Here's a "quick" update on the 24HOL exhibit at the Sacramento International Auto Show and the Lemons race car build.
Well, not that quick, because a lot has happened recently.
Jay Lamm and/or Nick Pon posted on Facebook about the build and I am commenting to remind people that we're also exhibiting cars. We need cars to help set the scene, and quite a scene it will be, for the build. Or is it the other way around? Thing is, I'm trying to set this up so they reinforce each other. Like, "That car that fascinates you so? Here's how to build one yourself. And by the way, the next race is in December."
Kind of repeating myself, but one car has dropped out and we have a recent addition to the list of cars being shown:
Tinyvette (Mike Meier)
Faster Farms Belvedere (Adrian Smith)
Allante (Corey Dickman), the car's Lemons debut. If not the Allante, then something else, maybe the Oldsmobile.
Zombee (Pete Peterson). There may be hurdles to overcome.
Upside-down Camaro (Jay Lamm and Nick Pon) We'll need to get someone to drive or trailer it to and from the show.
STI (Chuck Donely), if it survives The Ridge. If not, then perhaps the Avanti.
Scrubby (Mike Kimball), with a street engine in it and a For Sale sign on it.
Boom Box S10 (Jesse Cortez), depending on Buttonwillow and other things
TCT Prosche (Gavin Hembree), depending on the outcome of Buttonwillow
TCT Aqua Volvo (Gavin Hembree), depending on the outcome of Buttonwillow
AMC Spirit (Christopher Blizzard), depending on the outcome at The Ridge, and other things.
Ford Ranchero (Tim Odell)
And I'll say it again, I'd love to see the Del Camino come back, and Restart Racing's Ranger (I'm going to cc Gene 4-5 time on this email so he gets the message.), and when, oh, when will the Coyote make it down from Redding?
Twelve cars is a pretty good exhibit, but Stacey, the event organizer, says if we have more cars and need more space she'll find it for us. I figure that means she'll kick Euro Sunday out of one of the nearby buildings.
The Three-Day Make-Over
That's what we're currently calling the live build, and here's the status on that.
The car is a 1975 Opel Sport Wagon, a sweet little 2-door "sport" wagon. We fetched it from the forests above Oroville two weeks ago and the following week got a better look at it. The original plan was to simply vacuum out the leaves and crap and bring it to the show intact, to be stripped, caged, and made ready to race. But, a 43 year old car with no windows that was stored for years in a place that gets 3 feet of snow win the winter is bound to have issues, and this one does, so we stripped the interior to get a better idea what was needed, and it needs "a bit". Mostly it will need new floor pans plus a big patch were the battery was located, which is above the driver's feet, and just like Mantas, it has rusted out, taking out the firewall with it and leaving a big hole in the inner fender. Next Wednesday we take it to Kurt's in Petaluma to fix all that and maybe take care of a few other things that would be very difficult to do at the show.
The goal for the build is to finish the weekend with a running car. Of course, back at the Opel ranch it will get another careful going-through to make sure all the work was done right and the car is safe enough and acceptably reliable. The short list on the work to be done is:
Remove and re-bush the rear end.
Replace the rear brakes.
Remove and re-bush the torque tube.
Remove and re-bush the front suspension cross-member.
Install upgraded brakes in front.
Build the cage.
Install the seat and other safety gear.
Rewire the car, enough that we can run it.
Install an engine.
Install the windshield.
Some cosmetic work, such as paint the cage and apply some vinyl.
As for staging, here's the plan:
Drop the car off in the middle of the courtyard, put plywood and tarps under it, and put it on jack stands.
Stack some of the crap we took out of the car around it, so people can see what kinds of junk gets stripped.
Stack the old, flat, rotten tires nearby, next to the replacement wheels/tires.
Set up a tool area and work benches.
Set up pop-ups, chairs, a shaded rest area.
Put up a sign/poster telling people what this is about.
Put up a poster/whiteboard with a big checklist on it. We'll check things off as work progresses.
Put up other signs, etc, play race videos, give out stickers, sell HOFAW books, stuff like that.
In addition, the show and the build will be live streamed, thanks to Ian.
As for the cage, John and I are keeping in touch on this. He will be bringing his trailer and lots of tools. During the show he will measure for and build the cage on site, with help from us chipping tar (already done), prepping welds, notching tubing, etc. We still have to make sure things are set up at the site in advance. John, and the rest of us, will need power.
As for parts, which are much harder to come by for this car than for a GT, we are doing very well so far, and fortunately the Opel community is behind us on this. I just returned from Opel GT Source (Sonora, CA) with a truck full of rare and valuable parts (windshield, windshield rubber, throttle and clutch cables, brakes, bushings, and more.). A guy in Minnesota is shipping us a free engine and transmission, another guy sent us free brake parts and suspension reinforcement parts, someone even chipped in some money. We'll be borrowing some parts from the Tinyvette (seat, steering wheel, extinguisher). We don't have everything we'll need yet but we're pretty close.
While we already have lots of fans, one guy on the Opel forums took exception to all this and said he'd do everything he could to stop us. That's probably because I described this car as our "sacrificial Opel". After explaining all I meant was it wouldn't get quite as much attention as the Tinyvette when we come home from races with body damage I think he is feeling better about this.
As for the crew and drivers, we have:
Kurt Bainum -- has crewed for us for years, does the body work on the Tinyvette, won't be driving.
Eric Beckman -- has been racing with us for just over a year. He owns the Sport Wagon and will take the lead on paper work, setting up an LLC, social media, etc.
Gary Murph -- has raced for us a number of times, owns and races his own GT in VARA and the SCCA
Don Michaelson -- My co-pilot on the Cannonball,, and he owns a very nice Sport Wagon and can lend a lot of expertise in that.
Patrick Barranger -- Has never raced but has done 8-9 track days in Miatas and his Opel GT, mostly at Sonoma and Thunderhill, and has he run in the rain.
Ian Korf -- Author of "You Suck at Racing", both the blog and book. Has been racing in Lemons for years.
Tim Odell -- some-times Lemons tech inspector and judge on the Lemons supreme court, and the guy who brings the early 60's Ranchero to the west coast races.
Me -- 'nough said.
As for the race, Eric has signed us up. Hopefully we'll be accepted. If not, Sears Pointless!
The goal of the race is to finish it. We mean to build a solid car, something everyone will get a chance to drive. Eventually we will dominate, but that can wait.
Feel free to call or email to come by any time if you have questions or concerns or bright ideas for a theme, etc.