11 Best Project Cars in Budget – Easily Build Your Dream Vehicle

best project cars in united states

Many times, we want to modify or rebuild a car according to our needs and in our budget. In that situation, the best project cars give us the opportunity to buy them and work on them to get the car of our dreams. 

These modified cars are cheap and the real cost of them is the time we spend making them perfect for our needs that we wanted to have in a vehicle. 

There are many things we have to consider before we buy a project car, such as the parts readily available, how much work we need to do, and how much support is available online or offline.

We will cover all of these points in the latter part of our section in detail. So you don’t have to worry. 

Some project vehicles take up a lot of our precious time, late at night, early morning, and much more time. 

One of the ways to save your precious time is to go for the best buy project cars rather than models that will give you nightmares. 

These are some of our favorites for the major project vehicle categories.

What Are the Best Project Cars For Beginners?

The best project cars for beginners are easy to use, generally, cheapest new cars, have easy-to-obtain parts, and an active community to turn to for support and guidance.

It also depends on your interest in what you want in your vehicle and what budget you have and how you plan it. 

And many older vehicles are easily modified due to their simple engine design and they also come in the better-modified car categories. 

We have compiled a list of the best muscle cars for projects that have been highly rated by the most experienced gearhead.

  1. Mazda MX-5 Miata
  2. Datsun 280Z
  3. Acura Integra
  4. Nissan 240SX
  5. Honda Civic
  6. BMW E36
  7. Volkswagen Golf
  8. Ford Mustang
  9. Volkswagen Beetle
  10.  Lexus SC300
  11.  Chevrolet Impala 

Tips to Finding the Best Project Cars & Expert Gearhead

The best project cars are a great way for a person to build something with their own hands while enjoying their favorite hobby.

It is difficult enough to acquire the knowledge to build a car, but the biggest challenge can be finding the parts for the car. Some parts are hard to come by. 

Here are some tips on how and where to find the best entry-level project vehicles.

The Availability of Parts

It is important to find the correct make and model of the car with parts and accessories that are readily available. So choose best buy project cars that were popular or sold well when it launched.

Tools for Car Repair: Buy Basic tool kits online at affordable prices in the United states.

This makes it easy to find what you need, saving you time, money, and the hassle of finding dark, hard-to-find parts.

Research Your Choices

Almost all classic cars manufactured have websites dedicated to them, and the most popular have dozens, maybe hundreds, of websites. 

While time-consuming and confusing at times, do some internet homework. Find information on the specific year and model of the best cheap project cars you are interested in.

Use Your Network

Whenever you build the best project cars for beginners, you can always have a hard time finding certain parts. You don’t want to start your search from scratch every time. 

You should meet people in the community who will help you find the parts you will need over the years. Go to automatic events and make friends. 

You can even connect with people online. That makes it easier the next time you need to buy something.

Have Proper Knowledge Of Automotive

There are no prerequisites for buying the best project cars, but it helps to have a solid base. Whether it is understanding how to turn a wrench or becoming familiar with the principles of a powertrain, knowledge is the power in any project.

11 Best Project Cars For Beginners – First Step To Own the Perfect Car

Many of the cars produced by automakers today are underperforming and uncomfortable in appearance leading to disappointment when you buy them. 

But now, best buy project vehicles are proving to be a great option for any car or gearbox enthusiast to drive their best. 

We can sell these vehicles after use for the same price or a higher price than the price we pay for the best-used luxury SUV. But it required a lot of vehicle accessories and other efforts. 

We’re here to bring you the 11 best cheap project cars that are made to modify and are the perfect introduction to the project car lifestyle.

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the best project cars for beginners available in the American auto market today.

Mazda MX-5 Miata best project cars

It has proven to be easy to maintain and inexpensive, with excellent fuel economy and cheap parts, for both the aftermarket and OEM.

The MX-5 has a great chassis and a forgiving factory engine that can handle a significantly higher load than it goes through in its vanilla form.

You can easily find a used Miata for less than $6,000. And that too, a working Miata that requires little to no work.

This and a great platform combined make for a great, durable, and affordable sports car.

Specification Of Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • Best Used Price: $2,000 – $5,500
  • Engine: 2.0 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1989–Present
  • Class: Roadster, Sports Car

2. Datsun 280Z

Datsun 280Z was a sports coupe that was built between 1978 and 1983. This is a great project car for a beginner as it is quite easy to work with, parts are readily available, and many people online are ready to help. 

Datsun 280Z project cars for beginners

The Datsun 280Z is a classic car with lines that mimic everything from the Ferrari 250 GTO to the Jaguar XKE Coupe. 

Even with those big bumpers from the 1970s, it’s a gorgeous silhouette that makes the hunched, grumpy modern aggressiveness that surrounds you look like a herd of hunched-over hyenas.

And every time you wear it, you will get complete satisfaction because this cute and balanced couple loves to be open. It is as attractive today as it was 50 years ago when it took over the world.

Specification Of Datsun 280Z

  • Best Used Price: $19,950- $24000
  • Engine: 2.8 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1978–1983
  • Class: Sports car/Grand Tourer

3. Acura Integra

The Acura Integra is one of the best economy project cars available today with great reliability and performance. 

best buy project cars Acura Integra

While Project Integra’s internal engine components are still in stock and powered by an Edelbrock turbo kit, it is actually one of the best cheap project cars

These third-generation Integras are still valued today as used cars. While they are certainly reliable, they have become very popular with young enthusiasts looking to modify their cars with aftermarket parts. 

The GS-R was described as a pure driver’s car and only came with a tightly geared five-speed manual transmission.

Specification Of Acura Integra

  • Best Used Price: $2,500 – $7,500
  • Engine: 1.8 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1985–2001
  • Class: Compact car

4. Nissan 240SX

The Nissan 240SX is the best project car purchase for those looking for an inexpensive drift automobile. Spare parts for this car are readily available and have massive aftermarket support for them. 

best project cars Nissan 240SX

The lightweight and small size really help enhance the Nissan 240SX’s driving experience and make it one of the best handling cars on the road. 

In this great car project, you have many options to modify the bodywork and you can start with a coupe, fastback, or convertible. 

It is a super lightweight car that you can learn to skid in due to its wheelbase, size, and balance. It also helps that they are very cheap to buy and modify.

Specification Of Acura Integra

  • Best Used Price: $1,200 – $5,000
  • Engine: 2.4 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1989–1999
  • Class: Sports Car

5. Honda Civic

Honda Civic is the most successful car today and one of the main reasons for its success is that there were 11 generations of the Civic! And those 11 generations came with a range of different ornaments. 

best project cars to buy

The main feature of this car is its flexibility as a hatchback, sedan, coupe, shuttle car, and everything in between makes it the best buy project car. 

In addition, working on a Civic is relatively more manageable and a good practice car for the uninitiated. Honda built the Civic with the intention that it would be fun to drive.

Specification Of Honda Civic

  • Best Used Price: $400 – $4,000
  • Engine: 2.0 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1972–present
  • Class: Subcompact car, Compact car

6. BMW E36

The BMW E36 is one of the best-built vehicles to ever emerge from the BMW product range. The main reason the BMW E36 is considered one of the best-buy project cars is because of its engine. 

best project muscle cars BMW E36

BMW manufactured the E36 for ten years from 1990 to 2000 and offered a total of ten engine types among these cars. For the best value for money, you can use any E36 with an I-6 engine.

Suggestion For Reading: Top 8 Best Cars For College Students in 2021.

Arguably a great engine and solid platform make the E36 one of the most customizable cars in the US Its parts are cheap and readily available – another sign of a good project car.

Specification Of Honda Civic

  • Best Used Price: $6,236- $23,888
  • Engine: 1.9 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1990–2000
  • Class: Compact executive car

7. Volkswagen Golf

The VW Golf is one of the most popular and the best value for money hot-hatch available in the US. 

project cars Volkswagen Golf

It has earned the position through eight generations of great-looking, fun-to-drive, and easy-to-own Golfs since 1978. 

Golf is famous for beating its hatchbacks with a powerful engine. These lightweight hatchbacks provide so many opportunities for modifications.

And that’s what makes any VW Golf GTI an outstanding choice to pick for in the list of best project muscle cars. The Golfs are incredibly cheap and they can be found anywhere in the country.

Specification Of Volkswagen Golf 

  • Best Used Price: $4,388- $5,999
  • Engine: 2.0 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1974- Present
  • Class: Compact car/small family car

8. Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang is one of the top picks on the list of best project muscle automobiles as there is a huge network of Mustang enthusiasts helping people who are new to the world of performance cars. 

Ford Mustang best project muscle cars

Since Ford has worked on Mustangs for a long time, parts are readily available and it shouldn’t be incredibly difficult to find one at a reasonable price.

Suggestion For Reading: When Is The Right Time To Buy A Car? – When Do New Cars Come Out 2022

There are many great-looking options that you can get on Mustangs as they have become more popular over the years for a variety of reasons.

Specification Of Ford Mustang

  • Best Used Price: $2,969- $9,999
  • Engine: 5.0 L/ 8V
  • Production Time: 1964 – Present
  • Class: Pony car, Muscle car

9. Volkswagen Beetle

Since its first production in Germany after World War II, the Beetle has been very popular in Europe and North America in the 20th century due to its compact design and accessibility.

Volkswagen Beetle buy project cars

Its basic design, no complicated electronics, and a thriving community make this one of the best project cars for beginners.

It is very easy to work on as it all falls apart easily. There are a number of modifications to improve it. It’s cheap and everyone smiles when it goes by.

Specification Of Volkswagen Beetle

  • Best Used Price: $6,450- $9,755
  • Engine: 2.0 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1938–2003
  • Class: Compact car, economy car

10. Lexus SC300

The Lexus SC300 is Lexus’ first production sports car with a great design. This car is really interesting because it is actually a copy of the Supra MKIV, only with different skin and a top end of the engine. 

Lexus SC300 project vehicle

These cars can be found at prices ranging from a few thousand to around $ 7,000. With strong support in the aftermarket, the Lexus SC 300 remains on the list of best project muscle cars among restoration novices.

Suggestion For Reading: 11 Unique Concept Muscle Cars Ever Introduced – American Muscle Cars Concept

The SC 300 is very popular due to its engine compartment as it is ideal for a supercharged drivetrain. 

Specification Of Lexus SC300

  • Best Used Price: $5,999- $8,500
  • Engine: 2.0 L/ 4V
  • Production Time: 1991–2010
  • Class: Grand tourer, Personal luxury car

11. Chevrolet Impala

After all, the list of best project muscle cars without a classic Chevrolet like the Impala isn’t complete.

Chevrolet Impala project cars 3 gameplay

It was first introduced in 1958, and over six decades, nearly 17 million units were introduced into customer households, making it the best-selling Chevrolet vehicle

The Impala was one of the cars that sparked the muscle car craze that swept through the automotive world and continues to this day. 

Over the years, the Impala, with its wild rear sections and iconic radiator grilles, has had many different styling effects.

Specification Of Chevrolet Impala 

  • Best Used Price: $2,488- $3,998
  • Engine: 3.6 L/ 6V
  • Production Time: 1957-2020
  • Class: Full-size car
What is the best project car for a new beginner?

We recommend that you use old models as the best project car for a new beginner. Because their engines are pretty simple and parts shouldn’t be a big deal. And you get simple support from expert gearboxes and your spare parts are available in the market.

Can a project car be reliable?

Yes, Project Cars are not only reliable, powerful cars, they are also pleasant to drive and ideal for an upgrade. So you can buy it as a budget solution first and work according to your needs.

What are the best cheap project cars?

There are many of the best economy project cars out there. We’ve compiled a list of our five most popular affordable project cars that you can restore, and some of them may surprise you.

  1. Chevrolet Nova
  2. Chevrolet Chevelle
  3. Pontiac Trans Am
  4. Oldsmobile Cutlass
  5. Chevrolet Camaro
What should I look for in a project car?

There are many things to consider in a project vehicle that will help you rebuild those vehicles easily, such as spare parts available, identifying the original engine if it is worth the hassle, and beware of rust.

How long does it take to build a project car?

Cars can be manufactured in anywhere from two months to two years. Trying to build a sports car from a kit will likely take longer than trying to build a sedan.

What is a project car?

A project car is a car that is bought for scrap but is not in excellent condition. Then, install the compatible components of your choice and make your trip unique and according to your taste.

Are old Hondas the best project cars?

Yes, for learning to work on a car, a Honda is great! They’re simple cars with lots of parts available, super cheap, plenty of trade-ins, and overall pretty good value for the money.

What is the best way to find a cheap project car?

Start with local contributions, but don’t be afraid to travel in the right car. Auto shows and auto shows are always great places to find project cars for sale.

Final Thought

We tried to include a wide variety of price ranges and options in the list of best project muscle cars. We hope that you are now confident in choosing the right car for your next task. 

You need to spend your precious time with these modified cars and after following some curial points you will build the car of your dreams. 

How are you going to work on your next best-customized car? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!

Pawan K

Passionate automotive journalist who enjoys writing about the automobiles industry. I have covers every detail, from new vehicle reviews to the functionality of auto accessories, and everything that car enthusiasts want to know. I am Pennsylvania and loves to write. In my free time, I reads novels and explores new places.

This Post Has 2 Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.