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April 22, 2009

Racing the New England 24 Hours of LeMons in a Vintage Corvair!

By Jim Brennan

UDMan

I’ve wanted to participate in the 24 Hours of LeMons since the series started. But I wanted to do it with an early 60s car, something that you would never expect in a race dominated by BMW E30s, Mazda Miatas and Honda Civics. So what’s my car of choice? A $400 ’63 Corvair 700 four door with only 43,000 miles. It didn’t run (but it does now), it’s equipped with a powerglide, and, well, let’s just say it has a rusty patina (remarkably, only on the surface).

Now for the real news. Coming along for the ride will be CarDomain regulars Mike Musto (Mr. Angry) and Katherine Helmetag (Atomicalex). And we will document the entire full saga in CarDomain Blog, from the roll cage install through the team meetings, and on to race weekend—July 11th and 12th. So stay tuned for all the mayhem.

Comments

UDMan Recruiting Corvair Race Team Members For LeMons New England, You Could Be Next! [24 Hours Of Lemons] | Car Advisory
Apr 27, 2009 at 1:25 am

[...] Chevrolet Corvair 700 four-door being race-prepped by UDMAn is running fine, UDMan is starting to assemble an all-star team to drive it… and two openings remain on the roster! If you’ve got more guts than brains, [...]

Noresize » Blog Archive » UDMan Recruiting Corvair Race Team Members For LeMons New England, You Could Be Next! [24 Hours Of Lemons]
Apr 26, 2009 at 6:46 am

[...] Chevrolet Corvair 700 four-door being race-prepped by UDMAn is running fine, UDMan is starting to assemble an all-star team to drive it… and two openings remain on the roster! If you’ve got more guts than brains, [...]

1lowscort
Apr 23, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Why would I be jealous? I will be running my EXP at autocross and the drag strip as well as my Mustang at the drag strip.

Flavorade
Apr 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Ignore them Jim. They are just jealous that you, angry, and kathy get to compete in the 24hr and they don’t. Losers!

1lowscort
Apr 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

If you look through my rides, you will see I am not even a bit into Concours restos, nor am I into keeping stuff stock. What I am into is keeping these cars on the road, or getting them back on the road. Either way.

Katherine Helmetag
Apr 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Doggone, what is with you people? When Jim told me about the Corvair, I flipped! What better way to prove old Ralphie wrong than to put this thing in the LeMons and do really well with it? You guys are making it sound like we’re taking a pristine 442 prototype and running it in a county fair demolition derby. We’re not – we’re taking a bad example of a pedestrian car and giving it the kind of run it would never have otherwise. Would you prefer we left it to sit in the barn and rust into oblivion? THAT would be a crime against automobilia. Instead, Jim’s got it out and is getting it ready for the spotlight, and racin’ is as good as it can get for anything shy of a Rolls, and I’d race one of them, too. I really don’t see why automobile enthusiasm has to be limited to Concours restoration. :scratches head:

1lowscort
Apr 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Did you complain when the following cars were campaigned in other races? – Volvo Amazon – BMW 1600 – BMW 2002 – Porsche 914 – Alfa Romeo Spyder – Fiat X1/9 – 1965 Mustang – 1967 Plymouth Fury – 1971 Ford LTD Convertible – Datsun B-210 – Jaguar XJ6 – Jaguar XJ12 – or even a 1965 Corvair Coupe! Just some of the awesome teams that have competed in the past.

I would have complained if I had known about it or a blog post had been made. I spend a lot of my time and money keeping cars like these from being destroyed. I do all I can to make sure to pass the cars on to owners who will enjoy them and treat them well. If I had more land, I would have a lot more cars that would have otherwise been destroyed.
Nimrod, I am not, just a concerned someone who would much rather see cars get preserved rather than wrecked. This all just touched a nerve. I know this isn’t a derby, but these cars do get wrecked fairly commonly. Do I care if all the damage to the Fury came from just the first race? Not one bit, the damage came from racing. You are not giving this car a new life.
I don’t know if this car was on the trailer to the crusher when you bought it, but I see a price listed in the window, so it was probably for sale when you got it, so it was pretty safe. 43k miles and no rust, c’mon folks.

Jim Brennan
Apr 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I would have never thought this entry would generate so much haterade. There are a lot of old cars that are just that, old cars. They have no collector value, they are not all that rare, there is nothing special about their engineering. When I saw this car, sitting out in the field in Springfield Vermont, I thought it was perfect for this type of racing. These pancake sixes can sit for decades, and then start up (which is exactly what happened, once I put in a new rotor and points, and I even used the original spark plugs!) The starter was shot, so in went a cheap rebuilt one.

Anyway, it sat outside, in snow, rain, and the heat of summer for over ten years. Then it was moved into a barn, where it sustained the roof damage (You see, the barn collapsed), yet it was still in the collapsed barn for a few more years. While the outside was neglected, all the good parts just stayed almost preserved. The sheetmetal is all potmarked, but it looks like the mechanicals are sound.

No matter what you guys think, this is what the 24 hours of LeMons is all about. Did you complain when the following cars were campaigned in other races? – Volvo Amazon – BMW 1600 – BMW 2002 – Porsche 914 – Alfa Romeo Spyder – Fiat X1/9 – 1965 Mustang – 1967 Plymouth Fury – 1971 Ford LTD Convertible – Datsun B-210 – Jaguar XJ6 – Jaguar XJ12 – or even a 1965 Corvair Coupe! Just some of the awesome teams that have competed in the past.

simon_r_gris
Apr 23, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Open the hood and find…..
a flat spare tire. Open the trunk and find…..
a cadaver where a motor once sat.

MrAngry
Apr 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm

EXACTLY!

LedZeppelin
Apr 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I’m goin with **Angry…(^_^) Besides, he’s got one superior bitchin Mopar with a wing….So if It ain’t Raacin unless you’re tradin paint, then so be it. Race it or restore it. Either way, the Corvair wins in the end. This is its moment of glory!

MrAngry
Apr 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm

1lowscort: “You are no better than the asshat that pulls the lever to crush these cars.”

Listen up you Nimrod – Between Katherine, Jim and myself you really need understand who you’re talking too. We are three of the biggest enthusiasts you will ever see. By running the little Corvair in the 24hrs. Jim is saving this cars life and more importantly giving it a new one. Think about the work that Jim is putting into this thing to make competitive – 24hrs. is no demo derby – it’s race run by die-hard enthusiasts who love nothing more than doing more with less.

FuryPaul
Apr 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

From what I’ve read and seen, the 24 Hours of LeMons isn’t a demolition derby (members of Team Size Matters have said most of the damage done to their ’67 Fury was in the first race, before the organizers laid down the law about bumping and banging). If Jim wants to race this Corvair, I say go for it! Looks like huge fun. And it’s not like he’s gonna leave all that hard-to-find trim on it, anyway, right?

Should the owner of this Dart ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/splattergraphics/2855778247/ ) have restored it instead of racing it? After all, it’s a “solid, straight example of classic American iron,” too.

1lowscort
Apr 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

And all this time, I thought this site was supposed to be about car enthusiasts wanting to preserve out hobby. I do understand that it is your car and you can do as you please, but you are no better than the asshat that pulls the lever to crush these cars.

This is all coming from someone who does not own a Corvair, and probably never will. Not my type of car.

LedZeppelin
Apr 23, 2009 at 10:50 am

Kudo’s sir Shmak1982. You are quite right.

HRM1982
Apr 23, 2009 at 9:39 am

cant wait till i get my mr2 done so i can enter!!!!

Shmak1982
Apr 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

Too many haters on this website anymore. I say if you wanna race the old Corvair, it’s YOUR car to do with as you please. All the people that don’t like the car don’t have to buy one, or even look at this one, and everyone that want’s it restored can go get one to retore. Personally, I like too see someone taking a different approach such as racing something completely off the wall like a Corvair. I look forward to the updates.

LedZeppelin
Apr 23, 2009 at 7:27 am

Ok, so I love old cars too….So If you’re gonna enter this beautiful relic…make sure you win! Do the classic a real favor. As a warrior from another era, give the Corvair the dignity af a class A+ paintjob with real racing graphics. Clearly everyone who drops by this page is appalled by your intent. Give them a reason to stand up and cheer. This Corvair could be headed for greatness as a car to compete against all odds from its early conception through a battle with R. Nader to a land that despised its presence. Now Corvairs might be highly sought after, but like Edsels, they weren’t always. Since you have Mr Angry on your side, this little (?) car has the abilty to be amazing…on the inside and out. Do us a favor and win…

MiamiMiataGroup
Apr 23, 2009 at 6:57 am

RatsEatDumbass before you trash miatas take a real good look at them and in the meantime please get a real car, when you are driving a toilet on wheels there is not much room for criticism don’t you think? I understand streets are flooded with civics, mustangs and scions but the same can’t be said for a miata clearly you never owned a fun bullet proof reliable car like the miata, They rule SCCA with their own CUP MX5 CUP now sponsored by playboy your toilet on wheels can only dream about this much success you are clue less.

MrAngry
Apr 23, 2009 at 6:11 am

Guys – I understand everyone’s comments about restoring the car. But please keep in mind that bringing this car back to a real life would be VERY EXPENSIVE. If you are a die-hard Corviar guy/gal then I understand, but like Jim said, even fully restored the car is simply just not worth that much. Think of it this way – by racing the car we are going to give Corvair enthusiasts all over the place a reason to stand-up and cheer… something that doesn’t happen too often. Trust me when I say we’ll represent the brand well!

Garage510
Apr 23, 2009 at 1:49 am

I wouldn’t destroy it too if it were mine. Old cars are more valuable than money.

1lowscort
Apr 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I am going to have to agree with IH-international. That car deserves much better than to be trashed in the LeMons race. I have a friend who is entering an 89 Escort with rusted to hell strut towers….perfect! This is a classic. That roof would not be that hard to fix, and I would guarantee that the surface rust is not that bad. This reminds me of a thread on Foureyedpride.com about “just” an 81 Mustang 6 cylinder with an auto. It has 32k miles on it and it going to get cut up into a drag car because it would only be worth 5k in mint condition. I don’t give a flying duck about dollar value. This is a classic car, it should be treated as such.

IH-international
Apr 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm

plus how do you expect an engine that hasn’t run in 25+ years is going to finish a 15 hour endurance race
i have faith in corvair engines but thats still absurd!

IH-international
Apr 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

well thats discrimination then because people all the time restore camaros mustangs chargers ect. that the only original part left is the roof and c-pillars
$3,000 is not a lot money to mostly restore a car when you consider it cost on average at least 40,000-50,000 to restore camaros and 80,000+ to restore a corvette stingray
and who cars what its worth in the end because all that matters is that it makes the owner happy!!!

Jim Brennan
Apr 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm

To everyone who thinks it should be restored: First of all, this is a 700 4 Door Sedan. Even if it’s in perfect shape, it’s worth maybe $5,000. To restore this thing to a 20 footer, I would have to fix the roof, replace every single piece of sheet metal (the surface rust is quite extensive, and it will take at least $3,000 worth of prep before paint!), Squirrels nested in the engine, the rear window broke (And it’s not inexpensive), and it will take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears just to get into halfway decent running condition. It will be worth more to race it, than restore it.

Klassic_1
Apr 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I have a 65 Corvair and I could care less what you do with this one. I love Corvair’s but I think that this is a great opportunity for a Corvair to do something that it’s never done before (maybe). I would love to use mine for 24 Hours of LeMons.

IH-international
Apr 22, 2009 at 10:35 am

DON’T EVEN DARE!!!!
thats just wrong it completely restorable!!!!!!!!
i mean suzy got mad when she saw the mythbusters destroy a couple of amc eagles
well this is even worse!!!!!!!!!! i beg of you please don’t do it!!!
there great track cars but your just gonna destroy it!!!!

sarahsmile90
Apr 22, 2009 at 9:02 am

I love those old corvair’s…. this one seems in decent shape….keep us posted on the outcome.

RatsEatChildren
Apr 22, 2009 at 8:27 am

Please do not trash that nice old Corvair in LeMons. It deserves better. There’s a reason the LeMons ranks are stocked with Hondas, Miatas, etc: these cars are expendable junk, and there’s tons of ‘em. This Corvair is clearly a solid, straight example of classic American iron, and the last thing you should do is turn it into a rolling garbage can. Please spare its life for someone who will value it, and use a Saturn or something instead.

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