The 5 Best Beginner Project Cars!

If you are looking to get into the enthusiast life style here are a few cars that you might consider starting with

7w ago

The other day I wrote an article on why we should all own a project car, I got lot's of positive feedback from you guys, so now I am going to give you guys a list of great cars to start with, that are easy to work on and cheap.

NA/NB Mazda Miata

Everyone knows that the Mazda Miata is a perfect starting point for a project, because it is already a great car. The Miata is a front-engined, rear drive, lightweight sports car that is perfect for someone like you or me to customize. They are very cheap you can find them from three to five thousand dollars, which is pretty cheap, parts are easy to find too, look online and you will find everything you need to do whatever you want to your Miata. I would suggest starting small with some suspension upgrades, some nice wheels and tires, maybe an exhaust and cold air intake then you will have a fun, cheap and easy project. Another great thing about owning a Miata is that no matter where you live there always seems to be an owners club there, you can go to track days and make friends, that is one of the best parts about having a Miata.

Jeep XJ Cherokee

Now I have personal experience with these, and they are brilliant! If you are into offroading you need an XJ in your life, now they are going up in value but they are still somewhat cheap, between five and fifteen thousand dollars for one. They have a lot to offer from the factory, possibly the best engine ever made the bulletproof 4.0L inline six making 190hp, which isn't bad for the vehicle it's in. Suspension wise it comes with live axles front and rear, which is perfect for offroading, coil-springs in the front and leafs in the rear. This car is as simple as it gets and an easy starting point. I would start off with a 3 to 5 inch lift kit, some 33 inch to 35 inch tall tires, lockers front and rear and while your at it adding lower gearing, add some body armor and a winch and you can go anywhere you want! You won't have to worry about the engine, outside of general maintenance because it is well like I said earlier Bulletproof.

EK Honda Civic Hatchback

Now this is a car we have heard a lot of negative stuff about in the past, ricer this and ricer that, but we forget that these make a great project car. They have a great platform to start with, and you have hundreds if not thousands of aftermarket options for pretty much every part on the car. Swap in a K24 and you have a seriously fast car that could embarrass Mustangs at the drag strip. I go to a lot of drag races and almost every time I'll see a bunch of Civics, yes some are riced but sometimes you will see one with a massive turbo blow, blow the doors off of another car. I watched a couple episodes of Hoonigan the other day where the built a EK Civic for their friend Nads, they swapped engines re-did the entire suspension and interior in just a couple of days. That goes to show how easy these are to work on and customize, these are a great choice to start a project car.

Classic Mini

Here is another popular choice especially in Europe, it seems like everyone over there has had a Mini at some point. Mini's have a rich racing history in rallying and even BTCC, they are small and nimble due to there front wheel drive setup. They are easy to work on, having plenty of room in the engine bay, and parts are easy to find. I have even seen Honda engines swapped in these if you are feeling the need for speed. The Mini is a cheap and easy way to get into classic cars, you could restore it, or customize it to your tastes the Mini is great for anyone.

Trucks of any kind

This isn't about a specific vehicle, but trucks in general, you can build them into whatever you want! You can lower them and turn them into a hot rod or late 90's show truck, you can lift them up and turn them into a dune blasting pre-runner or rock crawler, the possibilities are endless because it will look great no matter what (unless you make it electric). Parts are easily available for almost all trucks, and by parts I mean parts for whatever application you want. Everything is easy to get to and simple on trucks, so if it is your first project you can learn how things work, and when finished you will have something you can be truly proud of.

Let Me Know What You Think In The Comments And Please Feel Free To Leave a Like

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Comments (16)

  • according to the poll:






      1 month ago
  • Great Article, I hadn't really considered 4x4s for project cars before I read this

      1 month ago
  • Very good list!

      1 month ago
  • The XJ is great, but to fit 33's with a 3 inch lift you do have to trim the fenders quite a bit, also I would not recommend 35's if you have a Dana 35 rear axle, if you have the Chrysler 8.25 you will be ok.

      1 month ago
    • also there are still plenty of XJ's under 5000 especially if you are looking for a project, another option is the ZJ, 1st gen. Grand Cherokee, they are usually cheaper than the XJ now and a lot of them had V8s

        1 month ago