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ajshapi2 None
3/19/14 11:22 a.m.

Hi everyone. I am new to the forums but not Grassroots Motorsports. I have been reading the magazine as long as I can remember.

I am looking for a car to rallycross and autocross with the occasional HPDE. Basically, I am looking for a car to teach car control. With that said, is it possible to have one car to drive in all three types of events with minimal modifications? Basically my requirements are:

-Fun to drive and a good car to learn with.

-Reliable. I don’t mind working on the car, but I want to spend as little time wrenching and as much time driving.

-Easy to work on

-My budget is $5000 but the cheaper the better.

I have been looking at Miatas and Imprezas. Would either work for what I am looking for? How much extra work would the Subaru require? Is there something else I should be considering? Thanks for everyone’s help.

Apexcarver PowerDork
3/19/14 11:32 a.m.

Miata would need a hardtop and a rollbar (probably the brackets to bolt on the hardtop in order to do Rallyx and HPDE. (Figure $400 bar and $700ish for a hardtop)

Both are doable, but even with needing to get the hardtop and bar its probably going to be the same budget because the Imprezas hold their value extremely well. I would call maintenice work pretty much a wash between the two.

The dynamics of AWD vs RWD are going to be different, which one are you more concerned with learning?

Also consider a FB/FC RX7.

The miata is probably going to have the best SCCA Stock (now street) classing in ES. If competitiveness is something that concerns you.

Almost any hoon-mobile works for rallyx, Most people I know use a really ratty car for that. Have you considered FWD options? They seem to often be a better rallyx choice.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
3/19/14 11:33 a.m.
ajshapi2 wrote: I have been looking at Miatas and Imprezas. Would either work for what I am looking for? How much extra work would the Subaru require? Is there something else I should be considering?

Yes, who knows, yes.

You're options are pretty damn open. Let the opinions pour in...

Personally, I like the Subie idea.

evildky Dork
3/19/14 11:37 a.m.

Civic Hatch, Focus ZX3, Abundant in your price range and can haul all their own gear. Thats the problem with the miata, unless you want to add a hitch and get a trailer you can't haul much. FWD tends to be a better tool for beginner rally x.

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/19/14 11:58 a.m.

volvo 240 or merkur xrti

JtspellS Dork
3/19/14 12:02 p.m.

Thinking a Nissan sentra SE-R would be a good ticket for a beginner, not only a true front LSD but more then enough aftermarket support out there.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/14 12:16 p.m.

A GC Impreza will be competitive in both.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/19/14 12:47 p.m.
Apexcarver wrote: Miata would need a hardtop and a rollbar (probably the brackets to bolt on the hardtop in order to do Rallyx and HPDE. (Figure $400 bar and $700ish for a hardtop)

The Miata does not need a rollbar for SCCA rallycross, only a hardtop.

Apexcarver PowerDork
3/19/14 12:56 p.m.
EvanB wrote:
Apexcarver wrote: Miata would need a hardtop and a rollbar (probably the brackets to bolt on the hardtop in order to do Rallyx and HPDE. (Figure $400 bar and $700ish for a hardtop)
The Miata does not need a rollbar for SCCA rallycross, only a hardtop.

As well it doesn't need the hardtop for HPDE...

It will need both pieces of equipment in order to do both of the requested activities other than auto-x. (some few places might allow HPDE of a miata with a hardtop only, but its not really a good idea..)

That being said, offroad being offroad and ruts being ruts, it is probably smart to do belt and suspenders for rallyxing an open car. (The only protection the hardtop gives might be holding your arms in while you get pancaked)

EvanB GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/19/14 1:15 p.m.

In reply to Apexcarver:

Ah, I skipped over the HPDE part, just saw autox/rallyx. Guess I should read more than the title.

eastsidemav Dork
3/19/14 2:04 p.m.

My first suggestion would be find the nicest 1st gen Neon you can get a hold of for 2-3K, and spend the rest on maintenence, wheels, tires, and entry fees. They are pretty sturdy, easy parts availability, and there's lots of knowledege out there. You are unlikely to be competitive in a stock Neon (except maybe in rallycross), but its not a total dog, either.

I am a little biased, see the avatar. My neon was a paragon of durability and reliability right up until I did the engine swap.

Oh, and if the SVT suspension package is still available from Ford Motorsport, then I'd put a Focus ZX3 on equal footing. Being able to replace all the struts/springs with OEM-grade parts for about $300 is a cheap way to keep the refreshed every season.

Neither of those cars is going to be the easiest thing to work on, but they aren't likely to be terrible. I suspect a SOHC-engined Impreza will be about the easiest thing to work on in the world, if my old Legacy 2.2 was any indication, but it is unlikely to be as fast as my above suggestions.

Jerry Dork
3/19/14 2:19 p.m.

This is where I mention I have an '87 Toyota MR2 for sale with all the trimmings and extra tires, trailer, etc ready to roll for $5k. In Dayton OH.

Forum listing and description

parker Reader
3/19/14 2:29 p.m.

The 1st gen Neon is very competitive in Rallycross. I won a National Championship in one. With common bolt-ons I was able to play back and forth with Boxters and Rx-8's in Porsche Club DE's. Of course there is a long history of Neons in Autocross.

ajshapi2 New Reader
3/19/14 2:38 p.m.

Thanks for all the help everyone. Keep it coming

Lof8 GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/19/14 2:48 p.m.

E36 BMW. You might be able to find an ugly m3 around $5k if you look long enough.

irish44j PowerDork
3/19/14 4:07 p.m.

e36 or a nice swapped e30.....is good at all of those things with minimal modifications other than different tires.

Maroon92 MegaDork
3/19/14 5:41 p.m.

I'll second Jerry's MR2. If I were still in Ohio, I'd probably be snatching that bad boy up myself.

The_Jed SuperDork
3/19/14 7:25 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: A GC Impreza will be competitive in both.

And ridiculously easy to work on.

LainfordExpress HalfDork
3/19/14 9:22 p.m.

The Miata would not need a hardtop for SCCA Level 1 PDX. I think Level 2 Club Time Trial, Level 3 Track Trial, and Level 4 Hill Climb require roll bars at a minimum. But for Level 1 (which is just a track day, no timing permitted, a mandatory instructor for novice level), you do not need a roll bar IF you have a hard top.

ouchx100 New Reader
3/20/14 5:27 a.m.

I'm a subie guy so I say Impreza. The gc ( 93-01) is light weight and I found the 2.2 to be not fast but not exactly slow either. In rallyx power doesnt matter much anyway. Non turbos beat up on the turbo cars in all classes. The subies are very reliable too just keep the oil full so you don't starve one side of the engine during hard cornering and change the timing belt.

93EXCivic MegaDork
3/20/14 7:28 a.m.

Civic would be my suggestion.

ajshapi2 New Reader
3/30/14 7:42 a.m.

After doing some more research, I really like the Subaru idea and have a few more questions:

-Why a GC Impreza rather than a GD?

-How does a WRX or a 2.5 measure up to the 2.2 in performance, maintenance, and reliability?

-I have read a decent amount about 2.5's head gaskets going out. How common of a problem is this? Did this only happen on certain years or do all 2.5s run this risk? Has this been a problem with WRXs and 2.2s?

-Obviously the WRX is the more performance oriented car. With that said, which would be the most competitive in RallyX? Which would be the most fun? Which would be the best car to learn on?

-Is it a bad idea to buy a used WRX (I have heard older turbos can be finicky)?

-I have noticed there is a much higher number of used Subarus offered in New England than in the south. They also seem to be much cheaper. Would the wear that comes with a Northern car matter that much when looking for a fun car (not to be daily driven)?

-When looking to buy a used Subaru, are there certain general things to look out for? What about model specific?

Thanks again for everyone's help!

sachilles SuperDork
3/30/14 7:57 a.m.

The reason why New England based cars are cheaper are twofold. A larger quantity of them, and the salt on the roads detiorate the cars quicker than other regions of the country. I live in Vermont, and any time in seek a used Subie, I look outside New England.

sachilles SuperDork
3/30/14 8:19 a.m.

Rust is your primary concern. Investigate the rear wheel arches. The tell tale is rust above the bumper on the rear arches. Look under the car at the rear subframe and look for rust. While under the car, look at the oil pan for signs of rust, then look at where the heads meet the block for evidence of leaks. In an ideal world, you want a 00 or 01 rs, or an early wrx, as those had a rear limited slip. Though it's not the end of the world if they are missing. In terms of rallycross, if you'll run rally tires, they come in 15", some of the wrx brakes do not fit under 15" rims. Again it is curable, just costs a bit more money. I've had a lot of Subies, and if I could get myself a rust free 00 or 01 2.5 rs again( for a realistic price) I'd do it in a heartbeat. I currently have an 02 wrx race car, on 02ts wagon, and a 2005 legacy turbo sedan. My opinion is that sourcing a rust free shell is the most important, the rest of the parts swap around to build your ideal car. Check out rs25.com classified section, but take the prices with a grain of salt.

NGTD SuperDork
3/30/14 10:06 a.m.

To answer some of your questions:

  1. GC Imprezas are typically lighter than a GD by about 2-300 lbs, IIRC.
  2. WRX's can be quite reliable if they are cared for. The 2.2L is the most reliable. The 2.5L do have headgasket issues but if they are fixed properly they don't normally re-occur. 2000-up 2.5L leaks are normally external which can be lived with (keep an eye on the oil!), but 97-99's leak internally and can be catastrophic. WRX's can also have headgasket issues.
  3. The performance advantage of the WRX generally disappears on a tight course. A 2.5L GC can be very competitive. Keep in mind depending on classing, a WRX is going to put you in the fastest classes and it can be quite discouraging when you are a long time behind the top guys. Rally-X is biased toward driver skill, not platform.
  4. Used WRX's can be a crapshoot. Here is my rule - if the car is advertised as having an atmospheric Blow-off valve or an External Waste Gate - run away! MANY WRX's with these have not been tuned properly. Early WRX's are well within Brotato affordability. I bought one from a mature owner who treated it well, however it was his winter car so it has suffered from tinworm.
  5. As noted above - look CAREFULLY for rust and get as clean of a shell as possible.
  6. Subaru Tax - some of the asking prices for clean Subaru's is just crazy - especially in the winter and fall. Shop around and be patient.
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