4cylndrfury SuperDork
May 9, 2010 12:39 p.m.

So I have an opportunity to get my hands on a true gem, a real icon of american sportscars of the past - all the glory that is the 1986 cavalier Z24. Similar to this:

anyone have any info on whether or not it can be made to turn quickly (more important to me than whether it can be made to go quickly)? The example available to me will be cheap to get into, but will likely need new axles (both CV boots ripped and crusty), probably new calipers (frozen and crusty) and maybe other unknown demonic repairs . But I could get it for a song, and I would bet a fresher 2.4l EFI unit from newer Z24s could be swapped in without my head exploding...maybe not, who knows.

so what says the forum? I like boxy 80s cars and my wife would be infinitely happier having a Chevy under a tarp than a '86 'yota (not that I really agree with her, but gotta keep the boss happy).

Knurled Reader
May 9, 2010 12:46 p.m.

That probably has the 2.8 in it.

Why would to want to swap the DOHC four in there when a 3.1/3.4 pushrod mill would be as close to a drop-in as you could want?

I could also speculate on the 3.5/3.9 version but those aren't as common yet. Plus, I'm unsure as to how easily the early electronics can be adapted to those engines. (That car should have the '730 computer in it which is thoroughly hacked)

As for turning... well, hmm. They're not BAD cars, they're just not good, if that makes sense. Steering feel will never be good because the rack is mounted on the firewall and the steering arms are up high on the struts, so you get to feel all of the gooshiness in the strut mounts and the upper bushing in the strut, which is usually loose unless the struts are brand new. Also the inner tie-rod is a rubber bushing, and the racks almost always have rotational play because the tie rods bolt on to the front instead of putting their loads directly on axis.

That's what you get when you make a dirty-sheet adaptation of an Opel, I guess.

Woody SuperDork
May 9, 2010 12:50 p.m.

I bought one of those new.

They are E36 M3.

They are not the E36 M3, they're just E36 M3. You could not pay me to haul one away.

belteshazzar SuperDork
May 9, 2010 1:24 p.m.

3.4 swap because it's cheap. Enjoy it for what it is. Don't try going real fast, just faster than people expect. No, they're not good cars, but I'd do it anyway.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
May 9, 2010 1:31 p.m.

does the 3.4 bolt up to a manual trans in this body, or is fiddling required?

May 9, 2010 2:02 p.m.

I'd love a Z24 for a DD. But I used to have a POS 4-door 4-banger automatic Cavalier back in the day that I have fond memories of absolutely beating the ever-loving crap out of.

pres589 Reader
May 9, 2010 2:08 p.m.

Does it look like something you want to be involved in? I mean, look at that picture and ask yourself, could this be an enjoyable experience?

I'm voting no as hard as I can but it's your deal.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
May 9, 2010 2:32 p.m.
pres589 wrote: Does it look like something you want to be involved in? I mean, look at that picture and ask yourself, could this be an enjoyable experience? I'm voting no as hard as I can but it's your deal.

I understand where youre coming from, but I would imagine someone else posed the same question to this cars owner when he said to his pal "hey, you know I just saw an AMC for sale the other day..."

May 9, 2010 2:55 p.m.

I want that SX4.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
May 9, 2010 2:57 p.m.

I'd do it, but i wouldn't worry a whole lot about making it turn. I'd just make it hilarious and fast.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
May 9, 2010 3:02 p.m.

Im also potentially interested in making an old Gbody turn fast too...Ive seen Imsa cars loosely based on buicks and such, anyone have any info on autox-ed cutlassesessses/montes/regals from the mid-late 80s?

Im not sure why im stuck in that decade, but i guess its love (that and I was born in '80). I do want to try to keep the cars light, hence the cavalier suggestion - well that and its been offered for very cheap to me.

I dont have a lot of cash, so thats a limiter, but its time i get myself going on something. The wife isnt too interested in me fooling with the DD, so i need a project, and recently have space become available to me as well. It doesnt cost much to tear out a few decade old interior and start cleaning the rest up. A worthy mill may fall in my lap (i want to go EFI on whatever I drop in). So again, anyone have any experiences or care to point me in the right direction? Sorting thru marque specific enthusiast sites can be kinda hit or miss, so reputable info is most appreciated.

EvanB HalfDork
May 9, 2010 3:08 p.m.

I would definitely vote for a G-body over that. I remember working on a Cavalier of that vintage for a friend and I echo the sentiment of not dragging that away even if I was given money to do so. Unless of course it was enough money to make it worth my while to take it straight to the scrapyard.

Schmidlap Reader
May 9, 2010 4:03 p.m.

To the OP: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.


pres589 Reader
May 9, 2010 4:29 p.m.

Yeah, if you can get it for free, drive it to a salvage yard and find out what they'll give you for it. Then get on this G-body project because at least those can be made to look half decent and move well. The problem here is getting the suspension to do nice things; the parts are out there from the aftermarket, but they're not cheap.

eastsidemav Reader
May 9, 2010 4:34 p.m.

About the only thing I'd do with a Cavalier like that is rallycross it.

Woody SuperDork
May 9, 2010 4:50 p.m.
pres589 wrote: Yeah, if you can get it for free, drive it to a salvage yard and find out what they'll give you for it.

You, sir, possess great wisdom.

grimmelshanks Reader
May 9, 2010 5:00 p.m.

buy it just so we can vote it up for ihrotm

Knurled Reader
May 9, 2010 5:23 p.m.
eastsidemav wrote: About the only thing I'd do with a Cavalier like that is rallycross it.

You HAD a Cavalier like that and rallycrossed it. For certain values of "Cavalier". (I submit that the N-body was a long wheelbase J-body.)

Marty! Dork
May 9, 2010 6:04 p.m.

Do eet, just so you can be like this guy.

slowcamaro New Reader
May 9, 2010 6:11 p.m.

Only if its a hatch.

novaderrik New Reader
May 9, 2010 8:32 p.m.

swap in a supercharged 3.8 and have some fun. it would be kind of nose heavy, but the power to weight ratio would be pretty favorable.

John Brown SuperDork
May 9, 2010 8:58 p.m.

I will be the descending argument I guess...

The early Z24 is quite a car. It had crap build material and quality but with todays technology the car can be made to flat haul.

I would investigate a 3400 swap with a lightened flywheel, add a set of quality springs and dampers and a good alignment. Throw on a set of 16x7.5/8" wheels and some 225/50r16 fronts and 205/55r16s rear (for autocrossing) and watch the hilarity ensue.

Everyone bashes the car because of its beam axle rear suspension but praise the GTI for keeping it simple.

Appleseed SuperDork
May 10, 2010 12:13 a.m.

Denny Blaze rocked one. Here's proof at 3:05!

4cylndrfury SuperDork
May 10, 2010 12:05 p.m.

man this is literally just around the corner from my house... http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/1719359732.html

pinchvalve SuperDork
May 10, 2010 12:12 p.m.

I test drove the Z24 when it was a new model!

1 2

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Your Projects: Wide-Body, V8-Powered Porsche 944

10 hours ago in News

Wing, flares, V8 swap and more!

You Need This: Eclipse!

10 hours ago in News

Today's special.

Your Projects: Boosted and Flared E30 BMW

12 hours ago in News

Another forum member put it best: “This build is absolutely mental. And I mean that in the best possible way.”

You Need This: 1990 Suzuki Carry 4WD Mini-Truck

13 hours ago in News

It looks cool, matches our cargo shorts, and makes little sense.

Concours d’Lemons: Showcasing the Best of the Worst and the Worst of the Best

14 hours ago in Articles

This year’s Concours d’Lemons celebrated two cars rarely associated with the glitz and glamor of Monterey.

You Need This: Gullwing Doors and Exotic Styling for Just $1500

16 hours ago in News

Meet some brown ’70s awesomeness.

Acura Unveils New Prototype Race Car in Monterey

2 days ago in News

Acura yesterday unveiled the new Acura ARX-05 prototype race car.

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

3 days ago in News

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

Mark Your Calendars: August 18 Is Wear Your Helmet to Work Day

3 days ago in News

Wear your racing gear to work and win prizes.

You Need This: A Real 1LE Camaro

3 days ago in News

Chevy only built 62 1LE Camaros that year.

Little Car Show: Celebrating All Things Quirky and Small

4 days ago in Articles

As the name suggests, the Little Car Show is all about little cars.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

4 days ago in News

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


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

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

Learn More