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Ok. So, I havent posted much in quite some time due to life being crazy busy in the past couple of years. Anyway here is what I have...I am looking for input/opinions of what I should do.
As you can see by my signature, I am the proud owner of an 86 vert. She was originally going to be a "cruiser/show-goer" but as mentioned above she has been stabled for the last couple of years due to a lack of time. Ofcourse, I went thru the "to sell or not to sell" phase but my wife abruptly ended that discussion with a resounding NO! So, as I am the only person in my house that can drive a manual transmission and my wife has expressed interest in now doing some car related functions with me, I decided to buy her a car that she could drive and we could just caravan to shows or events. Well now that we have more time in our lives and after a couple of these "caravans" she has decided that she would really enjoy just riding with me. So now here is my dilemma.
I am considering converting the car from T5 to AOD. While this is going on, I also thought I would freshen up the motor (I'm not looking for drag strip HP or anything), swap out the drive shaft and ring and pinion gears (which I have not been happy with since I installed them a couple years back). I also would like to tighten up the suspension and possibly lower the stance a bit. After these are done I will turn my attention to re-doing my interior (complete with a swap from factory gray to all black), replacing the P/W motors(all 4) and new weatherseal all around.
Here is where I need the input of the board:
Do I buy a donor car (hopefully low miles, possibly even wrecked) and canibilize the drive line?
What ring/pinion ratio should I look for?
Is this a project that can be done by a relative novice or best left to the pro's?
While the driveline is out, is this the time to do other "upgrades"? If so, what specifically?

Note: my budget for the first phase (driveline) is $3500.

So, any suggestions, advice or just answers to my questions are greatly appreciated.
 

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Sounds like quite a project, as far as how to go about it I would break it down in small phases(say do the trans swap first, then do rear gears and drive shaft, then look to the motor, then suspension, etc etc). I say that cause with it being a cruiser your gonna want to enjoy it. Its real easy to lose interest when you have a car completely tore down to nothing with no end in sight(I've been there). I've learned it makes it a lot easier to work one when I do one or two small things then drive it for awhile to see the improvements. I look at it as what good is a toy if all you can do is work on it and not take it out and enjoy it. If you can find a donor car with a good aod and the complete interior you want and its not too expensive then that's a good route to go. As far as gears with an aod I would do 3.73 or 4.10. If I was gonna be on the highway a lot and performance wasn't a major factor then the 3.73 would be best. If performance was more important and it wasn't gonna see much highway then 4.10 would be the way to go.
 

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Ironically, I just started a full restomod on my '86 GT. I'm installing full UPR Products suspension to tighten up the ride and improve traction. Also, I bought the full drivetrain out of my friend's 91 coupe which he recently pulled apart. The engine is fresher and has better heads from the factory than the 86s had. Plus, it's a mass air setup.
 
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