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Ideas for a project

nasdaqrobnasdaqrob Member Posts: 8
I'm ready to sell my pristine '99 Mustang to go with tire shredding muscle. As of the moment I have two ideas I'm dabbling with. The first is a 1966 Corvette convertible. To keep price down, I'd try to stray from the 427 b/c my intentions are dropping the existing and going with a crate 502 or tweaked 454 small block. I'm wondering if the 502 will fit in the existing bay as I don't want to mess with the hood. I also plan on using a Vortech marine supercharger to get the horse around 740. I'm wondering if the existing components will handle the power or if modification will be necessary.
I havee additional intentions for the vette possibliity. I want to incorporate parts from the C5 vette into the '66 where ever possible. I would try to put in the Bose stereo, new C5 seats, brakes from a ZO6 (complete with red calipers), the 18 inch rims with low profile rubber, and possibly the 6 speed trannie from the 2002 ZO6. I think this would be unique project, incorporating the old with the new, while still keeping it all tasteful.
My second project option is a 1958 Mercedes Benz 190 SL Roadster. Also looking to buy this relatively cheap (high mileage) b/c I'd pull the engine on this and replace with a new Mercedes SLK 4cyl. I'd try to keep everything else on this stock, why dabble with retro beauty.
Project "budget," and I use the term loosely, would be approximately $22,000. I'm looking for a few expert opinions on the matter, as well as thought on other projects you guys are pondering


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Mazda rotary powering a clean, chrome-bumper MGB-GT. Also use the Mazda 5 speed and a/c unit. Soundproof and heatproof the B in the firewall, driveline tunnel and floorpan. Install a full roof canvas rollback sunroof and improved shocks and springs. That would be a sweet car for probably around $10,000...if you started with a very decent GT to begin with.

    Your projects are very ambitious but interesting. Yes, I think all that HP will tear your stock 66 Vette to pieces. You will have to do some serious strenthening and suspension work; otherwise I think you'd stress that body/frame structure with all that power. I'm also not sure you could apply all that power to the ground, either. This car would hardly be streetable, maybe just barely. Basically it would be a point straight ahead and stab the gas kind of car.

    The 190SL will bury you financially. It's not a very good platform. I know, I know, then why is my MGB project? Well, for one thing, MGB parts are cheap and the car is dirt simple. the 190SL parts are horrendously expensive and the car is rather complex in construction. You could easily spend $5,000 on a top and some chromework without even touching the body. And even a beater 190SL will cost you $10,000, and it will be a disaster. You can't possibly come out to a $22K budget on the Benz and have any kind of a decent car IMO.

    How about a massaged Ford small block in a Mercedes 230SL? You can buy a decent 230 for around $12-13K, and it is a more competent chassis than the old fashioned 190SL (which is just a modified 180 sedan, which is about 1950s technology at best.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    For cost/benefit sake, I think the clear winner is the 240Z with Chevrolet small block swap. That can be done with hardly any fabrication and I don't think they're terribly nose heavy if the engine is set back far enough.

    I'm a big fan of the 914/V8 world, but realistically, you end up with a ton of bucks in a pretty valueless car in the end (especially if a stronger transaxle is called for). I admit that resale value is not a factor in this sort of thing.

    I'd love to see a V8 powered 2800 or 3.0 BMW CS. If you can find one that isn't mostly iron oxide, I really love the looks. I have a funny feeling that that swap would be a bear (like many Mercedes swaps) since the original engine is an I-6 and the BMW guys filled the engine compartment in those cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think a V8 powerd 3.0CS would be a truck to drive however. It's nose heavy as it is, and as you mentioned, the structural problems are legion and worrisome.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Shifty's gonna hate this, but I'm personally a fan of a 383 stroker or 454 big block under the hood of a Jaguar S3 XJ6. Gorgeous car with a back seat and a big block 454 under the hood. What's not to love? (Besides Lucas electronics, anyways!)
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    The BMW engine weighs about 390 pounds and a small block Ford goes about 450 pounds. Throw aluminum heads on the Ford, put the battery in the trunk, lose the A/C, and take into account that the engine is shorter (and effectively further back) and I think the difference is not too great. (I think we've had this argument before, oh well, sorry for being repetitious).

    There's bound to be beaucoup clearance problems, though. I'll bet semi-serious fabrication would be in order (custom oil pan, conversion to rack and pinion ), the kind of thing you see in DOHC Nissan V6/Datsun 510 swaps. Could be a cool result, though. Pitch on that early '70s IMSA / German Touring Car body work (complete with impressionist paint job) and you could seriously irritate the BMWistas.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    reminds me of an entry in some bulletin board or another I was looking in (I was searching for the LT-1 Chevy powered 4000 Quattro that's out on the net somewhere).

    This guy was planning on putting a late model Ford V8 in his Volvo (a not super uncommon project, check out the JTR website) and test drove his donor car (a 5.0 Mustang) before he bought it. Turned out that the Mustang was a much better car than the Volvo, so he just bought one of those instead.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Here's the kind of deal I was alluding to with BMW coupes (in terms of appearance). I'm sure our host knows about this stuff, but just in case you don't...

    Check out the Calder car. That thing is seriously cool.

  • nasdaqrobnasdaqrob Member Posts: 8
    I've wondered for a while now about what exactly makes a rotary engine different from a normal V, Inline, or Horizontally opposed engine. No one has every explained the concept to me nor have I read any material on it. I've seen them in a few cars, namely the Mazda RX7. I notice they get incredible horsepower out of what is listed as a two cylinder engine. Lookin for an explaination as a well as info into the reliability, torque curve, and things of the like.
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Completely, utterly, different design. If you want a quick and complete explination, go to, it has an article on it somewhere.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I have no problem whatsoever about putting a V8 in a Jaguar XJ6, as they are not classics or "precious" cars. My problem is that people think that by doing this they will have a more reliable car, but they don't and they won't. It's that misconception that bugs me a bit. But they will have a faster car, certainly.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Hey, faster's all you need for a weekend driver!
  • nasdaqrobnasdaqrob Member Posts: 8
    The site suggested by crossedreality proved to be very helpful. Thanks much for the info. Now that I understand the design, I wonder if it is possible to turbo/supercharge a rotary engine. And if it is possible, is a special type required, or will the run-of-the mill ad-on work. I'm also wondering if any manufacturer has ever made a rotary with more than two rotors, or is that just the accepted design.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Mazda turbocharged the rotary very effectively with the RX-7 turbo. It was a seriously fast car, but did suffer some detonation problems.

    I don't think a twin turbo setup would make much sense on a rotary, since twin turbos work best on large displacement engines that have lots of air volume being pumped by the cylinders. Twin turbos are also nice for V-engines as it makes for a nicely balanced and tidy package on a V. There is a misconception that twin turbos give you "twice the power". This is quite incorrect. You don't get any more power, as in fact, one large turbo is just as good if not better. Also, there are practical limits to turbo size.

    No bolt-on turbo should be run of the mill. Aftermarket turbos need to be very expertly designed, and some of them aren't.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Aren't the third gen RX7's twin turbo? I take your point though, I doubt they are peers. (Perhaps a low and high speed setup?).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, but I never knew why they designed the rotary turbo system the way they did. Twin turbos give you twice the heat, remember, (well, two heat sources to cool I mean) and that was certainly an issue with the RX-7. Of course, mazda engineers are smarter about those things than I am, but I have done some studying and really don't grasp the logic of what they did.

    I suspect it was a space-saving compromise, and in a sense, it may have been easier for this particular application to service each rotor separately. But if Saab, say, can effectively turobcharge a 2.0 liter inline 4 with a turbo the size of a softball, I don't see why Mazda needed two.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    That's a problem I have with turbo's generally. Aside from the clean air and clean oil needs, you've got this red hot heat sink under the hood. A few years of cooking the connectors / hoses / wiring and just generally hotter conditions are bound to take their toll.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 41,667
    I always thought the reason to have twin turbos was that small turbos spooled up quicker, so you got less lag.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    On a V8 (or 6 I suppose) you also get shorter and equally sized path lengths from the blowers. I expect that if you talked to someone from Garrett, that there is a lot of strange science to housing sizing and design to achieve desired results.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    But it is project related. Has anyone driven one of the V8 conversion (215 BOP) MGBs? The procedure seems to be well documented (and the factory *has* been down that road) and I kind of like the idea. I expect there are cooling issues (as always) but those engines are good to 300 cid or so.

    Another one I'd like to see would be a V8 Jensen-Healey. It wouldn't bother me to see one torn up for a hotrod project and they are kind of pretty. A really bitchin' result would be something as fast as a modern Cobra kitcar without all the Shelby nonsense attached to it. (I'm seeing wwwway to many of those nowadays, must be Factory Five's success).

    Speaking of Shelby, I say a Boss 302 this weekend with a real live, official Carroll Shelby signature on the glovebox door. Considering he had zipola to do with those cars, what in the heck is that all about? Maybe I can get him to sign my refrigerator or something (or get Larry Shinoda to sign a Cobra).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The 215 is a lazy engine and a gas hog and really, you can modify an MGB 4- cylinder engine to just about equal the performance without all the hassle of a conversion. The MGB V8s are called Costello V8s but were never imported into the US.

    if you want a Camaro, buy a Camaro, I think you'd be disappointed in a V8 MGB.
  • nasdaqrobnasdaqrob Member Posts: 8
    i'm wondering if anybody out there has any educated guesses as to how much horse/torque the existing components can "safely" handle. I understand that 700+ might be pushing it a little, but what would be a "reasonable" level.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Quite honestly, aside from the drivetrain, I'd guess that the stock 66 Vette is already overstressed for the power it has.

    I think you'd reach a point where, if you increased HP tremendously, you'd end up with just a "shell", like a NASCAR's a completely different car underneath.
This discussion has been closed.