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Hooniverse Asks – $5k, No Limits, What’s Fastest?


Fox Body Mustang for saleAfter forcing you to go old, then new and stock, today we get down the the most Hooniverse version of this question: How fast can you go for $5k?

The only requirement is that it’s gotta go around corners. Yeah, you can probably round up a 454, 6-71, TH400 and big rear axle to hang under some crapcan for that kind of money, but that’s just too easy. We’re headed back to Buttonwillow, fastest lap times take home the gold.

Being, well, me, I immediately thought Fox body. Hunt down the cheapest stickshift roller 5.0 car you can get (a little over $2 grand it seems), drop in  a cam and other high-rev parts, then go wild with suspension bits and a set of sticky tires. It won’t get you any dates, but we can rely on your natural charm for that, right?

Other obvious rivals include assorted Camaros (hard to find with a stick or make handle well), turbo AWD DSMs (Eclipse, Talon, Laser), or…ummm…well, that’s where you come in. Get to it.

Image source: This guy’s craigslist ad

Currently there are "83 comments" on this Article:

  1. IronBallsMcG says:

    Run a GRM $20XX Challenge winner and spend the rest on hookers and blow.

  2. stanleypup says:

    For your money, you won't get faster than a used liter bike.

    A quick craigslist search gives me this 2005 CBR1000RR, which will do 0-60 in about 3 seconds, and won't be a slouch in the corners if it's in the right hands.

  3. kyle_a_m says:

    Following the natural progression of these posts, I can't help but wonder at what price/age point we reach the answer "Anything, if the cliff is tall enough."

    Clearly, we're not there yet. Just brought it to mind, is all.

  4. muthalovin says:

    944 Turbo. Approximately one gajillion miles. $4900. That extra 100 bucks could be spent on premium fuel until this thing blows up.

    <img src="http://images.autotrader.com/scaler/544/408/images/2012/7/31/326/581/26782270875.326581873.IM1.MAIN.565x421_A.562×421.jpg&quot; width="500/">


    • P161911 says:

      As someone who as actually driven a FSAE car I would have to agree. In the mid-1990s our team took one out to a SCCA Solo II event and hit over 100mph on a autocross course in a parking lot (calculated speed, hit the rev limiter in 4th gear).

  5. It has a lot of miles but still runs.

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/cPSWkl.jpg&quot; title="Hosted by imgur.com" alt="" />

    I only paid $4250. Then immediately put $1500 into it just so it wouldn't be a death trap.

    Or: http://huntsville.craigslist.org/cto/3227611481.h

  6. Tanshanomi says:

    <img src="http://www.gmrscgy.com/endurance/3.jpg&quot; width="500">
    A shifter kart powered by a 250cc Rotax tandem 2-stroke.

  7. skitter says:

    Then it will be a question of the highest weight:CdA ratio, and the Sevens will finally lose.

  8. TDI_FTW says:

    A Mazda Miata fr $4,850 Buy It Now http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2003-Mazda-Miata-B

    Doesn't leave much money for upgrades, but if you have more patience you could try to place the winning bid on one of the "no reserve" auctions for less.

  9. LTDScott says:

    $5K is what paid I paid for my Fox body LTD about 10 years ago which already had a stock 5.0 EFI and 5-speed swap and upgraded brakes.

    Of course, over the years I've probably spent double that initial buy in upgrading the engine with heads/cam/intake/exhaust and throwing half of the Maximum Motorsports catalog at the suspension, so it certainly wouldn't fall in that price range anymore, although if I ever decided to sell it, I have no idea what the market price would be for it.

  10. muthalovin says:

    '93 Lexus SC 300 for $2500. Inline 6 and a slushbox, but you could find some Supra parts and you can probably go decently fast.

    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/5K75F85J23k23I33Hdc8ic5fff3a305161d9c.jpg"&gt;
    <a href="http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3213909588.html” target=”_blank”>http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3213909588.html

    • TX_Stig says:

      With a little digging and patience, the 6 speed ones still surface…

      Those are still pretty cars. What happened with the generation after that?

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat says:

      Actually, I'd not fix the damage.

      Luxury beater car…FTW!

  11. P161911 says:

    1993 6-Speed LT-1 powered Corvette coupe $4500! http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3225245609….
    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/5Ke5Fc5Je3K13Ib3Hec8n551ab79783831442.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    300HP 0-60 less than 6sec 160mph+ top speed. 1g with minor tweaks.

  12. muthalovin says:

    How about a beat to hell Integra? 5 Speed! It's like an NSX that got burned out on meth, and has done the past 15 years in prison. Seller would probably take $1500 or less, maybe.

    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/5E85Ka5Ma3M13J23Hac8u95b9579d1bad1a83.jpg"&gt;
    <a href="http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3238945548.html” target=”_blank”>http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3238945548.html

  13. LTDScott says:

    Methinks that car isn't set up to handle all that well.

  14. mnm4ever says:

    Now this is more like it, I was thinking yesterday that "low $20s" was too high, too easy, you can buy almost anything for that price!

    But it seems that at any price point, the answer is always Corvette/Mustang/Camaro. Sure, people are trying to post more interesting answers, but none of them are actually "faster" than the big 3, dollar for dollar. Sure, there are pure race cars, and sport bikes, but those are not really in the spirit of things, being a street CAR.

    My $5k would go towards a C4 Vette, they are easily within the budget, especially with certain "problems" that make them significantly lower in value than a good one. I'd find one with typical GM destroyed seats and paint issues. Then slap on a flat black paint job and replacement racing seats.

  15. Alff says:

    Buy a $1500 Alfa Spider. The remaining $3500 will go faster than you can believe.

  16. Synchromesh says:

    Integra or Miata.

    Maybe an older Celica too.

  17. TurboBrick says:

    Ugly and/or high miles 1998-2002 Camaro Z28?

  18. garagewoolery says:

    Older first gen Miata for cheap, and put the rest of the money into a turbo & suspension upgrades. It's a multiple winning formula for Lemons.

  19. OA5599 says:

    Somebody else's car.

    [youtube XVACbEHkV2Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVACbEHkV2Q youtube]

  20. P161911 says:

    $5k for a car to race on the track.

    You didn't say we had to own it. The other $3500 can go to pay the fines for taking it out of state and to the track.

  21. joshwebster84 says:

    Sounds like the question I asked myself at 17. The answer then was 91 Integra, drop springs, and a B16A swap. God the neighbors hated me and my glasspack muffler.

    • MVEilenstein says:

      I probably would have been one of those neighbors.

      • joshwebster84 says:

        Surprisingly, it was not as loud as most of the common fart can style mufflers that you see on those cars. But that JDM engine was fun! LSD, too. I will never forget my dad's freaking out the first time I pushed the tach two grand into the red on the stock gauge cluster.

  22. RichardKopf says:

    `77-`78 Lincoln Mark V with a 460. Do a little work to the 460, beefier shocks and sway bars. Best served chilled.

  23. MVEilenstein says:

    What would YOU do with the remaining $4250? http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/cto/3239127828….

    • joshwebster84 says:

      Fantastic! You GOTTA keep the snake embroidered seat covers. But then you could put a Northstar V-8 in it.

      • MVEilenstein says:

        I went to a Pontiac car show two weeks ago. The Fiero guys were stuck in the corner, but a few of them had 350's shoved in the back. Talk about throttle oversteer. I love the car, but I have always hated the interior.

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat says:

      I'd go find a 4.6L STS to drop into it.

      …and purchase a few fire extinguishers.

    • Kevin Kiley says:

      i would take that pepboys shift knob and turn it 180 degrees..free of charge.

      • FuzzyPlushroom says:

        My friend's Civic has a similar aftermarket shift knob, and it's actually more comfortable to drive turned backward like that.

  24. CptSevere says:

    A Crown Vic P71 cop car would be a good place to start. Fast little cars are fun, but fast big cars are good for scaring the hell out of three other people.

  25. Mad_Science says:

    Seems there's 2 ways to get the job done:
    (1) buy something with power (or easy to make power) and then work to make it handle
    (2) Buy something that handles and try to wring what you can out of it

    (3) Buy a non-911 Porsche and pray to Zeustersrtreiburgsten (the God of German cars) that it doesn't break.

  26. muthalovin says:

    Oh. Man. How about this '87 roller Fiero for $400?

    "This fiero was an electric vehicle conversion in progress until owner discovered major suspension work was needed."

    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/5N85S45J13Kd3mf3Jac7s76d8fc84613a1351.jpg"&gt;

  27. muthalovin says:

    Starion, anyone? $2300 OBO.

    (I will not post the picture; it is too graphic)

  28. muthalovin says:

    Awesome. There is this Daytona Shelby. The owner just dropped the price a grand, so you could probably get it for at least $500 less ($1500).

    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/5G65Ed5M43Lf3m13J1c8q267154fd50871d79.jpg"&gt;
    <a href="http://killeen.craigslist.org/cto/3231032737.html” target=”_blank”>http://killeen.craigslist.org/cto/3231032737.html

    • JayP2112 says:

      Wow. For $1000 you can own a genuine SHELBY.
      Actually, that was a good looking car and has potential to drive the Ford Shelby guys nuts at meets.


  29. JayP2112 says:

    I've seen a few VW/Audis with the 1.8Ts for way cheap. If you're willing to rebuild the suspension that's long gone and put up with an interior that's shot you would have a beast. Someone local was pushing 300+hp with stock internal bits.

    Hope this works… $5k, Beetle Turbo S. http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehiclede

    Man, I 'd hit it.

    • Vairship says:

      There's a reason the 1.8T's are cheap – they have a tendency to catch fire. The coilpacks had problems with cracks developing in their insulation, so that instead of sending the spark through the wires to the sparkplugs, the spark would instead zoom towards the nearest hunk of metal – setting on fire any piece of plastic it found on the way. If you have one of these and it develops a miss, you might want to have it looked at before smoke start pouring from the engine compartment.

  30. Devin says:

    How about a Nissan Skyline with a dent? Only $4,000.

    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTYzWDEwMDA=/$T2eC16Z,%21zcE9s4g3JrtBQPrUYf%28Bw%7E%7E48_20.JPG&quot; width="500"> http://alberta.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-tru

    Here's another one which might not even have a dent.
    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/$(KGrHqF,!qEF!GdOTlS(BQOscCO3Uw~~48_20.JPG" width="500">

    I don't think you'll find a clean one at that price though.

  31. jeepjeff says:

    <img src="http://www.kineticvehicles.com/images/thebook.jpg"&gt;

    Theme of the week? Ok, £250 is a bit unreasonable, but $2000-3000 RWD donor, part it out, and then fabricate everything else and paint it yourself and $5000 should be possible. It may require extra levels of scrounging. Maybe you won't get a tuned, super-car level vehicle, but a 2000 V6 Mustang was rated at 190Hp stock, came with a T5 and a beefy solid rear axle. The rest of the Mustang is reasonably sporty, so it will work as a complete donor. You can get some of the money back on parting out body panels, interior bits and other parts you don't need. The frame can be sold at scrap prices. You should have at least $2500 left in your budget for materials.

    This may also allow some room for a junk-yard turbo charge. The V6 in the Mustang is a later version of the Cougar XR-7 supercharged V6 from the late 80s, so it's done forced induction from the factory.

    200-250Hp in a &lt;1700# vehicle. Known to be snappy in the turns and should be a rocket on the straights. What do I win?

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      "…it's done forced induction from the factory."

      Didn't it blow head gaskets even without boost, though?

      • jeepjeff says:

        Sure. But the question did not specify how long you had to go fast. It should last at least a couple of laps.

  32. racer193 says:

    95 850T-5 volvo (nope I didnt paruse the classified section) gut the interior add bilstien hds and ipd coils and drilled brembos and some (your choice)pads. chip the ecu and clean the pvc system(for those who dont want a smoke screen)and add some sticky tire(again your choice)to the stock wheels and voila a track day ride. I dont really know if it could be done by anyone, but I did it to my car for around three grand after buying it for 2100. it took a while to track the parts down(new)and affordable.

  33. buzzboy7 says:

    Build one of these
    <img src="http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e355/bmx944/68%20VW%20Sand%20Rail/SandRail014-2.jpg&quot; width="600">

    Good roller can be had for $1500
    Upgrade to 002 or 091 Bus box $1000
    Subaru EJ25 Salvage $1250
    $1250 left over for engine and suspension parts

  34. dolo54 says:

    300zx z32 TT – they are expensive to maintain, but $5k will get you some speed for at least the short term: http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/3213097055http://ventura.craigslist.org/cto/3154733545.html http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/cto/32305912

  35. Tomsk says:

    Japanese Group A rally homologation models from the late '80s and early '90s – Mazda 323 GTX, Toyota Celica Alltrac Turbo, Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and Subaru Legacy Turbo – can be had for quite a bit under the $5k mark if you aren't hell-bent on scoring a clean, rust-free example (and don't mind getting your hands dirty fixing what needs fixing). They aren't all that fast in a straight line by 2012 standards, but their AWD gives them immense grip, and the fact that they are turbocharged gives you the ability to dial in more power without a massive amount of fuss.

    Examples: http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/3199503899.html

  36. Marto says:

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