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BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 8:18 a.m.

After I somehow managed to turn the S2000 into a mini-resto and decided I didn't quite like where this was going, I'm planning to put it back together and put it on the market soon - probably as soon as this weekend.

Which leaves me without a "track car". I don't know if I'll make another attempt at racing in the future or not, so I can't use the Formula car as an HPDE type car (no covered wheels). So yay (ish), the hunt is back on. I've tried to compile a list of cars that I think I want, and am trying and failing to restrict it to cars that have good spares supply as that's one of the issues with the S2k.

The list so far:

  • FR-S/BRZ twin. Cheap-ish, I've driven them and like them, no funny looks from the tech guys because they need a bent broomstick for me to pass the broomstick test like in the S2k. Good aftermarket. Downside - if I want to go for a Sunday morning drive/ride and try to choose between car and motorcycle, with the twin the motorcycle wins every time until the weather turns E36 M3. So, mediocre appeal factor.
  • Caterham 7 or similar. Even an older one is at the top of my budget, but I've wanted one for a couple of decades ever since I nearly bought a pre-lit Westfield in the UK. I'll have to check if I can run it in HDPE without a full cage, though. Downside - specialist car with specialist spare parts availability. There's also a Mitsuoka Zero-1 at Duncan Imports that I've been eyeing, which has a lot of Miata in it.
  • Mitsubishi Evo 8 & 9. I owned an Evo II in the past, I think they're awesome, and I probably don't have the skill to drive it at the limit. Downside - it's a Mitsubishi econobox with 'roid rage, potential spare parts issues.
  • Radical - most likely a ProSport as those appear to be well within my budget. Pros - that's what they're built for, motorcycle engined with clutchless upshifts, so easier on my clutch foot. Probably going to be fast enough to keep me entertained until I decided to take up less dangerous passtimes like skydiving. Downside - specialist UK manufacturer, old model, limited lifespan parts.
  • C5 Corvette - it's a bit too big for my taste, but they're pretty cheap and fast. Parts are easy to find. Downsides - I prefer scalpels when it comes to driving, and they feel like I'm bringing Machete (both the character and the knife).

Oh, and before I forget to mention - budget is up to $30k, but at that level the car has to be pretty much track ready.

I've noodled on this a lot, but the only German car I'd consider is a 911 SC or 3.2 Coupe, and finding one of those in that price range that doesn't need major work is pretty hard. Yes, I could probably get a PDK Cayman or an E46 M3 with SMG, but I've already paid for an M96 rebuild and as is well documented, I don't like modern BMWs that much.

Miatas are out, too - I did talk to SVReX about his turbo NB but between the fitment issues and the been there, done that part, it is not the answer to this question.

As I write this, I can think of three more honourable mentions:

  • A Diasio D962, if I could find one. Especially one with a rotary. Same problem with the specialist manufacturer and all that, though.
  • A "real" Giulia (four door, not coupe) - I know where there is one for sale within budget although the words "New Jersey" and "minimal rust" don't quite compute, plus I'm not plugged into the old Italian car scene as I used to be. Either way they can be made do go quite well.
  • Something with a rotary - I just missed a Maxton Rollerskate (sold before I had the money together). Problem is that FDs are expensive and pretty tight quarters for me with a helmet on, and even a half decent FC is hard to find.
  • AE86. Yes, I know. It's a fourth car in a three car list. I'm watching the one on BaT. There is (again) the spare parts situation.

So, anybody want to buy an S2000?

If I try to tuned out the shiny object syndrome for a second, I think my top three list would be Caterham (plus derivatives), Radical, Evo.

WWGRMD? Other than buy a welder and build one from scratch?

dps214 HalfDork
7/14/20 9:43 a.m.

A nice 987.2 base Cayman or a high mileage S or maybe even a high mileage base 981. No risk of engine failures, shouldn't really need any extra maintenance or spare parts stash. Not much room left in the budget but just needs tires and brake pads to be track ready.

Rons Reader
7/14/20 10:15 a.m.

Is street ability a requirement in your quest? If not the classifieds at prodracing.com might have some potential right now the listings include  2 E production racers at $15,000 an RX 7 and a 240Z. They are race cars but are closed wheel and could be somewhat multi purpose.

mr2s2000elise SuperDork
7/14/20 10:25 a.m.

Evo 8/9 hands down from the list. 

I have an ae86. Suspension, wheels, and Cusco roll bar. 84,000 miles. Owned since 17k miles spare parts isn't a problem . We have a huge community here (they get all parts from Phillipines and Japan and resell to us) 

as you know my 07 s2000, owned since new sits in garage. I will finally sell it. 

if you didn't like the stook, you sure ain't gonna like the ae86. Don't bother with it 

EVO hands down. The driving experience is out there the best. In 2016, instead of buying a pos new wrx limited, if I bought a FE Evo, I would still have it 

For me the Atom is next with the Honda heart . It literally changed all my automotive desires since the famous Mr. Woolery gave me a ride in his new on in 07. I am just waiting for my next SB100


to me the mitsuoka isn't worth it. We walked by the dealer many times on way to American club in Tokyo. If the design is your thing - than it's something else. Otherwise you are throwing good money away and not getting much more in the driving dynamics . Then again after owning all generation of miata and doing spec miata for years - I am done with miatas. ymmv

good luck 

Fitzauto Dork
7/14/20 10:33 a.m.

I can only chime in on the AE86.

Owned mine for 4 years now. Only issue was me pushing too much power through the stock rear. Otherwise it was my most reliable car, used it as my daily alot when the weather was nice. Parts arn't too bad to find but prices are going up. With the right mods they drive like a tin-top miata which is pretty cool.

Oh, and they like to slide.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:37 a.m.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:45 a.m.

In reply to Rons :

It doesn't have to be streetable although it would be a bonus if it was, for a quick "test drive". OTOH we have a couple of hundred feet of driveway if necessary.

Being able to accommodate a passenger/instructor would be useful but not required.

That 240Z does look yummy.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:45 a.m.

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

General comment on the state of the world or the fact that I seem to start a thread like that once a year? wink

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:47 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) :

Have considered a nice sim setup? Or maybe take up fishing?

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:49 a.m.

In reply to Javelin (Forum Supporter) :

I've tried sims, they don't do that much for me. Plus this is a hobby to get me away from computers.

And given my usual luck with cars, I'm staying away from anything that floats or flies.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:52 a.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Thanks - I'll very likely need the good luck. And thanks for your perspective, especially around the AE86.

Re the Mitsuoka - the one I'm looking at is basically a Mitsuoka built Lotus 7 clone, not one of their more "interesting" creations. The potential advantage is that there is a lot of Miata underneath - at least drive train and rear suspension - but there is a nagging thought that matches what you mention.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 11:01 a.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

General comment on the state of the world or the fact that I seem to start a thread like that once a year? wink

PMRacing UltraDork
7/14/20 11:03 a.m.

RX-8 R3?  I had one and it was a great track car with brake lines, pads, tires, and anti-roll bars. If I had kept it I would have done a bigger radiator. Other than that it was a reliable, but thirsty car.  I had to bring a gas can with me to the track. I sold it due to an increasing commute and it was my dual purpose car, and a car payment on something that sat through the winter didn't make sense for me. It required a lot of preventive maintenance to be a DD, too (plugs at 25k miles, coils, 3k mile oil changes, 18mpg max). I had 50k miles on it when I sold it. But if it's your track car, I'd consider it. It felt like a bigger Miata and was just as quick around the track for me. 


BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 11:06 a.m.

In reply to PMRacing :

I've had an RX8 as a track car in the past. I like them, but if I go magic doritos I'd prefer old(er) school with all the braps and ports.

That said, RX8 with a decent motor + the Bride seat that I won't sell with the S2000 + Öhlins would be a pretty quick recipe for moderate track fun.

dj06482 UltraDork
7/14/20 11:12 a.m.

Booster/Cayman with the PDK. And I enjoy your threads!

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/14/20 11:16 a.m.

I've been through all sort of mixed street/track configurations, to find that if I really want to do full-on track stuff, I need a full-on track car with full-on track safety.  This generally makes for a miserable street car.  For me it's an either/or proposition.  I have a 981 Cayman and it's a brilliant track car, but I'm keeping stock seats/belts so I don't push nearly as hard as I do with my SM.  It's also violently expensive to run compared to the Miata, especially when you consider track insurance.

My point is, I would start with the level of safety equipment that you desire and back in from there. As you've learned with your S2000, If you're going full safety, it's usually better financially to buy a full-on race car and keep it in race spec than it is to buy a street car and modify it to death. With that budget I'd be thinking through a Spec MX-5; the NC chassis is a totally different animal than a NA/NB Spec Miata, it's basically a small RX-8 with a real motor. 


mr2s2000elise SuperDork
7/14/20 11:16 a.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Thanks - I'll very likely need the good luck. And thanks for your perspective, especially around the AE86.

Re the Mitsuoka - the one I'm looking at is basically a Mitsuoka built Lotus 7 clone, not one of their more "interesting" creations. The potential advantage is that there is a lot of Miata underneath - at least drive train and rear suspension - but there is a nagging thought that matches what you mention.

Makes sense. If you are out here, welcome to drive my AE86. It won't be sold. My dad it brand new, so it will be around a long while. But as I said above, it isn't for you, in this current instance of what you are looking for. 

Car shopping is fun, and your threads are great smileyyes especially becuase unlike most people who make these threads, you are one of the ones, who go out and actually buy it. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/14/20 11:25 a.m.

I think you have the same problem I have. You want to feel connected and interested in the car you are driving.  My na miata did not connect with me. Sure it was the practical choice and it did all that I asked of it, but I was never excited to go for a drive. I'd always pick my daily for stuff because I didn't love the other car. 

id just go for the caterham or Exocet or other permutation of a lotus 7 floats your boat. Otherwise a radical. 

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 11:32 a.m.



Dennis is a motrocycle rider/racer and engineer who moved from an Ariel Atom V8 into building his own cars (after fixing some of the issues with the Atom's suspension among other things).  He doesn't build them for specific race categories, but it seems bonkers enough for your needs while being well engineered and safe to keep you from killing yourself.

They aren't cheap, but for what you get its hard to beat.  There are several versions now, including full EV, etc.


Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/14/20 11:33 a.m.
Tom1200 Dork
7/14/20 11:39 a.m.

The FRS/BRZ is the logical choice but sounds like logical isn't what you want.

Caterham 7 or the like; my heart wants one too but for the price I would just end up with an Exocet. I don't see where under the rules a 7 would need more than a roll hoop. If you're comfortable mixing it up with two ton things in a 7 then you might as well just build sport racer body for your FST. Lets be honest the side impact protection in most  7s isn't any better than a formula car.

Evo is like cheating because the car has so much potential but they are the RD350 of cars; they keep whispering in your ear to buy more go faster goodies and before you know it you've been sucked in. If you can leave it stock then fine but you know you can't.

Radicals are fun but if you get one you will lose all interest in the FST so you will end up wanting to sell that as well.

Corvettes are another logical choice but as you said they are BIG, like me I suspect you like light toss-able cars. 

I really like the 240Z Production or Improved Touring car, it lets an instructor ride along, fulfills your need to be a bit different, you'll be able to get it on the limit. Parts supply for most things is very good. The one down side to may be the manner in which it drives; it's a vintage car, if like me you love 4 wheel drifty goodness then you'll love it but if you want a stuck like glue car, you may find it disconcerting.

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
7/14/20 11:49 a.m.

I guess you don't want my turbo NA then....... $7000 leaves you a lot of cash for tires and further upgrades. laugh

dxman92 HalfDork
7/14/20 11:49 a.m.

Frisbee twins get my vote. If you don't care for it down the road, it probably wouldn't be that hard to have an escape plan for it..

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/14/20 12:12 p.m.

Used post-valve spring fix frisbee, assuming you can use the clutch without pain.  New enough you won’t spend a bunch of time keeping it running.  May only require a little bit of initial prep for track use, then for each session, you’re just looking at maybe swapping in track pads, bleeding the brakes, and tossing on track wheels/tires (or just run some 200 TW tires on it all the time during the summer months).

Hopefully that’ll keep you from cycling through cars and missing track time, since the car will be pretty much be ready to go at all times.

Of course, you might be able to find a still in warranty 4cyl Camaro 1LE at the upper end of your price range, too, but the frisbee will be a lot cheaper buy in, and likely cheaper on consumables.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
7/14/20 12:16 p.m.
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