Go_Gators None
June 7, 2017 7:53 a.m.

It aint the first, wont be the last.

I am going to start this thread and try to maintain it through the tear down, build up and driving phases. My intent is to build a sub-$10k street, autocross and occasional track day missile that is highly reliable and maintainable. Targeting a 400hp and ~2250lbs LS1 powered go kart – no body. Like roadkill’s C4 hack, I will remove the entire body, except the A-pillar/windshield. Delete the front and rear portions of the frame that protrude beyond the axles and then install a roll-cage, likely using NASA specs. We’ll see how it goes!

Donor car search parameters were simple, C5 around $5k, 6spd, no or minor frame damage, more-less complete vehicle. Turns out only ~20% of C5s are 6spds and of the wrecked/salvage or deplorably maintained cars ~95% of those are automatics! After a couple months a potential candidate was posted to a Copart facility only a couple hours from home. After jumping through the various Copart hoops I placed bids on and “won” a ’98 convertible. Winning bid was $4750. After taxes and various Copart fees, my actual total was $5800. Considering I had only seen some low quality images of the car, it was more money than I wanted to spend. But I hoped, based on the pictures, that the car had a lot of sellable components compared to others I had seen sell. It appeared to have only damage to the front bumper area and mostly cosmetic at that.

After wiring money to Copart I went and picked it up. The vette was delicately placed on the trailer with surgical precision…. Giving it the once over for the first time I was pleasantly surprised. Long tube headers! Full length aftermarket exhaust! Optima battery! no apparent mechanical damage! clean interior! only 89k miles! ¾ of a 1 dollar bill! Six magnum condemns! One shoe! Obviously, this was looking to be a veritable bargain. It wouldn’t start on the trailer using my jumpbox, so we continued home. Delighted. At the house the battery read 6 volts. Dropped in a new battery, the LS1 thundered to life immediately. It is certainly sounding like the PO threw a cam in it and what a glorious sound! it had no water in it and no air filter, but getting it situated in the driveway using only 1st and reverse the driveline felt good.

Currently, I am awaiting the salvage title from Copart. I have a $30 C5 radiator from craigslist, a fast and furious style air filter from advance auto, some generic yellow trailer indicator lights to use as turn signals. When I get the salvage title I will be off to the visit the fine folks at the DMV. Filing for a rebuilt title and the inspection process will surely be sweat pump inducing events. Assuming I get through the title/tag effort I intend on putting a couple hundred miles on it to get a warm fuzzy that the driveline doesn’t need significant repair. Then, the teardown and sell-off of the interior and body work will commence! Those funds will hopefully somewhat offset the large expenses to come (seating/belts and rollcage) keeping the budget under $10k. But, I doubt it.

RossD UltimaDork
June 7, 2017 7:55 a.m.

Now that's a first post! Welcome to the madhouse, apparently you know how we operate here!

June 7, 2017 8:13 a.m.

I like where this is going

Go_Gators New Reader
June 7, 2017 8:15 a.m.
RossD wrote: Now that's a first post! Welcome to the madhouse, apparently you know how we operate here!

I have been stalking GRM for a long time now. when considering where to post this adventure, I could think of no better fit. CERTAINLY NOT A CORVETTE FORUM.

floatingdoc New Reader
June 7, 2017 8:44 a.m.

Sounds great, looking forward to following the build!

Bobzilla MegaDork
June 7, 2017 10:44 a.m.

oOOHHH... I'm in. Someone pass the popcorn. Dis gonna be good!

patgizz MegaDork
June 7, 2017 10:47 a.m.

Here's some inspiration for you

 photo C2ED40C1-DF1E-407D-B77F-60A3FDB9D119_zps7jjnsymg.jpg

dyintorace PowerDork
June 7, 2017 10:58 a.m.

I see your in JAX. PimpM3 and Stampie are forum regulars also in JAX. Both are damn good folks and very knowledgeable. Hopefully you can connect with them. Excited to see this build!

Go_Gators New Reader
June 7, 2017 11:45 a.m.

In reply to patgizz: thanks for the foreshadowing... its just as beautiful as I was hoping.

Go_Gators New Reader
June 7, 2017 11:49 a.m.

In reply to dyintorace:

yep, thanks, noted! appears one might share my bimmer bias.

mazdeuce MegaDork
June 7, 2017 11:59 a.m.

Following along. I always wondered if the gains in pulling the body offset the aero of keeping it. I'm interested to see how much you can recoup post teardown.

nderwater UltimaDork
June 7, 2017 12:26 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Following along. I always wondered if the gains in pulling the body offset the aero of keeping it. I'm interested to see how much you can recoup post teardown.

Ditto that. I'll be following this with interest--can you build a V8 kart for the cost of a shifter kart?

mck1117 Reader
June 7, 2017 12:43 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

For autox at least, that is absolutely worth it. I went to one in April where a guy showed up with a Lotus Elise, minus all of the body. You just sat on the aluminum "skateboard". They set the fastest time by over 2 seconds.

Go_Gators New Reader
June 7, 2017 12:58 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce: honestly, if sales cover seating and belts, I would be happy. I am going to price stuff to move as I already have a storage problem - two car garage, HOA, a prepped solo STX car and its crap plus a C3 (other garage resident) and its paraphernalia.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
June 7, 2017 1:51 p.m.

That's almost too nice to cut up! Sure you don't want to put a new front bumper on it and give it a try?

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
June 7, 2017 4:44 p.m.

Welcome! Great project.

2250 with stock windshield and full NASA spec cage might be tough. 2400 lbs will be easy.

SEADave HalfDork
June 7, 2017 5:01 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: That's almost too nice to cut up! Sure you don't want to put a new front bumper on it and give it a try?

I think he's gonna have to do that anyway in order to pass the inspection to get a rebuilt title.

mndsm MegaDork
June 7, 2017 5:09 p.m.

Wait, so c5s are getting cheap enough to deathkart? And here head looking for moldy c4s....

Go_Gators New Reader
June 8, 2017 6:15 a.m.

I assure you there will not be daily updates. But, a discovery yesterday afternoon merited another report. I removed the cracked and unsupported radiator and continued extracting mud from the engine compartment.

Once relatively mud free i noticed an engraving on the passenger cylinder head that will require me to change the target horse power of the LS1; the going-in hope of 400hp at the flywheel is no longer practical. 500hp is looking more probable. “Trick Flow” was etched on the heads.

Based on the choppy idle its highly likely this thing had a cam installed. I am trying to think like someone who would dump several thousand dollars in performance parts on a convertible C5, which is hard, and I am thinking they probably opted for Trick Flow’s top end kit (heads/cam/rockers/pushrods/etc). The kits range from 485hp to 515hp (depending on cam shaft selection) and cost ~$3300. So far in the exploration I have found performance parts totaling more than I paid for the vehicle.

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
June 8, 2017 6:55 a.m.

Definitely a diamond in rough find!

Go_Gators New Reader
June 12, 2017 5:46 a.m.

with the cooling system restored atleast temporarily, I can run it up to temperature. There isn't much to see in the video, but there is A LOT TO HEAR!!

link to youtube video: LS1-KART meet the donor

I put some from turn signal lights on the front, trying to figure out if there is a minimum size or brightness. also cant readily figure out if indicator lights (amber on the front qtr panels and amber front parking lights that are also on when headlights are on) are legally required. anyone know?

Go_Gators New Reader
July 5, 2017 8:31 a.m.

It only took a month... but the salvage title arrives at my door today. tomorrow the fun with the fine folks at the FLA DMV shall commence. I have filled out all the forms and read the fine print, but I am not optimistic that success will be had in the first attempt!

July 5, 2017 9:21 a.m.

Engine sounds great! Good luck with the DMV..

minivan_racer UberDork
July 5, 2017 9:29 a.m.

That exhaust is quite a glorious noise.

Lof8 Dork
July 5, 2017 9:32 a.m.

Its like a treasure hunt! I'm a UF grad. Go Gators!

1 2 3 4 5 6

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

23 hours ago in News

And so it begins, another trip to Monterey Car Week.

Deal of the Month: Free Trackside Companion!

1 day ago in News

Ever wished you had a handy guide on how to dial in your alignment or adjust your dampers?

This Tuesday: Join Us at Track Night in America

1 day ago in News

This Tuesday we'll be running at Palm Beach International Raceway

Experience Monterey With Us

1 day ago in News

We're on our way out to Monterey, California, for car week.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

2 days ago in News

What started as the anti-concours has transformed into a major event on the Monterey Car Week schedule.

Tomorrow, August 15: Join our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In

2 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

Vintage Views: Classic Mini

4 days ago in Articles

Turn heads, have jolly good fun.

You Need This: Toyota With Rally Pedigree

4 days ago in News

Who can say no to a turbocharger and all-wheel drive?

Join Our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In at Pacific Grove on Tuesday, August 15

5 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

You Need This: J. Geils's Maserati Sebring, Some Assembly Required

5 days ago in News

A rock star project will be auctioned off in Monterey next week.

Who Wants a Skip Barber Car?

5 days ago in News

Skip Barber Racing School is selling off Miatas, Mustangs, Porsches and much more.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe

5 days ago in New Car Reviews

A Mercedes-Benz is an animal with few equals. I don’t mean that no one else makes a car that’s as ...


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More