Engine Swap-a-thon, Rust, and Wifebeater Shirts: BS Inspections at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
engine swap a thon rust and wifebeater shirts bs inspections at the real hoopties

When we come to LeMons races in the Northeast, we can count on seeing plenty of rusty race cars, and on seeing numerous dudes in maybe-not-so-ironic wifebeater shirts. Never before, however, have we seen so many ridiculous engine swaps in one race. During the BS Inspection, which serves to punish cars deemed to have blown past the $500 spending limit, we saw a (very) poor man’s TR8, a supercharged GM 3800 in a Bradley GT, a couple of Camry V6-powered MR2s, and much more!

What to do when your Audi nukes its 5-cylinder at the last race? Why, drop in a junkyard Audi V8, of course! Life expectancy for this car on a road course is best specified in minutes, but what glorious minutes they’ll be!

Likewise, let’s say your TR7 spits a couple of rods out of the block at the last race? Do you go boring and find another Triumph Slant Four?

Hell no! You get a junkyard Rover V8, dig up a Buick 215 intake and carburetor, and make your own TR8. Yes, yes, it’s going to fail in spectacular fashion, but so what? Worth it!

You may remember Unununium Legend of LeMons honoree Dave Morrow and his Wasserboxer-powered Bradley GT kit car. Well, the VW engines were just too unreliable, so he upgraded…

…to this supercharged GM 3800 V6. You say 10/90 weight distribution, a VW Beetle suspension, and 225 horsepower might result in a car that’s [s]impossible[/s] difficult to get around a race track? We’ll see what happens when the green flag waves tomorrow.

Just in case the Bradley vaporizes from Awesomeness Overload, Morrow’s Auto has brought their GTO Judge as well. We see no problem with allowing this Judge into an event reserved for cars built for under 500 bucks (not counting safety gear).

That’s because this “Judge” started life as a Toyota Supra.

Just like a real GTO, the Judgepra has a Pontiac 400 under the hood. There are no weak points in this plan!

We saw this Saab Turbo B engine-powered Nissan 300ZX at the New England LeMons last year. Since that time, LeMons HQ has decreed that all LeMons racers must have hoods. Using such materials as a wheelbarrow and a motorcycle fuel tank, Team Rust In The Wind has met the new requirement with style.

Unununium Medal winners Speedycop and the Gang of Outlaws brought their much-improved Lancia ScorpionR2 and Parnelli Jones Galaxie to New Jersey.

They’re also converted their very fast Lincoln Mark VIII into a Lockheed P-38, complete with whirling propellers and flashing machine guns.


We saw many more fine racing machines today, so let’s check out the traditional timelapse video showing the first few hours of the Real Hoopties of New Jersey BS Inspection. Check in tomorrow for race updates!


Music: Brenkacs Gypsy Ensemble, 1924






















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  • BlueBrat BlueBrat on Apr 09, 2011

    Good luck to my friend Mike and his team with their VW Polo. Don't die! :) And nice to see some good 'ol Jersey Lemon represent'n. East Coast, boy. Or whatever white-mafia-dudes in VW euro clothing say.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Apr 09, 2011

    The word, "hooptie" means rusty old car, and dates back at least to 1939 (NPR, On the Media, April 9, 2011)

  • Kendahl I will look at my phone long enough to determine whether the caller is someone I really should talk to. If it is, I keep driving until I find a safe place to pull over before answering. If it isn't, to hell with them.I am greatly annoyed by people who sit at green traffic lights or drive well below the speed limit because they are focused on their phones instead of their driving. However, I don't express my frustration because (1) they don't think they're being inconsiderate and (2) may retaliate with road rage.
  • VoGhost What to name a car for people insecure about the size of their 'manhood'? Magnum. What do name a car for people insecure about their orientation? STR8. Nobody -- and I mean nobody -- knows their customer base like FCA/Stellantis.
  • VoGhost Finally! The minivan that Porsche owners have been clamoring for all these years?
  • 2ACL Random fact: despite cratering sales and discontinuation, the 200 is regularly featured in national top 10 lists for catalytic converter theft.
  • MaintenanceCosts The first-gen SRT8s look badass, there's just no two ways about it. A set of wheels from the same-year 300C SRT8 would make this into an impossibly good-looking car. But as a car rather than an object of sculpture, the second gen is so much better, even if it isn't a wagon.
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