By on March 31, 2011


When you’ve got a team of LeMons veterans who have been racing a Volvo 245 wagon since the earliest days of the 24 Hours of LeMons and you want to add a second car to the stable, you’re going to face stern disapproval if that second car happens to be a BMW E30 or a Mazda Miata. Those choices lack imagination! There must be some way to make a Miata fit Bernal Dads Racing’s Volvo-wagon ethos… but what could it be?

Here’s the Bernal Dads’ original race car, a much-scarred veteran of countless Altamont and Thunderhill LeMons events and a true elder statesman of LeMons racing.

Here’s Bernal Dads Racing’s second car, a Miata that made its debut at Thunderhill Raceway for last year’s Arse Sweat-a-Palooza. Miatas aren’t really any quicker around a road course than, say, a fifth-gen Civic or Ford Probe, so a Miata isn’t necessarily a threat to run away with a race, but we’d prefer to keep the Spec Miata-ization of LeMons at a minimum. Every Miata or E30 on the track could have been a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz or Simca 1204— or a Volvo 240 wagon— and so the Bernal Dads weren’t able to ward off the razzing over their car choice, in spite of the Volvo grille slapped on the snout.

All that changed at last weekend’s Sears Pointless race. The Bernal Dads have made some changes to their Miata!

Yes, they’ve cut the body off a Volvo 245 and welded it atop a Miata. It’s a three-door, which makes it a Molvo 243.

At first glance, I thought this thing was just a really wonky-looking Volvo wagon; I was busy with other cars during the BS Inspection, so I didn’t grasp what lay beneath the Volvo skin until the next day.

When the Molvo came into the Penalty Box after an on-track mishap, I was puzzled by the bizarre rollcage setup. Then I noticed that this Volvo wagon had a Miata parked inside it. Molvo!

The Molvo finished 73rd out of 173, with a respectable best lap time of 2:20. LeMons HQ staff agonized over the choice of the Molvo versus the Datsun 250 GTO when it came time to pick the Organizer’s Choice award. Actually, the judges of the LeMons Supreme Court were strongly in favor of the Molvo, but it’s Chief Perp Lamm‘s race and he gave the OC to the nearly-as-amazing “Ferrari.” “Fine,” we said, “We’ll give the Judges’ Choice trophy to the Molvo.” And that’s how it worked out. Congratulations, Bernal Dads Racing!

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13 Comments on “Molvo!...”


  • avatar
    carve

    OMG- that’s hilarious.

    Hey: great idea…how about putting a small car like a Miata into a boat, or a utility trailer.  That’d be hilarious to see a boat on a trailer racing down the track.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      That is a great idea. How about taking an outboard thats seen better days, gutting it and removing the deck, then sticking it on a chassis backwards? Voila, an instant Hispano-Psuedo Boatail homage to the golden Twenties. More points for using wood grained contact paper for an authentic look.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      A boat racing down the track backwards?  That may be an even better idea!

      Power it with an old radial and the index of effluancy is a guarantee.

  • avatar

    I look through the galleries and there is one 3D shot of the Molvo and at least a couple of the Fauxrrari 240Z/250GTO. The fake 250′s slapped on and roughly sanded body filler looks even worse in stereo.

  • avatar

    How about a Miata body welded onto a Volvo 245?!
    I think I might be onto something, guys.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Honey I shrunk the brick.

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    LOL! I love the knockoff IPD slogan on the tailgate.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    what  I   wanna  know  is   what the #95 car  is  in the  background  of the last picture. TIA

  • avatar
    sugarbutch

    Thanks, Murilee! We had a great time this weekend, despite finally killing the engine of the real Volvo after nearly eight complete races with little more than belt and water pump repairs. Ironically, it was in the midst of its best showing ever. C’est la LeMons…

    BTW, the fastest lap of the Volvo was more than half a second faster than the Molvo!

  • avatar

    volvo wagon out of control!!!

  • avatar
    Beefjerky

    The Volvo grill during the LeMons race lat August was a hint of things to come.  Since it took longer to get the Miata prepped for its maiden race, the retrofit of the Volvo bodywork was postponed.

    This is a gallery of the work done by Bernal Dads Racing to both the donor Volvo wagon and the Miata giving birth to the Molvo.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/68144590@N00/sets/72157626278601477/

  • avatar

    “We choose to go insane in this decade and to build a Volve wagon around a Miata, not because it would be easy, but because it would be hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our terrible ideas, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win a trophy of some sort at Sears Point, and the others, too.”
    /JFK’d


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