Make your choice based on two things: 1) Will the car be enjoyable and and maintainable for you for a while? and 2) what would you have to pay for something functionally equivalent (if you can find it) ?
Since you have a Gary Fischer with manual transmission, what other manual transmission cars would be affordable for you? My daily driver is a car that I only bought because I knew the owner, and it came available just when I needed a new car, AND it has a manual transmission. I thought the asking price was a little high, but I went on all of the boards for that make, and the best estimate is that only 3.5% of cars like mine came with a clutch . . . so I have owned it for 3.5 years and 93K miles, and doing all labor myself (except alignments), I have put about 1.5 times as much into it in PARTS as I paid for the car! But it drives well, and cost per mile is still less than my wife's 5 year old Odyssey van. That van puts on the same 25K a year and has had way less work done to it. Of course if we sold both cars, the Odyssey will bring way more $$.
I have searched to see what options I would have if I bought a brand new car with a manual transmission, and the list is way too short - at least for cars I would want and could afford.
If this does not help you feel smarter to invest in your Gary Fischer, at least I hope you are feeling the shared 'misery' =).
Good luck with your decision !
Mark in Marine
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