Friday, February 28, 2014

North Dallas Hooptie LeMons Inspections: ’75 Civic vs Buick Century, Solara vs Corvette

We're back at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Texas for the fifth annual North Dallas Hooptie race, and for Saturday morning's green flag we've got some matchups that the racing world has been waiting decades to see.

Since the very earliest days of LeMons racing, we've been waiting for a genuine first-generation Honda Civic. We'd seen a single second-gen Civic (this '83, which didn't so so well in the 2010 Colorado race), but what about the little car that really put Honda on the map for Americans? A team called The Resistance found a '75 Civic hatchback, complete with 63-horsepower EB2 engine, caged it, put '91 Civic brakes on it, and are eager to dominate Class C with it.

With such excellent taste in race cars, plus this introduction-to-the-team video, the LeMons debut of The Resistance has gone very well so far. Will the EB2 hold together under endurance-race conditions, or will it succumb to the head-gasket maladies that have knocked out so many newer Hondas?

Part I of the soon-to-be-storied first-gen Civic-versus-A-body Buick Century rivalry will take place this weekend. We'll keep you updated.

Speaking of Class C battles, Little Buckaroo, a Baja Bug that competed in the very first Texas LeMons races, is back after a several-year hiatus.

This time, though, Little Buckaroo no longer has its unreliable Type 1 air-cooled engine in back. This Beetle has been upgraded— if that's the right word— to a 1600cc water-cooled engine yanked out of a Mk1 Rabbit. We've seen this swap work out very poorly for a Porsche 914, but perhaps it will enable the Little Buckaroos to run away with Class C.

Returning for another shot at Class C glory after their Dodge Daytona Shelby Turbo Z's 14-lap fiasco at the Gator-O-Rama last fall, Team Bad Science has the horsepower edge in their class.

Speaking of horsepower, the C4 Corvette owns a thoroughly miserable record in LeMons, in spite of conventional wisdom telling us (over and over) that this car should wipe the floor with all comers in our sort of racing. Here we go again, with a team digging up an ugly '87 C4, selling off a bunch of allegedly valuable interior and trim pieces, and showing up with a quasi-believable budgetary story. What the LeMons Supreme Court ought to do here is bury the car under penalty laps… but we just can't resist a gamble in a situation like this.

Will this car follow LeMons Corvette tradition and barf engine parts all over the tarmac and/or get yanked off the track due to red-misty bad driving, or will it simply run away with the race and cause jubilation in Corvette-land? We'll find out this weekend, because the LeMons Supreme Court has rolled the dice with zero penalty laps for the Wycked C4.

In fact, we feel confident that the Corvette will get smoked by this car: a Toyota Solara with four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, and super-squishy stock suspension.

True, the Team Wine-O Solara does have Hella Sweet Dominator tires.

Not to mention Air By DOM-N-8-ER. This beef will be settled on the track, starting Saturday morning.

Of course, the LeMons Supreme Court did hand out some penalty laps. Team Sensory Assault has made their burn-victim Mazda RX-7 FD pretty quick with a turbocharger upgrade, and so the LSC talked about handing out a few laps, maybe a half-dozen or so.

In that case, said the Sensory Assault team captain, we want the all-time record for penalty laps. The earlier record was two billion, given to the Holden My Crank 2004 Pontiac GTO. To beat that, Sensory Assault received 2,000,000,007 penalty laps, which we calculate should take about 1,900 years of racing at Eagles Canyon to get the car to zero laps.

Because the LeMons Supreme Court respects the guts of the Texas Communist Party (and because Texas racers fear communism even more than they fear the United Nations), our BRIBED stencil for generous teams at the '14 North Dallas Hooptie features Karl Marx in a cowboy hat.

As you might imagine, the ideals of the TCP run somewhat counter to those held by many Texas racers.

Luxurious, status-enhancing Mercedes-Benzes are always welcome in the 24 Hours of LeMons, and everyone at Eagles Canyon is very happy to see The Syndicate's 1976 450SL ready to race. This car failed to get through tech in time to hit the race track at its last race, but on Saturday it should be on the track when the green flag waves.

The Syndicate was heavily involved with the worst car in 24 Hours of LeMons history last year, so any laps for their R107 will constitute a victory this weekend.

Naturally, we've also got the usual large numbers of Texas-style Fox Fords competing, and there's always a chance that a Mustang or Granada will triumph at the North Dallas Hooptie. But that's not the way to bet.

What will happen during Saturday's race session? Check in Saturday night to find out!

from Car and Driver Blog


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