I'm not really sure if it can be considered addiction, interest or an innate inability to make sound financial decisions, but cruising for project cars is the mark of a car guy (or girl). Many members of our staff have two cars (which sometimes don't add up to a pile of pennies, combined), and others still even more. And yet, even though unfinished projects weigh on everyone's minds, still the search continues for new machinery. I'm no different.
In the name of Sport Compact Car, I'm either driving, photographing, writing or turning a wrench on a car at work, after work or on weekends. Spending this much time on job-related items could drive a man insane. If I were a postal worker, I'd go, well, you know where this analogy is headed. But this is my interest and so my time tends to blend and blur the line quite a bit. In my free moments, I'll cruise the classifieds, only to end up finding what could prove to be the next holy grail of project cars.
No matter what car I own, no matter how fast it can be or how much fun to drive, I will always be looking for something else. The car market is like a buffet: there are so many different varieties in front of you, you'll always want to try as much as possible. I can vouch for the fact that if the opportunity arose and a bank happened to be robbed, any one of our readers would seriously consider the purchase of the three Nissan Skyline GT-Rs on our cover.
There are many things to juggle when thinking about a project car. How big is the aftermarket support? How does it feel to drive? How much power can it make? How much track-related stuff can it hold? And how much will all this ultimately cost me? I picked up my last project (an SR20DET-swapped S13, because it promised to deliver turbocharged, tail-out thrills) for just a few bucks. For some reason, that doesn't seem to be enough. Because if it was, I wouldn't be thinking about these...
EK-chassis Honda Civic: I'll finally get to use all the parts left over from my last EK, except this time I'll cage the car, drop in a 1.8-liter (or larger) B- or K-series and take it racing.
First-gen Mazda Miata: cheap to buy and easy to make fun of, but it's still one of the most enjoyable rear-drive cars out there. And it can always be slowly built up to Spec Miata status.
V8-powered Mazda RX-7: a V8 in an FC-chassis RX-7 sounds pretty tempting, but an FD3S with an LS1 is what keeps me up at night. One of Mazda's most beautiful and capable chassis, combined with a torquey engine that doesn't really weigh much more than a twin-turbo 13B.
GC8-chassis Subaru Impreza Coupe: to date, still the last Impreza two-door to have hit US shores. This means less weight, combined with a low price and four-wheel-drive fun. Who cares if it doesn't have a turbo? The first time it hits the dirt, all will be forgiven.
For these reasons and more, they all seem like good choices at some point. I'm not likely to swap my 240SX for anything else any time soon, but that still won't keep me from looking. After all, if you don't look, how will you know if the grass really is greener on the other side?