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Haggis

Project car suggestions?

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I'm considering a project car for my son & I to wrench on as a joint effort.

 

Question is what car? Neither my son nor I are into American classics, so we're leaning towards the import side. So far we've considered:

  • Miata. Easy to work on, cheap, lots available. But I already have one - not a deal breaker, but would be nice to work on something new.
  • RX-7 FD. Way too pricey.
  • Datsun Z. A quick search shows either rust buckets (too much work) or restored (too little work).
  • Nissan 240SX. Low availability.
  • Porsche 944. Pricey parts & high prices.

 

Not sure on budget yet, just started kicking this idea around. Definitely prefer cars that don't need major bodywork, so no rust holes or accident damage. Not looking to make a profit, just enjoy some father & son time.

 

What's your suggestion?

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I have done two project cars with my son.

 

The first one was/is a Porsche 944.   It was a challenge and he did not like working on it.  The parts were easy to get and in general support and you tube videos were helpful.  Our first attempt to get it going was not successful so it is being redone again.

 

The second project was a Miata, it was much easier to work on and the project went more quickly.   It is now a track car.  The first time he will ever drive it is later this month

 

If I had to do over, the main focus would be to find a car that he was interested in owning and driving.   These projects take time and energy and at the end of the day enjoying driving the project is important.

 

What kind of car does he like.    Subru's, Nissan 240s, old BMWs?, Volvos, Mercedes, or wacky old cars, perhaps a miata kit car, a dune buggy.

 

Just make sure he likes it!

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I'm considering a project car for my son & I to wrench on as a joint effort.

 

Question is what car? Neither my son nor I are into American classics, so we're leaning towards the import side. So far we've considered:

  • Miata. Easy to work on, cheap, lots available. But I already have one - not a deal breaker, but would be nice to work on something new.
  • RX-7 FD. Way too pricey.
  • Datsun Z. A quick search shows either rust buckets (too much work) or restored (too little work).
  • Nissan 240SX. Low availability.
  • Porsche 944. Pricey parts & high prices.

 

Not sure on budget yet, just started kicking this idea around. Definitely prefer cars that don't need major bodywork, so no rust holes or accident damage. Not looking to make a profit, just enjoy some father & son time.

 

What's your suggestion?

Rethink the no Americarna.

 

 

 

 

J/K. Go with whatever turns YOU on. Stanced out Bug? Go for it. Chicano lowrider? Hey that's cool too. Sport truck?  Whatever makes your thing zing, run with it.

 

Your list looks Japanese. Dave's build kind of shows how crude the early Datsuns were, but I've always had a thing for the early Zs. A Fairlady would be totally cool, but irrationally expensive. Modern engine in old metal looks like a mega win in the cool factor, but understand that safety is compromised.

 

 

A friend of mine helped me tremendously 5+ years ago. Was getting to the age where I just couldn't stand being a "car guy" without a car anymore. Asked him about project cars. Old 'Murican musclecars turn me on and was thinking a light version of Pro Touring. I have a little resources, but not baller budget. He asked me the key question "how much do you want to drive it"? I was incredulous. Of course I want to drive the hell out of it, and told him so. He pointed me down the late model route and how much cheaper it really is vs "classic" or especially vs street rod stuff. Best advice I've ever gotten. Went the Mustang route as it ticked my boxes (V-8, trackable, and affordable value), and the "track pack" Mustang was a Budget Boss. Winner, winner. Most of my mods are catalog picks (nothing cheaper than ford except chevy), but the combo is mine, high value, and I've fabbed up just enough unique stuff from scratch to keep my wheels turning. Driving it comfortably every day and pretty darn quick on track days truly yanks my crank. Now about the cost of consumables, I'm not so smart but nowhere near as bad as some marques.

 

Someday I'll do something unique. Or whoose out like Dave (shots fired), and build a cruiser for the old lady and me. Ideally I'll do a dedicated track car (W2W) for a decade or so before building that old man's car.

 

Keep us posted. In for the build thread.

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Not gonna try and sell you my 240- I've decided to keep it.   But there are plenty to be had out there.  unfortunately, drift tax is high on them and you can buy a 350Z and go faster for the same price as a beat up drift missile.  

A rolling chassis (that ma or may not be straight) starts around $1000, and a running KA24DE is going for $500 nowadays.   so it's $1500 and you may or may not get a transmission.  Just 5 years ago, you could pick up a chassis for free.

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350Z's are plentiful and cheap. I have zero idea on how the aftermarket is but it's cheap, rwd, Japanese.

 

350Z aftermarket is huge. Lots of good parts to be had if you know what to get. Its a fun car with plenty of power. I thought it was fun to work on. Factory Service Manual is fantastic on this car. 

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Your list looks Japanese. Dave's build kind of shows how crude the early Datsuns were, but I've always had a thing for the early Zs. A Fairlady would be totally cool, but irrationally expensive. Modern engine in old metal looks like a mega win in the cool factor, but understand that safety is compromised.

 

 

My 66 Datsun is terrifying to drive anywhere over 55 mph. There is no safety on it. And the service manual is more or less useless. It must of been translated from Japanese or something. "Use the dirt to remove the nut." That's the kind of crap you'll read. Also, no torque specs for anything. That really bothers me. 

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CRX!!! They're severely underestimated with power. 1800 lbs off the factory floor?  Junkyard k24's for cheap?  Color me tickled. If i ever get around to building one, i'll just turbo a built d16.  Easy 3-400 hp in a vehicle thats 1900 lbs caged. Pair that with spherical bushings everywhere and a decent monotube coilover, and you've got yourself a national championship contender in TT3.  Nevermind the fact that you can stick 275's on there..... in a 1900 lb car..... with 3-400 hp.....

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Factors I would consider (in no particular order):

1) Commonly modified chassis- almost all issues or bugs are known and documented online with readily available aftermarket solutions

2) OEM parts are still available and easy to acquire

3) Not a ton of emissions equipment to deal with so the car can maintain street registration relatively easily without a lot of wasted time hunting down CEL's related to emissions equipment.

4) Something you would want to keep and use in the event that the car develops sentimental value

5) Aftermarket support

6) Something that holds your interest and is cool to both of you

7) Budget

8) Purpose of the car

 

Under 20K 

e46 non zhp 330ci with a build based eventually on doing spec e46

350Z

240sx

 

Under 10K

92-95 civic/integra with b series swap

Miata

 

I'd stay away from CRX because so many parts are no longer available.  Looks like we're all coming up with basically the same list.

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