Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Want a Truly Unique Vehicle to Run the 24 hours of Lemons?

After last weekend in which I ran the 24 Hours of Lemons at Stafford Springs, and hearing all the kibitzing about the fact that there are no really unique vehicles available to convert into an IOE contender (and maintain a reasonable build budget) I decided to do a little Craigslist scouting on a Sunday Morning. I confined my searches to Vermont and New Hampshire because they have inspection laws on the books that virtually sideline a reasonably running car for rust and other issues, perfect for LeMons. Read more after the jump…

Our first contender is a 1971 Ford Maverick. Yes, a running Maverick for less than $500. According to the ad:

Automatic, 6 Cyl – Runs.
For Parts or Restoration.
Comes With a Set of Grabber Bucket Seats and Other Maverick Parts.
Even Has a Good Gas Tank.
Delivery Available.

Go here for the listing.

How about a full size 1969 Chevrolet, equipped with a Six Cylinder, and a 4 Speed Manual? Yes the ad states that they want $1,000, but with shrewd negotiations, and a falsified valid bill-o-sale, here is a shoe in for an IOE. According to the listing:

69 bel air 4 door thats savable but i dont have the resources to fix up right now, pretty bare car with a 250 straight 6, manual steering, and manual brakes. i did have the engine running and it sounded good with no noises or smoke, manifolds are off as i was going to put tbi fuel injection on it. originally a 3 on the tree but now has a 65 muncie M21 4 speed in it. floors, trunk, and doors have no rot. around the rear window, base of the windshield, bottom of the front fenders, and bottom of one rear quarter there is some rot. good body guy could have this stuff done in no time but i’m no body guy and have no welder or compressor so thats the main reason for selling. front seat has one rip in it but other than that its ok, rear seat was pretty beat so theres a cadillac leather seat back there just to make it usable, i do still have the factory seat. has no brakes at the moment, front wheel cylinders are blown out, will come with 2 new ones. master cylinder was done last year as was a fuel pump and sending unit in the tank. tires hold air but are bias plys from the early 90’s so theyre all dry rotted. does need a drivers window, pretty sure i know where one is in a junkyard. to me the car is savable and would be excellent to make into a cop car but if you’re looking for parts let me know and if it doesnt sell whole i’ll do the part out thing. if its parted out the muncie won’t be available. most parts from this will fit biscayne, caprice, and impala.

Go here for the listing.

So you want to contend for the front of the pack, not for the IOE huh? Well, here is a Sweet T-Bird that just might do the trick. It is a 1990 Supercharged S/C, for only $900. Oh sure, it might just blow-up on the track, but then again, maybe it will outrun all those little Hondas and Alfa Romeos on it way to an outright win. According to the very brief listing:


Go here for the listing.

While that 1969 Chevy is cool, it only had a six. Here is a full sized Chevy, 7 years newer, that sports a 350 cid V-8! Another Instant IOE, or at least the least horrible Yank Tank Award. The listing reads:

1976 chevy impala, runs and drives great, needs easy body work and brake lines, 64k miles 350 2bbl would be an awesome car with a little work. have original paperwork including window sticker build sheet and maintenance records. lost interest in project. price is negotiable. car will need brake lines fixed to be driveable, or i may be able to fix if the deal is right, looking to trade for motorcycle, small SUV or subaru (needs work ok), small camper or pop-up in good condition, plasma cutter or welder, or try me. serious offers only, please dont waste my time.

See the rest of the listing here.

If you thought the Diesel Powered T-Bird at Stafford was glorious, then feast your eyes on this 1964 Bird. The engine has been rebuilt, and it is in running condition. Sell off the interior, Wheelcovers, Radio, Window Regulators, and you will be well within LeMons Budgetary limitations. According to the ad:

im selling a 1964 thunderbird that is complete minus taillghts, car is very solid n runs n yard drives the engine was completely rebuilt by woodstock motors, bored 30 over. all new internals. the price is 1200 or best offer n cash is king as always! just started car and let it run for about a half hour and drove it around the yard. brakes are a little weak, probably needs bleeding. runs awesome. thanks for your interest

Read the entire listing here.
See? There are interesting LeMons quality IOE (and outright) winners available, and there are a lot more available here in New England. So what was your favorite?

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  1. Hopman Avatar

    Couldn't find a Corvair that would fit the bill?
    Frankly, I'd love to take a Germlin or Pacer to LeMons. That's win the IOE in nothing flat!

    1. Plecostomus Avatar

      No, the Thunderbird Super Coupe even finishing a few laps in race conditions is an IOE winner.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    The T-bird S/C is a 35th anniversary edition. The guy selling it doesn't know the difference between cloth and suede. You might be able to sell off a bunch of the special interior bits and trim and the special black wheels. Just make sure the brakes are in good working order. A rebuilt ABS master cylinder assembly runs about $300 or ebay or $1000+ anywhere else.

    1. Plecostomus Avatar

      The T-Bird SC is a fast car, but the idea of running one at LeMons is a nightmare waiting to happen. The cars are fucking impossible to work on, and blow their hardgaskets when you look at them wrong. The special black wheels are not worth much.
      As to the abs master cylinder issue, yeah, the TEVES II system in it – but guess what? You can fit other master cylinders – IIRC the specific combo is a panther-chassis manual brake master or something – you can get the full details on sccoa.com or tccoa.com Also, Cobra brakes can be fitted, as can the two-piston "PBR" calipers from 99-04 Mustang V6 models.

  3. scroggzilla Avatar

    There is a Merkur Scorpio, sitting abandoned in a field, that I pass everyday on the way to the office. Everytime I spy it, Lemons pops into my head…..I've even come up with the team name (either Zodiac Killer Racing or Team Merkur-ee Poisoning). Alas, I have neither the means or the team for such an endeavor. Such a sad state of affairs.

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    Other than the old T-bird, I don't think any of them are really IOE worthy.
    On a related note, a friend of mine who built an 80s Camaro and has twice run LeMons (with the car breaking both times) said he might jump ship to Chump Car, because in his words, "I don't have a car that looks like a wienermobile or a Wartburg or some shit, and I don't really want to do all that… I just want to take a POS car and go racing. With the kind of stuff that's showing up at lemons lately, I dunno how easy it's going to be to get accepted."
    That's a valid point, at least here in CA.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Given that LeMons was started by a crew that already did a ton of "real" racing, they wanted a venue just to screw around. Fortunately or unfortunately, in creating a "joke" league, they also created the cheapest wheel-to-wheel racing around, which attracted plenty of people for whom this is their only chance to do such a thing.
      There's definitely a contingent out there who just wants to race cheap cars and not screw around at all. Chumpcar is definitely the better venue for that crowd.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Yup, I agree. Personally I like the carnival atmosphere. While I like watching cars race, it's nice to not have to do that ALL the time, and all of the other theatrics that LeMons brings is a sight to behold. This also makes it more palatable to wives/girlfriends/family to come watch as well.

        1. Tim Odell Avatar
          Tim Odell

          I just prefer to do my crappy race driving with my crappy car in an environment that's obviously, actively not taking itself seriously.
          Speaking of which, I need to get back out and finish up on Der Uberbrid, so I can get on to making a stencil for shirts.

  5. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I'm going to have to go with the MN12-bird.
    I love these things. As a twelve-year-old I had my first trip to the US. Florida, of course, Orlando, obviously. We had a Chevrolet Lumina as a hirecar, and I thought THAT was exotic (all 3.1 litres and 135hp of it). My Dad patiently humoured me by pulling into a Ford-Merc-Linc dealership somewhere in Backroads FLA. and let me go walkabout. Inside lurked an unplated, brand new S/C, white on black leather. Never in all my twelve years had I seen something that sleek with a Ford oval stamped onto it. I emerged from the building proudly clutching a Thunderbird brochure (and others), it has been well thumbed since that day.
    Now a bit older, possibly slightly wiser, I know that this generation bird was a fairly unremarkable machine but I still love them. I love the E24 BMWesque silhouette. I love that they came with a V8 OR a supercharged V6. I loved the Thunderbird decals embossed into the panels, and I love that, in the US at least, Ford was still doing something with its heritage. In the UK in the early 90's, they sure weren't.
    I'll take the 90 S/C please, i'll see you in the pits 5 laps in.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I actually had a 92 T-Bird S/C 5-speed. I got it in 1997 as my first "nice" car out of college. The specs are actually impressive: RWD, 4 wheel disc, ABS, IRS, and 310ft. lbs. torque. It was a fun fast car and mine was actually trouble free while I owned it. My roommate had an MN-12 XR-7 with the 5.0L. After I got my S/C he ended up with an S/C. I ended up selling mine to another friend that had told me "If you ever want to sell this car, let me know". I'm still good friends with the roommate, he still has his 91 S/C, I was recently helping him repair the ABS system, that's how I know how expensive they are.
      The MN-12s weren't designed for a V-8 to start with (I might be wrong on this). The 5.0L had to get the intake and exhaust manifolds all squished up to fit under the hood. The top engine was always the 3.8 S/C.

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Yeah, even today the specs look good. Top of the'93 Ford lineup over here was the Granada Scorpio (nee Merkur). You can imagine the impact it had on me as an impressionable kiddie…

  6. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    Definitely the '76 Chevy because otherwise that poor beast is headed for the demo derby, and LeMons is a much better fate.

  7. discontinuuity Avatar

    The Ford Maverick, with a Palin/Beck 2012 theme. That ought to scare the competition!

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      That ought to scare everyone.

  8. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    The problem with posts like this is that these would also all be feasible project cars within an afternoon's comfortable drive, if I had a grand or more to spend. Sigh…