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

This Must be the Cleanest Diesel Luv on the Planet

1982 chevy luv diesel for saleQuick, think of the Chevy LUV. Is your mental image that of a faded yellow or brown model with an oxidized-to-chalk camper shell on the bed? Dinky tires that cost $15 each when new 18 years ago? Right. Such is the LUV in its natural habitat.

But then we have this thing: with 82,000 miles on the clock, it’s cleaner than any vehicle I’ve ever owned. The silver paint’s still shiny and unoxidized. The red interior’s still red. The seats have no tears. The carpet, no stains. Its only modification is a set of cheap chrome wheels.

I suspect the its powertrain might’ve saved it. GM’s early 80s “experimenting with BDSM diesel” phase didn’t exactly work out, so the (I’m guessing) 58 horsepower this unit’s 2.2L motor made kept it away from serious truck duty or wannabe racer/minitruckin’ influences.

So, um, does anyone want to go to Hardy, Arkansas and pay around $5k for the World’s Nicest Diesel LUV?

1982 Chevrolet LUV Diesel for sale – eBay Motors

4 Cylinder, 4 Speed, IRS-equipped 1963 Pontiac Tempest Could Make a Surprisingly Modern Cruiser

Tim Odell January 26, 2016 For Sale

1962 pontiac tempest for saleIf I were a Leno-grade car collector, I’d be sure to add every example of the early Y-body GM compacts to my stable. They featured unique and impressive technology for the day that was seemingly “lost” until embarrassingly recent years. Most ironically, it was the Tempest LeMans GTO that kicked off the “sell the same big, dumb V8s over and over” era, but its roots were quite contrarian. This ’62 sports a four cylinder (that’s half of a 389ci V8) mated to a flexible driveshaft connecting to a rear-mounted transmission and independent suspension.

This particular one is refreshingly “driver grade”, with imperfect paint and a four year slumber that it’s waking from. No need to keep it perfectly stock. The cool part of the Pontiac four-pot is one could theoretically crank up the performance with a bunch of half-orders from Jegs or Summit. Meanwhile, upgrade to electronic ignition and drop on one of those bolt-on TBI systems to the four barrel intake to wring some drivability and efficiency out of the thing.

The reserve’s unmet at $3,500, but the Buy-it-Now’s set for $6k, which isn’t too far off the mark anyway. Could be a great mix of sport, comfort, economy and uniqueness that’d be hard to beat at that price.

1962 Pontiac Tempest for sale – eBay Motors

LeMons Ranchero Update: Better Breathing, Sparking and Sliding

ranchero project car

When we last left the Ranchero, we’d finished up Arse-Freeze-a-Palooza “victorious” in class F against Top Gear USA. (By the way, how long do we think it’ll take them to get that episode on the air? Surely one of their legion of regular viewers will let us know). We’re all set on the fuel issues that held us back, so for February’s Sears Pointless we’re seeing what we can do to wring a few more ponies out of our 200ci straight six. After all, we spent most of our running time posting laps on par with the Corona and the Geo-on-520-treadwear-Primewell-tires for bottom-three lap times.

The to-do list for this past weekend:

  • Replace crapped-out leaf spring shackle mounts with sliders (then trim fenders to accommodate lower stance)
  • Swap in a 2-barrel carburetor (and adapter and build a linkage from scratch)
  • Fix exhaust leaks (then just give up and install a header)
  • Swap in Duraspark electronic ignition and higher-voltage coil (despite not having all the wiring to do so)

Click through to see how it went…

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Hayabusa Powered Locost would Make a Fine Daily Driver

Tim Odell January 21, 2016 For Sale

hayabusa swapped lotus 7 cloneLotus 7 clones, be they the more legit Caterham or much more DIY-y versions tend to max out the performance-per-dollar scales. They typically tip the scales between 1200 and 1500lbs, so it doesn’t take much in the way of horsepower to make an incredibly quick ride. Luckily, today’s example does’t have to make excuses for itself, sporting a nearly-200hp second generation Hayabusa engine and gearbox. It puts power to the ground through a Toyota Celica rear diff and a set of 14″ Hoosier slicks. The seller lists a ton of other details of upgrades for hardcore autocross performance, as well as boasts of regularly getting fastest time of the day.

Obviously, as-configured it’s only street legal if you declare your driveway to be its own sovereign state. That said, with the addition of a few lights you could probably get a small-volume exemption/individual constructor’s title in some of the more permissive states.

Bidding’s currently at $4,555 with an unmet reserve and three days left. Like I said above, it’ll shame vehicles costing 10x that much, but given that you have to trailer it everywhere and chassis/suspension spares aren’t necessarily just an Autozone away, it’s hard to image forking over significantly more than the current price.

Hayabusa Powered Lotus 7 clone for sale – eBay Motors

1942 Packard 4×4 Ambulance: A Suitable Project on which to Toil for All Eternity

Tim Odell January 19, 2016 All Things Hoon

1942 henney packard ambulance 4x4 for saleYou don’t need to be a pre-war vehicle expert to immediately know a 1942 Packard is an incredibly stately vehicle. Subject of one of the best slogans ever, these were the pinnacle of American automobiles. Now, take that mental image and stretch it out to be an ambulance wagon. Now, lift it eight inches and convert to heavy-duty four-wheel-drive. Now, let all four tons of American Iron rot in the Arizona desert for a few decades. Welcome to today’s eBay find.

We’re looking at a Packard converted to ambulance duty by Henney, but where the 4×4 came from remains a mystery. The chassis and body are commercial duty models and the original paint appears to be olive drab. There’s no official documentation or record relating to how they got there. The axles look like the Marmon-Herrington units contemporary to fire truck and other conversions of the era. The seller does hint that many manufacturers submitted proposals for 4×4 car vehicles for staff car and ambulance duty (the Dodge WC ambulance won the contract), so maybe this is one of those. It comes with a spare straight-eight motor and trans and a body that needs complete restoration. Complete restoration on this beast could easily be measured in decades, to say nothing of the monetary sum.

Alternately, it could just be an early version of the redneck-favorite Trar. This is a tricky vehicle, as it might be incredibly rare and important, but then again might be a butchered, clapped-out shell. If it’s the later…that’s when we might start having discussions about Cummins 6BT swaps and diverging pretty far from pure restoration. What would you do with this thing?

1942 Henny-Packard Ambulance 4×4 for sale – eBay Motors


Hooniverse Asks Bonus: Help Me Wire our Wipers

falcon two speed wiper wiringWe’re back in action, working on our (Class F winning!) 1962 Ranchero LeMons racer. We’re diving into a huge to-do list (more on that later), but could use a hand setting up some simple wiring for a newly acquired electric wiper motor. This is a two-speed unit, wired as you see above. Click here for a full-resolution version of the circuit diagram. Unfortunately, all we have is the motor and immediately attached wiring, but no factory switches or squirter stuff.

Based on what you see above, how should we wire a simple single “on” switch to run in low? It’s not clear to me what’s actual power and what are weird loop-backs to help with the squirter circuit. Bonus points: how to wire a triple-throw switch for high/low/off operation?

Just as a bonus, here’s the latest on the car: last weekend we took care of a number of leftovers from the first race: finally painting the whole cage, changing the oil, cleaning up janky gauge wiring, etc. The biggest upgrade was installing a wideband O2 sensor for future tuning and carb debugging utility. Still to-do are swapping in a non-fogged windshield, the two-barrel carb, electronic ignition and repairing the broken shackle mount (more on that in a different post). According to The Internet, this motor will bolt up right in place of our dead vacuum motor and the linkages all just work.

LeMons Tow Rig Review: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2015 chevrolet silverado review

Before returning the our 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, I had to do my best to get the get the oil, beer, and food spills out of the bed and the wiff-of-homeless-guy out of the interior. Three days of LeMons Support duty will do that to a truck. The Car Blog Commenting Guild™ endlessly laments the increasing niceness of pickup trucks. Trucks like the high-end F150 Kamil reviewed cause wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Whatever happened to cloth interiors? I don’t want a Cadillac, I just want a truck!”.

This is a Truck.

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Showdown, Grey-Market 4x4s Edition

Tim Odell January 14, 2016 For Sale, Showdown

1987 toyota land cruiser 70 series for sale1987 nissan patrol for sale

Around the developing world, Land Cruiser Vs Patrol is a bit like Mustang Vs Camaro. Today we’ve got a pair from the mid-80s for you to choose from, from the same seller, no less. In the US, we assume Land Cruisers to be larger family dirt wagons and Patrols to be more Wrangler or Defender-like. This pair reverses that, with a Patrol wagon and two door Land Cruiser.

The Patrol’s an ’87 “MK” model, sporting an SD33 Turbodiesel engine and five-speed manual transmission. Fun fact: that SD33 actually made an appearance in the engine bays of IH Scouts in the final years of production. That motor’s good for right around 100hp and 175lb-ft of torque. The interior looks to be in decent shape (particularly for 390k km), complete with a third row seat. The seller’s English isn’t particularly strong, but we can glean that it’s been sitting for months and will need some love to bring back into true driveable condition.

At $8,999, you’ve gotta really value that “What is that?!” factor.

1986 Nissan Patrol for sale – eBay Motors

Sadly, Toyota never offered the 70-series Land Cruiser in the US. Though, weirdly, this one has a US-VIN and a speedometer/odometer delineated in miles, somehow. Our eBayer bought it from a guy in Washington State 3.5 years ago and has been bombing around on back roads with it ever since. This model also sports a 100-ish hp diesel backed by a five-speed. Beyond the installation of new cheesy aftermarket seats (he’s got the originals), the seller offers us basically zero information on condition.

So, uh…also $8,999 for this guy.

1987 Land Cruiser 70 series for sale – eBay Motors

What’ll it be? Datsun or Toyoda?