Home » Track, Daily, Burn: 1984 Chevy Caprice vs 2001 Ford Mustang vs 2010 Nissan Cube

Track, Daily, Burn: 1984 Chevy Caprice vs 2001 Ford Mustang vs 2010 Nissan Cube

Sbsd 6 2 2023
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Happy Friday, Autopians! I’m writing this on Thursday evening, and I’ve got to make it quick: my wife and I are going to a concert tonight. We’re going to see a band from the ’80s named after a sci-fi villain from the ’60s (ten points* to you if you know who I mean). This means I don’t have time to pick cars, but since it was a short week, our three previous winners set us up perfectly for a round of track-daily-burn.

But first, we need to know our third winner:

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Well, look at that! I guess it really is hip to be square. The Cube takes a comfortable win. But again, I don’t think either one is a terrible choice. And thanks to a couple of commenters for the education on Fiat’s “Multi-Air” intake; that’s a rabbit hole I’ll dive down when I have more time.

Now then: Here are the rules. You must choose one car as your daily driver, your primary mode of transportation. You must choose another to set up for the motorsport activity of your choice, be that track days, dragstrip racing, time-speed-distance rallies, autocross, whatever. And whatever car you don’t select for those two roles must be destroyed by fire. Let’s take a second look at our week’s winners to help you decide:

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1984 Chevrolet Caprice Estate

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This family cruiser for days of yore was our winner on Monday. It features a weak-sauce 305 cubic inch version of Chevy’s small-block V8, and an overdrive automatic with the shifter on the column, where the car gods intended. Several commenters mentioned swapping the 305 for something healthier the first time around, and I can’t help thinking that this would make a great sleeper at the dragstrip: imagine the shock on some kid’s face when he gets his doors blown off by Clark W Griswold.

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Then again, it’s currently a daily driver, and that big bench seat does look mighty comfy. You could do a lot worse for commuting. It’s the oldest and the slowest of the three, and arguably gets the worst mileage (if you could keep your foot out of the Mustang, that is), but probably the quietest and smoothest ride as well. But if none of that appeals to you, velour is probably mighty flammable…

2001 Ford Mustang GT

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“Rode hard and put away wet” is probably the kindest description of this thoroughly hammered Mustang GT. It’s got almsot 200,000 miles on it, some questionable modifications, and mismatched body panels that hint at a history of poor driving choices. But it’s a V8 and a manual, and it does run and drive. So there’s that. It’s quick-ish already, and the aftermarket stands ready and able to make it even quicker and handle even better.

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You could daily-drive a Mustang; lots of people do. But commuting in this one would mean sitting down in that trashed leather seat every day, grabbing that grubby steering wheel, dealing with that stupid aftermarket pistol-grip shifter. But hey, kudos to you if you want to try. Or torch it. It’s not like it’s got a lot of life left in it anyway.

2010 Nissan Cube

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Yesterday’s winner seems like the most sensible choice for a daily driver. Small, maneuverable, easy on gas, and probably pretty cheap to insure. But small and maneuverable when combined with a stickshift could also make it fun on a racetrack or an autocross course. And I imagine you’d be something of a hero if you showed up to a track day with a race-prepped Nissan Cube. There can’t be many around.

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But I also know a lot of you are no fans of Nissan, nor do you particularly like the Cube’s oddball styling. So I guess I couldn’t blame you for letting it burn. But before you do, consider how few cars there are in the world with six-speed manuals, and how many fewer are available with one than when this one was built. Can we really afford to lose one?

All right. You have your assignment, and you have your three contenders. No poll today, because it would have like nine entries, and nobody wants to deal with that. Just discuss, trash-talk, debate, and plead your case in the comments. Have a great weekend!

*Points are not redeemable for anything and have a cash value of zero. Offer void where permitted. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No purchase necessary. See complete rules for details.

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Masterbuilder
Masterbuilder
1 year ago

Track: Mustang. Daily: Caprice. Crush: Cube.

The only rational answer..

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

I would daily drive The Caprice Wagon. An excellent comfy cruiser.
The Mustang goes to 24 Hours of Lemons. Blow out in a blaze of glory.
Burn that horrible Cube. Very few cars make me want to commit an act of violence. Its mother smoked, drank, and took drugs while pregnant. I sincerely apologize to all Cube lovers. I loathe it so.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
1 year ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

Hell yeah

10001010
10001010
1 year ago

We should do Track/Daily/Burn with the week’s winners every Friday!!!

Put me down for one more vote of:
Track the Caprice, or possibly take it to Moab, I’m down with either.
Daily the Cube, I could probably fit a few bags of mulch in the back of that box.
Torch the Mustang, it’s halfway there already anyways.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 year ago
Reply to  10001010

I was about to say this is the right but unpopular choice, but it looks like I’m less alone than I thought I would be.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

You should go back to TDB, but make it TDDB. “Track, daily, donate, burn”. Or add a different fourth option; maybe “track, daily, part out, burn”.

I’ve always enjoyed the TDB piece because it ends the week on a sort of championship showdown, and it gives more insight into why the winner of each day was chosen by the daily voters. If you miss a daily, you catch up on Friday.

A “Sophie’s Choice” dilemma makes for much better weekend reading and commenting than an extended “one or the other” article.

At least now I know why my favorite version of Shitbox Showdown is so rarely posted. I hadn’t realized it was only for short weeks.

Last edited 1 year ago by PaysOutAllNight
Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 year ago
Reply to  10001010

et tu Brute?

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
1 year ago

Track the Caprice. It would be most entertaining.
Daily the Cube. It would be most entertaining.
Burn the Mustang. It would be… you get the picture. The SN95 never did it for me.

And enjoy Duran Duran. Although it’s a bummer there was never a 1980’s band named Gort.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
1 year ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

Klaatu barada nikto

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 year ago

Oooof.
10 years ago I’d have dailied the cube, tracked the Mustang, and burned the chevy.

Now, knowing more about how detestable Nissans (especially their entry-level ones) can be, and with the cube being out of production for so long? I’ll probably daily the Ford, and flip a coin for tracking the caprice or cube, because driving a slow car fast can be loads of fun. The caprice has a lot of potential for track duty, but for commuting I need some reassurance of airbags and decent modern brakes.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
1 year ago

Daily: Caprice Estate
Track: Mustang
Burn: Cube

Really, you could easily daily the Cube since there is nothing wrong with it, but the big Caprice has gravitas the little Nissan can’t touch.

Last edited 1 year ago by ColoradoFX4
Temple Of Toyoda
Temple Of Toyoda
1 year ago

daily, caprice, 4X8 drywall and plywood, no more than 10-12 sheets depending on thickness, ask me how I know.

track, caprice, it’ll almost hit 90 downhill!! ask me how I know.

burn, caprice, it’ll do this itself eventually, again, ask me how I know.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago

It really is a car that does it all.
I rocked an 89 Caprice estate in highschool. It was a pretty sick ride.

Acrimonious Mofo
Acrimonious Mofo
1 year ago

This is tough because the Mustang is the obvious track car of the bunch. It’s already beat to hell so stripping it out and adding go fast bits is a no brainer, but I really just kind of hate it and want to see it burn. Whereas I kind of like the other two cars, but I wouldn’t really want to track either of them. Arrrgh! This is making me think, which is a big ask on a Friday. Damn it Tucker, it had better have been an excellent show.
Anyhow:
Daily the big dumb wagon.
Track the shitshow ‘Stang.
Burn the completely inoffensive and it really doesn’t deserve this fate Cube.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 year ago

That stick shift in the Nissan threw a wrench into my mental works. Here goes anyway:

Daily: Nissan
Track: Caprice
Burn: Mustang

That manual makes the limited number of ponies in the Nissan work better. The Caprice is an LS/6L80 swap away from being a stoplight terror. Besides, a manual in that boat is just wrong. Burn the Mustang since that interior is horrid and the rest of the car looks ready for eternal rest.

Loudog
Loudog
1 year ago

This is the correct answer.

Parsko
Parsko
1 year ago

obvious:
Daily: Caprice
Track: Mustang
Burn: Any Nissan or Stellantis vehicle

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 year ago

Daily the Caprice, track the Cube for comic value, and finish burning that skeezy Mustang. You can cover the seats but I guarantee the interior has a stench you will never be able to cover up.

Six Inna Row Makes it Go
Six Inna Row Makes it Go
1 year ago

I’m in the camp of daily the Nissan, track the Mustang, and use the Caprice as a tow pig. The Caprice would also have a role as a groovy road trip car.

Also, have fun at the Duran Duran concert tonight! (Did I get the points??)

Beater_civic
Beater_civic
1 year ago

Burn the ‘stang on principle. Lord do I dislike pistol grip shifters. And I can only imagine the stank of Mickey Dees and stale tobacco in there.

Track the wagon for laffs, and daily the one vaguely modern, functional car of the three.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
1 year ago

This is tough, as the Cube would be the best commuter. The Mustang has the best aftermarket for a track car, and I don’t want to destroy a clean Caprice wagon. So, with my automotive heart, I’ll do the following:

Daily: Caprice

It offers a somewhat fuel efficient V8, enough comfort for highway and backroad cruises, and enough storage to haul my tools, groceries, and whatever else I need. I’m sure I could throw a hitch on it and I’d have my truck, sedan, and cruiser all in one.

Track: Mustang

As much fun it as it would be to build the Caprice, you’re tearing apart a classic for track usage. SN95 Mustangs are becoming the fox body of our time. It’s already beaten and banged, so no worries about ruining good paint or interior pieces. Rip out the seats, old carpet, and throw in a cage and a racing seat and we’re halfway there. Add to the plentiful options that exist for the Mustang, we can track this bad boy with great suspension, engine, and aero mods abound. Plus, I’m a sucker for the 4.6 exhaust.

Burn: Cube

This is hard, because the Nissan Cube is a great little commuter. Nissan’s answer to Scion’s xB with slightly better looks. The CVT on these was garbage, I’ve heard the manual makes it a tolerable drive. That being said, it doesn’t offer me as much space as the Caprice, nor does it have the support of the Mustang when it comes to go-fast parts. Sure you could swap it, build frankenstein parts, and be a 1-of-1 guy at the track; but that takes time and resources to ultimately end up with a worse Fiat 500 Abarth.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago

As soon as I saw the candidates, I was ready to swoop in and basically say, ‘I don’t care which other I track or daily—I just want to see that Cube burn!’ But, honestly, the ‘13 Cube which turned me against Nissan was just fine apart from the cvt, so I’d likely daily it and track the Mustang

Cyko9
Cyko9
1 year ago

It’s set up to be Track: Mustang, Daily: Cube, Burn: Caprice, but you don’t have to be contrarian to see reason to mix it up. I’m on-board with everyone’s idea of dragging the Caprice sleeper wagon, but if it’s a swervy track, I’d rather sit in the Cube. It’d take a flamethrower to clean the Mustang, so might as well burn it. The Caprice wouldn’t be a terrible DD, but if you left the Cube stock, just use it for double-duty.

Now that Fiat 500 doesn’t look so bad, eh? That’d be great fun on a track, maybe even tuned up a little.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
1 year ago

Track – Mustang, Daily – Caprice, Burn – Cube

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 year ago

This is quite problematic. Just for the stupid giggles I’d want to set up the Cube for the track but may run afoul of the height vs. wheelbase rules in SCCA solo and the like.

I don’t think any of them deserve to burn but if one has to go it’s the Mustang. There’s plenty of them out there in better shape. I’ll figure out which of the Caprice and Cube that I’ll daily or track later.

I did see someone else suggest saving all three and using the Cube as the daily, the ‘Stang on the track and the Caprice as a tow pig. This is about as good a solution as any.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
1 year ago

Track: Mustang

Daily: Cube

Burn: None of ’em. You’ll want a tow car for the track Mustang once you gutted the interior and a big old wagon is perfect for that role, so the Caprice is spared the flame.

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
1 year ago

Since I voted for the Peugeot, this is an easy one for me…

Track: Mustang
Daily: Cube
Burn: Caprice

The Caprice doesn’t deserve to be burned and the Mustang is a real hooptie, so maybe I could be talked into swapping the Caprice and Mustang, but the Caprice would only be good for drag and I believe tracks should turn (in both directions!), so I’ll stick with my original choices.

DDayJ
DDayJ
1 year ago

The logical track choice would be the Mustang but I’m going to mix it up and say burn that sucker, engine and suspension swap the Caprice and track that, and use the Cube as a little daily with space to haul said race parts! Nobody said these choices had to be smart.

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
1 year ago

Track: Mustang
Daily: Caprice
Burn: Cube

CRX89
CRX89
1 year ago

track: Caprice
daily: Cube
burn: Mustang

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago

Track: Caprice
Daily: Caprice
Burn: Mustang…just wait for it…

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Burn: Rustang
Daily: Cube
Track: Caprice, and not the strip.

Come on people. It’s a 3rd gen Caprice. One call to Summit has you a complete QA1 suspension including adjustable control arms, links, and sway bars. 15 minutes with a plasma cutter and you have a manual. And it already has a 3.73 open diff.
Motor? GM crate 19434646; alu block and heads shaves nearly 125lbs off the front. (These have cast iron head.) Throw a T56 behind it, and have a glorious time pissing everyone off after you drop it to ~3200lbs.

Alternative:
Burn: Rustang
Daily: Caprice with a truck motor and Class IV hitch
Track: Cube

“Wait, WHAT!?” Yeah. See, this is a 3rd gen Cube. And it’s got an MR18DE. Which means it has room for an MR18DDT – same block. Know what the MR18DDT’s found in? Alpine A110, Megane IV RS280, oh, and about a million Renault Espaces. Oh, and you’d just swap harness from a later Cube for the updated ECU.
225-300HP, 6 speed manual, 2800lbs. Trust me, that’s a recipe for fun.

Last edited 1 year ago by RootWyrm
ProfessorOfUselessFacts
ProfessorOfUselessFacts
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I still like my idea of a 2100+HP caprice on the funny car drag circuit

MegaVan
MegaVan
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Driving a big boat fast has an entertainment value all on it’s own.

Even without improving it – wallow through some corners – it’s got more grip than people realize.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I’ll take those race mods on both the Caprice and the Cube, and daily drive that whale.

Then I’ll use the Caprice to tow the Cube to the track. You won’t need a truck motor to pull that little Nissan.

The Mustang gets burned. I’m sure that’ll be fun, too.

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