21st Jan2020

$30K Check: Maserati GranTurismo

by Trent Bray
CAMautoMag Maserati

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a $30K Check article (*Holy crap, 2012!*) and I wanted to bring it back today! Today’s subject is a car that depreciated quicker than it does 0-60. This is disastrous news for original owners and cause for jubilation from those of us without the means to spend 6-figures on a new vehicle. Since I am in the latter category at the moment, I have broken out the proverbial sparkling cider.

The Maserati GranTurismo dates back to 2007 where it launched at the Geneva Motor Show. Originally it came with a Ferrari co-developed 4.2L V8 producing 400HP. The GranTurismo S showed up later with a 4.7L V8 generating 434HP and was a shared motor with the limited-production Alfa Romeo 8C.

So it has Italian style and an Italian motor, what’s wrong with it? Well, it is largely the same since 2007, only in 2018 did they introduce a backup camera to it and finally updated the infotainment system. Also, the transmission has been known to be clunky at best on some versions. Finally, it’s not the most reliable car and parts are cost-prohibitive. In spite of all of that, it holds a place near and dear to my heart. I would gladly sign over a $30,000 check to own one of these!

After looking at these, you can find S models with low-mileage for just over $30K, but you can find higher-mileage models way under $30K all day!

Is it a dumb idea? Sure! Is it an emotional decision? Also yes! But that’s what cars are to me, emotional investments. They are far from smart financial decisions, so you might as well play into your emotions. And go big or go home…or something like that.

Trent V. Bray

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04th Jul2012

$30K Check: The Porsche Cayenne Turbo

by Mustangjohnny

2006 Porsche Cayenne 4.5 Turbo S

Alright. John, it’s that time……time to put your play car away and get a real one.  You know, one with four doors, one that takes the kids to soccer. That’s right kids it’s grown up time on 30k check.

So on 30k Check this time I have chosen the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This car does it all! Why it gathers the kids up, grabs some payload, tows the track car to MMP for the event. All of this while staying out after November as fun cars go inside to get out of the snow. What’s the big deal you ask, a lot of cars do this…..well this one does is it like a play car would.

So a quick glance over eBay at values reveals yes indeed there are many in the 30k range that seem to be all in order inside and out including miles. As usual, the Cayenne has the normal spots to check  issues on an SUV 4×4 i.e. rear main seal, front axle shaft seals and main axle shafts themselves. After some homework…look out! The first generation Cayenne came to us in 2004 with 450hp. It would do 0-60 in 5.35. In 2006 the Turbo S came out to compete with the Mercedes ML 63 AMG. Big news was the  jump to 520 hp, a very good jump indeed. The Turbo S also received a low range transfer case, locking diffs, and a full on off road suspension.

The Turbo was updated in 2008, given 500 hp, and the Turbo S was fitted with carbon composite brakes and 550hp. But now children, we are gently moving away from the 30k section, do you want us to save your seat here?
So as you start your search I say, have fun and enjoy!  See you next time on the 30k check!

-Johnny Northrop

[Source: Wikipedia]
Photo by: The Car Spy

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

21st Jun2012

$30K Check: Scion FR-S

by Trent

Scion FR-S CAMautoMag

You could see this one coming from a mile away, couldn’t you? The world is in a storm created by the Toyobaru twins. It’s an intriguing car with RWD, a Boxer-4 with adequate power and a relatively low entry cost. What’s not to like? This car isn’t made for big, smoky burnouts. It’s made to fuse the driver with the road, and although they are virtually identical, the front fascia on the Scion FR-S looks nicer and more aggressive in my opinion.

Scion FR-S Toyota 86 Subaru BRZ

The potential of these cars is undeniable. You’ve no doubt seen our coverage at the track with Brody’s white Subaru WRX in Lap Battle. Well, he already has his white BRZ lowered on Volk Racing wheels, and saying that I like it is an understatement.

I wouldn’t throw lots of power at the FR-S, just a few bolt-ons, as to not upset the balance and character. I wouldn’t scrape the ground with it’s low-ness. I would drive it and enjoy it like it should be enjoyed, connecting corners in the canyon.

-Trent Bray

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

01st May2012

$30K Check: Mini Coupe S

by Trent

Mini Coupe S CAMautoMag Haters will hate, and I can imagine Jeremy Clarkson mumbling about how ugly it is, and many people do find it revolting. But that only spurs me on more!

 Controversial styling is no stranger to me. The 2002 EP3 Honda Civic Si Hatch, not a huge hit because of its minivan-styling, I owned one. The 2004 Chrysler Crossfire that was overpriced and not styled for the common man. Had one of those too. The BMW X6? Love it! I like my cars to look interesting, the design should speak to me, even if it says something like “My beauty is on the inside”.

 This brings me to today’s car, pictured above(and below), the Mini Coupe S! I love the styling! The backwards baseball cap of a roof adds to the character of the car. The square-ish rear end, looks better than the overly bulbous rear-ends of some cars. It’s a sharp-handling, less-practical version of the Mini Cooper Hardtop. Who needs back seats anyway?

CAMautoMag Mini Coupe

With 181HP in a something the size of large refrigerator box, it’ll scoot. The John Cooper Works version is to be desired with its 208HP, but falls on the wrong side of $30,000. Currently I’m driving either an automatic lowered VW or a motor crudely bolted to little more than wheels. I need an engaging-to-drive runabout that won’t shake my kidneys free on speed bumps or make me cough up my lunch on railroad tracks. This is the ticket!

-Trent Bray

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

16th Aug2011

$30K Check: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-Spec

by Trent

Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-SpecI’m breaking with convention! For all of the $30K Check articles we’ve done, we haven’t yet chosen a brand new car. Well, even though I recently picked up a new car in a similar price range, this is a car my heart yearned for. I already have a weekend car, so I went for practicality on my most recent purchase. However, if I wanted a new car that could hit the track on the weekends and commute me around town during the week, this thing strikes a perfect balance to me.

Your first thought might be, why not save some money and get the 2.0T R-Spec? Simply because I think the 3.8 has better around town manners. Sure the back seat isn’t large and in charge, but how often do I need it? It’s suitable for short distances and maybe your friends won’t ask you to drive them around. Plus one there! I also know from a neighbor that you can fit a 125lb. dog in the back seat without issues.

The R-Spec package on the Hyundai Genesis takes away the things you don’t need, and adds the goodies from the Track package like Brembo brakes, Limited-Slip differential, and sportier suspension. It still has A/C and a stereo, but no leather or heated seats needed here. The best part of this car, is that it’s a few grand shy of $30K, leaving enough room for a set of track tires and brake pads. Maybe I’ve convinced myself I need to go trade my car in…

Hyundai Genesis Coupe

-Trent Bray
Photos by Hyundai USA

23rd May2011

The $30K Check – Lotus Elise

by Mustangjohnny

Lotus Elise

Hello friends! It is I, Johnny, back from the dead with an all new $30K check article. After a two month absence, I am ready to write!
For this installment of the 30K check I will take a little different approach. Instead of looking at older Supercars that need a lot of homework and maintenance, we will look at a somewhat newer car that has a reputation of being quite bulletproof. I give you the Lotus Elise. (more…)

01st Apr2011

$30K Check: 2 Integra Type-R’s

by Trent

CAM Auto Mag Integra Type RIt is time for me to throw my hat into the ring and tell you what car I’d buy with my pretend $30,000. And I’m going in the opposite direction of my colleagues. It’s not rear wheel drive, it’s not German, and for the price it’s not just one car…

25th Feb2011

The 30K Check: Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG

by Trent

Brooklands08 108

Now it’s my turn to throw my hypothetical check at a car. I’m partial to small cars with big motors, and a 5.4L V8 with 355HP in the smallest Mercedes-Benz available in the U.S. qualifies. (more…)

31st Jan2011

The 30K Dollar Check: Introduction

by Mustangjohnny

porsche 911 turbo
We all have our day dreams….What would be the first car we would buy after hitting the Lotto? I have limited myself to 5 cars from a couple of brands… 5 Porsche’s, 5 Ferrari’s, 5 Mustangs, 5 Corvettes etc, etc etc. So that leads to my “Short List” this is a realistic list of cars that I want to own before I die. Funny thing is……What if I told you that a lot of the cars on my list could be had for around 30k each?

So let us throw out the whole lotto thing and just for a moment, think what car you would buy for around 30k that would be used as a second or third recreational car. I was amazed at how long that list turned out to be after just a few minutes of pondering. Most of these cars are members of the Super Car alumni. In the coming months, Me and my comrades here at CAM will mix in with our madness, a series of articles entitled “30K Check” Where we will focus on one car that will faithfully fulfill childhood dreams, stop traffic, and hit a high rating on the Maverik Factor. Maverik Factor you say? This is the cars ability to generate attention while stopped at a local Maverik convenience store…..Think I am kidding? Try it some time. In each article we will dive into their history, price trends, and real world purchase and maintenance. This month, I will focus on an old school classic. The Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera, 1976-1989. (more…)