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Funwagon!

Tim Odell March 3, 2016 For Sale

1967 funwagon for sale

This is a Sunbeam Funwagon. You’re probably never heard of it. Per the seller and like one other online reference, Funwagons were based on the Sunbeam Commer FC Van, a small British van from the Rootes Group. The Wikipedia article for the Commer FC confirms my assumption that all old British vans make like 50 horsepower and top out at about 65 mph. Obviously that platform needed extra weight, drag and a raised center of mass, so Sunbeam added a motorhome body and attempted to sell it exclusively to Americans. Those would be the same Americans just beginning to make use of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways at sustained high-speed straight-line cruising. In a 1500cc-powered, narrow-track, high-roof camper thing. Right.

To its credit, the Funwagon has no fiberglass (that skin is sheet aluminum) and this one is completely mechanically functional. Supposing you were into silly, underpowered British vehicles (a few of our commenters come to mind), the $3k current bid isn’t too ridiculous in that it’s a typical price for an OK condition example of a rare vehicle. I was thinking motor swap, but it’s not like the original transmission or axle would be up to bear the necessary power boost. So, complete drivetrain swap? I’d offer up a Toyota 22RE + W56 + 7.5 or 8″ rear axle.

Your thoughts?

Epilogue: I meant to schedule this for last Thursday, but somehow screwed that up, so it never ran. Since then the auction ended with a winning bid of $6799!

1967 Sunbeam Funwagon for sale – eBay Motors

Hooniverse to Ruin Race Another ’62 Ranchero in LeMons

1962 ranchero lemons car

After our ’62 Ranchero became an object lesson for my dad’s physics class, a number of people approached us at the track offering to sell us Falcons or Rancheros. Most attractive among them was LeMons sometimes-staffer and generally awesome car guy Dick McClure‘s Ranchero (note the LeMons sticker on his Quail-attending car). The car inspected, a deal was struck and a trailer was rented.

Click through for what we’re planning this time…

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928 or Pinto: Which is the Better Project Car for $2500?

Tim Odell February 23, 2016 For Sale

1979 porsche 928 for sale1976 ford pinto for sale

Which would you prefer? Ease with mediocrity or Sisyphysian toil with incredible potential? We’ve got two cars from opposite ends of the spectrum that have miraculously settled at the same price. In one corner, a V6-auto Pinto hatch. It appears to be in good shape, aside from having a pointless giant raised-cowl hood scoop installed. In the other, a treacherous 5MT 928. The seller tells us it runs great, but non-specifically hints it’s a project in need of work. In California the seller’s responsible for selling a car with a current smog certificate, so “buyer to smog” translates directly to “failed smog and the cost to fix is too high to bother with”.

I’d be curious to see if I could de-Porsche-fy the elecronics of a 928 in favor of a Megasquirt system using more standardized off-the-shelf parts. This wouldn’t make it any more likely to pass a smog check, but at least I’d be able to diagnose what part of the system’s failing.

Meanwhile, the Pinto? Well, they can be made to handle, or they can be made to handle some ridiculous motor in the engine bay. Clearly the only thing worth doing would be to combine said handling and power plant for the express purpose of embarrassing competitors at an Ultimate Street Car Challenge event.

1976 Ford Pinto for sale – SFBay Craigslist

1979 Porsche 928 for sale – SFBay Craigslist

Is a Four Speed Enough to Make this Malaise Era Dodge Aspen Interesting?

Tim Odell February 23, 2016 For Sale

1978 dodge aspen 4 speed for sale

“1978 Dodge Aspen” tightens no trousers and moistens no panties. But then again, starting with a 318 and four-on-the-floor, then applying a four-barrel intake, a pair of glasspacks and a 3.73:1 LSD rearend might quicken a few pulses. Today’s example has none of those things add-ons, but does have a three-digit high bid as I’m typing this.

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Sears Pointless 2016: Hooniverse, The Smashening

“So, uh, I guess we’re done”. The first time I said that, it was an unnerving realization. A week before the race, we had the car running just fine and all the major items checked off the to-do list. The carb and header were in, the new ignition system was working great, the front wheels pointed in all the right directions and the rear tires no longer rubbed. It was only about 8:30 and I was sending JeepJeff home with no need to come back mid-week. Weird, what are we forgetting? I wondered.

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Add some Aussie to your Ford for Under a Grand

Tim Odell February 18, 2016 For Sale

aussie ford 4l intechAustralia’s identity as a bizarro North America extends beyond its geography and fauna to include the automotive population. Sure, the Big Three did battle down under, but straight sixes were the weapons of choice in many cases. We’ve covered the Chrysler Hemi Six before, but today we’re taking a moment to appreciate a screaming deal on a 4.0L Ford Intech straight six. Normally, I’d use this sentence to hand over facts dredged from a wikipedia article, but as far as I can tell, the 1998-2002 Ford Intech SOHC six has no dedicated wikipedia article! Instead, all the generations of various Aussie sixes are buried in one section of a page dedicated to all Ford straight sixes. The info there matches the seller and some random, possibly bot-generated website: the SOHC, non-HP 4.0L Intech made 210hp and 263ft-lbs of torque.

At $750 for the engine and attached four-speed automatic, that’s on part with any other random craigslist find with similar power (and number of gears). Which is good, because aside from the seller’s blanked eBay listing template, there’s no information about mileage or condition of either unit. It’s tough to make any assumptions about the service history of a motor that’s been out of production for 14 years, but the seller’s an established eBayer, so you could just pick up the phone and call them up if you’re serious.

Now, if only someone had a car-based-truck, aka Ute to put it into…

4.0L Ford Intech Aussie I-6 for sale – eBay Motors

Diesel Dodge Ram VW Camper Mash-Up: Way More Awesome, Less Terrible Than You’d Expect

Tim Odell February 11, 2016 For Sale

1991 dodge ram vw camper for sale

Never has a vehicle so deftly straddled the line between awesome expedition rig and sketchy homeless guy shelter on wheels. The base of this vehicle is a 1991 Dodge Ram D250 Powered by a turbo Cummins 12V Six. Atop the bed and back of the cab has been grafted the carapace of a VW camper van. Based on my wild-ass guess, it appears to be a second-generation T2 (’67-79).

At least from the outside, the graft-a-van-onto-a-truck fabrication is better than one might expect. It gives off a pretty passable giant Trekker vibe with minimally obvious seams or roof sealant overuse. The chassis is bomb-proof and now it has a lot more interior volume. Oh, but that interior…hoo-boy. Nothing screams “don’t touch” like a stained patio furniture mattress inside your custom van-like rig.

So…I actually really like this thing. You could dump most of the interior contents straight into the dumpster behind the IHOP he’s proposing to meet you at. In step two you can decide what interior finishing or racks or tie-downs (for cargo) you’d like to add. The camper tent thing is shot, but that’s a problem solved for 3-digits at GoWesty. A rear seat might be nice if you’re planning on traveling with more than one other person, as would reinstating the sliding door on the passenger side. Though, at some point you might as well just buy a Suburban or 4×4 converted van if that’s what you’re after.

The price is definitely bonkers at $5,500, but hopefully he can be brought down from there after it sits for a few months.

1991 Dodge Ram 250 Cummins turbo Vw van 4×4 – SFBay Craigslist

 

US EPA Wants to End Emissions Exemption for Street Cars Turned Racecar

Tim Odell February 9, 2016 All Things Hoon

mustang gt350r

In a recent regulatory update, the US EPA has stated that it intends to eliminate emissions exemptions for street cars turned into competition vehicles. We really really really really really hate writing about politics here, but we’re making an exception this once for two reasons: this is really really right up our collective alley and there’s already endless misinformation spreading. Without delay, let’s get to some facts.

Currently, you’re not allowed to modify the emissions equipment on a new vehicle certified to meet emissions standards, except if it’s used “for competition use only”. For example, you could buy a new GT350R Mustang and do whatever you want with it, ECU and exhaust-wise, so long as you never put it back on the street.

EPA is proposing to “fix” that regulation (emphasis ours):

In particular, we generally consider nonroad engines and vehicles to be ‘‘used solely for competition’’ based on usage characteristics. This allows EPA to set up an administrative process to approve competition exemptions, and to create an exemption from the tampering prohibition for products that are modified for competition purposes. There is no comparable allowance for motor vehicles. A motor vehicle qualifies for a competition exclusion based on the physical characteristics of the vehicle, not on its use. Also, if a motor vehicle is covered by a certificate of conformity at any point, there is no exemption from the tampering and defeat-device prohibitions that would allow for converting the engine or vehicle for competition use. There is no prohibition against actual use of certified motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines for competition purposes; however, it is not permissible to remove a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine from its certified configuration regardless of the purpose for doing so.

This reads to say that from the date the regulation goes into effect a vehicle built to an EPA certification (i.e. all new cars) should never be modified from that certified configuration, even if it never drives another mile on a public road.

A few thoughts and bullet points after the jump… … Continue Reading

LeMons Ranchero Update: One Week to Go, All Fired Up and Surprisingly Few Things Left

Tim Odell February 9, 2016 Los Huevos Rancheros

glowing headersNext weekend we’ll return to Sonoma Raceway with a somewhat improved (but still genuinely terrible) Ranchero in search of two full days or racing. I don’t remember what we did/didn’t have done the weekend before our last race, but two weeks out we’d started it for the first time in months. As of this past weekend:

  • Header installed
  • Second exhaust pipe installed
  • Two barrel carb tuned further
  • Carb adapter throat opened all the way up to 1.75″ bore
  • Front springs cut for a 2″ drop
  • Front end aligned with actual proper camber, caster and toe
  • Rear fenders opened up even more
  • New (well, handed down from the Falcon) windshield installed to replace the scratched, delaminating old one
  • The absence of rain from the forecast means no need to actually wire up those wipers. (BTW, I think that was actually the wrong diagram according to this post)

We took it for a drive (it’s insured and technically (marginally) street legal) and it’s clearly significantly less gutless than before.

However, a few issues and tasks remain:

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This Must be the Cleanest Renault Alliance GTA Convertible on the Planet

Tim Odell January 28, 2016 For Sale

1987 Renault GTA convertible for saleIn today’s edition of Rare Does Not Equal Valuable, we’ll be examining a Renault GTA in 7.5/10 condition. The GTA was a special version of the Renault-built-in-Kenosha Alliance that had the first $1,500 worth of mods anyone would do to sport-up car: body kit, seats, exhaust, motor mounts, lower gearing, sway bars, alloys, etc. According to wikipedia, the main auto mags liked it well enough (despite making a mere 95hp). If nothing else, the GTA gets bonus points for being manual-only.

This example is the extra rare convertible, so the seller can’t really vouch for whether the A/C works or not. Other than that, it’s largely devoid of rust in the rockers or more typical places. Between the old weatherstripping and some hints of orange in the floor, it seems this one might not be completely water-tight anymore.

1987 Renault GTA interior1987 Renault GTA engine

So, unlike the preposterously priced LUV from earlier today, this one’s got a reasonable no-reserve current bid of $1,175 with the auction ending on Saturday. For a small stack of Benjamins you could have the pleasure of constantly reminding people it’s not a Cavalier.

1987 Renault GTA for sale – eBay Motors