today's car project: 1995 ford probe gt / mazda mx6 - v6
why this car: 1995 seems to be the year they worked most of the bugs out of this model, and was the last year it was available without the OBD-II engine management system.
suspension/brakes would most likely be the normal street upgrades:
ground controls w/ whatever good shocks are available, most likely with tokico illuminas, as the combination of the above would allow for adjustibility of ride height, compression damping, and rebound damping (although with illuminas, those last two cannot be adjusted independently of each other as with some more expensive shocks).
i've been happy with the porterfield R4S pads i put on my sentra se-r, so those and the powerslot vented (*not* cross-drilled- if you really care why, ask in a comment) rotors should be enough of an upgrade, considering the next "usual" upgrade i'll be performing on all my imaginary project cars:
weight reduction. wherever possible.
power steering? gone.
AC? gone. (i always smoke while driving anyway, so i usually have a window down. my se-r doesn't have AC and i've only regretted that once or twice.)
heating will stay, but only because i'm a skinny little bitch with no body fat.
remove seats/carpeting from the interior, and get rid of the "tar and fuzz"; first the layer of foam that goes underneath your carpet, and then the sticky tar that's adhesived to the frame of the car.
the purpose of both of these items is to eliminate road noise- but there are those of us willing to put up with an increase in road noise to lose 40 pounds of dead weight from our car.
(note that if you're enough of a psycho that you'll actually go and *do* this like me, you should scrape the tar from the trunk as well, if any, and primer/repaint the areas you've scraped when you're done.)
a westco miata battery is an upgrade *every* street racer should have. it's $80, and half the size/weight of the battery i pulled out of my GTI-16v. this is the battery car manufacturers *should* be using, but aren't.
the final bit of weight reduction to be performed is underdrive pulleys on all accessories that haven't already been removed.
right, that's what we'll call the "usual" stuff. if you're still reading by this point, assume all of the above on any car i mention here.
now the interesting part:
the probe/mx6 v6 came with a 2.5-liter 24-valve V6 in the states that puts out 164HP @ 6000rpm and 156 ft/lbs torque @ 4000rpm. not *bad*, per se, but given the size of these cars (between 2700-2900lbs dry) it's not too hard to see why i can spank one in my VR6 without trying.
however, i've heard of guys running impressive times on these cars with a bit of NOS (as in low 13s, which is roughly comparable to an early-model dodge viper - not shabby at all).
what most people don't know about the engine in this car is that as per usual, Japan and Europe got much better versions of it. the engine they got is dimensionally identical- it's basically a bolt-in replacement, but it puts out closer to 195hp. i don't have a lot of information on why this is, but sources indicate it's mostly due to higher compression and better cylinder head design (which makes this motor an excellent starting point for a bolt-on/NOS car, as you're not buying anything you'll end up replacing with aftermarket parts anwyay). but the most attractive feature of this engine is that it's externally indistinguishable from the original engine the probe/mx6 came with, meaning assuming proper tuning, it'll pass under the radar of the most anal smog monkey.
i've heard reports of this engine, lightly modified (as in intake/exhaust) putting out as much as 170hp to the wheels on the dyno (which, according to everyone's favorite 15% driveline loss rule, translates to about 200hp at the crankshaft) and running quarter-mile times in the ~14-sec flat area.
surprisingly, there's a lot of aftermarket support for this car that i wasn't previously aware of until reading about the japan-spec version of this motor and taking some passing interest. with the 30hp increase from the replacement engine and another good 20-30hp to be found via bolt-ons, topped off with a mild 60-shot of NOS, i'm confident this car could hit 300hp at the dyno and high 12's at the dragstrip with a set of slicks.
not a car that'll be destined for the front page of Turbo Magazine, for sure, but enough to spank pretty much anything you'd run across on the streets of the bay area.
budget for the car: $5k-7k range
replacement engine, installed: $2.5-3k
suspension/brakes, installed: $2k
weight reduction: mostly free
bolt-ons/NOS, installed: $3k
so there you have it- the first budget bruiser. maybe i'll trade my VR6 in on a probe gt just to see how well this would work.
lots more boring car shit to come but at least i know ryan and jason will enjoy this stuff =)