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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    DFW, Texas
    Posts
    229
    Country Flag: United States

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    Quote Originally Posted by Build-It-Break-It View Post
    I think even tho YOU consider it a Muscle car most wouldn't and it's off topic of what the original poster is looking for I think.

    On another note I'd like everyone to meet my friends. They have shells, weapons and they're green. By definition they're my friends the ninja turtles......
    Well done, sir.
    1972 Plymouth 'Cuda - Not LS-swapped, 5.7L Hemi [MS3 Gold Box], T56 Magnum 6-speed1976 Dodge D100 - Warlock
    2016 BMW X1
    2016 Subaru WRX


  2. #62
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,365

    Default

    I have built cars for $15,000 [years ago] and for $500,000 [for a customer]. The $500,000 builds are not as much fun as it would appear…unlimited budgets come with unlimited expectations. They also take so long that there is the constant fear of obsolescence before its done.

    My son and I are putting the finishing touches on a 1970 LS5 4 speed SS Chevelle that I picked up as a painted but unfinished project about 2 1/2 years ago. Totally rust free and complete except for the actual engine. $23K delivered from California to Indiana. We are building this car in our home garage instead of running through the normal ridetech shop. I did not have a particular budget in mind, but the goal was to build him a car that was fun, reliable and cool for as little money as possible. I have not yet kept track of the invoices but I have them and will tally and report back here.
    I had a used LS3 E-rod engine that still ran nicely so I hooked that up to the original M21 Muncie with a Quicktime bellhousing and a Centerforce clutch. As a hotrodder, I felt it my duty to learn how to rebuild a Muncie 4 speed transmission! The oem 3:30 ratio 12 bolt was fine so we left it alone except for rebuilding the rear drum brakes. Now I remember why I always hated drum brakes, but they work fine for this car so they’ll stay. A future upgrade would be pretty easy.

    We installed one of our streetgrip suspension systems to make the Chevelle ride and handle like a new performance car. We upgraded the front brakes to a 4 piston Baer system that will fit under the repro 15x8 Magnum wheels. If I were intending to autocross this car I would have chosen a 17” wheel with BFG Sport Comp tires or the equivalent, but for street cruising the TA Radials are just fine and give us the image we are looking for.
    We used a GM Performance LS1 carburetor intake with a Fitech throttle body EFI with an MSD ignition controller. I bought a cheap set of shorty stainless headers and a Dirty Dingo engine mount kit off Ebay. Fit perfect. I used the new ceramic boot MSD wires to eliminate any problems with the headers burning the plug wires. We built a bracket to relocate the coil packs on the firewall near the oem distributor location. I covered all this up with a repro cowl induction air clean and a set of used aluminum Corvette valve covers with ICT adapter plates. With the engine painted orange it really looks like a small block at first glance. A TANKS, Inc fuel tank with an internal pump supplies the fuel. I had a Magnaflow stainless exhaust left over from another project, so we adapted that to the Ebay stainless headers and bolted up to the car. It fit nicely and sounds awesome!

    We used an American Autowire Hiway 22 wiring system to rewire the car. I used LED build everywhere to brighten up the car and lessen the load on the electrical system.
    The aluminum radiator and Spall electric fans came from PRC. I used a Vintage Air Frontrunner and AC system. A little expensive but I have used dozens of these with perfect results. I had a set of use Cerullo seats from another project that I adapted to the oem sliders. The original SS dash was shot so I installed a new repro dash shell with Dakota Digital VHX gauges. We also installed a small Kicker sound system and an oem looking leather wrapped steering wheel. I used some ebay off brand Dynamat copy sound deadener and ACC carpet on the floors. We installed a Spal power window conversion that interfaces with the oem manual window cranks. I’ve used many of those…works great and they’re $100/pair on Amazon.

    We replaced all the interior panels, weatherstripping, emblems, and such with reproduction stuff, mostly from Summit. Certainly not a requirement if you are trying to save money, but I like things nice and this car may be sold to finance his new car or a house at some point. The glass was all good, as were the bumpers and most of the trim. We only replaced what was truly crusty or missing. The console was busted up a bit, but we epoxied it back together and repainted to save about $1000 for a new repro unit.

    The paint was 25 years old and scruffy, but the body was rock solid and straight. We touched up a few chips, ignored a couple of pecker dents, and worked down the touchups with progressively finer grits up to 2000 grit paper. We are using Adams Polished products to buff the paint up to its new glossy finish.

    With everything done now except for the buffing we have about 500 miles on the car. It starts and runs like a [very fast] rental car. It sounds great and drives like a dream. The handling is sharp, the ride quality is the best of anything I own. The seats are comfy and supportive. The stereo needs a little tuning to sound its best. I had to install a smaller clutch master cylinder to get the pedal feel that I wanted. I would not be unhappy driving this car across the country knowing that nearly anything on it could be found at Autozone or a GM dealership. My son learned a few things about tools and cars [and life��] and I got to remind myself how to build a car! We intentionally did not lean on my industry contacts for special deals on these parts…we bought nearly everything from Summit, Amazon, or Ebay. Summit was usually the least expensive, Amazon was usually the most convenient, and Ebay filled in the gaps.

    Andy and I are considering doing a series of videos about this car and our experiences with building and driving it. Maybe we’ll call it “How to build a happy hotrod”.

    Here is my top 5 list of areas to look at for any car build, but especially one with a budget:

    1. Build the car you really want. Even on a budget, you are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on this project. Don’t build a Pinto just because its cheap. If you want a Camaro…find one. And find one in a color you can stand. Paint and bodywork are always the most expensive and hard to change items in any build. Ignore resale value, it prevents decisions made with passion.

    2. Decide how you are going to use the car 80% of the time. A street cruiser that you autocross or road race three time per year is a very different build from a dedicated race car.

    3. Ergonomics are very important in both a street car and a race car. Pedal position, seat position, sound and heat insulation, AC, cruise control, stereo, comfy steering wheel, power windows…all these things enhance the overall driving experience. You DO want a better driving experience, right? If you don’t, I’ll bet your wife/girlfriend does. Think about how much fun you two will have enjoying this car together…and how much easier it will be to build the next one with her cooperation!

    4. Think…REALLY think about the areas of the car that are most important to you. Maybe its horsepower, maybe its ride quality or handling performance. Maybe its paint and bodywork. Prioritize and optimize these areas, and compromise on the areas that are less important to you. Don’t spend years chasing perfection. If you end up a little unhappy with the results of your work in some area, pleadge to de it better on the next project. Chip Foose once told me “ I have yet to build the perfect car”.

    5. Don’t be afraid to invest in good tools and equipment to help make your build [and all the others that come after] easier. This is likely not the last car that you will build. Good tools and equipment will last a lifetime and make your life easier. I have always considered the journey at least as important as the destination.
    Bret Voelkel
    President
    RideTech
    Air Ride Technologies, Inc.

    If it breaks...fix it!

  3. #63
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    oklahoma
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sutton View Post
    Hey Steve! This is a GREAT idea. I think we'll get people sharing tips to save money, build things right and figure out the priorities. Love it.

    I'll start by adding some thoughts ...

    1. Figure out BEFORE your build even starts:
    a. How you want to use the car
    b. What are your goals for the car
    c. What are your priorities from a & b
    d. Timeline to have the car done & enjoying driving it

    With all of the above, be realistic with yous:
    A. Hours available & timeline to build
    B. Money saved & money you can set aside each month
    C. Your skills ... and skills of friends who will help ... that you can do yourself
    D. What has to be outsourced
    E. What needs to be bought new & what can be bought used

    Write up a list of what you want to do ... along with projected cost & hours ... for:
    * Base car
    * Body & Paint
    * Interior
    * Suspension
    * Rear end & 3rd Member
    * Trans & Driveline
    * Engine & Accessories
    * Exhaust
    * Brakes
    * Amenities (A/C, stereo, etc)

    Ask yourself is this build realistic with my time & budget to get done in 1 year, 2 years, longer?
    Then figure out if you need to trim or increase the budget to achieve what you want.

    My suggestion ... and this is ONLY my opinion. Do not come up with unrealistic build goals, that take many years to get the car done. Some people enjoy the build MORE than driving the car. I don't think this advice applies to you. But those of you that want to be out there driving, autocrossing and/or tracking your car ... my suggestion is don't make the goal so lofty the project takes forever to get done. I see projects taking 3, 4, 5 even 10 years to build. Shoot ... if I was in your shoes, I'd skip the $20,000 paint job & run that puppy the way the paint is. Or go do a $2,000 body wrap & call it good.

    Just my opinion. Best wishes all !


    P.S. When I get more time, I'll come back on here & share ways to make your car perform at a high level, without wasting money.

    couldnt agree more with this. I have stayed about 75% on track with my original build plan for my car and of those 25% or so changes have been just slight upgrades over the past 10 years of the build but nothing crazy. On the other hand, I have a friend who is working on a truck for a guy now that his entire build is a completely different truck now than when it started so nothing "fits" as it should. The truck started as a 100% nut and bolt resto with a 6cly w3 on the tree, over the coarse of the build, he started adding bigger brakes, bigger tires to compensate, cam, etc to compensate for each that just keep adding to the build and costing him way more. Now the truck looks "funny" as it doesnt really go together anymore as he wants it to be a sport truck.
    In short, make an entire plan for what you want and stick to it because its way to easy to upscale the build into a financial disaster.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    76

    Default

    How about a 1/2 ton truck of some sort? Could be a Chev or Dodge or Ford. Early C10's have gone crazy price wise. Square bodies are more reasonable. Dodge and Fords are typically less money. I'm not sure about the aftermarket support for the Dodge's. Tons of stuff available for the Chevs and Fords.

    Seems to me if the goal is a very competitive autocross car it has to be light, short wheel base and somewhat narrow. Camaros, Monte Carlo's, C4 Corvettes and such are kind of big cars for a tight autocross course.

    It's a bit out there but how about a 97-2006 Wrangler. I only reason I suggest is that I've have driven a 98 Wrangler with a LS6/4L60E for over ten years. Not set up for autocross just fun daily driver. I thought if you lose the front straight axle and transfer case with some type of independent front suspension. Lower it down. The rear is already a four link design. I swapped in a Explorer 8.8 rear end. They are cheap. Add some wide wheels and tires. Easy to cover them up with wide aftermarket flares. Wranglers have a pretty decent rectangular frame. Wheel base is short. Lose the four wheel drive stuff and the top and doors maybe weighs 3200 lbs? If you don't get too crazy you can still daily drive it at least in the summer. Just a thought.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,097
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    Well said Bret.
    Tu Ho
    Firebird V2-LS swap

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    5,360
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Build-It-Break-It View Post
    "I'd like to suggest we not fantasize, but instead list real world ways to get the most performance for our buck building a 60's to 90's muscle car to beat on & have fun with. "

    When I think of a muscle car I wouldn't even consider a BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo etc. Etc.. they're cool cars no doubt but not a muscle car by definition.
    Yup let's see more numbers. I would share mine, but I've been building the car since I was 13, so it has benefitted from some creative amortization. Also since it's so darn old some of the numbers are not applicable. Like, I bought the world's first tubular front subframe. It was $1500. Forged Kinesis wheels? $1100 per corner. I though I was gonna die when I got that bill. Kinesis is out of business.

    Anyway, more numbers would be nice to see and a great way to help others.
    /Steve
    ________________
    Steve Chryssos


    Ridetech.com
    Email: stevenATridetech.com

    My PT Garage:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/dto_show...preview&g=1288

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    2,557
    Country Flag: United States

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    Quote Originally Posted by bret View Post
    I have built cars for $15,000 [years ago] and for $500,000 [for a customer]. The $500,000 builds are not as much fun as it would appear…unlimited budgets come with unlimited expectations. They also take so long that there is the constant fear of obsolescence before its done.

    My son and I are putting the finishing touches on a 1970 LS5 4 speed SS Chevelle that I picked up as a painted but unfinished project about 2 1/2 years ago. Totally rust free and complete except for the actual engine. $23K delivered from California to Indiana. We are building this car in our home garage instead of running through the normal ridetech shop. I did not have a particular budget in mind, but the goal was to build him a car that was fun, reliable and cool for as little money as possible. I have not yet kept track of the invoices but I have them and will tally and report back here.
    I had a used LS3 E-rod engine that still ran nicely so I hooked that up to the original M21 Muncie with a Quicktime bellhousing and a Centerforce clutch. As a hotrodder, I felt it my duty to learn how to rebuild a Muncie 4 speed transmission! The oem 3:30 ratio 12 bolt was fine so we left it alone except for rebuilding the rear drum brakes. Now I remember why I always hated drum brakes, but they work fine for this car so they’ll stay. A future upgrade would be pretty easy.

    We installed one of our streetgrip suspension systems to make the Chevelle ride and handle like a new performance car. We upgraded the front brakes to a 4 piston Baer system that will fit under the repro 15x8 Magnum wheels. If I were intending to autocross this car I would have chosen a 17” wheel with BFG Sport Comp tires or the equivalent, but for street cruising the TA Radials are just fine and give us the image we are looking for.
    We used a GM Performance LS1 carburetor intake with a Fitech throttle body EFI with an MSD ignition controller. I bought a cheap set of shorty stainless headers and a Dirty Dingo engine mount kit off Ebay. Fit perfect. I used the new ceramic boot MSD wires to eliminate any problems with the headers burning the plug wires. We built a bracket to relocate the coil packs on the firewall near the oem distributor location. I covered all this up with a repro cowl induction air clean and a set of used aluminum Corvette valve covers with ICT adapter plates. With the engine painted orange it really looks like a small block at first glance. A TANKS, Inc fuel tank with an internal pump supplies the fuel. I had a Magnaflow stainless exhaust left over from another project, so we adapted that to the Ebay stainless headers and bolted up to the car. It fit nicely and sounds awesome!

    We used an American Autowire Hiway 22 wiring system to rewire the car. I used LED build everywhere to brighten up the car and lessen the load on the electrical system.
    The aluminum radiator and Spall electric fans came from PRC. I used a Vintage Air Frontrunner and AC system. A little expensive but I have used dozens of these with perfect results. I had a set of use Cerullo seats from another project that I adapted to the oem sliders. The original SS dash was shot so I installed a new repro dash shell with Dakota Digital VHX gauges. We also installed a small Kicker sound system and an oem looking leather wrapped steering wheel. I used some ebay off brand Dynamat copy sound deadener and ACC carpet on the floors. We installed a Spal power window conversion that interfaces with the oem manual window cranks. I’ve used many of those…works great and they’re $100/pair on Amazon.

    We replaced all the interior panels, weatherstripping, emblems, and such with reproduction stuff, mostly from Summit. Certainly not a requirement if you are trying to save money, but I like things nice and this car may be sold to finance his new car or a house at some point. The glass was all good, as were the bumpers and most of the trim. We only replaced what was truly crusty or missing. The console was busted up a bit, but we epoxied it back together and repainted to save about $1000 for a new repro unit.

    The paint was 25 years old and scruffy, but the body was rock solid and straight. We touched up a few chips, ignored a couple of pecker dents, and worked down the touchups with progressively finer grits up to 2000 grit paper. We are using Adams Polished products to buff the paint up to its new glossy finish.

    With everything done now except for the buffing we have about 500 miles on the car. It starts and runs like a [very fast] rental car. It sounds great and drives like a dream. The handling is sharp, the ride quality is the best of anything I own. The seats are comfy and supportive. The stereo needs a little tuning to sound its best. I had to install a smaller clutch master cylinder to get the pedal feel that I wanted. I would not be unhappy driving this car across the country knowing that nearly anything on it could be found at Autozone or a GM dealership. My son learned a few things about tools and cars [and life��] and I got to remind myself how to build a car! We intentionally did not lean on my industry contacts for special deals on these parts…we bought nearly everything from Summit, Amazon, or Ebay. Summit was usually the least expensive, Amazon was usually the most convenient, and Ebay filled in the gaps.

    Andy and I are considering doing a series of videos about this car and our experiences with building and driving it. Maybe we’ll call it “How to build a happy hotrod”.

    Here is my top 5 list of areas to look at for any car build, but especially one with a budget:

    1. Build the car you really want. Even on a budget, you are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on this project. Don’t build a Pinto just because its cheap. If you want a Camaro…find one. And find one in a color you can stand. Paint and bodywork are always the most expensive and hard to change items in any build. Ignore resale value, it prevents decisions made with passion.

    2. Decide how you are going to use the car 80% of the time. A street cruiser that you autocross or road race three time per year is a very different build from a dedicated race car.

    3. Ergonomics are very important in both a street car and a race car. Pedal position, seat position, sound and heat insulation, AC, cruise control, stereo, comfy steering wheel, power windows…all these things enhance the overall driving experience. You DO want a better driving experience, right? If you don’t, I’ll bet your wife/girlfriend does. Think about how much fun you two will have enjoying this car together…and how much easier it will be to build the next one with her cooperation!

    4. Think…REALLY think about the areas of the car that are most important to you. Maybe its horsepower, maybe its ride quality or handling performance. Maybe its paint and bodywork. Prioritize and optimize these areas, and compromise on the areas that are less important to you. Don’t spend years chasing perfection. If you end up a little unhappy with the results of your work in some area, pleadge to de it better on the next project. Chip Foose once told me “ I have yet to build the perfect car”.

    5. Don’t be afraid to invest in good tools and equipment to help make your build [and all the others that come after] easier. This is likely not the last car that you will build. Good tools and equipment will last a lifetime and make your life easier. I have always considered the journey at least as important as the destination.
    Love the tips. But I love that you're teaching Andy about how to do this stuff.

    See you in Ohio Bret !
    !

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    762

    Default

    Buy a nicely restored "insert whatever vintage muscle car here" for $30k. Invest in a Hotchkis sport system or equivilent with some really, really good shocks, $5k. Bigger brake system for $5k. Some nice wheels with 200tw tires for $5k. Some really good, supportive seats and either nice tunes and/or retrofit a/c $5k.

    $50k street capable, occasional autocross, fun car that will allow you to spend plenty of time driving instead of wrenching and buying parts. Then, learn to drive the rubber off of it. More and more seat time can increase skill, capability, and speed and rapidly replace every increasingly expensive upgrades.
    TonyC@HP2

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Somewhere out there
    Posts
    269
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    $50K is alot of $$$ so it highly depends on what your starting vehicle is, and the cost of said vehicle (If you do the work yourself)
    Me personally, I feel it's best to start with a vehicle in decent condition, the motor and trans can be blown don't matter.

    Put an LS motor in with a modern transmission, preferably manual. (boneyard Used is alot less $$$$)
    I don't care what anyone says, Fuel Injection can't be beaten for dependability and both my cars are LSx now.

    Update the front brakes to modern C5 Corvette brakes at the minimum, or better of course.
    Rewire the car for under $1000 with American Autowire yourself. (Reliablility starts with 100% knowledge of the car front to rear)

    Install a badass suspension system for say....I dunno $2000-$3000
    Throw some good modern styled wheels on it, and go cruising.

    You can do this easily for alot less then $50,000 unless it's a rare thing like a 70 Charger or something.
    Late 2nd gen Camaro's are still inexpensive if you get them in not all put back together yet. Olds Cutlass also.......

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,365

    Default

    For those interested...I will have the 70 Chevelle that I referred to above at the Columbus Goodguys event this coming weekend. It will be in the Adams Polish booth...they are going to use it as a demo for paint rehab. I may get it out on Sunday and do a couple autocross laps if anyone is interested in a ride along...
    Look for images and video coming up on our Facebook page shortly!

    Bret Voelkel
    President
    RideTech
    Air Ride Technologies, Inc.

    If it breaks...fix it!


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