So you've gone to a drift event, or stumbled across a video or two on Youtube and now you're hooked. Welcome to the world of drifting, many before you have followed the same process and many will do so after you as well. With this article I will help you get the ball rolling by choosing a proper chassis and get you ahead of the game!
Starting with #5
S14 Nissan 240sx
This is the most expensive chassis out of the group of entry level cars. With that initial expense comes a few benifits, including.
1. A newer chassis, which is typically easier to work on/mantain/get parts for.
2. Dual Cam KA24de engine. This engine is more than sufficient for drifting, a SR20det is not needed right away.
The drawbacks to this chassis are.
1. Initial cost, a clean chassis will put you right around the $5,000 mark. Add coilovers, wheels, tires, and a hydrolic e-brake you could be well into the $7,500 area and thats if you go the cheap route.
Fox Body Ford Mustang
Interesting choice here at #4, but trust me there is reason to the madness. The Fox Body Mustang is a grassroots drifting dark horse.
Benefits of choosing this chassis include
1. A powerful 5.0L engine that can be easily mated to a manual gearbox, with readily available replacement parts in nearly every local parts store.
2. Relatively lightweight chassis that can be had in the $4,000 dollar area. With economical suspension modification you could have a solid performer around the $5,000 mark.
There is one drawback to this chassis however.
1. It's not a popular chassis... This means that even though replacement parts are readily available, drift specific aftermarket parts are not. Don't let this discourage you though, with some thorough research you will be able to find almost all your needs covered.
FC Mazda Rx-7
The FC has been a "quiet" classic for many years, it is often shadowed by other more popular cars, but it is definitely a top competitor. This chassis is great for those who are on a minimal budget.
The greatest benefits of this chassis would have to be.
1. Cost, this is one of the best bang for buck chassis out there having an initial price of $1,500 - $3,000 and Turbo II replacement engines for around $1,500 dollars.
2. This chassis has a large underground following with companies still developing products for it. Which means that parts can be had second hand for low cost, and the chassis is still evolving.
3. Lightweight chassis, simple design, and readily available.
1. It's powered by a rotary engine. Don't get me wrong, the engine is a brilliant design and is a top performer, but it can be intimidating for an entry level drifter due to a lack of understanding as to how it works. This is one of the few things holding it back from the top of the list.
AE86 Toyota Corolla GT-S
Hailed as one of the best driver cars of all time, it has been a staple for many famous drifters including Keiichi Tsuchiya and Taka Aono. This chassis is very well balanced, and a great vehicle allowing you to learn how to be a better driver.
A couple benefits of this chassis are.
1. It is very light weight. This is the smallest and most balanced chassis on the list, it does a very good job of teaching you the actual art of drifting.
2. The AE86 Community is very tight-knit and welcoming. There is a certain brotherhood to those who take up the chassis.
3. The factory 4-age is more than sufficient for entry level drifting, add that to a manual gearbox and factory LSD and you have a car that is almost ready to hit the track from the factory.
Disadvantages to this chassis are.
1. It's a little underpowered, which is a good and a bad thing. This mean that it will teach you how to drift properly while exploiting you weaknesses, thus making you a better driver.
2. Cost, finding a clean AE86 is getting more difficult as each year passes. Good examples of an 86 go for $3,500+ regularly.
S13 Nissan 240sx
Yup, you guessed it, the S13 wins this popularity contest. If you've ever been to any event, or seen any form of drifting you will notice how common this chassis is from the entry level driver on up to Formula D.
The reasons for this are.
1. It is a widely available chassis that can be had at a low cost (usually around $2,500).
2. The aftermarket support for this chassis is very large, companies are making products for this vehicle quite frequently and show no signs of slowing down.
3. It is nearly a bolt on affair, with the SR20det and Ca18det engine coming from the Japanese models it has many options for engines with very little fabrication to make it work.
Only major drawback to this vehicle is.
1. It's becoming more and more popular as time goes by. Although this can be a could thing, the reason it has landed as a disadvantage is cost. Rising demand and wrecked chassis drives the price of the S13 up every year.
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(price as of Aug 12, 2016)