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The Motorsport Update: Am I Being Too Picky About Cars?

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Photo: http://www.hondatuningmagazine.com/events/htup_1301_raceline_usa_track_day_honda_tuning_r_challenge/photo_03.html

 

I think I’m being too picky with what car to use for my motorsport project…

I have some really specific requirements that I want it to meet and after buying 6 cars this year, none of which were suitable for various reasons, I think maybe I’ll have to compromise on something.

In order for this to be a true “anyone can do it” project, I need the car to be cheap above all else, which is proving to be the hardest part.

This is basically the checklist I had in my mind:

– Cheap (say < $3000 for initial outlay but car has to be running and registered)
– Easy to fix and to find parts for
– Easy upgrades, preferably cheap too
– Rear wheel drive
– Manual
– Running well, unthrashed (HAHA! So naive)
– Has something of a following so I can actually generate some attention towards my film making/writing

This is what I think I will have to end up getting if I want it to remain cheap:

– Thrashed to hell, there isn’t a single round-about in Western Sydney that the car hasn’t skidded around.
– Easy to fix, will need everything replaced due to above reason and previous owner never servicing it or caring about it at all (sub woofers don’t count as maintenance, people!)
– Easy upgrades, has Ebay tint, carbon fiber vinyl wrapped dashboard, rims, exhaust and JDM AS F*CK stickers
– Front wheel drive, bald front tyres, bald patches on rear tyres, really loose handbrake ( owner claims “never done a handbrake turn”)
– Running well, topped up with 15362L of petrol station oil and parked on grass before arriving for test drive, petrol is well below “E”
– Has 4 sets of keys that have been cut at the local mall, only 1 works
– Has a following of thick black smoke, will generate attention from Police and environmental activists alike

Now while you may have had a giggle at that, it is actually so painfully accurate that I am weighing up the cost of doing this project against moving to Japan, seriously. Unfortunately in terms of cost efficiency the project is still ahead, for now.

After owning two R33 Skylines, a Toyota Levin, a Toyota MR2, a Subaru Impreza and a Honda Civic EG and all of them being so thrashed to the point where a few were actually unsafe to drive I have decided to take a break and think about what will actually work.

I have been considering getting a BMW, a Honda Civic EK, a Mazda MX-5, a Toyota Celica, a Toyota Cressida (manual conversion is not cheap at all), Toyota Soarer (same deal as Cressida), R31 Skylines and just about everything in between. The reason why I am being so specific is because it always bugs me when you see these “budget” builds from all these relatively well known people who have heaps of friends in the industry. They spend $500 on a rust bucket, offer their mates who are all professionals in their fields a case of beer and a chance to be in their video and $2000 later they have a fresh 180SX with nothing wrong with it at all. Cut to drift montage then enjoy 500,000 views in the first week.

The problem with that is that it falsifies what is actually involved, which is usually time, hard work and/or money. Above anything I wanted to do a project that anyone can do, famous or not, professional mechanic or not. I want to have a set price at the end and if you have that amount of money you can go out and do it. If I want to achieve that I think I am going to have to make compromises, at least initially or until I start to make more money.

As much as I wanted a rear wheel drive car I think I will have to get a front wheel drive, on the one hand this is great for learning how to drive on track and how to tackle understeer but on the other I was really wanting to do some skid pan videos and work up to drifting. I think I will have to just bite the bullet and buy whatever car is best and make it work, then get a rear wheel drive a little bit later when I can afford a decent one.

Right now the plan is to buy a cheap and good car, compromise on some things. Take said car to the track stock to see how it feels before any upgrades are done. Start upgrading parts. Return to track and compare times/performance. Upgrade more parts. Return to track, etc. All the while making videos/articles about what I am doing, then when I have more money, start the drift project and repeat the process. Win at life.

For now, that is the latest update, stay tuned because it will happen eventually. It’s so close I can almost hear the sounds of track days, all that’s missing is the car!

– L

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