AAR Lemons; The Entry

It all started around Christmas 08. We were discussing different racing events and discovered that both of us had read the February 2007 article from Car and Driver titled Beaters Rule, a feature written about the 24 Hours of Lemons race. After discussing this for months…. We decided this is something that we need to do. We figured that a car that cost only $500, a 24 hours race with 4 to 6 drivers could quite possibly the most fun we’ve ever had in our lives. The difficult part was to convince our wife’s not to file for divorce while we undertake this experience of a lifetime.

After contacting some of our closest friends and relatives to make sure were not completely nuts… Many were interested in the build and want to drive. In fact the response was overwhelmingly positive.

All that’s left…. Find the perfect car.

We had many options that were available to us without having to purchase or for Very little money. A totaled 97 SHO, 4 door auto Neon, 82 Buick Regal X dirt track car and my personal favorite an 82 AMC Spirit.

After many weeks of reviewing the pros and cons of these cars, we decided against all of them for one reason or another. The SHO had some serious right front damage and it’s an auto. The Neon was also an auto. Racecars don’t have automatic transmissions! The Regal would have required less work than the others, but the engine would NEVER pass for a 500 dollar car… too radical for this. The AMC we liked, but we would have never got it running for less than 500…. Just too many issues that needed fixed and too little parts available to us to repair.

My brother and I have both owned CRX ‘s in our past lives… before kids. Both of us knew this would be the ultimate car, but finding one for 500 or less would be next to impossible. All I need to say is that Craigslist is your 24 Hours of Lemons best friend. After looking for only a week, on Feb 2nd I found a CRX in Jacksonville that had no interior, no engine or trans, no wiring…. But it had a roll cage, YES! I was so excited that the cage was within the Lemons specs, that I paid exactly what the guy was asking for the car $200 and never tried to get him lower. We were well on our way to building a CMP fall racecar.

Roll Cage Car Roll Cage Car
Open Up and say Ah!! Open Up and say Ah!!

After the roll cage car was purchased, a decision was made to look for a complete car to finish the build. The search was on for a 90 to 93 Intrega. Our search was not going well until March 12th. I found another CRX, this time in Savannah. It was a 89 CRX si with a ZC SOHC engine. The clutch is shot, valves need adjusting, front main seal is pouring oil, but other than that it’s perfect. He was asking $500 for the car and I was shocked when he told me over the phone that he would take $400. I drove to Sav that night to get the car. The car wasn’t quite as bad as the owner portrayed it to be. I even drove it on the trailer with very little clutch slippage. While he went to get the title to the car, I noticed it even had relatively new tires on 16-inch rims. He came back with the title and said “there is also an extra 5 speed transmission in the back of it if you want it. I felt as if he said there were gold bars in the back of the car. I couldn’t wait to call all my friends and let them know the good news and to tell them, “Were racing in Sept at CMP!”

id like to participate in the Organ Donor Program Please I’d like to participate in the Organ Donor Program Please
Im Clutchless, but at least Ive got Tunes I’m Clutchless, but at least I’ve got Tunes

The build is now well underway; the engine, transmission and complete rear suspension have been moved to the racecar. The car currently needs a radiator, larger brakes and a racing seat and that’s it. Were all so excited about how everything has gone so far. I’m so proud of the build that my personal car now sets in the weather while the racecar stays dry in the garage. Course the wife car sleeps next to it every night.

We have a put a ton of thought into the theme for the car. Knowing the CRX is not exactly the most favored car at Lemons, we needed a good one.

P40 Flying Tigers theme. Complete with a propeller that will also turn the alternator, tail section and a wing that will double as a speed brake. The speed brake will be movable via the brake pedal…. we think. Knowing the brakes are a major problem, this speed brake will solve all our brake issues…. in our dreams anyway. We already have the paint guy lined up and ready to go. This propeller will go in front of the bumper. Please let us know if that’s a problem. It will be made out of wood and not steel. I would also like to install 2 working paintball guns on the roof of the car. But I have a feeling we can’t use them during the race…but it would be fun if we could.

We understand that racing is only a small part of this event and that taking care of the judges is by far the most important part of the Lemons race. We will be bringing 2 excellent southern cooks with our entourage. You have never had shrimp until you’ve tried theirs. We have friends that shrimp for a living and have access to some of the finest and freshest shrimp in this country. Hot butter, little pepper, maybe some bacon…. I don’t want to completely give it away, but I can tell you they are to die for. Shrimp with a sip of some of good ole Georgia shine…nothing could be better.

This is truly something that my family and friends are looking forward to about as much as the team is. My mother is even planning to addend… I’m still in shock over that. Currently we have about 25 people committed to attend from across the country. I believe only 3 of them have ever even seen a car race live. We’re not a racing family, but we plan to be one on September 12-13.

For the whole story, please visit https://aarlemons.wordpress.com

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