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Thread: Build vs Buy

  1. #41
    Senior Member dallas_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    In spite of all that, I continue to be on the fence.
    Based on that comment I would say, buy a completed car.

    If you ever get to the point that you say "I just HAVE to build one of these", then you can sell it to fund your project.
    FFR 7123 tilt front, Levy 5link/wilwoods/LCA's, webers.
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  2. #42
    Seasoned Citizen NAZ's Avatar
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    Echo what Paul said about the incompatibility of power adders with a T-5. You would want to invest in a TKO600 if you're thinking of adding a blower. Those two additions will likely cost more than your donor did. But you're posts seem to lean far to the budget side so your tinkering with adding HP to the little 302 would seem mutually exclusive -- cheap horsepower is an oxymoron. If you want more power start with a bigger engine. Nothing beats cubic inches except cubic money.

    Also sounds like the build or buy debate is moot since you've already invested $$, time, and emotional capital in a donor car. I suspect you're on your way to building a car and won't look back. Just think it through or scope creep will eat into whatever budget you have set for this build.
    33 Hot Rod Super Pro Drag Racer
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  3. #43
    Senior Member John Dol's Avatar
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    I don't think I've seen the reply of picking up a started project in the classifieds section.
    That will usually save you some money and some (none like with mine) of the work is already on the way. As mentioned most will go with the 3 link or IRS so that may already be part of the package.
    The more work you do, the cheaper it gets. I shy away from painting the car but some have done that successfully saving big bucks. Figure $5-$10K on a paint job depending where you go.
    If you leave the engine as is and only fix the transmission your drive train costs are low
    I also build from a donor to start and sold parts for more then I paid for the car keeping all the drive train components.
    At the end of the day I fell prey to the money spenders here too, and the only donor parts are the engine which was complete tore down and rebuild with an Edelbrock top end kit, and the rear axle which was rebuild as well.
    But those were choices I made, not have to's.
    In the end spending time here can be very dangerous.....
    I think you can build a roadster for less then $35K and building it is like nothing else. But you have to be honest about how much time you can allocate to this. Between my full time job, two kids, sports, family time and general life things time can be a fleeting commodity. Also your general skill set will determine the speed at which you can complete things.

    HTH,

    John
    Making progress on the "My Coupe, my way" project.

    http://s956.photobucket.com/albums/ae46/jdcoupe1969/
    Coupe #386,17" Team III 245 FR 315 RR, 3-link, T5, 4 wheel disk, power brakes/steering. Fast EZ EFI
    First start Sept. 18 2013 First go kart Sept 19 2013

  4. #44
    Member Race Ratz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Race Ratz View Post
    Iíve been interested in these cars for over a decade. I live local to factory five and attended all the open houses for many years dreaming. A year and a half ago I was going to order the complete MKIV kit and have it built by RE. My job had me consumed five days a week with no time to think about building. I was at their last open house walking around getting ideas and taking pictures of all the cool cars, yes, I have pics of edwardbís car, ready to take advantage of the summer sale. I had a couple of pics of cars for sale and decided to text the owner on one of them, also built by RE. My wife and I made arrangements to see the car, I knew the car and itís credentials, had to show my wife. The car was local to me, as soon as the garage door opened, my wife was sold. Pulled the car out in the sun, WOW! We purchased the car and was driving it a week later. Even though I missed the build, my dream came true. I am now retired, have plenty of time to enjoy it, cruzing, car shows, etc. The car is a pro build with every option, has some FFR history, check it out on their webpage roadster gallery, customer, RE. Now to convince the wife on the truck build!
    Living a dream, thanks FFR.
    And the car was state inspected, titled, and MA emissions exempt already. Thats huge!

    A pre built market for these cars helps guys sell, and build multiple cars as seen on this forum. Some people canít build these cars, it allows them to drive a FFR car also. Not everone has the budget to go buy a prebuilt SF or BDR car. The FFR car is well designed, fun, affordable, and when you are driving anyone of them, same thumbs up, and all donít know if itís the real thing. #1 question asked.....

    I have free time now, maybe Iíll give back, pay forward and help someone with their build to gain the experience I missed.
    FFR 7644 MK IV. Coyote 5.0, Boss 302 Intake, Tremec TKO600, 8.8 rear 3 link, 3:73, Koni's, Wilwood brakes, 17" Halibrands, Nitto NT555's, SS side-pipes. Velocity Red Mica, Dark Silver stripes. Painted striped dash. Heated Leather seats. Heat, defrosters, wipers. Hidden bluetooth stereo.
    A dream come true.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by NAZ View Post
    ....you're posts seem to lean far to the budget side....oxymoron....debate is moot since you've already invested $$, time, and emotional capital in a donor car.
    You clearly get me :-) I take great pride in being cheap and there are times it definitely bites me or I simply must fork over some money with great pain.

    The funny part about the donor is we are enjoying it as a family right now and I expect my daughter will be driving it before she leaves for college. However, it was a good enough deal that I could still turn around and make a few bucks selling it if I choose to go another way. The harder part may be reclaiming it when she leaves. That has been the idea from the initial purchase, but I am a push over for my kids.

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  7. #46
    Mark Eaton's Avatar
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    Snowdave,

    I LOVE building my MK4! I could have purchased a fancy sports car and I'm so glad I didn't. My time in the shop with the car is like going to Never Never Land and hanging out with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Frustrating? Not at all, I usually have to redo everything several times to get it right but I'm ok with that. When I started my boys were 11 and 13, now almost 13 and 15 and basically have lost most of their interest for the build. I get it, they say I spend all my time staring at the car then the manual and then build threads. And they are correct. But they still come in from time to time and those are special times.

    One other thing, this car is going to ride rough, loud and windy and I know my wife will probably rarely ride with me. She and I are ok with that as well.

    I will always have this car. I will always tinker with it, and it is awesome!

    Mark
    MK4 #9130 , complete kit, arrived 8/10/2017.
    DART SHP 347, EFI, TKO600, IRS
    http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...n-Build-Thread

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  9. #47
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    Before I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my kit, I was going back and forth with the same buy or build question. I was concerned about the cost and it was clear that I could have bought one for less than the cost to build. What tipped the scales for me was looking at cars for sale on-line and seeing things that made me question the quality. When you think about it, you are putting your safety into the hands of the builder that may or may not have done things right. That said, I had never done anything like this before and who's to say that my build would be any safer? But, I have confidence in my ability to tell if something is done right as I'm doing it and if nothing else, I know every inch of the car. My car is nearly complete and I'm torn between wanting to get it on the road and extending the build process. I have found the build process to be a complete pleasure. The best part is talking to co-workers that can't believe I'm actually building an entire car, and then the pride that comes from showing pictures of the process.

    Back to the cost perspective. Once you lay down the cost for the major items, the rest just sort of happens over time and you don't feel the impact as much. I promise you if you buy one already done, you'll be spending money on it just like you would if you'd have built it. These cars are never "done". There is always something to tweak, replace, add that wasn't in the original budget. I am one of those that wanted a new car, and didn't even consider the donor car approach. I think you'll hear pros and cons for and against either approach, but the important thing is to do what you'll be happy with in the end.

    I didn't buy into this to sell. I learned a long time ago that cars are generally very poor investments. Case in point, I bought a used Mercedes SL500 that was four years old. The MSRP on that car new was $103K and I bought it for $40K. Three years later I sold it for $25K. Don't be shocked that an investment of $50K+ to build one of these will only sell for $35K. At the point you go to sell it, it's just another used car to the person buying it. There are always exceptions, but they are rare.

    Dave
    Last edited by Papa; 01-04-2019 at 09:13 PM.
    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

    My Build Thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...ter-Build-9754

  10. #48
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    My two cents, for me it was easy I don't have the time or the mechanical aptitude for a build, I bought. I was fortunate to find a car for sale that had an extensive documented build on the other forum, the original owner built it and lost interest in it. It had everything I was looking for MkIV, PS, PB, heat and df, irs, 17" wheels wilwood brakes, 347 stroker, T5, everything was new except for the engine block. I paid $33,000 no way I could build it for that. The car was on a complete kit full bumpers dual roll bars so many extras I have no doubt he spent $50k on the build a quick pic is included:



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  12. #49
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    I've made the decision to build for a few reasons. First, it's a bucket list thing, there are less expensive cars to build but they are not at this level of quality and performance. Second, the car with the options I want is not for sale (well one was but I was too late (https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...-Frank-I-E-427). Third, as others have said, will you risk your life on the build skills of another person? Seems going over every inch would be the safest plan. Might as well build it. Already owning the tools, and with a grease monkey, low budget racer history, it seems like a fun, although intimidating, challenge.

  13. #50
    Senior Member Barrel's Avatar
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    Considering the number of replies you have generated this is clearly a very interesting question.
    If you get the chance to drive a Factory Five product before buying one,( and then spend the next 3 years of your life building it), my advice is to take that opportunity
    and then make your decision.

  14. #51
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    I decided to put in my 2 cents worth on this topic. I get about 50 calls a year for people to have me build a FFR kit or questions on building one. 95% do not realize the cost of building one and stop right there. I always tell them you can buy a built one for less than building one 99% of the time. The difference is in building one you get exactly what you want. Buying one is a compromise most of the time. I highly suggest to sit and drive one if possible before spending money. I love all the FFR kits but some are better for tall guys than others as well as large folks. IMO the building is such a great process, but I have been blessed with the skills and friends to help me. Do your homework before spending money you regret. If you enjoy the build part it is very rewarding, IMO. Best of luck in any way you go.

  15. #52
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    I also have thought long and hard about getting one of these roadsters. I'm leaning towards a mk4 complete kit with the 347 blueprint engine and 3-link. For me I'm wanting to do it for the experience and for the learning aspect of all the different systems of which I know about nothing. I change my oil, brakes, belts, rotate tires, etc. but have no experience with engines, tranny, suspension, wiring (in a car) or any of the dozens of other systems. it will be a bonus if my 16yo son peaks his head into the garage for a few hours to help or if my other grown(-ish, 26yo) wants to come help out. they seems to think it will be cool, and hopefully that translates to some quality father son(s) time.

    My brother has had 3 kits (mk2, mk3, mk3) over the years and hasn't built the first one. He is a mustang freak. He currently has two mustangs and more than enough extra parts laying around to do a donor build. He is much more of a mechanic than I am and he has even painted a few cars in his downstairs 2 car garage (lives on a hill). He went the donor route (as far as buying the kit). I don't want to shell out 40-50k for a car with a bunch of dirty, used, old, soon to fail (or work perfectly, who knows) parts, so I will go the complete kit route.

    We are going to the build school together in April and I think I will head over to F5 and take a tour and hopefully drive a roadster or two if somebody is kind enough to let me (or even just ride in). Hopefully the trip will spur him into building his and get my mind right on whether to get a kit or just buy a completed car. I feel like after the school and the tour and a drive or two, I will have a good idea of whether it is within my capabilities. Honestly though, with this forum, I think it automatically doubles anyone's abilities due to the shear volume of help, explanations, pictures, etc that is freely given.

    Also for me, I recently found a guy local who is nearing completion of his and has offered his help/advice as necessary (good talk we had Carl, thanks for the time). I think there are several people/vendors that build these also, so you can get what you want, built by a professional, and not have to wait a year or two . . . .

  16. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChasNMe View Post
    We are going to the build school together in April and I think I will head over to F5 and take a tour and hopefully drive a roadster or two if somebody is kind enough to let me (or even just ride in). Hopefully the trip will spur him into building his and get my mind right on whether to get a kit or just buy a completed car. I feel like after the school and the tour and a drive or two, I will have a good idea of whether it is within my capabilities.
    Just so you know, to level your expectation, you won't be driving any cars while touring Factory Five. It's not a like a new car dealer that allows demo drives. I've seen/heard of customers getting rides from Dave Smith, along with the smoky parking lot donuts, but don't know how typical that is. Especially this time of year. The build school doesn't allow any driving or riding either. Only a parking lot drive by the instructors. Your best bet is to hook up with local owners or visit one of the big events, like London, Texas, etc. Most owners are happy to give rides. Usually they don't allow anyone to drive. I don't. But you can learn a lot from the passenger seat. Just be aware there are differences in the characteristics of these builds based on engine, rear suspension, seats, build, etc. That's one of the really enjoyable aspect. You can make it exactly your own. Aside comment, my very first ride ever in a FF Roadster was when I drove my Mk3 build for the very first time. I wasn't sure what to expect, but needless to say I was impressed.
    Build 1: Mk3 Roadster #5125. Sold 11/08/2014.
    Build 2: Mk4 Roadster #7750. Sold 04/10/2017. #7750 Build Thread
    Build 3: Mk4 Roadster 20th Anniversary #8674. 03 of 20. 2015 crate Coyote, 2015 IRS. Legal 04/18/2017. #8674 Build Thread
    Build 4: Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe #59. Gen 3 crate Coyote. Delivered 12/2/2017. #59 Coupe Build Thread

  17. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrel View Post

    Considering the number of replies you have generated this is clearly a very interesting question.

    Here is another good one - similar - observations from FFR sellers: https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...a-few-FFR-cars

  18. #55
    Senior Member BadAsp427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChasNMe View Post
    I also have thought long and hard about getting one of these roadsters. I'm leaning towards a mk4 complete kit with the 347 blueprint engine and 3-link. For me I'm wanting to do it for the experience and for the learning aspect of all the different systems of which I know about nothing. I change my oil, brakes, belts, rotate tires, etc. but have no experience with engines, tranny, suspension, wiring (in a car) or any of the dozens of other systems. it will be a bonus if my 16yo son peaks his head into the garage for a few hours to help or if my other grown(-ish, 26yo) wants to come help out. they seems to think it will be cool, and hopefully that translates to some quality father son(s) time.

    My brother has had 3 kits (mk2, mk3, mk3) over the years and hasn't built the first one. He is a mustang freak. He currently has two mustangs and more than enough extra parts laying around to do a donor build. He is much more of a mechanic than I am and he has even painted a few cars in his downstairs 2 car garage (lives on a hill). He went the donor route (as far as buying the kit). I don't want to shell out 40-50k for a car with a bunch of dirty, used, old, soon to fail (or work perfectly, who knows) parts, so I will go the complete kit route.

    We are going to the build school together in April and I think I will head over to F5 and take a tour and hopefully drive a roadster or two if somebody is kind enough to let me (or even just ride in). Hopefully the trip will spur him into building his and get my mind right on whether to get a kit or just buy a completed car. I feel like after the school and the tour and a drive or two, I will have a good idea of whether it is within my capabilities. Honestly though, with this forum, I think it automatically doubles anyone's abilities due to the shear volume of help, explanations, pictures, etc that is freely given.

    Also for me, I recently found a guy local who is nearing completion of his and has offered his help/advice as necessary (good talk we had Carl, thanks for the time). I think there are several people/vendors that build these also, so you can get what you want, built by a professional, and not have to wait a year or two . . . .

    It was very nice meeting you Jake. I hope that I was able to inspire you a bit when you visited. A ride in mine should be in the very near future if you wish... But as Paul (edwardb) said.... sorry i'm not going to let you drive mine... I have also refused a couple offers to ride as I wanted my first experience to be in my own. Oh, and FYI, I just met a guy named Sandy that lives about 2 miles from me that has a Mk3. I found him at a Cars and Coffee this weekend. This is a photo of his.
    SandyFord427.jpg

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 )
    Purchased 8/18/18----Build Started 8/19/18
    First Start 11-1-18
    ---- First GoCart 11-7-18
    BluePrint Engines 347ci / TKO600
    Carb / Heater / Heated Seats / Cruise Control / Drop Trunk & Battery

    Build Thread Click Here Gel Coat Driver 1/12/19

  19. #56
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    If you do buy a roadster, first thing I would suggest is to find someone close to you with a roadster and go for a ride. The cars are not for everyone. I bought mine last year and love it, but was very aware of the difficulties in owning/driving a roadster. The builder, is very active on the other forum and did not like the ride so much. Second thing i would suggest is, once you find the car, see if there's a build thread for the car. Find out who built it and do some research. Most of the cars look very nice, but the actual quality varies a lot.
    I got lucky with my car because it wasn't for sale. I loved the car and read that the builder did not like to drive it much because it wasn't as comfortable as he liked. I reached out to him, and a month later convinced him to sell it to me. 3 months after that I drove it 1,000 miles home. From all his posts, I knew he was a very detailed person. Turns out he was a Engineer.

    Good luck with your choice. Just make sure you do your research and don't jump into based on looks or pricing alone.
    Dewey

  20. #57
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    Ill take you up on the ride when your ready Carl. I would never ask somebody to drive theirs but if they offer, then its a done deal. ride in one will tell me everything I need to know . . . . good to know there is another close by. text me about this cars and coffee and maybe ill show up sometime . . . Jake

    edwardb, my brother has been to the factory five site a few times over the years and one time there was some sort of get together. he got a ride in 2 peoples cars. doubt there will be anything happening on a Tuesday which is the likely day I will be there but one could hope . . . I didn't expect any sort of tour ride, but I do plan on sitting in anything they have and taking a good look at the new 35 truck, I like that too . . .
    Last edited by ChasNMe; 01-06-2019 at 09:28 PM.

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  22. #58
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    I am considering going to look at this one if it is still for sale after I have my truck fixed.

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/c...775619631.html

    My impression of most partially built kits is that you may save a few thousand, but frankly that is not worth the added risk. Perhaps seeing one in person would change my mind.

  23. #59

    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo
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    Dave,

    There are some major improvements on the MK-4 chassis as well as the body which will make building an earlier car a tad higher in cost in my opinion. Also, the car you are looking at is a donor build and appears to be a little messy in the execution of the work I see under the hood.

    I'd reach out to one of the Master Builders on this forum before you plop down your 20-K for a donor project car.
    Just look at the difference starting from scratch can make compared to buying someone else's failed project:

    My Dark Side Build As Of Yesterday:
    https://youtu.be/wOID7yvBRPU

    Two Guys Garage Build School Video:
    https://youtu.be/PtcRqUxvOMA

    Again, the Master Builders on this forum (Multiple Builds & Professional Builders Only / Not Me) know these cars back to front and top to bottom.

    Finally, if I can get this far with a ton of life issues whacking me then you can do it too.

    Steve
    Last edited by GoDadGo; 01-07-2019 at 09:05 AM.

  24. #60


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    There is nothing wrong with a Mk3 or an orphaned build if you can get it for the right price (somehow I have 3 of them in the shop right now!) but in my opinion the one in that craigslist ad is NOT at the right price. At 50-60% of that I'd give it some consideration (if it belongs to someone here I apologize if that offends you but that's my honest opinion). You don't know what you're getting into with any unfinished car until you start digging---a few years ago I got one delivered that had been purchased as an unfinished project. Looked pretty decent in photos and it arrived as a full roller with most of the aluminum installed but after a little looking it was clear that absolutely nothing could be trusted so it all got stripped to the bare chassis for a complete "do-over". Every nut, bolt, line and aluminum panel (which had all been installed dry) came off so it was basically like starting with a fresh kit.

    Jeff

  25. #61
    KDubU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kleiner View Post
    There is nothing wrong with a Mk3 if you can get it for the right price (somehow I have 3 of them in the shop right now!) but in my opinion the one in that craigslist ad is NOT at the right price. At 50% of that I'd give it some consideration (if it belongs to someone here I apologize if that offends you but that's my honest opinion). You don't know what you're getting into with any unfinished car until you start digging---a few years ago I got one delivered that had been purchased as an unfinished project. Looked pretty decent in photos and it arrived as a full roller with most of the aluminum installed but after a little looking it was clear that absolutely nothing could be trusted so it all got stripped to the bare chassis for a complete "do-over". Every nut, bolt, line and aluminum panel (which had all been installed dry) came off so it was basically like starting with a fresh kit.

    Jeff

    Jeff is spot on with this. Nothing against buying a build in progress but you would have to go over it in a lot of details beforehand to ensure things are done right. I actually reached out to this very seller and there are a few unknowns that make me say that likely this is a $10-12k purchase max.
    Kyle

    Complete Kit pickup 09/05/2015, 351w, QF680, 3.55, 3-Link, 15" Halibrands with MT's, Painted Viking blue with Wimbledon white stripes on 03/15/2017.

  26. #62
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    It basically comes down to your desired outcome, skill level, spare time and finances. Frustration can kill a do it yourself project real quick if you don't have the spare time, money and above all patience. There will be many small obstacles arise, new things to learn etc.
    Best of luck on your endeavors

    Lucky

  27. #63
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    Wanted to build but due to moving and unavailable space to do so bought a completed MK2 that was 12 years old and needed upgrading. So, got to re-engine, redesign cooling system, fuel system and upgrade ignition system while still being able to use the car in between work in progress. Learned so much and have a killer roadster that I can be proud to say I have updated. The car is now 17 years new and still a head and tire turner. The best part was being able to take the poorly restroked 408 (351 small block Windsor from a 69 TBird) and upgrade to a true 427 Ford racing aluminum engine. The power and dependability is extraordinary. Good luck. I have found restoring a roadster as challenging after buying.

  28. #64
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    I bought a partially completed MK4 and have been very happy with my decision. My decision was less of a money decision and more about available time. I’ve found some things to fix and upgrade while completing the car so still getting the build experience and learning the car, but saved significantly on the cost and actually will have a shot of getting it finished. Given I’m fairly new, I brought a mechanic friend of mine with me to evaluate the car which gave me some confidence. If possible, I would recommend tracking down one of the resident ffr experts on these forums to take a look with you vs. a general Car guy.

  29. #65
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    Your answer might lie one post above yours. Someone is looking to sell what sounds to be a half done car. Purchase at right price and complete to your liking
    #8869 Delivered 5/11/2016 Traditional donor build using 1994 Mustang

  30. #66

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    How about a completed Miata for a project car?
    www.breezeautomotive.com 2005 FFR Mk3 Roadster, 302/340hp, MassFlo EFI, Breeze Pulleys, T5, Aluminum Flywheel, 3-link rear with Torsen Diff and 3.27:1 gears, Power Steering, Breeze Front Sway Bar, SN-95 Spindles with outboard SAI Mod, Breeze Battery Mount, QA1 Externally Adjustable Shocks, Quick Release Steering Wheel, Vintage Race seats, GM Arctic White, Sky Blue Scoop, Hidden Hinges, Billet Aluminum Side-view Mirrors, 2,183lbs wet. 1967 Mustang Fastback, Dark Moss Green, black interior, '67 14" styled steel wheels, 2000 Explorer 302 w 5.0 Cam, Quickfuel 450 CFM, 289 Hi-Po Dual exhaust, C4, lowering springs w Shelby drop.

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  32. #67
    Senior Member John Dol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Gorham, ME
    Posts
    936
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    Making progress on the "My Coupe, my way" project.

    http://s956.photobucket.com/albums/ae46/jdcoupe1969/
    Coupe #386,17" Team III 245 FR 315 RR, 3-link, T5, 4 wheel disk, power brakes/steering. Fast EZ EFI
    First start Sept. 18 2013 First go kart Sept 19 2013

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