Home » Project Cars » Recent Articles:

Project Cars Update: LeMons Ranchero and Falcon

Tim Odell September 22, 2015 Project Cars

ranchero lemons project carInterchangeable parts, platform sharing and shared engineering are wonderful things. As an engineer, nothing scares me more than low-volume, one-off craftsmanship. On a high level, Ford used The Falcon Platform from the 1960 Falcon to the 1980 Granada/Monarch/Versailles, but their insistence on minor changes over the years has me nearly stymied.

We’ve converted the Ranchero LeMons Racer to nearly full 1965 GT350 front suspension and brakes with minimal effort, but I can’t get the right steering parts to do the same for my daily driver Falcon.

… Continue Reading

Project Integra – Valve Cover Refinish

Valve cover before and after 2

It really bothered me. Every time I opened the hood of my project Integra, there it was, staring me in the face – the aged and faded valve cover. I decided to do something about it. As you can judge from the above picture, the result is pretty good. It’s actually much better than I anticipated. Hit the jump for the step-by-step of how I did it.

… Continue Reading

Justy Little Project Car: Shifter Tips for Everyone, Sweet New Wheels for Me

Alan Cesar August 17, 2015 Featured, Project Cars


Though my Subaru Justy’s cabin is surprisingly roomy and airy for such a small car and the pedals are well placed for podiatric gymnastics (I can make up words), the sloppy and vague shifter has always been something of a disappointment. The 4-wheel-drive system also wasn’t switching on. It might seem silly to work on these small problems when I have the elephant of low compression also looming in the garage, but after two years of fighting with an AMC Eagle’s clutch, I needed to establish some forward progress and eke out a little satisfaction from this project car before I could knock on the door to the engine party.

… Continue Reading

Project Regretmobile Dodge Magnum, Part 1: An elegy for sensibility


This is Kevin. Kevin doesn’t know why he’s agreed to help me.

I am not a smart man.

We must get that out of the way here because it will make understanding the rest of this story so much easier. This is going to be a long build story about me, Eric Rood—a complete idiot whose mushy brain is filled almost entirely with Bad Ideas—and my struggles with building a $200 1979 Dodge Magnum XE to race in the 24 Hours of LeMons. Naturally, I’m already two months behind on telling the story of this Personal Luxury Coupe.

This Last of the B-Bodies.

This Malaise Era Mopar Orphan (Mop-phan).

This rusting 3,900-pound albatross.

… Continue Reading

Project AMC Eagle wrap-up: “Universal” was an exact fit; I sold it anyway

Alan Cesar July 28, 2015 Project Cars

20150701_185711 This AMC Eagle’s unobtainable clutch master cylinder has plagued me since I bought the project two years ago. After enough screwing around with rebuild kits and new hoses, I finally capitulated and followed the advice of a LeMons racer I met last year: It’s a simple hydraulic system. Just adapt a Tilton or a Wilwood master cylinder and move on.

That advice was better than I could’ve imagined, but it still didn’t solve the problem.  … Continue Reading

True Companion: Living with a 1990 Peugeot 205 XS for two years


A little more than two years ago, in the middle of the summer of 2013, I bought one of the cheapest cars I’ve ever seen advertised with valid inspection, let alone bought for myself. It was a white Peugeot 205 XS with 230 000 km on the clock, it cost 350 euros and I pretty much immediately wrote it up for Hooniverse. After being used as a student runabout, it was the way you would imagine a cheap, somewhat neglected car to be, as the paint was dull, the interior smelled of smoking and the engine bay was horrendously dirty. There were a bunch of weird noises here and there, the tires were bad and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it, except tidy it up and drive it. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in the past two years.

It’s most likely one of the best deals I’ve ever done.

I’ll now let you catch up on the two years’ time I’ve had the affable little French econobox, and it’s going to be photo-heavy. Even so, that it’s better to splice up the pieces into several posts.

… Continue Reading

1931 Chevrolet Build Update


There has been progress on the ’31 Chevrolet hot rod/rat rod. This is slow work, since we are making it up as we go, but we are moving forward. At last update, we had added some patch panels to the body and were trying to shore up the shell so it could be moved around without it collapsing like a house of cards. Though the photo above may look like it collapsed, it actually represents quite a lot of progress.

… Continue Reading

Calculating Head CCs, Compression Ratio and Risk Tolerance

Tim Odell June 11, 2015 Project Cars

measure cc head

Engineering’s a funny thing: there’s no such thing as “Best”, only “Best for a Purpose”. We’ll take The Ranchero’s cylinder head as a case study: I’ve got a good 200ci block bored .030″ over and a mystery head. I need to determine how much to mill off that head to ensure straightness and the proper compression ratio.

I wanted to do a whole tech write up on this process, but to be honest it’d just be recreating this diagram and repeating much of this Classic Inlines article about static Vs dynamic compression ratios. To summarize the first: there are many things that contribute to the ratio of displaced volume and leftover space at top-dead center. The second: gnarly cams effectively drop your compression ratio.

head level

In my case, it’s a pretty common theme you’ll see: early-to-mid-’60s motors tend to have lousy cylinder heads with small ports and valves. Later 60s-70s-80s motors have better flow, but also larger combustion chambers. If you drop a later model head on an early motor, you’re likely to end up with a pathetically low compression ratio in the 7s-to-low-8s:1 range, so you’ve got to mill it down.

In my case, I measured the existing chamber volume using kitchen oil and a freebie drugstore syringe, then created my own Google docs sheet to do the math for how much milling gives how much leftover space.

With that in mind, what compression ratio would you target to eek a few more ponies out of a gutless motor without creating something that’ll detonate to oblivion on lap two?


Help a Hoon: Suggestions for a Replacement Heater Valve


Hey everybody, I need to engage the awesome power of the greater Hooniverse in finding a replacement part for one of my project cars.

My Jensen Healey got a handsome new radiator yesterday, one I picked up on the cheap at last month’s Queen’s English car show. It was while testing and installing the radiator that I discovered that the heater valve has apparently been keeping company with Greek wine amphora in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean. At least that’s how it appears.

The valve is vacuum operated and has 1/2-inch connections on either side. I’m sure that there’s an exact replacement option that would keep the car OEM and my wallet all the emptier, but that’s not my goal. What I want to do is find the best replacement that won’t clean out the kids’ piggy bank.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to an alternative valve that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? So far I found one – for a Porsche 928 or all things – on PartsGeek that runs $22.99, but I’m not sure if the connections are the right size on that one.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Project Car Fun: 1964 Corvair Monza


A few weeks ago, I was visiting my brother’s place, and I had a chance to talk with him about his latest project – a 1964 Corvair Monza. I’ve seen it a few times before, but this time I wanted to let you all in on the fun. Check it out. … Continue Reading


Hooniverse Marketplace

Featuring Top 2/3 of vehicles Available in Marketplace

Read more

Subscribe via RSS