One of my items on my automotive bucket list is to own a NASCAR race car. I am a Jeff Gordon fan so naturally, a Jeff Gordon race car would be ideal (which I found out could be had for less than $25k, better start saving).
However, one of my other wants is to have a street legal NASCAR. I want to be able to use my race car for other purposes than simply a track day (like going to the grocery store, going to work, or being awesome). Now I don't have the heart to chop up a race used Jeff Gordon race car as it is of course an authentic piece of racing history.
No, what I would do is get a Gen5 or 4 roller or cheaper K&N (ARCA) car and modify it. It would be ideal to get a car that has everything sans engine and trans. Then it is just a simple order to Chevy and Jasper for a crate motor and a compatible 4 speed transmission. As much as I want to keep a 800hp NASCAR motor in the car, typical city driving would cause it to blow up, and I want to be able to use pump gas.
The engine and transmission are actually the simple parts to this whole operation. The most difficult parts are the exhaust, parking brake, and electronics. NASCARs don't come with a parking brake so I would need to retrofit one into the drive train so I can keep it from rolling away. The exhaust, anyone who has been to a NASCAR race knows that these are loud, and I definitely don't want to lose that. However, I can't go through the neighborhood shattering everyone's windows and eardrums (that would make me look like an asshole). My thought would be to put in a bypass valve that would allow me to switch from the straight NASCAR exhausts to a more stereotypical street exhaust system.
I would like to keep the lights similar to what was seen on the real car. Ideally, I would go to a pull-a-part and grab some headlights, taillights, and maybe even the light module off a related Impala or Monte Carlo. Sawzall holes in the sheet metal to stick the lights in and presto. However, they most likely won't fit because NASCARs totally resemble their street counter parts (/sarcasm). If push came to shove, I could go with cutting holes into the headlight decals and placing bulb lights into the locations they would be in the real headlights.
The electrics in general will be quite difficult. I would add in a key switch to the ignition system. I would keep the switch start ignition but I would put a key switch in the circuit so that no one could start the car and drive it away in a straight line (because I would have the wheel - yay detachable). I would also need some wiper motors, wiper switch, some way to activate the turn signals, etc. I forsee me stealing many parts from old Impalas and Monte Carlos. Then it would all be wrapped in an awesome Jeff Gordon paint scheme.
Of course the big question is, can I even get one of these things titled and registered for street use? It's not worth the effort if I can't use it. Maybe I should ask Steve Lehto...