Project Car Ideas

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1 month 1 week ago #200709 by ZZ04
Project Car Ideas was created by ZZ04
I'd like to share a coupe of different project car ideas I have and hear what y'all have to say. I'll post a brief summary of each project idea as well as the pros and cons of each idea.

Note the biggest cons I face for all projects are working space and my fabrication abilities. I have a decent-sized car port but it's just that, a car port. Also, I have no experience with metal fabrication or welding, although I could recruit help for some jobs if needed. My father can weld and do major fabrication, but he lives about 1300 miles away.

Idea 1: 1985 IROC-Z Restoration
Summary:
My father-in-law has a 1985 IROC that's been sitting in his backyard for close to 20 years. I've always loved Camaros (especially the IROC) and would love to get my hands on this car to restore to near factory condition. I thought about an LS1 and T56 swap from a 97-02 Camaro / Firebird, but I'd rather have matching numbers. I'll probably be building the car for my wife.
Pros:
The car is only about 20 miles away.
I might be able to get the car for next to nothing.
It's a Florida car.
Parts are cheap and plentiful.
Likely to be the cheapest project.
Cons:
My wife and father-in-law don't have much of a relationship so getting the car will prove to be very difficult.
I don't know the condition of the car (body or mechanical) as I've only seen it from about 20 feet away.
It's an automatic. (A pro for the wife)
Theft potential is a concern

Idea 2: 1983-1986 Ford LTD Wagon (or Sedan) Build
Summary:
This idea was loosely inspired by Eric's Fairmont project, but my motives are somewhat different. My vision would be to find an 83-86 LTD (not the Crown Vic LTD) and swap the engine and drivetrain from an 86-92 Mustang 5.0 with a 5-speed. The LTD is another fox body car. I prefer the later years because I'd rather have fuel injection. I'd prefer to find the wagon as it would do a better job of fulfilling my vision but would settle for a sedan. My vision is to have the ultimate road trip car with a manual transmission and a healthy rumble. I wouldn't be taking it to the track or looking to set 1/4 mile times, but want something that's fun to drive and surprise the ricers. I have a 1984 Coleman pop-up camper and would love to take a road trip to Alaska in the car with the popup camper in tow, hence preference for the wagon. Ultimate adventure, eh?
Pros:
Both the project and donor cars aren't terribly difficult to find in the US and prices are reasonable.
Parts are cheap and plentiful.
Not a lot of fabrication would be needed (if all goes to plan).
I can do a good amount of the work myself.
A very nonchalant car that thieves probably won't notice.
Cons:
Although the project and donor cars aren't hard to find, shipping will most likely be required if the car(s) don't run or drive.
It's not an extremely unique project (maybe this is a pro)
It might be difficult to find a wrecked Mustang engine and drivetrain that's unmolested or hasn't been ragged on.


Idea 3: 2003-201? Holden Commodore UTE
Summary:
This is a car those of you from Australia should be quite familiar with. Holden is an Australian GM subsidiary. For those of you not familiar with the car, the UTE is basically the modern equivalent of an El Camino. Just do an internet search, you'll get the picture. The UTE shares a common platform with the US cars 2004-2006 GTO, the G8, and the late model Caprice cop cars (maybe more). A rolling chassis would have to be imported from Australia, converted to left hand drive and have the engine and drivetrain from one of the aforementioned US donor cars. This is of course the reader's digest version of the project. There's a company in Colorado that will do everything for you, including titling the car but for a hefty price (sometimes close to $60,000).
Pros:
Such a project is sure to turn heads and get a lot of attention for being such a unique car in the US.
The practicality of the truck bed and the ability to tow heavier loads adds to its practicality.
The conversion process relatively straight forward.
Cons:
Likely to be the most expensive project
Importing the project car may be challenging, although I do see rolling chassis examples already imported into the US on Craigslist from time to time (but $$$).
The donor car is likely to be expensive (even if wrecked).
A wrecked donor car can't have any damage to the firewall (see next)
The firewall and dash components will have to be transplanted from the donor car to the project (welding required)
Parts may be more expensive
Registering and insuring the car may prove to be more difficult than the actual build (probably easier in FL than other states)
This car is likely to be noticed by thieves.

These are the 3 main iterations of the different project cars I've been considering for the future. Bear in mind I'm not a professional mechanic with limited tools, but will have plenty of time. If I were to build the Holden, it will probably be built at my father's house in Michigan rather than my house because of the welding requirements. I don't know if and when any of these projects are to happen (I'm somewhat of a dreamer). I'd still like to hear what y'all think of my ideas.

Thank you!
-ZZ

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