There were hints and even leaks, but here it is in all its…umm…glory: the 1926 Willys Knight future 24 Hours of LeMons racer project. Originally a four door powered by the Knight sleeve valve engine, it’s been shorted down to a two door and graced with a 4-linked axle from a Camaro. It’s also got a a leaf sprung solid front axle that’s probably worth enough to offset the already very reasonable purchase price of the car. Now it’s just a matter of engine, transmission, front suspension, fuel system, steering…
…brakes, cage, seat, and a couple hundred other things.
For a bit of context here, The San Diego Crew (my new abbreviated title for my former roommates from sort of automotive Chucky Cheese that we lived in) caught the LeMons bug pretty hard. Graham ran in the last two races, an Aaron helped wrench at Buttonwillow, former DSM addict Paul wants to get back to working on unreliable cars. Despite being fans of BMWs and/or overengineering, the somewhat portly Uberbird, with it’s 1980s styling on 1960s engineering is not the car they dreamed of campaigning in LeMons. The plan was to have them run the Uberbird a couple of times in 2011 to get the hang of it, then work on finding something like a rusty, clapped out 2002 as a blank slate to build into a ghettocharged beast for 2012.
Then the Willys showed up.
Needless to say, this is about as blank a slate as could hope for. In fact there isn’t even a slate, it’s just the easel. Scheming’s afoot in a big way, but the goal is to take the absurdity up a notch from the awesome, but remarkably straightforward Model T GT. Right now we’re thinking twin-ghettocharged BMW M30 for a power plant…as we know where we can get one, really cheap.
Chop shop specials Legitimately parted out shells of cars with halfway decent front suspensions are surprisingly cheap, so it’s just a matter of finding the right deal on the right parts from a car. Josh, whose handywork you can see in the Mini Moke and turbocharged Mini will likely be handling the critical fab work.
Theme? Ideas abound, but right now we’re leaning towards Mr. Peanut Goes Racing: Tuxedo jackets, top hats, canes, monocles, spats, and no pants.
Stay tuned for what will likely initially be infrequent updates, but it’s gonna be one hell of a build.