Some photos

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Yes we really are making progress.  We went to the pick and pull Saturday and got an electric fan, a reconditioned battery, and a not rusty voltage regulator.  Last week while organizing wires I disconnected the fuel pump relay.  After consulting wire diagrams I got rid of the crash detector and relay and direct wired the pump.  I’m completely demoralized by the spahgetti mess under the dash and in the engine bay.  So far everywhere there is a bundle of mostly garbage wires there is one or two important ones in the mix.  Maybe after our first race I will complete the wire simplification.  Those freeze plugs are vexing.  Parts are on order.

We spent lots of effort getting the junk wheels off.  The holes that the lug nuts were in were too small to fit a tool into.  I ended up using a hole saw to grip the nuts and slowly back them out.  Tedd found some factory mustang wheels on CL for dirt cheap.  17x7s, 5 lug.  I’d rather have factory alloys than 99% of aftermarket wheels anyday.  Most are junk for show.Saturday and Sunday were both consumed with the car.  We had a blast, awesome weekend.

The Pick Up

This morning Tedd and I went up to Cloverdale to pick up the ‘stang.  None of this would be possible if Tedd didn’t already own a bunch of racing infrastructure.  Thanks Tedd.  We rode up in his van pulling his trailer. I don’t have a trailer.  Devon had to help us jump start the car so we could drive it up on the trailer.  I drove it up.  Sounds easy but try it on muddy grass with four flat tires.  I got it up there with minimal damage and we were on our way.

After we got it back to Tedd’s we got to work.  Since our team member with the big yard dropped out, we’ll be storing it at Tedd’s.  Thanks again, Tedd.  I vacuumed out all the loose schmutz and started cutting out unneeded wires (like for headlights, power windows, etc.)  We poked around at it and learned a lot.  Like this: the coolant is just water and is completely rusty.  Tedd replaced the front freeze plug and we put some water in and found the other one.  It’s on the back by the firewall, impossible to reach.  Hopefully some JB weld will seal it.

The to-do list is getting long.

Did I really just buy that hunk of junk?

It’s late.  I worked from home today.  My son, Ewan, and I took off early to get up to Cloverdale before the evening commute got bad.

So it runs but not for long since it doesn’t hold water.  Two freeze plugs are leaking.  I don’t know what a freeze plug is.  Despite looking like it’s been crashed multiple times it looks like it tracks pretty straight.  The wheels are a joke.  They were drilled out to mount them with three nuts each.  But the guy, Devon, says it has the 9 inch rear-end.  It does look like is has some go-fast bits.  It has disk and the 5-lug upgrade on all corners. There is a brake bias valve, which just makes me nervous.  The windshield is polycarbonate.  The battery is dead.  It’s about as awful as you could imagine.  So naturally I bought it.  The little voices in my head told me to.  Oh god what have I done?

Mint condition.

Mint condition.

Cancer?

Cancer?

Yeah, that'll buff out.

Yeah, that’ll buff out

Is this the one?

I found a 1986 Mustang 5.0 on CL that has been sitting in a field for a year or two.  I couldn’t talk Tedd into the Yugo, but he loves this one.  I called the guy and setup a time to go look at it.  It’s in Cloverdale.

CL ad side

CL ad side

CL ad front

CL ad front

CL ad interior 3

CL ad interior 3

CL ad interior 2

CL ad interior 2

CL ad interior 1

CL ad interior 1

CL ad engine pic

CL ad engine pic

Digging through Craigslist

I’ve spent the weekend searching through craigslist.  I’ve also been reading the forums on the LeMons website.  I was temped by a mid-80s BMW 325 but I learned that they are frowned upon by the judges and get lots of penalty laps because they are too good.  They’d rather you show up in something truly crappy like a Chrysler K-car.  I found a 1986 Yugo with a transplanted Fiat engine and transmission for $400.  Supposedly it runs well.  It would be hard to be crappier than that.

I’m considering a Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup or Chevy S-10 pickup with the 4.3L V6.  Both would make great platforms for a wild theme.

Oh, you gotta have a theme.  The more outlandish the better.  We considered Yellow Submarine, and the Batmobile.  Both have been done before.

We’ve decided to race

I’m Mike Benefield, and in the cube next to me at work is Tedd  Kattchee.  Tedd races his 1966 (I think) Alfa Romeo Giulia in historic racing.  I used to be a car geek.  But I’ve lived in the SF Bay Area since the mid ’90s and the awful, grinding, rude traffic has ground it out of me.  But my son and I have been watching old Top Gears on Netflix and we went to one of Tedd’s races recently and we had so much fun.  So we were talking about Tedd’s last race up at Thunderhill and somehow LeMons racing came up.  He said he’d been wanting to do it, and almost on a dare we decided to do it.

What is LeMons?  http://www.24hoursoflemons.com

Well the idea is that you buy and prepare your car for under $500 and race, wheel to wheel, against other crappy cars on real race tracks.  Of course safety related stuff doesn’t go against the $500 and there are reasonable safety requirements like a roll cage, race seat, fire extinguisher, helmet, and race suit.  Those aren’t cheap, so it does cost more than $500.  Tires, wheels, brakes, and wheel bearings are also exempt costs.

So, by the end of the day we had a full race team of enthusiastic volunteers lined up.  So we are going to do this.