Jump to content

Can I take on the project I want?


Recommended Posts

As the title probably suggests, I have limited knowledge when it comes to project cars. What I'm wanting to do is turn a sub 2000 dollar car into something nice with a 5000 dollar budget (including buying of tools) with the next 5 months to do it.

I have a garage, ramps, jackstands, limited tools, and the knowledge level of oil changes and knowing what parts are what. I've installed exhaust, intake systems, shocks and minor maintenance things like replacing my oil pressure sensor on my C5 Vette. I've also helped my dad with his hummer project with things like sanding, welding, slotting, bracketing, etc.

Is a project like this feasible with the help of forums lime these? Over these 5 months I'll have all day every day minus an hour or two in the mornings. Not looking for a show car winner, just something that is fun and drivable for now.

Also toying with selling my Yamaha FZ07 to get an extra 5k but only if necessary. The vette stays with me :P

Also, what's the best place to look for a car to start with? Craigslist?


Looking for a 510, 240, 260 280.  Not so much a wagon 510, but I would keep it in mind.

Link to comment
  • Replies 20
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

So you have no idea what car you want to 'fix up'?????? You are on a Datsun forum so I assume an old Datsun or Nissan???? With '99Vette', I'm guessing you have never dealt with Japanese cars before, but now they seem trendy and want one?



Five months deadline? is this a race???  Forget doing a $2000 roller into a $7000 finished project... with your lack of skills and knowledge.... it ain't happening. Even if the vehicle was free you could easily spend $10,000 just finding the correct parts, paint can be $4,000 it's insane.


Your best bet is to spend your money on the most complete example of whatever Datsun you like or can find. One that you can drive, is safe and works, maybe a nice engine swap, suspension and brake up grades and painted. You need to do your homework here by looking through some build threads in Project Datto. Find out what to look for as far as good welding and fabrication, what works and what doesn't, what's safe and what isn't. When car shopping you'll know what to look for and what to avoid, where the rust areas are, poor workmanship, common mistakes, electrical problems.


You're assuming a lot. You don't even have the money. You don't know where to look for one. Worse you don't even mention Datsun. Most members here are very passionate about their model Datsun they own. Some like them all, or several models and have owned several. If you are just looking for 'an old car to fix up' why not a Toyota or Honda? Maybe you would be more passionate about one of them.


Comments may seen a bit cruel but I think this is the best fit. Buy one already built.

Link to comment

Hostility aside, thanks for the response.  I went to edit my post to include 510, 240, 260, or 280 but I couldn't until the thread got approved by a moderator.  


5 months is less of a deadline than it is time I will have completely available to the project.  I have been searching for a project for a couple years now (mostly stuff for the corvette) but haven't had the time OR the garage to do it in.  Also, I DO have money right now.  I wanted a project, hence the 2000 dollar car.  I want something to mess around and learn on.

Link to comment

Seems like the general consensus is no.  I kind of expected it tbh.  Maybe I will just do some searching for something that has already been updated.  I've had the itch for a datsun for a little over two years now.


I'm sure any datsun I find will end up being a project...


Thanks for the replies.

Link to comment

I think it might be possible to do what you want, with a Datsun, but here is the catch.  You are going to have to be patient, and wait for the right one to show up.  Your chances of finding something on the west coast are much better than on the east coast.  Here is a tip.  Datsuns from the Northwest probably are going to have rust issues.  Datsuns from the Southwest are going to have issues with plastic and rubber parts.


I think your biggest limiting factor is time.  Five months is a very short time to do the work on a typical $2,000 car, and get it street worthy.  240Z's, and early 510's, are in high demand.  $2,000 for either will probably get you a dissassembled pile of most of the parts.  

Link to comment

Comments may seen a bit cruel but I think this is the best fit. Buy one already built.


No hostility here, going for best fit for you. Can only respond to what you've posted.  The 510 has gone to a ridiculously high price just for a parts car in the last 5 years. You could get a nice DE swapped 510 with brakes and suspension 7-8 years ago for $5K-$8K. Go for a 280z here's why. The 240 will be rarer and will require more money to buy. The later 280z is more plentiful, and best of all it still looks like the original S30  Z car. Check out the left coast and drive one back.

Link to comment

The further Northwest you go the cheaper they are. Too far north or all the way east, rust. 



Do your homework. 



Trucks can be had cheaper(521, 620, 720). 210s are still fairly decently priced. 

Know what you want and what to look for before you just "settle".

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Know what you want and what to look for before you just "settle".

What originally got me interested in Datsun was the 510 2 door. I had almost bought a 4 door when I got the corvette. Maybe I should have :p. What I have noticed is that the 280 is much easier to find and it is still something I love.


The trucks are pretty cool though. Whatever I decide I'm sure I will end up loving it.

Link to comment

I would agree that time would be your greatest enemy. Without the general background know-how for the mechanics and body work, or the datsun specific interchange knowledge, 99% of your time will be eaten up learning before even touching a wrench. Without the interchange knowledge, you can only order catalog parts listed specifically for your car which increases cost significantly and completely limits you on available upgrades.


Drop the time frame, plan on at least a couple of years of work, and yes a $2000 car with a $5000 investment could become something you are proud to drive. But I would strongly recommend spending more upfront and getting a running version at least. If you have never taken on a major project, it is MUCH easier to stay motivated if the car runs and you are just working around that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I'm glad to see you're taking this great advice for what it is. Although blunt, the people commenting here have decades of experience wrenching Datsuns. I'm curious what the interest is in the brand vs. a particular car that you are attracted to. 


The Zs and 510s are beginning to clime into "collectable" status, putting them out of reach for a budget build. I think Flatcat19 and Lockleaf make excellent points though. Doing your homework is what makes or breaks a build.


The 210, despite being a gutless wonder, and a straight axle car, is within your price range, and still loaded with potential. with $5k you could swap an L into it. Something about a fastback that just begs for lowering, and a nice set of rims.



Best of luck in your search, and welcome to the sickness that is Datsun.

Link to comment

With $5K?


Dream Bee 210...


1/ 140hp KA24E engine swap (or DE but I like the looks of the E) possibly with a turbo. Includes the KA's 71C 5 speed.


2/ '82-'83 S110 (200sx) H-190 rear end with the disc brakes to replace the H-150 with drums. Upgraded driveshaft.


3/ '79-'83 280zx front struts with it's monster calipers and vented rotors. Larger won't stop any better as it comes down to vehicle weight and tire traction. Includes the 15/16" master cylinder.


4/ I'm partial to the S110 factory 6" mags although there are several other nice ones without resorting to the overdone zx rims or 'blingy' after market shit. 215/60R14 tires on back 185 or 175/70R14s on front. Smaller fronts gives the illusion the backs are even larger.


5/ Front lowered on cut B210 springs and split collars or (again)... overdone coil overs. (if you must) Modified B210 rear leaf springs with extra leaf(s) for increased firmness and lowering blocks to suit.


6/ Decent bucket seats, the stock ones are crap. I know this.


Paint and color not that important but remove the park bench bumpers. If it has that horizontal bump strip on sides, that has to go. That should be less than $5K and out handle most cars on the road, run from the rest.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I looked at Seattle Craigslist just now and hell there is quite a few projects that could probably be driven to Florida in the starting price you're talking



All this 210 talk got me thinking of that silver one ,,, that was a sweet thing indeed.


build thread



For sale ad... notice location , and yes it was higher than your budget, so what who cares.



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.