– Whether you need to carve some canyons, hit up a track day, learn to drift, or just have fun on a daily basis, you’re gonna need to pick a weapon of choice. This week I’m covering the best project cars you can buy, maintain, and customize for under $10,000. With 10k in the bank, you can buy any of these cars at any commitment level. You can start cheap and customize, or you can find one in great shape that’s ready to rip.I’m starting off my list with the Audi S4 B5. You can find these from anywhere between 4500 to 6500 bucks which gives you some room for repairs and some simple modifications like suspension, wheels, brakes, tires. The key word here, repairs. Because the bi-turbo V6 is pretty complex, and replacing the timing belt every 80k can get pretty hairy. However, if you’re up for the challenge you can tune this motor to do some really incredible things. And you’ll have a great looking car that has street cred as an M3 killer. Ready for any canyon road, track day, car show regardless of if it’s snowing, raining, or in the middle of nowhere. If you’re nervous about repairs like any sane person would be, then you can always save a ton of cash and headaches by going with a 1.8T model A4.Those engines are pretty reliable, they’re easy to fix, and they make some pretty good power with a tune and some bolt-ons. And you still get that look and feel of a quality German sports car. And if you’re extra practical, they make both in a wagon. And since we’re talking dollar signs and not euros, I have to bring up the Fox Body Mustang. It’s been gaining popularity over the years and that’s reflected by the expensive listings I’ve stumbled upon while doing my research.You can still find them for around 2800 bucks, but you know that car is going to need a lot of love. Once you get inside that hunk of junk and burn some gas with that obnoxious low revving V8, you’re going to forget all that mismatched paint and the missing bumper. However, if you have a little patience, you can find a legit example for around $7,000. I’m talking murdered out, tuxedo black, legit-ness. Ready To turn tight ones in Oakland, CA and then dip out on the 580. Okay, not everyone has a burning need for speed.Some people just want a respectable car that looks good, is reliable, and drives great. If that’s the case then the 190E Mercedes-Benz could be the car for you. There’s a bunch of models to choose from. Depending on what you’re into, and how much you’re into it. The cream of the crop being the 190E 2.3 liter 16 valve Cosworth. The 190E was a legend in the golden era of German touring car racing. And because the Cosworth was the model with the most history behind it, you’re gonna have to do some digging to find one under 10k. But the other models still carry that flair and they were built like bricks.That means they don’t break down. And they look like bricks. If you want a car that can commute to work and look good doing it, you can’t go wrong here. That being said, you can pick up less desirable models all day for under 3k. Slap on some bags, some three piece wheels, and you’ll have an automatic pass into any car club. Otherwise, keep that baby stock and reap all the benefits of a wise choice. The second generation Mazda RX-7, the FC, is on its way to becoming a collector’s car for enthusiasts. It’s a Japanese version of the Porsche 944. Which is also an under $10,000, but it’s not on this list. The rotary engine is not known for being super reliable, but it is know for sounding great, being lightweight, and packing plenty of power. You can find them anywhere between 3k for a car that needs a little love all the way up to 10k for a car in great shape.And if a driving experience is what you’re after, that’s what you gonna get with the FC. With 50/50 weight distribution and a dynamic tracking suspension system, which is sort of like the 80’s version of four wheel steering, you’ll get that heavenly connection with the car and the road that many cars cannot provide. And trust me, that feeling makes everything worth it. Just make sure you leave some money in the bank because this car will break. The Corrado VR6, a unicorn hatchback regarded as the poor man’s Porsche.That’s because it was faster out of the factory that the Porsche 944 I mentioned earlier. Plus, it’s got this sweet mechanical spoiler that pops up when you hit 45 mph. The Corrado VR6 is becoming increasingly rare and hard to find. And the prices reflect its collectible status. That being said, you can still find a good one for around 6 1/2k with a little bit of patience. And all you really need is a nice set of coilovers to give it that aggressive look and performance. But, don’t expect that spoiler to work for too long. Because the Corrados are known for electrical issues. I know because I owned one. And even though I have a scar on my back from a malfunctioning electrical seat belt hook, I still wish I never sold it. It handles like a go-kart, the engine sounds great and runs super strong, and you’ll be instant friends with every other dubber you meet.- V Dub for life dude. – Yo, V Dub. – Yeah. – My third best pick is the Porsche Boxter S. Yes, that’s right. You can own a Porsche for under 10k and it won’t be a beater. It mike not be the best looking Porsche, but once you slap on a hard top with a roll cage and a rear wing, it all of a sudden starts to look the part. Lots of guys race these cars competitively. And they hang on the track with cars that are twice as expensive. It’s mid-engine so it has great handling characteristics that Boxter owners swear by. And you get that awesome sound that is unmistakably Porsche. It’s one of the newer cars that you can buy at a bargain with low mileage. So it’s pretty hard not to rank it high on this list. Second place goes to everyone’s favorite beginner car.The Mazda Miata. Lightweight, small, nimble, but they’ve been increasing in price and I would never be caught driving one. And since these are cars I’m recommending to buy, I’m taking it off and I’m replacing it with the EK Civic hatchback. I’ve never owned one of these, but I’ve seen the performance potential of these things and the EK is probably the best looking model. If you drop 10k into a Civic hatch, you’re gonna have one fast little fart can.Parts are cheap, upgrades are vast, and engine swaps are endless. Plus, it’s super light. That means you can drag race it. Give people whiplash while driving past any boba shop. And if you got the skills you might be able to keep up with those rich noobs in their Nissan GT-Rs at the track. Just saying. Last but not least the BMW E36 is finally being recognized by me as the best bargain for performance and style you can buy. Note that I did not say M3. Good luck finding one of those for under 10k that doesn’t need another 5k in repairs or preventative maintenance. But you can easily find a 325 or 328 for under 3k. Which leaves you plenty of room for modifications to take this car to the next level. As in M3 level. Say you start with a 325is. You can pick up an M3 engine for about 2 to 3,000 bucks. And it’s a straight up plug and play engine swap. That’s right. The engine bolts right on to the existing five speed transmission. And the wiring harness literally plugs right in. It does not get any easier than that.And boom. You’ve got a lightweight M3 for half the money that lets you rip up canyon roads, take it to the track, enter rear-wheel drive rally competitions, drift, you can do whatever you want. You can even pick up a chick for a date and still look good doing it. They’re easy to find, easy to work on, and they’re easy on the eyes. Even if you don’t swap the engine, if you lower the car and slap on some meaty tires, you’re gonna have a lot of fun. Again I know, because I used to own one. Not gonna lie, I’m a little biased. But, there’s a reason you’re seeing these cars more and more. That’s my list. And believe me, it could be a lot longer. So if you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments. That way, anyone currently searching for ideas can weight their options. I can think of three more right now. Mini Cooper S, Toyota MR2, 300ZX. Just remember, do your research. The key to finding the right car is patience, persistence, and research. Don’t be afraid to walk away from the first car you check out. And most importantly, try to stay away from red flags like salvage titles, high mileage, rust, and automatics.Me and Pumfrey made a sweet video where we actually buy an E36. Click right here to watch that and find out all the tips you need to know before you actually buy a car. We got new shows every day of the week. We’ve got Wheelhouse with Nolan on Monday. You got Field Prep with the pro drifter Matt Field on Tuesdays. You’ve got science garage with Bart every Wednesday. Up to Speeds on Thursday, you know that. And the best show, with the bestest, with me every Friday. It’s all Donut, it’s all family, it’s all the time. See you next time. .