The 24 Hours of LeMons Traveling Circus has been setting up the Tilt-a-Whirl at Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina since way back in 2008. For reasons we still don’t understand, the nearby town of Camden allows us to parade all the LeMons cars down the main street and then do the car inspections right in the heart of downtown. It’s the biggest party on the LeMons calendar, and one we look forward to every year. With 110 teams showing up, it’s not possible to cover all of the great cars we saw, so we’ll just hit the highest of the high points here.
The big news, of course, was the NSF Racing Nash Statesman. Following hallowed NSF tradition, the team obtained a complete basket-case car, swapped in a random engine (in this case a small-block Chevy V8 of unknown-but-suspect provenance), cut-and-pasted other parts found in the weeds behind NSF HQ in Florida, installed a cage, and called it a race car. The car showed up after the parade was over, and it isn’t quite ready for the tech inspection yet, but we know it will race on Saturday, one way or another.
That’s 472 cubic inches, which is the largest-displacement engine currently racing in LeMons (though still short of the 540 cubic inches in the radial aircaft engine-powered Crushed Red Pepper Toyota MR2).
We’ve had a couple of Triumph TR7s converted to TR8s via a junkyard Rover V8 swap prior to this race, but this is the first genuine TR8 we’ve ever seen in our series. Class C (where the slow and/or blow-uppy cars compete), of course.
The real excitement was caused by the appearance of the first BMW Z3 in LeMons history. While it’s theoretically possible to sell off enough parts from a car like this to qualify for our $500 budget, most teams show up with a list of parts bought and sold scrawled in crayon on a stained paper plate… and we hammer them with billions of penalty laps.
To our mounting amazement, however, this team provided a thick and well-organized stack of documentation, convincing evidence that they had indeed started with a wrecked insurance-auction car and then sold off thousands of dollars worth of Z3 interior and trim parts. We wanted to bury them in penalty laps, but in the end they passed the inspection unscathed. We’ll see how this sorts out on the race track.
It’s going to be an exciting race weekend, so be sure to check in here later to see what happens!