jros16 None
12/21/08 11:19 a.m.

Well, I guess I should intoduce myself first. My name is Jason and I've been a lurker on here for quite some time. I've been waiting for the right moment to ask for advice and I think it's finally come. I've come to the point in my life (25) where I have enough money to finally play with cars. I found this on the local craigslist:


The plan would be to work on suspension, brakes, cosmetic, and then eventually go for the subaru turbo 4 swap. This is a long term project and I believe the build up would take a few years (budget a main issue), but this is actually what I want.

Now the main issue: I have very little experience (man enough to admit it, lol). I've done all the regular maintenance stuff on my truck, but I've never actually done major work to a car. I just want to be sure I'm not biting off more than I can chew. I look at it as everyone has to start somewhere, so why not here?

I'm checking it out today, so I can give more info on the condition later today if needed.


Trans_Maro New Reader
12/21/08 11:24 a.m.

Just remember, if the car is in boxes like this one assume that the engine is siezed and you're buying a bunch of parts to resell.

If you get a car out of it, that's great but if you need to whore the parts on eBay, will you double your investment? If not, it's not worth your time.

Shawn (who's done this enough times to know)

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/21/08 11:27 a.m.

On a 914, the main thing is rust. It just eats old German cars up. Mechanically, 914s aren't that complicated, but as Trans, said, if it's in boxes, you need to assume the worst.

Take a look at our old 914 project car, too, if you haven't already: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/1973-porsche-914/updates/

Salanis SuperDork
12/21/08 1:09 p.m.

As someone close to your age, and in the same boat (I hit 25, and finally had enough money and time to play with cars) I can relate very well.

More than just the dedication to finish a multi-year project... will you have the facilities? Even if you have them now, are you tied enough to where you're living that you won't end up moving in a couple of years? Even if you move within the area, moving a non-rolling project won't be fun, and you might end up in a place where you lack facilities.

Are you going to end up falling madly in love with some hot-young thing and moving in with her... and even if she's totally supportive of your crazy hobby, sharing space with another person might prevent you from having enough space to work on the car.

Even if you want a project car, maybe you'd be better off with a smaller project. Something that will take months, instead of years. You can still be working on restoring a project car for several years, but it could be a string of smaller, more manageable, projects. Maybe a Miata!

Don't forget, there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Porsche. And any project will take at least 50% more time than you expect it to.

Welcome aboard! (The Miata comment is the gratuitous one that you need to get in your first thread... but it's still half in seriousness.)

914Driver Dork
12/21/08 1:19 p.m.

Welcome aboard!

If your experience is as limited as you believe, should a heart transplant be your first operation? I (obviously) like 914s, and if the one you are looking at is rust free, then why not make it stock? Once you get a handle on climbing into a hole and working a wrench with one hand at a time, 914s are easy to work on. There are many 914 sites out there, 914 World is a good one. Then again going down in flames because a project kicked your butt and now sits in the back of the garage laughing at you, maybe this is not a good first project.



sachilles Reader
12/21/08 3:29 p.m.

While I don't want to discourage you, I think you may want a different first project working up to this one. Reason being you admitted you don't have a ton of experience. That isn't a bad thing, everybody starts there. Knowing you want to do a subie swap into a porsche as an end goal...orient your first project to train you for the final project. Perhaps pick up a beater subaru, something that already runs and drives. Beat on it, fix it, beat on it some more. You will have then taught yourself about subarus. You will then be better prepared to throw a subie motor into a 914. Or find yourself a running and driving 914 and play with that a while getting familiar with them. Creating a combination of the two on your first project is a recipe for heartache. Nothing is worse than staring at a pile of parts that you can't make into a running car. Ideally, get both running cars and after you grow tired of them, start to mix them together.

jros16 New Reader
12/21/08 4:51 p.m.

Thanks to all for the help and the welcoming! Just got back from checking the car out (had to watch the Dolphins beat the Chiefs). As with pretty much all craigslist adds, the pics were probably taken a few years ago when the car was in better shape. There had been some body work done to it (not the greatest) and a good amount of bondo. All that kept flashing in my mind was the cheap porsche challenge from top gear, lol. It was a decent roller, but it's a porsche and I realized it was out of my league. The car was pretty much a $500 car.

The search continues! I'll look into an easier first project because I don't want to get discouraged on my first try. I'm more of an E30 guy than a Miata guy, so I'll keep on looking. FB or FC RX-7 would be pretty cool too. The selection in South Florida isn't the greatest though.

I do have a garage to work in. Eventually down the road, me and my dad are going to rent out warehouse space. He's big into military jeeps and we've already spoken about sharing work space. I have a tool set, but I was planning on building up my toolbox with the project. I don't have to worry about settling down with a woman anytime soon. I know it happens when we least expect it, but I'd rather have my toys before so she knows what she's getting into.

m4ff3w Dork
12/21/08 5:08 p.m.

Miata is not the answer, X1/9 is the answer.

Salanis SuperDork
12/21/08 5:22 p.m.
jros16 wrote: The search continues! I'll look into an easier first project because I don't want to get discouraged on my first try. I'm more of an E30 guy than a Miata guy, so I'll keep on looking. FB or FC RX-7 would be pretty cool too. The selection in South Florida isn't the greatest though. I don't have to worry about settling down with a woman anytime soon. I know it happens when we least expect it, but I'd rather have my toys before so she knows what she's getting into.

E30 or RX-7 are also great choices. If you're thinking Porsche, a 944 might also be good to go with.

Even if you get something that already runs, that doesn't prevent you from tearing it down and rebuilding it better. If it already runs, you have the option to restore one system at a time and have the car driving between segments. You get the gratification of having made the car run each time.

And the thing with women is just an example of something that might happen. As someone else in the same stage of life as you, I don't consider myself settled enough to be prepared to tackle a long term project car. I really don't know where I'll be in two years.

wherethefmi2000 Reader
12/21/08 5:31 p.m.
m4ff3w wrote: Miata is not the answer, X1/9 is the answer.

i knew you'd say that lol

m4ff3w Dork
12/21/08 5:33 p.m.
wherethefmi2000 wrote:
m4ff3w wrote: Miata is not the answer, X1/9 is the answer.

i knew you'd say that lol

I really oughta keep my mouth shut and keep the goodness for current X-heads, but it is the season of giving.

ReverendDexter Reader
12/21/08 6:08 p.m.
m4ff3w wrote: Miata is not the answer, X1/9 is the answer.

Pshaw, you're both wrong. Foxbody Mustang is the answer. :P

In all seriousness, if you start looking at rotaries, be aware that rebuilding a rotary is NOT cheap. Last I checked, rebuild kits were in the $700 range, and rebuilt motors done by someone I trust were no less than $1200 for stock porting. Great motors, but make sure that it's in good shape to begin with, or be prepared to have it rebuilt right.

pinchvalve SuperDork
12/21/08 8:47 p.m.

If you have never done any work on cars, I would not recommend diving straight into the deep end. Financially it is tough and the time it takes may discourage you from ever finishing. Especially a Porsche...you will not find parts for a 914 at the local pick-a-part! Do you want to spend 5 years working before you ever get to turn a wheel?

Get something that runs and has potential. I started on a Honda Civic. The first round of work was to get it running well, replacing CV joints, a tune up...simple stuff. When I was done, I had the satisfaction of driving something that I had worked on. Then I could upgrade the brakes, suspension and chassis from the junkyard and e-bay. You can swap in Si and Integra parts, and lord knows e-bay is full of stuff. Then I could swap the DPFI to MPFI, add a CAI, headers and so on to bump up the power. As I bit off larger and larger projects, I always had a point when I was "done" and could enjoy the fruits of my labor for a while. Had I started with a Hatchback or CRX instead of a Sedan, I would still have the car and it would have a B16 with a Turbo and a rocket-booster by now.

Civics, Golfs, E30 BMW, Mustang, Miata, Camaro...all are better starting points.

Carson HalfDork
12/21/08 11:01 p.m.

I agree with pinchvalve! Also, listen to Salanis.

Jason, I'm a little bit younger and have even less money but here's what I did:

Someone once told me people will gladly pay a grand for a car that will get them from point A to B. CL is full of cars that just need attention and maintenance, not only that, they can be found cheap! Even with limited mechanical knowledge you can pick up a car that needs a head gasket for pocket change. Read up on how to fix it, fix it, sell it for a grand, put another $200 on top of your $1000 and start over with a different and slightly nicer car, fix it, sell it, etc. until you get where you want toy-wise, i.e. your 914 with enough cash to make the Subaru swap.

This might take a little while to do but really you're gaining an incredible education. If it takes a few years and you've done this on a variety of cars you'll have a pretty well-rounded mechanical knowledge of cars. Also, while messing around with a variety of cars you might find that what you really like are Proteges and for less money and a few simpler modifications, you can make a car that's better suited for you than what you think you are working for.

Trans_Maro New Reader
12/21/08 11:09 p.m.

F-body and G-body cars...

I hate to say it because I -HATE- Chevrolet (all my F-cars are Pontiac powered).

There is NOTHING cheaper to race than F-body or G-body cars.

Engines cost next to nothing, even for good ones and the amount of cheap gak available from the circle-track boys is amazing.

Just wait until you see the prices of "claimer" engine parts.

How does tubular, needle bearing control arms for $50.00 per side sound?

Springs for $40.00, complete NASCAR chassis kits for $7,000 just add a donor Cutlass, Regal or Monte Carlo.

F-body and G-body cars have been campaigned successfully in nearly every apsect of motorsports over the years.

This is coming from a die-hard Toyota driver, now I have more F-body cars than Japanese cars.

They break more but parts cost nothing. Check www.speedwaymotors.com


Opus HalfDork
12/22/08 12:30 a.m.

I say go for it, but go for the subie early as the engine is most likely toast with out the carb or intake. Just look into your local laws on having it street legal. Here in Cali, anything over 74 requires smog and that would cut out the idea of a JDM Motor if that is where you are going. (yes there are ways around that, but costs much more time and money)

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