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budget_bandit
budget_bandit New Reader
2/13/24 12:07 p.m.

All,

I don't have any car people in my life that can give me advice I can trust, so I'm coming to you.  Ever since i saw Roadkill 8 years ago, I've wanted to build my own version of the General Mayhem. A stripped down, raw, muscle car for cheap. My vision is to buy a 68-72 A-body, 68-72 X-body, or 70-81 F-body, fix egregious rust as cheaply as possible, do a basic refresh of suspension and brakes (with limited upgrades), and install a 5.3/4L60e combo and just daily drive it like that forever. I'd like to stay under 7k total cost. I've seen several examples of the cars locally for $1500-$3000 as rollers, leaving me ~4k for the rest.

I can weld, I have wiring experience, and I have access to a workspace big enough to fit a car and an engine hoist. What am I missing? Is this feasible? Cheap sheetmetal patches for the floor, under the cheapest carpet i can find, basic dash refresh, cheap seats from the junkyard, basic interior door panels from sheetmetal and cheap fabric. What are the pitfalls i'm overlooking?

This nova is my current favorite potential starting point.

Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
2/13/24 12:48 p.m.

Start with the most rust free body you can afford.  Even if you have to travel to get it.

AhBNormal
AhBNormal Reader
2/13/24 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself :

Seconded!

AhBNormal
AhBNormal Reader
2/13/24 2:17 p.m.

See if you can find something obscenely obscure, a 4 door 1977 LTDII or it's brother Cougar,  AMC Ambassador. Or start with a Ford "Panther"; any of them. Readily available! Some huge old Mercedes crew cab? Oh! Hit the "crazy" button and find a 1980's Masi Quattroporte! Or a Jag Saloon! BMW 7L series!

  The Nova, unless it's a 4 door, has been done to death.(Deathproof? Strange how it's a Camaro in the posters and is a Nova on screen?)

OH! a JDM Toyota Crown! over 25 years old, you could get a gem?! The Supra motor in a tux! Lace window curtains! Electric back seats! RHD FTW!

  Or even Betterer, A Volga! "In old Soviet Union, Russian Car Modify You!"(oddly, a few were brought in to Houston, Texas(?) so there may be one around there?)

anger_enginering
anger_enginering New Reader
2/13/24 2:36 p.m.

IF, and that is a BIG if, I could I would build a clone of this from the movie The Crow

MyMiatas
MyMiatas Dork
2/13/24 2:54 p.m.
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself said:

Start with the most rust free body you can afford.  Even if you have to travel to get it.

And here you go...

https://cosprings.craigslist.org/cto/d/monument-1974-chevy-nova-hatch/7711389465.html

Or this too....

https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/brighton-71-plymouth-satellite/7711598537.html

Ask for more pictures and such. 

 

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP Dork
2/13/24 3:29 p.m.

Given the 'LS swap the world' can probably pick up used SBC performance parts relatively cheap. *May* even be able to pick up nice big block chev engines decently cheap, I know of a few older classics locally that have pulled nicely warmed over big blocks to swap in an LQ for reasons unknown and selling complete built running engines for like $500 to make it not take up floor space in their garage. 

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD Reader
2/13/24 3:32 p.m.
DjGreggieP said:

Given the 'LS swap the world' can probably pick up used SBC performance parts relatively cheap. *May* even be able to pick up nice big block chev engines decently cheap, I know of a few older classics locally that have pulled nicely warmed over big blocks to swap in an LQ for reasons unknown and selling complete built running engines for like $500 to make it not take up floor space in their garage. 

I'm in the same line of thinking.   I have a s10 shell sitting and I was thinking about trying to pick up a nice sbc someone dumped for a LS, I figured the price had to be coming down. 

Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
2/13/24 3:33 p.m.
MyMiatas said:
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself said:

Start with the most rust free body you can afford.  Even if you have to travel to get it.

And here you go...

 

 

 

Probably not that one...

budget_bandit
budget_bandit New Reader
2/13/24 8:50 p.m.

Okay I guess let me be a little more specific. Is $2-3k gonna be enough to make a decent interior out of nothing, and to do a basic refresh of the suspension/brakes? I think it will...

Datsun240ZGuy
Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
2/13/24 8:57 p.m.

That's my plan on my Datsun - doesn't need to be mint.  Just get it running, have fun and improve as I go.  

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/13/24 9:21 p.m.
AhBNormal said:

See if you can find something obscenely obscure, a 4 door 1977 LTDII or it's brother Cougar,  AMC Ambassador. Or start with a Ford "Panther"; any of them. Readily available! Some huge old Mercedes crew cab? Oh! Hit the "crazy" button and find a 1980's Masi Quattroporte! Or a Jag Saloon! BMW 7L series!

  The Nova, unless it's a 4 door, has been done to death.(Deathproof? Strange how it's a Camaro in the posters and is a Nova on screen?)

OH! a JDM Toyota Crown! over 25 years old, you could get a gem?! The Supra motor in a tux! Lace window curtains! Electric back seats! RHD FTW!

  Or even Betterer, A Volga! "In old Soviet Union, Russian Car Modify You!"(oddly, a few were brought in to Houston, Texas(?) so there may be one around there?)

That's the Sloppy Mechanics recipe.  That guy single handedly put 4-door Fairmonts on the map.  I agree, go 4-door.  2-doors are overdone.  Check out Uncle Tony's Garage's "Bottlerocket".  That's a sweet looking old Mopar.

MyMiatas
MyMiatas Dork
2/13/24 9:36 p.m.

In reply to Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself :

I threw that Mopar in there because of the front bumper on those are cool. And I do not see those at any cars show I have been to lately 

Racingsnake
Racingsnake Reader
2/13/24 10:08 p.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

Depends on your idea of decent really but I'd be able to do something I'd be happy with for that. Since you mention General Mayhem vibes I figure you can put up with something a bit rough

Datsun240ZGuy
Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
2/13/24 10:26 p.m.

This has that Ricky Bobby dad's Chevelle feel to it. Shake and bake!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/13/24 11:10 p.m.

It doesn't matter if what you want to I do is "overdone" unless you're building it to impress someone else. What matters is if it looks like what you want to build. 

I agree that pre-LS stuff is probably the real budget option these days. 

Interior cost depends on what skills you want to pick up and where you want it to land on the classy <---> nasty continuum. I've covered a cracked dash in fabric using spray-on adhesive in the past to good effect. Seats you can either learn to reupholster, replace with race seats or throw on a Mexican blanket. Two of those inexpensive :)

Motojunky
Motojunky New Reader
2/14/24 12:07 a.m.

We're on the same page. I recently picked up a '72 crew cab Chevelle with very similar goals in mind. My costs to date are: 

Car $2,000

Wheels/tires (Marketplace)  $300

Engine (used reman 350 in good shape - Marketplace friend of a friend) $200

Intake (Marketplace) $50

New Carb $400

With a couple of misc gaskets, etc. I'm right around $3k to be on the road. It'll need tires, probably some suspension bits, and surely a few other nickel and dime parts. I'm hoping to be in at around $5k to feel good about it. I got lucky with the $200 engine, and lucky that the car had a fresh reman trans, new brakes, etc. 

 

anger_enginering
anger_enginering New Reader
2/14/24 8:19 a.m.
Motojunky said:

We're on the same page. I recently picked up a '72 crew cab Chevelle with very similar goals in mind. My costs to date are: 

Car $2,000

Wheels/tires (Marketplace)  $300

Engine (used reman 350 in good shape - Marketplace friend of a friend) $200

Intake (Marketplace) $50

New Carb $400

With a couple of misc gaskets, etc. I'm right around $3k to be on the road. It'll need tires, probably some suspension bits, and surely a few other nickel and dime parts. I'm hoping to be in at around $5k to feel good about it. I got lucky with the $200 engine, and lucky that the car had a fresh reman trans, new brakes, etc. 

 

 

THIS is exactly what I have wanted for YEARS! 

anger_enginering
anger_enginering New Reader
2/14/24 8:41 a.m.

I am doing something similar with one of my cars, but it is a 97 Mustang GT. It is the 4th Mustang I have owned and I paid 2k for it. It had already had the engine swapped to a PI engine (01 GT engine and trans) with long tube headers and a "93 octane tune", lowering springs, upper and lower rear control arms & 3.73 gears. It also had a 4" cowl hood and a Cobra front bumper. I do not have a total on the build, But I would say minus the Tork Tech I am in for less then 4k total. It has been mostly used and junk yard parts. I have refreshed the interior,left the outside alone for the most part and have been working out the issues as I drive it.

I have replaced all of the following with junk yard parts: hood, front bumper, trunk lid, center console, door panels, steering wheel

New parts: carpet, spring isolators, headlights, oil pressure gauge, water temp gauge, radio, rear tires

Parts to be installed (used unless otherwise stated): a/c lines & condenser (new), Fluidine radiator, Tork Tech kit, Maximum Motorsport C/C plates 

I also replaced the dash (used from FB marketplace), changed the Wheels (used from FB marketplace), Bilstein Struts (used, Ebay) and have installed a set of 84-86 Sport seats that are red (had in storage for 20+ years) in a brown/tan interior. 

I dont necessarily like where "Rat Rod" has gone, but I do like Ratty Muscle cars with "day 2" type mods. And less popular models or years of popular models are cheaper to get into. So I definitely think it is doable if you are good with your skill level and are willing to scrounge for parts. 

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/14/24 8:45 a.m.

No, you're not crazy. Yes, do it. 

Figure out your budget and just work within it. Building the car is better than not building it.

If all you can do to begin with is throw a gas station seat cover on it, so what. If you still have some sloppy bushings somewhere, so what. Pick a car you'll want to be driving around in and build it.

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/14/24 8:50 a.m.

OMG I hate the big-bumper novas but I'd rock that hatch in a heartbeat. And it's a factory three-pedal car, too.

anger_enginering
anger_enginering New Reader
2/14/24 8:53 a.m.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit New Reader
2/14/24 11:01 a.m.
Racingsnake said:

In reply to budget_bandit :

Depends on your idea of decent really but I'd be able to do something I'd be happy with for that. Since you mention General Mayhem vibes I figure you can put up with something a bit rough

i fell in love with the general mayhem as soon as i saw it. rough and ready is how i like it

budget_bandit
budget_bandit New Reader
2/14/24 11:02 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It doesn't matter if what you want to I do is "overdone" unless you're building it to impress someone else. What matters is if it looks like what you want to build. 

I agree that pre-LS stuff is probably the real budget option these days. 

Interior cost depends on what skills you want to pick up and where you want it to land on the classy <---> nasty continuum. I've covered a cracked dash in fabric using spray-on adhesive in the past to good effect. Seats you can either learn to reupholster, replace with race seats or throw on a Mexican blanket. Two of those inexpensive :)

i appreciate your thoughts and i share them. no disrepect to anyone, but i have to like it to want it. 75+ novas, 73+ A bodies, and 71+ chargers dont move my emotional needle, at all. not worth it

budget_bandit
budget_bandit New Reader
2/14/24 11:02 a.m.
anger_enginering said:

homeless dave is my hero

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