Best car to rebuild?

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Hey guys! I serched before i posted, and I found a couple posts, but nothing that totaly answered my question.

I am at a place right now were i need to buy a car. My transmission is going in my ford taurus and it is not worth it to rebuild the trany. Latly I have been getting my hands dirty and getting under the car to do a couple of things.

I have decided that I want to buy a car, and rebuild it. Buy the engine and make it go zoom. I know nothing about cars, but i can read a manual.

So my question is, what do you guys think is the best car for a novice like myself to buy and rebuild. Im looking for something I can style and built for speed. Im not much into the muscle, more into the compact import/domestic. My friend sugested a toyota, but i curious to see what you guys think.

Thanks for the help.

posted by  crazymonkey

Honda and Nissan will have a huge aftermarket support. They're not that hard to work on and you can find beat up Hondas and Nissans for cheap. :2cents:

posted by  elchango36

I would suggest a civic or cavalier for you

posted by  Aondor

I'm not criticizing you here, but why do you want a compact for performance? I don't understand why so many people try to make their Civics and Cavaliers fast. I'm honestly not trying to start a flame war here, I just want to know what makes someone go this route. I can understand a RWD compact, because it's light. It seems FWD would cancel out all the weight you saved by getting a compact. Please don't give me the "I want to make something different" speech either, because I see more Civics set up for racing than I do any Mustangs.

I'd recommend looking into a Nissan 240SX: cheap, light, RWD, and easy to find one in need of a rebuild as it seems all have well over 200K on them. If you've got some $ you could find an old RX7 and do the LS1 engine swap. I'm betting it's a difficult swap, but it is very popular. There has got to be some online guide to it, and since it's a popular engine swap there are plenty of people who can help you. In the end you get a car that handles extremely well, with crazy-good acceleration.

posted by  giant016

Reliability, GAS MILEAGE, insurance, price (although with these gas prices muscle cars are dropping in retail value while smaller imports are holding up better), Fun little buggers, depending on the route you choose they can be quite inexpensive (ex. homemade turbo kits), if you're from a big city there's parking, and not to mention the HUGE aftermarket support just to name a few.

Oh, also the lack of affordable RWD compacts (the 240SX is by no means a cheap little sportscar, niether is the RX7).

Those are some of the reasons I choose this FWD platform (also because I couldn't afford to buy a 240SX in Chicago). And you know something, I don't regret it one bit. She's really fun to drive (esp. being on such a tight budget)! I love cornering in this thing, and that's all that matters to me. :2cents:

posted by  elchango36

here we go on the insurance thing again. basic liability insurance is the same cost no matter what you drive. like i said in the other thread, you could drive an exotic or a flipping yugo, the cost will be the same. once you start adding collision, glass, it starts going up. i could take the insurance for my civic, transfer it to my monte carlo, and not pay a single cent more. so, next time someone says insurance is cheaper, its bull shit.

posted by  glagon1979

Maybe where you live. I can assure you as someone who has lived in more of the United States than most people have visited, that is not always the case. I just happen to have my personal car insurance paperwork in front of me because I paid it online last night. 12 cars insured, 9 cars liability only, of the cars that are liability only, 8 different prices. Sorry, no matter how many times you type that information or in how many different threads, it is incorrect.

posted by  vwhobo

i did it when i went from a 1990 lumina to a 1992 talon tsi. i also did it when i went from a 1988 ranger to a 1987 camaro Z28. maybe its just dumb luck. i was also told years ago by my buddys mother(who is an insurance agent) that its all the same. i haven't asked lately, but maybe it has changed and i just don't know it

posted by  glagon1979

Sorry, Hobo's right. Liability is STILL based on type of car and YOUR driving record and age. A young person with an exotic or sports car is going to be different in most places than ayoung driver in an economy car.

Hell, go to Progressive and try the free quotes...

posted by  ChrisV

Here's the deal, small compacts are light, stiff, and you don't need as much power to make them quick, nor as much suspension work to make them handle.

That concept was proven in teh '50s when teh Porsche 550 Spyder beat the Ferraris with triple the horsepower and larger tires. it was prioven in teh '50s and '60s when the original Mini started winning at tracks all over Europe. Colin Chapman codified the concept by stating "simplify and add lightness." Road racers have been building fast small cars for many, many decades. jpg[/img]

Don't make the rookie mistake of equating "racing" with "drag racing" either, even if that's all [i]you see compacts set up for. But even then, the light, stiff modern compact chassis is a better base to build from than a relatively weak classic musclecar. I grew up in the era whan the average gearhead was starting to learn about sport compacs (even though they weren't called sport compacts then). It was VERY easy to get a Rabbit or 1st gen Civic into the 13s, which was as fast or faster than most stock musclecars. On the street, it was often a non-issue that the cars were FWD.

And again, choosing a car simply because you LIKE it is as valid a reason as any.

posted by  ChrisV

shut the hell up

posted by  iluvgeometro

Early '90's Civic. Unfortunately there are a lot of them on the road but most of the idiots driving them just add more weight with huge ground effect packages and spoilers. Then they slap on a loud muffler (& maybe a chip) and think it's fast.

They are fairly inexpensive and easy to work on. They're light weight and like someone else on the thread said they have a LOT of aftermarket support.

posted by  Lizard King 6B

Ok, back to my origonal post. I dont have much money to spend at the start, but I assume that I can save up for the big parts. The reason that I said "Compact" is BECAUSE everyone has done it. This means there will be alot of documentation and alot of help for me out there when I get into some trouble. Then maybe I can look into something not so common. But im thinking that the Civic might be a little to common?

posted by  crazymonkey

Okay, so let me get this straight. You want to build a car that has been done before because the knowledge base is already there and because parts are relatively cheap. That make perfect sense. BUT! You don't want to build a Civic because it's too common. You do realize that you can't have something that's plentiful and cheap unless everyone else also has one. That's kind of the way it works, you can't have it both ways. :doh:

Here's something to ponder. The air-cooled VW Beetle is the most produced car in the world (notice I said car, not nameplate). Yet those of us who are involved in the industry/hobby manage to build unique, non-cookie cutter cars every day (as a group). You could do the same thing with a Civic if you simply used your imagination in the design and built the car with your own hands instead of being a mindless drone buying parts off of eBay and bolting them on. That isn't building a car, that's accessorizing, no matter what kind of car it is.

posted by  vwhobo

Well, you make a good point. What model year are we looking at? Or are all the Civics pritty much the same? I font know if I eather want to go with a hatch-back or a 4 door. Im a pritty tall guy at 6'4", so im gonna need some head room.

posted by  crazymonkey

Personally, I'd go with something like this; M1.MAIN.565x421_A.562x421.jpg

Or like this; 1.MAIN.565x421_A.562x421.jpg

Or if you really want some headroom AND to be extra funky something like this; M1.MAIN.565x421_A.565x339.jpg

Every car there can be bought for well under $1k, there are tons of them around so used parts are easy to get. In many cases that also means that used performance parts are easy to get too. Because they're all Civic's, the homework has already been done and documented as to how to make them go fast/turn well/stop now.

Then I'd break away from the ricer mold and instead of going over the top with bolt on geegaws, stickers 22" wheels and hideous paint, build it nice and subtle like this; _front_driving_view_z.jpg _rear_view_02_z.jpg

If you did that, and did it right, you'd end up with a non-cookie cutter car but still have all the benefits of using one of the most common "tuner" cars on the road. And yes, I have a '93 SI that's collecting dust while we gather the parts to do pretty much just exactly that for my step-son. Have fun.

posted by  vwhobo

i daily drive a car like this. i'm 6'1 and got about 4" of head room the way i sit. in fact its for sale.

posted by  glagon1979

Is that your car or your yard car?

posted by  vwhobo

This was supposed to be Quoted. ???

Then I'd break away from the ricer mold and instead of going over the top with bolt on geegaws, stickers 22" wheels and hideous paint, build it nice and subtle like this; _front_driving_view_z.jpg

Exactly! Looks good but not over the top. Then you can use all the money you saved (huge stupid looking spoilers, ect.) and put into performance parts.

posted by  Lizard King 6B

my car. my yard car (truck) is a 1978 f100 with a 400 and no exhaust!:thumbs:

posted by  glagon1979

I don't see the need to rebuild but a Trans Am is nice. For less than you will spend rebuilding everything you can buy a fairly low milage Corvette in garage shape. Some dealers will tote the note.

The Mustangs other than Shelby had no thrust. The Camaro was low on HP. No more Trans Am. Low HP a lot of Corvette years had the same engines so I am looking at 99 -01. Real HP. Real gears. Real class. Made in America.

moptimsr   27 Feb 2012 21:58

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