Engine swaps! We love engine swaps in the 24 Hours of Lemons, and the more ridiculous the swap, the more we like it. Some great Lemons swaps are done just because a genius engineer wanted a fabrication challenge, some are done because the engine was free, and still others are done because why the hell not? Perhaps the best swap reason of all is so that you can give your car a clever name, which is what happened with the Pit Crew Revenge/Bodge Engineering Lexus-powered Rover: The RoLex.
The Rover SD1, a costly V8-powered luxury car made by British Leyland, could be purchased in the United States by
brave discerning car shoppers, which means that hooptified examples may be picked up today for scrap value. The members of Pit Crew Revenge picked up an engineless SD1 and got to thinking: What cheap V8 could we put in this car? Obviously, a Toyota 1UZ-FE V8 out of a Lexus LS400 or SC400 made a lot of sense, partly because it’s a good, reliable engine with great junkyard availability… but mostly because RoLex is a great name for a Lemons car.
To determine whether or not Rolex‘s intellectual-property lawyers have a good sense of humor, the team installed a giant, working “Rolex” watch on the car’s hood.
The RoLex’s first race was the 2014 Vodden the Hell Are We Doing race at California’s Thunderhill Raceway. This race featured the usual triple-digit temperatures and set the Guinness-certified record for the most road-race entries in history: 242 entries. Unfortunately, the car didn’t exactly run for the inspections on Friday, nor did it run for the first race session on Saturday.
The culprit turned out to be the anti-theft system that came with the engine computer from the donor car, an early-1990s Lexus SC400, and the team spent most of the weekend trying to install all the door-lock cylinders and sensors needed to convince the computer that it would be acceptable to allow the engine to run.
The core of the RoLex team spun off from Pit Crew Revenge to become Bodge Engineering (you may know them as the team that campaigns the first and only Sterling 827 in the series), and the RoLex has competed in ten races since that single-lap first one.
With its “Rolice” UK cop livery, the RoLex has done very well for what it is, finishing in the top half of the standings twice and coming close to that achievement on several other occasions. We’re keeping our eye on this car as a candidate for a well-deserved Index of Effluency trophy at future races.