Best car for a starting tuner?


ricergribbs
03-07-2004, 09:13 PM
hey all, im new to tuning and i was just wondering whats the best car to modify for a low budget? im going off to college this year, so i need to save, but i still want to have fun. i would like to have a drag/street racing car and not use nitrous. i was thinking that a 1st generation mitsubishi eclipse would be perfect. i could get the turbo model for about $500 and then get a greddy turbo kit for it, and from what ive heard they can handle lots of boost on stock internals. my other idea was a 68-74 chevy nova. i could get a rolling chasis for about 500-1000 and then get a small block 350 for it. i would probably end up wanting to really build this car up though before i drove it, so it would be a while before it was running. but the thing that is kind of detering me from this is that i want a sleeper car. i figure that by the time id be done with them, the eclipse could run 12's, and the nova high 10's. ive talked with some of my friends and a few mechanics and they say this is pretty achievable. what do you guys think? any other ideas for cheap cars to modify?

freakonaleash1187
03-07-2004, 11:02 PM
what is your idea of cheap? by what you are saying about making an eclipse do a 12, then cheap means pretty expensive. but if you are looking for a cheap car and mod it, then for under 8k you can get a 300zx and make it fast with little mods.

ricergribbs
03-07-2004, 11:38 PM
im going off of what i have been told here. but ive heard that the eclipse internals could handle up to like 500hp. so i was thinking to get a new turbo, intercooler, exhaust, and some fuel mods. the car itself would cost me about 500. then i could get these mods for about 1500. so for about 2000$ ive been told i could get it down to mid-high 12's.

chevydrummer76
03-08-2004, 01:36 AM
I don't know who told you that but its bs. The mods you listed will cost a lot more than 1500, and I'd say 13's in the 1/4 if you lucky.

klohiq
03-08-2004, 04:45 AM
I don't know who told you that but its bs. The mods you listed will cost a lot more than 1500, and I'd say 13's in the 1/4 if you lucky.

high 12's maybe...but I definitely think you are going to be spending more than 1500 since unless you are making your own intercooler (which I don't reccomend seeing as you aren't yet experienced enough and don't seem to have friends with enough knowledge yet either) then that alone will cost a couple hundred. Then the turbo, which unless it's used can be over 1000. Then you need the IC piping, manifold (since I don't think the new turbo will match up with the oem manifold)...lots of shit to buy or fabricate yourself...then you have oil lines, boost gauge, ummm...a bunch of stuff...and if you are going to college why are you spending all this money on a car...you should maybe be thinking about saving money to pay off your loan when you get out...just my opinion...

And 500 for a first gen turbo eclipse in decent condition? where the hell are you looking...I'd like to buy one for that cheap.

Vettribution
03-08-2004, 02:02 PM
As far as the Nova idea goes.. its not necessarily a bad idea.. any old GM muscle car is alright in my book. You might wanna start from the engine up though.. You want a solid engine to build up on. Ive seen some nice engines, just depends on what you want for numbers..price per horsepower basically. Ive seen some nice engines with 500 HP for around 5 grand.. I'd look into an LS6 to drop into an older muscle car or something similar. Just some ideas for the non-rice aspect. As far as your Eclipse goes.. Messing with turbo's and cars of the sort with no experience with cars can be a huge mistake if you make the wrong choices.. Make sure to find someone to help you out who does know the right things, or right people before shopping for any type of car that you want to mod and keep in the long run.
Just my three and a half cents.

ghetto7o2azn
03-08-2004, 07:11 PM
good luck on finding a car for $500 that is able to do 12's with $1,500 in mods

ricergribbs
03-08-2004, 09:13 PM
alrighty, its time that i rephrased my question as my first one seems impossible.

what would you guys recommend as the best car for a starting tuner? something relatively cheap, yet easy to mod, and preferably with a decent aftermarket selection.

KustmAce
03-08-2004, 09:56 PM
cheap car+easy to mod+large after market selection= Honda Civic

Danny Demon
03-08-2004, 11:36 PM
Buy a bicycle and Go to Class.

DD

ricergribbs
03-08-2004, 11:43 PM
heh, dont need a bike, i have an 01 civic, but i just want to get a project car. :)

ghetto7o2azn
03-09-2004, 12:26 AM
get a celica with the 5sfe engine, save ur money and drop a 3sgte in... the 3sgte is capable of 700+ hp... and there is a good aftermarket in turbos, ect....

front clip will cost roughly about $2,000 but ull get at least 200hp depending on where you get it and what year the clip is from....

or you can also stay w/ the 5sfe :smile:

-and eclipse turbo is probably another nice choice
-civic, though it seems they are everywhere
-240sx's are nice and are good at drifting if you are into that at all
-integra
-200sx? (yes,no)???

just some that i kno and some that i can imagine to be good starter cars

GTStang
03-09-2004, 12:31 AM
alrighty, its time that i rephrased my question as my first one seems impossible.

what would you guys recommend as the best car for a starting tuner? something relatively cheap, yet easy to mod, and preferably with a decent aftermarket selection.

Cheap+Easy+ Enermous aftermarket selection= 5.0 Mustang

ghetto7o2azn
03-09-2004, 12:38 AM
do del sols have good aftermarket??? they are VERY ugly in my opinion though

mommaslilinjun
03-09-2004, 02:01 AM
visit www.dsmtuners.com for info about modding early gen eclipses

Vettribution
03-09-2004, 01:15 PM
Now if you already have a car... And you want to make a project car on the side.. Why do something everyone else has done? Everyone has a little honda with a huge exhaust out there. Take some time for yourself and find a car that suits you well..if this is a project this is something you want to commit to and put time into, and not just get sick of it and toss it. Some ideas...Find a model and type that suits YOU. Also Dont necessarily modify something EVERYONE else has done. There is a balance between being able to find the parts, and not being another stick in the mud. What do YOU like.. in particular.. domestics/imports...old/new... rare..or do you LIKE the common civic or eclipse? Being vague doesnt help yourself when you ask other people for assistance. (By the way for cheap cars to begin with, with nothing at all to start with.. old muscle cars are easier to find... anything newer will be hard to find without going to a junkyard.)

syr74
03-10-2004, 08:34 PM
Okay man, all bias aside I am going to shoot it to you straight. As you are apparently "unbiased" in your automotive affiliations, and I mean just in a general domestic versus import way, then if what you want is "cheap and easy" to mod old domestic is easily the way to go. Especially if it isn't your real car.

Yeah, I am going to draw some flack from the import guys. But, I have wrenched on more than my share of domestics and a decent number of imports and can tell you that generally speaking nothing is easier or cheaper to work on than an old GM or FoMoCo product.

Case in point. My brothers father in law has a yard full of very nice running Cadillac's with 472ci and up V-8's in them. Many of these cars simply are not overly desirable as a car and I have never known him to pay over 500 dollars for one. As heavy as these things are you could ynk the motor and tranny and scrap the car for half that. I have seen him pay as little as fifty buck for a nice running car too.

BTW, for those who don't know the modern LS1 smallblock looks like an old Caddy big block and a Ford Windsor smallblock had a baby....seriously. The basic head design for the LS1 is simply a refined version of the old Caddy head.

Another FYI is that the big Caddy is actually pretty small. That's right, there is a lot of displacement in there but overall weight is less than any other modern GM big-block. As a matter of fact the big Cad is closer in weight to the old 350 mouse than to a big block Chevy Rat. No kidding.

Here is the kicker. In some "undesirbale" seventies models this sucker made well over 400hp truth be told. Torque was off the friggin charts. Grab any 70's model of this motor, add an intake manifold, a better carb, electronic ingnition (if otherwise equipped) and a set of headers...drop it in say a 72 Nova and you are going to haul some major ass. Heck, you would haul major ass with nothing more than a set of headers and an ignition upgrade. Well over 500hp feels like one of these is hardly breaking a sweat. Torque, please, it's off the friggin' scale.

(btw they make adapters for basic Ford 460 stuff (intake manifolds and headers) that allows it to work on the big block Caddy so stuff is still really cheap compared to any import)

Neutrino
03-10-2004, 08:51 PM
one thing to add to syr' post is that those massive displacement engines respond with insane amounts of power to even low amounts of boost


8 psi pushed by a turbo in a 427 will put your power output in the stratropheric levels

ricergribbs
03-11-2004, 05:06 PM
what would you say would be the best bang for the buck mods if i were to get a chevy 350 small block and put it in a 68-74 chevy nova? i can get the car for about 800 and engine for another 200$ but the engine wont be in the best of conditions. so id get new heads, bottom end, replace all the stuff that is worn out like gaskets and oil pump etc. now would you recommened that i get a blower? tunnel ram? or go high compression? if im going to go domestive muscle then id prefer to stick to the old habbits of not running a turbo on it. or would you say that this is actually a good idea? how much hp/torque would i get outa a 350 running a turbo on it if i were to rebuild the bottom end?

calgary_redneck
03-11-2004, 05:17 PM
How about just don't be a tunner and leave that for guys with a more questionable sexual orientation shall we say

chevydrummer76
03-11-2004, 06:01 PM
what would you say would be the best bang for the buck mods if i were to get a chevy 350 small block and put it in a 68-74 chevy nova? i can get the car for about 800 and engine for another 200$ but the engine wont be in the best of conditions. so id get new heads, bottom end, replace all the stuff that is worn out like gaskets and oil pump etc. now would you recommened that i get a blower? tunnel ram? or go high compression? if im going to go domestive muscle then id prefer to stick to the old habbits of not running a turbo on it. or would you say that this is actually a good idea? how much hp/torque would i get outa a 350 running a turbo on it if i were to rebuild the bottom end?

I would say save your time and get a rebuilt 350 from a local professional shop. I got a long block 4 bolt 350 w/ rv cam, gaskets, etc for only 895.
Put a good carb and intake on there and you'll have 300+ horsepower. Also the novas started to get ugly in the 70's so try to find a late 60's nova. just my :2cents:

ricergribbs
03-11-2004, 09:49 PM
yeah, i want to go for a 68-69, i thought that some of the pictures of the 70+ ones looked a tad wierd. good to know it wasnt just me. but i know a few mechanics, so they can help me. one actually built a 69 chevelle with a 427, turned it into a 9 second car. that thing could haul. but now he just has a 454 in there, pumps out about 460hp so it can still run a good 1/4. he says that the 350 can be built with about 400hp without even going FI. plus id rather build it myself just for the fun of it.

Neutrino
03-11-2004, 10:23 PM
what would you say would be the best bang for the buck mods if i were to get a chevy 350 small block and put it in a 68-74 chevy nova? i can get the car for about 800 and engine for another 200$ but the engine wont be in the best of conditions. so id get new heads, bottom end, replace all the stuff that is worn out like gaskets and oil pump etc. now would you recommened that i get a blower? tunnel ram? or go high compression? if im going to go domestive muscle then id prefer to stick to the old habbits of not running a turbo on it. or would you say that this is actually a good idea? how much hp/torque would i get outa a 350 running a turbo on it if i were to rebuild the bottom end?


if you're gonna rebuild the bottom end then you must use forced induction, the power gains trough FI make the other NA mods seem like a joke


and go turbo, the old school blowers are just that old scool, it made sense back in the day but now turbo technology is so advanced that turbo's are a much better choice

forget loyalty to old school muscle ideeas, your loyalty should be only to performance and if new technology offers you a way to go even faster and more efficient with your 350 then choose the new way


and the best example to support my position are the lingenfeter vettes, its insane what they can do with those twin turbos setups, and remember those vette engines start off as sb 350s

Kurtdg19
03-12-2004, 04:33 PM
Cheap+Easy+ Enermous aftermarket selection= 5.0 Mustang

Thats what I was thinking.

Buying an old muscle 70s car is a good idea, but these old cars usually need restoration (especially when you only spend $500 on the car). Not to mention the weathered body/nuts/bolts all over the car may need to be replaced. This sounds more like a project than a daily driver. I would probably buy an old cheap car/truck to daily commute as you work on a car like this.

On the other hand, a 5.0 fox body would be very cheap and drivable the minute you buy one. For the cash you have, it would be hard to get even a decent car in good running order. I would spent 1.5-2k on a car that is in running order rather spending 500 on a pos that needs a lot of work. It would be cheaper in the long run if you were to do it this way IMO. Not to mention the aftermarket for the 5.0 is about the largest an aftermarket can be. At least make sure the car is drivable at the "pre-mod" state before you start adding power to it.

Add your comment to this topic!