Topic: Cheapest car?

What's the least expensive build that has been done for Lemons from a monetary perspective?

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.

Re: Cheapest car?

From some of your other posts, it looks like you are trying to find the cheapest way to get into Lemons racing.  The consensus is that you want to buy a previously-run Lemons car.  There is little market for these cars, so you can get a good value from them.  Our team had to practically give our old Saturn away, and the team that bought it used it for parts.  Look on the classifieds here and on racing junk.  Be patient.  The one thing that you have to be careful of, is the last time it passed tech.  Rules are updated every year, so it may not but fully up to date.

That being said, it is highly recommended to go to a race as a spectator first.  Find a team to hang out with and ask as many questions as you can think of.  You will learn a lot.

Re: Cheapest car?

Build, I say around 6k minimum
Buy ranges. I seen as low as 800 and up.

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1978 Opel/Buick Isuzu - 4 races, IOE, Incredible Feats in Badge Engineering 1996 Ford Probe GT - under a knife
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Re: Cheapest car?

Brutal truth, expect it to cost a couple grand minimum to get through your first race. You need the car (either built or purchased complete), safety gear, tires, spares, tools, etc. Then it's about $1500 every race in entrance fees. You're not going to be going racing for just $500. Better to understand that up front instead of starting in and realizing it's way more money than you planned and can throw at it.


Sure there are ways to keep costs down, but it's still going to add up. Best bet is to buy a car that has already raced and will pass current tech and go from there. Also be sure to watch out for future costs. The writing is on the wall that fire suppression will be required next year. That's another couple hundred that you'll have to spend. Things like that happen often enough.

14 Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: Cheapest car?

First pre-raced car: $900
Cost to get it home: $60 (local)
First race running said first car: $5000ish (never raced own car before)
Second race: $800 (iced-out Dallas)

Second pre-raced car: $3500
Cost to get home: $1700 (PHX to AUS Uhaul and flight/hotel)
First race running second car: $3000
Second race: $2900
Third race: $1900

Winning IOE: $20,760

YMMV

#98 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - Class A car in the hands of a Class D team - MSR Houston IOE!

Re: Cheapest car?

Being a 1st timers to build a Lemons car we kept a spreadsheet of everything, what we put into the car from the purchase, safety gear and equipment, and extras, plus the entrance fee for the race was $6,500. If break that down it runs about $1,600 for a 4 man team.

Need to say after you have the Safety gear and extras like gas cans, fire ext., racing seat. I figure it will get cheaper depends how far you want to go.

Re: Cheapest car?

I am partly interested in the cheapest way to get in; however, I am also curious as to how low other teams have managed from a 'Can I beat that?' Standpoint

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.

8 (edited by TheEngineer 2017-03-30 10:21 AM)

Re: Cheapest car?

ClayBelt wrote:

I am partly interested in the cheapest way to get in; however, I am also curious as to how low other teams have managed from a 'Can I beat that?' Standpoint

So there is a real problem with trying to go as cheap as you can. The thing that makes up the majority of the cost in Lemons is the safety gear. You're only supposed to spend $500 on the car. We know everyone goes over, so call it $1000. Race entrance fees are basically fixed and can't be changed. The rest of the cost is all in the stuff that will save your life. Cages, belts, seats, fire suppression, good brakes, personal gear, etc etc. Any every time you cheap out there you're risking your personal well  being a little bit more. Sure you can buy a slightly less expensive seat, and settle for the 1 layer suit, and get the bare minimum cage, etc, but should you? Heaven forbid something goes wrong and you find yourself flipping upside down, do you think your first thought will be "glad I spent as little as I could on all this safety stuff"? What if it's your best friend in the car when something happens to the fuel system you cheaped out on and a fire breaks out?


Do not approach it as a competition to spend the least. If you want to play that game with the actual car, go for it. But when it comes to all the stuff that can save your life, abandon that attitude quickly.



If you really want to race as cheaply as possible, go join a team. Pay whatever they are asking for each race, and enjoy not being in charge.

14 Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

9 (edited by fleming95 2017-03-30 11:26 AM)

Re: Cheapest car?

Real honest-to-goodness $500 cars (after selling off the goodies) are kinda work to find buyers for the extra stuff, but even 'straight-edge' $500 cars are possible - find something unsmoggable/blown head gasket/crushed by tree/seller put plug wires in wrong order for ~$2 or $300; it's been done!

Re: Cheapest car?

So lots of searching is what I am hearing.

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.

11

Re: Cheapest car?

You also have to think about bang for your buck.  If you go too cheap there is a good chance your car won't last long, so is saving a bit of money worth having it break down after a few laps and that is the end of racing for the weekend.

Racing 4 Nickels - 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
2011 SHOWROOM-SCHLOCK SHOOTOUT  IOE Winner
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Re: Cheapest car?

ClayBelt wrote:

So lots of searching is what I am hearing.

Took me 4 YEARS up here in the rust belt to find the right car.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL) https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBTLracing/
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Cheapest car?

The initial car... yeah three things:

Lots of searching...as in daily
The ability to act quickly WITH CASH (and potentially tow dolly, plates off your daily driver, etc)
A willingness to deal with terrible CL sellers that do not know what they have, what it needs, if it runs, etc

There are not too many things that are automatically disqualifications on a car but lots of things that can recommend it.

Do you or a teammate DD a model with the same engine, tranny, etc
Are there more of them in the PnP than most...all with the same curable failure
Do they have "easy" buttons for suspension, power, brakes or reliability upgrades
Is it cheap and easy to cage
Are spare parts cheap, in every Autozone
Are they easy to work on...especially in areas you are weak on
Can it fit a large range of drivers

Still, building a car is "easy" compared to building a team so make sure you know potential teammates' preferences as well...then  promptly ignore them unless they will put down a non-refundable deposit because most won't make it all the way to the first race with you.

Re: Cheapest car?

Another thing to consider is getting there, if you don't have access to some sort of tow rig or can't just drive it to the track, there's rental/purchase of said rig.

Re: Cheapest car?

TheEngineer wrote:
ClayBelt wrote:

I am partly interested in the cheapest way to get in; however, I am also curious as to how low other teams have managed from a 'Can I beat that?' Standpoint

If you really want to race as cheaply as possible, go join a team. Pay whatever they are asking for each race, and enjoy not being in charge.

Pretty much this.  Most races, there's at least one or two teams hurting for a driver.  Sometimes seats can be had for about $500 for a race.  Some of the more competitive teams will want $1000 and up for a seat, but they'll also expect you to know how to a) drive and b) not break stuff. 

I've been at races and on some team no one wants to drive their stupid car anymore on Sunday and I got to drive the car because I was at the race and had a valid driver's arm band and offered the team a few beers and promised not to wreck their car (too badly).  It happens. 

You cannot build a car cheaply, within the current safety rules.  It's kindof like restoring a car- it really doesn't matter if someone gives you a car or you pay $1000 for it.  Getting it restored (or, in this case, race-ready) is far more expensive than the initial buy-in.  Even if you buy a "turn key" race car...it's going to need something.  Or it will during the race.

2008- 2010:  1966 Volvo 122, "Charlie"
2010-present:  1975 Ford LTD Landau...doesn't have a name?

Re: Cheapest car?

Good points above about doing it right and spending a little more up front will save you in the long run.  Also a lot depends on your fab skills and access to equipment.
Since the OP was asking about the cheapest possible way to get on track, it could be done for:
Car = Free, they are out there
Cage = $200 in ERW steel. Requires you have access to a bender, welder and shop supplies for free. 
Seat = $100 basic Kirkey econo drag.  Requires you can fab a mount and back brace from left over cage material
Kill Switch = $25 from H.F. including some copper lugs and cheap jumper cables to rig up some battery cables to the switch.
Brakes = $120 While some will say not completely necessary, please at least get some $50 Rock Auto "HD Fleet" pads and ATE 200 brake fluid
5-Point Harness = $75
Fire Extinguisher =$50
Now if your stock gas tank is good, and the car has a hood and clear windshield you should be able to pass tech.  All for about $570.

Let me know how many laps you get smile

If it doesn't have 2 doors, 3 pedals, and 5 lug nuts per wheel - It isn't a real race car

17 (edited by fleming95 2017-03-31 03:32 PM)

Re: Cheapest car?

ClayBelt wrote:

So lots of searching is what I am hearing.

Not in Cali:

" selling SAAB 2000 v4 2.3Turbo mechanic special - $299 (brentwood / oakley)

Just text me or call me , I have left my contact. Car has issues... I ran it really hard. Real fast. Needs some care. Care that I have no real knowledge of. But I do know the car is valuable. Price is firm and it has a dent in the back. ASK FOR PICTURES "

or this one that's been floating around for weeks:

"Jaguar Xj8 - $650 (santa rosa)

Beautiful car, great condition. Engine is good. Recently passed smog! New battery. Clean title. New fuses and a spare. Car will not move forward due to an electrical problem. Must sell immediately! As is. Entire car or for parts. Asking $650.00.

All offers will be considered! Contact me to see the car. "

(personally, I don't know why there aren't more Jaguars on the track.  They're cheap as chips, probably no less reliable than anything else you'd get _WIDE_ budget latitude for, and I bet you could get an XKR legitimately in the race...)

Re: Cheapest car?

Unfortunately, I am on the opposite coast, the one where storms take out most of the cars that would fill those lower tiers here.

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.

19 (edited by meyers0150 2017-04-01 08:57 PM)

Re: Cheapest car?

ClayBelt wrote:

Unfortunately, I am on the opposite coast, the one where storms take out most of the cars that would fill those lower tiers here.

How about a 2002 Jaguar X-Type?  Available after the NJMP race.
2016 Lemons Legal (cages, harness, seat, etc)
100% race ready
Rusted suspension bits already replaces
Be the envy of all those BMW guys you blow past
Send me an email if you're interested
http://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LNJ16/0 … N2183.html

Team Glue Sticks
00 Firebird, 02 X-Type, 93 NX2000, 00 Mazda 626 (Sold)
2016 NJMP Heroic Fix, 2017 NJMP Near Heroic Fix except we can't drive

Re: Cheapest car?

Several people have expressed their thoughts about the benefits of going cheap.  There are different ways of measuring cost.  Do you want the lowest cost to get a car through tech and onto the starting grid, do you want the cheapest way to finish your first race, or do you want the cheapest way to finish multiple races?  Each of these different kinds of "cheapest" will have different initial costs and will result in different choices.

If you are the sort of person that loves racing, has always dreamed of racing wheel to wheel, and enjoys wrenching on cars a LOT then I suggest that you're gonna love this and you should spend more up front with the goal of saving over multiple races.

Re: Cheapest car?

I just like the idea of the last minute jury rigging I see in reports on the race, and want to try to get in on that. Plus I am tired of driving a fast car when I could be driving a car fast

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.

Re: Cheapest car?

ClayBelt wrote:

What's the least expensive build that has been done for Lemons from a monetary perspective?

GM F-body. Gen II's are a better race platform but Gen III's are cheaper. Parts are easy to find at ANY parts store and the are all available with a manual V8. The stock 190HP 305 can make 250 w/o much effort and the 215HP 350 will make 300+ w/o much effort.   This is ours last year at NJ, it had (engine is being freshened up now) a 165k 305 when this was shot.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojikflm729Y


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"get up and get your grandma outta here"

23 (edited by VKZ24 2017-04-03 06:36 AM)

Re: Cheapest car?

Your one sentence type posts make it hard for us the gauge just what your goal is here.   Is going as cheap as possible something you need to do because of income or other (maybe marital?) restrictions?  Or maybe you enjoy the challenge of going as cheap as possible?  Do you have a team already on board to split the costs?  Lots of unanswered questions here.

I think the lure of a "$500 car" is misleading for sure.  Lemons is cheapER racing, which is not to be confused with cheap.  I personally think it's the most "bang for your buck" racing for sure, but I don't think it's what most us would call "cheap".

Like has been suggested, and this is assuming we are talking about just you (vs. an entire team), if you are one a budget, rent a seat, drive, wrench, have fun, rinse and repeat.

Captain
Team Super Westerfield Bros.
#411
'93 Acura Integra

Re: Cheapest car?

Both of our Sentras were legit sub-$500 cars when we got them. Of course, then you blow $300-400 replacing bushings, hoses, brake calipers and maintenance items/fluids, but that's minor given that we register and insure our hoopties (that's $20 a month and $180 or so upfront) and get proper race pads and tires ($300 total for front+back  plus $300-400 for tires depending on what's on sale). Plus we already had nice light 14" wheels, which are close to $400 a set, but you can get them much cheaper on craigslist.

Cage, I get from rollcage components, last one of ours was part of a group deal so it was $500. Can be cheaper if you bend your own. Add another $100 or so in consumables to put it in. Seat was used but it's close to $400 new - again, you can get them as cheap as $50 in sorta-serviceable shape if you shop around. $50 for extinguisher and bracket (can do it for $25, but not much less than that). $150 for seat belts, then probably another $100 in wiring components, paint, and that kind of crap.

So, figure roughly 2-3K tip to tip for a $$$-tight, yet reliable-ish build.

K Car Stalker

Re: Cheapest car?

So I found something almost in the free range: a 1995 Rustang that I will probably be modding. It is a freebie, almost never see those here.

Racing cars is for rookies. Racing crapcans takes balls.