The Internet is a wonderful thing. It brought us Jalopnik. It brought us Black Flag. And most of all, it brought us shopping without the need to put on real pants. Skip the crowds this week and buy a race car online instead. You'll thank us later.
If your excuse for not going racing is "I don't have a car," we're here to help. Here are some of my favorite race car finds for sale on the good ol' Series of Tubes.
$16,500 - 1994 Mazda Miata R
This professionally built Spec Miata comes with a sign of the times right on the listing: "Motor: Was completely gone through by OTC, ALL COMPONENTS WERE ASSURED TO BE IN SPEC PER THE CLASS RULES WHEN REASSEMBLED."
Good to know, guys. Good to know.
Still, despite the controversy at the SCCA Runoffs, a Spec Miata is one of the cheapest points of entry into SCCA racing. Parts are cheap, particularly through Mazda's in-house Mazdaspeed program, which anybody who's racing can sign up for. Consumables are cheap. There are so many people who race Miatas that the amount of support for things that go wrong is incredible.
Here's an example with very few race miles on it and a decent reputation for being wicked fast. The seller claims of one race where it started in 27th and worked its way all the way up to 3rd.
It has a few dings, but it's Spec Piñata. You'll get a few more dings.
Considering what new professional (not cheating!!1!) builds on these cars go for, even the "Buy It Now" price isn't a bad deal.
$60,000 - 1992 Acura NSX
What better place for a car famously driven in loafers by Ayrton Senna than on a racetrack?
This example prepared by Driving Ambition/Comptech has a whole host of upgrades, including a long list of custom engine, transmission and cooling parts. That may not be the best thing if you break anything but it goes to show you the lengths that they went to in order to transform a NSX into a race car.
This car was a SCCA champion in 2012 and 2013, so if you're looking for a car that few other people will show up with that actually has a chance at winning, here you go. The seller claims it has a current 2014 SCCA log book and is ready to race.
$19,000 - 2007 Honda Civic Si
Want a race car with a real professional pedigree? Only have enough to buy a Mitsubishi Lancer sitting in the couch cushions? You could get a new, shiny Mitsu as a daily driver, or you could get one of Shea Holbrook's former World Challenge cars.
I think we know which one of those is a more sound investment.
C'mon, the Civic even comes with spares! I have trouble even sourcing track pads for my beloved Lulzcer.
Originally purchased off of a dealer's lot in 2007 and converted into a race car by Honda Research of America, this car was built to run the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Holbrook Racing then bought the car to campaign in World Challenge.
The current owners ran the car in SCCA STL and replaced the engine with a 2011 Civic Si mill, among a long list of other upgrades.
Come at me, front-wheel-drive haters. At $19,000 for a fairly complete package of car plus spares, this would be the perfect entry into SCCA wheel-to-wheel funtime.
Bonus: this car even comes with air jacks that pop out of the bottom to lift the car up. (Read: no more dragging around your blue Harbor Freight special.) Turn on the air, and FOOMF! It's up.
$7,900 - 1988 Porsche 924S
Here is a car that is near and dear to my heart, as it has an updated version of my race car's drive train in the lighter, more aerodynamic 924 shell. Porsche revived the narrow-body body shape at the end of the 1980s and made the car to have for a front-engined, four-banger Porsche.
Here is a clean example prepared for PCA SP1 (the most close-to-stock Spec 944 class) racing, which is the least expensive entry into Porsche racing out there, and one of the least expensive classes in racing, period. Per the description, it sounds like it's been prepared nearly to the limits of the class, and has many podium finishes to show for it.
As an owner of a Guards Red 944, I can also confirm that this 924S is the right color.
It's also a very, very nice price for an already prepared racecar. You can't build one for this cheap, so save yourself the time and the money and buy an already prepared car to race.
$22,500 - Street Legal Nationwide Series Car
What, you just thought we were going to snub the CARS of NAS on here? Nope. Ex-NASCAR tube-frame race cars end up in club racing all the time. For the price of a top-of-the-line Mazda3, you can get a purpose-built racecar with all the safety equipment pre-installed that NASCAR mandates to prevent hot messes at 200+ mph.
This car comes from the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and is designed to kinda-sorta resemble a Chevrolet SS. 'k. We're more interested in the Chevrolet crate motor and the fact that they somehow got this thing approved for street use in Alabama.
Who needs a tow vehicle, anyway? Leave those to prissy Porsche racers as you blast past them on the road in a great chorus of V8 fabulousness.
$30,000 - 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
If there's one thing that will save you a lot of headaches later, it's buying a race car that's been put together by someone who knows what they're doing. For less than the cost of a new Maxima, you could buy a professionally built Mazdaspeed3 (with spares!) from the crew at C.J. Wilson Racing.
This car was prepared for the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge by Speedsource, a prominent Mazda race shop in Florida who was also responsible for those sweet Mazda6 diesel race cars as well as numerous other factory Mazda efforts.
It would also make a great entry into Pirelli World Challenge or any number of SCCA or NASA classes, and you'd spare yourself the worries of "why is there bubble gum in my engine bay?" or "this weld kind of looks like Swiss cheese."
It's a Mazda, too, which means it's decently reliable as a track beast and parts are cheap when it's not.
Plus, the second generation Mazdaspeed3 is one of the happiest cars on the track. Look at it, man. Look at it.
$48,500 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT
Maybe you're not looking to hop into wheel-to-wheel, but you'd still like to race on track. Look into Time Trials, and look into this impressive Mustang set up for NASA TT3.
That 5.0 Coyote V8 is guaranteed to give you one of the best soundtracks on track, bar none.
This particular car was Vorshlag Motorsports' in-house test mule of sorts, meaning that it's now incredibly well-sorted after four years of continuous development. It holds several track records and a couple NASA TT3 Championships.
In other words, you can sit there, be wrong, and try to argue that wheel-to-wheel racing is the only racing, but this was too good not to list.
This one's technically a full interior street car, but it's still so mean and low that you know exactly what its purpose is: to go faster than all those other schmucks on track. This is the most comfortable, best sorted option for getting you competing on a race track out of anything I'm going to list today.
$90,000 - 2000 Ferrari 360 Challenge
Say you've always fancied Doug DeMuro's car, but driving it on the pockmarked streets of Philadelphia won't do. Well, then, get the race car version.
Because the current Ferrari Challenge series now runs 458s, you can pick up a 360 Challenge on the cheap. There's no shortage of places to run a 360 Challenge car, either, including the one-make Challenge Club Racing series specifically made for historic Ferrari Challenge cars.
This example from Ontario purports to be a low-hour race car and comes in Ferrari's signature red.
One-up our man Doug by getting the race car version of his car. You know you want to.
You'll have to act fast, though, as this listing expires tomorrow.
$10,605 (€8500) - Trabant 601R
Laugh all you'd like, but East Germany's iconic duroplast car has proven to be a tough competitor in stage rally and track events. Slow, noisy, and smelly, but durable is the name of the game.
Also, the series organizers won't let me race one in the 24 Hours of LeMons despite it being exactly the kind of thing LeMons needs. So, I'm going to keep posting Trabi race cars until the LeMons powers-that-be change their minds. They can be safe, I swear! Throw in all the usually mandated gear and they're a perfectly fine racin' automobile.
Personal vendetta aside, I still want to hoon a Trabant. They're light, they're cute, and they're exceedingly rare in the United States. If you live in Europe or have the means to ship a rally car over from Germany, here is your chance.
Blast past your decadent capitalist nemeses as their overcomplicated modern Volkswagens break down for the forty-second time. As history has shown, you can keep these cars running with bubblegum and twigs if necessary.
Per the seller, hilariously translated via Google:
Trabant 601R for sale, 600 cc engine (new revision), 60 hp, 4-speed transmission, 40-way adjustable suspension, VW disc brakes, Matter-roll cage, plexiglass, OMP seats, Night Face, Sandtler belts 10 and 10 asphalt shingle wheels, unused package
I don't know what Night Face or asphalt shingle wheels are, but the rest of it sounds like a fun time. Go forth, and conquer both dirt and pavement in a cotton-bodied car.
$23,000 - 2012 Honda Fit
Do you need a 'Murica chaser after that pinko commie Trabi? I'm not sure I can out-'Murica the Mustang, but this B-Spec Honda Fit's livery sure comes close.
Pirelli World Challenge's TCB class (also commonly referred to as B-Spec) is one of the least expensive ways to move into SCCA Pro Racing, and it's a whole lot of fun. It's a field of closely-matched subcompact cars that is known for close racing and ballsy moves.
This particular car has won five times, per the seller, and gotten a top five finish five more times on top of that. It comes with a boatload of spares, making it the the perfect starter package for B-Spec racin'.
I know most people re-decorate cars when they buy them, but it's impossible not to like this livery unless you hate freedom.
(Or you're from another country. Okay. Yeah, whatevers.)
$275,000 - Penske Riley Daytona Prototype
Daytona Prototypes are very polarizing in their appearance and use in Grand Am and United SportsCar. To be honest, I like them a lot better in person than on TV. Now you have the chance to own one of your own, complete with a lovely, new Porsche engine that's only seen four hours of use.
The ad doesn't have much else to say, but this is clearly an earlier generation of DP before the front ends of DPs got all shovel-faced on us.
"THIS DP CAR IS 100% TURN KEY RACE READY!" e-shouts the ad. Domination of SVRA's "assortment of awesome stuff" class can be yours, my friend.
$195,000 - 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup
There's one car out of this list that I've asked Santa for year after year, only to be denied. This one. This one right here. I suppose you could still get some Christmas shopping done this week...for me, with this. Thanks in advance.
This car was prepared for Grand-Am GT use and has only seen a handful of races and test days since its build, totaling only about 35-40 hours on track.
The seller states, "I have driven many Rolex GT cars and this one has always stood out as the best handling GT3 Cup GT prepped car I have driven…likely due to how fresh everything is."
I...I'm in love. (But you knew that the second I said "GT3 Cup.")
It's not the latest and greatest 991, sure, but given the rumblings that the 991 is a more fragile beast than its predecessor, I would say that the 997 is the one to have for club racing. Here's one that was professionally prepared and run, ready to go.
Santa, if you fail me again, I'm eating reindeer brats for Christmas dinner.
**Disclaimer: Even if you buy it on the Internet, I still recommend getting a full pre-purchase inspection done by someone knowledgeable just to make sure you're not getting hosed.
H/T Shea Holbrook for finding her old car and Ross Carmichael for dangling delicious GT3 Cup goodness in front of my face.
All photos belong to their original "for sale" listings.