By on June 27, 2012

After my idea for a DUI Telepresence Crown Victoria Racing series failed to attract the shadowy Eastern European investors I’d hoped to line up, I got to thinking about spec racing. Everybody in a spec racing series runs the same kind of car, which makes parts easy to get and (in theory, though sure as hell not in practice) puts the focus on driver skill rather than vehicle price. There’s Spec Miata and Spec E30 and Spec Neon and all the rest, but it’s sort of boring watching those races. Spec racing needs better cars, and we’re going to pick the best one right now!
The key to a good spec-race car is availability and cheapness. You need the kind of car that you can find under tarps in countless side yards across the country, that’s so common in junkyards that The Crusher gags when it sees yet another one approaching. One of my top choices, therefore, is Spec Eighty-Eight. The downsized B-Body Oldsmobile 88s of the 1977-1985 model years are omnipresent in junkyards, they’re tough full-frame monsters that can take a lot of punishment, and they came equipped with a wide assortment of torque-happy Oldsmobile V8s. Plus, “Spec Eighty-Eight” just sounds cool.
But maybe racers would prefer something a little more modern, with four-wheel disc brakes and electronic fuel injection. That’s why Spec Leganza is the way to go! Imagine a track full of Guigario-styled Korean pseudo-luxury sedans, each with a screaming 136 horsepower under the hood. I predict that Spec Leganza will be bigger than NASCAR within five years.
My all-time top choice for a spec racing series is, of course, Spec Dynasty. Inspired by the French Cathouse Red interior of this junked ’93 Dynasty, I’ve been pushing Spec Dynasty to racy types ever since. So far, there hasn’t been a run on solid examples of Dodge’s mid-size luxury sedan of the late 1980s and early 1990syet. The rules of Spec Dynasty wouuld permit badge-engineered sibling New Yorkers of the same era, which would lead to heated rivalry between the Dynasty and New Yorker racers. OK, now it’s your turn. Spec Scoupe? Spec Tempo?

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73 Comments on “Question: What Car Most Needs a Spec Racing Series?...”


  • avatar
    JCraig

    Love it. How about Spec early 80′s Diplomat/5th Avenue etc?

  • avatar
    Charles T

    Spec racing can be seen as a mass euthanization program. Therefore I nominate the Corolla and Camry. They’ll certainly be fine on the endurance front. For something with a bit more sporting prowess, how about the F-body?

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Ford Ranger?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    F150. It’s been the best-selling vehicle in the country for decades so parts abound. The extreme front weight bias yields a nominal understeer bias that’s easily driver-controlled through the addition of a locker to the rear axle.

    Speaking from experience, it can be really fun to drive a full-size truck around at stupid fast speeds.

  • avatar
    Idemmu

    I think that the SAAB NG900 should be raced. They are durable, have room for performance enhancement, and safe in a crash. They are also cheap to find in good shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      +1 on this one.

      I am actually looking for one, turbo or not, for “hillclimb” gymkhana or whatever “cheap” racing is available here.

      The Neon is strong on the list too.

  • avatar

    (1) Spec Accent. Drivers must also speak broken English.

    (2) Spec A-Body. No oil coolers allowed; watch the slushbox innards fly.

    (3) Spec Tempo AWD Rallycross. Part of the fun is finding an existing Tempo AWD chassis and then you get to find working components. When you finally get it “working,” you get the added bonus of torquesteering through the mud.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Saturn too slow for anyone to get hurt and lots of duct tape would fix the body panels

  • avatar
    heywood220

    I agree with the Spec Dynasty, but I would drop the Dy and just call it Spec Nasty!!!

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Years ago, I played a few XBox racing games (Need for Speed?) that allowed you to race the Lincoln Navigator and Cadi Escalade.

    Imagine an Escalade race series. Three ton monsters SUVs, riding on a high center of gravity and off-road tires, with minimal brakes, all trying to get around a race track. That would be fascinating to watch!

    Have you ever seen those European semi truck races? This would be similar in terms of awesomeness.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      This is my 3rd place pick, for the same reason as the Camry; time to thin out the herd. We’d be doing the ‘sclade owners a favor by making their bastions of wretched excess more rare and be in good with environmentals. In fact we could call it the wretched wrecked excess series.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Let’s go broader than “Spec 88″ and let’s do a “Spec 307″ only cars with Oldsmobile 307V8s can compete. The Oldsmobile Club of America will have a heart attack as we blow up some of the last V8 RWD Oldsmobiles. :P

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      That will allow some late 80′s Caddy Broughams to compete.

      Although, that gives me another idea, which a Caddy 4.1 series. With the exception of a few diesels and V6′s, and the Cimarron, that covers just about every Cadillac from 1982-85, and also the FWD cars from 1986-87.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Will we be able to leave the split bench seats in the Dynasty/New Yorker/Imperials? For full effect the cars should also be required to wear stock wheels or wheel covers.

    3.0 litre cars will have an advantage with a 3 speed transmission that is less likely to blow up than the 4 speed used on the 3.3 litres. Of course the 3 litre cars will be belching smoke after a few laps so that should even out the transmission advantage.

    Sign me up!

  • avatar
    quattrovalvole

    +1 for the Dynasty spec. You can use a TC by Maserati for the pace car/judgemobile.

  • avatar
    Travis

    Spec 3.8 for 3.8L v6 mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Spec Cavalier/Sunfire. 90′s style only, as the v6 Z24s would have a bit of an advantage. They are cheap and everywhere. Besides, destroying a dozen or so of these each weekend would help out humanity as a whole.

  • avatar

    I think Spec Quad 4 would be good as well. Beretta GTZs duking it out with Olds Calais.

    • 0 avatar
      THE_F0nz

      Great one!

      look up PhantomGTZ on Cardomain if you would like to see my GTZ project car. I have videos of that thing reving and idling after the cam swap back in the day. That thing hated to idle. haha.

      The car and its constant issues are long gone now…. Wow was it fun to rev that engine up.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I recently saw a photo of a race conducted in Britain in 1933 in which all the vehicles were London double deckers. The American equivalent would probably be the GMC Greyhound Scenic Cruiser. “Go Greyhound, and leave the racing to us”!

  • avatar
    JT

    “What Spec Racing Series most needs a car?”

    NASCAR

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Spec Cadillac Hearses?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    This would be interesting. Allow American body on frame sedans of any age. Allow wheel, damping, differential and spring modifications. Allow any break system modifications except electronic. Put a cap on HP output keeping engine mods mechanical and non-supercharged / turbo and engines must be original i.e. no 1999 Chevy engines in a 1970 ford. Keep the bodies original and allow interior modification only for driver safety.
    Basically, enough modifications to make the racing interesting but keeping the cars original looking.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Couple of thoughts:

      Spec mid-90s Chevy Lumina/Monte Carlo. Who wouldn’t want to see one of these flip over in a high speed turn?

      Spec Ford Festiva/Aspire. Writes itself doesn’t it?

      Spec Subaru Justy. Can add that bit of auld Europe by adding 1/3 of the track in dirt to the race.

      Spec Toyota Tercel, Nissan Pulsar, and Honda Prelude (early 90′s)

      Spec ’90s Korea. Diahatsu, Hyundai, Daewoo.

      Spec Mercury Grand Marquis. Can finally build a “De Sade” edition racer.

  • avatar
    p161911

    GM J-Body. A 24 year run on the same platform with enough body styles and engines to make it interesting. NOBODY will care if you wreck them. There are still too many Cavilers and Sunbirds clogging the streets. Heck the Z24s and Turbo Sunbirds might even be sort of fast. Plus racing Cimmarons!

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Couple of thoughts:

    Spec mid-90s Chevy Lumina/Monte Carlo. Who wouldn’t want to see one of these flip over in a high speed turn?

    Spec Ford Festiva/Aspire. Writes itself doesn’t it?

    Spec mid ’90s minivan.

    Spec Subaru Justy. Can add that bit of auld Europe by adding 1/3 of the track in dirt to the race.

    Spec Toyota Tercel, Nissan Pulsar, and Honda Prelude (early 90′s)

    Spec ’90s Korea. Diahatsu, Hyundai, Daewoo.

    Spec Mercury Grand Marquis. Can finally build a “De Sade” edition racer.

  • avatar
    cfclark

    Spec GM X-Body. A 100% DNF rate seems achievable, whether by breakdowns, body rust-throughs or random brake lockups.

    I like the J-Body idea as well, especially if there’s a Cimarron subclass.

  • avatar
    theeastbaykid

    Spec Reatta.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Spec Jetta – Mk.4

    A test of driver AND mechanic.

  • avatar
    BGW

    I drove a ’91 Dynasty for a couple of years, thus I endorse the idea of SpecDynasty wholeheartedly. Just don’t let Carl Haas run the replacement transmission concession.

    Spec Saturn L-Series would make me laugh wholeheartedly as well. Perhaps even a special weight break or other rules allowance for anyone batshit enough to import a contemporary Opel Vectra.

    Profit shall surely follow.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    DodgePlymouth NeonPt Cruiser vs Ford Escort vs Chevy Cavalierits 500 GM variants.

    All of these cars are cheap, everywhere, and cheap to fix, usually.

  • avatar

    What about Dynasty scap hauling?

    source

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    While this is a bit out in left field, what about a spec racing class for Isuzu NPR trucks (and comparable Fuso and Hino trucks). They are common in any urban area, getting cheap and offer a scaled down Euro truck racing experience.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Maybe adapt the Crown Vic idea, but open it to other ex-police cars, like Plymouth Gran Furies (I had one), Chevy Caprices and others. Call it Spec Bluesmobile.

    You could have a Spec Pinto race, but all the cars would need to be rigged to be driven by remote control as you don’t want living things in an area where Pintos may make contact. (I also had one of these). The series could include Mustang IIs and possibly even make it multi class with Chevettes (had one) and Gremlins.

    How about 70s GM A-bodies? Picture all the Cutlasses with boards stuck on the back, since the bumpers have fallen off (had one of these, too).

    More seriously, there are a lot of aging Focuses (Foci?) around.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      I think spec Bluesmobile has alot of promise, plenty of good ol’ American iron in the past thirty years would qualify. Dippys, Vickys and Capriceys oh my.

  • avatar
    SWComp

    Spec DeVille FTW!

  • avatar
    nickoo

    1987 Iroc Z camaro. Oh, wait…

    Let’s go with 2005-2006 GTO imports, 2004 doesn’t count because it only has the ls-1 instead of the ls-2

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Explorer. Ford sold 600,000 a year for about a decade. We have to do something with them.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Ford focus hatch backs on a dirt track.

  • avatar

    Spec Supercharged Yugo.

    -Hopefully with a blower that’s bigger than the car.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Hyundai Excel spec racing?

    ….. oh wait, nevermind. Too rare.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    Spec Aztec! Maybe that would stop all the nasty comments.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    FWIW, the local asphalt 1/3 mile roundy round track here has a 4 cylinder division. All the Civics, Cavaliers, Neons, and Saturns you can stand to watch buzz around the track.

    The track sells rides to folks (like Father’s Day and such), and uses a Neon for that duty. I think they also occasionally have a ‘faster Pastor’ race, and use Neons and Civics for the ones who don’t have a “ride”.

    When my J-bodies are deemed too nasty/rusted out to drive in traffic, I hope to sell them to someone racing in the 4 cylinder division. Or maybe a LeMons team, if they give good swag…

  • avatar
    replica

    Toyota Prius.

    Given how quiet the “motor” is, you could host the events pretty much anywhere without fear of noise restrictions. Concurrently, all the hecklers from the crowd will be well heard by the drivers.

  • avatar
    GoesLikeStink

    Didn’t someone propose a Sebring class before? That way you can show up in a rental 200 and return it after the race. And I cant imagine there are any cars that have more afordable parts.

  • avatar
    replica

    A Stratus/Cirrus/Breeze series featuring the three “Cloud cars” of Dodge. They can call it “The Storm.”

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    American LeFrance, or bluebird school bus.

  • avatar

    Spec 3.8 Supercharged — between Bonnevilles, Park Avenue Ultras, and Impalas, there’s lots of GM fun to be had here.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    How about GM’s best of the losers racing: Pontiac VS. Saturn VS. SAAB?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Only if the pace car is an Oldsmobile. (An actual Oldsmobile pace car repilca too from one of the many times Olds paced Indianapolis.)

  • avatar
    chevysrock39

    Spec Tempo would be tragic, but it would be the best if any of these series was set up like Class 11 of the Baja 1000 – Stock car with safety modifications. I’d love to see some door handle scraping 88′s out there!

  • avatar
    jaxtheax

    A “Spec Corolla Endurance Race” would be cool, theres a lot of corolla’s so it would be a big event and they are reliable. Most important of all would be that we get these slow, boring, sh*tboxes off of the roads.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    How about this? http://www.hqracing.org/ HQ series Holden sedans from the early ’70s, with three-on-the-tree, 3.3 litre straight six and an almost complete lack of anything resembling handling…

  • avatar
    tp33

    Spec K

    A nice reliant automobile!

  • avatar
    Banger

    I gotta say Spec Versa. They never have made a performance variant of the Versa and there are boatloads of them now approaching beater status.

    I would say Spec B15 Sentra, but there was the SE-R, which would have to be disqualified, else you’d have to handicap all the rest of the “regular” Sentras.

  • avatar
    Tinker

    Citroen 2CV in full James Bond spec.


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