Topic: Is it really possible with $500?

Hey guys! I'm incredibly new to the 24 hours of Lemons (i actually just found it thinking somebody had misspelled le mans).  Is it really possible to create a car that can race under $500?  I think I may be misunderstanding how it works, but even if I was to find a car for $500 it would be impossible to replace the tires, brakes, shocks, etc for anything less than $500, which means I would have to find a car for free at best.  Am I missing something here? I am also confused how some of the listings for cars in the forums is over $500.  Is the $500 limit a limit of the modifications you make to the car?  Thanks!

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Short answer is no.  $500 is the cost of the car and upgrades to the car and does not include safety.  The organizers have defined safety fairly broadly.  I make rollcages for teams and I charge ~$1400 for a cage.  That fits under safety.   There is a nice long thread around that basically figures out how much it costs to get to the line of your first race.  It's about $5000.

--Rob Leone Schumacher Taxi Service
We won the IOE at Southern Discomfort.
We got screwed at The Real Hoopties of New Jersey  and we took cars down with us.
We got the curse at Capitol Offense but they wouldn't let us destroy the car.

3 (edited by congcos98 2020-05-21 12:12 PM)

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Thanks for the reply!  If I have a rolling chasis for what appears to be a 1990 toyota corolla, I would imagine getting an engine, transmission, wheels, tires, brakes, and so forth would really go over $500.  I'm just concerned that I go through that trouble and the car gets banned from the race.  Also, I wouldn't be putting performance upgrades, just shocks, tires, and brakes that I need to keep it on the ground lol

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Banned, no.  Made to be noncompetitive through laps, yep.  But I don't think that that car would garner much attention unless you went completely overboard and it was driven "poorly" or in an "unsportsman" like way. 

Personally, I wouldn't build a car to start.  Find another team that is selling one -or- do arrive and drives for a bit.  Arrive and drives are teams that are looking for 1 or 2 drivers to fill out the roster and you get to drive for a race with that team and then walk away.  It's a good way to find out if this is really for you. 

Here is that other thread I mentioned:
https://forums.24hoursoflemons.com/view … p?id=36498

--Rob Leone Schumacher Taxi Service
We won the IOE at Southern Discomfort.
We got screwed at The Real Hoopties of New Jersey  and we took cars down with us.
We got the curse at Capitol Offense but they wouldn't let us destroy the car.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

The Car has to be $500, In spirit....(.More on this later...)
Safety items don't count. Tires, Brakes, Roll cage, Driver comfort, Seat belts, Fire suppression,
So in short a $500 car is really closer to 5K when you add in the safety stuff.
But your initial buy price should be a documented $500. Lemons asks for receipts.
Over time your car loses value over each race and a Residual Value can be begged for by the promoter.(A $500 dollar "race" car with a blown engine might be worth $25 bucks.....Giving you $475 to play with. Do this a few times and your car will get better.

IN SPIRIT
An M series BMW you got from estate sale for 100 bucks, Bring a lot of good documentation.
A 65 Corvair with a crushed roof and no floor pans left from rust......No problem if you paid way over 500 (get it?!?)

Check out a race and ask Questions.....Most Teams are really cool and helpful!
After Covid and life gets back to normal hopefully we get back to the most fun you can have.
Hope this clarifies a bit.
If you have any other questions,Just post Em up.

Manny

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Welcome!

Just like there are different types of automobile racing, there are different answers to

Is it really possible to create a car that can race under $500?

The Lemons series is made up of cars at multiple levels of track-worthiness. Some people consider "racing" to be in the car that is the fastest. Some consider it racing to be in the car to cross the finish line first or finish with the most laps. Some consider it racing to be under the hood of a turbocharged volvo wagon while changing the head gasket in the rain.

Figure 8 racing in a school bus is racing. F1 is racing. NASCAR is racing. NHRA in a blown methanol rail dragster is racing. Baja500, Dakar, Monster Trucks, Sprint Cars, SCCA, spec miata, and so on are all automobile racing.

Lemons lets you define what racing is to you. Imagine taking one of each of those aforementioned cars/trucks from each series and throw them on a track all together... Which one would you consider to be the one that's going to win?

The links on the Lemons homepage are prettyhelpful and informative.

here's a good start:
https://24hoursoflemons.com/wtf/

And once you get into it a bit more, the rule book section explains pretty well what the car needs to have and what is exempt from the $500 purchase price.

https://24hoursoflemons.com/prices-rules/

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Mkotzias wrote:

The Car has to be $500, In spirit....(.More on this later...)
Safety items don't count. Tires, Brakes, Roll cage, Driver comfort, Seat belts, Fire suppression,
So in short a $500 car is really closer to 5K when you add in the safety stuff.
But your initial buy price should be a documented $500. Lemons asks for receipts.
Over time your car loses value over each race and a Residual Value can be begged for by the promoter.(A $500 dollar "race" car with a blown engine might be worth $25 bucks.....Giving you $475 to play with. Do this a few times and your car will get better.

IN SPIRIT
An M series BMW you got from estate sale for 100 bucks, Bring a lot of good documentation.
A 65 Corvair with a crushed roof and no floor pans left from rust......No problem if you paid way over 500 (get it?!?)

Check out a race and ask Questions.....Most Teams are really cool and helpful!
After Covid and life gets back to normal hopefully we get back to the most fun you can have.
Hope this clarifies a bit.
If you have any other questions,Just post Em up.

Manny

Just to be clear... Lemons doesn't "ask for receipts." You can provide receipts if you need to make your case to a BS judge who wants to give you a ton of negative laps for what they consider a >$500 car. But receipts aren't part of the process otherwise.

The whole $500 thing gets way too much attention imo. You're In Spirit section is far more appropriate but doesn't necessarily address the middle ground of generally crappy but not wildly ridiculous on either end of the spectrum cars, which a 1990 Toyota Corolla rolling chassis certainly is.

congcos98 - there's some good advice in here already that I'll echo...

  • No, it isn't possible to do a whole build for $500. But then that's not what's actually required.

  • You're way better off starting with a built and previously raced car (that actually meets current regulations) than building from scratch

  • If you absolutely must build from scratch then stick to a generally accepted idea of what a $500-valued car is: your 1990 Toyota Corolla with a stock engine and transmission (even if they end up costing a bit more than $500 to actually make that happen)

What you will be penalized for (starting the race with negative laps, this is an endurance race after all and negative laps mean you're starting behind when everyone else is at 0) is taking that 1990 Toyota Corolla and swapping in a supercharged 4AGZE, or something else that makes it an actual "performance" car.

What you will be rewarded for (being classed into a slow/less reliable class which may ultimately be a good thing since your car would normally be classed into a faster/more reliable category... or generally not given penalty laps despite your car maybe actually being pretty fast/reliable) is doing a rediculous engine swap like putting an Iron Duke in instead of an original engine.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Thanks guys for the replies! I'm beginning to understand what it means for the $500! I'm in some ways relieved that it's not a solid $500 rule because that seems impossible (I had thought everything besides the roll cage was $500).  This should make an interesting project for my brother and some friends.  I'll give the rulebook a read for sure!

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

If it is a 1990 Corolla you will be fine.  Class C or B. Spend money to make it reliable and run cool.  Don't spend money on fancy suspension or go fast parts. 

Do spend money on your safety equipment. Cage, brakes, tires, etc.

Check out the stickies in the Lemons newcomers forums, but don't be afraid to ask questions either.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

is taking that Toyota Corolla MR2 and swapping in a supercharged 4AGZE

So many memories.

--Rob Leone Schumacher Taxi Service
We won the IOE at Southern Discomfort.
We got screwed at The Real Hoopties of New Jersey  and we took cars down with us.
We got the curse at Capitol Offense but they wouldn't let us destroy the car.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Watch the cars for sale on this forum.
Search on craigslist's cars for sale and search 'roll cage'

I found my car that way and paid $500 for a pre raced, prepped lemmon.

Go to the forum,  teams looking for drivers and drivers looking for teams.

Just visit a race as a spectator.

Watch their channel on YouTube.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

congcos98 wrote:

Hey guys! I'm incredibly new to the 24 hours of Lemons (i actually just found it thinking somebody had misspelled le mans).  Is it really possible to create a car that can race under $500?  I think I may be misunderstanding how it works, but even if I was to find a car for $500 it would be impossible to replace the tires, brakes, shocks, etc for anything less than $500, which means I would have to find a car for free at best.  Am I missing something here? I am also confused how some of the listings for cars in the forums is over $500.  Is the $500 limit a limit of the modifications you make to the car?  Thanks!

NO, that is just the initial cost of the car. Plan on spending about $5000 by the time you are all done.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

13 (edited by Lemon_Newton-Metre 2020-05-22 09:21 AM)

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Welcome!

The 'Lemons Newcomers' section has several 'stickies', including "the best tips ...", with tons of information about building a car and getting started in Lemons. It also has a search function.

You can find previous discussions about:

Building/purchasing a car (SO many of this subject)
How much does it cost? (SO many of this subject)
[All of these ^ discussions with good information.]

If you _choose_ to build:

How To Not Fail Lemons Tech Inspection

Cages/suppliers
Seats
Fire suppression
Harnesses

Helmets
Driver's clothing
Driver cooling

Brakes: modifications, pads(shoes), and fluids
Tires

Recommended maintenance items to be replaced before going on track, like the giubo for BMWs.

A checklist of things to bring.

I haven't found much about the cut-off switch in the way of a preferred vendor, but there's plenty about how _not_ to wire a switch, and I think a couple of diagrams.

One note about "the best tips ..." regarding building a car if you choose to go that route: the priority list has "cage" before "seat".

Several experienced builders here suggest to _mount_ the seat _before_ building the cage.

Cages seem to take the most time to complete: finding a builder/supplier, getting it into their schedule, actually getting it back on time, and correct for Lemons ( How To Not Fail Lemons Tech Inspection ), etc. So, certainly planning for that part of a build needs to happen early.

The recently added requirement [2019] for an onboard fire suppression system resulted in supply shortages due to increased demand, and therefore required the next longest lead time last year, but I haven't read complaints about that this year.

But I find the arguments for _mounting_ the seat _first_ to be compelling.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

But I find the arguments for _mounting_ the seat _first_ to be compelling.

I absolutely 2nd this. As one of those really tall people on our team we get the seat and the car to fit me and then build the cage around where the seat is. Luckily John Pagel is tall like me so he understands how important fit is.

Wes Conklin
Team California Mille
2007 Eyetalian Class Champions
20+ races and still going strong, Finally won one. Pacific Northworst Winner 2012.

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

congcos98 wrote:

   …..I'll give the rulebook a read for sure!

Good idea......

2019 NJMP #36 The Rootes Of All Evil, Judge's Choice 1958 Sunbeam Rapier Convertible (YES 1958!!)
2017- WTF, Beware new drivers!  2018 Two engine changes too many.....
2016 Thompson Speedway #36 Sabrina Duncan's Revenge, IOE Trophy, 5th Place 'C' Class 1977 Ford Pinto
2009 Stafford Motor Speedway #16 Team Teflon, 11th Place (overall) 1997 Saturn SL2

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

congcos98 wrote:

I have a rolling chasis for what appears to be a 1990 toyota corolla,...

Yeaaaaa, You'll be fine.

Come race!

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Is it really possible with $500?

the absolute cheapest way to get racing is to buy a lower performance lemon for SUPER CHEAP.

We purchased our 3rd car for 493.00 at the end of a race, where we had totalled our car earlier that day.  Took it to a chumpcar race with minimal improvement and finished P18.  Raced it for another 6(?) seasons, before it met it's untimely demise at Thompson.

I sold our turnkey pinto for 800.  I think it needed a fire system. 

Be patient, good deals come along...

Silent But Deadly Racing- Chief cook and bottle washer, Former Flyin Turd Race Team Captain 
Ricky Bobby's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Datsun 510, 87 Mustang (The Race Team Formerly Known as Prince), 72 Pinto Squire waggy, Parnelli Jones 67 Galaxie, Turbo Coupe Surf wagon.  (The Surfin Bird)
Besmirching race tracks in the Eastern US since 2001