Last post on Sep 08, 2008 at 4:39 PM
You are in the Speed Shop Tuning and Modification
What is this discussion about?
Performance Mods, Coupe, Convertible, Hatchback
#1 of 23 Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide?
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 02, 2006 (11:17 am)
There seems to be a point of diminishing returns when you try to make a slow car faster. You often here the phrase: "If you want a faster car, go buy one".
The first few mods to make a fairly sedate car move along a bit faster seem affordable, but don't really get you very much speed for $500; then once you're hooked into the project, you might have to speed a *serious* sum of money to make a Dodge Neon or a stock V-6 Mustang go seriously fast. Turbocharging, bigger injectors, cams, headers, etc.-- or even an engine transplant.
What are some of the considerations when deciding whether to invest in the car you have, or turn it over for a car that the factory already made as fast as you want to go?
#2 of 23 Depends on what chassis your starting your project with...
Jan 10, 2006 (3:07 am)
Dodge Neon is an excellent chassis for one. Its CHEAP used, fair durable, solid chassis and strong engines as long as the MLS head gasket was installed after the older versions failed and caused leaking.
But for around $1,000 you can turn a standard Neon into one of the best handling FWD cars you can buy and its been proven by its SCCA track record.
Hahn Racecraft over Christmas was selling their Stage 2 turbo kits with intercooler for less than $3,000.
The stock engine can handle around 10-12psi as long as its in good working condition and last for several thousands of miles with regular maintance.
In fact starting with a $2,500-3,000 mint condition '95 model sedan or couple for around $15,000 you can build car that does over 1 g on the skid pad, in both directions, bolt-on some slicks and run low 10 second ET's, have cheap insurance and still get over 30mph at freeway speeds if you keep the engine out of boost.
That's not bad considering double that won't get you a car nearly as fast.
That's just one example... 1st gen DSM's are an excellent value in a project car also.
But honestly it just depends what your after. Not everybody can afford to pay $50,000 for some of the hotter hardware that the OEM's offer. That has always left room for the aftermarket to operate, where you can take the stripper base model of say a Mustang V6, with some bolt-ons run 13's on the motor, hit the nitrous bottle, run 12's and bolt-on a supercharger or turbocharger and hit 11's.
Its already been done...
Considering a V6, 5 speed Mustang runs around $22,000 out the door, that's much more to increase its performace to the level of even a highly modified Mustang GT.
Part of the problem is people don't research deep enough and end up spending money two and three times before they get it right.
But the truth is a project is never finished. It might end up in a state of being where you want it to be, but there's always one thing you would move, change or modify.
There aren't many hobbies where you can turn a profit anyway and modifying cars is one of them.
#3 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 11, 2006 (11:50 am)
True budget speed involves used cars and used parts. Get a $2-3k car, go the junkyard and get a $200 turbo...
I think what happens a lot is that no matter what the owner's driving, he wants to add stuff to the car every month or two. If he buys a faster car... he's still going to want to do stuff. It's his hobby. So the modification budget comes before the car payment budget, and then it's not worth getting a new car.
#4 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [carlisimo]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 11, 2006 (2:10 pm)
I understand and agree completely...but I was thinking that there are some cars where it really is a complete waste of time to try and get any decent performance out of it...contrary to popular belief, you can't really just "add up" the promised HP from each individual component. Or you create driveability problems that make your car much less pleasant to operate.
#5 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 14, 2006 (10:32 am)
The problem with the topic is that those cars you would include don't have an interest so no one is going to mention them. The ones that get lots of attention, asian rockets, Mustang, Corvette are all in work so people don't care what others think except at the end of the project.
The real issue for me is that the original question is driven by two points, do you have more money or more time(given some talent)? Then given a or b, what do you want to do with those two factors? For most people there is no question that they have more time compared to money. In my case, no talent, I'll keep a stock machine and continue to try and improve driving skills but that does seem again to be in the minority. Most I see on the track have done lots of their own work and the work is almost as much fun to them as the result. For me the work is seat time and the result is little improvements that I recognize as I get a better line or higher rpm exit from a specific corner. Having lots of different tracks to practice helps as well.
#6 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 18, 2006 (4:41 am)
"but I was thinking that there are some cars where it really is a complete waste of time to try and get any decent performance out of it"
When you said this, one immediately came to mind - Mitsu 3000GT. Car is heavy, and had mediocre performance to begin with (VR-4 models excluded). If I recall correctly, they also had some pretty sophisticated computer components on them too (for their time anyway). Not to mention, I would assume they are pretty expensive for a 20 something year old to insure.
Point being, if you were going to buy one of these for $10,000 (just a guess for what an unmolested, decent one would go for), you could easily add $5,000 worth of goodies to it (CAI, exhaust, chip, tuneup, tires, wheels), and still not be where you could be by starting out with something like a $15,000-$18,000 low mileage '99 Mustang GT.
#7 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [1racefan]
Jan 18, 2006 (9:22 am)
The problem is you seem to be talking apples and oranges.
The Stealth/3000 being awd, if I'm correct, are seen on track every so often and being low with lots of grip they do fairly well if a little underpowered for weight.
The Mustang with solid axle, I think, is ok for going to the drags but is not going to do much on a road course without lots of help. As a daily driver I agree, they can be fun, but for performance you are missing a lot with one of them.
#8 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [starrow68]
Jan 18, 2006 (9:54 am)
"The Stealth/3000 being awd, if I'm correct, are seen on track every so often and being low with lots of grip they do fairly well if a little underpowered for weight."
The VR-4 was AWD...The standard and SL models were fwd. The '97 SL model for instance weighed almost 3300#, and had 218hp.
"The problem is you seem to be talking apples and oranges"
Depends on what you consider apples, and what you consider oranges. I am comparing apples to apples in the fact that I am comparing 2 vehicles that have $15,000 invested in them - remember my original example of a $10,000 3000GT (non VR-4 model) with $5,000 worth of mods, vs a $15,000 used Mustang GT??
#9 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [starrow68]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 18, 2006 (3:27 pm)
I think AWD is nasty to drive at serious speeds on a track, but that's another topic of discussion!
Less weight = horsepower and upgraded brakes and steering have got to be worth 50 HP on the track.
#10 of 23 Re: Buy Fast or Build Fast---How Do You Decide? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 19, 2006 (8:44 am)
Not that I'm a fan but there seem to be a few out there:
Just so happens that a couple of my coaches/instructors have been 3000 drivers and they do quite well but probably have set ups that are far from stock. Then again, my stock Vette on street tires has the HP advantage and after some time on track seems to pull away. The AWD guys seem to love it on track and I can see some advantages but we all seem to run what you brung!
At the track, road race courses, build fast is most often as you note, upgrade things other than under the hood. There is something to be said for passing a 500hp car that gets on track about twice a year. But then again, my teacher mode kicks in and I usually show them the line and off they go.