Are there any spec e30 race winning cars for sale?


I am looking for a nice spec e30 for sale. Does anyone know of anything available? I am in the northeast, but willing to travel.

#1 priority is a nice cage and rust free chassis. I’ve looked at the usual listing sites (ebay, classifieds here, etc.) and haven’t found much.


I have a very nice car for sale but its never been raced. email me az at drive-gear dot com


Since you’re on the east coast, you might also want to contact Joel Barber at Barber Raceworks in Greenville, SC. He has a newly-built SpecE30 that won a SpecE30 race at Carolina Motorsports Park on it’s maiden shakedown weekend. I think it was originally being built for a customer, but Joel ended up keeping it, so you might be able to talk him out of it! Give him a call at (864) 414-3481 or e-mail him, which is


I’m renting for now but share your view. I often started with a front-running or winning used race car. As someone new to a class, the driver knows the car is capable and can focus on driving. The car will also have all sorts of little things that allow it to run up front. Those little things are what make Spec Miatas from top builders cost $35k-$60k when one can be built for under $15k. Those little things could take years to learn. Plus, the old owner will usually provide guidance.

Of course, it isn’t nirvana. The old owner also knows why they are getting rid of it. They also made trade-offs (even in F1 there are trade-offs, no budget is unlimited). Sometimes they were fast because of the driver and maybe weaker competition.

More to understand the market rather than buy, my searches haven’t revealed any used E30s that are actively campaigned. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but it included this site, RacingJunk, eBay, Craig’s List, etc. There are lots of Spec Miatas and a few Spec Racer Fords, the 2 other large spec classes. That has included new or nearly new cars from top builders and a car that finished in the top-10, once in the top-5, in 4 January SCCA Majors with 70 car fields (it sold for $22.5k).

The lack of a used car market begs the question: what happens to old SE30s? Is the crash rate so high they just get absorbed as replacements?


FB is currently the best place to get out the word that you’re looking for a SpecE30.

A number of reasons contribute to the reduced # of donor cars available. Kids now perceive them as “cool” so they are taking some, Cash 4 Clunkers got some. In the rustbelt they all rusted out. That said there’s easily a dozen in people’s back yards within an hour of my house in Savannah, GA. So sure, there’s fewer donor cars then 10yrs ago, but there’s still a lot of them.

There’s a lot of differences between the Miata world and our world. $15k should be able to buy a top notch car with a season on an all new drivetrain and good dyno #'s. Joel Barber would probably sell you that car new, for $20k. With a used but serviceable drivetrain he’d prob sell that car for $15-16k. And Joel’s cars are really nice. There’s ways to spend more money on that, cosmetics, data, whatever, but they’re not going to be faster.

It’s entirely do-able in our series to buy someone’s not-pretty car for $8k and if you’ve got podium skills, you’ll get on the podium. Cars that sell for more than $16k are doing so because the car is very pretty and it has lots of new drivetrain parts. The buyer might convince themselves that they are getting more performance for their additional $$, but they are fooling themselves. At the end of the day, it will be skills that get them on the podium.


I’m not sure I understand the math. A non-rusted, non-crashed donor with working engine electrics and good glass can’t be free. Can any nearly 30 year old windshield be clear enough to use without glare from the micro pitting?

I’ve been quoted $3000-$5000 for a Spec Miata cage. A more or less complete kit costs over $1000 and people have been quoted $2000-$2500 for installing it. That after the interior and dash are removed. I can’t imagine why an SE30 would be less. Spec Miata also are generally built with an .060" thick dropped floor which most seem to bolt the seat to.

Both of these cars date to the Bush administration. Not “W”. George Herbert Walker Bush. Now in his 90s. It is inconceivable that all the suspension bushing don’t need to be replaced. While the SM has double A-arms front and rear and uses coil overs, the SE30 has an incredibly expensive semi-trailing arm in the rear and McPherson strut in the front.

The SE30 has 6-cylinder engine, the SM a 4. While the rules dyno rules sort of stop the expensive tuning in SM, how much less than the $6000-$7000 for a SM motor can they be? Any engine that age is going to need a cylinder and line hone, a deck cut, new pistons, pins, bearings, valves, valve springs/keepers/retainers/seals, a valve job, bronze valve guides, and gaskets. The NB SMs use a Torsen diff that is relatively maintenance free. I’m not quite sure what the E30’s LSD but it definitely is more involved. Early SM’s also race with a Cusco diff sold by Mazda Motorsports that both wears its friction disks and requires prices preload adjustment. And it is a Salsbury which the SE30 also is. I think the E30 may have only one friction disk per side. The SM transmission looks much simpler than the SE30s.

The rest is pretty similar pieces. Both use the stock fuel tank. They use the same seats and steering wheels.

Top SMs are taken to the shell and reassembled. All need cage/interior paint and most need exterior paint. Is SE30 any different?

Nationally competitive SM’s go for just over $20k to low $30k range. More home-built SM’s or even professionally built without a winning pedigree are in the same $15k-$20k range, but require an experienced eye to detect cage/seat mounting/etc. issues.

SMs also have a bit bigger market because they are also in SCCA. That could double the number events available.

Are these cars scaled and bump-steered? Neither scale/scaling or bump steer shows up in the search.


This is a lot of issues. The kind of thing best handled over a table with a pitcher of beer.

Budget a grand for the donor. I’ve bought several “wouldn’t start” E30’s for $400, that I got to start w/o much trouble, but lets call it $1k. $2k will put a no frills entirely serviceable cage into it. Won’t be as pretty as Joel’s, but it will work.

$2k for suspension. This gets you springs, shocks/struts, sways, and the necessary reinforcement bits.
$1k will easily get you camber plates, suspension bushings and drivetrain mounts. Do some of your shopping at Condor.

This assumes that you do the work in the above two lines yourself. Suspension and bushings are all pretty straight forward.

With a bit of luck you’ll get low 150hp/tq out of the 175k mi motor and race it like that for a couple years. If not, pull the head, give a shop $400 for a refresh, and put it back on. Our head usually cost you compression before the bottom end will. The old crank/rod bearings should be fine if you do some smart things re. oil control in the oil pan. Diff and wheel bearings should be fine for a couple seasons. With some luck the tranny will last 2x that.

$1k for the seat, $300 for belts and nets, I’m kinda running out of things to buy here.

We’ve added up this kind of shit many times and unless you can find some good bargains, it’s hard to get much under $13k. Sure, you can pay 5-7k more for significant engine work in order to gain 5-8hp and stress at every event that the dyno is going to DQ you.

The questions you are asking are common. But they are the questions of an outsider. Come hang out with us. You’ll find a bunch of guys that really aren’t focused on winning all that much. Last weekend at Rd Atl, the leader slowed down so his buddies, both chasing as hard as they could but also battling like mad, could catch up. He wanted to join the fun that was occurring behind him. When the race was over we hugged and laughed and drank beer. Then we went to the awards banquet and ate/drank/laughed together, and then we went out for our own SpecE30 celebration where we ate/drank/laughed together.

When you understand our culture, your question won’t be “what’s it take to buy a winning car?” Instead, your question will be “where are we going out tonight?”

We have winning drivers, not winning cars. But mostly it’s just about hanging out with the best friends you’ll ever have.


Umm…hanging out and shooting the breeze. That sounds a lot more like golf than auto racing! Sidebar: I assemble my own golf clubs and am devastated that SKFiber shafts went out of business.

My experience is that drivers chat but usually hang out with their crews and guests. Maybe my oval track time where the whole event is between 3 pm and 1 am is coloring my perception compared to some race weekends that are now 3 days long. The last time I raced they were 2 days long, and Lime Rock was one day. But that was when Ronald Reagan was remembered as a past governor of California. But Jerry Brown was the current governor then and still is. Things may be different now.

I haven’t seen anyone who would build a cage for under $3000. I also have a hard time viewing a 175k mile 30-year-old car as race ready. There is a large investment in time and money to even get to the track and around here…within a 4-hour drive…there may be only 5 or 6 events per year. The prep in the engine, trans, diff, etc. is critical in getting the return on that investment. Saving a few dollars in prep can ruin a race weekend costing $500+ (entrance fee, hotels, transportation, etc.) and irreplaceable time.

My interest in SE30 isn’t about the cars, it is about the competition. And that I don’t fit into a Spec Racer Ford or Spec Miata. The apparently frequent post race DQs are a problem. It looks like they are a bit arbitrary.

My oval track stock car has all those good bits: AP brakes, dry sump, quick change rear, button flywheel with 5.5" multi-plate clutch, Tilton racing pedals and master cylinders, cross over headers, multi-adjustable coil-over racing shocks, tube frame chassis.

By comparison, a Spec E30 is not as sexy. A complete frame/cage, end to end, for the stock car is $3500. Add an installed sheet metal interior and fuel cell mounts it is still less than $5000. And it is easily repaired after a crash, rarely needing a new chassis. However, all the tracks are gone. :frowning:

The real question is: what is the state of Spec E30. I first saw a video of a Spec E30 race when Sandro Espinosa ran from 39th to 3rd. But no used car market and a comatose (but slightly reviving :slight_smile: ) forum are not good signs.


There’s always cars for sale. Like I said, talk to the guys on fb.

Re. in your experience drivers hang out with their crews and not each other. I have attempted to describe our culture. But it’s not a description of “racing today” it’s a description of “SpecE30 today”. What you describe syncs with what I see when I go to SCCA events.

Re. cage prices and race ready. What you see as unlikely, I see every month, 11-13 events/yr, year after year.

Frequent DQs? You mean in SpecE30? Explain pls.

Re. SpecE30 vs. stock car. It’s not about the car. It’s about the guys you’re racing with (and gals). We don’t race cars, we race our buddies. Folks that can’t understand that don’t last in SpecE30.

There is no question about the state of SpecE30. SE region is the biggest and we continue to grow. AFAIK, MidAtl, your region, is every bit as healthy. We are the 3rd largest race class in the nation and we have a blast. Folks have been saying for years how the class is doomed because no one can find donors. Yet, at SE events each year our attendance #'s are higher then the year prior. I can’t give hard #'s for MidAtl events, ask Andrew for that.

You mentioned your concerns re. the few posts at this forum. I said everyone went to fb. It’s not reasonable to then point to this forum and say “gee, it’s sad how it’s comatose”. Besides, each region has their own culture. It’s the SE guys that post the most, fb I mean. Only a few from other regions post. NorCal almost never posts. That’s not a criticism mind you, it’s just differences in culture.

The reason that it’s mostly me here is that as the forum mod I get an email re. every post. Usually it’s an issue I can help someone with and with the email staring me in the face, I feel obligated to hit the link and go help the guy.


Interesting. This 10-day old thread has 640+ views. An indication that there is quite a bit of interest.

The question would be: is there a clear path to turn viewers to drivers.


The forum software is pretty old and doesn’t have the ability to distinguish between genuine views by a human, and webcrawlers. All the threads with a super high view count are high because of webcrawlers, not viewers. If you go to the forum Index, at bottom right you’ll see “More Statistics”, hit that and you’ll see the top threads as a function of views.

The fb page really did put a whoopin’ on this site, which isn’t all bad. The fb page is a good fit for us in the sense that most of us are a pretty social group so the fb page is a lot like hanging out together. The downside, of course, is that the fb page is a lousy place for content of permanent value. I try to steer those kinds of threads to here, but I’m not very successful. With everyone getting fb updates on their phones, the natural inclination is to use phones to respond on fb.

That said, there’s tons of great technical content here, just not a lot of new technical content.


[quote=“Ranger” post=83201]

The fb page really did put a whoopin’ on this site, which isn’t all bad. The fb page is a good fit for us in the sense that most of us are a pretty social group so the fb page is a lot like hanging out together. The downside, of course, is that the fb page is a lousy place for content of permanent value. I try to steer those kinds of threads to here, but I’m not very successful. With everyone getting fb updates on their phones, the natural inclination is to use phones to respond on fb.

That said, there’s tons of great technical content here, just not a lot of new technical content.[/quote]

Totally agree with this. As an old guy myself, FB is an anathema to me from the perspective of trying to climb the learning curve with SpecE30. Historically, I am someone who dives into things with both feet, and is borderline obsessive about the new “thing” until I feel saturated and can back off. For example, I knew Barber Motorsports Park by heart, and could do a lap with my eyes closed, though I had never driven ANY car around ANY track before I got there for my first event. The same goes for NOLA, where I have now driven once for three sessions, and Road Atlanta, where I still haven’t had the chance to drive. In those instances, the track websites have layouts, and YouTube is my friend.

As far as DavidNJ is concerned, you really should talk to Joel Barber, in my opinion. He’s building my car now, but I chose him after going through some pains with others. Learn from my mistakes. As far as cages, he builds a basic cage for $2750, and you can frill it out if you want, but even with a few things I wanted, and triple NASCAR bars on both driver’s and passenger’s doors, I don’t think mine exceeded $3500 all in. Joel will even tell you that really the $2750 cage is all we need. To paraphrase a previous discussion, we don’t need a cage that will allow the SpecE30 to survive if “dropped from space”. Again, if you want a no-excuses car that will allow you to be competitive on track if your skills are up to the task, he’s got a race-winning car in his shop now, with one weekend on it. I don’t know that he’ll sell it, but it can’t hurt to ask.

I live in the Mid-South region, but some of the guys in the SE have befriended me, and even in my very first event as a lowly HPDE-1 rookie driver, invited me to go to dinner with them on Friday evening, though they did ditch me before they left :ohmy:, so…

David, I see that you’re serious about being competitive, which is great, but that doesn’t have to come at the exclusion of fraternity. You can whip a guy on track and still drink a beer with him at dinner that night. Don’t confuse sincere comraderie with a lack of competitive fire. Don’t ever think, for example, that guys like Sandro, and Brian Edmonds, and Rob Eskew and the Whitingers are going to pull over and let you by. That would be your miscalculation. Brian might shut the door hard on you on the track, but then happily feed you all the free cheese dip you’d ever want afterwards!


If you are still looking for a nice Spec E30 I have one for sale, it as finished in the top three places in the last two time it was out car is very clean NO Rust. You can call 404 4450 9018