Can it be done ? Yes
Did I do it ? No
Had it not been for an issue with the coilovers that came with the car I would have pretty much been on the money at £3k.
However the coilover adjusters would not budge, despite some heat + WD40 and a lot of leverage they would not move. Unfortunately I had to scrap them or live with the ridiculously low front ride height.
I’ve driven the car now though and it goes really well so I’m happy I will keep it for a couple of years at least. With that in mind I opted for a set of shocks with both ride height adjustment and damping adjustment. This will give me something to play with on track to see if I can right royally balls up the handling. Getting into a set of shocks like this don’t happen for less that £700 so we are currently closer to a £4k track car!
Set myself a challenge this year to build a track car for £3k including the purchase cost of the car. The idea behind the project is to have a toy that I can drive to the track and have some fun, then drive home again. I also want something that I can put a spanner on and improve while at the same time increasing my knowledge and providing a hobby that has little to do with work.
The Mazda MX5 was pretty good for this purpose but lack one essential ingredient and that was power. After weighing up the cost of adding some power I came to the conclusion that it’s better to start with a car that has some balls and improve the safety, handling and brakes around it.
So I’ve sold the Mazda and started looking at alternatives, which quickly boiled down to a choice between a BMW 325ti Compact or a Renault Clio RS.
I had a word with myself about being stuck on the idea that I can’t have fun on the track with a front wheel drive car. How do I know this without trying it ? well I don’t so I thought I’d better find out for myself. The price of parts for Clios compared to BMWs help with this decision!
I looked around and for the budget I had in mind I was either looking at high mileage 182s or decent 172s that were obviously older. I figure less miles is probably better than the age of the car since the engine and gearbox have potentially more life left in them. Either way I narrowed the search to sub 80k mile 172 + £1200 and there are a few out there.
I punted an offer on one on eBay that was advertised as a “Project” and got it for a grand. It needs trailering home as it has no MOT so let’s see what a grands worth of 172 “Project” looks like when it turns up next week.