Topic: Cheap Sunfire?

I am currently in the process of building a 1988 BMW E28 for Lemons to race beginning of 2022, and the opportunity came up to snag a manual 2000 Pontiac Sunfire for 300 bucks.  Been sitting so it needs the fluids drained and a new wiring harness, but that's about it to get a running and driving car.  All things considered, would it be a good fit for Lemons?  We'd just do the basic safety stuff and leave the rest of the car alone.  I'm thinking even if it doesn't work out, we could still sell it and get our money back?  I don't know, it's a very on the cuff decision and I'm kind of weary about it.  But man, do I want the darn car.  So how would the Sunfire do, and are there major issues I should look out for?  Should I really do this?

Re: Cheap Sunfire?

pierj1006 wrote:

So how would the Sunfire do...

No idea.

pierj1006 wrote:

...and are there major issues I should look out for?

Also no idea.

pierj1006 wrote:

Should I really do this?

Yes. Definitely yes. Are you in a comfortable position to abandon the E28? Whether you are or not, definitely yes on the Pontiac.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: Cheap Sunfire?

Depends slightly on what engine it has on it, and hugely on what you want out of your Lemons experience.  As for the car, they can be made pretty capable on track, and the 2.4L LD9 Quad4 makes pretty good power for the size.  The 2200 does not, by any stretch of the imagination, and the revs will need to be kept low (very, very low) if you want it to survive.  Luckily, with a manual, you wouldn't have a crappy GM econo-car automatic to keep cool, and you've got a lot more leeway to keep the revs low.  You can do basically anything you want with it, and you'll pretty likely stay in Class C.  If it's the 2200, one of the much better V6s (3100, 3400, 3500, 3900) is a relatively straightforward and documented swap, if you decide you need more power after a few races.  Less stuff to break on the Pontiac, and you can find parts in pretty much any junkyard or auto parts store in the US. 

An E28 is a pretty good way to go if you must race a BMW in Lemons, but, it's still a BMW.  Sunfire, on the other hand, doesn't get done very often, and will get you much more leeway with any upgrades you might want/need to make (believe it or not, there *is* an enthusiast community for crappy old GM FWD cars).

Semi-Sentient Centenarians
1996 Buick Century - we upgraded our crappy GM sedan with parts from a crappy GM minivan.
"In a race where everyone runs a Buick V6, their Buick ran a Chevy V6.  And a crappy one at that!"
IOE - Lemons Block Party (minus the block party) CMP 2020

Re: Cheap Sunfire?

pierj1006 wrote:

All things considered, would it be a good fit for Lemons?  We'd just do the basic safety stuff and leave the rest of the car alone.  I'm thinking even if it doesn't work out, we could still sell it and get our money back?

It is a good fit for Lemons and if it is the chassis I am thinking of, the whole world of early ecotec's are open to you for upgrades should actually like the car enough to want to make it faster.  The infamous Anton had a Cavalier of the prior gen that he turned into a racing beast before he built his Volvo PV544.

As for selling later, you rarely get your money back.  We built a Suzuki Esteem for a one-and-done run for an IoE and were lucky enough to sell it for the cost of the safety items in it (but we installed a prebent cage ourselves so total buying for them was $1300) to a team that wanted a turnkey first race car to see if Lemons was for them.  Conversely, our well sorted, moderately competative in B Saturn SC2 we could not sell for $1500 with everything in it and FULL set of spares (I mean everything but the rear suspension as spares).