This 1971 240Z is Pre-Lightened for LeMons Domination!

For those of us looking to broaden our automotive skill set, the biggest fear is attempting some a first-time job on a car we care about and screwing it up. Some hippy named Janis said “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, but let’s apply the converse and claim this car’s truly free as it’s got nothing left to lose. Specifically, it’s been sitting since the late ’80s and has severe rust issues. If only there were a way to reinforce that unibody by bracing it with heavy-gauge metal tubing…hmmm. If the thing’s gone so spongy a cage won’t have anything solid to mount to, who’s to stop you from tacking in new sheetmetal as needed? There are no concourse judges in this vehicle’s future.

Mechanically speaking, well, it’s all there. Whether it’s “all there” in a cosmic sense that all the original iron, aluminum and carbon molecules are still present but with their locations more, well, randomized (i.e., scattered about the bottom of the oil pan) or “all there” in a change the oil, plugs and gas for re-ignition sense. It was parked back in the late 80s for a reason, after all.

The seller’s asking $700 obo, which puts it in perfect range of LeMons pricing, particularly once you unload the various OEM trim bits this one won’t need while trading paint/rust with a Cerlist-diesel-powered Fiesta or Slant Six e30. Auction ends Friday afternoon, get on it! (but not too hard; you’ll fall through the floor)

1971 Datsun 240z for sale – eBay Motors

The Hella Sweet Tow Rigs of LeMons at Sonoma Raceway

COE Ford car carrierLast weekend I had the pleasure(?) of dispensing justice upon the miscreant drivers of the 24 Hours of LeMons “Good Enough Grand Prix” at Sonoma Raceway. It was a small field comprised of teams that had been wait-listed for December’s Sonoma race mixed with a bunch of die-hards. As a result the BMW count (particularly e30s and e36s) was higher than usual (as these teams tend to be skipped over in favor of Ramblers and Super Snipes). Very Hooniverse builds (like the 440-powered M-B or blown 3800-powered Suzuki/S-10 thing) were few and far between. However, the overall combination of crappy/awesome intrinsic to LeMons tends to extend to tow vehicles as well. I’m sure Murilee Martin’s wrap up will show up at Car and Driver any moment now, but in the meantime let’s take a look at the (as Jay would say) Hella butt awesome tow/camping rigs of LeMons.

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Class of 2005: Muscle/Sports Cars Edition

Tim Odell January 8, 2015 For Sale

Does the “[year from my youth that doesn’t seem that long ago] was [a non-small number of years] ago…ugh, I’m so old” reflex ever go away? 2005 doesn’t seem that long ago, does it? Even with the last few decades’ improvements in reliability and durability a 10 year old car is far from new (no matter that my brain still processes them as such). 10 years is an interesting point in a car’s life, as the car’s past the “newish” or “middle-aged” used stages and starts to be old. This is where the third or fourth owners decide whether this example will cross the “old car valley” to eventually emerge as a classic. If a car can hold its value over a typical 10 year 75-90% depreciation, it can avoid “throwaway” status.

Today we’ll focus on a few known go-to performance bargains whose identity is tied to the mid-00s: the C6 Corvette, SN197 Mustang, WRX and GTO…

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Turbocharged 472ci Powered DeVillamino: We’re Done. Everyone Go Home.

Tim Odell January 6, 2015 eBay Insanity, For Sale

1974 Cadillac DeVillamino for saleWhile they have their fans, a 1974 Cadillac DeVille hardly represents the brand’s pinnacle. The massive 472 and 500ci V8 made low-200s horsepower and only high-300s lb-ft of torque with a wheezey 8.5:1 compression ratio. One upside of low-compression engines? They take well to turbocharging. While he’s spared us the details, the seller’s equipped this DeVille with what looks like a decent sized hairdryer on a baffling set of plumbing. From what we can see in the pictures, it’s clearly a draw-through setup. Looks like there’s a big adapter between the carb and the block, with one massive pipe coming out of the carb towards the turbo, then another return dumping into the intake manifold.

1974 cadillac deville pickup turbo for sale (1)1974 cadillac deville pickup turbo for sale (2)1974 cadillac deville pickup turbo for sale (3)

The simplicity is attractive, as the carb is blind to the fact there’s actually a turbo downstream; it just feeds in air and fuel in response to the vacuum pulled on it. The downside is now the air/fuel mix is heated up by the turbo, though the presence of the fuel supposedly has a cooling effect compared to a typical air-only compression scheme. The new air cleaner and absent-due-to-damage hood suggest there may have been a few hiccups getting the setup working completely right.

And then there’s the bed. Cadillacs frequently served on hearse and flower car duty back in the day, so this might’ve been an “original” flower car…or just a backyard special. There seems to be a provision for a snap-on cover of some kind and the interior’s got a decent coat of trunk/truck bed paint.

All-in-all, looks like the perfect ride for the owner of a firearms dealership in Bakersfield, California. The reserve’s unmet at $1,000 and four days left; what do you think it’ll go for?

1974 Cadillac DeVille Pickup – eBay Motors


1970 Land Cruiser FJ55 of Mystery

Tim Odell January 1, 2015 For Sale

1970 Toyota FJ55 for saleWhen was the last time (if ever) that you placed a classified ad, or even read one? Never bordering on forever, I’m guessing. And yet in 2014 2015, writing like you’re paying by the character persists in automotive listings. Normally we try to avoid quoting an ad in its entirety, but our seller’s left us little to prune:

needs TLC. Has great body pretty much all straight and almost no rust. Runs…rebuilt with chevy blazer 440 trans and motor

I once argued wrongly that a friend’s early-70s Ford truck couldn’t possibly have a 360ci engine in it (because that’s a Dodge motor, duh), but I’m fairly confident there were no 440-powered Blazers. Given that it’s typed in two places, I don’t think we’re talking about a simple typo. So, is this an FJ with a Ramcharger drivetrain, or someone confused about what was under the hood of their donor Blazer? We might be able to figure it out from a picture, but of course the seller held back on those too.

Anyway, a FJ55 wagon powered by some form of Detroit V8 (I’m guessing 454) needing some TLC but not having rust? The $3500 seems close to fair, depending on a million details major pieces of information left out of the listing.

1970 Land Cruiser FJ55 for sale – eBay Motors

Maserati Bitrubo: Because the Kids’ College Fund Has Too Much Money

Tim Odell December 23, 2014 eBay Insanity, For Sale

1984 Maserati Biturbo for saleMy personal zenith (or is that nadir?) of junkyard finds was three Maserati Biturbos in one yard on one day. I can’t help but think it was the result of a collector/restorer/Stockholm-syndrome victim’s stash being cleared out by relatives/The Authorities. Of course, I was there looking for e12/e24 BMW 6-Series parts with a number of cars to choose from, so maybe these things just naturally gravitate towards San Fernando Valley wrecking yards.

maserati biturbo for sale (6)maserati biturbo for sale (1)maserati biturbo for sale (2)

If that’s the case, this one’s Florida location has it a long ways from its inevitable destination. That’s good, as it looks about one owner away from death: it’s missing some trim, has “light surface rust” (but actually concerning bubbles around the tail lights and elsewhere), and “needs complete tune up and brakes”. Hello darkness deferred maintenance, my old friend…

Two interesting things pop out in one picture: it’s got only 3,300 miles (on a six-digit odometer) and either a non-functioning oil pressure gauge or non-functioning oil pump. Assuming that’s just a bad gauge, you could work on it while driving it and enjoy high-100s horsepower while constantly pointing out it’s not a Volkswagen Fox. If it’s as bad as things seem, you could part out a few functional bits to some collector in the San Fernando Valley, use those gorgeous leather seats for office chairs or recliners and make a sweet coffee table out of the motor, like our own Jim Yu did.

Looks like we’ve cleared $1,100 and the reserve, so there’s really nothing holding you back from a non-TC $1500 Maserati when the auction ends Wednesday!

1984 Maserati Biturbo for sale – eBay Motors

This 1961 F250 is Damn Near Perfect

Tim Odell December 18, 2014 For Sale

1961 Ford F250 4x4 for saleWhat does a truck need? Ample cargo capacity, the ability to take it anywhere and the drivetrain to keep doing so forever complete my list. Looking great is sort of a nice aside. This particular 1961 Ford F250 “High Boy” checks all the boxes: 4×4, granny-low four speed, and heavy-duty solid axles sprung by leaves. The seller claims the engine is a “330”, a non-existent displacement. From the one shot of the engine bay we can see it’s an FE engine, but could be a 352, 360 or 390. It doesn’t really matter which, as all are torque monsters.

The “High Boy” term refers to the tall stance that 4×4 Ford F250s (3/4-tons) had prior to mid-1977. They’ve got what roughly amounts to a four inch lift compared to later or F100/150 half-ton trucks, fitting 35″ tires stock. Though, it seems the term usually just applies to the generation after this truck, so maybe someone more detail-oriented could weigh in.

1961 Ford F250 4x4 interior1961 Ford F250 4x4 for sale

Are there drawbacks? Certainly, but the four-wheel drum brakes on a single-circuit master cylinder, probable manual steering, no crash engineering and a suspension endorsed by the National Academy of Reconstructive Spine Surgeons are merely opportunities for fun weekends spend upgrading.

As I type this, the bidding’s at $1,136 with an unmet reserve. The details decide how many integer multiples of that number it’s actually worth.

1961 Ford F250 4×4 – eBay Motors

Hooniverse Holiday Kids Gift Guide

Tim Odell November 25, 2014 All Things Hoon

The given that we’re headed into Commerce Season, the internet’s awash in “Gift Guides” for any possible sub-group of human. It’d be silly for us to make lists for The Hoon in Your Life, as you already know what you want. However, we think there are a few unique kids gifts we’d be happy to highlight. All too often our kids get various plastic noisemakers or more excuses to worship at the altar of Pixar’s Cars. What follows are a few things we’ve picked up that have been big hits for getting our boys to build, work, play and solve problems the way we do. Hit the jump for a few key suggestions.

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1959 Ranchero: A LeMons Car that Can Haul its Own Parts?

1959 Ford ranchero for sale

2015 might mark my return behind the wheel of a LeMons racer. The hope is to find something that’s pre-smog to allow for street legality without worrying about regular emissions testing. Also, old cars are kinda terrible, so they don’t get too much scrutiny in BS inspection. The actual goal is to find a three-pedal 1960-1965 Ranchero and milk the Mustang parts interchange for all it’s worth. Having a trucklet around might actually prove kinda handy, too.

But then there’s this thing: even older and more terrible than the engineered-to-the-cent Falcon platform: a full-size Ford based 1959 Ford Ranchero. According to the tiny sidebar in the Craigslist ad, it’s got a V8 (would be a 292ci Y-Block if original) and an automatic. It “just needs a carb”, which might mean the current carb is in wretched shape or might mean it’s been sitting in a field with the intake and half the cylinders open to the elements since the Carter administration. There’s (literally!) a truckload of extra parts to sell off to abate the current $1500 asking price, which will in turn free up the bed for a (literal) truckload of bribes. My understanding is that late-50s Fords were early NASCAR/Dirt-oval favorites, which suggests there might still be some old-timey cheats suspension upgrades to be thrown at it. I’m thinking a gardener theme, with everyone running around the paddock with annoyingly loud leaf blowers.

Source: Gold Country Bay Craigslist

Junkyard Generator-to-Alternator Swap for my Falcon
With Bonus Small World Coincidence

Tim Odell November 13, 2014 Wrenching Tips

1970 Ford Fairlane Wagon

Mid-60s compacts from the Big Three are the best and easiest project cars around. Case in point: upgrading my defunct generator to an alternator cost me less than $100 for a combination of junkyard parts, new brackets and a belt. In our typical style, this isn’t a “how to” so much as a walk through the kind of straightforward work that it takes to own an aging car in regular service.

The basic process for my cheap and simple swap: buy brackets from Falconparts.com, remove old stuff, drill out and tap one hole in head to larger size, buy junkyard alternator and regulator, install new parts, splice some wires, drive away. Of course, having to buy a tap and die set, nearly stripping a hole in the timing cover and cracking the corner off the head casting complicated things a bit…

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