Thursday Twister: Best $500 Racer

Welcome to another edition of DT’s Thursday Twister, the game where the rules aren’t the only thing that change each week.  This week, lets talk $500 race cars…which are in no way actually $500 race cars, that is only a fraction of the cost to build one…but the rulesets of 24HrsofLeMons, Chumpcar, AER, etc all say you need to start with a $500 car before spending money on safety/brakes/tires/wheels.  For today’s Twister, we are going to list our favorite $500 crapcan racers.

The first thing you need to know about picking a car is that it can cost more than $500, but you need to sell off parts to bring the price down to $500 — so you could budget something in the $1000-$1500 range depending on how aggressive you want to get with your price justification.  Anyway, I am a huge fan of picking up a big luxury sedan, stripping away the luxury and ending up with a barebones car that has a large powerful engine, oversized brakes, big cooling system — it is a different path than putting a bunch of power into a small car and then upgrading those components.  A good place to start is with a G50 generation 1996 Infiniti Q45 offered for $850 on craigslist, located in Los Angeles, CA.  The VH45DE V8 puts out 278 horsepower and 292 ft-lbs of torque into a 4-speed auto, and even before you remove 1000 lbs of unneeded equipment these were fast cars.  All G50 Q45s were equipped with limited slip differential out back and use multi-link suspension — start with the auto and budget a manual swap sometime it the future. 

What would you pick for a $500 racer?  Comments below.