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Great LeMons Starter Volvo for $1,000

1968 Volvo 142 Lemons race car

Interested in getting started in LeMons? A good first step would be to buy an ancient American land yacht or hopeless Porsche to start with. Wait, no. The best way to get started in LeMons is to hitch a ride as an “arrive-and-drive” to see if it’s really for you. Suppose you failed to learn your lesson then, and instead want a bigger piece of the misery pie in the form of your own car. You could start with any number of hopeless craigslist or eBay finds, but buying an already-built car could definitely save a bundle of cash. As we know all too well, previous owner mods go back at half-price on any project car, LeMons included. As we also know, previous owner mods can be done properly or, well, not. Buying a car with a cage that’ll fail tech is a great way to screw yourself.

It ran one race at Sonoma sometime in 2015 (judging by the livery on Eyesore in that picture), so the cage is definitely up to current spec. It’s been sitting since then, will need some motor work and other minor sorting

Here’s what Steve, the seller has to say:

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Hooniverse 24 Hours of Lemons: Another Season for the Buick

Buick hooniverse 24 lemons 2016

It’s hard to believe that this is the fourth season of our crapcan Buick racer. This year, like for the last two years, we are starting off at Real Hoopties of New Jersey, at New Jersey Motorsports Park. As always, we’re preparing ourselves for a fun weekend of racing and [then] drinking. We never attempt to be the fastest or best in class, but we try our best. We want to drive as much as possible, avoid track-side repairs as much as we want to avoid penalties. This is why few weeks before each race we gather together to go over the car, plan stuff, and decide what food to bring.

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Could the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally be the perfect theme for the Lada?

Lada theme idea

The 2016 Geneva Auto Show is in full swing, as I have learned through the pictures posted on social media by auto-journalists, writers, bloggers, picture-takers. That’s cool, because cars are cool and I like cars. But then I saw the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally, which is a FIA R-GT spec concept, I guess. And I lost my shit. It’s amazing. We’ll have our typical pointless opinions on everything Geneva soon, so don’t waste your time going anywhere else.

Back to the Abarth 124 Rally. Gawd, just look at it, it’s perfect! And it got me thinking… the 124 Rally is red. My Lada is red. The 124 Rally is a racecar. My Lada is a “racecar”, too. The Abarth 124 Rally is based on the Fiat 124. The Lada Signet/2107 is also based on a Fiat 124!!!

You see where I am going with this? How cool would the Lada look themed as the Abarth 124 Rally?


Video: Lada Lemons, the original build

Kamil Kaluski February 29, 2016 PBR Lada Signet

I blame Murilee Martin, the Saucy Minx, who started it all with this Project Car Hell post. Typically with such article, everyone would vote for the more hellish project, results would be posted the next day, everyone had a good laugh, and moved on to the next article. Except for a couple of idiots from Michigan who thought that racing a Lada would be a great idea. They actually went to Canada, bought the Lada, and brought it back to U.S.

Now in the possession of your idiot author, the Lada sits at a friend’s shop near Boston. As I am trying to figure out my plan to get this car into race-ready state, I look back at the original build for inspiration. The above video is from that build and it’s pretty cool, check it out.

And the “new” Hooniverse 24 Hours of Lemons racer is…

hooniverse lada lemons racer rear


And that is a Canadian-market Lada Signet, also known as the VAZ/Lada 2107 in other parts of the world. And it’s a Lada you may have seen before, as it is a past Index of Effluency 24 Hours of Lemons winner. The car has long history which I will dab into at another time.

Right now this magnificent racecar is being shipped to me from Detroit. It’s previous owner/caretaker/racer is Autoweek’s Rory Carroll. He graciously donated it to me under two conditions: that I race it and that if I ever choose to part with it, he would have the right of first refusal. That’s more than fair. In return I offered him to be a part of the team on the first race.

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Sears Pointless 2016: Hooniverse, The Smashening

YouTube Preview Image

“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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Teaser: Our 24 Hours Of LeMons Adventure In Sonoma

Teaser: 24hrs of LeMons SonomaA quick peek at the upcoming 24hrs of LeMons video…

Posted by Hooniverse on Monday, February 15, 2016

Here’s a quick peek at our (mis)adventures this past weekend up in Sonoma. We were running well… and then we weren’t. More to come, stay tuned.

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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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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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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