Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Surprisingly Competitive Gymkhana Contender?

Have you ever raced… in a parking lot? When cruising through a suburban enclave do you ponder why it’s not defined by orange cones? If you answered yes to either of these questions, boy are you susceptible to suggestion. Not only that, but you might just be an Autocrosser.
Autocross, or Gymkhana to the more syllabically dexterous, is a type of racing series that applauds those who run what they brung. That usually is something that’s been at least marginally adapted for going around a confined course with the minimalist expenditure of time, but sometimes it’s just start it up and let it fly.
Whatever the intent, what we’re interested in today is what contenders might be the most surprisingly successful. What do you think, what do you think would be the most unexpected Gymkhana contender?
Image: VW Vortex Forums

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

21 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Surprisingly Competitive Gymkhana Contender?”

  1. Kiefmo Avatar

    I last autocrossed back in college with the Middle GA SCCA chapter. There were two unassuming vehicles that surprised ignorant me with how well they ran the conedoge. The first was a very prepped (not sure of the class, but it was stripped, caged, with both suspension and engine work) Pinto run by the club president, which was an almighty terror when it was running right. The second was a final-generation Celica GT (not GT-S) that was prepped to the maximum allowed changes for G stock class. On that tight course, it obliterated every time by 5 or more seconds, including a couple of Vipers and Z06es that had come down from Atlanta to play. Hell, I nearly matched the times of those powerful cars in my Saturn because they couldn’t manage the tight course.

    1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      A Pinto is actually logical since they were very successful road racers. Plus a racing fuel cell solved the firebomb issue.
      The one that sticks out to me was a Yugo, there was actually an article in Grassroots Motorsport back in the early 90s about autocrossing a Yugo.

      1. Guest Avatar

        Pinto also makes sense, due to that the “Mustang II” front suspension used in most hot rods was first used in the Pinto.

        1. Vairship Avatar

          Depending on the driver’s weight, this thing might achieve that elusive 50/50 weight balance…

      2. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Pretty much a Fiat 128 underneath, so not so surprising?

        1. WinstonSmith84 Avatar

          Wasn’t the Yugo actually a FIAT 127 underneath? There was a Zastava version of the 128, but it was called the Skala while the Yugo was called the Koral in its home market.

          1. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            I should read what I post. You’re quite correct. Though of course there was a lot of commonality between the two.
            The 127 (redesigned into the Fiat 144, then taken up by Zastava.)
            The 128

  2. engineerd Avatar

    I’d like to see this amongst the sea of Miatas at the local autocross.
    Fiat X1/9

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I like seeing one of those…anywhere.

    2. JayP Avatar

      One of the instructors I work with has a stock x19. When he’s out of funds to prepare his 911 racer, he tracks the X19.

      1. engineerd Avatar


  3. JayP Avatar

    In the day (1990), a guy would come to our region in a brown Civic. Steam roller tires, bare interior.
    He’d clean up FTD almost every event.

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Isuzu Stylus. Get some of those Lotus-tuned Impulse suspension bits under there, then mix-and-match some 1.8L EFI and 1.6L Turbo parts under the hood…

  5. JayP Avatar

    Another guy who’d come in and clean up in a stock class E30… FTD overall too.
    Eric Strelnieks… not his car but pretty close.

  6. P161911 Avatar

    I also remember in the mid 1990s a guy having sponsorship to run a Pontiac Sunbird. This was Atlanta Region SCCA, he was FAST.

  7. crank_case Avatar

    Irelands nearest dicipline to autocross is autotesting, it’s broadly similar in that you have to get around a tight course in the shortest time, but there’s more course memorisation and reversing into boxes and spinning round pylons involved and the car of choice for many is the 70 series Starlet (boxy 80s model) and the rounder 80 series as those get harder to find. Agile in the tight stuff, but gearboxes are tough as old boots which is needed with the constant switch from reverse, 1st, 2nd and the strains involved with so many tight direction changes. http://wexfordmotorclub.ie/dot-com-site/08news/4L1B5216.JPG

    1. crank_case Avatar

      ..of course, at higher levels, modified minis and 7 specials are where its at. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghx0zXIAGUY

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    Two FLHTs tied together at the tail. I was surprised enough just seeing them compete singly.

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      I’m no fan of HDs in general, but they’re some of the best tools out there for that kind of riding. And that’s not to take away from the very serious riding chops those guys have.
      Low COG & trailbraking FTW, accompanied by many, many hours in the saddle.

  9. Batshitbox Avatar

    Also, 2 bulls in a china shop.