Fun Car up to $40,000

Hi all,

I'm coming into some money and i'm in a weird situation where I can't buy a house for 2 years and have no rent expenses.

After spending $40.000, I'll still have around decent money left and will build on those savings for a house.

Now, the fun bit.

If you had up to $40,000 to spend on a car that's purely for fun and road trips, what would you buy? I'll be daily driving my 2015 dual cab ute and puppy duties.

So far, a 2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG is topping my list and has been a fave car for a long time.

I've had japanese turbo, Aussie 6cyl. Wouldn't mind a V8, but turbo 6cyl is still up there.

CarSales links appreciated


  • +3 votes

    Used Elise?

    • +1 vote

      Bit small for me. Hoping for a mid to large size


        Funnest car I have driven was an early sports Audi TT, fun mainly because it belonged to my boss in the US, where used cars are cheap. He only paid US$20k, so it could be enjoyed driving around Northern California. About the same price were boxsters, pimp wagon convertible jags. Evo 7 new was US$35k back then from memory, Hummer H2 US$68K.

          • +6 votes

            @Burnertoasty: You are trying desperately hard to be an auto snob when I got to drive someone else's around Laguna Seca. Oh, I was miserable.

            • +8 votes

              @Frugal Rock: Yeah, people think fun = fast. It is not.
              I converted an LS1 V8 Calais Auto, to manual, forged motor and a big turbo.
              Threw about $100k over the years into it to build a fast (fun?) car.

              It was fun from time to time, but the reality is it couldn’t be driven in anger. So many cops, and so much traffic. When I was growing up you could have traffic light duels. Now, you take off at the lights and stop 50m up the road as the traffic is backed up.

              It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow.


        BMW M5 with the V8 engine. Problem would probably be maintenance cost, unless you know a reliable mechanic that can do most of the work for you.

    • +2 votes


      Nothing is more fun than an Elise, even if the size makes it a tight fit.

      Lotus chassis can't be beaten
      Lighter and lower than anything else w 4 wheels
      Track or street
      Room to enhance and a world of fun to own too

      And you can avoid bro-ing off with everyone: It looks great, but is all about the driving. So all most people can really say when they see one is really how much they really want to get in and drive it.

  • +2 votes

    For an out of the box option Renault Megane RS265 RB8 limited edition. Only 120 in Australia. $25k low km. Used and you still have cash to spare for mods and maintenance.


    • +1 vote

      I like it, but I kinda wanted a mid sized car, but I am drawn to a WRX sized car.


        At least test drive one before you make any decision.

      • +3 votes

        I've driven both extensively. Non-STI vs the Megane, Megane everyday of the week.


        I'd be careful with the Megane red bull it started at $50k and as with anything euro it depreciated super fast while maintenance costs are high even if entry price is low 2nd hand.

        I love my vf ls3. Get a $30-35k one and spend $5k on exhaust, tune and OTr for 300rwkw. Or $10k for that plus cam and few other bits or $15k for top mount blower.


          The depreciation has already been done on a four year old Megs. There's also later model Trophys. Or a RS275. RS in 6speed stick shift.

      • +4 votes

        Are you looking for a fun car or a car to show off? If you're purely looking for fun the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ is really fun to drive. Or Peugeot 308 GTi. Get manual shift. German cars can be expensive to maintain, especially if you buy used and issues come up.

        • +4 votes

          I used to have a Toyota 86, that thing was a blast. It was pretty slow but I never got sick of being able to enter a controled drift around a roundabout at 30km/h! The good thing with an 86 is that it lets you have fun while staying controllable and is at fairly "safe" speeds. Any other car I've had is genuinely scary at the limits of adhesion, the 86 was just fun!

      • +1 vote

        Block-quote I like it, but I kinda wanted a mid sized car, but I am drawn to a WRX sized car

        Why not just buy a WRX then?

    • +9 votes

      I hate French cars and I hate Renault the most (Or maybe Citreon)… but DAMN SON! the Megane RS series of cars makes me want to jump the fence and roll around a little with those dirty, dirty French cars.

      If I was going to pick a car to do track days in, these, as much as I hate to admit it, (filthy French shitboxes), these would be in my top 5 shopping list cars to look at. Lots of power, fairly cheap (Thanks Renault for being renowned as being French shitboxs!) good handling and lots of goodies found on much more expensive sports cars.

      So, with much disdain, I actually have to agree, the Megane RS would be a pretty fun car to own.

      • +1 vote

        I owned a clio rs 172 for years and can confirm, the most fun I've ever had outside of the bedroom. Tried the megane rs 265 too in the snow and its quite nippy and as much fun as the clio.


      Bugger that, if it's just for fun buy a 275 trophy-r


      I owned one from new and only sold it a couple of years ago after moving interstate. Highly recommend trying one out.

  • +46 votes

    On that budget, I'd get an i30 N.

    • +2 votes

      Yep. This would be my top pick. Watched them race in the WTC races in Macau, just awesome cars.


      I think the luxury pack has some pretty important stuff, that puts it's a little under 50K drive away. I'd be jumping on this car if they ever release the N option pack..

  • +2 votes

    A first world problem I'd like to have.

    I'd be buying and selling all the older/cheaper cars I've wanted, 2-3 months each car and maybe circle back at the end with 'the right one'.



    Evo Wagon


      are there any in Aus.

      I thought they were not allowed.

      shame they didn't do 6 wagon


        Not eligble for import, but potentially will be with the new import laws coming in October. That said, there is an Evo 9 wagon in Adelaide that was a personal import.

    • +3 votes

      I'd go a nice RB26 Stagea if I was to do a wagon. Or C63 wagon

      • +2 votes

        Was about to suggest a VF V8 wagon. Power plus room for the dog (plus the V8 growl)


        Currently the list of recommendations is:
        - Nissan Skyline GTR R32, R33 (no R34's for that price sorry)
        - Toyota Supra (2jz engine?)
        - Toyota Celica AWD
        - Nissan Stagea RB26
        - Subaru Liberty GT Wagon
        - Subaru Liberty
        - Subaru WRX (2010-current)
        - Mitsubishi EVO 9
        - Ford Focus RS
        - Toyota 86 GTS/Subaru BRZ
        - Honda Civic TypeR (new model)
        - Honda Civic Type R (EK with mods)
        - Honda S2000
        - Mazda MX5
        - Hyundai i30 N
        - Kia Stinger (outside budget?)
        - Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo
        - Holden Commodore V8 (many variants)
        - Renault Megane RS
        - VW Golf GTi
        - Audi TT
        - Audi S3
        - BMW M135i
        - BMW M3 (older V8)
        - BMW M5 (older V8 or V10)


        not dissing your budget, but C63 on 40k is asking for trouble.

        If you want to get a bargain C63, you should be looking at:
        150 new price
        used price 80-90k, 1 owner full service history, < 25,000k

        i'm not so knowledgable on MB, but the M156 engine, suffers some catastrophic failure, rod bearings and lesser extent, head bolt failure. all these failures could easily wipe out the value of the car.


        just read this:

  • +3 votes

    What about a nice motorbike?

  • +23 votes

    Sounds like you need a medium yield invest car.

    But seriously, this is ozbargain so get a 2010 Magna

  • +6 votes

    the commodore variety that is, and in manual.



    • +1 vote

      This is a good idea nothing like a HSV but the previous gen E hsv had the same motor as the newer gen VF Commodore and the hsv gen F is out of the budget by a ways still.

      Older HSV or newer Ls3 Commodore easily had under $40k with next to no kms.


        Or for not much more get the GTS - top of the range will hold the most value long term… (e.g. look at the values of old GT vs GT-HO)

        Pick your preference…:
        Newer / Manual: or
        Low KM / Auto:

        [Other variants available]

        yeah they are a bit less refined then their German counterparts, but that's part of what makes them fun!
        Like what Clarkson once said… traction control off …. they should install windscreen wipers on the side windows!! (on track days, of course)


          You might be thinking of a GTS R W1.

          There is not much mechanically different between a 2017 R8, GTS and a GTS R. All LSA's. 20 or 25kW's more in an ECU tune for $20k+.

          I believe a Motorsport or a Director with their GM Level 3 Track Capable label are a better collectables than a GTS or GTS R due to the far lower numbers.


            @This Guy: He's linked E series hsv which are around the same price as VF Commodores these days that are 10 years older but provide same/same performance level as the newer Commodore.

            I doubt any will hold price or increase soon but like you said the extremely rare examples are the more likely.

            VE HSV/Commodore and below are sliding but not drastically like euros.

            VF HSV/Commodore have lost ground from new but are holding decently at their current prices especially the very last models which had the most gear.

            Motorsport and director are a good bet but also the decals will turn many off. Magnum (special ed ute) had the lowest build number and as a ute tends to hold better due to perceived demand. GEN F hsv will likely drop more as they are not the latest and greatest and the extra performance gear of gen f2 will keep price/demand high but most are double OPs budget.

            Definitely don't think you will lose too much in 5 years with any of the choices and in 10 years/ridiculously low kms you may appreciate.

            I will flog mine off in a few years when I need more seats and hopefully not lose much if at all on such a depreciating asset.

            Definitely value for fun and balls to wall performance from a classic pushed v8 with size and comfort.

  • +2 votes

    Audi TTRS.

    They can do 9's with mods.

    or a BMW 550i (M5 TT motor).

  • +2 votes

    Depends how you define fun? Jeep Wrangler?

  • +5 votes

    32 or 33 GTR, Evo 9 or 10, any car with a Barra, e90 m3, c63 or a45 amg


    Looks like you want 4 doors, honestly you can't really go wrong with a C63, and if it's already a favourite just go for it, they hold their value and the majority of the depreciation is already done.

    Just whatever you do don't get a Commodore, you'll be a bogan Commodore driver, and don't get a BMW, you'll be a douchebag BMW driver.

    If it was me? Probably a Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, or Jaguar XF Supercharged 6. It's not that easy to come by V8's, much to my disappointment as I still haven't owned one.


      Yeah, pretty set on 4 doors. It won't be commodore. When I was young it was VK Brock and VL Turbo. Then 2jz Aristo.

      Only BMW I'd consider is the 135 or 335


      XF over s60 imo. S60 doesn't feel sporty even in T6 R Design.


      Second the Volvo S60 however $40K will get you into the updated Polestar not just the R-Design. Very tasty.

    • +3 votes

      Completely disagree with the "bogan" Commodore perspective. They aren't making them anymore (I'm talking about a real Commodore, not the crap they are trying to flog atm). And every day that goes by there's less on the road.

      This is especially so for something like an VF Series 2 Redline, which is already pretty rare and is a hell of a car for the money.


        I second the Redline.

        Brembo's, V8, reliable, cheap spares and a huge aftermarket catalog.

        It's missing adaptive suspension and the ICE is very dated. But it's not your daily driver and who cares if you put an aftermarket head unit in a redline

  • +4 votes

    Fd RX7. Have you factored in repair costs in your budget? C63 isn't exactly cheap when something goes wrong. Saw one with one wornout cam lobe the other day that was $10k+ to fix from memory.

    • +1 vote

      I'm aware of the head bolts, cam lobe wear and a few other things. I'll be looking for one hopefully outside the range of affected engines. But if not, everyone says to keep an eye on low coolant warning. But then up for expensive repairs.

      I'd take the C63 over a rotary.


      You say factor in repair costs but then go on to recommend a rotary. I love the FD RX7 (timeless looks) but that’s a poor choice in terms of reliability.


        Hardly if you know anything about them. Entire engine rebuild is cheaper than doing cams in a C63. Gearbox is solid, diff is solid, electronics are solid.

    • -2 votes

      Saw one with one wornout cam lobe the other day that was $10k+ to fix from memory.

      May as well drop in an LS rather than repairing the merc engine.


        The engine is the car for a C63 amg if you ask me (ps didn’t neg)


          agree, the W204 interior isn't that much more of a level higher than well specced c class, other than the seats and AMG kick plates you struggle to justify the extra 100k

  • +19 votes

    Mazda mx5

  • +30 votes

    Used, low mileage 4cyl, turbo Mustang. It's got everything you need in a fun, mid sized sports car.

    It's a car you can bro off about (at a distance and just not to any of the V8 bros)
    It has a turbo, so you can bro off with the turbo guys.
    It has a Focus engine, so you can bro off with the RS bros.
    Comes with a stereotype already installed.
    Don’t have to worry about young girls wanting to get in and messing it up, although hairdressers may be attracted to it.
    Only runs if you get a numberplate containing PNY.
    Like all good "classic not plastic" muscle cars, it's a safety shitbox, but the 4cyl may not go fast enough or travel far enough between head gasket changes to worry about it.
    I think they have an offer at the moment, buy a mustang and get a free sleeve and neck tattoo…
    If you're over 45, you'll be in good company, because I think that's the minimum age limit to buy them.
    And lastly, resale value. Like all good modern remakes of 70's muscle cars, it will cost 4x as much as a dealer will give you as a trade in, and private sales will give you lots to talk about with endless "when I was a young bloke" tyre kickers.

  • +6 votes

    Standby another $40k after owning C63 AMG.

    Other similar money pit for fun & status :

    Maserati Gransport (engine from Ferrari F430 V8 - NA revving pure soundgasm)
    Jaguar XKR 07' (V8 supercharged)
    996 911

    • +1 vote

      Beware the 996 non turbo and non-GT. They have the IMS bearing which makes a fantastic pop, and not the nice valvey exhaust pop, just one pop to end it all.

      $25k engine rebuild.

      Turbo and GT cars cost >$100k for anything half decent.

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