$1000 a year seems high, but then I don't really keep track of what I spend. If you are purely maintaining a car, no mods, and are willing to get a little dirty then you'll like an e30. They are simple, easy to work on, and the net is a great resource for DIY for almost anything.
#1 in my opinion: rust. Get as rust free car as you can find / afford (no matter what you buy) and then spend the $ on getting all maintenance items up to snuff, drive it easy and I would say $500 a year from then on is achievable. Add on $100 a year for oil spray, and remember that at any point with an old car, something might break.