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kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 1:28 p.m.

I've built two cars from scratch and am considering a third, but the approach is different enough that I need your help. I'm fixating on putting an entire Corvette "rollerskate" (LS3 or LT1, rear-mounted automatic transaxle, suspension, uprights, brakes, etc) under something - the question is what. The catch is that I'm in California, which makes things more interesting, but not impossible:

1. If I use a pre-1975 shell, I'm good. This is how Kimini was registered, even though it had a 1995 engine, no smog check.

2. If I build something from scratch that looks like an recognizable older car, SB100* allows it to be treated that way, even if it's newly constructed. This is how Midana was registered, no smog check.

3. If it doesn't resemble anything, anything goes and it can be smogged as though it's a 1962 model vehicle.

4. If I build something that looks like an existing car newer than 1975, it's stuck getting a smog check.

5. My restriction: It can't involve a shell of a car that's worth a lot (read: classic hotrod material). Quite a few older cars are just too expensive in even junk form to consider.

Oddball cars that please me include:

1. A "farm truck" with Corvette suspension, very impressive, but weighs as much as a Corvette but with much worse aero, so there's a bit of "why bother" with this one, though it does have that Q-ship attraction.

2. A Corvette powered "Prius" really moves me (yeah I know, it's been done), but the problem is that inspectors will say that because it looks like a Prius, per SB100, that's how it'll be treated.

In general, I'd like it to be low to mid-2000s for weight. Aero, I don't know, I'm all over the place.

Other ideas include buying an old NASCAR chassis. Another is to buy only the fiberglass for a hotrod, though that starts going down the same path as many hot rods, but do I care?

So there you go. It's not your money, and the Interwebz is great for getting advice when it's not their money, so what would you do/like to see?

Whatever happens may be delayed a little; the last time I paid attention to what my wife was saying, it was something about necessary home repairs, or some equally useless activity.

 

*SB100 was created by a senator who got pissed that he couldn't smog his Cobra kit. SB100 allows smogging a car for the model year that it appears to be, not for the year of the drivetrain.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
3/3/20 1:34 p.m.

Sounds like a Corvair body set on the Corvette frame might be the ticket.  You have the corvette already? 

Going pre-75 body is what you want.  However, if you are doing a full corvette, then smogging it would not be so hard,

and it opens up all kinds of vehicles, like a 89 Tercel hatchback, it has the same wheelbase...

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
3/3/20 1:35 p.m.

There is a trio of Opel GTs for sale here in KY for $2000.  They are small, light, aerodynamic, and old.  It seems Corvette power might be overkill even in on of them but maybe Miata powered and suspended they could be a fun creation.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
3/3/20 1:38 p.m.

Karmann Ghia?

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
3/3/20 2:04 p.m.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/d/palo-alto-1969-chevrolet-corvair/7081793389.html

$2750  runs and drives, so you can sell the drivetrain and get most of the price back.

Or heck, I would probably let my project go.  You can't beat the Patina on my 67

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 2:26 p.m.

Yes, the Corvair has popped up as a possibility several times. A buddy suggested it first, but I crossed it off the list because he wanted me to use a real transaxle so the engine could go behind the seats. Since good transaxles cost a fortune (>$10k), and because I want to use the Corvette as a single donar, I ruled it out.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the engine couldn't go in the front, I hadn't thought of that.

Thanks for the ideas.

McDesign
McDesign New Reader
3/3/20 2:36 p.m.

In reply to kb58 :

I'd do a light-as-possible minivan shell (perhaps mostly a 'glas fake) with a center-seat mid-engine chassis - like that Renault silhouette racer

https://petrolicious.com/articles/these-are-our-favorite-racing-engined-minivans-and-suvs

But - no change to wheel diameter or outer sidewall-to-sidewall width; no change to body height.  Side view must be PERFECTLY stock; end view just shows wider tires to the inside ONLY.

Forrest in Atlanta

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/3/20 2:37 p.m.

Any AMC with a similar wheelbase to the Vette.  They’re probably a lot cheaper than big three cars from the 60’s/70’s.

Other than that, maybe some classic van, like a Dodge A100 or any early Ford Econoline.  A Corvair Greenbrier would be cool, too, but I suspect near impossible to configure the drivers compartment correctly, since it’s rear engines.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/3/20 2:53 p.m.

El Camino jumps to mind. Maybe too easy for your resume.

A Volvo P1800 would be a sexy beast but you will have some track and wheelbase challenges unless your are real comfortable cutting stuff up and re-assembling in a bigger envelope. Ditto for a 122 wagon

 

The Volvo 740 wagon has an attraction. I built a 760 with a 302 for the challenge and it was a lovely thing to drive. Total Q ship that an LSx would have only made better

Any of the Luxo Jags that have more than lease miles on them go cheap.  Something like this

 

If you want to be a contrarian, pick a Ford product like an 80's LTD or a Falcon since neither is big dollars.

 

speaking to the already mentioned Kharman Ghia, turns out the wide-body Kharman Ghia is a thing.

 

 

Since you do have the composite material ticket in the resume, how about a biggened Lotus europa body on the roller skate. Or an Elan?

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:05 p.m.

I'm not taking trucks off the list entirely. There's something to be said for driving to an event with the tires, jack, etc, in the back of what you run. Having recently towed Midlana 515 miles to run an event, the idea of not pulling a trailer is attractive. It could even turn into a bit of a rat rod, a 1960's Chevy truck with stock paint and a chopped cab. Fun to think about.

ebelements
ebelements Reader
3/3/20 3:06 p.m.

Because I love the insanity of the Mk1 Golf rebodied 928, I'd like to see some other econocar widened and stretched over top of vette running gear. 


kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:12 p.m.

The minivan idea has a strong draw, and I thought of the same Renault. The catch is the 1975 model year, which rules out anything new (though hard to believe that's now 45 years ago, ugh). There are vans from back then, but tend to be enormous, relatively speaking. Then there's the VW van, hah,... check this out, I really like it http://www.kimini.com/Video/rollout.avi

Unfortunately I think the VW vans may be in the same boat, now considered a classic and thus too expensive, never mind chopping one up.

BTW, I'm not agains altering the wheelbase if its for something fun. Narrowing or widening the track on the other hand, I'd rather avoid in order to keep things simple/cheaper.

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:14 p.m.

Oh, and I don't want to alter the windshield. I've suffered with a Lexan rear window enough that I don't want to deal with it again on the street, especially for a front windshield.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
3/3/20 3:15 p.m.

The proportions matter a lot: It's going to look funny with you sitting in the back seat, as does the wheelbase - most of your lighter cars have wheelbases 10 inches shorter than the Vette. 

How about something offbeat  like a Pacer or Valiant? Or an obscure kit car that nobody's familiar with like the Mistral?     http://www.tributeautomotive.co.uk/mistral.html

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:20 p.m.

Geez, I keep forgetting to list all my "rules." Having now owned two open-seaters, I can either list a bunch of excuses, or just say that I'm getting old and don't enjoy the buffeting, freezing, and cooking as much as I used to. So, I'm looking for something with doors and windows.

Regarding the suggestion of something like an AMC Pacer, yeah, I'm not below doing something like that just because. That said, it would be nice to pick something that I can still get parts for in the aftermarket. I imagine the Pacer clubs are probably getting a bit thin by now.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/3/20 3:25 p.m.
kb58 said:

Regarding the suggestion of something like an AMC Pacer, yeah, I'm not below doing something like that just because. That said, it would be nice to pick something that I can still get parts for in the aftermarket. I imagine the Pacer clubs are probably getting a bit thin by now.

I was thinking more along the lines of a Matador, Marlin, or Javelin.  But body/trim parts for those will be hard to come by, so you’d want to get as complete of one as possible.

The Javelin and the Matador also have long hoods that might make them more well-proportioned for a corvette chassis.

morello159
morello159 Reader
3/3/20 3:30 p.m.

I had a wild idea a while back for a Datsun mini truck with the front end of a Honda (J35, independent suspension) mounted in the back. Mid engine, rwd and effectively IRS all in one sweet little truck. Doesn't seem like it'd be that hard to section the frame in order to accept a Honda front subframe (fab up mounts for the struts) but I lack both the skill and funds for such an endeavor.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/3/20 3:34 p.m.

Porsche 924/944 is about the right wheelbase/proportions and the 924 started in 1975, so you could go the SB100 route.

924's are stupid cheap since they were slow and hard to mod to be much faster, plus many people gave up on the CIS and electrical system fairly quickly.  The 944 was a better car in many ways and found its way onto the race track, so lots of parts interchange to make them better and you can find ex-racers for reasonable money.

They are already rear mounted transaxle with a front mounted engine and the engine bay swallows LS engines with a little work.

Lots of options to make the shell weigh less and/or look more aggressive (944 Turbo or 968 body parts bolt on to the 924 with some work needed to bond the rear quarters or install Carrera GT rear quarters) or classic (smooth euro bumpers and smaller corner markers, etc.)

Its a hatchback, so it has some practical benefits as well.

Most have A/C or can be added to make motoring a bit more pleasant.

I mean, if you want a good donor and are willing to head north, I'd offer up my mostly fiberglass 924 cum 944/CGT that has been sitting and rotting as it would make a good start for your needs and I could get started building my own midlana.

 

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:37 p.m.

Here's one that really pulls at me

http://beckkustoms.blogspot.com/2014/08/f132.html

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
3/3/20 3:38 p.m.

I hadn't thought about a Porsche 924. That's one reason I posted this, hoping for idea outside of my mindset. Food for thought, thanks, and will check them out.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/3/20 3:46 p.m.
kb58 said:

I hadn't thought about a Porsche 924. That's one reason I posted this, hoping for idea outside of my mindset. Food for thought, thanks, and time to bugger off and look at old 924 prices, and a blown up engine and transaxle is an advantage.

The 924 engine doesn't blow up.  It rarely runs long enough to get there.  Usually it's a complete failure of the fuel system that stops them dead.

The transaxle is useless for most any of the later cars since they have smaller input splines.  The suspension is crap too, with solid rotors/drums and often no sway bars.

I bought mine (running) for $650 and drove it home from Bellingham to Portland with no alternator and on 3 cylinders (cracked exhaust manifold, shattered an exhaust valve).

i included a picture of mine after a bunch of work fixing the bodywork, painting and upgrading everything.  It's still not worth much after all that.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/3/20 4:05 p.m.

You can still have a hotrod, without paying hotrod prices.  Do the chassis as you envisioned. Find a 35-48 American something  coupe, that the bottom 1/3 has rotted off of. 

Street Modified. 

newrider3
newrider3 New Reader
3/3/20 4:12 p.m.

I went checking around the manufacturers of new steel bodies looking for suggestions (why not start with new sheetmetal and forget rust repair or major bodywork) and stumbled upon the '55 Chevy "race car" body kit. Essentially a new steel '55 body with no floors or firewall, which should make it easy to plop on your custom chassis and Corvette rollerskate. Saves some money over the full reproduction body too.

https://realdealsteel.com/i-23902899-1955-or-1957-chevy-2-door-sedan-or-hardtop-race-car-body.html

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
3/3/20 4:46 p.m.

Funny, I used to look at 50s and 60s cars and immediately think that most of them are pigs. Then the other day I saw a '49 chevy fleetline and it's actually a reasonable size. I guess that's just because so many cars creep larger with each successive generation.

 

Not light though:

 

Stampie
Stampie UltimaDork
3/3/20 4:51 p.m.
nimblemotorsports said:

Sounds like a Corvair body set on the Corvette frame might be the ticket.  You have the corvette already? 

Going pre-75 body is what you want.  However, if you are doing a full corvette, then smogging it would not be so hard,

and it opens up all kinds of vehicles, like a 89 Tercel hatchback, it has the same wheelbase...

Naw that's been done. 

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