What car to buy for a specific purpose?

Hi everyone, I am a college student and as you know college students are generally broke. Im looking to theses forums to give me a hand on what car i should get for the purpose i want it for.

Im sure all of you have seen some of the nasty mustangs and what not on YouTube that growl like nothing you’ve ever seen before and thats kinda what im looking for. But of course that isn’t something i can afford. So in general i would like to know recommendations as to what car i should get that relatively inexpensive that i will be able to put some money into and over time get it to have a pretty mean growl and overall end up being pretty loud.

With that after the recommend car, what exactly should i do to it, Cams, headers? or what to make it have a nice mean growl and have some speed to it. Again im not looking to break the bank here its just a nice little project i want to have throughout college and then move on to better things after i get my career.

Thanks for the ideas and i look forward to chatting with you all.

Forgot to include that i would want it to be a manual!

Well, you can get a decent muscle car cheap, but yes, it’ll be a “project,” because good muscle cars aren’t cheap, and cheap muscle cars aren’t good.

Frankly, I’d get a RWD, full-full size GM in decent condition, with a V8. I’m not personally in love with GMs, but the small-block V8 is the cheapest and easiest way to modify an engine for nice sound, and decent power. Definitely “charted territory,” which is what you want for a first-time project! If you’re just looking for that B.A. V8 rumble…and not anything that corners, you’ll be able to save money (and possibly opt for a rodded pickup, if that appeals to you.) I think a “Shamu”-era Caprice might be a decent vehicle you could pick up and fix cheaply, and it would allow for a fair amount of hooning around. It’ll never be a “performance vehicle,” though.

Aw, phooey, I now see you want a manual. I’m not sure what large GM V8 cars, other than maybe the Camaro, came with MTs from the factory. You certainly can put a MT behind any SBC, but it’s a fair bit of work. I know Chevy pickups came with MTs not that long ago. (Frankly, I dream of a Monte Carlo, or T-Top Camaro with a caddy 500, offset ground to 521 (I think)…but that’s way up the “degree of difficulty” level.)

Just remember–the smog-choked late 70’s cars had basically the same engines that were putting out big HP number in the early 70s/late 60s…they just were de-tuned for emissions. There’s little reason you can’t build them back to pre-smog standards, assuming you live somewhere not that strict about older cars. They don’t have the cachet of the earlier cars…or the price tag.

On second thought, just do what everyone else does these days for a cheap V8 sedan: buy a P71 Crown Vic at public vehicle auction. Dirt cheap, and upgrade as money/time permit. (You’d have to kiss the stick shift goodbye, though, if you go this route, and CVs really aren’t all that fast, even modded. They can be fun, B.A., and comfortable, though.)

Why must it growl? That is your only prerequisite? I would personally focus on my studies and buying food and hoping to pay back my student loans if I were you. But, hey, maybe I’m not a fun and interesting person. I think if you really want a beautiful muscle car, then put the plan in motion to do it right. Work your butt off in college, save up as you go, land that great, well-paying job, and then reward yourself for all of your hard work by buying something proper. College is a time for mac and cheese, book, and beer. None of which are cheap on a student budget. This phase of life won’t last forever. Don’t make it harder by throwing money away if you don’t need to. You can also get something cheap and sensible for groceries and what not that doesn’t qualify as muscle or growl, but will get you from point A to point B.

Coming from someone who has been out of college for over 5 years now and am still paying back my student loan…this phase of life won’t last forever…plan wisely.

@"404 Developer"
Will you be your only vehicle? E.g. will you be depending on it as your daily driver?

I usually edumicate myself before I make any emotional or major purchase

There’s nothing special about that growl. They could have made it wail if they wanted to and it would be just as powerful. After all, it’s a matter of displacement. The growl just happened to be what you grew up with and it convinces you to make unwise money choices.

Any car can be loud. Just take off the muffler and the post-cat resonator.

Check out Mighty Car Mods on YouTube. They have all kinds of projects that address just your concern. A current project car, an old turbo Saab, was made to have a great exhaust note on the cheap. Basically they just removed the muffler and let the catalytic convertor and turbo marginally quiet the car


Not suggesting a Saab at all, just showing a little creativity applied to most any car can give you a decent exhaust growl without loads of dollars. Play cheap now and concentrate on your studies so you can move up once you get a job.

The best car you can buy is the least expensive used Corolla, Camry, or Accord you can find.
Focus on paying your education loans off. By that time your income will hopefully have risen to a decent level and you’ll be able to afford your dream car.

And realize that “souping up” a car gets very expensive very fast. It should only be done after all your debt is paid off.

The more debt you carry now is the less likely you’ll be to afford your dream car in the future.

I agree with WheelsOnTheRoad and the same mountainbike. If you’re broke, this isn’t the time for a purchase like this. Until you finish college, start your career, and put some money away, you need basic transportation at the lowest possible cost.

My college dream was to drive the Alaska Highway. I even subscribed to Milepost magazine for a while. For most of the four years I had no car; then an Opel Kadett L wagon and a Chevy II with a 2-speed automatic, purchased for $400. Even having a car at college was for me a luxury, not a need.

Replacing the Opel’s water pump and the Chevy II’s starter motor were my first hands-on auto repair experiences and I remember them fondly.

Good thing the only really extravagant expenditure was a magazine!

How 'bout a mid-80’s Mustang 5.0? You might even find one with a 5 speed stick.

UncleTurbo: I remember seeing quite a few of those Mustangs with 5 speeds.

Any car can be loud.
Yeah, but not every car can be aesthetically loud. Most 4-cyls just sound like angry tractors when you start hollowing mufflers; it takes a lot of work to make one sound good. A V8 (technically, only a crossplane, but that's all the V8s OP can afford) with a fat cam gives that BA, "Hot For Teacher" idle, which is aesthetic as heck!
it takes a lot of work to make one sound good.

It also takes money, which OP has already admitted to having a complete lack of. Therefore, if he wants a loud car, deleting the muffler is his option. :wink:

What I was really trying to say, perhaps too subtly, was “don’t worry about having a loud car until you can afford to have a loud car, and hopefully by then you’ll have come to the realization that cars which are loud without being fast are silly.” :wink:

There are a lot of college students in the city I live in because we have something like 9 colleges in the area. They apparently have no idea how… Well… Lame it is to have a V6 Mustang or some old 2001 Honda Civic with a fart-tipped muffler making tons of noise but not even keeping pace with normal-sounding cars that actually have power.

meanjoe75fan: You are being very kind to loud exhaust 4 cylinders. They sound like weed eaters to me!

@“404 Developer”, do you have the time to work on a car? When I was in college, there were 3 things I could do:school, social life, and extracurricular activities. I found that I had time for two but not all three. I opted for school and social life. You probably will have the same choices, and may choose your car over social life. I put it that way because you will likely need to spend just about all your free time fixing up your new-to-you car. Before you undertake this car upgrade, budget your time to see how much you have for the car. It might turn out you postpone the car until you graduate., or you might do it after work in the summer. Make sure you have time, though, before you spec a couple-a-three grand on a car.

I hate to say it (too loudly, lest my family members in debt from school hear me) but the advice above is correct. School, at this point, should be your focus.

Trust me, I get it. I always wanted that loud (-er than everyone else) sound, cool sounding motor with that cool rumble, fast car, and the rest. I couldn’t reasonably afford it then. I had my priorities, too. First off: School. Second: Women (and who doesn’t relate to that?) - or men, if you’re female, or that’s your preference - I don’t swing that way, but I know a lot who do.

Now, at 53, both the woman I selected to be my life mate and I have degrees, good jobs, and the money to throw at the things I always wanted. I am now at the mercy of siblings (hers!) who are drowning in school debt. 48, and a 1/4 mil in debt. 38, 350K+, has to sell his house to pay for student loans. Guess who gets to make rent payments? Yep. And, I’m not happy about it. But make some payments and they stay far away, or have them live with me. Guess what I choose?

Car, truck, boat, two motorcycles, 2 houses, 4 mortgages (I also own other properties) and everything that goes along with it. That’s where I’m sitting now. I have the cash to throw at the things I want. I buy things now with very little or zero cash down. 800+ credit rating, and my loans are very, very low interest (0% for my vehicles, cash for the bike/boat).

Get yourself a little runner. You don’t need to impress anyone but you. Even then, you only need to get around. There’s plenty of time to get all the cool toys later - when you can afford not only the toy, but have some cash in hand to show the ladies (or the wife!) a good time. And when you find “the one”, she won’t really care what you’re driving. She’ll care about the man you are.

I see plenty of used Ford Mustangs on Craigslist priced from as low as $500, the better ones seem to be in the $1500 to $3500 range. Once you have the car, making it sound louder isn’t overly expensive.