It's been months since I did anything with the purple car known as Project Riceball—the horrible state of the car made it nerve-wracking to drive, and there was no way I wanted to roll the dice on driving it in the winter, I knew that'd leave me stranded and suffering hypothermia. So, the car sat in my garage, and my self-disdain rose: did I spend four figures to be a jackass with a project that never leaves the house? I'm not even doing the wrenching myself (I strip things when I change seats out, so never again), therefore I have no excuse to own a garage queen. Also, it's not pretty or running right, so "garage queen" would probably be giving it too much credit. But now that the sun's out, I rolled it out and started letting it take my money.

As the car's not currently in my possession (I'll explain in a bit), I'm not equipped to snap cell-phone pictures of some parts that are currently on the car, or half of the catalog of stuff I left with my tuner guy. I can, however, show off the appalling, ancient pieces that have come off my textbook definition of a "money pit." Let's start with the stock components that came off the car:

This is the stock front swaybar, in all it's thin, heavy, yawn-inducing glory. As my common-sense starved brain reasons, "stock parts" are something engineers have to create to appease their bosses and help the finished (car) product sell. These are elements birthed by compromise, committees, and lawyers demanding that something bores the populace into not suing anyone. Yet deep within their florescent-lamp-crushed existence, every car engineer yearns to make something go faster, harder, and louder. Some of these people finally yell 'screw it' and throw themselves into the aftermarket. That is why this cromoly behemoth is no longer on my car, something better lies in its place.

Likewise, the old springs are rotting from under that once-nice powdercoating, I'm sure. Since they're also of questionable stiffness for what I'm going to attempt, I smashed every piggy bank I could find (sorry, little Timmy) and bought some coilovers. I'm trying not to cut corners, and hopefully I won't break something expensive once I truly get started. I'm told the rear shocks had to be cut open to get them off (at this point, I'd believe almost anything), and I wanted to share what they look like post-extraction. There's a multitude of components in a similar state of rustiness, and I said "cut it out and ditch it" rather than pray.

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Hey look, I bought a new version of this exact bar, because I impulse buy—whoops.

The wonderful gentleman turning the wrenches hit a major snag once he went to put the front portion of the coilovers on; the parts were in no way compatible. Apparently, when the previous owner mentioned that this thing had S13 knuckles for more angle, I should've paid more attention. Someone hacked up the front all kinds of ways to fit what could very well be struts from a Nissan S13 chassis. That means all the shiny, awesome parts I bought for an AE86 chassis no longer fits, unless stock spindles and hubs (and brakes, and knuckles, tie rods, etc.) are sourced and put back on the car... That's what I'm currently waiting on to come in, as well as some new brakes to fit those.

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This setback is something I should expect—especially now that I've done some research into others trying to dial up the power out of the 4A-GE engine, the previous owner's plan to turbocharge the car with a spare T25 he had laying around entails a ton of added work in getting pistons with more turbo-friendly compression to work. Keep in mind, the supercharged 4A-GZE pistons are forged and a nice 8.0:1, but they don't drop right in, nooooooo... Because of this, I'm hesitant to dive into getting the turbo and intercooler he threw in to work on this car. I'm also nonplussed by the stock radiator that's thinner than most waffles. This last bit must be addressed soon.

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The short(er) version is, I have a ton of boxes in my garage that came with the car containing junk that I'm unlikely to use. Craigslist, I wonder if you know anyone willing to take this crap off my hands. Well, at least the stock seats appear to be in decent shape, maybe that'll get me a bit of cash.

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And the exhaust of dubious effectiveness may be scrap-worthy (doubtful). The exhaust and Ebay header I bought should help remedy the leaks that were rampant in the old parts, as well as helping it to sound less like ass. Who knows how it'll run once this is all over. My expectations are modest.

But enough about the negatives—let's look at the positive points: firstly, I shouldn't have to worry about the state of the clutch for a while. Now that the old clutch is out of the car, it's easy to see that it wasn't in bad shape, but now I have a new Exedy bit hugging the flywheel which I sincerely hope is as street-able as others have told me. Old:

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Also, along the way most of a spare 4A-GE engine started following this car as it changed hands, so I have that for when I undoubtedly find a way to grenade what's currently in the car. I'm calling it Riceball, after all, this is one way in which I expect it to fall apart.

Besides that, I pulled the trigger on some new tires—the slipperiest stuff I could stand to buy in the size I wanted. After all, this car is never going to break traction via any power from under the hood. And I need to get used to the possibility of swapping wheels as the tires wear down, so I hunted around and saw a decent deal on some new rims, which happen to be so very gorgeous at the moment.

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So, to recap—I bought a Frankenstein car. I should've been tipped off by the two 240SX builds the guy had in the driveway that some of those parts might be grafted onto a car that was never designed to have them. Whatever. Replace that stuff with Toyota pieces, and I should be in business. Brakes and steering knuckles are on the way, then the front coilovers can go on. Exhaust should already be improved, along with various other odd suspension bits. Oh, and this will be the second car I have with 5-point harnesses in it—I already know the G-Force cam-lock stuff is something I'm happy with. At the very least, the new wheels and tires should make this purple monstrosity look like someone [me] cares about this thing. Just don't ask how much I've spent; I don't have access to the ticker that tracks the national debt, and that's the only thing with enough digits to come close. The second I get it back, I'll snap some pictures of the car again and go driving. I promise, I'm trying to make progress.