Top 10 Project Cars to Get Started On

This article suggests the top 10 project cars to get started on. But before we dive into the list, we must discuss and know what a project car is and what qualities it must have to be a suitable choice. So, here’s a brief introduction:

“A project car is a used vehicle that is repaired, restored or modified by an enthusiast according to his likings”. To complete a project car: money, skills, time and patience is essential. A good project car should have the following qualities:

  • Availability of Parts
  • Solid Chassis
  • Affordability
  • Simplicity
  • Popularity/Community Support
  • Legal Considerations
  • Flexibility

Now that we know the ins and outs of a project car, let’s get to the 10 best project cars to start working on. Also note that this article focuses on more budget friendly project builds. So, if you’re expecting a Rx-7, Mk-4 Supra or Skyline GT-R, they are not included.

1. Honda Civic EG:

A yellow Civic hatchback

A Honda civic in this article is pretty much expected. Now before we start, usually any Civic except a new one is a suitable choice, but a EG civic is the perfect choice considering it obeys all necessary qualities to be a perfect project build. Just note that any EG you will find will probably already be messed with, so a good amount of work will be required to restore to its ideal condition.

2. Mazda Miata MX-5:

A grey convertible Mazda MX-5

Another great choice is basically any Miata you could get your hands on. Cheap, reliable, huge support, it has it all. But it suffers from the same problem as the previous contender, every version you find will be abused, so a good amount of work will be required, but hey! Ain’t that the fun?

3. Chevrolet Camaro:


A good classic to start working on, the Chevy Camaro. Almost any old model of the Camaro can be found for cheap at places like scrap yards. However, they will be in pretty bad and rusted condition considering they are decades old. Although there are not much custom parts for it, any stock Camaro with good condition will be eye-catching. Maybe throw in a modern V8 to spice things up. Some good models include the first (1967-1969) and second gen (1970-1981) Camaro.

4. Mitsubishi Lancer:

A red lancer evo

The Lancer is a well-known car at this point. From rallying to street racing, it has demonstrated its reputation quite well. Unlike other JDM classics an Evo isn’t foolishly expensive (though they are heading there). Models can be found and bought easily and if there’s a problem in that, conversion is possible. The lancer offers a bulletproof engine with great offroad capability, making it a great project build.

5. BMW E30 3-Series:

a black e30 m3

Although many BMW models can be undertaken as a project car, the E30 and E36 3-series are a great choice. They have great aftermarket support and a cult following. Which means plenty of help at your disposal if you run into issues. The E46 is also a good choice. The reason why I particularly mentioned “3-Series” is because a E30 M3 is unbuyable as of today.

6. Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86/Scion FRS:

 AN ORANGE gt 86

A modern car enters the list. The Subaru BRZ is a perfect for track-oriented projects. It offers reliability, sufficient performance and great handling. It also has ton of support, both in terms of parts and help which makes it a perfect choice.

7. Volkswagen Beetle (Type-1):

a yellow VW Beetle type 1

No wonder it makes the list. The VW Beetle is a great choice as its signature looks and classic style are recognizable anywhere. It is also easily available and has great support. It’s not as complex as a Subaru and so is perfect if you’re just starting out.

8. Chevrolet C10:

a lowered chevrolet c10

If you’re thinking of heading into the truck category, then a Chevrolet c10 is a perfect choice. Models can be found under 10,000 while some may touch the 60k category. The c10 is a better choice because of its sick classic appeal and flexibility. It has a huge enthusiast community. Parts are widely available, and it has multiple engine options to choose from. Some versions even came with a V8.

9. Volkswagen Golf GTI:

A Mk1 VW Golf

MKI and MKII models of the VW golf are good choices considering they are reliable, simple and have parts availability. It has a rich and strong community and is pretty cheap to get. Some people have even fitted them with two engines.

10. Subaru Impreza WRX

A blue Impreza

The Subaru Impreza is a quite popular choice in project builds due to its stability and off-roading capability. It is available in many models. It also has a strong community and wide aftermarket support. Though before buying one note that Subaru’s are notorious for engine problems. You may even need engine rebuilds or may totally need to replace it. So, get one only if you can commit.

Also Read: Why EV’s are not the final solution (yet)

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