We’ve all got ambitious car build plans stored up in our brains, right? From aging Mustangs to rusting Volvos that we’d love to give a second shot at life and glory.
So, to celebrate your grand plans, we asked what cars would make up your dream wrenching projects? And from cars built by everyone from Lotus to Lincoln, you had some great ideas to tackle, someday.
2 / 17
“Porsche 911 with the Whale Tail.
I just want to find an air cooled 911, give it a whale tail and paint it in dark blue and make it the world’s fastest whale.”
That project sounds about as glorious as I’m sure the finished car would!
Suggested by: thedriveress-
3 / 17
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
“I’ve always wanted to build a 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo SS, and make the big girl handle. I’m talking modern sports car levels of handling. I’m thinking a mild LS swap with A/C, Tremec 6 speed, some kind of overbuilt rear end, and a suspension that could do double duty cruising on the highway in comfort, and the cornering ability to dominate most things at a road course when the need hits me.
“Wheel tubs in back and clearance in front for at least 275 wide tires all the way around, with legroom and trunk space for whatever I wanted.
“And yes, the front racing seats will be covered in 80’s GM burgundy velour.”
A resto-mod Chevy Monte Carlo is a strong suggestion here. Swapping in the latest generation LS engine from GM would give this monster more than 450 hp.
Suggested by: John Noberini (Facebook)
4 / 17
“A Lotus Europa with the Gordini engine. Small enough to be able to wrench on it in my garage.”
An excellent suggestion today from this poster. As well as the smaller garage required to work on the Lotus Europa, another advantage of a car like this is that the fiberglass body means you should encounter less rust.
Suggested by: minardi
5 / 17
“A Volvo 240. It was my first car and by gum it will be my last car as well.”
Volvo built more than 2.8 million 240s between 1974 and 1994. That means spare parts for the build should be pretty easy to come by!
Suggested by: Davey Jones (Facebook)
6 / 17
“The Nissan 240z. Something about their balance of the car, overall size, it’s always appealed to me.”
Another excellent suggestion! This first generation of Nissan’s Z car was sold as the Datsun 240Z or the Nissan Fairlady Z, depending on the market.
Suggested by: mike937
7 / 17
“1991 Dodge Dynasty 2.5l, the absolute apogee of U.S. car manufacturing. It’s all been downhill since that fleeting brush with automotive perfection. That vehicle deserves nothing less than a completely authentic restoration with OEM parts. No mods – how could you possibly improve upon it?”
Strong words of support for this chunk of 1990s Americana. The Dynasty was sold by Dodge between 1988 and 1993 and could be ordered with a 3.0-liter V6 from the factory.
Suggested by: Steve Pridgeon (Facebook)
8 / 17
“An old Impreza 2.5RS and slowly building it into a rally car.”
You’d better take this creation rallying once it’s finished!
Suggested by: redraidereducator
9 / 17
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
“The Grand Wagoneer, the good one, EV conversion.”
We’ve decided this means the 1989 Grand Wagoneer, which came with oodles of upgrades over earlier models. This included that iconic wood panelling and alloy wheels.
Suggested by: @DontStealPuppys (Twitter)
10 / 17
“I have too many to list but the two that stand out:
“My aunt’s backyard neighbor had a 1969-70 AMX up on blocks in his back yard. I offered to buy it from him several times but i was always told he was going to restore it “someday.”
“When he died the car was (according to my cousin) literally dragged out of the yard with a chain around the rear axle and hauled away on a flatbed.
“Some years after that I passed by a property with two 1966 Thunderbird convertibles, a Citroën SM and a few other vehicles.
“I was greeted by an older woman who refused to discuss the cars and threatened to shoot me if I ever came to her door again.
“I drove past the place several more times over the next 10-12 years and watched as the kudzu slowly consumed all the cars.
“Eventually the property was sold and is now a Marathon gas station. No idea what happened to the car’s but I’m sure they were beyond repair by the time they were pulled from the yard.”
Some very worthy submissions from this poster, but it’s that old Citroën that stands out to me. The SM was marketed as a high-performance coupé by the French manufacturer between 1970 to 1975.
Suggested by: earthbound-misfit-i
11 / 17
“My 1988 Chevy Opala. I desperately want to drop a high-revving, good-sounding engine to replace the Iron Duke. I’m thinking twin turbo Alfa V6 3.0, sort of like a Callaway gtv6.”
Putting an old Alfa engine into an aging American sedan sounds like a VERY bold choice.
Suggested by: Caio Figueiredo (Facebook)
12 / 17
“Bringing a gorgeous BMW 3.0 CSi/CSL back to a resplendent and glorious second life is something I aspire to do at some point.”
This is a project I can get behind! The BMW 3.0 CSL was a homologation special so that the car could run in the European Touring Car Championship. Just over 1,000 were built for the road, each more glorious than the last.
Suggested by: gto62
13 / 17
“All out significant project for performance? A cayman with a bad engine. Swap in a twin turbo 5.3L.
“Project in terms of mods? 991.1 Turbo. Full bolt ons and tuning pushing 1000hp and some weight reduction.
“Full restoration project? Classic 60s Lincoln Continental. Raven black exterior, white leather interior, and multi-spoke wheels.”
Three great suggestions, Chase. That Lincoln rebuild sounds like a fun project though!
Suggested by: Chase Sutherland (Facebook)
14 / 17
“‘71 Barracuda is my favorite muscle car, I particularly loved the grille in that year. I’d probably do something similar but with a blower out the hood... or put a V12 in it =) and I’d make it the ultimate GT car.
“There was something about the 288 GTO that made it one of the most badass Ferrari’s.”
The 1971 came with not just a good grille, but a great one. On top of that, the third generation ‘Cuda also packed in a 7.0-liter Hemi V8. Lovely.
Suggested by: darthspartan117
15 / 17
“A remake of the sideways getting third gear rubber burning stage 1 V6 swapped black and gold ‘77 Buick Skyhawk SE* I owned when I was in the navy.
“*Gold panel defining pinstripes like the better known Trans Am SE, deluxe interior with Buick sport steering wheel (like you’d find in an early ‘70's Skylark GS) and (2 position!) driver’s reclining seat, 4-speed, FE2 suspension, 3.73 posi Australian nine-bolt rear end.”
Rebuilding the car that got away, that’s a project we can endorse here at Jalopnik.
Suggested by: Scott Sanford (Facebook)
16 / 17
“Same one I was going to do when I was 16 and my mom killed it at the last moment.
“1966 Triumph Spitfire. Came with a rust free runner and a complete parts car for $600. all that was needed to get it on the road was a hood swap between the 2 cars, then lots of little things to fix, clean, paint etc.
“Would have looked like this when done except red with black interior (in my imagination anyway).”
I’d bet the budget of this entire project that you can’t find a rust-free Spitfire for $600 today.