10 Cars and 10 Tips to Choose a Budget Drift Car in 2024

Selecting a budget drift car in 2024 involves considering factors such as affordability, availability of aftermarket parts, rear-wheel drive (RWD) configuration, and a strong enthusiast community for support. Here are ten examples of budget drift cars and key things to look for when choosing one:

Nissan 240SX (S13/S14)

What to Look For: Check for rust, particularly on the frame rails and strut towers. Look for previous modifications and ensure the engine is in good condition. The KA24DE engine is robust, but the SR20DET swap is popular.

Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA/NB)

What to Look For: Inspect for rust on the rocker panels and rear fenders. Check the condition of the soft top and look for any oil leaks around the engine. The 1.6L and 1.8L engines are reliable, but turbocharging is a common upgrade for more power.

BMW E36 3 Series (or E46)

What to Look For: Examine the cooling system, which is known for failures. Check the rear subframe for any damage or signs of cracking. The inline-six engines (M50/M52) are preferred for their power and reliability.

Ford Mustang (SN95/New Edge)

What to Look For: Verify the condition of the 4.6L V8 engine. Look for signs of previous abuse, especially in the suspension and drivetrain. Ensure the body panels are straight and free from rust.

Chevrolet Corvette C5

What to Look For: Check the LS1 V8 engine for oil leaks and ensure regular maintenance records. Inspect the Tremec T56 manual transmission for smooth shifting and check the clutch. Verify the condition of suspension components and look for any frame damage or misaligned body panels.

Lexus IS300

What to Look For: Check the 2JZ-GE engine for any oil leaks and the condition of the automatic transmission if it hasn’t been swapped to manual. Inspect the suspension components for wear.

Nissan 350Z

What to Look For: Check for oil consumption issues with the VQ35DE engine. Inspect the differential and rear suspension components. Look for signs of previous drift damage.

Mazda RX-7 (FC3S)

What to Look For: Ensure the rotary engine is in good condition, as rebuilds can be expensive. Check for rust and signs of previous modifications. The turbocharged models offer more power but require more maintenance.

Infiniti G35 Coupe

What to Look For: Similar to the 350Z, check the VQ35DE engine for oil consumption. Inspect the condition of the suspension and differential. Look for a clean interior and exterior, indicating it has been well-cared for.

Toyota Soarer (Lexus SC300)

What to Look For: Verify the condition of the 2JZ-GE engine. Check for rust, particularly in the wheel wells and under the car. Ensure the electronics and features inside the car are functioning properly.

General Tips for Picking a Budget Drift Car:

RWD Configuration: Ensure the car is rear-wheel drive, which is essential for drifting.
Engine Condition: Look for signs of a healthy engine, such as no excessive oil leaks, proper maintenance records, and a smooth-running engine.
Rust and Structural Integrity: Inspect for rust, especially on the frame and suspension mounting points. Rust can compromise the structural integrity of the car.
Previous Modifications: Be cautious of cars with extensive modifications, as they might have been used hard. Ensure the modifications are done correctly.
Aftermarket Support: Choose a car with good aftermarket support for parts and upgrades.
Community Support: A strong enthusiast community can provide valuable advice and resources.
Budget for Upgrades: Factor in the cost of essential upgrades such as a limited-slip differential (LSD), coilovers, and basic engine maintenance.
Test Drive: Always test drive the car to feel for any unusual noises, handling issues, or transmission problems.
History Check: Run a VIN check to ensure the car doesn’t have a salvage title or severe accident history.
Spare Parts Availability: Ensure that spare parts are readily available and affordable.

By following these tips and carefully inspecting potential drift cars, you can find a reliable and enjoyable vehicle for drifting within your budget.