I overheard a lot angry of "No way that is a $500 car" comments at our first race, but then these people came by to check out the car and were satisfied. The rollered Rustoleum paint job looks pretty good from 50 feet, and I got the wing from a former tuner kid who was embarrassed he ever put it on his Civic. It was broken anyway, and we got it for $50. The air dam was free courtesy of a clumsy UPS deliver guy. We just had to put it back together.
Folks in Lemons are pretty satisfied that the car is legit. Some online commenters still think the car costs a lot more because it is rare and novel, but as one person noted, these cars are lovable, not valuable. Since we started racing this car I've been offered free-to-$100 Opel GTs that "ran when parked". In Germany, however, a fully restored Opel GT can go for up to 40k Euro.
We started out racing on the motor that had sat in the car in that field for 25 years. People told us that these were pretty sturdy motors and turned out to be the case for us. We just changed the oil and spark plugs and it ran well for four races. It leaked everywhere, both on the pressure and vacuum sides. It was horrible at times, but it ran. All 85 whp of it!
Brakes, tires, wheels, seat, instrument panel, any and all safety gear, are off budget. Since we started ball joints and tie rod ends became off budget, and exhaust is off budget because if the rusty pipes on these old heaps didn't get replaced they'd just be falling off on the track. The cost of theme elements tend to be forgiven. Our vinyl cost us $250.
We replaced the brakes, got strong wheels and good tires, installed a cage and seat and all that stuff. The car got rewired and most of the bushings replaced because 25 years in the California sun had destroyed anything plastic or rubber on the car. We did put sway bars on the car and fessed up to that, having busting our budget by around $150, but between the bribe, the clever delivery of the bribe (flipped the headlights to reveal a bottle of Scotch), and the fact that Jay once drove his dad's Opel GT, back when they were new, and thinks these cars are horrible and our prospects hopeless, we got through BS OK and haven't been bothered since except to check that we still had a 1.9L Opel motor in it, which we do. There are a couple of other Opel GTs in LeMons and they have all swapped in Buick V6's, or a small Ford motor, or a rotary. Our car is still 100% Opel, even the tranny, which we run through at a rate of about 1 every 1.5 races. We are currently on tranny number 7 and we've got two spares.
We did go on to win our class twice, then were told we were dominating it and got kicked up a class. We hadn't win on speed. We won on overall execution. Staying out on track, fixing stuff quickly (tranny swap in 32 minutes), and just cranking off the laps. In the races we won, to find car with a slower best lap you had to go back about 50 places.
On the salt, we'll need speed. We've got a stronger motor (maybe 100 whp) and our tire diameter is 6% bigger than stock, so if this works out we think we can get to 126-7 at red-line, which is 6500 rpm. The motor will rev higher and survive.
Here are a couple of our race write-ups, if anyone is interested.
Results from Arse-Freeze 2011- http://www.kstreetstudio.com/files/tinyvette/arsefreeze2011/Arse-Freeze2011a.pdf
Preparing for Sears Pointless 2012 - http://www.kstreetstudio.com/files/tinyvette/TinyvetteTimes-20120317.pdf