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Need car for project

My daily driver is getting a lot of miles. I want to build my next car. I have built many motorcycles over the years and I also built a drag truck. I realize that this is a huge project and will require a lot of time that is why I want to get started. I am wanting to build my version of a 1920’s board track racer. I want a back to the basics type of car.

I am looking for a rear wheel drive 4 cylinder engine with manual 5 or 6 speed transmission. Something that has some aftermarket suppliers. I don’t rally care if it is a carburetor or fuel injected as I will likely convert it to run on propane. Factory turbo engine would be great but not required. Balance of fuel economy and performance. This does not need to be a hot rod as I already have one of those. I want an aluminum engine and transmission because I want to keep this car lightweight.

The only RWD options that I can think of is something like a ranger or s10. What other cars are out there that might meet these needs?

Sir, if all you can think of is S10 or Ranger you are already behind the proverbial 8-Ball. Also I might add you might want to win some Mega Lottery first.

A serious suggestion would be to attend a classic car auction and buy an affordable vehicle that still needs some work.

well . .much like racing vehicles . . you could build yours in a similar manner.
The body may very well be completely UN-related to the running chassis.
Measure the two wheel bases ( the body you’d like and the chassis it will go on ) to make the mating that much easier.
Check your state licensing guidelines to see if you register the running chassis or the body type or a kit car ( rat rod )

Look for an early version of the Mazda Miata.

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@ ken_green I planned to make a full tubular chassis just like a race car. As far as licensing, that is a piece of cake in my state. I have built several motorcycles and applied for the state issued VIN. The process is easy and free. Cars are the same process with a bigger parts list.

@VOLVO_V70 It is not nearly as expensive as you might think. You don’t need all the stuff that modern factory cars have. I have most of the tools that I need to build it. Most cars are all FWD these days. I was under my wifes yaris and I was taking some measurements and I have decided against building a FWD version. I was planning on buying her a new car and using her 250K mile yaris as my donor until I decided to go to a RWD.

@ UncleTurbo.

Miata is a great idea. Best part is my mother-in-law has one that is high mileage, rusted out, and is parked not being used. Those also have a IRS differential.

All the traits you seek, a 4-banger with RWD with decent fuel economy, can be found in a classic VW Beetle.

You can probably get relatively new OEM parts from Mexico, and there should be a lot of aftermarket parts available.

I think an old rusry Miata would be a great donor, or how about a Toyota Tacoma.

A Miata is a great donor car. You don’t have to use the IRS at all. Just head to the boneyard with a tape measure to find one narrow enough to make work. Old pickups from US or Japan are likely donors. Buy the driveshaft that is attached to the axle if you can, it will make mating to the Miata shaft easier.

Your car will be so light a turbo will not be needed but they ARE available! Superchargers, too.

If you’d like to use fiberglass body parts, look into replica Model T parts. Track T nose and hoods are available from many places. Speedway Motors is a good place for this and a whole load of other parts that may help your build.

Good Luck!

This is a track car, right? I can’t see how it could be licensed for the road.

Street car that looks similar to a track car. Lights, signals, mirrors, fenders, and DOT tires will essentially make it a street car. Getting a title is crazy easy. It will be a state issued VIN that will have to insured as a kit. Insurance will be slightly more expensive and will be liability only without getting professional valuations. I’m not worried about full coverage.

I already have a track truck (1/4 mile). I have been thinking of finding a older mustang and detuning the 347 (- nitro, change cam, change heads) that is in my Ranger and dropping it into a mustang for a functional muscle car. The Ranger doesn’t get much use these days.

Why are you asking here? You seem to know more about this kind of project than all of us put together!

I’m wanting to find a donor car with RWD manual 4 banger. Preferably something in the last 15 years since engine efficiencies have greatly improved in power and fuel economy and many imports have a great reputation for durable and long life. Most of the jap cars that I have been considering are all FWD and after consideration, the FWD option would yield a much wider body that I am wanting to build and would also limit my gear options. RWD will allow a narrow body and a easy rear end gear swap. I plan for this to be a really lightweight and aerodynamic body that which would allow me to put a taller gear in it for lower RPM driving. Most of my car knowledge is in the older V8s. Once I determine the best donor, I can start my search for wrecked or junked cars to get the drive train from.

The Miata used market and aftermarket is huge. Literally anything you want is available. Stand alone ECU’s to drive the fuel injection without all the other things you don’t need for a car like this. Just find a solid axle from something else.

If you use a replica model T frame, you can use a beam axle in the front or buy a kit to use a Mustang II front IRS and rack and pinion steering.

If you mate a FWD powertrain to the rear of your to-be custom chassis, you have a RWD car! It also has the advantage of using a cable-pull system for the shifting. It’s more readily adaptable to the new configuration than a hard-link system. It’s something to think about. Lotus did it with great success. :nerd:

Way to think outside the box! I have seen some trike motorcycles done like this in the past.

I still think that it would result in a wider car than I am wanting since the engine and transmission is mounted sideways.

This is exactly how the Ariel Atom is designed. FWD drivetrain mounted in the back of the car. That’s the fat part anyway.

Here is closer to what I am thinking but not exactly what I am planning. Longer wheel base with front and rear seat.