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Pro street or normal hotrod? on a budget as usual

Pro street or normal hotrod? on a budget as usual

Lately I have been scrounging around in my backyard tripping and sprawling over the car parts and junk in the hot hot sun to deliver myself an engine. 

454 incoming

454 incoming

The first question I get asked when I tell people this is of course "what's that thing going into bro!?"

And as of now, I don't really have an answer to that. I like cruising as you can tell from this article about my old Lincoln that I did some work on. Also I do like theoretically fast cars like corvettes like this one which is currently in my driveway and used on the weekends and whenever I get up early on weekdays to avoid traffic which is barely ever. I have never built anything that would really raise eyebrows on the 1/4 mile I must admit, however daunting the prospect is, I believe I may be ready for the next step in fabrication if I want to pull the trigger. 

My brother with his endless drive to live and work has created the following monstrosity:

He built this from just parts. Wierd.

He built this from just parts. Wierd.

From this:

So yeah, I have officially had it demonstrated right in front of my eyes how much work this kind of thing takes and how much money. As such I will be avoiding building a complete car from scratch like he did. However I feel confident I could do any of the following:

  • Modifying and mounting a rear end for drag or street
  • Tubbing for massive tires
  • Partial roll cages for frame stiffening
  • Partial front end work springs/shocks relocation or whatever to get a tiny car to hold a big block rat motor
  • Drivetrain with engine/transmission mods (my specialty)
  • exhaust
  • Any body work and paint if I feel the need to (I tolerate ugly cars if they are fast)

But do I necessarily want a project that takes up all of that work and more? Probably not. Aside from the endless hours it would take to finish, it would also suck up a ton of cash. I know for a decent rear end capable of drag/street it would be ~1200$ even if I scrounged parts and did everything I could do myself. Massive wheels on the back probably another 1k. Roll cage metal is likely to the tune of 400$. Welding materials for this stuff isn't cheap either. I have to be careful if I get a car that has a front end that needs work, because if it needs too much work to hold the weight safely that can easily blow any budget to smithereens. Again nothing I would consider building would resemble trailer queen so at this point I have a few options open to me:

  1. Pro street style vega, pinto, early nova, or similar light car
  2. Rat rod (think 20-something ford body)
  3. Normal hotrod like camaro, corvette, etc with tasteful mods
  4. Cruiser like a Monte Carlo, Caprice, Cadillac all 2 doors obviously

On a side note, I will have roughly 1,000$ spent on my budget engine and transmission build for this. That includes a 454 with 10.2 static compression ratio capable of 5500rpm and a TH400 with shift kit and all new seals and modified speed governor to bring it to the wheels. Stock torque converter, stock chevy 781 heads with new Edelbrock springs capable of about .5" lift. At least I can get some duration on the cam since the compression ratio is high. Roughly 400hp with almost 500lbft of torque at the flywheel is what I am targeting. I believe this to be realistic from a budget 454 build judging by the many, many things I have read on the internet about these engines.  

Right now I am basically perusing Craigslist and trying to select an applicable vehicle based on what is available. If I find an incredible deal on anything I will spring for it, but I am also not in a hurry to do really anything. I probably have another 3-4 weeks of slave labor on that engine to do everything right anyways, so it would be ok if I didn't have a car for a few months. Here is the gist of what I am looking at:

ohhhh the options. they change weekly as near as I can tell. 

ohhhh the options. they change weekly as near as I can tell. 

As you can see, varying degrees of work will be required. The Vega pro street already has a shortened 9" in it and a partial cage. The T bucket looking thing has a rearend engine and trans, but no front end or steering even (remember I warned us about the front end.) The Vette would need rearend work to add posi, and it also needs hardware and glass for the doors but it already has new wheels and tires and is an expensive upfront cost for a project. The Camaro would pretty much need everything but the chassis would be fairly happy about the weight. 

So yeah, I pretty much couldn't go wrong with any of them, I could justify pretty much anything. However if you look at this list the Vega is obviously the cheapest and would go the fastest in a straight line, but of course the front end would not be as happy with the rat motor as the corvette or the Camaro would be. I am not even sure the Vega or the Ford would be street-able by any stretch of the imagination after their completions. Yeah you could drive them on the street, but come on here when would that ever happen? I will tell you right now I am not going to commute over highway 17 in a T bucket not even once.   

Usually when I write these articles it clears things up for me and helps me make a decision. And this time I am not sure if it did or not. Oh well, good thing I am not in a hurry. Here's some 454-shaped eye candy for those who care:

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How I Survived 16 Weeks Without Pay

How I Survived 16 Weeks Without Pay

How much do you need to save to retire? Check the risk free ROR

How much do you need to save to retire? Check the risk free ROR