eBay: The marvelous 'Launcha Splatos' crapcan racer is for sale

720-Splatos_LedeIt’s not every day that I see two cars listed for sale that make your heart skip a beat, but today has been a remarkable day. Bringatrailer.com already beat me to writing up the lurid Panhard project for sale in Los Angeles and this evening I discovered that one of my absolute favorite 24 Hours of LeMons cars is up for sale.
If you’re on this site, you’re likely familiar with the rallying legend the Lancia Stratos, a screaming, mid-engined, V6-powered, 1970s wedge that looked couldn’t possibly have been more Italian. The Stratos’ V6 made about 210 horsepower, which was plenty in a car that weighed all of a ton. In fact, those numbers would be great in a series like, say, the low-buck endurance racing 24 Hours of LeMons, a great racecar builder might think. Enter Mike and Darren Besic and their crapcan Stratos replica, the Launcha Splatos.
[sc:ebay itemid=”171647855393″ linktext=”Launcha Splatos on eBay” ]

If you are a vintage Italian car guy,  you’ve probably heard the name Besic before. The suburban-Chicago-based Besic brothers built a 200-mile-per-hour Alfa Romeo Spider a decade or so ago and have built a number of stunningly beautiful vintage Alfa racecars. They’d also built a couple of Alfa Romeos for LeMons before the Splatos (a race-winning GTV6 and a near-winning Berlina with gorgeous Patina) and since it (Darren built the beautiful Opel GT Breadwagon and the custom bodywork on the We Are Not Really From Iran Ford Festiva), but they needed something a little crazier back in 2011.
So Mike Besic took the subframedriveline and all, as you do with such thingsfrom a front-wheel-drive Alfa 164 and, with a bit of massaging, fit it snugly into the back of a Fiat X1/9 chassis. To complete the Italian trifecta, the X1/9 got the classic Alitalia paint scheme and some wood window louvres to complete the effect.
As it turns out, the horsepower figure is basically identical to the original Stratos’ and the exhaust note of a the 3.0-liter Alfa V6run through a custom exhaust and Magnaflow mufflerwhile not a perfect match, is damn good enough.
This is, strangely enough, my favorite part of the car: the V6 subframe was a tight-enough squeeze that one must check the oil through a small hinged door in the firewall. Behind the firewall is a stock mill with the stock five-speed transmission, although the shift linkage is understandably custom.
Inside, the cockpit is no-nonsense with a full rollcage (that sticks through the roof to give ample clearance for tall drivers), a racing seat, a fire-suppression system, a few toggle switches, a basic racing steering wheel, and a nice tall shifter. No word on whether the oversized analog clock is included, but I suspect it’s negotiable.
Under the hood, the Besics installed a 12-gallon fuel cell (Probably good for close to two hours of racing at most tracks) and a C4 Corvette radiator. On the rears, brakes are the stock Alfa 164 setup while the fronts got Volkswagen GTI binders with Carbotech brake pads all around.
As for the car’s racing history, there’s never been any doubts about the Splatos’ pace. From the outset, the car has been a missile in a straight line, although the handling was a bit shaky for a few races and it was a complete handful on a wet racetrack. Nevertheless, the Splatos bested a tough field at Road America to win the 2012 24 Hours of LeMons race there and some hard racing with the Skid Marks Racing Dodge Neon (which also recently sold) remains one of the best pieces of LeMons video of all time.
The car, which is in suburban Chicago, has already received a lot of attention with 22 bids and an auction price as of this writing, at $1,551 without the reserve having been met. An extensive collection of spares—remember, these guys have been tinkering with Alfas for decades—is also listed as an extra cost, but if someone buys this car without also throwing down money for spares, they’re asking for trouble. The Splatos has raced in LeMons and ChumpCar World Series previously, but it would be eligible to run in other low-buck endurance series like World Racing League or American Endurance Racing if not actual vintage racing events.
So why sell such a beautiful piece of garage engineering madness? Hooniverse has it on good authority that the Besics are on their way toward another budget racecar replica for the coming crapcan season.
[All images from eBay seller gnmikhail except last image, copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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11 responses to “eBay: The marvelous 'Launcha Splatos' crapcan racer is for sale”

  1. mike Avatar

    Small correction : the road-going Stratos made 190 hp, while rally-spec ones made between 270 (12v) and 320 hp (later 24v version.)

  2. stigshift Avatar

    As much as I love my 209k '90 Miata, I will always miss X1/9…

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    As much as I would like to have a competitive and well-sorted LeMons car…
    Part of the fun is building the car. I think I'd rather build another terrible car than buy a good one.

  4. frankthecat Avatar

    Ungh, this car has always given me really bad ideas.
    When I have the money and shop space, I intend on replicating this… only I'll make it street legal from the get-go… and then daily it.

  5. AndyL Avatar

    Well done.

  6. DClan Avatar

    I wish they would have documented the building of the X-1/9 , I'd love to see how they put it all together one step at a time ( I loved my X-1/9, and the Alfa V6 is one of those motors that is as much a piece of art as it is engineering.).

  7. DClan Avatar

    Oops, I guess they did, just found "Building the "Launcha Splatos" Fiat X 1/9 with Alfa V6 (part 1)", on You Tube. I don't know how I missed it .

  8. mac350 Avatar

    I wouldn't mind driving it around the mountains where I live. In my neck of the woods this is pretty much street legal just as it is. And no annual inspection or smog test.

    1. stigshift Avatar

      I want to live where you do…

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        I don't know where mac350 lives, but I'd have no trouble registering and driving this thing here in Michigan, either.

      2. mac350 Avatar

        NW Arkansas – the Ozarks. Lots of poor but proud people and the police don't hassle locals. Just make sure all (or most) of the required lights work and you're good to go.