I was looking for a second car as a pleasure vehicle. I wasn't sure what I wanted and because I was living in Michigan at the time, I knew it probably wouldn't see any winter duties. This was in '99.
I was already racing a Mazda-based Ford (Escort GT) and those of us who were used Miata sites for technical info for improving our cars. I took a little test on the Click and Clack website (Car Talk on NPR) and a 240 SX was suggested. I drove a few of those and wasn't 100% sold on them. I had previously owned a Mustang V8 and BMW e30, so I was leaning towards a RWD car, but a convertible wasn't on my radar. My daily driver was a Honda CRX Si and then a '92 Integra. I was considering and test drove a few DC Integra GS-Rs and was >< that close to buying a real Type R when I checked on the insurance rates. I passed on it and kept looking.
A new friend I made through racing had a '95 R-pack as his summer and auto-x car, and talked me up on it. I started looking into them more. It seemed like an obvious choice because I was already familiar with the Mazda B-series engines. By this time I had already bought a 323 GTX for winter driving and rally-x duties. I loved the mariner color and was finding the B6 more favorable over the BP. So, I spent the next 6-9 months looking for a LNC mariner with low mileage.
I found my car in the autumn of '00. It was owned by a professional couple less than an hour away. He was well over 6' and couldn't fit in the car, she was a surgeon. They had twin boys about 5-6 years old and she rarely drove it because she couldn't take both kids with her. He had bought her a 911 convertible to replace the Miata because it had a back seat.
I spent a *little* more than I intended for it, but now that I have owned it for almost 12 years now, it was still a great purchase. It has been the most reliable car I have owned, despite my efforts to break it. It has also become to the most influential item in my life...just because of the people I have met through it. That was never a consideration, it just happened.