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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

I want to build a stage rally car, going against the advice of 90% of the people on this forum (who said "buy first, don't build first"), because I think it's important that I learn to work on a car, even if I don't end up modifying the engine or doing anything engine or under-the-hood related (though if I'm swapping suspension I will have to open the hood...I think...lol). It will be educational for me, and I don't care if I don't make it "onto stage" before next year. I have ~8 Gs to spend on prepping the car, which I hope I don't have to spend completely, which I also hope will cover the initial cost of the car. I have another 10 Gs in the chamber for all those "Race expenses" like spares, fees, fees, clothing, fees, renting a tow vehicle from U-Haul, fees.....

I have reviewed the rules, and will need someone to weld the cage in for me, but the rest I intend to do myself (including skid plate installation and suspension swap for , well , I have no idea honestly , I figured it would depend heavily on which car I bought)

Which leads me to the most direct question I can ask after having a few disappointing days searching for un-rusted excellent condition Mk2 Golfs on Pittsburgh (and surrounding area) Craigslist.

QUESTION: If i wanted a FWD car for a rally build (Sorry John, I know you wanted me in that 240, but I just can't go through with it), which of the following would be cheapEST to repair if they broke during a stage? On average...I know some parts will be cheaper than others, but I mean, the things that break the most .... on which of the following cars would they be cheapEST to replace ?

In the off chance I managed to touch on the exact make and model of car that one of you would suggest, which ad points to a car that you'd buy?

https://harrisburg.craigslist.org/cto/5046276392.html
https://harrisburg.craigslist.org/cto/5062987787.html
http://delaware.craigslist.org/cto/5081353927.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5087173542.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5082989251.html
(I should still be concerned with rust even though I want the car for stage rallying, right? It's still a really bad thing and a pain to fix, right?)
http://winchester.craigslist.org/cto/5061148099.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5050739641.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5024381789.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5092444806.html
http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/5076383462.html
http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/5043385693.html
http://dayton.craigslist.org/cto/5063922482.html
http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/5054990191.html
http://dayton.craigslist.org/cto/5096055134.html

I would like to thank, in advance, anyone dedicated enough to open and review all of these cars. I'm not in a hurry to get my car onto the stage ..... but I'm eager to get started. I don't want to spend too long waiting for the perfect car, but at the same time, I don't want to post pic 1 of my stage project and have 18 people go "You bought that? Why ? What are you going to do when XYZ happens, didn't you know that _________ was a major problem for that year? How are you going to afford A,B and C when they break?"

Thanks guys.



PS Other problems I encountered along the way (so far, which really didn't involve me actually doing anything), with solutions

- I'm Canadian living in America, soon to go back to Canada ----> It's easy to import and insure rally cars (from what I've researched) because they have to be road legal in the first place. Inspection typically isn't rigorous, even if the car shows up with a wicked roll cage and fire extinguishers. It's even easier if the car is greater than 15 (easier still if greater than 25) years old.

- I don't know anything about mechanics ----> I plan on buying the car and, after prepping it, planting it in the garage and learning from youtube (or a paper manual) how to repair or replace things on the car. This entire time, I will be accruing funds through the much-less-exciting but still rewarding day job in order to accumulate spare parts to bring with me to rally

- I don't know anything about competition driving other than what I learned at the few autocrosses and the one car control clinic I attended ----> I will put a roll cage in the car

- America and Canada have different regulatory bodies (and each country has different rally networks) and I plan on competing in both countries ----> I homologated the rules to be able to follow a set of build instructions that will qualify the car under both Rally America and CARS. This should allow for more than enough mayhem in one calendar year before I run out of $$$.
 

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Dramamine is for DramaQueens
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- I'm Canadian living in America, soon to go back to Canada ----> It's easy to import and insure rally cars (from what I've researched) because they have to be road legal in the first place. Inspection typically isn't rigorous, even if the car shows up with a wicked roll cage and fire extinguishers. It's even easier if the car is greater than 15 (easier still if greater than 25) years old.
I suggest you re-do your research on this. I think you'll find this to be a horribly wrong assumption.

On a budget of $8K, I wouldn't really look at building - much less building a FWD car. Almost certainly you'll have to sell it when you move back to Canada, so you might be better off buying something already built, doing a full 'tear down' and re-prep, and then getting in a few rallies before selling it at a lesser loss than had you built it.

As for the cars you have linked... rust is bad, you see more golfs on stage than jettas - there must be a reason, CRXs have no-room inside...
 

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Honda is pretty easy to work on, pretty available, fair amount of upgrades and lots of knowledge out there. CRX is quite spacious compared to a MR2, I would still look to the Civics because of room and body parts availability. The Escort GT is kind of neat, mostly Ford but there are some Mazda parts and some ways to improve those. Not a lot of them around tho compared to Honda. VW is a non-starter for me, I really dislike them. It's a personal thing.

Also there are FWD Imprezas floating around that can be pretty competitive with a little work and there are tons of parts and upgrades for those. Focus can be had for those same prices also.

No car is cheap to repair on stage btw. Breakage generally means DNF which in its self is expensive. If you worried about the cost of breaking I'd suggest not going FWD and listen to what principals JVL is preaching, even if you don't want to go Volvo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Alright I'm gonna go back to the forums and see what's good with this whole Import thing, and I'll call Canadian regulatory bodies today.

I didn't dislike the idea of rallying a volvo, I just was skiddish about a RWD car. Are you guys saying that RWD is cheaper to repair than FWD or that Volvo specifically is way cheaper to repair?
 

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FWIW, I have a mk2 golf for sale (uncaged) listed for sale on this site. I have sold the gravels and have also sold the 4k tranny with KAAZ LSD but if you are looking for a rot free car then have a look. I will be listing a significant price reduction shortly on those ads. PM me if you are interested in a mk2 golf.
 

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RWD has a higher fun factor than FWD. My advice find a car you like to drive and is easy to work on. I started with AWD because that's what I'm used to and enjoy driving. Another thing to look at is what other regional competitors are driving. More local support and the possibility of your fellow competitor having a spare part you forgot is a factor not to be overlooked.

If you are moving back to Canada then wait until you get there to start your build. When it comes time to build the car build it for a CARS log book. You can start buying safety equipment that doesn't expire before then.

$8k for a budget?! Wish I had that much when I did mine so I could have better suspension and more comfortable seats. I built mine for under $4k but did the cage myself.
 

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RWD isn't really more fun than FWD btw, that is another of the rally myths that float around. Rallying is usually more fun than not rallying. Strength wise RWD has an edge due to design and the size of the parts. Speed wise the edge may go to FWD as the grip tires should be on the best surface more often. Both can be fun and fast at a regional level.

You can spend more to gear a VW 'properly' than JVs Volvo formula, but the Volvo needs a massive amount of labor, custom parts and time or money to be anything more than a square lump of shite. Pick your poison. Wanna spend all day scouring wrecking yards, waiting for someone to ship you one off parts that take months to arrive? Spend that same time working a second job and buy the VW parts if you want. Same results at the end of the day. There are no free rides, just smoke and mirrors.

If you are Canadian, buy a car there and build it there to CARS rules. You can sneak over here to rally stateside no problem. You may have way more issue dragging a US prebuilt car up there. Remember that while we usually have a license tag on the cars many will never pass a road or smog check (that's a secret so don't tell anyone).

I think first I would suggest going to Tim Oneils rally school, get a taste of what it is all about, drive a few different cars and see what you like. The only money in rally is the money coming out of your pocket, spend wisely, enjoy what you are driving.
 

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Talk to the folks with rally cars in Canada. Talk to those in the province you will be moving to. Find a club in that area and talk to those folks. Inspecting/insuring up there is NOT the same as in the States. Do your homework. Call CARS and find a contact. Keith above is a good source.

Have fun.

press on,
 

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It can be nearly impossible to register a rally car from a different province in Canada. When I was looking for mine, I had to limit my search to my province, because shops have been warned and will have their license revoked if they pass an OOP on a rally-prepped car.

You can either buy a stock car, register and then build it, or buy an already-in-province car. Any other options including importing, you should avoid because you will hit brick walls.
 

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RWD can tend to be more robust, simpler, and cheaper to build up to a competitive spec. (JV has a ton of good thoughts on this)
BMWs are becoming more and more popular, adn proving to be a good platform, but Volvo 240s are tanks with plenty of supply for spares.

The biggest thing with RWD cars is that if you've grown up driving FWD cars, RWD will have a learning curve. You need be well ahead of the car and anticipate what it'll need where FWD can be driven much more 'reactively.' (At least from my experience)

There is a mantra that RWD is 'more fun.' I'm with Gene on calling BS on that. Yah, its more sideways, more flamboyant, and 'looks' more spectacular when driven to have 'fun,' but you're typically also bleeding time when you do that. I've driven RWD, FWD and AWD cars on stage and I've co-driven in FWD and AWD cars. Every last one of them was fun, and the AWD cars were by far the fastest.

Fun in rally is a LOT more about who you're in the car with, who's waiting for you at the service park, and being a part of the rally community itself.
 

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RWD comment on my part was just regurgitation. In my opinion anything on gravel is fun but I happen to lean toward AWD.

Fun in rally is a LOT more about who you're in the car with, who's waiting for you at the service park, and being a part of the rally community itself.
Too true. Speaking of which... it has been suggested by a few that I should have you codrive for me at some point. No specific reason was given although I'm suspecting the fun confusion factor of having K. Morrison/K. Morison on the windows.;)
 

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Too true. Speaking of which... it has been suggested by a few that I should have you codrive for me at some point. No specific reason was given although I'm suspecting the fun confusion factor of having K. Morrison/K. Morison on the windows.;)
I can see the humour in that... although seeeing as you can't even spell your last name correctly... :)
 

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RWD can tend to be more robust, simpler, and cheaper to build up to a competitive spec. (JV has a ton of good thoughts on this)
BMWs are becoming more and more popular, and proving to be a good platform, but Volvo 240s are tanks with plenty of supply for spares.
BMWs have become popular in several countries.... and if you spend obscene amounts of money they can do good....about as good as a well done Volvo 240, but
the cost of the specific CAR, and the cost of the gearkits and ring and pinions in the cars going really quick is again multiple times higher..

The biggest thing with RWD cars is that if you've grown up driving FWD cars, RWD will have a learning curve. You need be well ahead of the car and anticipate what it'll need where FWD can be driven much more 'reactively.' (At least from my experience)
False straw ad phonynum agrugement..

If you have grown up driving FWD rally cars with short gearing and good clutch plate LSD then jump into "a rwd car"...BS......
A rally car is substantially different from a road car in how it drives, how it works and importantly what you are doing with it: driving on stages.

So unless you drive stages growing up, driving ON THE STREET or ROAD is going to teach you nothing of what you must do on a SS, and it doesn't matter if you drove FWD street car, or RWD street car or Merikun iron street car, or hipster Vespas...
Different objective on street



There is a mantra that RWD is 'more fun.' I'm with Gene on calling BS on that.
Once again the whole world is wrong.... and a couple of guys who whose experience is extremely limited and restricted to only one language know the experience and the reasoning ---as evidenced by the sheer overwhelming 65-75-80% of drivers choosing RWD--in those countries where they have events with more than 13-14 cars----flys in the face of what everybody else has shown...




Yah, its more sideways, more flamboyant, and 'looks' more spectacular when driven to have 'fun,' but you're typically also bleeding time when you do that.
And yet somehow, miraculously, short of there being less than a handful or WRC level of prep FWD cars, RWD cars win.

Re Haydon Paddon in Appendix K Historic RWD car---quite sideways...Beats every single AWD car in the main NZRC and first FWD car in mid-20s...
Poor Paddon just doesn't get it.

Have you thought about a new career coaching all the national Champions on why their driving costs them time?



I've driven RWD, FWD and AWD cars on stage
And let me guess: they were ALL correctly prepped with correct gearsets match the powerband, right final drive for rally conditions and good solid well built rally motors?
Right?


and I've co-driven in FWD and AWD cars. Every last one of them was fun, and the AWD cars were by far the fastest.
And the nice turbo which makes for a big easy broad and above all torquey powerband, a set of OK match gears, good steering and brakes and 2 or 3 LSDs making TONS of grip a given had nothing to do with that?

Fun in rally is a LOT more about who you're in the car with, who's waiting for you at the service park, and being a part of the rally community itself.
Yep..And a well prepared car with the right bit--gears, final drive, diff, steering, brakes, -----is a lot more fun

And getting all that for 1/4 or 1/5 the cost is even more fun, cause then you can afford more events---if there are events---or tires, or time to relax..

I have only rallied FWD---but before even the first event it had a proper close ratio gearset----same as Saab used in WRC, proper final drive---5.83:1 and a excellent reliable all steel LSD, as well as good (stock till 1969) 2.2 turn rack and pinion steering ---
It was fun and it worked good for some top 10 OA Natioanl result....for cheap money.

And that was enough for me---since I looked at North American rally as a fun recreational pastime (which it was and still is regardless of some teams spending obscene amounts of money for nothing)..

But it was as clear then as it is now---to those who bother to look at Autralian NZ, UK, French, German, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish entries and results and forums..

RWD IS more fun for MORE people and Gene can sit down there and grumble all he wants and claim anything he wants---and it doesn't alter what IS and what has been and what is obvious...to those who look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Someone posted on here saying they are selling a Mk2 golf. It's a golf GL, what are everyone's thoughts on GL vs GTI? Asking because someone is selling a '98 GL in my city, was thinking of checking it out but thought a 4 door car might be worse than a two door car. Thoughts on this?
 

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John,
No need to parse my comments line by line and try to discredit my experiences. It really only makes you look like an ass.
Bring your own thoughts and observations to the conversation by all means, but needing to prove others wrong is a horribly weak position to talk from - and only hurts the discussion. (just like political attack ads)

Re Haydon Paddon in Appendix K Historic RWD car---quite sideways...Beats every single AWD car in the main NZRC and first FWD car in mid-20s... Poor Paddon just doesn't get it.
All car, not driving skills?
Surely the fact that Paddon is presently capable of leading a WRC event has something to do with his winning the NZ event! (And I'll bet he wasn't all that sideways in the car either.)

And the nice turbo which makes for a big easy broad and above all torquey powerband, a set of OK match gears, good steering and brakes and 2 or 3 LSDs making TONS of grip a given had nothing to do with that?
I'm sure it had everything to do with it. Doesn't make it less fun or any slower.
Yes, this is a hobby and a pastime - that doesn't mean it isn't racing or seeing who can go faster.

Yep..And a well prepared car with the right bit--gears, final drive, diff, steering, brakes, -----is a lot more fun
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

I've seen guys with horribly 'wrong' cars at rallies laughing their heads of and having a ball. I've also seen people who have the 'right' cars frustrated and devoid of joy as they struggle with small problems, trying to get everything 'perfect.'
 

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Someone posted on here saying they are selling a Mk2 golf. It's a golf GL, what are everyone's thoughts on GL vs GTI? Asking because someone is selling a '98 GL in my city, was thinking of checking it out but thought a 4 door car might be worse than a two door car. Thoughts on this?
I like the larger opening on a 2 door, but it sure is convenient to be able to toss/grab your helmet by opening the rear door vs. going to the hatch.
 

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Someone posted on here saying they are selling a Mk2 golf. It's a golf GL, what are everyone's thoughts on GL vs GTI? Asking because someone is selling a '98 GL in my city, was thinking of checking it out but thought a 4 door car might be worse than a two door car. Thoughts on this?
Not a VW guy so the Gl/GTi means nothing to me BUT 2door/4door discussion....either works. 2doors tend to give the crew better access as the opening is wider. Door bars,A pillar support bars, seat bolsters all add to the ingress/egress shenanigans. A 4door shell may be a bit stronger due to the center pillar, it also makes working in the back much easier on some cars. Hatchbacks it isn't quite so advantageous, trunk cars it is advantageous. Either will work and both have. Feel free to use Google translator and surf some foreign forums for a better answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I like the larger opening on a 2 door, but it sure is convenient to be able to toss/grab your helmet by opening the rear door vs. going to the hatch.
Are you saying that, performance and repair-wise, if I tried to build up a GL and a GTI, assuming equal driver skill and equal build, they would both do just as well and cost just as much to repair?
 

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All right, I'll say it. 8k ain't gonna get you a lot of fun in rally after you build a car (if you can realistically get it on stage and in shape to finish a rally).

Worrying about how many rallies you can so isn't a priority in this context.
 

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Fun in rally is a LOT more about who you're in the car with, who's waiting for you at the service park, and being a part of the rally community itself.
Super duper true... I've had a rally where I won my class, clenched a championship and had almost no fun. and I've finished dead last and had a blast..

All you can get out of rally is Fun, improved driving skills, and amazing experiences. the real secret is to "race to the bottom" and find the cheapest formula that works for YOU to have fun.

I'm partial to FWD imprezas, because I got my start there. .and I have figured out a fairly cheap formula for them (finally, though a bit too late)

really an OBX torsen front diff for $370 + $260 for a 4.44 final drive (would have to be a 95 Gear box, not a 93 or 94) and labor which is either free because its you and friends. or a ton at a shop ... ($750 ish) and your slow fwd IMP is a ... less slow FWD Imp.. :)

BUT others have figured out cheapy formulas for other cars as well. the big advantage to doing an impreza (fwd) is that you can bum parts off all the other impreza teams.

The big down side is your car will weight 400 pounds over that of a Golf or something, and they will likely beat you every time.. LOL but I had a lot of fun.


Golfs seem to have better gear box and final drive options, but you also have to PAY for that.


Repairs In the USA, for imprezas of the GC era are still dirt cheap. super cheap. but that will probably change in about 5 to 10 years. maybe sooner.

I hardly see any GD era imprezas coming into pick and pulls but soon really soon that will change.
 
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