Team Unknown Fluids, Comin at Ya!

Team Unknown Fluids BMW 633csi at the 24 Hours of LeMonsYou know your brand is really taking off when you can afford to sponsor a race car. We can’t afford to sponsor a race car, so we bought one.

As-purchased.
As-purchased.

The likelihood of anyone here not knowing about the 24 Hours of LeMons is slim-to-none but just in case, here’s a primer: You race a $500 car on a real race track for 24 hours. Minor caveats: the $500 doesn’t apply to safety equipment (wheels, tires, brakes, cage, etc) and the 24 hours is usually more like “all day Saturday and all day Sunday”. Although, they did just run 24-straight at Nelson Ledges in Ohio.
On to the good part: us. In a mind-boggling spur-of-the-moment move, our own Braff decided to pull the trigger on a 1982 BMW 633csi from a “Donate Your Junk Car” charity for a few hundred bucks . The 6-series BMWs retailed in the$35-40k range, about $80 grand in today’s dollars. Oh how the mighty have fallen. We have the title from the previous owner of our car, one Mr Rex Threat, of Compton, CA. According to is his business card, he was a salesman for dial-up internet services.
Even at a few hundred bucks, Braff still paid too much. Aside from being a 3-speed automatic, the car suffered a miasma of maladies: 4 bad tires, a dead battery, bad starter switch, bad starter, right-front steering linkage was shot, driveshaft carrier bearing was shot, incorrect rear brake rotors installed, frozen rear brake caliper, bad CV joint, and a destroyed Guibo joint. You heard me: Guibo joint. Yours truly managed to get it running in a weekend (total fluke), a cause for great celebration.
Well be upgrading the sway bars.
We'll be upgrading the sway bars.

Several months and several hundred dollars to RockAuto later (those guys need to sponsor us), and we’ve got a functional, driveable pathetic excuse for a racecar. We raced under the banner of Team Unknown Fluids, a CSI Miami Theme (633csi, get it?), complete with crime scene tape and a body on the roof.
This thing is a blast to drive. With 177k on the clock, the 3.2L “Big Six” still sounds like Serious Business and could power the car down the straights with the best of the non-cheater cars them. In fact, the whole experience has given me a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to mid-80s BMW 5 and 6 series cars. Don’t tell the LeMons Judges, but their reputation as complicated basket cases is totally overblown (that is, the Bimmers, not the judges). Expect to hear more on them until someone tells me to shut up.
Braff and team mate (and Cars.About.com writer) Aaron Gold both did their own writeups on how we did. The short version: not well, but not bad for a first outing. We had some breakage (dangling exhaust, another guibo, fuel line(!), loose hood pins), on Saturday. Sunday was going splendidly until the Magnum P.U. MR2 spun in front of us and came blasting onto the track in front of Mad_Science_Senior. Crash, boom, red flags, tow trucks.  You know the deal.
DSC_0293
Not how we wanted to exit the track.

We’ll be back at in at the upcoming Thunderhill Arse-Freeze-apalooza with a some tweaks on the car and a new theme (more on both to come!). If you live anywhere in Northern California (or, say: Canada) it’s totally worth the trip. Willows is wonderful this time of year!
Check out the gallery below or hit up my flickr stream for pictures of the car’s build-up and more track action.

32 Comments

  1. Paging Mr. Engineerd… Mr. Engineerd to the white courtesy phone. A Mr. Jazdy and some velocity trumpets are on hold. Something about Lemons. I think he wants to make some juice.
    No… the WHITE courtesy phone.

      1. Well the $600 Shadow will have to haggled down to a qualifying price. But I could probably fix that Supra for cheap.

        1. No, $600 is a good start – then you sell of bits and pieces (with receipts) to get it under that $500 value.

          1. I don’t think there will be much to sell if its been running on the dirt track at Oak Shade. But I’m willing to go take a look at it.

          2. Well I am interested in getting a team together. I’m in Ferndale just off of I-75 and since I have to get a job soon (call back at the Caddy dealer tomorrow and awaiting a decision from MB in Bloomfield Hills) we have to look at weekends.
            If anyone is interested, I’m on the Hooniverse facebook page as Rob Gasper

    1. Sorry, stupid work got in the way, then I picked up the red phone. Did you know Fidel Castro has an answering service? Weird.
      Anyway, I would like to first tell you I’m keeping my fingers crossed you get one of those jobs.
      Second, I’m in for building up a LeMons racer for the Detroit race(s). We should go to the first one and see what it’s all about (maybe volunteer to work?) and then enter the second one. Maybe even the Chicago race?
      There’s a caveat, though. I need to get the upstairs of the house done this winter. However, I’m hoping to be free of Project House Hell projects by spring. That should be enough time to cheat…er…build a car, right?
      Drop me a line and we can discuss this more. I’m excited!

        1. Unfortunately, confused Triumph Spitfire/GT6 and Hillman Imp owners will keep calling it a “Rotoflex coupling.”

  2. If only your car was as fast as it sounded! 😉
    Good luck at Thunderhill. Team Porcubimmer is taking a break, probably until Reno (a full 24 hour race!!).

  3. Team Unknown Fluids, Comin at Ya! <—- now that just sounds nasty..
    I THOUGHT THIS WAS A RESPECTFUL CAR BLOG
    (also how the hell do i put an avatar !? or register my name.. or do anything)

  4. Holy crap, an actual photo of Mad_Science. Everything else I’ve seen, he’s been hidden by Braff’s towering shadow, like Penn and Teller.

    1. Also, he is typically under the car – while I stand near it, thinking about heading to our team HQ (The Bucket) for a tasty beverage…

    2. That’s a surrogate.
      I actually spend all of my time in a combination garage/computer lab. I never leave unless it’s inside of a car.

  5. Y’all did a great job as LeMons first-timers. Great car, no complaining, and you even re-teched the car after adding the dead hooker to make sure everything was cool. The guibo, though, I coulda warned you about that….

    1. Thanks!
      We also decided to fix our fuel leak before heading into the penalty tent after getting black flagged for going off. Figured you didn’t really want a fire in there.
      We had spare guibos! We just left them on the garage floor in LA…which turned out to be flooded when we got home.
      Also: turns out the car had the incorrect guibo when we got it, which lead to us replacing it with the incorrect guibo, which lead to the insta-fail. That’s the tricky thing about running an e-12 based 6-series. All the parts are of the e9/21/23 era, not the e30/28 era. Pretty much no one makes anything for it. Brakes are better on the early cars, though: 4-pot fixed up front and 2 pot fixed in rear. All vented.
      Correct part along with new bolts is now in-house:
      Wrong Guibo (1)

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