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Discussion Starter #1
basically, im looking at two options.

continue to mod the passat (swap to a 5spd tranny, get coilovers)
OR
get another car (used, cheap).

what i really want to do is learn. im trying to improve - get my shifting to where it ought to be (heel-toe, 5-4-3 shifts in sequence without even thinking about it) and understand and apply weight transfer better.

ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
btw please recommend the other car if that is your vote. so far, ive considered miata, an 86 300zx, 86 corolla, s13. problem being the s13 usually is over my 3k criteria.
 

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Do mod the passat, but don't go overboard. If I were to mess w/ the Passat again, I'd get no more than a chip, exhaust, shocks & springs, sways, good tires, set of nice brake pads, and a tint. It will be a fun DD, and decent occasional track car. Doing too much mods usually also jeopardiazes reliability, which is something you ought consider if it your DD or only car.

If you're going to be ballin on mods, at least do so on a car that has more pef potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ronald - funny thing is, thats pretty much where im at with my car. got the fmic and DP too. i dont, however, have the shocks yet. on a side note, would you say the return to investment on shocks is worth it?

btw, what do you guys think of the potential candidates i have listed?
 

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If you feel mechanically inclined, people here will usually buy a used set of Konis for $300...so if you wanna swap 'em out after you're "done", you'll usually have a buyer on here. Your final investment (minus inflation) would be around $100-200, excluding labor.

I pushed the Passat further than I should have myself (although not as far as ronald :p ), and my experiences tell me it should be what it was built to be...a family sedan. :) You can throw 600 hp into a Dodge minivan and you'll be able to pass some unknowing fool in a Ferrari braking early for a turn on the front stretch of Laguna Seca. But honestly, its less about the fact that you can, but rather more the feel and fun you have when you're using/abusing your car. Sure, its a hoot to brag to your friends that you toasted a Ferrari Testarossa in your Passat (its quite fun, let me tell ya :p ), but having a much more capable chassis to begin with does wonders for the driving experience.

An S13 is a great choice. No, I'm not biased at all. :lol: Excellent parts availability with low prices, bulletproof engine (I compression tested mine 2 days ago, and with 145k miles, it makes better than stock compression :???: ), balanced chassis, and it drives the right wheels. :) What more could you ask for?

The exact same things could be said of a Miata, but that's a 2 seater. If you can deal with that, the Miata's a great choice as well.

The old Corolla's parts availability is dwindling, so if you go for that, jump on it quick, and replace what you can ASAP. Other things to look at (or what I've looked at): 1st or 2nd generation RX-7 (they're radically different cars...the 2nd generation sacrafices the ridiculous steering feel/chassis stiffness for more turbocharged power), 1st generation supercharged MR-2 (the epitomy of street legal go karts), a 1st generation DSM (AWD, bulletproof Mitsu motor), or a '93 Impreza (swap a 2.2L closed deck from a Legacy, and turbo the hell out of it :lol: ).


And remember the golden rule of used cars (yes, I made it up). $3k car does not mean you'll be spending $3k on a car (unless God has blessed your soul with a miracle). $3k + $3k to bring it up to your spec, for Japanese cars. For German cars...double previous figure. :lol:
 

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Ya, like stealth said, it's generally a better deal to buy used parts and sell them later on. Depreciation from 2nd hand to 3rd hand, is usually nowhere near as bad as buying brand new, and then selling. There are some parts (such as cams, valvetrain, or tires) I'd be relucatant to buy used, but generally it's cheaper. Just try to educate youreself before the transaction, and try to buy only from sources you can pick up from.

Konis are not cheap, but they're prob the best shocks you can get out there, and they do offer a lifetime warranty, so it's diff to go wrong with them. I suggest you get them, as they're worth it imo. I also have konis (albeit not yet installed) for my Miata, and i plan to also get a set for my crx.

After the Konis, I think it would be wise to stop modding the passat. I think it's cool to get some boutique mods, like pedals, clear corners, shift knob, air freshner etc. Beyond that, any further mods you get will not really be worth it imo.

Aside from that, all the cars you listed have great potential. In the end, it's really up your personal preference, and that's something you have to find out what fits your driving style. I got the miata and the crx, because I like my cars light, fun to drive, reliable and versatile (good for street, autoX, and roadrace). However, with 3k, your options are limited. All the cars you're interested in are hot and/or rare items. Every other enthusiast wants the same project, so demand is high.
 

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well i'm getting a mid 60's beetle :wink: and i want to make it ultra euro :thumbup: ,i suggest keep the passat and get an old scirroco or something cool like that :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
great responses fellas - keep em coming.

i did toy with the idea of an '86 300zx over the wekend because i found one in really good shape for 2k. oh well, too bad now. prob a bit too fast for what i want to do and all the inevitable screw ups that will happen.

someone suggested the old golfs - problem being fwd. maybe, but to be honest, probably my last choice bc of drivetrain.

any other good ideas for 3k for the chassis alone (i fully expect to sink more money later to get it up to speed).

here another one - how about 914s?

thanks
 

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If you can find a good 914... :p

Low powered, opposed 4 1.7L or 2.0L I believe, and the 2L models are the holy grail of 914 owners. The big problem there is #1, chassis rusting: the cars are almost 40 years old, and the frames are quite prone to collapsing. #2, transmission issues. The 4 speed cable tranny is a big big PITA. You can choose to update it by going to the 5 speeds, which had better shift linkages, but they're still quite quirky.

In the end, if you get a 914, if you can find a 914 for under $3k, prepare to spend another $5k to keep it running over the next year. :eek:h: Finding a competent 914 mechanic is hard enough (I actually know a guy if you're truly interested), but finding a cheap one is impossible.
 

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There are only a handful of original minis and they're just as old. It sounds like you want an affordable driver, not a resto project. Stick to newer cars..
 

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Don't be dissing FWD. They can be very competitive with the right build and right driver. Incidently, they are also easier to learn imo. Mk1 and 2 GTis, Sciroccos, and Corrados are all exellent FWD VW's, and they are pop among ppl who track/autoX.

The other good FWD cars are Honda civics and integras. The EF civics ( '88-'91, esp the CRX), EG civics (92-95), and the DC2 Integra ('94-'02?). I like Hondas a bit more than VW's b/c they are generally more reliable, can use the excellent B-series motors for grt N/a or turbo buildups, and have a wider range of tuners and aftermaket options. They are also extremely competitive, and relatively cheap. If you want a shell, EF's can cost easily inder a grand, while decent running EG cost around $3k. EG shells are rare and in huge demand.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ok lets say that i increase the budget - a whopping 4k. stick with a 3k car and put 1k in work, or does that 4k significantly open up the possibilities?
 
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