Yamaha 750cc Swapped Isetta Seems as Good a Way to Die as Anything

Tim Odell January 5, 2016 For Sale

isetta with yamaha swap We love to upgrade our cars for more power. How many of us have sextupled the original power figure of our cars? Such is the case with is 1957 BMW Isetta that’s had a 750cc Yamaha twin swapped in. Quoth the seller:

The guy I got it from thought it needed the protection of a rollcage because the stock engine was only 13 horsepower and would do 50 mph. so with about 80 hp. maybe it was a good idea.

See? Perfectly safe. The seller says this project is close to completion, but based the photos it appears to have the motor dropped in place and the body, paint and interior sorted. Thankfully, the leftover parts from both the Isetta and Yamaha appear to be in well sorted and bagged, rather than just piled in the back seat/truck/nearest bucket. Induction/exhaust? Engine cooling? Shifter? Pedals? Linking the chain drive up? These are but minor details.

Still, the idea of that big V-twin thrumming beneath your seat while you obliterate golf cart tires at every stop light is an attractive one. Not sure it’s the current bid’s $5100 worth of attractive, but attractive nonetheless.

1957 BMW Isetta with Yamaha 750 swap – eBay Motors

1990 Nissan Homy 4×4 Does Play That

1990 Nissan Homy 4x4 for sale1990 nissan homy interior

Yes, I belie my 1990s formative years with an In Living Color reference. Today’s Homy continues Japan’s tradition of giving vans some of the best names of any vehicles on the planet: Life Dunk, That’s, Scrum Wagon, Every Joypop, Mysterious Utility Wizard, Bongo Friendee, etc.

This Homy is a RHD JDM model that’s been imported legally thanks to it turning 25 in 2015. The interior looks to be in good, clean condition and theoretically seats eight through some jumble of jump seats and benches. Under the hood center console lies a 2.7L diesel good for (searches…) ooof, not much in the way of power or torque. Plan on leaving early and arriving late for any trip to the mountains. Once you’re (finally) there, you could make use of the 4wd system or just fold all the seats flat to make a wonderfully lumpy bed.

If you thought the Dodge Ambulance from earlier today was overpriced at $7500, this one’s gonna hurt even more: $15,000. Now we’re into Westy or even Westy Syncro territory (which I also view as offensively overpriced). Personally, I’d rather have this over the VWs, but driving in the gutter and shifting left handed are going to limit your future buyer pool for sure.

1990 Nissan Homy 4×4 for sale – SF Bay Craigslist

Rambulance! (Again)

1954 dodge m43 ambulance for saleWordPress is telling me I already used that title back in 2010 when I wrote about, well, another Dodge M43 Ambulance (though this seller has his listed as an “M34”). Though…looking through the Wikipedia article on the M37 platform, the 2010 post is most likely an M152 “Enclosed Service Truck”, based on the windows up by the roof. Today’s specimen has no windows and is probably an actual ambulance, converted to forest service search and rescue duty at some point after military retirement.

This one’s in standard condition for a 50 year old military vehicle being sold as a project someone doesn’t have time for anymore: “runs and drives” but “just needs some carb work”. We can translate that to “can be made to run and drive, but probably leaks 20% of its fluids per driving session” and “before you’re done finding carb rebuild parts on a 78hp flathead in a 7000lb vehicle, you’ll be shopping for a 440 on Craigslist“. Which brings us to the seller’s price. Our similar-condition example from 2010? $3k. This one? $7,500. Yes, the economy and values of old 4x4s have both recovered since then, but not that much.

Still, when I see that back end opened up, I can’t help but imagine throwing in a couple of jump seats for the kids, plus enough storage racking and tool box mounts to get through a Mad-Maxian apocalypse/LeMons race/camping trip (it’s really just a sliding scale). Grab that 440 + 727 combo, thrown on a Gear Vendors overdrive and you’re set for whatever could come your way. Just pack a few extra gas cans.

1954 Dodge M43 Ambulance for sale – SF Bay Craigslist


2015 LeMons Arse-Freeze Sonoma Wrapup Video is Up!

Tim Odell December 29, 2015 All Things Hoon

Ok, well, it’s been up since Christmas Eve, but that’s beside the point. Arse-Freeze ’15 was eventful as a Frontenac, with Top Gear showing up, an internet-famous wreck that only killed two of three cars involved and of course HOONIVERSE DOMINATION (of Class F). Anyway, we’ll hand it over to Nick and Jay now…

At $100 Per Cylinder, This Ranchero’s Begging to Hit the Crapcan Circuit

Tim Odell December 29, 2015 For Sale

1966 Ford Ranchero for sale

When we started Hooniverse six years ago, it was as much an outlet for random Craigslist finds as anything else. In that vein, I’d like someone to pick up this Ranchero before I start scheming up a multicar Ranchero fleet. We’re looking at a ’66 Ranchero with a fairly standard 289 + C4 drivetrain. The ’66 Ranchero shares its underpinnings with the Falcon, Fairlane and Mustang of the same era, making for endless donors and aftermarket support. This one’s already a V8 car, so there’s no need to swap over different spindles or a rearend (like we did).

1966 Ford Ranchero for sale1966 Ford Ranchero for sale

Luckily, it’s already running and driving, which addresses a whole bunch of headaches. Unfortunately, like our ’62, this one’s got some floor rust, which means lots of floor rust by the time you’re done cutting it out and stitching in metal good enough to mount a seat and cage to. The C4’s suboptimal, but for now just slap the biggest cooler you can find on it for the first race or two before dropping in a T5. He’s asking $800 “bottom no lower”, but there’s probably a few bucks to be wrung from him for the trouble. Besides, you could yank most of that interior to liberate a few bucks from the budget.

Ok, seriously, someone else go buy this thing so I stop thinking about it.

1966 Ford Ranchero for sale – SF Bay Craigslist

HCOTY: WeeWoo The Ambulance

Tim Odell December 22, 2015 All Things Hoon


My nominee for Hooniverse Car of the Year embodies key Hooniverse Values: Cheap, Crappy-but-remarkably-effective, Unexpected, and the right mix of Stupid and Awesome. While we’ve disqualified LeMons cars from entry (lest HCOTY be nothing but LeMons), this one’s LeMons adjunct. I’m talking about one of the coolest tow rigs around: Philipp Von Weitershausen’s “Wee-Woo” the Ambulance.

I borrowed Wee-Woo to tow the Ranchero back from getting caged at Evil Genius and from the second I hit the road couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. You know a loaned car’s great when you start searching for one of your own before you even hand back the keys.

Wee-Woo is a 1997 Ford E350 ambulance powered by a 7.3l Powerstroke turbodiesel. It’s racked up enough miles to drive around the world a little over 12 times, all on the original engine (but second transmission). So, that “Transcon Medivac” livery…familiar? Probably not in the context of actual medical transit, but think more along the lines of malaise era coast-to-coast races…

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24 Hours of LeMons Pens “A Visit from a Guy Who Looks Suspiciously like Phil” to Warm our Gear Oil Soaked Hearts

murilee claus

We get so much garbage PR mail at the Hooniverse inbox, but the announcements from The 24 Hours of LeMons are pure gold. Ironic, given that the series is dedicated to garbage. Anyway, they’ve topped themselves once again with the latest reminder about signing up for January’s Sonoma race (which reminds me…).

Anyway, here’s the first of several paragraphs; click through for the rest.

‘Twas the Sat. before Christmas, when signups were due,
For LeMons Sonoma, that cold-ass venue.
Chanukah was over, the menorah unlit,
No flaggers were stirring, nor one Tech eejit.
All the hoopties were idle, dismantled in sheds,
And the drivers they dawdl’d, and took to their beds.
But those apps were still due the 19th of December,
As spams bugged them again and again to remember…

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RaceCapture and Podium are the Tools You Need to Win Your HPDE

Tim Odell December 15, 2015 Friends of Hooniverse

You know what improves post-session braggingData. RaceCapture is a device that can turn your OBDII and or CAN-bus-equipped car into a full datalogging, video capture and live-streaming suite. The RaceCapture device incorporates high speed GPS, a six-axis accelerometer, six-axis gyro, video capture (via a high-speed wifi link and your phone) and can stream all of the above in real-time. Secondarily, via the app you can access all your (and your friends’) data via Podium, their social platform.

The AutoSportLabs crew has been making RaceCapturePro for a while now; it’s a “universal” system with the same functionality, but requiring you to wire to every sensor individually, great for older-than-’96 or dedicated race cars, but definitely not plug-and-play easy. With RaceCapture (notPro), you plug RaceCapture into your car’s port, pair to your cell phone and you’re ready to rock. If you want to play further, you can use your phone/tablet to set up custom dashboards (I’ve actually seen these as the primary dashboards of LeMons cars running -Pro) as well as lap time predictions.

From my own perspective, this could be an incredible tool while running LeMons to watch different drivers’ lines and speeds through different sections of the track. Depending on how you can sort and search the data on Podium, it’d be cool to see what cars similar to yours ran at a given track, or conversely, what/who’s running similar lap times.

Hell, the vast majority of our cars are too old to work with RaceCapture, but AutoSportLabs is the kind of small-shop, open-source, enthusiast-oriented outfit we’re happy to give some press to.

Retail pricing for a 2008-and-later compatible setup will be $275, but during the kickstarter it’s down at $199. The adapter for ’96-through-’07 vehicles is another $60. A bit steep to be a stocking stuffer, but probably not so bad compared to all the other ways you’ve thrown money at your car. Their Kickstarter runs into January, with deliveries in May of next year. Check ’em out:

RaceCapture Kickstarter

Now That Rancheros are Race Champions, Get Your Own

Tim Odell December 10, 2015 For Sale

1960 ford ranchero Oddly enough, I know where there’s a Ranchero shell with a full Mustang II front suspension swap completed, just waiting to be caged and turned into a LeMons racer. This is not that vehicle, but arguably a better option depending on what you want to accomplish.

The basics: mildly built ’92 5.0L backed by a T5 five speed, swapped into a ’60 Ranchero. The paint’s not good, but it appears to be intact without many bodywork issues. It’s got a full five-lug swap, but keeps the period-correct (and super cheap) front drums and 14″ Mustang GT styled steel wheels.

Overall, it’s got the essence of a hot rod nailed: the best readily available mechanical parts in a cheap, simple platform with minimal attention to aesthetics. What’s not to love?

$5000 – 1960 Ford Ranchero 5.0 Swapped – SFBay Craigslist

Los Huevos Rancheros Beats Top Gear, “Wins” Class F “Victory” at 24 Hours of LeMons

los huevos rancheros 24 hours of lemons hooniverse

We won LeMons! Ok, well, we won our class at LeMons. That class being Class F, consisting entirely of us and Top Gear USA. Our 108 laps to their 79, despite their crew of at least two professional drivers and support staff of like 40 people.

Of course, it very nearly wasn’t so. The short version is we battled baffling fuel starvation issues most of Friday and Saturday only to hit the track and immediately be black flagged off for a massive fuel leak. Four laps total end of Saturday. Sunday we tortoised their hare, cranking out lap after pathetically slow lap. A minor hiccup with the clutch and shifter linkages put us at risk for about 20 minutes, but we sorted it and finished out the day.

Personally, I want to thank everyone on our team for their efforts and their patience through all the struggles. Jeff, Ryan, Graham and Ted, we couldn’t have done this without something (or many things) each of you did. More importantly, a huge thanks to my wife Daisy for not only putting up with the escalating costs in time and money this misadventure brought, but supporting us with food and drinks and other hospitality. Best. Wife. Ever.

Hit the jump for a few details…

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