The truth about what defines a project car

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Mar 30, 2024 | GMC, e30, BMW M3, Porsche 911, Column, Project car, Ferrari 308, OEM+ | Posted in Columns | From the June 2023 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

"So, what exactly makes a project car?”

It was a good question. It came from the floor during some talk I was hosting as a last-minute fill-in. The subject, in fact, might have been project cars.

There was a crowd watching. I needed an answer stat.

A build that has a vision from beginning to end,” I confidently replied, channeling my inner …

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Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/5/23 10:37 a.m.

In the end, they're all project cars

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
5/5/23 12:46 p.m.

I've had several vehicles turn into projects that never started with a vision for a build. Sometimes they simply needed enough major repairs to be considered a project. Other times I couldn't just replace a broken part with a stock replacement when modern improvements were too easy to find.

madmrak351 Reader
5/5/23 1:21 p.m.

More power and better handling. The first real project vehicle I did was a 1972 LUV truck engine swapped to a 283 sbc. Changed the steering to use a power rack and pinion. Added disc front brakes. Everything I did before that truck was just bolt on stuff. Cosmetic appearance is nice on some projects, on others the beater look adds to the sleeper factor. I have done it both ways. In the end if the experience from drivers seat does not improve I don't think I was successful.

5/5/23 1:49 p.m.

A project car is a journey with a car that does not require driving. But like all journeys, it does require a destination, a roadmap and some sort of a budget. There will be challenges along the way that can not be foreseen from the start. Slight chance it could kill you.



livinon2wheels GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/16/24 6:17 p.m.

Ok my most enjoyable but marginally successful project was my 05 subie wagon as a daily driver but also track car all the easy bolt on suspension stuff bars coil overs brakes wheels and tires-engine stock internals with nice exhaust and k&n intake filter makes for a nice track car and tractable street car I love it but hate certain things like engine mapping. I love it for street use and it's good on track but the engine is fragile 

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