I like building things from junk, or near junk. I'm not mechanically-minded (I'm not a car guy and I don't have car-guy instincts), so, I've made some electric bicycles and 90% of an electric motorbike from an old donor carcass and forklift parts.
I want to convert a small, light car to electric. I have always liked the look of old Corvettes. Corvettes aren't very light, and old ones are expensive, even carcasses. So someone said "Why not convert an Opel GT?" and I said "What's an Opel?", and they said "It's like, half a Corvette." Which, I think people have said in a derogatory way but when I heard that I was like "Perfect!"
I'm cheap. Ideally, I have a driveable, not-hideous vehicle for $3-5k. That's the spirit of this build. Budget. I'm poor and building things from garbage.
I don't care about anything being original, a real restoration, or any of that. I like how the outside of an Opel GT looks. I'm not picky about the rest. If the suspension is gone but I can just go throw in suspension from an old Civic or whatever, and it works, I wouldn't care that it's not original under the hood.
I'm not picky about performance. I'd like it to be a fun-ish daily driver, that's super cheap to run (because it's electric and tiny). I'm not racing. If it can climb a hill at highway speeds, and stop when I push on the brakes, good enough.
Things I don't care about because it's converting to electric:
- Anything engine related. Carbs need replacing? Head gasket blown? Don't care!
- Anything gasoline or fuel related. Tank has a hole in it? Don't care!
- Anything exhaust related. Muffler is rotten? Don't care!
I've found an Opel for sale for $1500-ish (Canadian, ~$1100 USD). I'm going to take a look at it soon. I don't know what to look for.
- The owner claims it should run (I don't really care except to get it home, I'm removing the engine).
- Paint has been sanded off in patches, presumably to remove rust, so it's currently ugly. I will need to eventually paint it.
- Outsides look okay-ish, no dents or rust through but I'll check.
- Seats are chewed right up, need replacing (don't care if original, any seat that would fit is fine for me).
- Claims the floor panels are rusted through in spots (I can weld, exterior holes scare me because they're cosmetic, floor holes I presume I can just patch with sheet metal).
... when I go look at it, what should I be sure to check?
I'm especially concerned about all the things I don't know to ask about:
- Parts/Components that would be deal-breakers for my ghetto budget.
- Things that a guy with tools probably shouldn't or couldn't fix himself.
- Reasons not to buy a given car.
- Anything else here.
My biggest reason not to buy it right now, is that there's no trunk or hatch. I'd almost like to take out the grinder and make one. I'll live with it if I have to.
Since I'm a complete beginner, I can't be much help to anyone but my way of giving back to the community for all their help is to take lots of photos and document the build so that at least people get to see how their advice made a difference.
I have more questions, but, "Part 1: Help me figure out what to inspect" is today's mission.