So you’re interested in drifting and want to start competing. Well before you can begin to compete you need to have a car that can compete.
This can be a problem. If you where anything like me when I started out, you don’t have the cash to build a Formula D level slide machine. So what do you do? Well, do what I did; build a drift car on a budget!
The first step is finding a good platform to start with. This can be a challenge with all the different cars that are used in the drifting world. But I have a few solid rules that you can follow that will help make your decision a lot easier.
First, you will want something driftable. By saying driftable, I’m talking about how it needs to have the essential characteristics of a drift car. You will NEED to find a car that has rear wheel drive (RWD), and a manual transmission. Don’t go out and find something with a automatic transmission or for some reason front wheel drive (FWD) and say “I can just do a tranny swap” or “I can do a RWD conversion”. DON’T! This is NOT WORTH THE EFFORT, PERIOD! The purpose is to build a drift car for as cheap as possible and as quick as possible so that you can be on the track drifting as soon as possible.
Second, you want it to be cheap. I set a budget of $1000. I know plenty of people that found a car for less but they got lucky. I set my budget of $1000 for a running driving car that I could build into something that would be competitive. Along with the price of the car being cheap, you want parts to be cheap. You want a vehicle that has a strong aftermarket following and an abundance of spare parts that are easy to find and cheap.
And third, you will want a vehicle you aren’t in love with. In the world of drifting, you will make mistakes, you will have accidents, and you will crash. Therefore you want something that you will be willing to take to the edge and past in order to improve your skills. Too many times I’ve seen people that are afraid to push themselves and there car because they’re afraid of crashing. To be able to learn and improve you can’t be thinking about crashing, you need to be thinking about how you can better your technique. You can’t be afraid of crashing, it’s inevitable so deal with it.
I chose a 1992 Nissan 240sx for several reasons. They’re cheap, they have a huge aftermarket following, parts from other Nissans are bolt-on upgrades, and the 2.4L DOHC (KA24DE) engine is tough and loaded with torque.
Cars I would recommend are the Nissan 240sx S13 and S14, Mazda Miata MX-5 (any year), Toyota Supra (I recommend the older body style of the early 90s), Mazda Rx7, and the Toyota Cressida. Or if your into domestics you can go with the Ford Mustang, or any other cheap abundant RWD car.
Up next “Drift Car On A Budget: Part 2, The Essential Mods”.