Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re sitting around with your buddies, enjoying some adult beverages and suddenly a great (and equally terrible) idea is born and you all agree it should be a reality? Well, my group of friends had just that, and what was born was the Cheap Car Challenge. Sure, unoriginal name, since there’s Chump Car, LeMons, and the likes, but stay focused here. The idea is to take rule structure of said events and combine them with Top Gear-esk challenges and formatting for points to find the ultimate winner (and loser). Teams of two have a $1000 budget to purchase, modify, fix, register, and insure a vehicle for a competition in the spring in which they’ll be competing in various challenges like best MPG, 0-60-0, best j-turn, rally, best stereo, etc. Points will be awarded or subtracted based on the vehicles ability to complete these tasks or the team’s ability to bullshit their way through them. Budget is tracked and reported out. Brakes, tires, steering and safety equipment are exempt from the budget. Sponsored parts and parts already laying around also don’t count.
Really, this started because our group of friends has an irresistible urge to cruise Craigslist constantly in search of that perfect deal. “Wouldn’t it be fun to buy the cheapest cars possible and go bounce them off trees on the rally track up at the cabin?” was the exact line spoken on multiple occasions. An agreement was made, a blood pact performed, a Facebook event created and entrants were invited to get an idea of how many teams would be competing. Like all things grand and stupid the list of teams slowly dwindled down due to various commitments until a final three teams were present, and by present, they were the only ones who purchased a car with the intent to compete. These teams will be known as Team Crapquest, Team Merkrap and Team Crapmaro; Japan vs Europe vs America. The selection of vehicles was not intentional; accidental by all accounts, but does make for a great comparison among the automotive powerhouses of the day. Two turbo fours and a good ‘ol pushrod V-8 all competing for international bragging rights to the best bang for a buck. A quick synopsis of the cars is detailed below and will give you an introduction to the teams. The event is scheduled…soon, so check back for updates.
A very neglected and beat-on 1987 Chrysler Conquest TSi was the first car purchased in the competition which more or less stated, “this shit is actually going to happen.” Team Crapquest picked the car up for a measly $250 after a compression check resulted in depressing numbers and a suspected blown head gasket. The previous owner built the car to compete in various off-road TSD rallies and came with a skid-plate, extra wheels and tires, solid rear diff mounts, stripped interior and a wiring nightmare that would make a rat’s nest look tidy. The car had been rattle canned black, white and forest green and was flaking terribly to reveal the original Rio Red paint underneath. The head gasket was replaced on the trailer soon after, ARP head bolts installed along with new hoses, plugs, wires in late November. The car came to life and ran pretty good. The car has since received a full vinyl wrap, hydraulic handbrake, cut knuckles (b/c angle), lowering springs, boost gauge, EBC, stereo, turbo upgrade, go-kart steering wheel and nitrous for good measure. It runs about 4 ft of exhaust pipe and goes like hell at 16psi.
The next car purchased came as a surprise to the other teams in the form of a 1988 Merkur XR4Ti complete with double stacked rear wing and two sets of wheels. Team Merkrap had their eye on it for a while and snatched it up as soon as the price dropped on CL. They drove it home sans third gear and started work replacing the old T-9 with a T-5 which turned into an event all its own. The go fast parts on this car are all Ebay specials so longevity may not be its strong suit. However, the bozuku exhaust makes up for all the cars faults.
Side exhaust is best exhaust
The final entry is a 1994 Camaro Z28 purchased out of a field. Team Crapmaro spent more than a few weekends driving around the state looking at total piles until they settled on the small-block with the bastard child’s ignition system and T-tops. Every suspension component has been rebuilt or replaced with sponsored parts from a friend who tracks his Firebird including H&R springs and KYB’s. It also wears ZR1 Corvette wheels with Nittos, has drilled and slotted rotors, Cold Fusion nitrous kit (100 shot), a Kicker L7 and sports fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror. This is every high-school quarter back’s wet-dream assembled for less than a G and the team intends to rag the hell out of it.
More Muricah here
The shenanigans are going to take place soon so look for updates to the story in the coming weeks. Each team will try to write-up a detailed post about the modifications to the cars with images and explanations. Go-Pros and cell phones will catch the action live from….Mexico.
Written by Elkidmino (Conquest), shared by StndIbnz! (Merkur).