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How do you know what kind of car to build?

mini zilo

Proven Member
Jul 17, 2006
Chicago, Illinois
How did you guys decide what kind of car you want to build? I am a little lost.

You've got these different kinds of DSM:

Drag DSM
Street DSM
Street/ Strip DSM
Rally DSM
Autocross/Road Race DSM

How did you guys decide? I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what kind of car to build. I am not really new to these cars, I know a good deal about them, but I am confused here.

I started out in 2006 building my 96 GSX A/T with mostly speed mods, mainly focusing on building it into a drag car someday. I followed through with this "build" until January 2008, when I decided that it might not be a good idea for a few reasons.

My main reason for thinking the "drag car" build was a bad idea is because my Brother built a drag DSM, and he ended up selling it because it was too problematic and it really wasn't a street car anymore. It was strange to see, because at one point, HE REALLY loved that car, and it was just sold because it was built into something that could not really be driven.

Now, I didn't want to take that same path because:

I want to be able to drive my car wherever, whenever. So it has to be streetable.

Well, I decided maybe I should just keep my car to nice bolt ons, and keep is simple, mid 13 second car that is reliable.

Well, I WANT to do that, because that fits my goal of a street DSM pretty well, but I have been thinking about it, and I don't know if a mid 13 second car will be so fun to drive. My car used to be a low 12 second car, and it was pretty fun and fast to drive.

Well, then I was really confused because I wanted to build a drag car, but still be able to drive it everyday. I started looking at Curt Brown's 1g as an influence, because he has a pretty decent drag setup, and yet still daily drives the car.

I am just really confused as to what to do, and I was wondering if any of the older DSMers on here have any advice.

I just want to make sure that I build a WELL BALANCED car, but I need something a little better than a mid 13 second car.

If anyone even understands this, feel free to comment/question/criticize/take a piss.

I guess I kind of want something that is impossible... a DSM that I can drive everday, run QUICK times at the track, and turn and stop the car quickly as well. Like an autocross car with a drag engine or something.

Yeah... as you can see I have no idea.... any thoughts?

Oh, if any of you reading this feel as though YOUR CAR fits the kind of car I am trying to setup (COMPLETELY streetable without losing too many comfort features, yet well balanced, and QUICK at the track all at the same time) post your mods, pictures of your car, so I can get an idea.


Proven Member
May 28, 2004
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Although I respect them, I've never really been into drag cars. And the drag cars that I do like are usually still streetable and look that way. I guess I've never been into it because so many things seem to go into making the car good for the pass on the strip and can't be used on the street. (Slicks, race fuel, nitrous, etc, etc) I've always liked cars that can do it all even if they aren't the best at one thing. To me, those compromises just combine to make a great all around car.

Until recently, I never considered using my car as anything more than a fun street car. Now I'm getting into autocrossing and things of that nature. I do it to have fun more than anything else. That's one reason I love it so much... it's a blast. On the other hand drag racing seems a bit boring and disappointing if you're not the fastest thing out there. But that's just my point of view.

I have a good amount done to my car yet it is still tolerable to take on a nice drive. Sure it's mildly stripped out can be loud to some, but it is reliable as anything else and puts a smile on my face when I take if for a drive, whether a cruise or racing.


Proven Member
Oct 14, 2002
When I originally bought this car 3 years ago. I intended to build an all out drag car. I ripped out all but the dash of the interior in order to lighten it up. Tore down the engine and got it all ready for the build up process. But, then my financial situation changed and I couldn't afford my daily driver '04 Sentra SE-R Spec V and my wife's '06 VW Bug Convertible anymore. Plus sinking money into the DSM and remodeling a house. So I needed to compromise my original plans for the car. I needed it now to be my daily driver. Yet I wanted it to be fun. So I guess I'm building a Street/Strip car and my goals are to have a low 12 sec daily driver that runs on pump gas. So I guess company downsizing determined what kind of DSM I am building. ROFL


Proven Member
Dec 17, 2006
Phillipsburg, New_Jersey
I rank them from easiest to hardest.
Street -> street/strip -> drag -> autox/roadrace -> rally.

I list them by the amount of work involved with how far it strays from streetability.


Proven Member
Jan 18, 2004
Rochester, New_York
i have a simple plan. build it to run a 12.99 or better and i am happy. It must remain stock appearing and all power features must work locks, doors, windows, sun roof and seats. I may get different wheels at a later date. To me it is a big toy. I will be running a dsmlink. I also want to try megasquirt. i all ready have a wideband and megasquirt ECU.
This is just a weekend car to cruise in with the ability to get down the road nice!


Proven Member
Jan 29, 2008
tuscaloosa, Alabama
Well for about another year my car is going to be a DD and a weekend warrior. then its going to be a weekend car only to take to the track (drive it ofcorse)

I have DSMlink and 750cc injectors this week im getting fuel pump and regulator and next week Im getting Meth injection then off to the dyno. Im pretty sure I will be happy with what I will have then and the car will be in the garage most of the time.

I have an Uncle that is a NHRA driver and an uncle that is part of the alms, so I can go both ways. there is nothing better than smoking a camareo and 5.0 mustangs.


Proven Member
Oct 4, 2007
Dittmer, Missouri
If this were a show dog forum the question would be "What's the best dog"? The answer would be "What do you want your dog to do?"

The DSM can be modified to be many things as the OP listed. But like dogs it can't be all things. If the question were "How can I breed a dog as fast as a greyhound and as strong as a Husky, the answer would be "pick one".

If the question is "How can I mod a DSM to run 10 sec quarter miles and be as reliable as a Toyota the answer is still "pick one".

I have modified my Talon to be a fun street car that is as reliable as a mid range new car. But then I'm an old phart using Social Security funds from all of you young tuners to pay for my need for speed. (Thanks.)

Back when I was working my clients would ask, "Whatdaya got"? My answer was always "Whatdaya want?"

The DSM can never be all things to all people, but with careful planning and enough cash, it can be made into anything for anyone.
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