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irish44j UberDork
8/22/13 6:56 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: E30 will destroy a 924/944 on maintenance costs, and be as fast (or faster, in the case of a 924). The trick with E30s is to find a 325i or 325is, NOT a 325 or 325e. While the latter make good commuter cars, they aren't great for the track thanks to their low-rev engines. And, for myself now owning a 325i, I wouldn't ever want to go back to a 4 cylinder E30, though I know they have their fans.

Damn you....we run an ETA in Lemons/Chump and finished 18th overall at Capitol Offense, lol. And I own an e30 and e21 both with 4cyl engines.

That said, for track work a 325i is superior. But M20B25 cars are pretty rare at the $1500 price point (as are M42 late 318is). In that price range you're gonna find decent M10 or ETA cars, and that's about it. An "i" car for $1500 is gonna have a ton of other issues in my experience. Think double that for a decent-condition 325i in most cases.

For autocross/rallycross the M42 4cyl e30s (IMO) are pretty equal to the 325i in many cases, since they are better balanced and lighter. But for "the track" the B25 cars are the best, no question.

Wanderer New Reader
8/22/13 7:14 p.m.

Yes, from my Craigslist adventures i've been seeing 5MT 325i at that price but are usually advertised "as is" and I know that means another $1500 to get it able to pass smog and roadworthy. I did some wiking and checked out the 318s, low power but I suppose enough to play with.

Good comment about the Miata and racing seats as well. The one I drove had buckets but i'm not sure if they were low seats or not or how high the rails were. It seems that most people around here that have 5 speed Miatas know their worth, and the cheap ones are old NA ATs. I will keep an eye out.

Wanderer New Reader
8/22/13 7:45 p.m.

AW11 MR2? I see these pop up all the time around that price range.


BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/22/13 7:47 p.m.

This thread has a couple of comments re AW11s and MR2s in general in it: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/learn-me-speed-parts-availability-for-2nd-gen-mr2s-and-fc3s/69037/page1/

Short version - there isn't much of an aftermarket and you need to be able to get decent suspension, brakes and tires/wheels for a track car.

Wanderer New Reader
8/22/13 8:08 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim:

Thanks for pointing that out, a little research showed my the only suspension easily obtainable that I would run would be Koni Yellows + Eibach Pro-kit, all the coilover options are Taiwan junk.

I'm sure there's good stuff out there but it appears not easy to obtain.

clownkiller Reader
8/22/13 8:57 p.m.

My EG hatch feels huge inside after I drive my Miata. The Miata is a blast to drive, even for a big guy.

parker Reader
8/22/13 9:22 p.m.

1st gen Neon

M030 Dork
8/23/13 1:02 a.m.

In reply to Wanderer:

Parts availability is surprisingly good. Almost all of the trim interchanges with pre-86 944s, so used parts abound, sand almost all mechanical parts have a VW part number. For example, when mine needed a fuel pump, the Porsche part was Porsche-priced at $428. A quick look at my Bosch interchange book told me that the VW Dasher and 1982 Audi 5000S use the same pump. Same pump, ordered for a VW Dasher was $69. It is the exact same part. Rear brake shoes are VW Beetle, front pads are Rabbit I think. I bought the Bosch book and an old Hollander Interchange book from a local junkyard that was closing. That $50 investment has saved me thousands of dollars because wherever a VW part can be substituted, I avoid the Porsche name tax.

93EXCivic MegaDork
8/23/13 7:35 a.m.
Wanderer wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: Get on local SCCA or NASA forum (if you have one) and just watch for something to become available and buy the best prepped car you find rather then looking for a specific model of car.
I know this is the fastest and cheapest way out on track but i'd prefer to prepare the car myself. For me that is half the fun

Yeah but any car that is $1500 is going to need prep work so that just gets you a better starting point.

Xceler8x GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/23/13 10:35 a.m.
parker wrote: 1st gen Neon

I'd go one step further and say 1st gen Neon R/T. I drove one years ago and was pleasantly surprised how fun this car was. Tossable and with decent power from that motor. I think they also get damned good mpg in the deep 30's. Just checked. MSN Autos states a 1999 R/T (150hp) will get 39 mpg highway. Fueleconomy.gov says 36 mpg highway.

LuxInterior New Reader
8/23/13 10:54 a.m.

I'd go Integra or Miata. The Miata can be made to fit you. There are guys 6'3" tall driving spec cars. I'm 6' tall with a long torso. For street: removed foam from bottom of driver seat (foamectomy). For track: $75 Kirkey from Craigslist.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
8/23/13 11:17 a.m.

Since you are in Hayward, check out this car:


I know the car and the owner well. I am 80% sure the picture in the ad is me driving it. The last time I saw it had SCCA/NASA competition cage in it. He is in the same situation you were with getting married and having children. I know he needs it sold. If you like it, make and offer.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/23/13 12:31 p.m.

^A lot over budget but a good deal. No need to spend money fixing up/modding a stock car. Just need to replace the stolen ECU.

Wanderer New Reader
8/23/13 12:46 p.m.

That Civic is a really good deal, i'm not looking to buy right now, probably towards the beginning of the year after the holidays, I doubt that will still be around.

1st Gen Neon R/T sounds interesting, I assume i'll have to be diligent on keeping an eye out for one. 150hp would be plenty and I know they're fairly popular for grassroots motorsport.

Thanks M030 for the info on the 924. One was driving in front of me yesterday (actually a 914, but w/e) on my way home coincidentally... they're suprisingly wide!

I don't mind bringing a car up to snuff if it needs some work on brakes, body or suspension, I just don't want to tear into heads or blocks.

Thanks all for the suggestions so far, you've given me some good ideas and i'm glad not everyone said Miata I will keep them in mind of course now that Tall Crew has assured me they can be built to fit.

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/23/13 12:50 p.m.

A Civic Hatch with a B-Series swap is about the best low-budget HPDE car you can find, for that price. I ran a Civic Sedan with the mini-me upgrade and swapped-in Integra suspension. It was a stripper DX, so pretty darn light and it had amazing brakes with good handling. I was able to stay in front of most cars in the twisties and braking zones, but lost out on the straights. The B16 Civic Hatches were right there with me, until they walked away on the main straight. Still wish I got around to building a Civic with a big motor. There are a lot of cast-off Honda Challenge and ITA cars out there as well.

The other option is of course, Miata. If you want to get on track with RWD on a budget, there really is no better way.

Wxdude10 New Reader
8/23/13 12:52 p.m.

Lots of interesting suggestions here (especially the 924's and the info on parts interchange with regular VW/Audi parts).

Sorry for thread-jacking, but..

3rd Gen F-Bodies? Anyone use these for any sort of cheap HPDE? Pluses and minuses other than the "wet noodle" build quality?

Xceler8x GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/23/13 12:58 p.m.
Wxdude10 wrote: Lots of interesting suggestions here (especially the 924's and the info on parts interchange with regular VW/Audi parts). Sorry for thread-jacking, but.. 3rd Gen F-Bodies? Anyone use these for any sort of cheap HPDE? Pluses and minuses other than the "wet noodle" build quality?

I've looked into this quite a bit.

Drawbacks are:

~ Weight - this will be tough on tires, brakes, fuel, etc, etc...

~ Transmission choice. You can find a manual but they're scarce.

~ Lack of horsepower for weight unless you swap in a 350 SBC. If you have a 5 spd you then have to swap trans as the 350 is over the 5 spd's torque capacity.

~ You mentioned the wiggly unibody. That's a drawback that would have to be remedied by a cage.

~ May require an oil accumulator to live on the track.


~ Pretty good rear suspension in comparison to other muscley cars of the same vintage. (panhard bar, coil spring rear, solid axle so strong, rear disc available stock)

~ SBC parts cost.

~ 4 wheel disc available stock.

~ SBC Power and upgradeability

~ Some are available race prepped via the American Iron class.

~ Mullet not required.

~ I think they're awesome but couldn't afford to campaign one.

Wanderer New Reader
8/23/13 1:19 p.m.

In reply to Xceler8x:

Yes I have considered F bodies as well as they come up FS near me quite often, even with 5 speeds. Good points made.

I was watching some in car footage of American Iron at Buttonwillow and it seemed like a lot of GASSSSSSSSS break, turn off throttle, GASSSSSSSS

I guess i'm just used to low power making a bunch of racket everywhere... would be an interesting contrasting experience.

Wxdude10 New Reader
8/23/13 1:44 p.m.

In reply to Xceler8x:

Yeah, weight/consumables seem to be the big drawbacks for a cheap HPDE beater. I wasn't thinking about those.

Spoolpigeon Dork
8/23/13 2:08 p.m.

91-94 240sx? Cheap as hell now days, incredible aftermarket parts support, and good fun to drive even when bone stock. Several upgrades can be had from other Nissan/infinity cars (brakes/diff/seats/etc). The stock motor is no powerhouse, but its sufficient. I would throw on an oil cooler for track days though.

Wanderer New Reader
2/12/14 6:39 p.m.

Reviving this because I ended up with a AE92 GTS that was gifted from a friend. Motor and trans are healthy, just needs a little bodywork, i.e I need to go to pick and pull and find a fender, front bumper, and corner light and brush up on my rattle can spray painting skills He was going to scrap it just because he was done with it but it was too good to throw away. Very grateful for that.

I'm sure i'll be back bugging resident experts as soon as I get it back on the road. I'm pretty excited.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/12/14 7:16 p.m.

Free is good, even if you need to find some parts for it .

kanaric HalfDork
2/13/14 1:16 a.m.

AW 11 MR2 or 924S can both be had at this price range and have lots of support. I would go for MR2 due to the unlimited potential.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/13/14 6:56 a.m.

Hey, now I got another AE92 owner buddy!

Trucke and Dr. Hess on this board also own them. There's one other guy with a gray coupe who had a build thread on here, can't remember his username.

Edit: Also take a look at the Trueno in my Reader's Rides and see if you want any parts from that. There are a bunch of body parts that won't fit my coupe (like everything in the bumper) I'd sell you.

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/13/14 8:10 a.m.

Step 1: get current issue of GRM, and read through the results of the GRM challenge.

Step 2: pick cars out that you like

Step 3: if you are looking for an actual fast car, compare that list with the SCCA solo nationals, probably for the Street Prepared results.

Step 4: With any car that is on both lists, and you like it, pick that one.

Since everyone is posting their favorite car, I'll suggest getting an Alfa.

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