
#13 of 19 Amen, brother, but....
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 11, 2012 (8:54 am)
"I would expect the FR-S and BRZ to enjoy Mini Cooper-like resale value. "
Let us hope so, but without Mini Cooper-like reliability issues.
#14 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 11, 2012 (1:43 pm)
Does the new generation MINI Cooper have as many reliability issues as the first BMW engineered one?
Do you still have yours? Would you buy another one?
#15 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [hpmctorque]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 11, 2012 (3:46 pm)
yep, still have mine.
would I buy another one? Not a used one without warranty, no.
#16 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 11, 2012 (5:28 pm)
Your MINI fits right in with this discussion, then, assuming it's fun and exciting.
Just kidding, of course, since unreliability and high maintenance isn't the type of differentiator I was thinking about when i opened this discussion. The MINI is one of the few late model cars that fits the bill in terms of looks and driving dynamics, though.
#17 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [hpmctorque]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 12, 2012 (6:09 am)
yes, the MINI does create a wrinkle---it isn't too new to be exciting or fun, but it doesn't deliver the reliability one expects from a modern car. Quite frankly, it is plagued by the typical German car bugaboos--electronics, and trim pieces falling off, and grisly repair costs.
But you know, with a code reader to keep shutting off the check engine light, and some double-sided tape, and friends in the business---I get by just fine--and the car is a whole lotta fun, so that's some compensation.
I can't say that turning it in for an old car, and the privilege of doing my own repairs, is all that attractive an alternative. If I were driving a Camry, it might be.
#18 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 12, 2012 (2:39 pm)
Okay, we're looking for fun to drive and differentiated, yet attractive styling. I'm wondering whether a new or recent model Civic coupe might be a better compromise than a MINI. Not quite as much fun as the MINI, maybe, but without the reliability issues. I say this because the specs for the Civic coupe are pretty close to the discontinued Acura Integra/RSX, and the price is lower. The Integra/RSX were considered fun to drive and reliable. What do you think, given that all cars require a compromise of one sort or another?
I wish Scion had come out with an updated version of the xA, which you owned. It was a neat compact 4-door hatch. Of course, the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ might be the best substitutes for the MINI, since they're RWD. I mentioned the Civic coupe initially because, like the MINI, it's FWD.
Your thoughts on these?
#19 of 19 Re: Amen, brother, but.... [hpmctorque]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 12, 2012 (4:22 pm)
The scion/subaru FR-S/BRZ looks quite interesting yes. Might very well become "the Mini that doesn't break".
I don't think I could bear the Honda because the interiors are so cheap. But the Si does put out just over 200 HP, which is pretty good on a light car. Also it has the typical Honda generic looks, which is a deal-breaker for me at least.
the xA was a great little car with a lot of utility but I can't imagine it being "exciting".