By on March 18, 2013

TTAC commentator crabspirits writes:

I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles against that LQ1 Fiero, some captured on my helmet cam.

Thought you might find it interesting. I could’ve had him on the straights easy, but our clutch was slipping badly, and I didn’t want to divebomb him. Still, a worthy opponent.

The Metro has an ongoing track diary attached to the build thread. You can probably glean a lot of material from it. 

The car feels like a 200hp MR-S with better brakes. The suspension is built with all warranty returns from a local suspension company’s dumpster. It feels fine for what it is, but every now and then, a corner of the car will feel “weird” and you get an unpleasant surprise. When something fails on the MetSHO, it is always a case of “I can see it, but I can’t reach it”. It basically sucks to work on.

The main thing on the car that holds us back is tires. Good sized wheels for the taurus bolt pattern are hard to find, then you realize you can’t fit them when you factor in the coilovers and Geo real estate. We recently managed to squeeze some good rubber in the rear, but the fronts are still plastic-like. The brakes are good, but nearly everyone in the top 10 has big aftermarket setups. We usually get a best lap time in the top 5-10, but with our talent, we can’t seem to hold that kind of speed in this car without getting into trouble eventually. Fortunately, we are all drifters, so when trouble happens we usually know what to do. There have been many pleasant and unpleasant experiences with this car. Lemons has taught me a lot about car prep, tech stuff, driving, planning, and priorities (#1 is have fun).

Looking forward to such an article. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet with the Fiero team. I’m sure we share a lot in common. Same with the team that brings the Alfa 164-swapped Fiat X1/9.

Sajeev answers:

Z34-powered Fiero, SHO-Metro.  Fiat X1/9 with an Alfa motor. My goodness…every time I judge a LeMons race I am thankful for at least two things:  the free shit you cheaty-cheaters are obligated to give me, and your ability to make me look normal.  I sincerely appreciate both.

A friend of mine (using the term loosely, since all you people are certifiable) once mentioned that making a LeMons car is like freebasing on automobiles.   So if a freebasing (admit it!) gearhead such as yourself has such information proving the LQ1’s complete terribleness, it must be right.

What else is there to say?  You made a fantastic machine, you certainly don’t need my advice…though I will say one thing: Thunderbird Super Coupe or Lincoln Mark VIII. Ditch the 6.5″ wide wheels and get a set of 16×7″ inchers from the big Ford coupes.  They are dirt cheap so they work in a LeMons budget. The extra .5″ will get you a slightly wider tire, and every bit counts. But since wheels/tires are considered a safety(?) item, you can go nuts and buy the aftermarket 9″ wide rims.

I have faith that you can make a 9″ wide rim fit in the rear.  And why not? Then again, talk to Jay Lamm before doing so…as citing me as a source might be the dumbest move on your part.  Dumber than freebasing cars, that is.

Best of luck, I wish you and your team well this year in LeMons.

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.


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15 Comments on “Piston Slap: SHO-in off the MetSHO!...”

  • avatar

    “the Alfa 164-swapped Fiat X1/9” gave me that funny feeling and a smile.

  • avatar

    The new Focus (2012+) uses the same bolt pattern and has wider wheels than the Taurus did. Though, these can often blow the budget of a Lemons racer unless you get a really good deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Buzz Killington

      Fortunately, wheels and tires are budget-exempt in Lemons. Then again, you may be referring to the real-life budget, in which case, it’s possible.

  • avatar

    The 86-01 Taurus has a wheel bolt pattern of 5x108mm with a 63.4mm center bore. Here is a link to all the cars with the same bolt pattern.×108/63.4/

    I am thinking the best bet will be to go for some Jaguar or Volvo wheels.

  • avatar
    Buzz Killington

    My “longtime Lemons racer advice” is: go with the wider wheels and make up some fenders to cover them. Remember: box flares make everything better!

    Possible to swap the hubs to a more common bolt pattern (and maybe upgrade the brakes at the same time)?

  • avatar

    All of the above suggestions have offsets that are far too high, and won’t clear the coilovers.

    The Mark VIII wheels look like a good option. Although, an extra inch isn’t too much of an improvement. Also, will they clear the Cobra brakes we plan on installing?

    There were some ROH wheels made once upon a time with some great sizing, but damned if I can find any now.

  • avatar

    whatever happened to the crab cab?

  • avatar

    To finish this off….

    We managed to find some Mark VIII mesh wheels at the junkyard in a very miraculous manner. The centers are already painted gold to complete the XJR-9 theme. Tire size will remain the same, but with better rubber. We may need some small spacers to clear the new calipers.

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