UncleDaddy None
Feb. 14, 2015 2:05 p.m.

In search of a car for rallycross. Considering an impreza, miata, 300zx, e30, e36. While an impreza is on the list, I think I'd rather stick with RWD. Miata would work, but I like the idea of having a little more room to carry gear or people with the car. I'm leaning toward an e30 or e36, but I'm not sure what to look for when buying. (year, model, engine, other considerations) I'm not interested right now in buying a car that needs a ton of mods or engine swap. Am I looking in the wrong place for a relatively cheap car for rallycross?

EvanB UltimaDork
Feb. 14, 2015 3:08 p.m.

E36 is great for a cheap rallycross car. I would find a stock 325 and run in SR for awhile.

Uncoiled Reader
Feb. 14, 2015 3:09 p.m.

6 cyl e36 would be super fun in the dirt. E30s are becoming expensive when you compare to the e36, the e36 has really hit bottom as far as pricing goes.

spandak
spandak New Reader
Feb. 14, 2015 3:12 p.m.

Top Gear did it.

An E36 has a pretty solid drivetrain but the rest would concern me. The subframe attachment points would probably need reinforcement. You can grab a basic skidplate from a Non-M convertible. I would think an E30 would be a better choice but it would come at a higher price. OBD1 325is are super cheap right now and probably the model I would choose for this if you decide to do it.

Feb. 14, 2015 3:12 p.m.

I have an E36, it's a good chassis. The rear suspension is better than the E30. The chassis is stiffer than the E30, and they will get better mpgs than an E30. Mine gets 27 with a check engine light on. One guy told me that he gets 30 mpgs. The big downsides to the E36 is the unreliability, unless you buy one that received a lot of recent repairs. A Miata with a hardtop is a good option unless you will carry spare tires specifically for the gravel/dirt (or really will carry more than one passenger). Another good option(s) would be a FC RX-7 and a 240SX, affordable, RWD, and reliable. I have read that lightening a car hasn't been proven to make a car faster on dirt, so don't bother with that if you're first starting out.

Of course, running your current car right now is the cheapest option.

EvanB UltimaDork
Feb. 14, 2015 4:25 p.m.

How cheap is relatively cheap? I might have a prepped rallycross car for sale at some point.

Knurled UltimaDork
Feb. 14, 2015 5:03 p.m.
spandak wrote: An E36 has a pretty solid drivetrain but the rest would concern me. The subframe attachment points would probably need reinforcement.

Not legal until Modified, if anyone ever pokes their head under there. You might be able to claim it as a repair for an already-damaged car.

I'd personally start with a 1995 M3. Why? Best engine, has a diff already, and the '95 model year has a "square" wheel sizing so logistics is a lot easier. And nobody seems to want them because they aren't 3.2l.

If you move past stock, then the larger brakes and wheel size don't matter because you can change those.

I would argue that a ratty M3 is a better bargain than trying to field an Impreza, once you find one that is rallycrossable.

Feb. 14, 2015 6:41 p.m.

Volvo 240 and merkur xrti

Trackmouse Reader
Feb. 14, 2015 6:53 p.m.

Any Celica gt prior to 1985 will be a best case car. 22re engine is bulletproof. W58 is bulletproof. Ford 8.8 I put in is bulletproof. Good torque, decent power output. And was already designed and successfully campaigned as a rally car.

G_Body_Man Reader
Feb. 14, 2015 7:03 p.m.

SN-95 GT? Live-axle, but powerful, decently affordable, hoonable, upgradeable, and can carry a set of tires on rims.

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 14, 2015 7:04 p.m.

e30 (with M42 or M20, not so much M10), e36, Volvo 240, Miata, RX-7, most Z cars, MR2, even e28....all of these are highly competitive in RWD classes with stock drivetrain (and many in this thread have proven it head to head).

Any of these would be a good candidate. Just search CL for good, solid deals and whichever one you come upon first

Everyone talks about e30s getting expensive, but it really depends on the area. COSMETICALLY NICE e30s are defintiely going up in price. Beat-up ones with some rust are still pretty cheap. We have sub-$2k running, driving e30s pop up every week around here. e36s are just as cheap, with more power, but more weight and the rear subframe issue if you're gonna run in stock class.

A lot depends on what class you plan to run. Some cars are comparatively faster stock, others are comparatively faster in prepared or mod.

Obviously GC 2.5RS or old WRX are the "easy button," but I think most of us in this thread would agree that RWD is much more fun. And generally cheaper to run and to buy. YMMV.

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 14, 2015 7:06 p.m.

also, where are you located? I'm sure someone in here is not too far and can help you find a good candidate....

UncleDaddy New Reader
Feb. 14, 2015 8:46 p.m.

Thanks everyone. I'm in South Central Kentucky, half way between Louisville and Nashville, TN.

Feb. 14, 2015 9:09 p.m.

I have hooned on a dirt road close to me, and my 91 Camaro didn't feel as fun as my 98 328i, because the live axle makes the rear of the car feel like it's artificially fixed together. I personally would suggest against a pony car, but you should try to hoon on a dirt road with several different cars, or compete with different cars at a rallycross.

rcutclif HalfDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:10 p.m.

First rallyx I ever ran (way back in 2009 or so... Maybe that's not way back) I ran my e36, 1993 325i sedan, which was nearly stock, but had an exhaust and chip so I think I was 'prepared' (or whatever the middle class is).

All I can tell you is I was the second fastest rwd car overall, losing only to a highly modified 240sx, and then by less than a couple seconds over the whole day. Other competitors included a stripped camaro and a v6 swapped mr2.

I'm sure times have changed and drivers have improved, but I felt that the e36 was an excellent rallyx car, and was more than capable and competetive in rwd. Go for it!

moxnix HalfDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:26 p.m.

Go for the Volvo 240. Why? Because I wanted to get one but my wife said no (she has something against old volvos)

Before I bought my rallyx miata I was looking hard at E36 bmw's I ended up with a miata because I found a good deal on one and I know a bit about Miatas and have a few spare parts already laying around. If we did not have way to many BMW's at local rallyx already I might have looked harder for one but around here mazda still needs all the rallyx love I can give it.

I say just drive whatever you can swing the best deal on or have a preference for most of the standard options still seem pretty competitive at this time.

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:31 p.m.
moxnix wrote: Go for the Volvo 240. Why? Because I wanted to get one but my wife said no (she has something against old volvos)

Also because I wanted one, but an e30 came along first with a manual transmission so I never got the 240.

Bonus points if it's a wagon - which makes it really easy to haul all your tires and stuff ;)

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:32 p.m.

Shawn likes Mazda because they pay contingency and BMW (not surprisingly) does not

moxnix HalfDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:51 p.m.
irish44j wrote: Shawn likes Mazda because they pay contingency and BMW (not surprisingly) does not

Surprisingly the $100 that I have won from mazda with the rallyx rx7 had very little to do with my choice to get another Mazda.

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 14, 2015 10:54 p.m.
moxnix wrote:
irish44j wrote: Shawn likes Mazda because they pay contingency and BMW (not surprisingly) does not

Surprisingly the $100 that I have won from mazda with the rallyx rx7 had very little to do with my choice to get another Mazda.

yeah, I was being a bit facetious, lol. Seeing you in an e36....that would have just been strange!

Knurled UltimaDork
Feb. 15, 2015 5:56 a.m.

It's weird how people keep suggesting really long cars that can't turn, for a motorsport that requires the ability to maneuver over all else. That and suggesting modifications that are nowhere near stock legal...

I think the answer is Miata, myself, especially in the stock classes. But the Miata has some downsides unless you have a tire trailer. I really, really like the idea of the M3 though, because regualr E36s are the biggest POSes to drive sometimes yet they can be motored around well enough.

irish44j PowerDork
Feb. 15, 2015 10:56 a.m.
Knurled wrote: It's weird how people keep suggesting really long cars that can't turn, for a motorsport that requires the ability to maneuver over all else. That and suggesting modifications that are nowhere near stock legal... I think the answer is Miata, myself, especially in the stock classes. But the Miata has some downsides unless you have a tire trailer. I really, really like the idea of the M3 though, because regualr E36s are the biggest POSes to drive sometimes yet they can be motored around well enough.

lol, pretty much everything out there is "long" compared to a Miata. But even a "big" Volvo 240 or XR4ti has a wheelbase that's only about 8" longer than your FB RX-7 (e30 is about 5" longer than your car). Even an MR2 is a few inches longer wheelbase than a Miata.

I'd say it depends a lot on where you run as well. At our venue, which is not terribly "turny" and has a lot of high-speed transition areas, the bigger cars are just as fast, and their stability and wheelbase help them on the rough surface. At other venues I've run at with tight turns (and lots of them), that wouldn't be the case.

I'm with you though - the regular e36 doesn't excite me either. And for stock class, Miata is almost certainly "the answer" (though a late W20 MR2 turbo also seems to me to be the answer, perhaps).

Knurled UltimaDork
Feb. 15, 2015 12:12 p.m.

The Volvo 240 has overhang like it was drawn by Matt Groening.

That's bad if you want to avoid cones and the competition line has been shaved up to the cones' bases by people in low-overhang cars. And in rallycross, the line you drive is not the theoretical ideal one, it's the clean two-track that the previous run group left you.

UncleDaddy New Reader
Feb. 15, 2015 1:14 p.m.

I'll keep an eye on craigslist for a good deal, and try to drive some of the suggested cars and see if any just seem to fit. That may help me decide. I was thinking I wanted a car with a little more room, but I'll keep the miata In the running. It sounds like it can be competitive in rallycross, and while it wasn't in my criteria, I know it could potentially serve double duty and do well in autocross. Anything I should look for when buying a miata?

Feb. 15, 2015 1:24 p.m.
Knurled wrote: I would argue that a ratty M3 is a better bargain than trying to field an Impreza, once you find one that is rallycrossable.

Probably, but it would cost much more to maintain.

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