Affordable Project Cars

Selecting an undertaking auto is a noteworthy venture and a legitimate arrangement will truly surrender the assemble footing and spare some agony in the wallet. There will be some all inclusive bargains, support versus mods, mileage versus cost or picking the lesser of two disasters. Will the auto be utilized as a driver amid the venture or will it be left at home in the carport? Does the arrangement require a turbo transformation or engine swap? These inquiries will direct the significance of the motor—a non-running auto will cost less. On the off chance that you plan to drive the auto then motor condition and mechanical support are basic. A decent course of action will guarantee you get the best cost and the best auto. Is body condition critical? Do you think about the inside? A race auto will be stripped out at any rate yet a road auto will require its familiar luxuries. The main issue is to purchase the most grounded individual auto, measuring its advantages and disadvantages against cost. At last, the undertaking stage buy is a multi-pivot exercise in careful control and to get you off on the right foot, we offer this aide of famous stages with an under-$10,000 passage charge.


1984 – 1987 Toyota Corolla
Price: $2,500 – $4,500

The original drift weapon from the touge days in Japan, star of Initial D and an icon on both sides of the Pacific, the AE86 Corolla GT-S is still a primetime player all these years later. In Japan, the AE86 came in many variations, including two different front ends. The Sprinter Trueno came with pop-up headlights like our US models, while the Corolla Levin has a fixed lamp design. The big draw here is the rear-wheel-drive of this era Corolla. The big difference between a GT-S and an SR5-trimmed Corolla is all under the hood. The SR5 has a carbureted 4AC engine while the GT-S sports an electronically fuel-injected 4A-GE rated at 122 horsepower.


1989 – 1998 Nissan 240SX
Price: $1,200 – $5,000

Another drifter’s dream machine, the 240SX comes in two distinct models, each with its own sub-set. S13 models span 1989 to 1994; the ‘89 and ‘90 models are the least desirable of the lot, with their ‘pig-nose’ front ends and single-cam KA24E (140-hp, 153 tq) engines. Model years 1991 to ‘94 S13s are called Chuki’s (Japanese for middle); they have a different front bumper and the better twin-cam KA24DE engine (155 hp, 160 tq). S13 models are immediately recognizable by their flip-up lights. S14 240SX’s were produced from 1995 to ‘98. Unlike the S13, which was available in hatch, coupe and convertible, S14s are coupe-only propositions. There are two sub-sets of S14, the Zenkis of ‘95 and ‘96 denoted by its conventional exposed headlights and smooth hood, and Koukis from ‘97 and ‘98 which have flared projector headlights and creases in its hood as well as a busier lower grille area.


1989 – 1996 DSM
Price: $2,200 – $5,500

The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser make up the Diamond Star Motors (DSM) roster. They are the same car save for front fascias, taillights and stickers. Turbo DSM editions come in front-drive and all-wheel drive formats powered by the legendary Mitsubishi 4G63 while naturally-aspirated DSMs sport a 420A powerplant. The GSX, TSi or RS turbo, all-wheel drive models are the way to go.


1992 – 1994 Civic
Price: $400 – $4,000
The Civic is the founding father of the import movement. While any model year run of Civic will provide plenty of value we are concentrating on the ‘88 to ‘91 CRX and classic ‘92 to ‘95 EG Civic. We prefer hatches but it’s a pick-your-flavor proposition. The CR-Xs are the lightest cars in the Civic line-up and are go-to players for power-to-weight ratio freaks.


1990 – 1997 Mazda Miata
Price: $2,000 – $5,500

The Miata is a throwback to British roadsters of the 1960s with the welcome addition of Japanese reliability. The car was designed to engage the driver with a feathery 2,200-pound curb weight, rear drive and performance oriented 50/50 weight distribution. The Miata is one of the most popular race platforms on the planet with several serious race series dedicated to them. It’s the kind of ride you can lean into the throttle, work the gears and have fun without attaining terminal velocity. It’s also a convertible, which adds a whole new dimension to the drive.


1994 – 2001 Acura Integra
Price: $2,500 – $7,500
The DC2 Integra was the king of the Honda FWD line-up for its long seven-year production run. Available in two-door coupe or four-door sedan configuration, the bug-eyed Teg is well-supported, but when it comes to swaps it is traditionally the victim not the recipient. The RS/LS models sport a 142-horse B18B1 engine while the GS-R flexes the venerable B18C1, VTEC-enhanced four-cylinder rated at 170 horsepower and the infamous Type-R rocks a B18C5 putting out 187hp. Quirks & Problems: The most popular quirk is thievery. The DC is one of the most stolen cars on the planet so park with care and think about investing in a capable alarm system. However, due to theft issues it is very easy to find a recovered vehicle missing a few parts (likely the engine) for very little cash. Mechanically speaking, the B-series engines personify bulletproof. The Type-R has the biggest performance upside and the key is finding a pristine example to base your build on.


1992 – 1996 Lexus SC 300/400
Price: $3,000 – $7,000
Get some affordable bling by rolling this older model Lexus. A $40,000 car when new, the SC line offers a luxury coupe vibe for well under $10k and in some cases less than $4k. The SC300 is powered by a 225-horse inline-six and the SC400 sports a 250-horse V8. Beyond the engine the only other difference is that a small number of SC300s were offered with a five-speed manual.

2004 – 2006 Scion xB
Price: $7,000 – $10,000
Probably the newest and most expensive of our collection, the hip-to-be-square, first-gen xB has many appealing qualities beyond its blunt silhouette. Its definitive JDM connection to the bB certainly ups the cool factor. The xB is relatively agile and responsive and its interior is far bigger than one would think. The xB has touched a raw nerve and developed a cult following in the States. It is not an adrenaline pumping performance platform; it’s more of an urban cruiser, perfectly content going with the flow and playing more to the senses of sight and sound than speed.

2002 – 2004 Subaru WRX
Price: $7,500 – $10,000
We finally got the good stuff. In 2002, the US market finally received a WRX version of the Impreza, replete with the turbocharged EJ20 powerplant. Previously the non-turbo Impreza 2.5 RS was as close to WRC glory as American buyers could get. Subaru’s WRX won WRC drivers titles with Colin McRae in 1995, Richard Burns in 2001 and Petter Solberg in 2003 as well as manufacturers championships in ‘95, ‘96 and ‘97. Those looking to be a newbie with a Subie have a lot to work with. Solid build quality, solid engine and a solid aftermarket are among the car’s strengths. Quirks & Problems: The WRX is one of two vehicles on our list built in the 21st Century. English Racing’s, Aaron O’Neal says to keep a sharp ear out for wheel bearing noise and pay particular attention to how the transmission shifts. The initial 2002 model run was especially susceptible to the ‘glass transmission syndrome.’ The gears were hardened for 2003 but maintenance of the transmission should be job one since this can be a failure point.


1990 – 1996 Nissan 300ZX TT
Price: $4,000 – $8,500
The Z32 edition of the Z-Car features a 3.0-liter, 300-horsepower VG30DETT V6. The Z32 was a wildly successful race platform, capturing two GTS-class championships for Steve Millen in IMSA competition. The Z32 300ZX is one of the big three import sports cars of the 1990s, joining the Supra and RX-7 at the head of the class.


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