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jon dawes

if you had $3k, which starter HPDE would you buy?

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jon dawes

obviously this is hypothetical, but i like to dream. i may realize i want to "drive it like i stole it" and i probably won't drive my new mustang gt like that. here are my ideas:

 

retired police crown vic

honda _______

older t-bird

mustang

miata

rx7

924/944

bmw 3/5 series

?????

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getfast

'87 to '91 BMW 325i or is. Fun to drive, cheap, plentiful, easy to work on, very reliable, built to be abused, lots of used parts around, affordable widely available OEM parts and aftermarket support, and a great racecar that can be made competitive on a budget (Spec E30) if/when you decide to go that way.

 

Late 1980's Mustang and early 90's Miata are tied for 2nd on my personal list. You can't go wrong with either of those choices either, IMHO.

 

Jon

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markseven
'87 to '91 BMW 325i or is. Fun to drive, cheap, plentiful, easy to work on, very reliable, built to be abused, lots of used parts around, affordable widely available OEM parts and aftermarket support, and a great racecar that can be made competitive on a budget (Spec E30) if/when you decide to go that way.

 

Late 1980's Mustang and early 90's Miata are tied for 2nd on my personal list. You can't go wrong with either of those choices either, IMHO.

 

Jon

 

E30 325is.

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getfast

Only prob I've found is that the E30 "is" cars are commanding a premium lately (especially the short bumper ones) in enthusiast circles. The stock short bumper '90 "is" w/172k miles that I paid $1900 for in Feb '04 would now be worth almost twice that money, based on some of the cars I've seen for sale in the last year or so. The trick is to find someone who doesn't know what they've got, or how desirable it is... because the short bumper "is" has kinda become the poor man's E30 M3, IMHO...

 

$3k will still buy an E30 "i" in great condition though! Or preferrably, a pretty one for under $1500 that needs something easy like a transmission or diff ($250 tops, available used all over the place.)

 

Back on topic, I've always wanted to do a Mustang. Never owned a cheap V8 track car and it's on my list for sure.

 

Did a Miata, got bored with the lack of HP. Although the "momentum factor" definitely made me a better driver.

 

Jon

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kbrew8991

I know where there is a 1st gen MR2 IT car for sale for $2300 with trailer... enough said

 

momentum AND a driver's car... what more could you want?

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jon dawes

MR2 I know. . . IT i don't! translation, bitte?

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getfast

SCCA Improved Touring racecar. Stock-based, with various "improvements" somewhat similar to the NASA Performance Touring classes, where it could be raced... http://www.performancetouring.com/

 

Jon

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kbrew8991

fairly stock drivetrain, but aftermarket suspension goodies, race tires, caged interior, etc is what it boils down to

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924sowner

porsche. hands down. easy to work on parts are really NOT that expensive for the 924 S and 944. ive got 2 24S and an 81 24 turbo. first time i was ever on the track was in an 87 24 S and i had a BLAST. it was at buttonwillow # 13 CW. its so easy to drive that you can worry more about learning the line etc.... end of the first day i was sliding sideways around bus stop at around 80 and the end of the second day i was hanging up with a rather good driver in an 04 pontiac GTO. simple cars to maintain. cheap to find a track worthy car. and theres alot of potential with the car with a few simple things. ohh, and a TON of support. check out the 944 challange forum just down the main NASA forums list. these cars are darn near bullet proof in terms of reliability. one guy ran his 24S for 3 years in 944 spec, doing quite alot of racing each year on the same motor and the only reason it isint still going is because it had a close encounter with a wall... *rest in peace zebra car...* anyway yeah. that my opinion. flat out. $10,000 will have the $3000 base car, all the safety and few performance upgrades of a 944 spec car. though they may not have alot of HP they run damn fast times.... i love these cars and i was to get a petittion going to make porsche builde them again

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getfast
parts are really NOT that expensive for the 924 S and 944

 

Except for the transaxle

 

Seriously, I would agree that 944 parts are cheaper than 911 parts but none of 'em are as cheap as E30 or E36 BMW parts. 944's are awesome handling cars though!

 

Jon

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Jim P.

For $3k you should be able to get any of these street cars used:

 

80-95 Mustang/Camaro

80-95 BMW E30 or E36

Any Porsche 924/944 that has minor issues

90-95 Miata's (need rollbar though)

 

and if you prep any of them for a spec class (CMC, SpecE30, 944Cup, SpecMiata...)

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jon dawes

great responses! i drove a 944 once and was EXTREMELY surprised how quick it was. i definitely prefer v8s, but the bimmer straight six sounds great and has nice torque. . . not sure about a miata unless it's a 5.0 converted MONSTER edition

 

now i just need to get my girlfriend to buy a big diesel truck for herself to tow the car around!!! ain't life grand.

 

oh, wait, i'm getting ahead of myself. . . i haven't even done my first AUTOCROSS yet!!!

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markseven
great responses! i drove a 944 once and was EXTREMELY surprised how quick it was. i definitely prefer v8s, but the bimmer straight six sounds great and has nice torque. . . not sure about a miata unless it's a 5.0 converted MONSTER edition

 

now i just need to get my girlfriend to buy a big diesel truck for herself to tow the car around!!! ain't life grand.

 

oh, wait, i'm getting ahead of myself. . . i haven't even done my first AUTOCROSS yet!!!

 

The M20 found in the E30 325i is a very robust powerplant. The E30 chassis is capable and lends itself to simple, cost effective mods. Light, nimble and classic 3-box shape, the E30 is just about perfect!

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jon dawes

so let me get this straight: E30 is sorta like saying "fox body, S95, or S197" in reference to certain years of mustangs, or C4/5 in ref to corvettes? and the M20 is like saying LS1 or whatever the factory name of the power plant is?? jeesh, learning curve. . .

 

what about the prelude or the mr2 or celica/supra. . . or a fuego or xr4ti with all the cosworth stuff imported from the UK? ok, last two were just a joke.

 

sounds like the bimmer's the way to go thus far. i once drove a friend's late 80s 3 series with the M Power motor in it and a 5spd, although that was the only M badge on it aside from maybe the steering wheel. man for an old car it was powerful and fun and felt very solid! is this the motor you're referring to?

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getfast

Yes. E30 is the chassis code for '84 to '91 3 series. Square body, four round exposed headlights, 4-lug wheels (except the M3.) Here's an example of a late "small bumper" E30 325is:

 

http://www.get-fast.net/bmw/driver/3873.jpg

http://www.get-fast.net/bmw/driver/3874.jpg

 

They were made in four and six cylinder models, coupe sedan or convertible.

 

M20 is the straight-six found in the E30 cars. There were several versions (one was the M20B27 2.7 "eta" 120hp 4800?rpm redline) but all the "i" and "is" cars came with the very fun 168?hp 6500?rpm redline M20B25 version (and most came with the preferred 3.73LSD rear too.) They were all single cam, timing belt, Bosch fuel injected engines. Damn near bulletproof if you keep the oil fresh and keep on top of valve adjustments, timing belts/tensioners, and water pumps. (Cobetto's national championship winning Spec E30 has like 190k miles on its original M20!)

 

Meanwhile, the E30 M3 came with the "S14" 2.3 liter four cylinder twincam with ITB's and plenty of other goodies. This was a fairly exotic engine, even by today's standards, and is expensive to rebuild or repair (compared to the M20's at least.) If that's what you drove, or at least a car with that in it, it should've been quicker than an M20 car but with the power more high up in the rev range (less torque down low.)

 

Of course these days you can put any later M 6 cylinder into one of those (plenty of people do, because it's often cheaper than rebuilding the old S14.) And of course you can swap just about anything you want into a regular E30 - popular swaps are later BMW E36 or E46 6-cyl twincam M power or non-M engines (I've also seen BMW 4.0 or 4.4 V8, LSwhatever, small block Ford, etc.) So it's hard to say if what you drove was like that or not, but probably so...

 

Long story short, the E30 would be a good choice. But so would a fox Mustang or several other things mentioned here. Just drive some cars and go with whatever gets you hot and bothered!

 

Thus endeth the lesson hahahaha,

 

Jon

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markseven
so let me get this straight: E30 is sorta like saying "fox body, S95, or S197" in reference to certain years of mustangs, or C4/5 in ref to corvettes? and the M20 is like saying LS1 or whatever the factory name of the power plant is?? jeesh, learning curve. . .

 

what about the prelude or the mr2 or celica/supra. . . or a fuego or xr4ti with all the cosworth stuff imported from the UK? ok, last two were just a joke.

 

sounds like the bimmer's the way to go thus far. i once drove a friend's late 80s 3 series with the M Power motor in it and a 5spd, although that was the only M badge on it aside from maybe the steering wheel. man for an old car it was powerful and fun and felt very solid! is this the motor you're referring to?

 

Yup, 'E Codes' are chassis designations. For the 3 Series:

 

E21 (1975 - 1983)

E30 (1982 - 1993)

E36 (1991 - 1999)

E46 (1999 - 2006)

E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - current)

 

The M Power motor in the E30 M3 is the S14, a four pot engine vs. the non-M 3 Series' M20 six pot.

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markseven

getfast, you beat me by like 3 minutes. I must have been typing while you posted. Great info, and great looking 3'er

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getfast

LOL yeah, great minds think alike I guess.

 

That bronzit E30 is long gone... those pics were taken in June '05, about 3 days before I wrecked it at Summit (mechanical failure followed by driver error), parted it out, and sent it to the crusher in August. http://www.get-fast.net/bmw/driver for pics/details.

 

I sure miss the hell out of it to this day - best all around car I've ever owned, but this is an excellent example of why cheap track cars rock! After parting it out I only lost like 4 grand... well worth it for all the fun I had...

 

Jon

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jon dawes

bye heidi. . . it could have been nice to get to know you

 

thanks for the lesson. we'll see if i've learned anything or if i ignore it all and go with a typhoon or something silly like that.

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getfast

Hahahaha I can just see it now... "Hi Jon, I'm northy_polk and this is my new 1983 Renault R5 Turbo. You said to buy whatever got me all hot and bothered!"

 

Typhoons are pretty cool - for the record,

 

Jon

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DaveCN

+1 for the e30.

 

Cheap, fun, reliable. With the right suspension tweaking they are REALLY a blast in the turns.

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Frank Corkran

Since you're a "Mustang" guy, I say snatch up an old Fox Mustang. That way you just need to add safety equipment when you're ready for CMC. There were 2 top TX region CMC Mustangs (both just freshened with legal-for-2007 Cobra motors) advertised on this forum just this week that went fast. The first ('05-'06 champion) was $6.5k with a trailer, the 2nd was $5k.

 

If you're going to CMP, you've got to check out the CMC/AI/FFR activities each night in the paddock.

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Renntag

no offense, but there are atleast three threads current with this chatter. Reading this is like deja-vu.

 

Everyone who has contributed so far has offered up great info. The spec classes popular in NASA right now offer a great target class for anyone starting on the ground floor in HPDE with a cheap used car.

 

No sense in getting a used car, driving it in HPDE for 3-4 years while spending another 3-10K $ building it into a competitive track car only to have no class where it is competitive. /$.02

 

Anyone driving an S197 mustang on the street would be wise to track a similar V8 sedan with a stick axle if they intend on driving the new car with any vigor in the future.

 

All of that being said.....there is alot to be learned no matter what you drive......just get out to the track and DRIVE.

 

See most of you guys Friday night.

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jon dawes

Renntag: sorry for the de javu. . . i do always look around for answers and they're not always readily apparent from the titles of the threads. and yes: DRIVE. my father tells me all the time "the cheapest car is the one you have". . . true or not, i'm thinking i'll stick with what i've got because a beater means a trailer and a truck to pull it and licenses and blah blah blah. . .

 

Jon: funny you mentioned that cause I saw the one for sale on GRM and it did get me all hot and bothered!! reminds me of the rear-drive Clio with the 6pot and huge fenders. That's one of those "shame they don't bring em over the pond" situations.

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jon dawes
Since you're a "Mustang" guy, I say snatch up an old Fox Mustang. That way you just need to add safety equipment when you're ready for CMC. There were 2 top TX region CMC Mustangs (both just freshened with legal-for-2007 Cobra motors) advertised on this forum just this week that went fast. The first ('05-'06 champion) was $6.5k with a trailer, the 2nd was $5k.

 

If you're going to CMP, you've got to check out the CMC/AI/FFR activities each night in the paddock.

 

thanks! but let's see here,

 

CMC is camaro mustang challenge

TX is Texas [ha ha]

CMP = ?

AI = American Iron

FFR = ?

 

thanks for the handholding of the noob!!

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