make sure she is 100% vested in a 4th gen, they are a BEAR to work on, but there are a bunch of things you can do, some expensive, some cheap to make your life easier.
They are great cars with very capable suspension, but weight is a huge enemy of them. How fast do you want to go? Are we looking at a small tire bracket car? Heads up car? something in between?
1. Look at the HVAC delete stuff, pulling the heater box/core and all the venting behind the dash out clears out weight, but more importantly a BUNCH of room on the firewall, most of the time you can even get the #8 plug from the engine bay instead of having to go from underneath
2. you can cut back and/or eliminate the cowl in these cars, I'll show you some pics of what we did to mine over the years as I needed more and more room, ending up with the midwest chassis cowl delete
step 1 where I was able to retain the wipers
step 2 was the cowl cut back to the windshield, no wipers and no hvac equipment
step 3 was getting rid of the cowl and also the stock size windshield to do the midwest chassis cowl delete kit. its a decent amount of work, but the room you get is amazing. You can get a glass windshield cut to fit or use lexan, I use lexan for weight savings
3. get rid of the brake booster and look at the manual brake conversions. BMR makes one, burkhardt makes one and I think midwest chassis does also, you can see in the newest pic how much room you get, getting rid of all that junk.
from there, its race brakes, lexan, fiberglass hood, cutting all the interior brackets out that aren't needed, door bars, misc free weight reduction etc
I went with a 9" in my car and would do it 100 times again, the ease of chnaging center sections, finding parts etc is a piece of cake.
I also agree with whomever said to look for a project, I started with a stock car and even thinking about how much I have into it at this point makes my stomach grumble.
THis is a good group here, don't be afraid to ask questions