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BUYING USED

VIEWS: 25 PAGES: 7

[...] he or she probably expects no less. [...] just as in choosing clothing, the right fit is important. [...] history can be of value.

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									       TECHNICAL




      BUYING
      USED
       Purchasing a used racecar can be
       fraught with peril, but there are ways
       to cut the risk and find a well-loved car
       BY RICHARD S. JAMES


       Y       our neighbor probably hasn’t
               owned the model you’re
               considering purchasing. You
       probably won’t be able to comparison
       shop many of the same car. And
                                                  particular class, there are other
                                                  things to figure out.
                                                      Obviously, competitiveness is a
                                                  key consideration. Unless you’re
                                                  just starting out and are looking
       there’s not a CARFAX to be found.          for a starter car that you can learn
       You’re on your own. On the other           the ropes in before acquiring
       hand, there’s no loud guy named            something more expensive or closer
       Carl with a frightening plaid sports       to the top of the class, you’ll want
       coat, obnoxious tie and outdated           something that isn’t the weakest
       sun glasses asking you what he can         link in your racing chain. You’ll
       do to put you into this car today.         want a car that can win out of the
           Plus, when you start going over your   box or with little development.
       prospective purchase with a fi ne-tooth         Race results, the marque win
       comb, the current owner is probably        chart in the Record Book section
       not going to be offended. In fact, he      of this magazine and talking with
       or she probably expects no less. Run       competitors in the class are the best
       that leak-down test. Crawl under           sources for that information. Those
       the car to look for stress fractures.      who race in or against the cars you’re
       Break out the levels and string.           considering likely know the strength
           This is the joy – and pain – of        and weakness of the different models.
       buying a previously loved racecar. It      Sometimes those are more important
       is, in many ways, both easier and          than outright lap times or the number
       harder than buying a used road car,        of wins. A great car at Road America
       but certainly no more a decision to be     might not be the car to have at Lime
       made lightly. Not only are you about       Rock or Thunderhill.
       to part with a significant amount               The next consideration is
       of money, you will eventually be           availability of parts and support. If it’s
       putting your life in the hands of this     a purpose-built formula car, sports
       machine and its proper preparation.        racer or GT chassis you’re considering,
       Choosing the right racecar can not         one of the fi rst things to note is if the
       only make the difference between           manufacturer is still in business, and
       winning and losing, it can make            is it still producing parts for the car. A
       the difference between a trip              bargain can get expensive in a hurry
       home and a trip to the hospital.           if you have to have your uprights
                                                  custom-machined. However, even
        RESEARCH                                  if the company isn’t still producing
       Long before you start peering into         parts, that doesn’t mean they’re not
       the classified ads in SportsCar ’s          available, notes Neil Porter of prep
       Marketplace, your research should          shop and dealer Porter Racing.
       be well under way. The fi rst step is           “Depending on how popular the
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       to figure out what kind of car you          car is, there might be people making
       want. While you may already know           suspension pieces, body parts, etc., to
       what type of car you want to race –        service those,” said Porter. “So, even
       formula, sports racer, tubeframe or        
								
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