1973 Pinto Wagon Makes a Most Optimal LeMons Car

Tim Odell January 12, 2016 For Sale

1973 Ford Pinto for saleInternet Car Experts® love to gripe about how it’s impossible to find a remotely competent car for LeMons-legal pricing. To this we reply: Competence is significantly overrated and you just need to look harder. We’re not saying it’s easy; heck, even Hitler had a hard time searching (here’s some context on that)), but every once and a while a proper “just want it gone” special shows up. It’s even better when said “just want it gone” special checks all the boxes limiting the buyer population (and thus, value): green, Pinto, Wagon, manual, no motor, no title, last registered in 1982.

Most of those work in our favor: Pintos are light and can be made to handle. Even if that tranny’s toast, you’ve got a 3 pedals and some linkages to work with. Having no motor is hardly an issue, as you could pick one up here, here or here. While you’re at it, pick up a whole nearly-identical spare car. Scrap prices are lousy, so there’s no imminent threat of it going to The Great Refrigerator Factory in The Sky (aka Guangzhou) in a hurry, so why not show up with a trailer, tow vehicle and $100 and see what happens? Hell, I get the feeling they wouldn’t even be all that sad if you stole it in the middle of the night.

1973 Ford Pinto Wagon for sale – SF Bay Craigslist


1957 edsel ranchero for sale

Why did Edsel fail? Common answers include overwrought, hideous or generally gynecological styling, poor assembly quality and a lack of identity in the Ford hierarchy of brands. Clearly, it’s for absence of a car-truck. Luckily, through the beauty of interchangeable parts, we can create our own from a like-year Ranchero.

This seller’s gone ahead and started us down that road, offering a ’57 Ranchero with an Edsel clip retrofitted in place. It’s a rolling chassis with no engine (though the seller states/asks that he can provide one with a mysterious question mark?). This one’s a true field find, as it’s been sitting for 20 years and the CA DMV has no record of it. Luckily, you can still get Ford FE motors (guess what the “E” in FE stands for?) on Craigslist for a few hundred bucks. Similarly, there’s decent aftermarket support for late-50s Fords, so long as you don’t need some year/trim specific interior trim bit.

Anyway, the seller gives us just this one picture, minimal info and a price of $2500 for the whole thing (and $500 more for the original Ranchero front clip). Surely there’s a joke about paying that much for…that…grille, but we’re too classy to make it.

1957 Edsel Ranchero – Sacramento Craigslist

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…

… Continue Reading

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…

… Continue Reading

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