Cheapest way to a fast car?

Ultima

Platinum Member
Oct 16, 1999
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Say you have a limited budget, and you want something that will be able to get down to the 12-13 second quarter mile, while having good handling on the road (so no big boats OR econoboxes), decent gas mileage during regular driving (so no 454's), and good reliability (hmm.. no ford? ;)). What would you go for? What do you think would give the best bang for the buck? Mustang, 240sx, rx-7, talon, Camaro are choices, but the 240sx would be expensive to do, the mustang/camaro not the best for road-handling/gas, and DEFINATELY not insurance, and I dunno about an old rx-7 or a talon when it comes to reliability. Guess you have to make a trade-off somewhere though. What would you pick?
 

Marshallj

Platinum Member
Mar 26, 2003
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Originally posted by: Ultima
Say you have a limited budget, and you want something that will be able to get down to the 12-13 second quarter mile, while having good handling on the road (so no big boats OR econoboxes), decent gas mileage during regular driving (so no 454's), and good reliability (hmm.. no ford? ;)). What would you go for? What do you think would give the best bang for the buck? Mustang, 240sx, rx-7, talon, Camaro are choices, but the 240sx would be expensive to do, the mustang/camaro not the best for road-handling/gas, and DEFINATELY not insurance, and I dunno about an old rx-7 or a talon when it comes to reliability. Guess you have to make a trade-off somewhere though. What would you pick?

The cheapest way to go fast is probably with a 5.0 Mustang or turbo DSM.
 

Shockwave

Banned
Sep 16, 2000
9,059
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I'd grab an old domestic. Chevy. Drop a 350 in it. 350 is like the Lego set of engine buildups.
 

OS

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
15,581
1
76
cheap, fast, reliable, good handling and good gas mileage just don't go together.

Tho might I suggest an LS1 fbody with a 150 shot. :D:D:D

 

Maharaja

Member
Apr 25, 2000
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The fast car I'd like to have sometime would be an Omni GLHS. The ultimate in sleepers. The last time I saw one for sale I think it was like 10k.
 

Confused

Elite Member
Nov 13, 2000
14,166
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Drop a wreck off a 1/4 mile high cliff. That should do the 1/4 mile in less than 12-13 seconds


Confused
 

thomsbrain

Lifer
Dec 4, 2001
18,148
1
0
how about those old turbo Caravans? i can't remember the website for them, but apparently with minimal modding, they can get really quick, really cheap, and really stealthy. but as for handling, i couldn't imagine a worse car. ;)

honestly, i think you've ruled out every possibility. you're going to have to give up something. if you really want cheap, i'd second the suggestion for a 5.0 Mustang, although I'm not a big Ford fan to say the least. if you're willing to pay some more money to get better handling, a Prelude might be good. Car and Driver rated it the best handling car under $30,000.
 

zeruty

Platinum Member
Jan 17, 2000
2,276
2
81
hmmm... cheapest way to a fast car...

I'd say a $30 lockpick set :evil:
 

Kerouactivist

Diamond Member
Jul 12, 2001
4,665
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76
I would either get a early 90's model 300zx or get a 60's/70's car with at least a 350 and fix it up as you get more money.
 

thedarkwolf

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 1999
8,999
109
106
I own a turbo caravan and they are a lot of fun but a little to heavy to go 12-13s cheap. Now a dodge shadow turbo would work very well or even a little heavier daytona. Anyway something with a turbo stock is going to be the cheapest to get good gas milieage, run 12s-13s, and handle decent and some of the cheapest of those will be a turbo dodge. As another plus the majority of the turbo dodges arn't considered anything special by insurance companies so have cheap insurance. Reliablity isn't the greatest but its not that bad either. They are atleast as good if not better than most of the turbo cars made in the 80s early 90s. If you shop around you could pull it off for under $1k including buying the car.

The ultimate turbo dodge site
And the turbo dodge minivan site somebody mentioned mines in the vans of the web section under Matt Kessler :D. Oh and they don't handle that bad. In the video clips section there is a video of a van racing on a circle track and beating several cars till he has to race a AWD turbo DSM :).
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
20,022
17
81
12-13 second quarter mile...

Cheap? Yeah, right.
rolleye.gif



decent gas mileage during regular driving

For a buck and a quarter a gallon, who gives a fuc...


hmm.. no ford? ;)

My last Ford lasted me 20 years and was purchased 5 years used! Keep smiling at that.


not the best for road-handling...

Road handling for what? For fvcking what? WTF are you driving this thing that this matters one tit?


DEFINATELY not insurance

Buy the GD Caravan then... Christ!
rolleye.gif
 

XCLAN

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2001
2,401
0
0
Originally posted by: Ornery
12-13 second quarter mile...

Cheap? Yeah, right.
rolleye.gif



decent gas mileage during regular driving

For a buck and a quarter a gallon, who gives a fuc...


hmm.. no ford? ;)

My last Ford lasted me 20 years and was purchased 5 years used! Keep smiling at that.


not the best for road-handling...

Road handling for what? For fvcking what? WTF are you driving this thing that this matters one tit?


DEFINATELY not insurance

Buy the GD Caravan then... Christ!
rolleye.gif


a buck and a quarter? shiat i pay 1.99$ for the cheapest i can get 2.19$ for premium
 

ScoobMaster

Platinum Member
Jan 17, 2001
2,528
10
81
If you are looking to go used and fairly cheap, yet still fast - try hunting down a late-80s Dodge Daytona or Chrysler LeBaron GTC or Dodge Shadow Shelby (CSX). The thing to look for in *ANY* of these is the 2.2 liter turbo four dubbed the "Turbo II" engine. This powerplant put out an honest 174 HP and unlike its tamer Turbo I brother, was built for longevity.

The Turbo II 2.2 has FORGED rods/crank and is built for abuse. It is usually mated with the A555 GETRAG 5-speed gearbox which is also pretty beefy for a 4-banger econobox. I had one of these in a fairly rare (1 of only 1300-1400) 1989 Chrysler LeBaron GTC 5-Speed. Even in a heavier car like the LeBaron, this was quite zippy! Mopar performance even had a kit (called the "super 60 turbo" that included bigger injectors and a new turbine with a higher boost pressure. Adding this kit increased HP to 300!!!!!!!!!! (I always wanted to do it, but copuldn;t cough up the $1200 at the time :( )

Anyway, if you can find one opf these that was not too badly thrashed (the bottom-end is all forged, so they can take some abuse) especially in a lighter body like the Shadow or Daytona you can probably pick them up real cheap! (Rumors I heard were that SCCA racers sought out these turbo II blocks for their racing engines). My old Lebaron sits across the street from me (sold it to a good friend of mine) and he is considering re-building it this summer (may yet get a chance to bolt-on that super 60 turbo kit :) )!!

**editted to correct the LeBaron designation 'GTS' to the correct 'GTC' (what is the matter with me??). GTS LeBarons are the 4-door sedans (like Lancers), while the GTCs (what I owned) are the two-door coupes) **
 

SinfulWeeper

Diamond Member
Sep 2, 2000
4,567
11
81
and good reliability (hmm.. no ford? ;))

I really want the drugs your on to come out with a statement like that
rolleye.gif


From my father owning two taxi business' in his lifetime. I can make this statement with very good accuracy.
Ford's rarely break down. But when the do, parts are very expensive. But it did not matter much as their milages went to 300000 :Q.
Chevy's break down quite a bit. But their parts are dirt cheap.
Mazda's went zoom zoom to the auto salvage yard. I never seen so much crap in my life. (I must admit their 626 was fun to drive though, I owned on while living in Anchorage :)).

He never owned any other brands with the exception of a Dodge (forgot the model). When it broke down, getting parts for it in our small community became a problem and they were more expensives than Ford's. So he never bought one again and sold it...
 

geno

Lifer
Dec 26, 1999
25,074
4
0
Turbo Dodges are the way to go when it comes to cheapness. You could:
Buy a turbo Shadow, Omni, Lebaron, Daytona..etc for cheap ($1000-1500)
If not intercooled, buy an intercooler off of ebay for maybe $80
Buy a boost controller (20 bucks)

With 15psi, you could be in the high 14's with only 100 invested. The ideal setup is to get a Turbo II car (Daytonas and Lebarons are the most common car to come with this package) and you can crank the boost to 18psi when you supply the motor more fuel... I remember seeing a vid of an Omni, and how that Omni whipped a new C5 vette...the car costs 500 bucks, and he invested 800 in parts and ran a low 13...this is entirely possible and pretty common within the community :) Like the DSMs, there's a large community supporting these cars even though they don't get much publicity

Turbododge.com
 

ScoobMaster

Platinum Member
Jan 17, 2001
2,528
10
81
Originally posted by: geno
Turbo Dodges are the way to go when it comes to cheapness. You could:
Buy a turbo Shadow, Omni, Lebaron, Daytona..etc for cheap ($1000-1500)
If not intercooled, buy an intercooler off of ebay for maybe $80
Buy a boost controller (20 bucks)

With 15psi, you could be in the high 14's with only 100 invested. The ideal setup is to get a Turbo II car (Daytonas and Lebarons are the most common car to come with this package) and you can crank the boost to 18psi when you supply the motor more fuel... I remember seeing a vid of an Omni, and how that Omni whipped a new C5 vette...the car costs 500 bucks, and he invested 800 in parts and ran a low 13...this is entirely possible and pretty common within the community :) Like the DSMs, there's a large community supporting these cars even though they don't get much publicity

Turbododge.com


Hey geno - nice Shelby CSX :)
Thanks for the link to turbododge. I'll pass it along to my friend that now owns my former LeBaron GTC. Did you ever upgrade the turbo in your CSX? If so, did you buy the one from Mopar Performance?
 

thedarkwolf

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 1999
8,999
109
106
Originally posted by: ScoobMaster
If you are looking to go used and fairly cheap, yet still fast - try hunting down a late-80s Dodge Daytona or Chrysler LeBaron GTC or Dodge Shadow Shelby (CSX). The thing to look for in *ANY* of these is the 2.2 liter turbo four dubbed the "Turbo II" engine. This powerplant put out an honest 174 HP and unlike its tamer Turbo I brother, was built for longevity.

If you are looking to go used and fairly cheap, yet still fast - try hunting down a late-80s Dodge Daytona or Chrysler LeBaron GTC or Dodge Shadow Shelby (CSX). The thing to look for in *ANY* of these is the 2.2 liter turbo four dubbed the "Turbo II" engine. This powerplant put out an honest 174 HP and unlike its tamer Turbo I brother, was built for longevity.
The Turbo II 2.2 has FORGED rods/crank and is built for abuse. It is usually mated with the A555 GETRAG 5-speed gearbox which is also pretty beefy for a 4-banger econobox. I had one of these in a fairly rare (1 of only 1300-1400) 1989 Chrysler LeBaron GTC 5-Speed. Even in a heavier car like the LeBaron, this was quite zippy! Mopar performance even had a kit (called the "super 60 turbo" that included bigger injectors and a new turbine with a higher boost pressure. Adding this kit increased HP to 300!!!!!!!!!! (I always wanted to do it, but copuldn;t cough up the $1200 at the time :( )
!!

Actually your underestimating the regular TI. The TI and TII are virtually the same engine other than the forged crank and the forged crank is overkill. A lot of people take it out and replace it with a cast one to save 7 pounds of rotating mass. They both have the same rods but the TI pistons are a little more detonation prone, something to do with the ring lands locations. The other two big differences is the TI have the smaller mitsu td04 turbo while the TII have a garret T3 and the TII have an intercooler stock but adding an intercooler to a regular TI is easy. I bought a Mazda 626 intercooler for $20 and will be adding it to the van soon. The mitsu turbo tops out at around 17psi and doesn't work all that well past 15psi and the garret tops out in the 20s somewhere. You can always swap out the mitsu turbo for a bigger one. I'll do that to my van if the mitsu ever dies. The TI do have a couple big advantage and that is they were 2.5l and have more torque with the same mods and there are about 10 times as many out there. The TIIs do have the stronger trans though.

The cars to look for are 89+ TI or TII, note 89 was the last year for TIIs. In 89 they all got stronger blocks, 2 1/2 inch downpipes, and a few other things I am forgetting :).

Also the super 60 kit is out dated and there are much better computer setups out there now.
 

ScoobMaster

Platinum Member
Jan 17, 2001
2,528
10
81
Thanks darkwolf! I could have sworn that when I researched the TII engines (whe I first discovered how rare and special the LeBaron I bought was) I read about the TII rods being forged as compared to the T1 stock rods being cast. Oh well, my dad had a T1 in his '86 lancer (automatic) and I could not believe how much difference there was with the TII (intercooled) mated to that beefy A555 5-speed. Third gear was my favorite - I swear I could rocket from 30MPH to 85 in about 3 - 3.5 seconds (came in REAL handy for passing cars on the back roads!).

I think the tranny & the stronger block justifies finding a TII (plus if someone doesn't really know what they have, you can get them CHEAP!) That A-555 5-speed had one of the stiffest clutches I have ever driven in a four-cylinder production car (used to make my leg cramp up in construction zones!)

P.S. What current mods/kits are available for the TII engines? My buddy (the current LeBaron owner) is seriously considering restoring it and re-building/modifying the engine.