The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
11/13/18 2:50 p.m.

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Story by E. Paul Dickinson • Photos by Chuck Andersen

Looking to make …

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11/13/18 4:04 p.m.

I would suggest that if time and money are an issue, start with a vintage Formula Vee.  Inexpensive and easy to work on, plus you learn a lot about maintenance of momentum.


i went from Formula Vee to Formula Ford to E30 to 66 Shelby GT350 to Porsche 356.  Loved them all, but closest wheel to wheel competition was in FV.

Automobilist New Reader
11/13/18 4:14 p.m.

Formula Vee for sure. Absolutely the least expensive way to start, and loads of fun. I've raced a FV, a sports racer, and a few different production cars, but the FV can't be beat (or matched) for good competitive racing on a budget.

alfabeach New Reader
11/13/18 4:24 p.m.

I think the "staff writer" makes too much money if he thinks 911 is beginners vintage vehicle. I do like the Formula Vee idea by 930TR6. I do like the other choices and honorable mentions. There are probably other good choices depending what you pay for a car and availbale parts. 

jwr914 New Reader
11/13/18 7:47 p.m.

A FF is a MID Engine vehicle not a 911.  There is little comparison to between the vintage versions.  The FF and CF cars are perhaps the easiest cars to drive.  Not a lot of power, compliant suspension, and great balance.  Only issue is not many run a lot of vintage events.  The are inexpensive for the most part. The best thing to look for is specifications that control costs.  The 356 and 911 guys all run upgraded engines.  Boy can you spend some money there.  A twin plug head for a 911 costs more than most cars.  Just to put it to perspective.  I have a 510, Lola 590, Volvo 544, Ralt RT4, Crosle 25, and a Saab Sonnet.  I sold my K-Code Mustang because they are popcorn cars.  Everyone has one.  At INDY my wife told me I might as well have brought my Spec Miata as there were so many Mustangs.  My position is buy what you want to have based on cost of upkeep.

frenchyd UltraDork
11/14/18 8:10 a.m.

   I agree you need to buy what your heart wants.  The cost and work involved along with the very real risk of loss  means if it’s not a serious passion it’s not going to happen.  

This isn’t a matter of what bar you go to or where you intend to go out to dinner but rather a serious commitment of both time and money. 

I believe the purchase of the car is the smallest portion of the budget. Race preparation next and the go faster part is the most expensive. 

There are a lot of potential vintage race cars available for little money. That’s because  they need serious money spent to upgrade their cosmetics.  None of which will make it faster or safer.  

Finally with regard costs.  Looking at a particular car or group of cars  may not determine costs.  If you have a history or knowledge of a car/cars . Or an association with a particular brand then that’s what you should choose.  Buddies will sell at a friends price or even donate parts even whole cars.  

Youll likely know strengths weaknesses and work arounds. You’ll know where to buy parts at the lowest cost and when a good deal is offered.  That knowledge is your real strength. 

Gary SuperDork
11/16/18 6:13 p.m.
alfabeach said:

I think the "staff writer" makes too much money if he thinks 911 is beginners vintage vehicle.

I agree wholeheartedly with this. I couldn't disagree more with some of the "biginner's cars" mentioned in the original article. And what about sustainability costs? Jeez. Who's the target audience? Vintage Motorsports? Octane? And also, why suggest a Bug-Eye Sprite for a beginner's vintage racer, and offer-up not a peep about the venerable Spridget, probably the least costly production vintage sports car racer for a beginner? (And a Bug-Eye is not a Spridget, lest anyone challange that. A Spridget is a "square Sprite" or an MG Midget).

(But then again ... there was no mention in the article of the beginner's budget. But the title of the article, and the audience here, would lead us to think we were being recommended "value-priced" beginner's cars).

Tom1200 HalfDork
11/16/18 8:04 p.m.

I liked the article when it came out but came very close to writing in with some of the same observations noted here. I'll go though my list in no particular order.

As a Datsun guy there are alternatives to the 510; a 610 or 710 uses many of,the same bits and being less popular the buy in cost is lower. 1200s or B210s are also less sought after and can be competitive. If I put a proper race motor in my 1200 it would make the top five overall

Sports 2000s are pricey; I'd recommend an older D-sports racer as you can run these motorcycle engines cars for the same amount of money. They are also cheaper to buy. With that said I wouldn't call an S2000 or DSR a good beginners car.

+1 on buying a vintage Vee, they can be had for $5,000-$10,000 and the running costs are low.

+1000 for Spridgets, these are stout, have been developed forever and have loads of support.

Kiwimgaguy New Reader
12/31/20 5:07 p.m.

I'd go for a MGA

stylish body along with engine options for the masses that want be able to compete in a sport and still be competitive

frenchyd PowerDork
12/31/20 11:46 p.m.

In reply to Kiwimgaguy :

Because I have so much experiance with Jaguars I'll give you a big hint.  Older Jaguars depreciate like a rock dropped in the middle of a lake.  
    Long before the mechanical bits are worn out they depreciate to near nothing while being remarkably easy to work on.( If the luxury bits aren't important ). 
  Handling is the Jaguars strength and they feel like a big Miata at speeds the Miata can never achieve.   
    Parts may be found in good shape at most junkyards for prices cheaper than comparable Chevy parts. Mechanically good engines etc can frequently cost less than their Chevy counterparts. Plus the Bolt pattern of the wheels is the same as Corvette and Camaro so your choices are greatly increased.  
      Consumables can be purchased at places like Rock Auto, JC Whitney,  and even as close as your local auto parts store not all but those not available locally can be shipped quickly.  
  Even though there are 2 camshafts involved in some cases 4. Changing cams is twice as fast as a common Chevy engine.  
     Ultimately performance potential is greater than the Prime domestic cars. While "common Knowledge" regarding performance enhancements is more specialized with the advent of the internet it's readily available. 

wspohn Dork
1/1/21 12:31 p.m.
Kiwimgaguy said:

I'd go for a MGA

stylish body along with engine options for the masses that want be able to compete in a sport and still be competitive

They look better than the MGB (IMHO, but then I raced one for decades) but have the same basic suspension attached to a conventional rather than unibody chassis and the larger displacement engines from the MGB bolt right in there (or so I understand) I, of course, would have no personal experience with that.....devil

Downside is that they cost more to acquire and race prep.

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