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Old 06-15-2011, 06:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Matt Foley's worst nightmare - '09 Chevrolet Express 2500
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Quirky Car Options

I'm a recovering hot rodder. I've just sold my 1968 Firebird and I am now trying to find a replacement so that I can sell my 1995 Firebird Formula (17-18mpg tank average).

The requirements:
-manual transmission
-back seats + adequate room (I consider my 95 adequately roomy as a reference.)
-relatively easy to work on

But most importantly the car still needs personality, that's just something I can't give up. I need a car that can still make me laugh, otherwise I don't see the point of driving.

Some cars I've considered as candidates:
- Mk I Golf/Rabbit
- First Generation Saab 900
- BMW E30
- Mk IV Golf/ A4 Jetta TDI (perhaps the fact that I've driven them in the past gives them personality)
- I am fond of the Civic Hatch's as well.

Any other ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I simply get a pit in my stomach driving my Formula; I used to love hearing the exhaust, but now it doesn't do anything for me.

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Old 06-15-2011, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome, first off, and please don't give up the Formula. You don't have to.

What you want is a way to preserve the good points, while getting better fuel economy.
You get that, and you'll be happy.

I don't know how many miles you have on her, but what would be cool is doing an LS swap with a T-56 six speed. Then mix in a twin turbo system, a 9" Ford rear with some 2.47 gears and a standalone efi system. Hmmm. Have 2 or 3 maps for whatever the mood and fuel you have, max economy, low boost, high boost, E85. Custom ground camshaft for maximum bottom and midrange torque so the mpg and throttle response is excellent. Put the turbos in the back for space savings................800-1000hp on the good juice...........240 mph+..........0-60 2.5 seconds.........go chase a Veyron..........get 30 mpg or better while off boost and driving like a good ecomodder.

Who says you can't have it all?

I went completely wrong, sorry.

What I meant to say was get the aerodynamics sorted and it may not need all that power........yes! Pull it back to 400-450hp at the tires with excellent aero and she'll fly ( no pun intended ).
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Volvo WIA42 VED-12 / 335 hp / 1300 ft/lbs / 9 mpg

Big n' Boxy, Never met a Hill it Didn't Like

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Old 06-15-2011, 08:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
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Opel GT! 240z. Corvair. Hobby car or DD?
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wait! Just remembered that a guy put a 6.5 GM diesel in a Camaro with a rear mount turbo system. ( 94 + up, pre LS1 car ) There should be a youTube video for that one. Looked like a pretty decent set up.

Went wrong again....................I've had too much time on my hands with the newborn and my brain is fried. The ADD just makes me as bad as a toddler some days.

OOOO, wait! Got it! Now don't laugh ( I'm already giggling inside! ), get a Quad 4 HO ( stop laughing! ), turbo and intercool that thing and stick it in the Firebird! Then lighten the car up with fiberglass doors, hood, rear hatch. I haven't seen anyone do it yet. Look, if a Quad 4 could push the Aerotech to almost 260 mph, it should do ok in a Formula. Too bad the engine sounds wrong.

The sleep deprivation is killing me....

Alright, one last shot....... LT1, .030" over, AFR heads ( new design 195cc ), CNC package on the ports and chambers, 12 to 1 compression ratio, barrier coat everything, LS1 ignition swap, ported intake, 58mm throttle body, Kooks headers, programmable efi and ignition, J+S Safegaurd knock controller, T56 swap w/ .50 overdrive gear, 9" Ford w/ 4.56s. Lighten car as much as possible. Short gears will be fun and the big overdrive will make you socially responsible. E85 compatible, so you can run it on homemade hooch.

......and I'm spent.

Seriously, you don't have to give up the fun and the fury for eco goodness, a lot of the solutions are just boosting the bottom end torque and gearing it tall. If the motor and driveline in the Formula are up to snuff, you should get mid 20s to 30 mpg out of it.

I'm hallucinating now on this one, but this would make for an excellent experiment; take the Formula and lighten it up along with full on aero mods. Keep the motor, trans and rear ratio stock, except for optimizing the programming and making sure everything is nice and fresh.

Look up basjoos and his aerocivic and see what he did.
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Volvo WIA42 VED-12 / 335 hp / 1300 ft/lbs / 9 mpg

Big n' Boxy, Never met a Hill it Didn't Like

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Old 06-15-2011, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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1989 -1993 Mustang 5.0 LX with a stick. '89 is the best choice, last year without airbags and first year of mass air F.I.. Under 3000 pounds in street trim is achieveable. Throw on some 15x3.5 Weld Draglight frontrunners and some 15x7s in the back, yank the front sway bar, underdrive pullies, 3:55 gears, electric fan. You will have a 13 second car that gets decent mileage, is reliable, and easy to work on. I have a few of them, and just traded a Camaro rear diff for this '89 shell, no motor no trans but I have all that stuff. It will be fun to see what kind of MPGs I can get out of it on the way to the race track.



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Old 06-15-2011, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice!
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Volvo WIA42 VED-12 / 335 hp / 1300 ft/lbs / 9 mpg

Big n' Boxy, Never met a Hill it Didn't Like
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks! Don't mean to threadjack, but it was a 1 owner car that some jacka$$ bought to pull the motor and trans out of for some goofy kit car! I had to save it. Back to O.P. though, these cars are so scienced out that you can find all sorts of information on them, and parts are cheap and plentiful. IMO they will end up being the '55 Chev and the '69 Camaro of the 1990's.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yer talking to a Ford guy, my friend. I bet a 5.0 Ford in a light enough chassis with tall gears can get over 30 mpg. You know, that needs to be looked into. Fox chassis Thunderbird, stock 5.0 HO, 5 speed, 2.73 gears. Moon discs, bellypan, lowered, lightened.

My infant is still not asleep.
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Volvo WIA42 VED-12 / 335 hp / 1300 ft/lbs / 9 mpg

Big n' Boxy, Never met a Hill it Didn't Like
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a '91 T-Bird parts car, 5.0 with an auto. The T-Bird 302s had a different upper intake to clear the hood, and they just had cast pistons. But they are slippery in the aero department. I think a Super Coupe T-Bird might get some decent MPGs, especially on natural gas (supercharger will make up for the power loss due to the LPG). The Turbo Coupes are kinda neat too, with the lightweight wheels and aluminum brake drums etc. I would buy a clean Turbo car with a stick if I could find one, they are weird but neat. And I bet they get some decent MPGs too.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Matt Foley's worst nightmare - '09 Chevrolet Express 2500
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@ Frank: I had to look it up to learn that the Opel GT was ever available in America haha; that being said both the GT and the 240z don't have a back seat (which is a shame I love the 240...perhaps I should consider the 260). Hmm Corvair...the claim the it's "unsafe at any speed" genuinely interests me: I'll need to look into them.
It'll be my DD, I've driven the Formula through winters in the past, so I'm still somewhat comfortable with my DD being RWD.

@Cleanspeed Haha love your ideas (I wonder if a quad-4 will fit under the low hood, IIRC the only 4 cyl in an f-body was an iron duke which is OHV)

That being said, aiming for 30 mpg highway just won't cut it anymore. My goal is 40+ tank avg. mpg, and I don't think that can be achieved in this car, or a fox body for that matter. I had an idea of going with weight reduction, aero mods and a turbo 3800 v6 (L67 series II) with two tunes; it already has the T-56 manual transmission. But I still doubt it could achieve 40mpg tank averages.

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