"Dream Build" 20 years later

XsithX

SCCoA Member
Howdy Folks,

So long story short: I owned an '89 SC 5-Speed as my first car ~20 years ago and really enjoyed it. I made some light modifications to it (Exhaust/Intake/Clutch) and wanted to do more, but as a 17 year old I didn't have any money or even a garage - so I didn't go very far. Fast forward 20+ years and I'd like to get back into it and do things right (for fun, not as a daily driver).

My criteria has mainly been to find something that is largely stock and in good condition (relative to the age of course), so that I could start with a good base and work on performance modifications from there. I've been looking for a 5-speed SC (any year) and have narrowed it down to three options, but wanted to run something by those knowledgeable (you).

What I'm a bit torn on is how much it really matters to find a bird with "low miles"? The three options for SCs I'm considering have 60k miles, vs one with 110k miles, vs one with 170k miles. Beyond the mileage, there are some other pros/cons, but re: the mileage in general - I was thinking that even if it has low miles (60k), and it's stock, then pretty much everything is going to need to be replaced anyways because it's largely been sitting and because 60k is when things would've started to break anyways during normal course if it wasn't ~30 years old. If this is the case, it likely isn't worth the premium in price up front for the car with 60k miles (to the tune of ~$5,000 more) versus one of the others (with interior/exterior in similar condition), because the $$ will go into replacing those parts regardless of the low mileage. Is this a fair statement, or am I off? If off, could you share some insight on why?

My hope would be to run through the bulk of the SCP performance offerings to put them on whichever bird I land on. So there will definitely be excess stress put on the vehicle compared to stock.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance!
 
With a few exceptions (ie shocks) mechanical parts are easy to find. Interior & exterior trim, not so much. So I'd look for something that's been garaged and hasn't had all its plastics baked to death for 30 years.
 
I have a 1990 SC 5-speed that runs for sale in Wisconsin. It is a rust free Georgia car. Oxford white paint, blue cloth interior, 144,000 miles, A/C blows cold and is converted to R-134. No performance mods, tires have good tread on them, factory rims. It’s in pretty good shape for its age and I’ve used it as a daily driver off-and-on. I’d like to sell it before winter if possible.
 
I guess it depends how far you want to go with it. If this is going to be an all out build where the motor is getting rebuilt anyway, then I would say who cares about the mileage. But if this is going to be just bolt-on stuff on a stock long-block, then the extra $5000 for a 60k mile car might be worth it since rebuilding the 170k mile engine would probably eat up most of if not all of that price difference. Other factors to consider are the different years. 94/95 cars have different interior and different looks. 93s have the advantage of a better braking system (shared with the 94/95s) while still having the look and interior of the early cars. Also look for rust, as a rust free car of any year with a ton of miles is always preferable to a low mileage rot-box.
 
I guess it depends how far you want to go with it. If this is going to be an all out build where the motor is getting rebuilt anyway, then I would say who cares about the mileage. But if this is going to be just bolt-on stuff on a stock long-block, then the extra $5000 for a 60k mile car might be worth it since rebuilding the 170k mile engine would probably eat up most of if not all of that price difference. Other factors to consider are the different years. 94/95 cars have different interior and different looks. 93s have the advantage of a better braking system (shared with the 94/95s) while still having the look and interior of the early cars. Also look for rust, as a rust free car of any year with a ton of miles is always preferable to a low mileage rot-box.
Solid points! The car with ~170k miles is actually a 94, which is one of the appeals of it... I really like the styling and interior a lot more than the 89-93, not to mention the other improvements you mention. So while it has high miles, it's a more in line with what I'd actually want. I will say, this 94 has already had a good amount of work done recently, including head gaskets, clutch and some other odds and ends replaced at the same time as that work. The other two lower mileage cars are 89-91.
 
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