klipless New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 4:11 p.m.

Couldn't find much searching the forum archives, so thought I'd post here.

The quick 'n dirty is that a buddy of mine has had an SVT Contour on jack stands for a couple of years with a dead motor (spun bearing he thinks), but other than that, it's in fine condition. He told me he might be willing to let me have it if I just hauled it away, but I'd probably throw a few bucks his way regardless.

This isn't a should I do it questions, but just a general learn me one. Side question, if I hypothetically was going to turn this in to a challenge car, what would FMV be?

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 4:18 p.m.

Depending on the purchase price I suggest investing in converting to 3.0L short block.

FWIW I would pay him $50.00 for the car versus take it for free and claim FMV.

Kia_racer New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 4:22 p.m.

aasn't that one of the Ford of Europe cars they brought over here a few years ago? I thought they had a pretty good record over there, that was why they brought it over.

But I could be wrong.

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 4:33 p.m.

American tuned version of the Mondeo

GlennS HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 4:45 p.m.

Friend had a normal contour for a while. Also blew its engine. Hes the type that hits his on and off ramps hard though. Probable starved it of oil one too many times. Me thinks that they must have had weak engines. Dont see a lot of contours around any more.

Tom_Spangler Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 4:47 p.m.

Owned one for two years, loved it. Mine was stock, and it was a great DD that served as a track-day/autocross car in a pinch. Nicely balanced handling for FWD, enough power to be fun but still record high 20s mpg on the freeway. Wonderful seats, among the best I've sat in. They have their flaws and niggles, but I didn't have any major problems with mine. Check www.contour.org, it's a good site with lots of info.

Personally, I'd jump on a free one with a bad motor. 3.0L Duratecs are pretty common and would make for a nice upgrade. You'd have a nice driver when you're done.

I'm sure Adrian Thompson will chime in. He's had all kinds of evil ideas involving Contours in the past like AWD conversions and such.

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 5:02 p.m.

Two Words?

Escape Transmission

Oct. 27, 2009 5:03 p.m.

Best Daily Driver/FWD ever! I signed up to this site just to comment on the CSVT!!

I loved my Conti SVT, as others have mentioned, try the contour.org site, they are very helpful and mature information. I am not a big fan of the front-wheel drive, and they could use a LSD, but will do as a stocker.

My Incognito Burrito ('00 Black CSVT) was totalled in 07, only 79K. However that did open the garage for the 04 350Z (Contour just as good on the open road for cruising)

The only car that I can honestly say, "I wish I still had that car." A statement I really do not like to say at all, I would rather keep them than sell them.

Eric G

mtn SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 5:12 p.m.

^^ I think this guy just might fit in here

mkiisupra New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 5:26 p.m.


I finally moved over to the GRM boards. Been a subscriber since '98 or so. This magazine was exaclty what I needed when I finally left the ivory tower of higher education and started teaching. I think that one of my letters was published years ago, when I first got my Turbo Z and took it to Castle's ProSolo to 'check what it could do' by spinning out a 360 within 10 seconds of the start of the course.

Waiting patiently for the west-coast headquarters for GRM to open up and provide the next turn in my career, pun intended.

Eric G

belteshazzar SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 5:34 p.m.

I still think a Maxima is a better car in the same category.

iceracer HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 5:51 p.m.

I had a '96 SE, V-6 with 5 spd. Nice car. Ran it in a couple of track days and auto cross's. Good handling and ride.

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 5:58 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: I still think a Maxima is a better car in the same category.

I take it you've an SVT Contour? The Maximas I've driven were floaty tubs compared to the SVTC.

I loved mine for almost 3 years. Sold it when I came across a fabulous deal on the E46 328i I had wanted for years I still regret that decision. The SVTC was a great car and 7/10ths the performance and comfort of the BMW for 2/10ths the price. My one big complaint was that the seating position was a bit high, the seats were very comfy but felt more like sitting on the car than in the car. The motor and power delivery were wonderful. The looks were understated but with a hint of performance. It stopped and turned very well. The intake was Extrude Honed from the factory - SVT was serious about this car.

The stock motor spins the bearings from oil starvation in long right hand sleepers. A 3L duratec from a garden variety Taurus drops right in and provides a nice little power upgrade. Even more fun if you swap the intake and heads over. Everything you need to know is at contour.org

1998 SVT Contour brochure

belteshazzar SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 7:50 p.m.

I'll concede the svt handles better. but they're both fwd sedans that weigh over 3000lbs, so it's about understanding the car's place in the world. DD duty. The maxima will get better mileage, last longer, has more power, lots more room, and only has a 100lb weight penalty. ford advantage;seats?

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 8:22 p.m.

Not only seats, overall driving experience. The beauty of the SVT Contour over its plebian brothers is that it is perfectly happy as a daily driver but will also go tear up an autocross or track day in ways that a stock Maxima of the same generation couldn't dream of. I test drove an SVT Contour and a 5-speed Maxima back to back and put my money down on the SVT Contour. I knew within 30 seconds that for an enthusiast like me the SVT Contour was the much better car.

Back on topic, FMV for challenge purposes is pretty small, but likely more than $50 - probably closer to $500.

belteshazzar SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 8:25 p.m.

tearing up the autocross and track days huh.

Oct. 27, 2009 8:28 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: I'll concede the svt handles better. but they're both fwd sedans that weigh over 3000lbs, so it's about understanding the car's place in the world. DD duty. The maxima will get better mileage, last longer, has more power, lots more room, and only has a 100lb weight penalty. ford advantage;seats?

No, Ford advantage a stunning handling FWD all round sports sedan. I had mine on track several times with an instructor who was amazed when I said it didn't have an LSD, he swore stock it got out of the hairpin at Gratton better than his IT Civic! With the Datsun you're lucky to get to your destination with out having crashed after falling asleep through terminal boredom

Oct. 27, 2009 8:29 p.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote: I'm sure Adrian Thompson will chime in. He's had all kinds of evil ideas involving Contours in the past like AWD conversions and such.

Tomorrow, I'm tired and off to sleep

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 8:29 p.m.

OK, slight exaggeration, but also taken out of context - "in ways that a Maxima of the same generation couldn't dream of". At least assuming Maximas are all like the floppy roly poly piggish one I drove.

Put another way, though, if someone offered me a free engine-less Maxima I'd take it too :)

belteshazzar SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 8:36 p.m.

that's just it though. Allow me to prefece this with the fact I've been a car dealer since 1997. I have never, I am not exaggerating, NEVER, seen a maxima with a dead VQ.

enough ranting from me. carry on with the contour talk.

fastmiata New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 8:51 p.m.

My only advice is dont blow a spark plug out of the head. I never saw the final statement for all the work because I was able to "work out" the repairs but most of the engine and engine compartment had to be disassembled to do the repair. We did take advantage of the situation and replaced ALL the wear items on the motor that are normally difficult to reach. I drove the car for a few more months but on the way back from last years GRM Experience at the Daytona 24, we had several issues including the alternator that resulted in my wife consenting to the car search that resulted in buying the GTO for myself(for the SVT) and the MS6 for my wife(replacing her 20th anniv Maxima). I sold the SVT to a friend who drives it daily and has spent the time and money to fix the paint issues along with the interiur trim pieces that were failing at an alarming rate. My final analysis of the SVT: great motor, suspension and seats surrounded by a crappy little car.

mtn SuperDork
Oct. 27, 2009 9:03 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: I still think a Maxima is a better car in the same category.

What maxima?

Vigo New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 9:09 p.m.

I would snap up that svt in a second. I agree with everything good thats been said about them so far. And this is coming from a ford hater, by and large. Ask me about the broken spark plugs i just pulled out of a new 5.4. anyway...

iliketheconour BUT: a 4th gen 95-99 maxima 5spd is imo a better platform. You will have do upgrade the suspension to get the handling feel in the same ballpark, but if you could theoretically grab a free 3.0 maxima and spend a few hundred putting a 3.5 in it you've pretty much just created the most ass-stomping low dollar fwd i know of. And this is coming from a guy whose challenge car put 320lb ft to the front wheels for $1480. The maxima is a great platform.

If i had to pick between two with blown motors for the same money id pick the Max. If i had to choose between two with running motors id pick the contour. I dont know if that makes sense.

plance1 HalfDork
Oct. 27, 2009 9:11 p.m.

Bought my SVT contour new in 2000 out of a dealership that advertised in the back of autoweek magazine (you know, before they went all highbrow on us...). I bought it because it got great reviews, I still have some of the articles on the car. Unfortunately, the quality just isnt there. Most contours have a problem with the dashboard for example, they curl up and hit the windshield, the glue gets loose, you might be able to see that in some of the photos below. The front seat, while nice and supportive, become loose. I fought ford all the way to small claims court because the local dealers were refusing to replace it even though others had the same problem. I lost in court on getting it replaced but I then I went to a small town dealer where I was visiting and they replaced the seat with no problem. The engine? Well it sucks, plain and simple, SVT's and maybe other V6 contours had a bad oil pan design, which led to the oil starvation problem that others mentioned. I believe ford has fixed it on other V6 engines. I blew mine up and I know it was full of oil, while going around a long right hand corner that I took rather fast. As soon as I did the check engine light came on and I knew I was cooked. The car sat in my garage for a couple years until I had a guy from the contour website take out the original engine and put in a 3 liter. It was completely done up and done up right, I have posted a list below of all the things that were done to it. Still, after all of that work and tons of money, the car had a flat spot in the lower rpm's that no one was ever able to figure out. I did have a little fun with it though, it sounded pretty cool, especially with the headers. The car was fun to drive, I autocrossed mine against some regulars at the local SCCA event here in Cincinnati and I beat some mustangs and mustang cobras, they had racing rubber and I had street tires and had no idea what I was doing. But I did have welded subframe connectors, Koni's and HR springs. I ended up selling it to some dumb kid who had no idea what he was getting. Honestly, I would get something else if I were you, a SRT neon, Mazda 3, used WRX. Here are a bunch of pics in no particular order...

Vigo New Reader
Oct. 27, 2009 9:55 p.m.

I spoke to a guy with a 3.0 swapped car with a pretty long mod list who only ran 14.2 or so. Now that's sorta quick.. you know, like my $1000 dodge aries, BUT, a 3.5 4th gen maxima will blow that away from the get go. a stock altima se-r with hundreds more lbs of weight spinning factory 18s can do that.

not that the straight line is all that, but its something.

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