Friday, May 31, 2013

LeMons Colorado Inspections: AMC Onslaught, Wankel Overload, and a Checker Marathon

We just wrapped up the pre-race car inspections at the fourth annual BFE G.P. 24 Hours of LeMons, taking place at beautiful-but-halfway-to-Kansas High Plains Raceway, and we're looking at perhaps the best collection of race machines since at least the 2012 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza race. You like racin' AMCs? We've got three proud Kenosha products competing this weekend. On top of that, two twin-engined Toyotas, at least a half-dozen first-gen RX-7s, several rear-wheel-drive Corollas, a BMC ADO16, and the first-ever LeMons Checker Marathon are gearing up for tomorrow's high-elevation wheel-to-wheel action. Let's take a look!

The Blue Flag Special 1978 AMC Pacer wagon, winner of the Index of Effluency award at last year's BFE G.P, has returned to the scene of its victory, this time with a more powerful Jeep 4.0 six-cylinder engine and a lowered suspension.

The Blue Flag Special has joined forces with Speed Holes Racing and their 1966 AMC Marlin. The Marlin features Chevy 454 power, a Jaguar XJ-6 rear suspension, and… speed holes!

These two AMCs came to race equipped with generic labels and team members wearing plain white shirts labeled "COSTUME."

Nobody Approved!

We've been seeing quite a few of these AMC/Jeep sixes in LeMons lately.

We had two AMCs at the There Goes the Neighborhood race a couple months back, but the Colorado race boasts three American Motors machines. This 1970 AMC Gremlin— a Levis Edition, no less!— of Team Crapple Wapple Do Dang Gang sports a 4.0 swap, AX15 manual transmission, and Malaise Era stripes.

Every cheap junkyard in Colorado must have a dozen Cherokees with 4.0 engines. We're hoping that the BMW teams start switching over to this excellent American powerplant.

Speaking of BMWs, we had the usual excess of E30 3-series entrants, including this veteran of some of the earliest California LeMons races. The Raized Crazy 325i survived the infamous "Demolition Derby LeMons" race at Altamont back in 2007 and has now migrated to a new team in Colorado.

Some cars smelled of cheatiness and the teams offered little in terms of documentation proving the numbers for parts bought or sold; things didn't go so well for them. Others presented impeccably organized binders full of convincing proof for their budget numbers, e.g. this BMW team's itemized list of Craigslist ads for parts sold off to defray the car's initial purchase price.

The twin-engined "FX32″ Corolla and "MRolla" Corolla/MR2 mashup of Volatile RAM Racing are ready for more all-wheel-drive, eight-cylinder action.

Many teams were happy to get their commemorative BRIBED stencil.

We don't see many 3TC-powered early-80s Corollas in LeMons, so this car was a welcome sight.

This team managed to rescue this beat-to-hell AE86 Corolla before some tuner kid tried to make a drift car out of it; the engine and suspension are pretty well used up, but the car still looks good (from 100 feet).

The NSF Racing 1987 Plymouth Reliant-K, which has been traveling the country as it gets handed off from team to team, got dragged up to Colorado from Texas, where it received a 3.0 liter Mitsubishi V6 swap. So far this year, the K-wagon has competed in New York, Michigan, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Texas.

Rocket Surgery Racing, which ran a mid-VW-engined Renault 4CV at the 2010-2012 BFE G.P. races, rolled into High Plains Raceway today with their latest creation: a 1978 Checker Marathon.

Built from three donor Checkers and equipped with a random junkyard Chevy 350, the Rocket Surgery Marathon is so spacious that there's room for a comfortable back seat and a full roll cage.

That's a lip-curling, denim-shirt-wearing Jim Ignatowski theme for the Rocket Surgeons.

We've been waiting for years to see how the storied Checker Marathon-versus-Austin America rivalry plays out on the track.

Check in to the LeMons Roundup page Saturday night, to see how the apex-seal-blowing, rod-tossing competition sorts out!

from Car and Driver Blog

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