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Discussion Starter #1
Alright so I'm in the market for putting together a kit car in the form of an Ariel Atom. I love everything about the atom but the price tag.



Mainly looking for a track/street fun toy. Found a local shop to bend and roll the tubing.

Now I'm trying to figure out what I want to plant in it and have the shop make motor mounts for.

My original idea was a 04 -05 STI turned into a RW 2WD. Copy but IMO one up the Type R Honda motor in the factory Ariel. But the STI motors are notorious for blowing up as I found out.


Then I started thinking what about a V8 out of a junker 90's camero... More power output, less motor strain.

Note what ever the donor car will be will be donating wheels, brakes steering wires ect ect basically cutting out the body.

Also will be a salvaged donor. To cut costs, since 60% of the donor is being scrapped or parted anyways. I just need the guts.

So technical opinions, what is the better option/power plant for best dependability/power output per $$. Plan to upgrade and tune this down the road but want a decent base to start with for the initial build.

So what and why? Main focus best investment and good track oriented power option.
 

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A lot will depend on how much the car less engine weights, and the geometry of how the suspension works. There's a reason some of these small track/kit cars don't have monster motors. A smaller boosted powerplant can make power delivery manageable by a human where a V8 may just sit and roast tires or otherwise make driving aggressive a chore.

Honda K series motors are stout and can be boosted. GM Ecotec 4 cyl with turbo as well. Will it be mid mounted or front mounted?
 

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I had a friend do a similar kart build with a Honda H22 from a Prelude. The transmission is cable actuated for shits which made the build interesting.

Most of us buy salvaged chevy trucks to swap the V8 into a 350Z or 240sx these days. Those parts are a dime a dozen and can easily make good power na.
 

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Even if you opt for the chevy 5.3 you can throw in a Z06 cam and intake manifold for more than enough power for a tube chassis car. You could still utilize some components like brakes. Bend your own SS lines and make brackets for cheap aftermerket Wilwood calipers
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Before the motor, it's looking to sit from 800 to 1,000 lbs. Depending on strength and size tubing I choose.

Yea that was a worry I thought as well was the 8 might be too much power/torque for the light car and just spin.

But the k series on the atom is super charged and tuned to almost copacity.

But that's another issue I came across after mocking it up. How can I turn a FF or FR/AWD into a MR car? The trans linkage would be a issue and might need to be revamped. Which is cool to work around/on it. But could also pose a huge expence/head ache if harder than expected.
 

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^ that will be your greatest engineering challenge of this project, I think. You're right, I don't think you can just plug a transverse engine and axle from a FWD into an MR chassis and expect it to work okay. A longitudinal motor like the Miata 4 cyl may be a better fit because of the simplicity in which it works. Maybe an entire drivetrain from a Toyota MR2 could be a huge step skip if you can source one.
 

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Grab a 3s-gte out of an sw20 mr2.

That whole car would be a good donor.


Skip the Subaru, way too much effort to mid mount. Youll need custom everything and it will just blow up anyway.
 

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Every time I think of buying a used wrx I just imagine how much I would cry when I learned that I had to get into both heads on that damn motor
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would turbo charge a Busa motor.
Looked into it, power to weight wouldn't be that great. Awesome motor for a sport bike, some what in the low end for a cager.

Would be sufficient enough, but would make the motor work harder than it was meant for. Where a cager motor would be having a vacation pushing this literal tubing around.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Grab a 3s-gte out of an sw20 mr2.

That whole car would be a good donor.


Skip the Subaru, way too much effort to mid mount. Youll need custom everything and it will just blow up anyway.
I thought about i, didn't like the numbers. I'll look again. How good are their trannys? For gear ratio/ruggedness?

Even thought of a porche motor, but like the saburu with its thrown rod propensity, I read the porche trannys usually start to give or need servicing around 50k due to design.not to mention I hate the exhaust note of porche
 

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The 3s is a very very durable engine. You should be able to find a wrecked JDM sw20 for a nice price.


Another option, but harder to find would be a 4a-ge from an aw11 mr2.

Nice and revvy and bomb proof. Its a beautiful engine, not massively powerful, but you don't need power for this build
 

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Looked into it, power to weight wouldn't be that great. Awesome motor for a sport bike, some what in the low end for a cager.

Would be sufficient enough, but would make the motor work harder than it was meant for. Where a cager motor would be having a vacation pushing this literal tubing around.
500 HP not enough?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Only 93lb of torque.

Your butting an engine made to push a 500 lb machine, push a 1,300 lb machine. It can probably do it well. But stress the engine and parts while doing it.

Where taking a car engine like the boxer or SW20 which is made to push a 3,100 lb car, into a 1,300lb tube chassis. Longevity. HP doesn't mean everything. Also making a set up to house the busa motor would be tasking like trying to fab the AWD STI to MR linkage.
 
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