Choose a Cheap Sports Car
Buying a sports car doesn't have to be expensive. There are plenty of cars from the 1960s to the 1990s that are inexpensive to own and maintain, and more importantly, modify. The best sports car is a cheap 1900 Lamborghini to a corvette every day on my way to work I see to of them green and black that are a little over two thousand that only needs a new air conditioner and set of wheels that can equal about 6 thousand two drive around in a brand new corvette.
- Determine what type of car you want to own. Be it a hatchback, 2 or 4 door sedan, 2+2 or GT coupe, or maybe even a convertible/targa top.
- Choose a nationality or manufacturer that best suits your interests. The Japanese and Europeans are known for smaller, lighter, lower displacement sports cars, whereas the Americans are known for heaver, higher displacement cars.
- Decide what your plans are for this car. Do you want a highway cruiser? Or a tossable sports hatch? Many 60's and 70's American muscle cars are great on the open road, but would feel too large and ungainly for hill (Touge) racing or autocross racing. Likewise, a small hatchback might be uncomfortable for cruising, especially if it has higher gear ratios and a higher revving engine.
- Do some research when you've found a car (or few) that interest you. Investigate magazines like Grassroots Motorsports or join internet forums pertaining to your car. Most, if not all, sports cars have a cult following somewhere, and they can be valuable sources of information. Take www.m42club.com for example, it is a forum dedicated to the BMW E30 318is only.
- Search around in your area for cars that meet your specifications. Buying locally is generally easier and faster than trying to ship a car over distances.
- Be picky. Arm yourself with knowledge about the car, and call the owner out if he says anything suspicious. For instance, if he fitted a manual switch for the radiator fan, be wary that the car may have had an overheating problem in the past. Few people would make that sort of modification if nothing was wrong with the stock component. Avoid buying a car that has sat for a while no matter how many times the owner said it "ran great" in the past. Always look at a car in the daytime, and it helps to take a friend. During the drive back home, discuss the car, he may have picked up on something you missed.
- Always watch for rust. The bane of any older car is rust, and it is very expensive to repair. If it comes down to either body rot or mechanical problems, replacing parts on an engine is generally cheaper than having the car taken to a body shop to have panels replaced. Of course, there are exceptions, and if you plan to have the car stripped down and repainted anyway, this may not be a problem. If rust really worries you, buy a car that came from dry, desert climates. When you have bought the car to protect it in the future keep it in a place where water can't get to it (e.g. a garage).
- Make a list of modifications that you wish to do. Once you possess the car of your choice, take some time to make this list. Popular mods include exhaust systems, wheel and tire upgrades, visual styling parts like spoilers and ground effects, and interior upgrades like sound systems, seats, and steering wheels. Make sure the parts you buy were either designed for your car or used successfully on someone else's car.
- Be creative. Think outside the box when it comes to modifications. Some parts from third party manufacturers can fit many cars. For instance, Bosch fuel injection and electrical components were shared on many cars of the 70's and 80's era like those from BMW, VW, Porsche and Audi. Also, some seats Recaro supplied to various factories can easily be made to fit other cars.
- Find sports car meets in your area. You eventually want to own a car that can be fun to modify and drive. Autocross races are held all over the United States, check with your local SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) chapter or try a manufacturer specific club like PCA (Porsche Club of America).
- Many manufacturers share components in their cars. Installing a higher output or turbocharged version of a particular engine into an older model in which that engine wasn't available. A popular swap is putting Honda VTEC engines into older Honda models.
- Finding a solid example of the car you want is important. The cost of parts can add up at an alarming rate, and you at least need to have important maintenance services out of the way before modifying other parts.
- Sometimes, it can benefit you to replace factory components with after-market, upgraded ones. This can be cheaper than factory, and if you need to replace shocks or suspension bushings anyway, why not go with stronger after-market components?
- It's good to have this sports car as your second car. Older cars can be unreliable, and modifications may take longer than you expected. Nobody wants to be up to 2:00 AM fitting headers to their car because they have to be at work in the morning.
- Dare to be different! Don't shy away from daunting tasks such as engine swaps or even making a front wheel drive car all wheel drive. Although not easy, nobody laughed at the shop who installed an Isuzu Impulse drivetrain into an older Isuzu I-Mark body.
- Unless you have a lot of patience and money, importing cars can be a challenging procedure. Nothing is worse than facing the decision to have your dream car either destroyed or you having to pay to ship it back because it fails to meet federalization standards in your area. Although the rewards of having a Japanese only car in America are obvious.
- When testing new components out, always observe local laws for road safety. If you really must know how much faster your car is, schedule a session with a local shop that has a dynamometer, or a drag strip that holds an open "Test and Tune".
- Don't over-extend your budget. Costs can add up quickly, so be sure that what you are buying is the best fit. However, don't shy away from paying for quality. A set of $150 headers now may seem good, but not next year when they crack or deteriorate.
- Be very wary of an owner who doesn't have the correct title for the car in hand. Having a car with no title makes your car a very expensive lawn ornament.
- Make sure you can handle the upgrades that you are planning. Buying an engine with the plan to swap the old one out isn't the best idea if you don't have an engine crane or lift.
- Buy Sport Shocks
- Choose a New Convertible
- Choose a Car Alarm
- Get Rid of an Old Car
- Detail Model Car Engines on the Cheap
- Use the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT Maneuver) in a Car
- Wash a Car by Hand
- Sell a Used Car
- Live Without a Car