Originally Posted by Hans
...So in my situation I need reliable transportation to get to and from work...
Why, then, are you looking at old Firebirds and Bonnevilles? You know you'll have one of those for about a week before you think you have to start modding it. Next thing you know your "beater" is dead in the garage and you're driving the wheels off the '01 again.
I know this goes against all you hold sacred in automotive nirvana, but you ought to be looking for a decent-running STOCK
Toyota or Honda or... Something all you need to do to is put gas in and gets 30+ mpg in the city. You need something you're not tempted to play with. If you look in the $1k-2k range there are some decent commuter cars to be had. Raise your standards to $2000-2500, though, and your prospects become much better. You should see the little 95 Saturn I got for Hannah. Paid $2100 for it and it'* immaculate. It won't break any land-speed records, but it gets her 28 mpg around town, starts every time she needs it, and hasn't given her a lick of trouble.
If you're REAL lucky, you could pick up a very clean Accord for $150 like I did! It gets me back & forth to work, I put a tank of gas in it once a month, and I can take it places I won't let my Bonneville get near (like the high school parking lot during a football game).
Point is, I think you should lower your deflector shields and open yourself up to unmodified rice wagons. Something you put gas in, drive till it drops, then throw it away.