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Affordable Drift Cars found in SA

9 March 2011 18 Comments

Potential drift cars you can find for sale in SA. To start drifting you need a rear wheel drive (RWD) car, what type of RWD car all depends on your budget of course. Drifting isn’t a cheap form of Motorsport you wont ever find a cheap form of Motorsport unfortunately.  But there are however ways of bring the costs down. The initial start up is going to be an expensive exercize, especially in South Africa, drifting is still very much a unknown phenomenon in South Africa, but that will all be changing in the near future I believe.

So what kind of drift car can you start out with? Well basically any car that has a RWD setup and preferably a long wheel base is perfect to start with try stay away from a short wheel base car or  you might just find yourself on a spinning pitch. Iv put together a list of cars that you will always be able to find on Gumtree.

Nissan 200sx S13
Nissan 200sx S14
BMW Dolphin Shape
Toyota KE70 Corollas
(1.6 +)

Nissan skylines
Mercedes Benz 190E/200E/230E
Datsun SSS
Ford Escort (MK1/MK2)
Ford Granada/Cortina (Old Shape)
Toyota Cressida
Nissan Skyline GTX

These are the cars most readily available in South Africa to drift. The nice thing about these cars is that you can get in and slide straight off the bat. Down the line upgrades will be needed, but as a start you will be able to learn the basics of drifting.


  • Dylan Cothill said:

    Nice little write-up there and you have hit the nail on the head with cars priced from R10K and up.

    I would like to add that you may want to weld up the differential of a starter car and stiffen up the suspension in a way that your budget allows. These two alone will make your car a competent drift car and costs less than most modifications for drag racing.

    Spend less on your first drift car as you will have a few dings and dents from learning, and once you are comfortable you can either develop your current car or look at spending more on a modern car for reliability and a good base.

    Not knocking down drag racing (I did it myself before drifting and enjoyed it) but if you can afford to do drag racing, you can afford to drift, and it is so much more fun!

    See you on the track :)


    Blair Reply:

    thats what i was going for… Out of the list Dylan which one would you budget for if you never had the S14?

    Im very fond of the E30 or the Nissan 200Sx S13.


    Dylan Cothill Reply:

    Based on experience I would have an S13 if I wasn’t in the position to have a S14. A good thing about the S13 is the handbrake works so well from factory and it has a brilliant power to weight ratio and awesome chassis.

    But if my budget was lower than R20K (as it is now for a second one I am looking at building for fun) I would go with the E30/E36 BMW, they are super reliable most of the time.

    Thing is they are all good candidates, as long as they have a good weight to power ratio they will do the job just fine.


    Blair Reply:

    100% I would also say the S13 is a great learning car, its a pitty though that the cars are so expensive to maintain and find parts for.

    Being lucky enough to visit the UK a few years back I got to watch a couple rounds of the British Drifting Championship (BDC) and i noticed a good couple of Bmw’s taking part, so that definitely means that they are capable of all levels of drifting!


  • Turbobudz said:

    Good write up man…

    Great selection of cars and all of them are firm regulars in the Irish Prodrift and the JDM All stars in the UK..

    The only exception would be the Escort here. We dont really have them and rally drivers snap them up quick because they’re a favorite on these Irish roads.

    The s14 is great for drifting in my opinion. Just weld the diff, get a fly off handbrake, crank up the boost and possibly baffle the sump (to ensure the bottom end doesn’t go)… I dont know many s14′s that give problems except for the vvt rattle.

    Nice write up Blair


  • Malcom said:

    nice blog.


  • Blair (author) said:

    Dude talking about the escort, while i lived in Wales we saw a Green MK2 escort show the Jap cars how its done!

    its a pitty about the Escorts, cos they are nice looking cars and have potential, but im not 100% sure about drifting the Swb car.. look im not an expert but i can imagine them being a pain to hold a high speed drift!

    I knw of a few S14′s in South Africa that are ripping up the tar!
    Personally im a big fan of the E30 Bmw but it lacks power through the long sweeps and high entry sections.

    Thanks for the comp.


  • Rudi said:

    Hi, where are you from? can you get the Nissan Silvia in JHB?


  • ant said:

    Thanks, it’s usefully
    i want a S15 in graphite, but u cant find them in RSA


  • Stein said:

    Sweet article guys love the drift stuff


  • RiaanS14Drifter said:

    Hi Guys, like the article. I just finished my S14 built. My 5c worth is make sure of prices on tweaks etc on the project car your start with. I bought a S14 for 25k, had to replace the motor, then the gearbox due to a monkey mechanic, found my suspension was shot, imported a new CX Racing drift suspension – landed here for +/- R7000. Respray, bucket seats, roll cage etc etc etc. too scared to add up. My second project is a sexy old Opel Manta 1974 model. The 3SGTE conversion alone is costing an arm and a leg and I reckon she will still cost even more before she is ready for the track. Best buys in my opinion… buy a car that someone already did a conversion and paid the school fees for it. It is much cheaper to replace a motor than to fit it the first time unless you do it yourself and have the expertise for it. Now that my S14 is finished, I feel she is too nice to drift…LOL. What to do. If you want to take it to competition level, it is very expensive. Sponsors are scarce and tires are very expensive. My appeal to the drifting world is to do a entry level class. Invite cars like the escorts, bmw etc; then wet the track on the corners where they need to drift, and you do not need so much power, and tires last so much longer. After a couple of “entry level” cars went over the wet stuff; the track is dry again for the big boys. This also learn exceptional good throttle control and handling skills. Where do you guys drift?


    Dylan Cothill Reply:

    In response to your S14 is too nice to drift, all I can say is buy a car that you won’t mind damaging the bodywork on, only spend money on necessary mods for drifting then get seat time before you spend money dolling up the car.

    Entry level drifting is exactly what I want to get going here, but wetting the corners will never teach you how to drift properly as the feel between dry and wet is extremely different. Just need sto run skinnier tyres at high pressures.

    As to where we drift, well I only just got my car down from the UK but you will see me at Killarney at street to strip events and any other chance I get at Killarney.


  • Angelo said:

    Wonder if my E38 bmw 750il is an appropriate drift car? Its a very long wheelbase, 400nm and rear wheel drive!


  • Christo said:

    Hi Guys, I am just reading all the good things about drifting. Sounds really amazing, especially from the experts. What do you guys mean when you talk about S13, S14 etc? Where can I find a good second hand drifting car? Will appreciate your help. Regards, Christo


    Blair Reply:

    Hi Christo we are referring to a Nissan 200sx, S13 and S14 are the model shapes.
    It all really depends on your budget to be honest. The best beginner cars are either a BMW 325i E30 or a Nissan S13 there are a few others to choose, but these would be the most commonly used in South Africa.


  • Drift said:

    Funny… Seems the guy that actually created the blog doesn’t seem to have a proper knowledge base on cars.
    To me, it looks like he just listed all the cheap rwd cars off the top of his head.

    1. If you’re going to call the 1st beemer an E30, why not state the next as an E36, but as a dolphin shape?? Not using the right terms sounds like an amateur.

    2. The mercs (either 123 or 124) will be abit hard to maneuver for a beginner due to the suspension layout of it, and of course, the 123 has a steering box. It would definitely need an engine transplant, as merc engines run too smooth for the car to kick the rear out, and it would need way stiffer springs. Chassis is good though. Rigid enough not to twist.

    3. “Ford granada/cortina (old shape)” is a statement that filled me with laughter. Have you seen a new shape granada or cortina? There were newer granadas, but not here. As for cortinas, there were just 5 of them and ceased production in the 80s. A MK1 or 2 cortina would be a no go, as they also have steering boxes. I know of many that were converted into a rack and pinion type, but even they all had issues of the car not steering properly. On top of that, you would have to be insane to screw up a very rare car to bang on a track.
    MK3 and 5 cortinas would however do pretty decent on the drift track. V6 ones have more than enough torque to kick out the back. Add a welded 2.0 diff, a hydraulic handbrake and discs at the rear, and it would run with expensive japanese competitors.
    The MK4 on the other hand (most people know it as the 30S shape), has got very weak way of the diff hanging from the body. Only thing that holds it in place are 2 big rubbers that deteriorate in time, and are very scarce to find replacements. Even if replacements are put, the diff would still move side to side and that is never a good thing on drift cars.

    I see there’s a guy that mentioned the kawasaki green mk2 escort driven by the irish declan (forgot his surname). There are a few escorts used as playful drift cars, but the one you saw was a money pit and took a lot of suspension tuning by declan. None the less, that car is extremely competitive.

    So, I suggest the ideal cheap drift cars in order would be: ford sierra or sapphire (7-13K), ford cortina xle, xr6, gls (8-15K, gls has p/s), BMW E30 (12-20K), BMW E36 (20-30K) or a skyline gtx. All cars would need a hydraulic handbrake conversion and a lock welded or LS diff. Locked is a much cheaper way.
    I speak from experience with rwd cars and sideways action.


  • Marinus said:

    I have a cressida 2.8L which has alot of potential :D


  • Johan said:

    E46 BMW 2 door reay to be built for a drift car. No motor or gearbox> suspesion 90% complete Contact Johan 0791347701


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