Hi everyone.. I am a 30 year old electrical engineer (by education... my job is too boring to discuss) and found this forum about 18 months ago.. I started reading then thinking I may need a new project. My friends often make fun of my constant need for projects, though none of my undertakings are even a fraction the size as something like this. Living in Florida, I started looking for hobbyist welding classes and a workspace, then about a year ago my work sent me to New York City and I will be here until the spring of 2012.
So, I've picked back up reading this forum like it's my crack. I figure if I have another 6 or 7 months of city living, I might as well start thinking, reading, learning, etc so I will not be a total bonehead (only a partial bonehead) when I get back to Tampa.
Previous automotive experience: Not much... Engine swap and bolt on mods on an '87 RX-7 when I was in high school... since then just some simple audio installations/wiring with fiberglass speaker boxes, that sort of junk.
Understanding Significant other: I'm single!
Capacity to learn: I believe so!
Anyways, cutting to the chase - I have some VERY BASIC ideas and I really just want to know if I am thinking about these things correctly.
I would like to build something 98% for driving on the street, the only competitive driving I might attempt would be local autocross.
I would like to buy a fully running donor, something FWD since I am most interested in a middy.
Something like a mid90's Acura Integra can be had in functioning condition for around $2k...Honda Prelude for a little more, Civic for a little less.
I happened on this thread: http://locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4079
Which discussed using two front ends. The design of the suspension might be a bit more than i am willing to take on, so it would appear to me this might take some of the design work out of it.
Assuming I get a whole, running donor... is it reasonable to think I can move the engine, transaxle, front uprights, front suspension to the rear (copying suspension mounting points and either using the stock A-arms or fabbing my own)? I could use the steering rack connections to adjust toe (as mentioned in thread link OP), and use the rear brakes from the donor so that I will have a parking break.
This would leave me the steering rack and front brakes from the original front of the donor -- needing only another set of uprights and A-arms (assuming I don't fab) for the locost front.
I would also be copying the wheelbase and track of the donor. With this line of reasoning, I believe I could have something sitting on wheels with the bulk of actual thought going only into the frame (I try to do as little real thinking as I possibly can, the world is probably a better place for it).
I would think a target of <1500 lbs, <$8000 including donor and tools (of which I have basically nothing but hand tools) is reasonable, though if it costs $9000 it isn't like I will have to give up breakfast for a year or anything.
Concerning the budget: I am willing to reuse as much of the donor as possible.. Seats, wheels, gauges, etc..
I am not really willing to spend the time and energy parting the rest out, though I imagine I might be able to sell whatever is left for a couple of hundred bucks, maybe a little more if I take the time to part out the big body/interior parts and then sell the shell with tiny bits as a whole.
Spending about 20 Hrs/week on average, I would hope to have at least a roller in about a year after buying the donor. I feel this is a very conservative estimate, but then again, I don't have the slightest clue what I am talking about. I suppose that's why I'm here..
Is this train of thought going the correct direction? Please tell me if I am making some faulty assumptions!
Sorry for the length of this post,
Jay "Read a lot of Dave Hempy's Sigs" V