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Donor Cars - Best and Worst


New Member
I've seen refrences to some cas from the 70's to use as donors, but is there a list of say the ten best and ten worst donor cars.

to be on the best list is should be cars that are available in decent numbers, priced affordable, easy to find aftermarket parts and to add performance parts

for the worst, i'd say it should still focus on cars that are available, just not great choices
Mid '60's to late '70's Fords were always a good choice, but are drying up. They came with a simple rear end (8 or 9 inch) that only had spring perches to cut off. The engines were 289-460, and the transmissions were the popular c-4 or c-6 versions. If you could find one that was hit in the rear with low milage you were home free, but those days are pretty much gone. There used to be a bunch of these at the junkyard near me, but they are all gone or picked over now.

Chevrolet's of the same era were good too, but the rear ends had a few more brackets to cut off. Usually these were of the 10 bolt variety, which is fine for the street. They mostly came with a 305 or 350 V8 and a TH 350 or 400 transmission, also a bonus.

If you stuck with the midsized cars like Mustang or Chevelle, you got a narrow rear axle assembly too. Granadas and others had that advantage too. I built a '40 Chevy pickup one time and bought a wrecked but running '68 Chevelle for $ 75. I used the 350 engine, transmission, driveshaft, rear end, wiring harness, radiator, and every nut and bolt I could scrounge. Not the way I would build one today, but it worked on a tight budget.

As crazy as this is going to sound.... an early '70s Ford Maverick with the V8 would be nice, if you could find one. You could use the engine(302), tranny and rear. Probably a lot of the smaller stuff would work too. Like maybe the master cylinder, for example.

Heck, even the 4 cyl. would be cool now a days.
Jus my 2 bits.......

Because our T-bucket market is set up for Chevs, and a Ford once in a while, then thats what ya should be lookin for. Doesn't really matter if ya find a PU truck or a station wagon or a van, you can pick it clean if you have the energy.
Most all the pretty stuff in this industry is aimed at Chevs, and fords. So you will be in luck down the road in your build when you get ready to add on accesories.
Problem with PU trucks is the rear axles, most of the chevs and GMC's used a 6 lug axle, I guess they have changed that now in the 1/2 ton models. So you may want to swap the rear axle to someone for a more common Car type axle of your choice.
Big block or small block, Ford or Chev, whatever you like. Pontiacs, Buicks, Caddy's,Olds....These are ok too! But remember, you won't find as many CHEAP parts for these engines, but the bright side is THEY ARE DIFFERENT ! you don't see em in T-buckets much anymore. Problem with them is, some are a little too wide on the crankcase to fit good between the frame rails, interferance around the oil filter area and starters.
I suggest you take a tape measure and do a little measuring if your thinkin bout one of the "other" engines.....
Also something to consider is the year of vehicle your dealing with....Computer controls? Fuel Injection? Lots of Smog Equipment? Sometimes you will need to rid the engine of these parts and install new or Other parts to replace em. This is a additional Cost to you...
Helps to plan ahead..... "BH"
Re: Jus my 2 bits.......

then the best type of donor car is like lumenAL said a donated one free is for me , strip em an sell whats not usable to you an feed the project
Re: Jus my 2 bits.......

the last free car I got (I have had a couple) was a Subaru wagon....... guess it coulda been a mid engine T.....
Ford Granadas - they are still around, most had V8s engines, they all had 8 inch or bigger rear ends, some had nine inch rears, C4 trannys, and they are worth nothing on the open market. They also have leaf springs, less to modify on the rear axle. Big Ford station wagons are fairly useless because they have smogger engines but are still around too, lots have 460s, not ideal for most things...
Chevy station wagons in junkyards are basically non existant around here but could have cool stuff like 350s, 10 bolt rears, tilt columns, but all that stuff is tough to find now.
with as much as scrap steel is going for it might be hard to find anything.. people are scraping cars left and right.. theyre getting like $200 per ton for scrap steel. $270 ton for clean scrap steel..
and to think I sold a 77 granada 4 door 302 v8, at for 400 bucks back in 92...... not to mention the bad 76 2 door body I scrapped that had the donor engine I put in the 77.....

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