Hooniverse 24 Hours of Lemons Racing – Project Update 1

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest rear spoiler

Just over two weeks ago I introduced our 2013 24 Hours of Lemons racecar, a 2001 Buick Regal. We (specifically three friends and I) will be racing at the end of the month at the Halloween Hooptiefest At New Hampshire Motor Speedway. We’re all racing rookies and we don’t know the car very well in terms of reliability and driving characteristics, so I am confident that we will do great.

Majority of the important work on the Buick has been completed: cage, seat, F-body brakes, kill switch, brake ducts, transmission cooler. We have also obtained some additional wheels. We have recently tackled the issue of logistics, race strategy, and finally theme.

Yes, that park bench is our rear spoiler, because a racecar isn’t a racecar without a spoiler, ask any four-year-old.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest carpet flames

Yes, carpet flames, to go along with our park bench racing theme.

Not including the drivers, the transmission remains our weakest point. We got a junk yard BMW cooler for it, but it’s still kind of a crap shoot. Spare junk yard transmissions ranged in price from $300 to $1200 (test unit from supercharged Pontiac (stronger)) and were at least 300 miles away. Basically, a spare transmission was out of our budget but we are discussing the potential of buying a whole spare parts car, many of which are available for as much as the said transmissions, but time is our enemy.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest side view

Andy and Justin came up with some kind of  a last minute NASCAR theme for the sides. I have no idea what it is, and neither do they.

We are approaching, and quickly surpassing, our budget limit of $1500 per person net. It’s amazing that it costs over $5000 to race a $500 exotic such as this, but no one ever said that racing was cheap. I should point out that we have done nothing to the car to increase its performance. A ton of money was spend on safety stuff. Additional money is going to race fees, driver fees, fuel, spare parts, etc. It all adds up really quickly. Hopefully we won’t bend this car during the race and our second race will be cheaper.

Great news!! We got some sponsors!!!

  • A hard-working awesome dude with a small business who prefers to remain anonymous has generously contributed $500 towards gasoline, towing, food, camping/hotel, etc. He does business with the company that Andy and Justin work for, he saw them working on the car and loved everything about it. Good Guy Anonymous!
  • Blipshift.com will hook us with some t-shirts!
  • Hooniverse.com, a website you maybe familiar with, will supply us with some monies for bribing of the judges and other random BS in exchange for an awesome windshield banner, which they too will provide.
  • And the big one, BFGoodrich is sponsoring us with a set of g-Force Sport COMP-2 tires. I confirmed with the Gods of Lemons racing and this is cool as long as the tires are within spec. Tires fall under safety exception rule 4.2.1, too.  They are not the Rivals that Jeff “tested” earlier, but they are similar. We will do our best to tell you that YOU should go and buy these tires!!*

And now for some build pictures:

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest wreck

Our “racecar” came with a dent in a shape of a tree, or a pole, in front, which is what drove its low price. Damaged were also the radiator, A/C condenser, and other crap up front. Since Andy owns a sweet Jeep CJ-8 (on 33’s) , that he wheels all the time, he put its winch to a good use…

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest jeep repair

The Scrambler is nearly rust free since Andy bought when he was working in Mexico. He also installed a fuel-injected cylinder head on it from a later Cherokee and he made his own skid plates. It’s slightly lifted but not yet locked, but it has a LSD from a Mustang Cobra in the rear.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick battery

Andy sourced a battery cable from a wrecked E36 BMW which allowed us to place the battery in the trunk. Justin had the battery box from his other race car.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick compression test

Justin did a compression test on a cold engine. Normally you try to do the test at normal operating temperature but we had radiator issues.

  • front, cylinders 5 3 1 – wet 145 115 130, dry 120 90 120
  • rear, cylinders 6 4 2 – wet 150 125 115, dry 130 120 100

Haynes says minimum 100 and maximum 25% from highest reading, so we’re close-ish.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest brakes

F-body caliper brackets were drilled and tapped to fit the Regal bolts. The Camaro calipers were mounted with new rotors and Hawk pads. New braided stainless steel brake lines were installed on all corners and the braking system bled.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick halloween hooptiefest brake ducts

High quality super awesome brake ducts were all Andy’s work. 

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick mustang wheels

Used Mustang wheels are amazingly cheap. Here they are on Andy’s trailer. Andy used that trailer and his Jeep to move from Massachusetts to school in California, and back to Massachusetts. Yes, he fit all his personal possessions into a Jeep and a small trailer.

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick rear

 A different view of the bench. It’s set up for easy removal in case it becomes a safety issue or if it hinders our performance. Ha!

Hooniverse 24 hours of lemons buick right side

More updates soon…

*Just kidding. But this actually is a perfect opportunity to review something like this. Stay tuned.


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42 responses to “Hooniverse 24 Hours of Lemons Racing – Project Update 1”

  1. LTDScott Avatar

    Looking good! I love the park bench on the back.
    I think this may have been mentioned previously, but be careful with the wheels. The 5×114.3 lug pattern of the wheels is close enough to the 5×115 lug pattern of your car, but the lug nuts will not full seat on the wheels. I actually did the opposite thing by putting newer Dodge Magnum 5×115 steelies on my 5×114.3 Ford LTD for a short while. While I didn't have any problems with this, I was never comfortable with the idea (especially knowing how I drive) so I ended up ditching them. I'd be a bit uncomfortable racing on them.
    I actually have a photo where you can see that the wheel stud was not centered in the hole, but my work's internet filter apparently thinks my own hosted website is spam so I can't post it.
    Oh, and I bet BF Goodrich would appreciate if you spelled the name of their company correctly 😉

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      Yes, I saw your comment on the previous thread and I mentioned it to Andy and Justin. They feel that it won't be an issue, but we'll be vigilant and keep our eyes on the lug-nutz. Thanks!

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Yeah, at minimum I'd re-torque them at your first pit stop to see if they have loosened.
        We almost lost a wheel on our car during our last race. We had to swap the transmission at 1 in the morning and forgot to re-torque the lug nuts on one wheel. Thankfully I had converted my BMW from the idiotic stock wheel bolts to extra long studs with nuts, and the nuts were at least finger tight. That was the only thing that prevented a catastrophe.

  2. Nuclearspork Avatar

    Next year will be our 5th year running our stock 3speed auto in my Ciera. This is the trans that the car left the factory with and other than a couple fluid changes we haven't touched it and it hasn't given us any problems as of yet.
    As long as it is in good shape long and you keep it cool you should be fine. And while everyone wants a manual on the track it does give a bunch of new guys one less thing to worry about.
    I would also consider getting an oil cooler and mount that too. The temps should be cool for this race but recently when our water pump seized the only cooling our engine was getting for that lap was from the oil cooler, and that probably saved the engine.
    I would second LTDScott on the wheels, 5×114.3 may be ok on the street but I've seen enough cars in lemons brake lugs with the correct sized wheels. I'd spend the extra and just get some 5×115 wheels. THere are enough GM's using that size that they shouldn't be that hard to find some cheap ones.
    Also strategy should be go out get some laps bring the car back the same as it left.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    "Hooniverse.com, a website you maybe familiar with, will supply us with some monies for bribing of the judges and other random BS in exchange for an awesome windshield banner, which they too will provide."
    Hey, wait a minute, I had to pay good money out of my own pocket for the pair of Hooniverse stickers on my cage:
    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3761/9686509015_f5af62c16b.jpg&quot; width="450">
    I'm starting to suspect I may not understand this sponsorship thing very well. I didn't even get a discount on the Hooniverse subscription fees.

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      If you show up at the race, I'll happily give you a sticker for free. And a BS t-shirt, too.

      1. Nuclearspork Avatar

        so now we need to pay more money to fly cross country for the sticker and a Shirt, I think it might still be cheaper to buy them.

        1. Kamil_K Avatar

          Email Jeff, he's in Cali, which maybe a shorter trip for you. 🙂

      2. mdharrell Avatar

        It's a generous offer, but I don't know…. I already visited the East Coast once back in 1986.

        1. Rover1 Avatar

          It's very important to not be to impulsive about these things, otherwise life ends up one big mad rush. And from what I've seen, if you will excuse my presumption, you don' t appear to have the vehicle fleet to suit rushing too much. 🙂

    2. craigsu Avatar

      I'll bet you had to pay for the Atomic Toasters sticker too.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        At least I got the notice next to it for free by pulling it off a dryer that had just been delivered to a nearby laundromat.

        1. Mechanically Inept Avatar
          Mechanically Inept

          I could hook you up with some stickers that say "DO NOT FREEZE" below an image of a penguin wearing a tuxedo.

  4. muthalovin Avatar

    I am digging the park theme. Maybe add a sandbox and a slide to the roof?

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      No, that's where the fishing pond will be.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        Stocked with trout?

  5. Maxichamp Avatar

    Dude, where's the Mugen Power sticker?
    Good luck and be safe!

  6. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    I have it on good authority from Judge Phil that the best bribes are a) Red Sox memorabilia and b) pickle-flavoured vodka, if you can find any.
    Or maybe he wasn't being sarcastic. I'm not sure. 😉

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      Dude, I have the best of Polish vodka.
      Red Sox… I don't know, I live in Boston but I'm not a fan.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        In all seriousness, 3 Pedal Mafia gave the judges a bottle of Naked Jay Big Dill at last year's Hooptiefest. Everyone passed it around. Everyone seemed to hate it except for me. When I asked Phil if he was judging this year, he explicitly told me that he didn't want any pickle vodka – I didn't even offer; he just remembered that it'd been foisted onto me, and figured I might show up with some.
        (Which I might.)
        Also, he's threatened to make any teams with Red Sox decals/memorabilia/the like on their cars retheme them with Yankees insignia. My daily driver still has a red B and a 'FENWAY' oval from the previous owner… I'm no baseball fan either; they're just left there to help it blend into Boston traffic.

        1. Kamil_K Avatar

          Given that our vehicle is well within the budget and has zero blatant performance upgrades, we should be ok with just the vodka. And maybe some connolis from Mike's Pastries.

          1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

            "Given that our vehicle is a naturally-aspirated Buick…"
            Yeah, you'll be fine. What class do you expect, if you had to guess? Being a Regal rather than a Century, and not being excessively butt-turrible at a glance, I'd assume he'd stick you in B, but the vodka may help you more than I think.

          2. Nuclearspork Avatar

            I would assume B unless you have a bad C class(meaning cars that aren't truely awful) the C class Bar has been raised, or lowered according to how you look at it.

          3. Kamil_K Avatar

            No clue.

          4. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

            I recommend meat not pastries to bribe with, though pecan pies are cool. Think smoked Polish stuff.

          5. Nuclearspork Avatar

            my cheese cake seems to always go well, and the chocolate chip cookies are almost gone before I'm through BS. I would say homemade stuff trumps store bought, and if it is bought try to go regional so it is something different for them.

          6. Van_Sarockin Avatar

            I bet he takes the cannoli. And Mike's are nuclear grade shizzle, though Modern's better.

        2. Kamil_K Avatar

          Are you racing this year?
          If you see a confused tall guy with this heep, come over and say, that will probably be Andy. 😛

          1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

            Not racing, just spectating, same as last year. Too broke to get any racing time. I'll be the guy with the ponytail and glasses, generally accompanied by the bald fellow who might be dressed as a lady (one Rockford Brodie), and I can probably be recruited to stand around and, should some sort of breakage happen, hand you tools, laugh, or do other things that don't involve actual wrenching (as much as I'd be willing, the rules don't really allow for it).

        3. craigsu Avatar

          I suspect Bob the Builder is about to become a rabid Yankees fan.

  7. Bret Dodson Avatar

    I can't think of a better wing for a Buick than a bench. You guys are going to have a blast.
    I'll echo what everyone else is saying about the wheels, "close enough" isn't close enough. You don't want a wheel failure, that's scary. Wheels are an important safety item, don't skimp there.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Every Buick needs at least two rows of bench seats.

  8. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I drove the Comp 2 as well. It was during the MX-5 portion of the story. We started with the T/A KDW, moved to the Comp 2, and finally jumped to the Rival.
    Each offered a greater level of lateral grip, it was a neat exercise. Those tires will do great at LeMons.

  9. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    This looks pretty amazing. I'm excited to see how this turns out.

  10. cruisintime Avatar

    Takes the term " Bench Racing" to new heights.
    Lots of luck…..

  11. MVEilenstein Avatar

    Adrian Newey would be proud of those brake ducts.

  12. Zaxbys Avatar

    I've been wanting to add some ducting to the front brakes on my DD. I might have to do something similar to this so I can say "I've seen dedicated race cars do this!"

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      The brake ducting on my LeMons car is genuine used NASCAR stuff I got from eBay. It was a lot cheaper than buying new.

      1. EscortsForever Avatar

        Hmmm, good idea. My car already pulls to the right so putting Nascar parts on it should straighten it out.
        More seriously, I don't see any Nascar ducting for less than $60 on Ebay now. I think I can get some drainage tubing from Walmart's rv section for much less than that.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          Well, it depends on what you're looking for. Other types of ducting from the hardware store may be cheaper, but I was using cheap dryer ducting before and it just fell apart during every race. So I decided I wanted to get proper high temp brake ducting that would last longer.
          I bought a huge box of the used NASCAR ducting for like $45 shipped, whereas brand new it was $50+ for less than half the length that I bought. The ducts survived the last race (in 110 degree temps) without a scratch, and did their job as the brakes never overheated.

  13. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Awesome effort there! That epic flame job is epic. Plus it reduces the surface area you can be forced to write your crimes on. And the bench is sure to add downforce where and when you need it. Mobile reviewing stand, also. I think you'll all have immense fun out there.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      "Plus it reduces the surface area you can be forced to write your crimes on."
      I wouldn't count on that.
      <img src="http://www.fine-tools.com/be317011a.jpg"&gt;