Ah ok, are you trying to race it or just keep it as a fun weekend cruiser?
What's your budget?
What tools do you have?
What other specialty tasks can you perform (welding, painting, fiberglass, ECU tuning, etc)
In this day and age, just having a car nicely painted one color with the original stuff working seems to be a feat for most people.
I would start with finding a running example, fixing the convertible top (a lot of people complain about it), and just keep the engine maintained. Convertibles came auto so finding stuff for a manual swap is costing more and more nowadays. It used to be able to be done for under $500 if you just bought parts and did it yourself. It's 2-3x as much now.
There were some nice builds but photobucket ruined a lot of them. I'd advise you not to go crazy regarding fiberglass overfenders and body kits. The factory body lines look pretty good.
If I were to build a vert for cruising, I would probably just keep it an auto Ka24de, get it painted, refresh the suspension bits, and slap some nice wheels on it. If you're feeling courageous, then do the Silvia front end on it. Get the triple projector headlights and a nice HID kit.
On the internet, everything is "played out", but I very rarely even see S chassis on the road. I see two things. I see the stock looking cars that the owners just trying to keep alive and then I see the balls to the wall StanceNation builds.
It will be just a weekend toy initially. My uncle and I are working on some projects so it will be a slow project. Nothing crazy but sounds like racing is a great idea. My uncle mostly do the wrenching and I do the research part but I can weld and detail. He got most tools on his shop.
If you plan on doing any racing then buy a coupe or hatchback. Try to go for a non sunroof model AKA Hardtop or Slicktop. You will need so much bracing to keep a convertible from flexing that it's not worth it. Yeah you can put a roll cage in it but you are taking on work that doesn't need to be done.
The factory 5 speed will perform for track racing, but drifting will kill just about any transmission. It is the repeated shock that kills transmissions, no matter whatever stage 6 transmission build you get. I would just refresh that factory Ka24de or Ka24e if you get an 89 or 90. Get some seat time and prepare the chassis for racing. When you finally get to a point to needing more power, getting that KA turboed is pretty straightforward. Buy all the obvious turbo parts, weld a few things (oil return for turbo, some adapters for water lines), and buy a mail order tune from RS Enthalpy and you'll be set.
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