Monday, July 20, 2009

Bringing her home

Introducing the pinnacle of automotive perfection:
1983 Volvo 240 TURBO (Intercooled)

So packed with performance, some of it started to leak out into the driveway

There are only two things I want to know when evaluating interiors: How blue and how plush?

The Powerhouse!
(note FIA approved battery restraint bottom of pic)

The Good
Interor (can sell to offset buld costs)
Engine runs & idles
Drives straight

The Bad
321,000 kms
Clunk in drivetrain (engine bushings?)
Hesitation in mid range, fuel delivery issues perhaps.
Power windows broken & only blows hot air

The last one isn't a huge issue for LeMons in winter, but it was for my teammate when we drove the car back to my place during a heatwave:
32° (89.6 ºF) day + windows broken + only blowing hot air = unhappy Tiago.

Least I assume it was uncomfortable, the AC was icy fresh in my car so it was hard to be subjective.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We have a contender!

My teammate Tiago (who has a Volvo fetish bordering on disturbing) is focused on the swedish bricks & has found what he thinks is a gem in the rough. A 1983 Volvo 240 Turbo (with intercooler!) with a mere 321000 kms.

While I was leaning towards small, light and Japanese, the appeal of a RWD turbo sedan has it merits.

It spent most of its life in Northen BC, so there's now more rust than metal, though the interior is immaculate for a 26 year old car, and mechanicals are in surprisingly good shape. Drives straight, turbo spools up well. The couple selling it have a baby on the way so it had been parked up for a while.

It has LeMons wirtten all over it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Criteria

The criteria for the car is simple. Cheap (obvioulsy) but light and japanese is a good starting point. This race is about endurance, so while power would be nice, it's a distant 2nd to having a car run for more than 15mins on a track. Reliability is king. Jalopnik has a good guide on choosing a car.

Thanks to Craigslist, finding sub $500 cars isn't hard, finding a decent sub $500 is. So far the general rule of thumb seems to be this; for every 10 cars that are rubbish, there are 4 that are crap.

Not a good ratio so far.

If I had a dollar for the number of times I came across a car that 'only' needed a $10 air filter to fix it (which would also magically fix the dead clutch, the 0psi compression in the #4 & blown head gasket)... I'd have at least $15 bucks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Beginning

Welcome to the beginning.

Follow along with us and mechnically inept guys attempt to build a racecar for an sub-$500 24-hour race out of a 26 year old car.

Cringe as we apply out lack of knowledge of all things mechanical to a simple dream...

Run at the prestigious 24 hours of Lemons at Thunderhill in November.

The rules are an entertaining read, but the premise is simple: Car & mods must done using a $500 budget.
Which gives you an idea of the caliber of "racecars" that turn up to this sort of thing.

So far the team consists of Tiago & myself, and we need 4-6 people in order to race.

But first to find the car.