It takes a sharp eye to spot a pearl in a sea of grime and dirt. Fortunately, you have an eagle-eyed car lover looking out for your best and most childish interests. This beat-up Mazda Miata is perhaps the cheapest example you'll find for quite some time, but here's a professional tip: it's worth it.
This 1992 Mazda Miata is one of the best examples of Japanese automakers taking a concept like the lightweight British roadster and improving it by getting rid of the constant oil leaks, shoddy build quality, and imminent risk of spontaneous combustion. It has a little over 100 horsepower, but that isn't important. It's one of the most driver-focused cars there are, bar none - especially for this price point, which is beyond ridiculous.
This car is billed as a "project race car", but I think that it could be a decent daily runner or occasional track rat. Here's part of the seller's description:
Most of the body work has been done and primed, but you will need to go back over it...not ready for paint!. The car has potential...it runs well, has all the parts, and would make a great winter project for a kid, or for a potential race/autocross car. Top is good, does not leak. Windows do not work. Has an upgrade intake, large muffler system, and BBS wheels.
It seems like a pretty honest car that someone just couldn't handle anymore for one reason or another. These cars don't have complicated maintenance schedules, and as long as they don't smoke like a chimney, they're good to go for a ton of worry-free miles.Make a weekend project out of it and buy a car to bond over with family or friends. Buy something to learn how to work on cars - or just buy it to start your own Miata rat rod project. It's a solid deal for a smoking price.
For more cars in need of desperate TLC, check these out:
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.