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t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
10/14/14 8:24 a.m.

So my living situation will soon be changing and it's going to free up some cash for me, in addition to the money I'm making off flipping these cars I'll have a bit of change saved up to put towards a fun car. I've read and read on the subject and it seems the cheapest race car is one that someone else has already built.

But what is that car? I've recently been looking at ex-Nascars on racingjunk, add the bits to make it turn right also, thinking one of those would make a pretty cheap to own and operate car, along with being pretty robust and durable. Buy one without the engine, drop in a junkyard LS and have fun. I really won't have the money to be competitive in any class long term I don't imagine so that's not really my goal.

I've also thought about the Spec E30, but for the price it seems you don't get as much as the Nascar route.

So what classes/cars should I really be looking at? I know it'll always cost more than I think it will.

jstein77
jstein77 SuperDork
10/14/14 8:37 a.m.

The Answer?

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
10/14/14 8:38 a.m.

Stock class autox and your dd.

Klayfish
Klayfish UltraDork
10/14/14 8:42 a.m.

What kind of racing are we talking about? Autox? HPDE? Getting an SCCA license and running their events?

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
10/14/14 8:45 a.m.

The kart. It's cheap. It's fast. It's demanding. It's open wheel. It can be transported in a pickup.

If by "real" you meant tin tops, then you probably already know the handful of answers you are going to get and they will all be more expensive than a kart and slower too.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/14/14 8:57 a.m.

How about vintage racing? You can buy a ready to go MG Midget or Spitfire or MGB for cheap. Or you can get a project for cheap. Say this one for example. Large fields to play in. Body contact highly frowned on.

http://www.racingjunk.com/Vintage/182254664/1966-Austin-Healy-Sprite-Race-Car.html

Actually I was offered that car in trade for my truck (but nowhere to put it and I already have a race car project).

Edit: Even though I am building a Spitfire, I'd recommend a Spridget instead...

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/14/14 9:27 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: How about vintage racing? You can buy a ready to go MG Midget or Spitfire or MGB for cheap. Or you can get a project for cheap. Say this one for example. Large fields to play in. Body contact highly frowned on. http://www.racingjunk.com/Vintage/182254664/1966-Austin-Healy-Sprite-Race-Car.html Actually I was offered that car in trade for my truck (but nowhere to put it and I already have a race car project).

I was also going to suggest a FV for vintage. Those seem to pop up all the time in the classifieds. Open wheel, designed for the budget racer.

And the car is super simple.

t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
10/14/14 9:38 a.m.
Klayfish wrote: What kind of racing are we talking about? Autox? HPDE? Getting an SCCA license and running their events?

Yes. All of the above. If I could have one car to do all that, I would be a happy man. Like I said, I'm just out to have fun, Really the only thing I'm worried about for the Nascar would be tires, unless there's a good source for cheap slightly used tires. And weight I guess, I know those steel frame cars aren't light, so they would be a little more punishing on brakes and wear items like that.

Keep up the suggestions.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs HalfDork
10/14/14 9:39 a.m.

What do you have near you?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/14/14 9:46 a.m.
t25torx wrote:
Klayfish wrote: What kind of racing are we talking about? Autox? HPDE? Getting an SCCA license and running their events?
Yes. All of the above. If I could have one car to do all that, I would be a happy man. Like I said, I'm just out to have fun, Really the only thing I'm worried about for the Nascar would be tires, unless there's a good source for cheap slightly used tires. And weight I guess, I know those steel frame cars aren't light, so they would be a little more punishing on brakes and wear items like that. Keep up the suggestions.

I would look at the rules of the classes that those ex-NASCAR cars run in and the size of those. I know you want to have fun but I can't imagine it would be too fun to be in a tiny class where everyone else car is much faster then you.

Also big cars equal big bills for tires, wheels, etc plus you need more towing capability and a bigger trailer.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/14/14 9:51 a.m.
alfadriver wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: How about vintage racing? You can buy a ready to go MG Midget or Spitfire or MGB for cheap. Or you can get a project for cheap. Say this one for example. Large fields to play in. Body contact highly frowned on. http://www.racingjunk.com/Vintage/182254664/1966-Austin-Healy-Sprite-Race-Car.html Actually I was offered that car in trade for my truck (but nowhere to put it and I already have a race car project).
I was also going to suggest a FV for vintage. Those seem to pop up all the time in the classifieds. Open wheel, designed for the budget racer. And the car is super simple.

Only thing I would worry about there is the size of race groups but you could always run SCCA as well as vintage if you had an old enough Formula Vee (pre-69 to run SVRA).

Website SVRA refers to on open wheel cars.

http://www.monoposto.com/index.html

t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
10/14/14 9:52 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I would look at the rules of the classes that those ex-NASCAR cars run in and the size of those. I know you want to have fun but I can't imagine it would be too fun to be in a tiny class where everyone else car is much faster then you. Also big cars equal big bills for tires, wheels, etc plus you need more towing capability and a bigger trailer.

I have the truck and trailer already. But the consumables are the things that worry me like you said on something that big and heavy.

Also I guess I should throw this out there. I have the 91 Camaro RS, I could get it prepped for NASA Camaro VS Mustang series. But it looks like it would be cheaper just to rebuild it as a nice DD and sell it on, then buy a nice prepped CMC car with that money.

oldtin
oldtin UberDork
10/14/14 10:00 a.m.

Old ITA cars pop up on the cheap all the time that are fairly light/cheap to run - and good for starters. Vintage spridgets and spitfires will get you on the track fairly cheap. And GPS is correct that a kart will do it all cheaper.

itsarebuild
itsarebuild HalfDork
10/14/14 10:02 a.m.

Get a spec miata. If you want to do auto cross and road racing there are few cars out there with so many possible run groups. They are cheaper than anything else you have discussed when you throw in parts availability, access to cast offs, and consumables. And in the rare event you find you want to pursue a type of racing the miata is ill suited to you can probably sell it for very near your purchase price.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/14/14 10:06 a.m.

Do you want to run at the front, or are you willing to battle it out for 15th place? Because that will have a big effect on your costs.

chrispy
chrispy HalfDork
10/14/14 10:13 a.m.

Autox, HPDE, SCCA license, do it all? Miata, prepped to STR/CSP/ImprovedTouting(x). IT cars compete in their respective Street Prep autox class too.

Klayfish
Klayfish UltraDork
10/14/14 10:13 a.m.

Keith has a damn good point.

Beyond that, do you also have the time/resources/etc... to own, maintain, store, transport, feed a race car all on your own? How often will you get to go racing? Can you run 10+ times per year, or is this more just getting some fun a few times per year?

I went through several versions of what you're doing. I had a truck, a trailer and bought a few different cars....Fox body Mustang, Fiero, ITB Corolla FX16 GT-S. Between those three cars, I had them on the track exactly 3 times. A lot of it was due to life situations and the limitations of time. However, I also realized that having my own race car wasn't going to be easy. I ditched all of it and went LeMons racing. I don't have to worry about storing, etc... Sure, if I can get another HPDE car some day, I may do that. But just be sure race car ownership is what you really want.

captdownshift
captdownshift Dork
10/14/14 10:14 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

I hear battling it out for 7th is the "next big thing"

I'd look to pick up a used cheap cheater SM car this week ;)

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
10/14/14 10:18 a.m.

One thing to keep in mind is that with an FV or any other "real" race car, you're likely to see restrictions when it comes to HPDE. IIRC the local SCCA chapter will let me run something like an IT car in HPDE/PDX and CT, but with an FV I could only run in TT and that requires a license...

Regarding the "old NASCAR made to turn right", I think that very much depends on the track you'll mostly be on. Our local track here is pretty narrow and technical. I'm getting the impression that most of the time, the couple of ex-NASCAR cars have trouble getting on cam on anything but the front straight. Last time I was flagging, someone ran one of the cars and it looked somewhat frustrating from the outside, at least in the corners that I was flagging at.

NOHOME
NOHOME SuperDork
10/14/14 10:48 a.m.

Be aware that there are tons of cost to this game that make the car and the entry-fee seem cheap. But you will figure those out on your own.

As for a car that will do the job: Should be a bunch of IT cars for sale right about now from people who asked this exact same question one or two years agoStart shopping and see if any catch your fancy. I like IT because there is a bit of variety to the cars.

From what I have seen, IT is an excellent intro into the "Do you have what it take$ to be a Racer" question. The downside is that in any given field, there are a few guys who should not be on the track, resulting in bent cars. That gets old quick.

Spec Miata would seem like another option, but the aggression level seems to be kicked up a notch. SM races look like a steroid rage convention has come to the track; entertaining to watch, but not sure I want to play. Maybe somewhere to move to after a season or two of IT.

One other option under the If it "Floats, F**Ks or Races" heading, it might be cheaper to do a few arrive and drive races to see if this is the life for you. As expensive as it sounds, you don't have the cost of truck, trailer and race-car maintenance and storage to deal with.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill PowerDork
10/14/14 10:59 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: How about vintage racing? You can buy a ready to go MG Midget or Spitfire or MGB for cheap. Or you can get a project for cheap. Say this one for example. Large fields to play in. Body contact highly frowned on. http://www.racingjunk.com/Vintage/182254664/1966-Austin-Healy-Sprite-Race-Car.html Actually I was offered that car in trade for my truck (but nowhere to put it and I already have a race car project). Edit: Even though I am building a Spitfire, I'd recommend a Spridget instead...

Holy Cow thats a smoking deal.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
10/14/14 11:25 a.m.

Cheapest, good handling, reliable, fun to drive race car I regularly see advertised is a 1st gen RX7 setup for ITA or PRO7. They can be had for $2k and up.

I race Spec Miata at the regional level at a budget I'm comfortable with. The RX7 is a much cheaper starting point and still lots of fun with low consumables.

t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
10/14/14 12:01 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Do you want to run at the front, or are you willing to battle it out for 15th place? Because that will have a big effect on your costs.

Well I want to run at the front, but budget wise I'll battle it out for 15th

amg_rx7 said: Cheapest, good handling, reliable, fun to drive race car I regularly see advertised is a 1st gen RX7 setup for ITA or PRO7. They can be had for $2k and up. I race Spec Miata at the regional level at a budget I'm comfortable with. The RX7 is a much cheaper starting point and still lots of fun with low consumables.

Yeah the RX7 actually appeals to me except for scary spinning triangles and carbs... those things mystify me..

D_Eclipse9916
D_Eclipse9916 New Reader
10/14/14 1:51 p.m.
t25torx wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: Do you want to run at the front, or are you willing to battle it out for 15th place? Because that will have a big effect on your costs.
Well I want to run at the front, but budget wise I'll battle it out for 15th
amg_rx7 said: Cheapest, good handling, reliable, fun to drive race car I regularly see advertised is a 1st gen RX7 setup for ITA or PRO7. They can be had for $2k and up. I race Spec Miata at the regional level at a budget I'm comfortable with. The RX7 is a much cheaper starting point and still lots of fun with low consumables.
Yeah the RX7 actually appeals to me except for scary spinning triangles and carbs... those things mystify me..

I have an FC Rx7 ready to go and runs great for $4.5k already caged and with safety in the classifieds...

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
10/14/14 1:54 p.m.

I would do a F-500.

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