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Old 10-25-2015, 11:00 AM   #1
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vintage racer

so, winter musing about a vintage racer. something that I can put a roll bar and extinguisher in, drive on the street, and take to the two or so vintage races they run up here each year. must meet w gf approval (no corvettes or corvairs apparently).

cut-off is 1975. would love an early 911 or 912 (or even a 356) but prices be crazy for those these days. try as I might, I can't like the looks of the 914. so Porsche is out and have the list narrowed down to:

240Z - always liked them, and lots of racing development IQ out there for them. getting expensive, however.
Triumph GT6 - big engine, little car. danger: british. engine is a dog, rear suspension is a mess. don't think about taking a non-OD on the highway.
Karmann Ghia - lots of go-fast parts for the vw type 1 chassis, and has the Porsche lineage. rust.
Fiat 124 - inexpensive, relatively easy to convert to abarth spec. danger: Italian. fantastic, fragile motor.

leaning towards the ghia if I can find a solid one. thoughts?
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:43 AM   #2
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A Karmann Ghia would be awesome, or a . The TR6 fits your cut off date too!
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Old 10-25-2015, 02:12 PM   #3
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BMW 2002, Alfa Romeo.
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:07 PM   #4
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Austin Healy Bugeye Sprite
MG Midget
MGB
Triumph TR 4, TR5, or TR6

Rule #1 - buy a car that has already been converted for racing. Building one yourself will cost twice as much as buying one.

Cars above are: Cheap to buy. Affordable to run. Lots of parts available and parts are cheap (unlike early 911 or 912 parts which have skyrocketed). Lots of expert advice available on the internet. Fun to drive. Low power so you probably won't kill yourself.

Good reading:

How to choose a car for vintage racing | Hemmings Daily

11 Best Buys for Vintage Racing | Hagerty
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Last edited by thstone; 10-25-2015 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:23 PM   #5
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If it were me, I'd go with the 240Z, as they are fairly reliable, and fast enough to be interesting. The Fiat would be my second choice, as they are pretty fun to drive, but will require more work than the Datsun. The Triumph will be constant work to keep running, but won't be as fun as the Fiat. I wouldn't even consider the Karmann Ghia, as they are so slow that you spend all your time looking in the mirror trying not to get run over, both on the street and especially the track. Even if you are able to upgrade the power, the chassis and brakes are truly antique designs that will make you wish that you had something else. Plus, they really aren't that much fun to drive. I know you are leaning towards the VW, but I just can't see that as being a good option.

thstone is right, buy a car that is already built into a race car.

You may want to have a street car that you can race, or vice versa, but driving a street car on the track with other race cars won't be fun. You will only be in everyone's way, because you'll be a lot slower than the cars that have been built to be raced. Driving a race car on the street also isn't much fun. I've done both, and once I decided to have it one way or the other, and not both ways, I was a lot happier.

Last edited by Racer Boy; 10-25-2015 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:31 AM   #6
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thanks for the input folks. I understand the jack of all trades master of none concept - my current street/track car gets more and more difficult to drive on the road as I fiddle with it - having a track car and a street car would be the best soln, but budget and garage space become the limiting factors.

up here there are not a lot of cars running vintage, so traffic would be an issue regardless - old sport racers on the track with street tr3s at the same time, so a mild race prepped car wouldn't be too disappointing (even a karmann ghia, if I could get a bus engine in it).

a also hear you folks re the sprites and midgets, however just don't like the looks of 'em. the tr's are nice cars with more engine but the gt6 has a place in my heart having had a spit in my younger days. i think there is less objective decision making when it comes to vintage racing than typical club racing.

having said that, there is a really nice streetable race-prepped 914 for sale cheap on my side of the border right now (keep it Porsche! keep it mid-engined!) and two tvrs ...
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:31 PM   #7
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I've had two 2002s and they are wonderful!
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:57 PM   #8
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Old 02-12-2016, 06:56 AM   #9
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I was just thinking Datsun 510 when reading this thread. They are few and far between now ,probably a 240z is easier to find even with the rising prices. Here in Florida (for the winter ) they are still showing u occasionally on craigslist) for not too much. Restored ones are asking bigger dollars now as they have been undervalued for years.
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Old 02-26-2018, 06:56 PM   #10
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so, bump to this old thread - pulled the trigger - 1969 gt6. been a race car since birth, but is still street legal ...

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Old 02-26-2018, 08:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Radium King View Post
so, bump to this old thread - pulled the trigger - 1969 gt6. been a race car since birth, but is still street legal ...

Gorgeous!

Might not be the fastest, but you’ll be grinning ear to ear.

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Old 02-26-2018, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Radium King View Post
so, bump to this old thread - pulled the trigger - 1969 gt6. been a race car since birth, but is still street legal ...

Far out, man. One of the few things I can remember about the 60's!

1900 lb. dry weight, 2.0 liter inline-6. Nice Minilites, too. Does it come with a mechanic named "Nigel"?

Just wonderin'..............

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Old 02-26-2018, 08:36 PM   #13
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man, i wish it came with a mechanic - i'm at the bottom of a pretty steep learning curve with this one. fortunately, having been raced for the past 40 years, most of the bugs have been worked out; engine is built (except still on twin SUs; a set of triples would be cool ... and expensive) suspension done (except for a rear CV conversion - still on rotaflex) toyota 5-speed, cage, fire supression, fuel cell ...
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Old 02-26-2018, 08:54 PM   #14
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Very nice and awesomely cool!

I owned a 76 Spitfire and a 71 TR-6 so I am well versed in Triumph ownership. All I can say is that the British weren't nearly as good at engineering or manufacturing as the Germans. You'll have a blast!
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:51 PM   #15
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Karman Ghia with "light" modifications.







http://www.bader-racing.de/en/presse/volksworld.pdf
http://www.bader-racing.de/en/faltblatt.pdf
https://www.engineswapdepot.com/?p=170

Regards

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Old 06-04-2018, 08:08 AM   #16
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well, the journey continues - bought a timing light, valve feeler gauges, spark plug gap tool, carb synchrometer, compression tester and leak-down tester. and a bunch of imperial sockets and wrenches - no metric on this old girl.

and finally got to shake her down on the track ...

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Old 06-04-2018, 09:01 AM   #17
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Nice looking car. Reading the thread appeas we all have same taste in cars. I always wanted a TR6, but love all the cars mentioned in this thread. Just watched a lenos garage on a 240z retro mod more race car, but street legal.

My new dream car 72 dino retro mod, again on Jays garage.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:07 PM   #18
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Somehow I missed you buying the TR6 earlier! Although I recommended not getting a Triumph, it's a beauty and the fact that it's been raced for years is a plus. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun.

I'm just glad you didn't get the Karmann Ghia!

Did the Cayman put up much of a fight when you passed him?
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:16 PM   #19
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Did the Cayman put up much of a fight when you passed him?
no, but the gt4 wasn't happy ...

https://trackjunkies.smugmug.com/20180521-Small-with-logo/n-tj9zXV/i-RFr3vt7/A

seriously, i was like a rolling pylon out there. made it interesting by giving point-bys in sporty locations.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:00 AM   #20
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How did I miss this thread all this time? Haha. Radiumking, that thing looks like a HOOT! Good for you, man!

And though I realize the decision is made (and a good one).... just because you mentioned the fiat; here's the one I built, that kept trying to get me arrested, haha.

Love that "vintage" stuff (though it's odd to me to think of a '70's car as vintage)



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