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Best "Beginner Car" for Modifying/Tuning

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Comments

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    For street racing, any of the above are great options. I would go with the vehicle with the most aftermarket options, most likely the Civic.

    We do not promote street racing. Perhaps a bicycle is good for that!

    Seriously though, innocent, non-involved people (not participants or spectators) often are the victims of street racing. Before you do it, think what you would do if your Mother, Father, Brother or Sister were to be killed by a street racer.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • "Almost all of the other vehicles will require an engine swap to be competitive with the GT."

    Wow. There is an awful lot of mustang love going on in here... did the original post say that we were only supposed to consider cars that are currently in production?

    If you want straight line speed (we'll talk about handling later) then forget about a Mustang GT. It requires way to many mods to make it go fast and you'll still get beat by the occasional ricer with a turbo.

    For simple, straight line, affordable speed, there is nothing better than a 4th gen F-body. Get either engine you want (LT1 or LS1) they're both amazing and easy to mod. The LS1 is probably one of the best V8's ever made in terms of ease of modification and out of the box power delivery. In a straight line, the Camaro/Firebirds will flat out smoke the equivalent mustang stock for stock and once you get into mods, the mustang will need a pulley to beat an F-body with just bolt-ons.

    If you buy a '98 Firebird Trans Am (or WS6 would be better, but for money's sake we'll say T/A) and just do bolt on mods, you'll have a car that will be in the 12 second range for far less money than it would take to get a fox body Mustang GT to do the same thing. If you buy a 2001 or 2002 it'll be even cheaper to get them to go fast because those cars had the LS6 intake manifold installed from the factory bringing base hp/tq on the T/A to 310/340 (325/350 in the WS6). The LS6 manifold is able to support upwards of 500rwhp so there's no need to worry about an engine swap to support more power. If cheap straight line fun is all you want, then you don't need to look any further than the 4th gen F-body cars.

    They won't handle as well, but they're incredible as daily drivers (provided you stay street legal with your mods) and even stock you'll be running low 13's at the track with practice.

    In terms of handling, I'm surprised the Mazda RX-8 hasn't gotten any love here. It's one of the best handling cars available (think Miata but better) and with a few mods it'd be a great beginner car, especially since you can get an '04 for ~$13K now.
  • if you think all 2.0z are slow then you have somthing wrong in your head because i have a 1989 honda crx hatchback with a turboed 2.0 in it and its an 11 second car and there are still things i can do to make it faster
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That CR-X weighed about half what a new VeeDub would weight, plus your engine is no longer stock.
  • dan1dan1 Posts: 76
    Sel it and buy a car that already has some performance from the factory you will save money and headache in the long run.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,252
    Voice of experience?

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,244
    One can make just about any car go faster but you might not like the trade-offs that come with it. Depends on your goals and expectations, for drivability in normal traffic, comfort, ride, fussiness, noise, etc.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • So, if I may, what does everyone think of the Chevy Sonic Z-Specs package? It seems GM and the major manufacturers are trying to get into the aftermarket game and cut out the middle man. Thouughts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder why they didn't tune the engine, output stays the same.
  • Yeah, I think this is purely an aesthetic thing. They see the money to be made from aftermarket accessories and want to tap into to that market.
  • You should consider the purpose for which the car is being tuned. If you have a family car, doing expensive engine tuning or adding a bright yellow flame may not be too wise – this is only acceptable in racing and torque cars. Some modifications such as ECU remapping are not reversible and you should therefore be sure that this is what you want.

    Before you start working on tuner cars, you should get all the relevant information. There are several sources of information that you can consider. You could get your information on from online forums and other online resources. You could get the information by working with an expert, not necessarily a mechanic, for sometime.
  • There's a recent comparison between the Sonic and the Accent on Hyundai-Forums. In the end, the reviewer icked the Accent as being the better car due to the fact that it is just a better value but the tunability factor clearly goes to the SOnic.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You can do a lot more with a turbo if you're willing to use premium fuel all the time, but the Sonic is heavier, and it's hard to remove weight.

    I'd still guess the Sonic is more tuner-friendly.
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