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I have $15k. Resto on zed or new car?


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Hey guys,

I'm looking for some opinions here. I've gotten a $15k loan from the bank, and i'm looking at getting a 180sx, but everytime i go into the garage i see the zed sitting there asking to be driven.

It's a 1975 2+2 without an engine but with just about everything else as far as i know. I don't know whether i should spend the $15k on the zed or buy a 180sx. What does everyone think?

Bear in mind if i spend it on the zed, i'll want the zed to be able to perform as good as or better than a 180sx to make it worth it. Eg, aircon, fast, good handling, good interior. I don't want to do a half job, i want a nice car. Is it possible to do this with $15k? Also i can't do much of the work myself due to lack of skills/lack of time. Prob looking at an rb26dett from an r32 GTR front cut for the engine and aircon. Would maybe settle for the rb25det, but i'd prefer the 26. The zed will also need a full paint job, with rust and dent removal. Plus all new apholstry and the dash rebuilt. I'd say all the wiring will need redoing. Plus all rubbers are rotting as you'd expect. Possibly need suspension and brake work, don't know till a mechanic looks at it.

Sorry for rambling, i'm just really lost as to what i want with my money, i just know the car i have needs to go soon.

You guys think i can do the zed for $15k? Any help will be MUCH appreciated. :nervous:

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Don't think you could do that for 15k - properly. I mean an rb26dett will cost you half that! Brakes, suspension and having someone swap it in would cost the rest I would have thought. As much as I love the Z for what you're proposing I'd go the 180

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yeah alfadog is right,

for what you are looking at the budget requirements for the zed are going to be a lot higher than 15k, besides for what you're leaning to i'd recommend a 2 seater for the more sporty feel. that or just a 180, personally i believe you'll get a better 180 for what you're trying to achieve for 15k then you could get from a zed.

Tom.

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As much as I'd love to see the ol' girl on the road (seeing as I'm a previous owner), I'd have to also agree with the others. I think you could build up a pretty nice zed for 15k if you're careful with the $$$, but it's still not going to be something you want to drive every day.

Maybe spend 10k or so on the 180 (I wouldn't be spending 15) and put the other 5k into getting the body work and paint work done on the zed.... That way you get the side project kick started and you have a good base to work on.

The main things the zed really needs is rust/body work, paint, interior, engine + box (mickie is still welcome to my old L26 if he wants it, just to get it up and running). Mechanically it's pretty sound, seems to have relatively low km on it. Of course if a high powered engine goes in, then brakes and suspension will be a must. Wiring should be fine mick.

Here's a pic.

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Well there is a question for us all and I would anticipate you receiving a mixed response to this post.

I tend to agree with Alfadog that 15k might leave you more than a bit short of your desired end point with a restoration project where you cannot do a lot of the work yourself.

Then I think that even if you could make it happen, and squeeze an extra couple of k, I question whether or not I would take out a bank loan to do it on a 2+2. Do not think that I am bagging the 2+2 here as I have two such vehicles on the road as we speak and I love them both. However, I think the value would sit better in a 2 seater.

The 15k would or should buy a very nice Z 2 seater with all the work pretty well done. That would leave your current vehicle as a parts car or even possibly a few k for the motor you are wanting to purchase one and go that route.

If you are really thinking of going the restoration route, the thought of having to pay for the substantial restoration of a body with rust in it, remove dents, and then paint the car is one of a number of major considerations. Richard advertised a straight 5/71 tub for $1250 just recently and I would think that you could save yourself a heap of money by starting with a good base. My bet is that a restored early Zed is a better investment, and possiby a little more fun to drive, than a restored 2+2.

Then there is the matter that only you can answer with regard to the choice of a 180sx versus a Zed. This is a non issue in my mind as my soul is with the Zed but only you can really put a value on the relative merits of the two vehicles.

15k is a big loan for someone thinking of entering a restoration project that I think could easily blow out to a larger figure. I have only done one restoration project and ended up spending 70% more than I thought I was in for. It was two years later before I got the car on the road!! Your garage space and financial resources will play a big part in the balance of your considerations here.

My recent personal solution was to buy a nice car for 10K with 5k to spend on it to bring it up to (my) scratch. I did consider a restoration project with another purchase opportunity but when I did the sums I found myself way too short.

All the best with your deliberations.

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I think for your $15K you are far better off with the 180sx. You will not be able to swap in an RB25DET or RB26DETT and also do a good repair on your body + paint for that amount.

Also to swap in the A/C stuff is quite time consuming so if you are paying some one to do all your mechanical work, electrical work as well as panel and paint your budget does not cover the work required by the sounds of things.

Also it might be worth enquiring on the insurance on the 180sx as I know imports are not cheap to insure and most companies wont touch them at all.

Good luck,

Cuong Nguyen

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If you are paying someone to do everything it will cost at least ~$5000 for a 'good' engine conversion. That doesn't include the engine and gearbox, just labour and consumables.

This is a good conversion. You may be able to find cheaper but I would question the quality and quite often you'll be given a lower quote only to find they bump it up latter on due to 'unforseen' problems.

RB26 is going to set you back probably in the ball park of 5000. That leaves you 5000 which probably wouldn't even do your rust repairs and paint if there is any significant rust.

For 15000 I think you could do your body work and paint, some suspension work and mabye have enough left for an L28T but even that would be pushing it if your paying someone to do all your work.

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First off you've managed to get $15k but remember this isn't money from nowhere somewhere at some stage your paying this money back and it will probably cost you an extra $2k+ for the priveledge.

I have 3 friends who recently bought 180's they are a not bad car and I can see why they chose them. However it won't be a sweet picnic one already has busted a gearbox the other broke something in his suspension putting it through it's paces on a driver training day we think it's a simple bushing but not sure yet till we get her on a hoist.(he drives it daily).

Let's say you buy a 180sx now in 5 years time let's say you want to sell it? You might pay 13k for it now in 5 years you might loose 6k? Silvia's with Sr20's can be picked up for 6k these days.

That's a huge loss when you couple it with your interest from your bank loan :dead: .

Let's say instead you decide to sell the 260z 2+2 you could get up to 4-5k for it maybe? i'm not sure what condition it's in.

So you've sold your 2+2 you have a little extra cash now you can find a well kept 2 seater 260z or 240z. For example recently in Unique cars this car was for sale http://www.viczcar.com/v-web/gallery/displayimage.php?album=topn&cat=-15&pos=0 it was a very tidy example I saw it at the nationals i think he was asking $11k.

Now your under budget you can pay off a huge debt to the bank and you've got a bit of money for rego insurance and stamp duty. It might not go as quick as a 180sx at the moment but you can always work on that later. You've also bought something that will hold alot more value and insurance will probably go easier on you especially if your a car club member. The cops will be less likely to give you a hard time also.

Now I'm not saying buy the car above but you get the idea of where i'm going. You've got a decent amount of cash which gives you the opportunity to buy something reasonably looked after that will hold more value than the 180.

On the other hand if your just after a quick car with Turbo then the 180sx is probably the way to go. Just remember the Z is a good car to learn how to work on cars with doing the wrong thing on a more complicated 180sx could cost you an expensive turbo or EFI controller etc...

Just my opinion from viewing what my mates have gone through and my own circumstances. :smoke:

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Buy the 180, I can't see you getting a Rb26dett with only 15k with the body work,,,...

a Rb20det and the body work yes that won't be a problem....

I had a sr20det silvia, with quite a few mods, it was very very fun, always sideways, changed the rear tyres more times than i can remember, and it never missed a beat.. but look at me now back at restoring my S30 as i got bored of the bland looks and just wasnt the car that i wanted to keep,

if you really want one you just need to find one that hasn't been trashed by its prevous owner and it should be fine, get a 94+,

Ive got 3 friends with 180sx's, and having the silvia i know they are one of the best bang for your buck cars, in the 8-14k price range. but clutchs are like 600+200 to install, turbos are 300-800, and garrenty and 1 of those you'll need to replace in the year you buy it, but parts are decently cheap, pump 5k into them, and you'll have a beast 12second daily driver that still gets 500 to a tank

for 15k on a 180, you either are looking for one that is really well presented and running alot of mods, ie power fc, suspension, t28 and injectors etc etc, as stock 180sx's are ok but arn't that enjoyable, and u need to pump 5k into them to really get them moving,.. then they get really fun. where that 5k could have been a rb20det swap into the Z, and another 3k on paint and body, and you still go change left for suspension and interoir and youve got a nice Z,

But IMO, sell the 2+2 get 2k for it, if your serous look for a nice 240 or 2 seater 260, that is already modified, or that is stockish for like 7-8k and put a rb20det into it... as they'll keep better value as gav said

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Very good points there Gav!

*Datto jumps off the 180sx ship*

You could certainly buy yourself a VERY nice zed for 15k. You'd be likely to get something a good bit quicker than a stockish 180SX for that matter....and would handle better, look better and have elevently billion times more sex appeal than ANY 180sx would ever have a hope of having. :)

So how's this for a secenario mick:

Keep the mirage as your daily driver and buy a nice zed as your fun car. As gav was saying theres plenty of good reasons. For a young bloke such as yourself one that's well worth seriously considering is the vehicles depreciation. You'd certainly be throwing away a good chunk of that money on the 180sx, where as the zed will only increase in value.

If you want speed, I don't think you'll be that disapointed. Even my busted arse L26 (about the slowest zed you'll ever get in) will stick with a stock SR20 180sx to 100kph or so. Besides if you ever need a real speed fix, do what I do and take your mates turbo import for a blat for a night.

Maybe sell the mirage and buy a bike as you'd suggested ages ago?

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Doesn't the bank have some say in what sort of car you buy? Meaning you just cant take the cash and build a project car with it. If you default on the load, the bank cant do much with a 2+2 shell and a bunch of engine parts.

$15K could buy you a nice turbo skyline or Z32

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There were some nice Z's around the $15k mark on carpoint.com.au or carsales.com.au recently.

$15k will get you not very far at all, especially if your paying for labour. I have spent a lot more than that and have been doing all but the bodywork myself.

As for 180sx's, they are over 10 years old now and a drift favourite, so I wouldnt buy one without having an extra $5k in reserve for repairs.

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Bit expensive for a 180, as others have said most of them have been belted, suffered from mostly well meaning mods and are getting a bit old for the money. They are a great drivers car and will outhandle a S30 stock, no doubt about that. The S30 needs a lot of work to make it handle really well and even then won't be better than a well sorted 180 with a lot less spent on it suspension wise.

It comes down to what you want in a car, your decision :)

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My advice. If you want somthing that goes fast now that you dont have to wait for, go out and get yourself an R32 Skyline GTSt. In my opinion they are a lot better car than the S13's and the should/will be able to retain their value a $^!# load better

On the other hand, if you would like to have the old school car, listen to what Gav has to say. $15000 will buy you an extremely mint condition 2 seater Zed. Also dont write off the L engine. The L28 is a good and strong engine.

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Yeah i'm a bit unsure about only having 2 seats though... But i'll look into it. I did see the 240z in the new unique cars mag, and thought about it long and hard. I think maybe i will buy another zed...... I'll see what pops up.. What are my chances of getting a turbo'd one or at least a pretty modded one for under 15k in the 2-seaters?

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Easy I recon. Do you remember Matts 260Z? Looks identical to mine, except it's pretty much perfect. He was interested in selling that for around the 13k mark. L28, tripple webbers, fair bit of work on suspension and brakes. Beautiful car....makes be very very jealous! Ran a 14.4.....so pretty stout in a straight line....that's as quick as most turbo imports with the basic mods.

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i seen a 260z, that was engineerd and RWC, with a V30det in it, that went for 13k... so they are out there... just need to wait till you find someone willing to part with the car...

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What are my chances of getting a turbo'd one or at least a pretty modded one for under 15k in the 2-seaters?

Like I said, there were a couple on carpoint.com.au just a week or so ago, there was a nice silver one but it looks lik its gone now. The copper one is still there.

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The other thought i had was that i found one for $4k which seems to only have a bit of surface rust as the problem. I could prob afford that and get a respray AND an rb25det if i installed the engine myself you think? My main thing is finding one with a good interior. Cause i plan to get a respray anyhow cause i have a colour i want.

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DIY....yeah I recon you can do it. Do remember things like suspension and brakes will also need to be done. I'd be weary of a 4k zed though...unless you're very lucky it'll end up costing you more than buying one that someone has already done.

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As long as DIY means fabricating your own sump, engine mounts, gearbox mount, modify your own trunsmission tunnel, wire all the electrics, build your own tailshaft, do your own CV conversion, do all your own lines and upgrade your own suspension and brakes to suit, and fabricating and welding any replacement rusts panels then it is remotely possible to do this, as well as properly respray the car but still doubtful for $15k. I would say you will find a lot of arts that need renewal along the way and the supply alone cost will be in the thousands. The cheapest quality respray will still cost around $3000 without major bodywork. All rusted panels will need to be sectioned and replacements fabricated, otherwise the money on the respray is a waste of time.

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  • 6 years later...

A lot depends on how much you can do yourself. Certainly, if you're just going to hand ithe job over to a bodyshop, then get pros to do the upholstery, etc., $15K won't cut it. Talk to your body guy and see what his cost would be if you delivered it stripped and clean both in an out, with all body bolts loose, then reassembled it all yourself.

On this site a few weeks ago, I questioned whether to replace or repair the wiring harness, and the consensus seemed to be that I should repair what I have. So fine, the car is all apart, I'm just setting the dash upside down on the workbench and going over every wire, one by one. Time consuming, but a lot cheaper than having someone crawl under the dash for lord-knows how many billable hours trying to find out why the XXXX doesn't work.

All that being said, it had best be a labour of love, because 95% of the time restoration is a lousy investment! And yes I heard all about the '37 Benz that went at auction for $9.8 mill and the '57 Testa Rossa for $16 mill, but they are the rare exceptions.

Best of luck.

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