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Author Topic: Another Newbee with a general question
John Newcomb
Junior Member

Posts: 2
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Hello all, my name is John Newcomb and I am a
race-a-holic. I have been out of the road coarse
game for sometime running the round track seen and
frankly have just gotten tired of fixing my car
after every race. I was in the SCCA several years
ago an ran a F-5 for a while then a DSR and then
stepped back so to speak when the Stohrs and the
Radicals came on the seen and pushed the price of
a good car thru the ole perverberal roof.
Anyway not to ramble, I have been to the track and
seen how many of you guys are out there and it
really seems like it will be a blast to come run
with you so I am considering building me a car. I
am a steel worker so I can't afford one of those
top of the line run-offs winners built by one of
the big guys so to speak. I do on the other hand
have a particular set of skills, I can build,fab,
and mechanic good enough to get by. I was wondering if there was anyone out there that could
roughly ( without to much detail and not expecting
a lot of trouble or unforseen issues ) What someone could build a descent car for if they did
all the work themselves and I do mean bending my
own cage and installing it and I can build the
motor and install all the optional equipment. All
I am after is maybe some advise on what would be
the best alternative, such as year of donor. I
am thinking that if you bought a donor ( which
ever car would take the least amount of after-
market type stuff would be the most effeciant so
to speak ) I guess the 99. What could someone get
one of those out on the track and be competitive
of course sumizing they can drive reasonably well
for? Or would the old adage ( find someone who
is dieing to get rid of one that is already built
apply here also ) I have read some of the articles written here and don't see a whole lot of
dollars worth of extra's to be bought and installed maybe I am just missing the whole deal
kinda like the saying ( I was wondering why the
fisby kept getting bigger and then it hit me. )
Anyway any input would be greatly appreciated
and I am looking forward to being out there with
you all soon. I will be running in the Southeast
region since I live in Woodstock, Alabama. Thanks,
in advance. John

Bob Thornton - Race Engineering Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. - Sir Winston Churchill

Region: Central Carolina
Car #: 48
Year : 1999
Posts: 1327
Status: Offline
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Welcome John, we will help in any way we can just give a call 704 202 5551

Thanks
Bob Thornton
Race Engineering

--------------------
Bob Thornton
http://www.raceengineering.org
Race Engineering Championship Winning Engines

Eric Barbaric Verified Driver
Member

Region: Kansas City
Car #: 95
Year : 1991
Posts: 311
Status: Offline
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John,

Welcome!

Buy an $8500 SM and start racing. Seat time will be your best add-on. You can then figure out what the car needs as time passes.

Then you can decide to upgrade to a $13,000 competitive car or spend several thousand on the one you've got.

If you start with a $1500 donor car, you will get to $7000 mighty quick. And you'll spend time and effort doing it. But if that's fun for you, then do that.

I'll let someone else chime in about what year to buy/build. Driver weight is a consideration.

Eric

Competitive is a relative term. I compete with back-markers and mid-packers.

Todd Greene Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: Alabama
Car #: 86sm
Year : 1995
Posts: 67
Status: Offline
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Welcome. I'm newbie myself...

I built my car myself over the last 7 months. About 200 hours total. I've probably spent too much time and money on details.

My estimate is $8000 plus the donor. But I have a really nice safe car (for a home-build.)

Cliffy Chains
Member

Region: Central FL
Car #: 17
Year : 1991
Posts: 275
Status: Offline
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Welcome, I'm not a superstar by any means, (my wife agrees) But alot of drivers out there have ran with me in my 1.6L Black #17 car.

I bought the car fully built in primer on Ebay for 5800, painted it, ran it for quite awhile with the stock 130k mile motor. Everyone around me, (mostly superstars in their own minds anyway) gave me the advice to "learn to drive". A year and couple months later, I run closer to the front after 4k on a Jeffy Boy motor, but I will be the first to say, not a race weekend don't go by that I don't learn more about running these cars to the limit.

Most everyone in SM will help get you up to speed quickly, Jeffy Boy helps alot of us here in the SE, just ask for help, in the end we all just like the competition.

--------------------
BDR Motorsports, Autotechnik
Cliff Blanchard
Down on power 1.6
Sluggish overweight 99'

Teamfour Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: WDCR
Car #: 04
Year : 1993
Posts: 519
Status: Offline
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quote:
Originally posted by Eric Barbaric:


Buy an $8500 SM and start racing. Seat time will be your best add-on. You can then figure out what the car needs as time passes.


Ditto.

I too came from the F-5 ranks and also drove Factory Five Cobras after a few years in dirt mods. I have real good fab skills but could not see building an SM. There are way too many decent cars for sale that will allow you to get in the seat immediately.

--------------------
Lee Tilton
1993 Meowta #04
Brimtek Motorsports/ Team Four Racing
Team Four Racing

Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: So Cal
Car #: #29
Year : 1993
Posts: 232
Status: Offline
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quote:
Originally posted by Eric Barbaric:
John,

Welcome!

Buy an $8500 SM and start racing. Seat time will be your best add-on. You can then figure out what the car needs as time passes.

Then you can decide to upgrade to a $13,000 competitive car or spend several thousand on the one you've got.

If you start with a $1500 donor car, you will get to $7000 mighty quick. And you'll spend time and effort doing it. But if that's fun for you, then do that.

I'll let someone else chime in about what year to buy/build. Driver weight is a consideration.

Eric

Competitive is a relative term. I compete with back-markers and mid-packers.

+1

--------------------
2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
"Only boring people get bored"

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: Central Florida
Car #: 3
Year : 1992
Posts: 1304
Status: Offline
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Right now you can't lose by buying a ready to race car. If you have a chance get someone who really knows these cars to look at any car you are thinking about buying. I don't know where Woodbridge is in Alabama, but come down to Sebring the first week of January and you will see some of the best built SM's around and get a chance to talk to Tom from OPM, Jeffy Boy (Autotechnik), Stu (BSI), Mike (ISC), and even Drago!

--------------------
Paul McLester

Frank Todaro
Member

Region: Ohio Valley Region
Car #: 35
Year : 1999
Posts: 170
Status: Offline
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I have a different perspective, I think all the above advise is correct if you know what you are looking for and know what to stay away from you can score a deal on a used SM, I chose to build my own, in part because I get enjoyment out of that part of the process and I also know exactly what I have, and its done the way I want it. It can be said that if you make the wrong buy on a used car you can be in for as much or more money by the time you work out the kinks. I built my car in about two months and did it all but the cage and with donor i was t 14,000. I have some extra stuff that is not necessary such as passenger seat as I double as a PCA instructor and I replace stuff that maybe was not at the point of replacement but just wanted to eliminate future failures. I just had fun building it.

--------------------
Frank
Member: No Pain Racing

John Newcomb
Junior Member

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Thanks to all for the warm welcome, it is much
appreciated. I am really torn on the build vs.
buy and most of you brought out the most important
points, I do enjoy the building of and like the
fact that I know for sure what I have, but at the
same time I wouldn't mind just getting something
for the same money basically that no time and work
has to be done to go racing. But there in lies the
other issue in the fact I really don't know what
to look for and who might have a good deal or may
just have a pile of junk that looks good and has
some friends who say its a great deal. Anyway I
will make up my mind and soon will be headed in
one direction or the other. Thanks again, everyone for the info and opinions. I look forward
to meeting and running with you all. John

Teamfour Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: WDCR
Car #: 04
Year : 1993
Posts: 519
Status: Offline
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John, I can sympathize with your trepidation on buying a used car. If you peruse the classifieds on this site, you will see numerous cars for sale. If you see one that appeals to you, ask questions on the forum. Chances are someone here knows of the car and a little of its history. Also, just like buying a regular used car, see if you can bring the car to a SM-centric shop for a once over.

--------------------
Lee Tilton
1993 Meowta #04
Brimtek Motorsports/ Team Four Racing
Team Four Racing

MPR22
Member

Region: Southwest
Car #: 22
Year : 92'
Posts: 296
Status: Offline
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quote:
Originally posted by Frank Todaro:
I have a different perspective, I think all the above advise is correct if you know what you are looking for and know what to stay away from you can score a deal on a used SM, I chose to build my own, in part because I get enjoyment out of that part of the process and I also know exactly what I have, and its done the way I want it. It can be said that if you make the wrong buy on a used car you can be in for as much or more money by the time you work out the kinks. I built my car in about two months and did it all but the cage and with donor i was t 14,000. I have some extra stuff that is not necessary such as passenger seat as I double as a PCA instructor and I replace stuff that maybe was not at the point of replacement but just wanted to eliminate future failures. I just had fun building it.

+1

Mine took a little longer, cost about the same including rebuilding the top and bottom ends. I know it costs more to build but it was worth the experience and I know the car well enough to quickly repair just about anything.

My wife wants a car now after taking her to a couple of DE's. So I have the same decision as you, build again or buy. I am leaning for the buy just to save some bucks and time. But I know what to look for now because I did the build.

I know this didn't help you in the decision process, its just to say there is no right or wrong decision based on input from others. You need the decision that is right for you.

--------------------
Michael Ross

Eric Barbaric Verified Driver
Member

Region: Kansas City
Car #: 95
Year : 1991
Posts: 311
Status: Offline
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John,

There has NEVER been a better time to buy a built car. The economy sucks and has forced many to sell off their toys. Also, many racers are "upgrading" to the 99 model, since it performed so well at the Runoffs, and, well, some people just like its looks. So there are lots of cars to choose from right now. On the 94-97s, they are probably the best value since a) Drago says they are cheaper to build and maintain; b) they were noted underdogs at the Runoffs. c) because of b) they are likely to get some help in the future.

Between seat time and the good deals out there, the scales tip in the favor of BUY.

You can almost tell from pictures of engine bays and interiors if the car is well cared for. Some of the cars for sale look like they have spent more time in the dirt than on the track. SMs are durable, but off-roading just ain't their thang.

Cliffy Chains
Member

Region: Central FL
Car #: 17
Year : 1991
Posts: 275
Status: Offline
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quote:
Originally posted by Eric Barbaric:
You can almost tell from pictures of engine bays and interiors if the car is well cared for. Some of the cars for sale look like they have spent more time in the dirt than on the track. SMs are durable, but off-roading just ain't their thang.

This is true, I cant get that GA clay to come off, and the extra rocks in the crevices are weighing me down......

--------------------
BDR Motorsports, Autotechnik
Cliff Blanchard
Down on power 1.6
Sluggish overweight 99'

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Member

Region: Central Florida
Car #: 3
Year : 1992
Posts: 1304
Status: Offline
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Not that the chains add any weight! [laughing] [rolling on floor laughin]

--------------------
Paul McLester

Brandon F. Verified Driver
Member

Region: NNJR
Car #: 48
Year : 1996
Posts: 191
Status: Offline
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+infinity to buying.

Best bet is to visit a couple of races now (your weather permits that - lucky dog!) and talk with the SM/SSM drivers there. As Eric notes there are probably more than enough deals to be had if you spend the time looking.

My best advice (from a guy who's never raced and just bought an SSM this year) definitely look for one with a solid history. This means SCCA log book with actual race dates entered into it.

Browsing the classified here on SM.com you will note a bunch that are built but never raced. That would be an awfully big question mark to answer "on track" in my opinion.

I guess I got lucky with mine as I not only spoke to the most recent owner (who apparently was a fairly good driver in the NER) but also got to talk with the original builder the same day. Between that, all the documentation that came with it (3 log books - 2x SCCA & 1 NASA), and the anecdotal references to it ("Darrel was awfully fast in that car...") made the purchase an easy one to make.

Some have also noted that even if you buy instead of build there will be some costs post-purchase to make everything right. I spent roughly an additional $1700 on mine to get the right seat purchased & installed, aligned, corner weighted, the whole bit before I made it on-track so keep that in mind with your budget.

Good luck!
Brandon

oem steve
Member

Region: South East
Car #: #92
Year : 91
Posts: 189
Status: Offline
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Be sure you know who built the engine also, you don't want to have egg on your face in case of a tear down. Stick with cars that have either a documented crate engine or an engine builder with a good reputation such as Bob T.

--------------------
email: standrewsexpress@bellsouth.net
visit us at http://www.standrewsexpress.com

Under powered and under driven

Eric Barbaric Verified Driver
Member

Region: Kansas City
Car #: 95
Year : 1991
Posts: 311
Status: Offline
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95% of us will never experience a teardown or even a protest. I wouldn't worry about who built your engine until you developed the talent, set-up and funding to drive with the top 5%. Most of us just drive SM as a hobby.

If you are absolutely committed to knowing you are 100% legal, then build it yourself.... everything.

Most of us have heads and such that we trusted someone else to build to legal specs. But who really knows?

Right now your best money is spent on safety, reliabilty, seat time, set-up tools, tires, brakes, and THEN horsepower and torque.

Don't spend an extra $2000 for a name-brand engine for fear of being torn down. That's just not a realistic fear. False Evidence Appearing Real costs us plenty of treasure and lives. Let's turn our backs on fear, starting with SM.

davew Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Veteran Member

Region: chicago
Car #: 72 and ?
Year : 90 and 90
Posts: 1051
Status: Offline
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First thing, get a GCR. Read it many times. Make sure you understand.

Second thing, buy my book. Yes this is a shameless plug. But most of these guys have a copy. I even sent Drago a copy a couple weeks ago.

Third, talk to your local pro shop. He can stear you in the right direction. He knows every car for sale and knows which are good deals.

Educate yourself before buying or building.

Dave

--------------------
Advanced Autosports, The Midwests leader in Spec Miata Service, Parts and Rentals
608-313-1230
Authorised Spec Miata service center
www.advanced-autosports.com

Brandon F. Verified Driver
Member

Region: NNJR
Car #: 48
Year : 1996
Posts: 191
Status: Offline
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Are we allowed to "+infinity" more than once in a 48 hour period?

Dave - good thoughts, all of them. Even the plug for your book. Heck I bought a copy of it!

[Razz]

   

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