May 4, 2016 12:25 a.m.

I suppose I should introduce myself before I get started, I'm new here to GRM, after lurking for about 4 years. Lots of knowledge here and when I start to have more time to devote to tracking I'll be posting more and more. It appears a lot of you think like I do so see if y'all can help me out here.

I currently drive an 84 Celica Supra. It's a great car. It is also 30 years old and could probably stand to be retired from daily driver status. That being said, I'm looking for something a little newer but along the same lines. I've been trying to bang my head and come up with something to look for but I can't find anything that ticks all the boxes. I'm looking at:

sub 3600 pounds preferably RWD preferably V/L6 or V8 has to have IRS has to have relatively accessible parts has to be reliable enough to be daily driven budget MAX is about 20k but would prefer to stay in the 10-13k range

My thoughts have drifted to an LS swapped FD3S RX7. They're easily attainable, bulletproof, and have quite a sizable aftermarket for what I intend to do here. Some have suggested that I could daily drive my 91 Dodge Stealth R/T TT but as I'm sure many of you know attempting to daily drive a Mitsubishi will leave me broke and/or stranded somewhere 500 miles from home.

My plan thus far is to get a running/driving swapped FD, gut most of the interior, widebody it enough to run somewhere around 275 section in front and 315 in rear, coilovers, larger brakes, have it corner weighted, and all that other good street/track stuff. The hatch should allow me to carry what I need for my job.

I should probably also say that while I have given thought to a cage, I'm not going to be racing this car competitively. It will see an occasional HPDE but it won't be a track only monster, if it was, a rotary would be fine, but I need it to work all the time. It will likely not see any driving in the winter though working heat is a must here, it can get into the negatives with no snow/ice on the ground. AC would be nice in summer though not necessary.

Those are my thoughts, but GRM, do you have any other suggestions on a daily driver that won't embarrass itself on track? I'm all ears and I can afford to sit a while and wait for a good deal.

codrus Dork
May 4, 2016 12:53 a.m.

When you say "get a running/driving swapped FD", you mean buy a car that someone else converted? While I know those exist, the idea of trying to use a car as a DD that someone random person you don't know did that much surgery to in his garage... Your Stealth R/T will look reliable by comparison, IMHO.

Engine swapped cars can be reliable, but it takes meticulous attention to detail in doing the swap, and cars that have had that much work put into them are not cheap. If you're going to do swap yourself, maybe.

I'd look at the 350Z, G35, C5 'vette, or E46 M3.

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
May 4, 2016 4:44 a.m.

The Lexus SC 300 may be the spiritual successor to your Supra.

From there Nissan Infiniti with the 350z (2 seat hatch) or G35 (coupe or sedan)

FRS/BRZ as a possible newer (and more expensive) successor.

May 4, 2016 5:58 a.m.

Do you live within easy walking distance of work? Because that's going to be important with that plan.

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
May 4, 2016 7:21 a.m.

Yeah, I don't like the idea of using a wild engine swap as a daily driver unless you have some go-to guy who is willing to work on something with no service manuals for days when you don't feel like doing your own repairs. I'd go with a Mustang, Corvette, or 350Z / Q35 and have something that meets your needs out of the box.

Or, another option: get a decent pickup truck as a daily driver. Use pickup to haul home an LSx or 2JZ and engine hoist, and engine swap the Supra.

Karacticus HalfDork
May 4, 2016 9:09 a.m.

Just because it's my 3 season daily driver and HPDE car (and if the Nissan Zs are suitable for consideration), A Z4 Coupe meets your criteria-- under $20K (easily for the non-M, like mine, maybe the M version at $20K, but you'd need to buy very well), 3100 lbs, inline 6, not any more embarrassing on the track than any other sub-300 hp car.

As a side benefit, there's a lot of DIY you can do on it as far as brakes, suspension, and access to the engine is easy. In many ways, it's an E46 3 series in a fancy dress.

Huckleberry MegaDork
May 4, 2016 9:15 a.m.

Buy a decent reliable car and take the Supra to the track. Modify it as you grow into new skills.

If you are a new student not an experienced driver - extra tire and power will only embarrass you until you know what to do with it anyway.

trucke Dork
May 4, 2016 9:25 a.m.

I kept my '87 FX16. It is set up for autocross. I daily a 2013 Focus. In the rare times the FX16 breaks, I can still get to work, so no stress.

Get a fun daily and track the Supra. That is my all time favorite car. A friend had a new '85! Awesome car!

Brett_Murphy PowerDork
May 4, 2016 10:58 a.m.

I'd say this has new Mustang written all over it, if it wasn't for the budget. The best GTO you can find might be the best second option.

Furious_E HalfDork
May 4, 2016 12:14 p.m.
Brett_Murphy wrote: I'd say this has new Mustang written all over it, if it wasn't for the budget. The best GTO you can find might be the best second option.

The new GTOs are rather portly and are limited in the amount of rubber they can fit. Supposedly some of the suspension bits unique to the GTO are getting hard to find as well. I've got a friend with an '05 and seem to remember he had a hard time trying to find tie rod ends last year. I think this would be a wonderful option as a DD/weekend car, but there are much better options for track work.

Honestly, a C5 'Vette is going to be very had to beat.

Brett_Murphy PowerDork
May 4, 2016 12:27 p.m.

Import an Australian market Ford Falcon?

dj Reader
May 4, 2016 2:51 p.m.

I think finding a properly swapped fd would be harder than the swap itself and that's still ignoring the fact you want to daily drive it. The answer seems to be c5 vette but maybe you're looking for something Japanese still. FRS/BRZ, ND miata, Suzuki samurai, etc...

justthatguy New Reader
May 4, 2016 6:22 p.m.

The C5 keeps getting suggested, I can't actually find one within a 200 mile radius for less than 18-20. Must be local inflation or something.

I actually quite like the new mustang, camaro, and challenger, though a v8/stick is way higher than 20 on all 3, excluding the stick axle mustang of course. If the 4th gen F body had IRS, it would be perfect.

The 350z/g35 would be great if they weren't so hideously ugly.

How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

justthatguy New Reader
May 4, 2016 6:51 p.m.

540i M sport?

justthatguy New Reader
May 4, 2016 11:10 p.m.

Really liking what I'm reading about the GTO. It's right in my budget too. What sort of suspension aftermarket do these have.

Vigo PowerDork
May 4, 2016 11:32 p.m.
justthatguy wrote: 540i M sport?

If you think a 4th gen Fbody is an IRS away from perfect, you'll probably think a 540/6spd is like the lost city Atlantis of cars. It is a bit slower, though.

Chadeux Reader
May 4, 2016 11:35 p.m.
justthatguy wrote: How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

I pretty sure the C5 was designed to take like 2 golf bags or something. I know a friend of mine delivered a 700R4 he rebuilt in a C4 once.

May 5, 2016 7:05 a.m.
justthatguy wrote: The C5 keeps getting suggested, I can't actually find one within a 200 mile radius for less than 18-20. Must be local inflation or something. I actually quite like the new mustang, camaro, and challenger, though a v8/stick is way higher than 20 on all 3, excluding the stick axle mustang of course. If the 4th gen F body had IRS, it would be perfect. The 350z/g35 would be great if they weren't so hideously ugly. How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

I don't know where in Virginia you are but search the DC craigslist there dozens and dozens of c5s there in your budget. You can't be more than 300 miles from DC.

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
May 5, 2016 7:18 a.m.
justthatguy wrote: How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

I had a C4 that I occasionally put a really, really big outdoor garbage can into for runs to the dump back when I lived in an area with no curbside garbage pickup. Got some really strange looks pulling that out of the hatch. I believe C5s are pretty similar.

One of GM's design goals was to make the Corvette a car that you could use as your only mode of transportation if you live by yourself. They've got a lot of cargo capacity in the hatch.

Furious_E HalfDork
May 5, 2016 7:37 a.m.
justthatguy wrote: Really liking what I'm reading about the GTO. It's right in my budget too. What sort of suspension aftermarket do these have.

I know you can get Konis for them, and I'm sure options exist for springs and sways. But seriously, I would take a hard look at the availability of things like bushings in the rear suspension. From what I understand, you're SOL on a lot of things like that unless you want to ship them in from Australia. Also, like I mentioned above, you're very limited in tire size - like 245-255 is the max width you're getting under it. That's not a lot of tire in a 4000+ lb car.

Do you really need IRS? Because if you think the 4th gen f body is otherwise perfect I wouldn't overlook it for that fact, they can be made to handle reasonably well even with the stick axle out back. The stock shocks are complete garbage and the car will wallow like your grandmother's clapped-out Buick on them, but a set of Konis and Strano springs completely transforms the car. Plus, it will swallow 305s at all four corners no problem and has about a 600 lb advantage over the GTO. Another thing to note is that while the GTO is definitely a larger car, it has much less useable storage space, IMO. The trunk is kind of small and there is no pass through to the rear seat.

I cross shopped GTOs a bit before I bought my Camaro and have spent enough time around both cars to have a pretty solid opinion - co-drove about a 1300 mile road trip last fall in my buddy's GTO. They're a nicer car inside and feel much better built. But for what I use the car for, which sounds similar to your purpose, the Camaro is IMHO hands down the better choice.

Of course, both the S197 Mustang and especially the C5 are both probably even better yet.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie HalfDork
May 5, 2016 7:55 a.m.
icaneat50eggs wrote:
justthatguy wrote: The C5 keeps getting suggested, I can't actually find one within a 200 mile radius for less than 18-20. Must be local inflation or something. I actually quite like the new mustang, camaro, and challenger, though a v8/stick is way higher than 20 on all 3, excluding the stick axle mustang of course. If the 4th gen F body had IRS, it would be perfect. The 350z/g35 would be great if they weren't so hideously ugly. How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

I don't know where in Virginia you are but search the DC craigslist there dozens and dozens of c5s there in your budget. You can't be more than 300 miles from DC.

His profile says Danville, so not more than 300 miles from DC but a pain in the butt to get to DC from there. Raleigh or Charlotte CL might be an easier search, like this example - http://charlotte.craigslist.org/cto/5533713934.html

t25torx Dork
May 5, 2016 8:50 a.m.

C4 or C5 or even a C6 at the max of your budget will be THE absolute best bang for your buck. Believe me, I've done the math.

I had an '04 GTO, and while it's great at being a GT car, making long trips seem like short ones, a sports car, it isn't. It's very heavy and it's not easy to shed much of that weight on that platform.

If you're having issues finding a C5 local, I'm sure someone on here would be happy to look at ones out of your area in your price range. At the top end of your budget I can find C6's near me. In your ideal price range I can find C5 Z06's.

chaparral HalfDork
May 6, 2016 9:30 a.m.

Yet another C5 Corvette recommendation here.

I moved twice using one; there's lots of space.

It can also go one hundred seventy seven miles per hour on the freeway if you want it to.

frenchyd Reader
May 8, 2016 4:05 a.m.
justthatguy wrote: The C5 keeps getting suggested, I can't actually find one within a 200 mile radius for less than 18-20. Must be local inflation or something. I actually quite like the new mustang, camaro, and challenger, though a v8/stick is way higher than 20 on all 3, excluding the stick axle mustang of course. If the 4th gen F body had IRS, it would be perfect. The 350z/g35 would be great if they weren't so hideously ugly. How much can you fit in the back of a C5? This is one of the most important factors in my decision.

Now is not the time to buy a Corvette.. If you want a great deal on one wait until fall Between Halloween and Thanksgiving as dealers dump their inventory. They know they will be paying floor plan costs all winter and start advertising at bargain basement prices.. I found mine at a small rural dealer and beat him down with the get up and leave three times rule.. (When he claims that is as low as he can go.... Get up, shake his hand with the thank you for your time smile and start walking)

The further north you go the lower the prices tend to get. There comes a point where it's worth buying a cheap airline ticket and fly then drive..

Storage in a Corvette is virtually non existent in the convertible/hardtop to acceptable in the regular fastback

justthatguy New Reader
May 11, 2016 12:56 a.m.

I grew up driving stick axle cars, and we have bad roads here. Some REALLY bad roads. I have been in several turns with my friend's Civic Si and bumps that didn't even unsettle him I'm having to fight the rear end on. That changed with the Supra and I would like to keep it that way. I know how well they handle on track, but even my friend's Boss 302 is a little hard to handle on a bumpy road. Regardless, I absolutely have to have trunk space enough to carry a 4x10 bass cabinet, bass, and amp. That's not an option. If it wasn't, I'd own an MR2 and be happy with myself. I considered a Terminator Cobra, but a C5/C6 kicks its ass five ways to Friday.

It looks like I may start looking for a C5/C6 and hope I can get enough stuff in it to make it livable. If not, I will probably go GTO thus far. The E39 540i M sport is looking good too.

It's about 5 hours to DC but at least a day's drive to and from and a lot of driving to check out a car I may not even be interested in. Raleigh is an hour and 30 and I do travel there a lot so I could probably do that. I keep my eyes peeled on the local craigslist and Roanoke is about as far, as is Lynchburg.

Once again, if only F bodies had IRS.

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