In recent history, a new form of motor sports has taken the world by storm. Beforehand, most people were only concerned with circuit racing and off road variants. Now, though, "drifting" has become a prominent part of both the car community and racing community as a whole.
Unlike most other types of racing series (like Formula, GT, Time-trial, etc.), drifting doesn't have to cost a fortune to participate in. Luckily for us, there are several low-cost and effective drift cars out there for amateurs and professionals alike. To showcase some of these superb options, here are ten drift cars that won't break the bank...
10 Toyota AE86
Drifting got its start in the tough roads of Japan by enthusiasts who loved to power-slide their J.D.M. cars. Having said that, it's only natural that one of the most beloved drift cars comes from Japan: The Toyota AE86.
The AE86 got its fame from several places, especially the popular anime, Initial D, in which the protagonist drove/raced a panda-colored Toyota Corolla AE86. Because of its appearance on the silver screen and an effective build, the AE86 quickly became a favorite in drifting circles. For price, they usually float around $4,000 to $10,000 depending on quality.
9 Ford Mustang
If you've ever been to a drifting event or Formula D competition, you'll probably notice the high number of foreign cars, particularly from Japan. The reason behind this is their low-cost and excellent mod potential, but that's not exclusive to J.D.M. toys.
In reality, America makes some great drift cars. One that comes to mind initially is the mass-produced Ford Mustang (Any year will do, but the cheapest are the Foxbodys for ~$5,000). Their rear-wheel drive setup, high power engines, and aggressive disposition make the Mustang a great car for sliding around corners. Be careful, though, because these Mustangs may bite back if you're not careful (As evidenced by all the accidents at car shows).
8 Toyota JZX-90
For those who are not intimately familiar with J.D.M. vehicles and cars like it, you may have never heard of the JZX-90. This is, most likely, because of the JZX-90's illegality in the states. That is, until now.
Recently, the JZX-90 has become legal to import, causing fans to rush to the ports awaiting their Japanese beast. Powered by the iconic 1JZ-GTE, the JZX-90 (Also known as the Mark II) is a well-built and plenty quick enough sports car that can still fit a family of five. And, due to the sedan setup, is still cheap at about $6,000 or so (Not counting import costs). If you've never heard a JZX-90 at full blast before, then you'll certainly enjoy the note it makes!
7 Chevrolet S10
Contrary to popular opinion, trucks can be outstanding drift vehicles too. Some good examples of this, of course, can be found in Nissan and other Japanese brands, but not just those. Like with the Ford Mustang, American manufacturers have another low-budget drifter in the Chevy S10.
For less than $8,000, the Chevrolet S10 is powerhouse: Sporting a 4.3-liter, 262-block, V8 engine (for particular models) that have shown to be an excellent source of power. The S10 is also excellent for upgrades (thanks to a large engine bay) and provides plenty of opportunities to remove unneeded weight.
6 Mazda RX-7 (FC3S)
Unfortunately for the common man, the idea of getting a pristine Mazda RX-7 FD3S is too extreme. This is due to the late-model RX-7 costing a fortune to own (Let alone maintain). Don't be too upset, though, because you can always get the older version: The FC3S.
The FC3S is still a RX-7, even though its not the newest, most well-known, version. They are still powered by rotary engines, well manufactured, and aesthetically pleasing. As such, the RX-7 FC3S is a commonly used drift car. However, if you're considering getting an RX-7, always be weary of maintenance, as it'll likely be the biggest source of trouble for any owner. As such, you'll find several on Craigslist for no more than $7,000.
5 Nissan 240SX
Few things in life are guaranteed: Death, taxes, and Nissan 240SX's being used in drifting events. Along with that constant, you can almost certainly guarantee that owners will ask for way more than they're actually worth (around $5,000).
If you can find one at a reasonable price that hasn't been driven into the ground, you'll have yourself (arguably) the best drifting platform out there. Since the 240SX has such a large engine bay, accessibility with nearly any engine/setup, and is so easy to modify, the 240SX is easily the most popular and beloved drift car in history.
4 Nissan 350Z
Once again, Nissan has struck gold with their sports cars. Before, it was the 180/200/240SX series, now the newer Z-series vehicles like the sporty Nissan 350Z.
Out of all the other vehicles this list, the 350Z is perhaps the best drift car stock. Due to the 350Z's weight-ratios and surprisingly powerful V6, the 350Z is extremely easy to throw around. Of course, modifications always help, but you'll realize that you don't necessarily need it in this case.
Without mods or changes, you can find one for about $6,000 or so depending on mileage and history.
3 Volvo 240
Upon first glance, the Volvo 240 looks like a boring, boxy, daily driver from Sweden. In reality, however, the Volvo 240 is basically a tank on wheels with some serious drifting potential.
Volvo really did make an absolute monster with their 240. Not just in terms of upgrade potential, but extreme reliability and affordability (~$3,000, nowadays). You'd have to work very hard to destroy a 240, especially the diesel alternatives. And, since they're RWD with a front-end larger than most Italian cars, drifters have used the 240 for everything between Formula D and sliding on snowy roads.
2 BMW E36
Finally, we have a BMW on the list. "But hang on," you may be saying, "BMW's aren't budget-friendly!" In most cases, that'd be correct. For the BMW E36, though, that isn't always true.
The BMW E36 was BMW's designation for their mid-to-late-'90s 3-series models. The best for drifting are the 325 and 328 models, but others will do fine as well. Because of the 50/50 weight distribution, German engineering, and powerful inline-six engine (Unless you have the 318/320), the E36 is a natural race car.
What's really great about the E36, though, is how versatile it is. One day it could be for circuit racing, while another could be for a drift meet. Get them while they're cheap though, as most go for around $5,000 for now.
1 Mazda Miata
Obviously, if you're going to be discussing budget friendly race cars, whether it be for drifting or any other type of competition, you cannot neglect to mention the Mazda Miata; a favorite among all walks of the car community.
Whatever is needed or intended, the Miata will surely satisfy the requirements. Because the Miata is so lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and extremely cost efficient, many motor sports rookies have flocked to Mazda's compact sports car. Even the newest version is affordable (less than $4,000 for an old NA and less than $20,000 for a new ND).