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Author Topic: Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)  (Read 878 times)

attkrlufy

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Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)
« on: June 13, 2011, 01:42:08 PM »

Wow....this is a REALLY long post.  I guess I have a tendency to ramble.  I woldn't read this if you're busy and/or pressed for time. 

I've been watching a lot of Top Gear lately, and every time I see those
three Limey knuckleheads enter some form of rally in a hopelessly old,
decrepit car I think to myself, "I ought to try that."  Not an off-road
rally, mind you, but a road rally.  Either a time-trial rally, or a
classic rally.







So I began thinking, "What car would be the best candidate for me to
build and drive for a classic/time-trial rally?"  It'd have to be RWD,
small, light (under 3K pounds),
with a good wheelbase:total length ratio (no large F or R overhangs),
good F/R weight distribution (no monster v8s up front), and a fastback. 
 Plus, it would have to be CHEAP to buy with easily found parts that are
 also CHEAP.







That scrubs everything from GM.  Vegas are too hard to find and Monzas
have too much overhang.  All Camaros/Firebirds are too $$.  62-65 Chevy IIs are too expensive, as are 61-63
 F-85s/Tempests/Specials, and none of them are fastbacks - plus parts for GM Y-bodies are $$.  Corvars are
scary, even the 65-up models.







Likewise, anything from Europe or Japan would be just too expensive and
rare w/ parts
impossible to find....which is a shame because 240/260Zs, 70s
Celica/Supras, Conquests, Arrows, and Sapporo/Challengers all would make
 a great contenders otherwise.







Two Fords have slight possibilities.  64-66 Mustang FB are out, as
they're too $$.   67-68 Cougars are a bit big and have no FB model.  The
 60-65 Falcon/Comets look good on paper but they don't come in
fastbacks, either.  66-69 Falcons/Comets are too big.  69-77
Maverick/Comet FB coupes are the same length and weight as a 1st gen
Barracuda, but have a 3" shorter wheelbase, so why bother? 



I'm thinking the best bets would be the 70-80 Pinto/Bobcat runabout, or
the 79-93 Mustang/Capri fastback.  They'd be great with either the the
air-cooled or intercooled 140 I4 turbo, but that's a really hard-to-find
 engine and I think it'd ruin the "cost" and "easy parts" categories.  You
could stuff a hi-po 289 or 302 v8 under the hood, but I don't know how
$$ they are (or their parts), so that might not work.  Forget the Boss
302 - way too rare and $$.







Mopars look really good on paper - there are three I can think of and
they're all A bodies.  The B,
C, D, E, F, J, M, and R bodies are just too heavy and/or have too much
overhang for rallying.  So either a 1964-1966
Barracuda, a 1967-1969 Barracuda, or a 1970-1976 Duster/Demon/Dart
Sport.  The engine would have to be either a built 273 or 340
V8.  I'm inclined to say the 273, as you can squeeze a ton of HP out of
it, it likes to rev just as much as the 340, and it's lighter.  I
thought about a 225 slant 6 Hyperpak to save weight - but because it's canted, I'd be
worried about L/R cornering balance.







But then.......





AMC seems to have won.....maybe.  The first AMC offerings I could think
of didn't fit the bill: 65-69 Rambler (no fastback), and the 65-67
Marlin (too heavy and rare).  But then I remembered the 70-72 Hornet
fastback-ish 2dr coupe and its cousin the 79-83 Spirit.  Not everyone
knows that a 1979 Spirit (AMX) with a 304 V8 won their class in
the "24 hrs at Nurburgring" race in Germany (the
drivers/crew were called "Team
Highball." It's an AMAZING story), going up against Porches, Alfas,
Fiats, Citroens, Lancias, etc.  As far as engines go, a 360 V8 might
make them too front heavy for what I'm looking for, but a built 304 V8
would work - maybe even a Typhoon 343?  The one thing I don't know about
 AMC is the parts availability.  The Hornet and Spirit are cousins, but I
 don't know how plentiful parts are for them or what will be the total
cost to "rally them up" compared to a Chrysler or Ford car.

However, the numbers for both cars look really good on paper.  There's
even a 4wd version of the Spirit sold as the SX/4 Eagle - but it's rare,
 so I doubt it'd work:







70-72 Hornet 2dr fastback

Wheelbase: 108 in







Length: 180 in







Weight: 2,650 lbs



79-83 2d Spirit FB




Wheelbase: 96 in






Length: 167 in






Weight: 2,500 lbs







Compare that with the Mopars (which are a bit heavy):







64-66 'Cuda:




Wheelbase: 106 in




Length: 188 in




Weight: 2,950 lbs









67-69 'Cuda FB:




Wheelbase: 108 in





Length: 193 in





Weight: 2,910 lbs









70-76 2d Dart FB




Wheelbase: 108 in






Length: 193 in






Weight: 3,100 lbs







......and the two Fords:









70-80 Pinto FB




Wheelbase: 94 in








Length: 163 in








Weight: 2,100 lbs









79-93 Mustang FB




Wheelbase: 100 in








Length: 179 in








Weight: 2,600 lbs







So what do you guys think?  What car would you rally given those criteria?  Or would you pick something else entirely?


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Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 02:32:45 PM »

Good topic and questions/comments of yours.
 
The little Mercury Capri was a pretty decent little runner, not heavy either, but parts would be an issue, along with the Pinto/Bobcat, even though the intial locating price wouldn't be bad, there just aren't that may around any more.
 
I think the Hornet would be a really good choice, then swap in an LA and matching 727 for parts ease. Rear ends are pretty sturdy so that usually isn't an issue, front wheel bearings is about the only other thing that could go bad, so what the heck? The difference in weight from the AMC and Mopar V8s is just about a wash, less than 60 lbs difference between all of them, and a Mopar may just bolt up direct on top of it (motor and tranny  mount location-wise).
 
Only question I would ask would be the early A bodies, 1961-1969....why not one of them? The early Valiants/Signets, etc., are still pretty common and wouldn't be much more than the rest of them when compared to the Barracuda and later A bodies, they are all about the same price, the early As were light and the 4door version is pretty common for selling. Also, the early 67-69 Cougars, 69 being my favorite year, is a nice, small, well handling package with just a little work (extra leaf spring and poly bushings in front), and a simple wing on the back makes them handle really well at high speeds (ask how I know that), copared to a fastback.
 
As a last note, why a fastback? If it has to be, why not a FWD Omni/024/Charger or something like that? There are RWD ones out there, not that difficult of a conversion really, and I hear they handle really nice afterwards.
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Jacques

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Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 11:50:02 PM »

Why not FWD?




A friend over here did the Paris-to-Beijing rallye with a 4-speed 383 68 Coronet. It outperformed most other contenders.
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 07:22:27 AM »

One problem I could see with the MB idea is that those cars just aren't over here in the states.
 
As far as the FWD goes, I agree, even a simple T1 would be one heck of a well cornering vehicle, light, cheap, tough, parts are pretty common still. Heck, the Ks from the early 80s through the early 90s were almost one car and ten different badges as far as running gear goes, 2.2/2.5 was those two blocks then a common block, various transmissions in auto and manual, and probably one of the strongest transaxles available stock (compred to ford and GM).  There is also the AWD vehicles for handling, all V6 or smaller.
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Jacques

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Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 08:52:29 AM »


You may want to check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Successful-Low-Cost-Rally-Speedpro/dp/1845842081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308073780&sr=8-1-spell

Its full of extremely usefull and mainly cheap ideas that will help greatly in preparing a rallye-car. The examples are a bit biased towards british cars & events, but most of the tips are universal and will apply to any lo-buck rallye-car. The author has years of rally-experience so his advice  is very valuable. And its fun to read :)

Sjak Brak2011-06-14 13:55:10
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attkrlufy

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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 06:20:32 PM »


Quote from: Sjak Brak
Why not FWD?  A K-car would be extemely cheap, and more fuel efficitent than any V8-option, and parts are everywhere. With some tweaking, these cars perform well.
Oh, I agree.  I thought an Omni 024 or Horizon TC3 would be perfect.  Actually, I love the EEKs.  My first Mopar was a 1987 Reliant wagon.  That little car was awesome, and I'm STILL mad at the driver of the Taurus that ran a red light and totaled it back in 2001.  :(

I just think a car with as close to a 50/50 weight distribution would be ideal for rallying.  FWD cars have all their weight up front.  Admittedly, it's where the drivewheels are, so they get good traction, but because of the location of the tranny, propshaft, and rear diff on RWD cars, I think it'd be easier to get that 50/50 split (or really close to it) than with a FWD car.

Quote from: Sjak Brak
But I think you simply want a V8 RWD Mopar, and of course, there's nothing wrong with that :)
Well, they are tempting; and easy to work on.  I'm a big fan of simplicity - and, for me, "cheap and simple" is the name of the game for something like this.  But....you know.....those two AMC cars look really appealing on paper.

Quote from: Sjak Brak
A friend over here did the Paris-to-Beijing rallye with a 4-speed 383 68 Coronet. It outperformed most other contenders.
Wow.  That sounds so cool.  Are you in Europe?

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attkrlufy

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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 07:01:43 PM »


Quote from: dana44
The little Mercury Capri was a pretty decent little runner, not heavy either, but parts would be an issue, along with the Pinto/Bobcat....
I really liked the gen I Capri - until I thought about how impossible parts would be to find.  I dunno, I think parts for a Pino are easier to come by than you think.  Isn't the gen III Mustang just a stretched Pinto?  I know there's tons of parts for those cars lying around - I'm pretty sure if a part fits a 74-78 Mustang it'll fit a Pinto or a Bobcat....which then makes them (and the Mustang) pretty attractive.

 
Quote from: dana44
I think the Hornet would be a really good choice, then swap in an LA and matching 727 for parts ease.
Yeah, the Hornet/Spirit looks really tempting.  Actually, for the tranny I was thinking an A-833 4spd w/ OD to save weight and for mechanical simplicity (+ better control over the car).
You mentioned weight difference between AMC and Mopar engines - you wouldn't happen to know where I could find the weight difference between the LAs, would you?  Specifically, the # diff between a 273 and 340?


Quote from: dana44
Only question I would ask would be the early A bodies, 1961-1969....why not one of them? The early Valiants/Signets, etc., are still pretty common and wouldn't be much more than the rest of them when compared to the Barracuda and later A bodies, they are all about the same price.
That's certainly true.  I didn't do an exhaustive search, but just noodling around on the internet today showed me that gen 1 and 1.5 Barracudas are not a cheap as I thought.  The 60-63 Valiant 2drs are fastback-ish and cheap.  I would consider one.

Quote from: dana44
Also, the early 67-69 Cougars, 69 being my favorite year, is a nice, small, well handling package with just a little work (extra leaf spring and poly bushings in front), and a simple wing on the back makes them handle really well at high speeds (ask how I know that), copared to a fastback.
I LOVE gen I Cougars, too, but I think they're probably a bit too big.  The 69 Cougar has a 111" wheelbase, is 194" long, and is 3,300 lbs.  The engine needed to move that has to be big, heavy, etc. (when compared to a smaller car), which throws off F/R weight, which affects handing, braking, etc.  I just have trouble believing that a 194" long, 3,330 lb Cougar with, say, a HiPo 289 V8 is as nimble and quick as a Bobcat that's only 163" long, with a 94" wheelbase, and weighs 2,100 lbs with the same HiPo 289.

 
Quote from: dana44
As a last note, why a fastback?
You know....that's a good point.  I was intially thinking a fastback for better aerodynamics....but in the kind of rally I'd want to enter, it's not all flat-out, top-speed craziness, all the time.  Handling/braking is just as (if not more) important than top speed.  But, wait......don't fastbacks (by nature of their design) put more weight towards the back of the car than a notchback/sedan?  Wouldn't that help even out the F/R weight distribution a bit better than a sedan?  Plus, aren't fastbacks usually lighter than sedans?  And wouldn't a 2dr FB flex less than a 4dr or 2d notchback when cornering?

As an aside - after I posted the original post, I realized I forgot an AMAZING candidate for a cheap rally car from GM: the 1986-89 Pontiac Fiero GT.  But - geeeeez - I certainly wouldn't want to work on one.  Ease of repair/work is certainly an important factor in choosing a car and those things are a nightmare to work on.

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attkrlufy

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Best potential Mopar rally cars (+ AMC & Ford?)
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 07:03:01 PM »


Quote from: Sjak Brak
You may want to check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Successful-Low-Cost-Rally-Speedpro/dp/1845842081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308073780&sr=8-1-spell
Wow, this book looks great - thank you so much.  I'm definitely picking up a copy.  :)

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Leaburn Patey

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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 02:25:13 AM »

You should read up on Richard Erhenberg's Green Brick if you have any old Moparf Action magazines.
1969 Valiant 2 door post that was outlawed from the One Lap of America--or should I say had the rules changed by Brock Yates every time E-booger entered the car in the race.
The car out ran outraced the best high dollar machines for years until Mr.Yates had enough
http://www.moparaction.com/tech/archive/one-lap-pix.html
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attkrlufy

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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 07:14:53 AM »




Quote from: CBarge
You should read up on Richard Erhenberg's Green Brick if you have any old Mopar Action magazines.
Oh yeah, I'm quite fond of its exploits.  It's an awesome car.  Unfortunately, I don't exactly have the deep pockets and decades of training that those guys have.  :)

However, speaking of 2dr post A bodies - I just came across this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1968-plymouth-valiant-2-door-post-/320711639800?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item4aabe742f8#v4-44

Whaddaya think?  Talk about simplicity - it's practically a blank canvas.  From the factory: 1) 2d post A-body 2) no P/S 3) no P/B 3) no A/C 4) no radio and 5) manual gearbox!  There's no engine or tranny in it (which is good), but since the drivetrain was a manual box, there's no need to add a clutch pedal, etc.  I just need to make the 3-on-the-tree a 4-on-the-floor.

The amount of rust on it could be an issue.  $750 seems a bit much if parts like spring hangars are so rusty they need to be replaced.  Makes me wonder what the rest of the underside looks like - description be damned.  But maybe I could get it for $400-$500 if it doesn't sell?
attkrlufy2011-06-15 12:27:44
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 08:46:15 AM »

The Pinto/Mustang gen III is like the Neon/PT Cruiser similarity. Close, but not really a straight across swap most times, but can be modified to work in most cases. Cougar size, I think there are a few modifications that would complete the ability of it being a better handler than you would think, several engine combinations can make her run fast enough, handling characteristics to weight and F/R balance can all be identified on the internet, I actually think it was pretty good and can be altered if needed. I think width and center of gravity are more important than overall length and wheelbase for handling/cornering, and if I may say, I can help the designing of a better rear leaf spring corner chiseling car than anything from the factory, and I have one of the best engineers I know verify it works (besdes my own verification). I like the torsion bar system for front ends, and there aren't too many companies that have that available, it is easier to control over coil springs.
Fiero is out, front end floats too easily, but that is adjustable, factory didn't do that great a job above 100mph, and they do like to push in the corners (my buddy's description).
 
Like I said, anything under 3500lbs is probably better, keeping the center of gravity low helps the most, and then suspension that does not collapse easily is best. If the suspension is too soft, it mushes at lower speeds, too stiff rattles your teeth, and even a heavy car can be made light with proper panel removal and tollbar installation.
 
More later.
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Leaburn Patey

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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 10:47:37 AM »

How about a 70's Dodge Colt??
Lightweight,compact,and popular with V8 conversion.
Back in the day Colt's were hot with the drag race and Rally scenes.

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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 11:58:50 AM »

Other than being difficult to find parts for, nice little rods for a rally.
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firedome

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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 12:07:24 PM »

Try the SAAB Turbo!! Saabs have historically been very successful in
Rallying, European cars have dominated it in general just about
forever, and parts for 900Ts are pretty cheap and available, plus both
the 8 and 16 valve engines are totally bulletproof... we have 2 900s,
including a 900-T that my sons race SCCA autocross with, and they
haven't had a mechanical failure yet in 7 years of racing... and if god
forbid you had a accident, the 900 is one of the safest cars ever made.
I wouldn't want to take a major shunt in a Dart, K car or Colt!! 
Parts are no problem at all, I've had Saabs since 1972, always at least
one in the family, have 4 in the family right now. We have all the 99
and 900 factory service manuals,  and know all the good parts
sources... in fact we're finally replacing the original bottom end
bearings of the '82 in my garage as we speak. The '87 has it's totally
original 2.1L with 270k and still burns not a drop of oil betwen
changes. You can pick up a decent running solid 900 Turbo for 800-1200
if you look around, it'd be the perfect car for what you want to do. Oh
yeah, and 900Ts positively excel at mid-range acceleration, that's just
what you want in a rally car. I'm sure Clarkson and the Stig would
approve....  I loved it when they bought a $1000 Jag V-12 XJS and
added nitrous for drag racing it!
firedome2011-06-15 21:12:24
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Tom Dawson

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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 01:17:00 PM »


Quote from: CBarge
How about a 70's Dodge Colt??
Lightweight,compact,and popular with V8 conversion.
Back in the day Colt's were hot with the drag race and Rally scenes.

My dad had one that color, it was a 76, not sure of engine size and a 4 speed, not a bad little zoomer


Tom

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