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A customer of mine just sold a pristine '00 Focus 4dr for $1000. 230k miles but drove like new, no dents, dings or rust, Zetec 5speed w/new tires. Impreza wagons or Civic 4doors should all be priced right. The Imps run down stage just like the coupes or 4 doors, no penalty because it is a family truckster. Sube made FWDs Imps and Legacys until 1995 or 96?? Newer ones can be converted back easily and you can run them in AWD/FWD or RWD , turbo, supercharged or NA pretty easily if wanted. Swiss Army knife of rally cars.

At an actual rally if you have to look for help or parts the Sube would likely be first and easiest, Honda next and then maybe Focus. Those are the brands you will see in the service area and lots of fans and workers will have one also. Many times it might be someone in the crowd who comes up with the spare part you need over night.

You might think about saving up a little bit and buying a car out here (west coast). Bus out and drive back. Lots of rally folks in our area that might be up for helping you. No rust issues for the most part out here, same with a few other areas in the west or southern states.
 

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Sube made FWDs Imps and Legacys until 1995 or 96?? Newer ones can be converted back easily and you can run them in AWD/FWD or RWD , turbo, supercharged or NA pretty easily if wanted. Swiss Army knife of rally cars..
'95. but there is no point in using the subie fwd transmission; no final drive option, lsd fitment issues and spline and cv differences between different years, also nearly impossible to find these days. make life easy and convert the awd box to fwd. advantage to the obd1 cars because they are tunable.
 

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'95. but there is no point in using the subie fwd transmission; no final drive option, lsd fitment issues and spline and cv differences between different years, also nearly impossible to find these days. make life easy and convert the awd box to fwd. advantage to the obd1 cars because they are tunable.
Excellent info. We started with a FWD '93 1.8 I think, put in a later year '94? engine and trans and had to swap stuff around. RallyXd it a couple of times and sold it. I believe the car got swapped to a 2.2 FWD for a short time and the got an STi upgrade (all done at All Wheels Driven ??) for Carl Decker. Car is a top runner when he enters regional or national events. Pretty sweet upgrade path available there.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Alright guys I feel like we're getting closer here again, so I've narrowed the field down a bit. These are pre-2000 Subarus, all of which I'm hoping (but you guys may be able to verify) would be cheap to maintain and easy to fix:

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5078741269.html

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5110333131.html

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5100103503.html

http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/cto/5096623102.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/5100613215.html

http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/5101583731.html (thought I'd throw this one in there since i hadn't seen it before)

What do you guys think? Which car, or type of car, would you guys pick out of the Subarus ?

I didn't want that '93 Legacy because the title was rebuilt, I felt as though that may hike up the insurance premium.
 

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don't cut
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Speaking of insurance, don't expect your insurance to cover damage to your car during a rally. But you probably already know that. And one of the first rules of owning a race car of any sort: don't own a race car that is worth more money than you can throw away.
 

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we seem to think that car choice matters in terms of how long people stay in the sport, so its something people get Really passionate about ...

*shrugs* a bit tooo passionate, but hey ... lol

Let me Grossly over simply the whole "transmission / gearing/ Tire size/ final drive" issue for you .

If your car is Geared to hit a top speed that it can't actually reach. your gearing/final drive/ tire size is Wrong and that will slow you down a Ton.

Example 93 impreza base is geared to hit about 140 , but it can't get going over ~ 105 mph. if you changed your gearing/final drive so its new top speed is 95 mph, it would be Way faster and you will set better stage times.

you'll be way more successful early on, and with less money spent . in Theory you should stay in the sport longer than someone who is geared wrong, and tries to make their car faster by throwing TONS of money into a money and turbo.

its possible to have the correct "top speed in top gear" but still have bad gearing. Ideally every time you shift you are still in your power band, and as you go through higher gears you drop less RPMs each shift. IE 1st redline at 6k shifts into 4k in 2nd gear. take that to redline and shift into 3rd at 4200 rpm. then 4400, then 4600 . That's Ideal racing gearing ..

hot gear boxes for a subaru would be something JDM - RA (race application) or Msport or that australian company. $2,000 - $3000 . not cheap. and you can't change your final drive Enough, to fix the gearing problem by it self.

in a RWD car, you can swap out the final drive for Anything else, because its separated in the rear housing . while that may leave a bad shift gap somewhere.. its also very likely that you can fix the "top speed" Very cheaply at a pick and pull.

:eek: :( :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
we seem to think that car choice matters in terms of how long people stay in the sport, so its something people get Really passionate about ...

*shrugs* a bit tooo passionate, but hey ... lol

Let me Grossly over simply the whole "transmission / gearing/ Tire size/ final drive" issue for you .

If your car is Geared to hit a top speed that it can't actually reach. your gearing/final drive/ tire size is Wrong and that will slow you down a Ton.

Example 93 impreza base is geared to hit about 140 , but it can't get going over ~ 105 mph. if you changed your gearing/final drive so its new top speed is 95 mph, it would be Way faster and you will set better stage times.

you'll be way more successful early on, and with less money spent . in Theory you should stay in the sport longer than someone who is geared wrong, and tries to make their car faster by throwing TONS of money into a money and turbo.

its possible to have the correct "top speed in top gear" but still have bad gearing. Ideally every time you shift you are still in your power band, and as you go through higher gears you drop less RPMs each shift. IE 1st redline at 6k shifts into 4k in 2nd gear. take that to redline and shift into 3rd at 4200 rpm. then 4400, then 4600 . That's Ideal racing gearing ..

hot gear boxes for a subaru would be something JDM - RA (race application) or Msport or that australian company. $2,000 - $3000 . not cheap. and you can't change your final drive Enough, to fix the gearing problem by it self.

in a RWD car, you can swap out the final drive for Anything else, because its separated in the rear housing . while that may leave a bad shift gap somewhere.. its also very likely that you can fix the "top speed" Very cheaply at a pick and pull.

:eek: :( :confused:
Alright back to the drawing board then, because that all actually made perfect sense to me, mainly because someone tried to explain it over the phone a while ago.

So to paraphrase him (John V), it's not the cars driven that matters, it's how they are set up.

Is it possible to do what you're talking about in a FWD car for just as little $$ as you would in a RWD car ?

If not , can you suggest a RWD car that is 1) Plentiful on Craigslist 2) Cheap to buy 3) Cheap to set up 4) Cheap to break and get parts for, and the parts are easily available

Say I took a RWD car and set it up with what you're talking about, and I took a FWD car (with the same HP and torque) and set it up, would the FWD be quicker than the RWD and what would be the price difference for setting them up? If they broke and ruptured and things fell off, would the RWD car be a significant percentage cheaper to replace ? Would it be just as easy to find parts ?


------- ADDENDUM --------

Ohhh my God you tried to say the EXACT same thing 4 days ago and I completely glossed over it when I read it back then, I'm sooo so sorry.

Is the Nissan 240 SX your best suggestion for what I should buy? I'm asking because the Craigslist 240Sxes are either "Work required" which I don't want, heavily modified which I can't import, or $4000 +, which doesn't seem right for a starter rally car

PS , if you think I should buy this : http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/5088932094.html Then I will have learned my lesson and will buy it and not waste any more time (although this has all been very informative)
 

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I would advise you to maybe just calm down and think about all of this. All cars break, all cars cost money to repair, all cars take time and money to build. You need to pick a car, we shouldn't be picking it for you. Everyone has different likes , dislikes, skill sets, support groups and finances. If you look at any entry list or go to a rally you will see many different kinds of cars, every one made some sort of sense to the builder or owner.

That is tho a very clean looking old Volvo, low miles and a decent price.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
My take on all this is:

- I wanna rally something that I can buy cheap
- I wanna rally something that will be cheap to fix
- I wanna rally something where, if something goes wrong, I can find a part and info online, quickly

When I started this thread, I was interested in the golf. It looks like point #2 does not hold true for the golf. Point #1 doesn't hold true for the subarus because "cheap to buy" should also incorporate "cheap to build"

As impulsive as I sound, I did search meticulously before I found that particular Volvo. I was initially concerned since the 240s aren't plentiful on Craig's list, but further research about good RWD starters and good starter ralliers in general has led me to believe I shouldn't be worried about part availability for that car.

Would you agree? I know one person who would agree, I'm just looking for a bit more yesses, need to know I won't be buying a car where I come on here, say I bought it, and then get 80 people going "big mistake"
 

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Buy a damn Impreza 4door with a 2.2 and WITHOUT ABS. Most of the parts used for the FWD car and be sourced from the AWD car, sans the rear hubs. There are a plethora of them in the junk yards throughout Pennsyltuckey to get parts from cheaply. There will also be a ton of them at every rally you go to on the east coast, and a bunch of people who know how to work on them.

The 2.2's last a good while, make decent power, and are non-interference. They also fit in the O2L class at NASA and don't seem to blow up nearly as much as the 2.5's (O2H) either.

As Kevin noted, use the AWD gear box. Other than needing a 50mm Deep socket, you can take them to pieces with basic hand tools. A prudent use of the googles will find transmission ratio charts, but long and short is find a box from a '97-'00 outback. Spend a few hundred bucks for a 4.44 ring and pinion.

Call John or Doug Nagy at Streetwise for boingers. You don't need anything stupidly crazy because the car is light enough to survive on 40's.

Find brakes that work under 14" wheels, since the tyres will be cheaper, and the tyre/wheel assembly will have less rotating mass and thus inertia. Toss the stock bias valve and get yourself an adjustable proportioning setup. As time allows swap to twin masters and a balance bar.

As you build the car go do events. Figure out what breaks, and what needs to be improved. Get smoother and faster, then eventually wear out the $150 motor you bought off some guys garage floor. Spend a bunch of weekends rebuilding the motor, only to blow up cylinder 4 on the first stage it sees. Then keep driving on said motor and lose a "national" because the defroster cable seizes and you do a stage blind... Rebuild the motor again, go do an international event, and drink the Maple Syrup. / tangent
 

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I would advise you to maybe just calm down and think about all of this. All cars break, all cars cost money to repair, all cars take time and money to build. You need to pick a car, we shouldn't be picking it for you. Everyone has different likes , dislikes, skill sets, support groups and finances. If you look at any entry list or go to a rally you will see many different kinds of cars, every one made some sort of sense to the builder or owner.

That is tho a very clean looking old Volvo, low miles and a decent price.
^ Just to repeat this
Safety costs are reasonably fixed. But the car and price is going to vary depending on market and availability. There is nothing stopping you from buying a car doing the safety stuffs, throwing on some bilstein HD's (although a decent rally suspension preferred), some good brake pads and a skid plate and going for it. You only need a reliable car to start, speed will come with experience and car development doesn't all have to be done before you hit your first stage. subaru, golf, neon, focus, 240, 240sx have all worked for different people and can be built to different specs depending on your goals and budget. my car started it's first stage with a 1.8L, 13" tires on steel rims and drum brakes.
 

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Also don't get hung up on final drives for subaru stuff.

I did plenty fine on an RS 4.11, and honestly can't tell much of a difference from my 4.11 to a 4.44 that is in the car currently.

Like others said. A solid NA 2.2 and a 4.11 trans that you can find both for under $200 on CL and junkyards. Don't even think about the 2.5 engine. On paper it shows an extra 20hp, but in real life? I'd rather have the engine I can redline all day without even having the worry of it breaking cross my mind, unlike a 2.5.

Plus in your first 3-4 years of racing, assuming you do 3-4 rallies a year, you'll be slow as shit no matter what you drive, all of us are/were. You'll see more improvement in your speed not by an extra 20hp or a top speed increase (seriously, who cares about theoretical top speed of a gearbox??? You'll be using 2nd and 3rd no matter what, maybe touch 4th in an older NA car. Who gives a flip about what you can do in 5th?), but rather gaining experience, DRIVING more, being committed over the crests, hitting 5's flat out.

The reason that the guys over the pond are so much faster than us is that they've been racing for 15-20 years since they were teenagers, not because they have a volvo with a 5.something final drive. They have more people racing who breed more competition that pushes them to go flat over a blind crest because if they don't, someone else will, and that someone will gain another 2-3 seconds on them. Do that over 15 crests on a stage, and now you've got a 30-45 second advantage over someone else who braked everytime he got worried he couldn't see the road in front of him clear as day.

Subarus are going to be your best bet for sustainable american rallying. You'll get a huge support group in actual races, plenty of racing guys and service guys who can help diagnosis and provide parts in a pinch. You'll get contingency money for RA national events if you decide to do RA events ($300 per event if you are the first 10 to pay), and parts are pretty easy to find on NASIOC, CL, etc. Won't be needing a ton, just a full set of spare control arms, lateral links, trailing arms, etc.

Are there better cars with better upgrade paths for cheaper out there? Yea, for sure. But there is more to picking "the right car" then entry price and upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Very compelling arguments both of you, and the Volvo was sold on eBay :p so I'm gonna call that guy about his green impreza and see if I can test drive
 

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well if you really think about it, and think hard. you'll see open light is a fairly big class and its basically all imprezas. none of whom can do anything about the 4.44 final , most of whom don't even bother and stay with a 4.11. And yet an impreza wins Open light approximately every time. So it won't be holding you back with in the class.

and really not even the open class cars can get better than 4.44 . and yet an open light or SP wins every regional (just about) and an open car wins every national .


All that said. I now want to see you build a 240 :) Volvo! Unless you are south west / north west and we could end up in the same rally. then i want you in open light. lol :)

I think that will be my new advice. if someone is close enough that i can race with them, they should be in Open Light, with me. If not, they should build something more interesting. :D
 

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Alex makes an interesting point in his last post.
It is worth looking at what is going on in your area and seeing what sort of cars you are likely to be lining up against. We're in this for fun and it is ALWAYS more fun to be in tight battles with people in similar equipment so you can really see who's driving better on the day. Back when I ran my PGT 2.5RS, the first of the privateer WRXs were hitting the stages and I was horribly outclassed - particularly on the open flowing roads. But... There were a couple of other 2.5 RSs that were virtually identical to mine and we always had good battles - sometimes down to seconds either way per stage and a dozen seconds or so over 1h47m. Personally, I think that is WAY more fun - and way more of a motivator to drive better - than having a unique car that may be the only car 'built right' out there but that has no 'reasonable' competition.
 

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The reason that the guys over the pond are so much faster than us is that they've been racing for 15-20 years since they were teenagers, not because they have a volvo with a 5.something final drive. They have more people racing who breed more competition that pushes them to go flat over a blind crest because if they don't, someone else will, and that someone will gain another 2-3 seconds on them. Do that over 15 crests on a stage, and now you've got a 30-45 second advantage over someone else who braked everytime he got worried he couldn't see the road in front of him clear as day.
And don't forget, they can go to several events every month that are closer to them than the closest event to any of us. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. What we sorely miss in this country.
 

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some thoughts, since you keep bringing up "ease/cost of maintenance/repair"...

pretty much anything that was built/sold in mass quantities as a "plain old ordinary car" is going to be very similar in this regard - definitely all within the same order of magnitude. Anything "sports car" is probably going to carry a premium, even when it comes to aftermarket (Dorman etc) replacement bits.

Aftermarket stuff (if available) is typically cheaper than OE from the dealer.
Domestic parts seem to be a little cheaper than Japanese imports, and my gut tells me that ze Germans are (in general) more expensive than either.
Lots of replacement bits are available from Dorman etc. for Hondas (and, I'd assume, most dime-a-dozen Japanese cars), and definitely for Ford/Chevy. No idea on ze Germans, I'd guess reasonable availability on "lower end" stuff like VW, probably less so on BMW.

pretty much everything under the sun has an "enthusiast community" online - how helpful they are definitely varies though.

on MOST of these cars, particular trim level (or even body style) doesn't matter much - any of the engines from any 88-00 civic will bolt in, and some idiot has already done it (and documented some/all of it online), and most will swallow an engine from an Integra, Accord, or other honda product with various level of involvement. Similar things can be said about Subarus for sure...

So, cars that sold more, are probably going to be cheaper to maintain or repair (and more junkyard donors too)....
 

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And don't forget, they can go to several events every month that are closer to them than the closest event to any of us. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. What we sorely miss in this country.

I can't be bothered with MConte ecplaining things about people and places he's never been and cannot speak with..Maybe you could remind him that in rally competition it is shortest TIME to do all the SSs that wins overall and same in the various classes..
Thus while nobody has ever suggested that it is a cars --fitted with this box or another---top speed is important---(what do keyboard debaters say? Had-strawminun redherring)(or some such horseshit) any fool can see that given 2 cars of same powerz, same weight, same everything..and roughly same (low) skill levels.....

even an idiot can understand that the one which can accelerate MORE QUICKLY up to 'whatever speed you ultimately chick out at"...

Will beat the other...

And HOW do 2 cars same weight, same powerz, same crew, same oh same-oh accelerate at decisively different RATES?

Even an idiot ought top be able to see and answer that..

It was what poor Alex Rademacher was tripping all over himself trying to say:
we want a QUICK car, and trade FAST for QUICK


GRANTED that IF there is a bunch of guys with similar cars, even if they are of extremely modest output, heavy and hampered with unavailability of truly eye opening final drives and a person is satisfied with this modest level and dead end in upgrading potential
Then loadsa fun can be had.

But personal experience, observation and discussions with an incaluably broader array of competitiors than our little froggies in the bottom of thier wells over a wider range of skill levels----and the sheer rate of dropping out of the sport as the froggie voices have become dominant, dropping out and selling at shocking losses------makes me think that most people who stay IN the sport harbor dark desires for more performance---and "better' working cars...

So ask Conte if he thinks when there are 45 guys in one class with pretty similarly effective cars, and 50 of the 60 is just as willing to hold the foot down over than blind crest because they have all been rallying for 15-20 years who he thinks is going to win?

I suspect it is the guy whose car arrives at that crest sooner, and the next crest sooner and the next corner sooner and the corner after that sooner...in a succession of 25-90 mph run-it-thru-the gears maneuvers...

I kinda suspect---all things being equal, the guys in a car geared 4.88 or 5.1 are going to arrive there sooner than a identical car geared 2.89.

(and i suspect that eventually---if they are not frustrated out of the sport because it just isn't as awesome as they thought when they listen to the just drive any old thing-----they will be wishing that had such a simple, cheap, solution for more acc.)

But ask him for me, would ya?
 

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I think JVL has misunderstood me.

I heard through the grapevine that he thinks I was comparing similar cars with similar drivers in similar situations. Could someone tell him that the point I was trying to make is that while someone spends a bunch of time researching, digging through junkyards, trying to find some special high final drive that will magically make him faster. It isn't going to matter if he ends up braking because he wusses out on a crest because he doesn't have either the balls or the experience to stay flat out, while the guy in "subpar" equipment who does go balls out is going to end up with the shorter stage time regardless if he has a 2.93 final drive and geared for 150mph top speed even though his car can only hit 100 on a downhill with a tailwind.

Don't worry too much about having the perfect equipment, do what you can with what you got and do as many events as you can comfortably afford. This is nothing but a hobby for 99% of us.
 
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