Barring major catastrophies my 505 GTI wagon should go this weekend, so now I am seriously looking for a replacement. As the title suggests, non-boring is the theme. Obviously I want something French, manual, up to $10k. I am excluding Renaults - mostly because they there are only R19s in the price range I am looking at, sorry guys but R19s are boring.
Here's my thinking - I'm looking for suggestions and/or comments.
A BX, esp a 16v, appeals. However, it is hard to find one that is in good enough condition to be reliable on a day to day basis without spending top dollar. While top dollar on these isn't a huge amount of money, these cars are rare, and in some ways it would be bad form to drive a mint example every day in the traffic. I know it will get scuffed and dented, bird poop etc, and for a rare collectors car that would be a great shame. It is probably also true that a mediocre example could easily end up costing more than a mint example with some urgent repairs thrown in. It is probably also running the risk of downtime should something like a door get damaged enough to make the car undrivable, there being so few cars out there to get parts from.
405s also appeal. I almost traded the 505 back in 1992 for a mi16, but my third child (nicknamed surprise!) put an end to that. The 505 with three children was much more practical. From looking around, S1 mi16s seem to be getting just too old, both years & kms, to be a really viable proposition. Of course, there are mint examples out there, but for the same reasons as a mint BX I wouldn't feel comfortable driving one every day in the traffic. S2 mi16s are still quite expensive, although I have seen one for 5500 with 170000km on the clock. Not a bad car, but maybe just old enough to start getting niggling problems. Non-mi16 405s are interesting, esp the SRis/STis with leather etc. I think S2s in these are the go - much more solid & bugger all difference in the price today.
406s are also nice, but more money than I want to pay. The cheapest one advertised at the moment is a 1996 ST manual with 160000km for $14k. Sad to say, but a 406 ST is bordering on boring as well.
This leads to Xantias. They are definitely the unloved by the market french car (excluding any Renault), and I don't really understand why. A 1995 VSX manual 16v with maybe 120000km is under $10k. While it isn't the outright sports car the BX 16v or mi16 is, still a very nice car to drive, and in 16v form, good performance as well. Consider that a Xantia is 97kw & 1300kg, compared to 108kw & 1180kg for a 405 mi16. I would expect similar performance from either until the mi16 gets over 4500rpm and into it's power band. There are not a lot of them around - they sold at the rate of maybe 40/month Australia wide - but being newer hopefully parts are not an issue the way they may be for BXs. In my opinion they are not as boring as a 406ST or 405SRi/STi, but not as interesting as a BX 16v or mi16. A good compromise maybe?