Let me just say first I hope this isn’t a letdown, but I don’t think I’ve oversold this...Oppo is the sort of place to find this as interesting as I do. I had two extremely close guesses: themanwithsauce guessed a Pontiac Sunbird with the Opel turbo motor, and Discerning guessed a Buick Skyhawk hatch, also with the Opel motor.
Those two guesses are so close I can basically call them correct without feeling too badly about it. However, it’s not EXACTLY right, and there’s something about this example that...I guess sets it apart a little bit. So what is it
It’s a 1982 Pontiac J2000 built for Pontiac from new to compete in the IMSA Champion Spark Plug Challenge!
The car was delivered to the builder as a body in white, it was never a road car...and for a while it was never a race car, because Pontiac backed out of the program after racer Bobby Brown built his own J2000. So the car sat, prepared but unraced until the late 80s when it was raced as a privateer.
Around 2010 it was substantially modernized, with a fire suppression system, Accusump, rev limited and other goodies. This little pile is a legitimately built race car. It’s very nicely put together, though a bit ragged around the edges.
Power comes from a heavily worked 1.8 liter Opel OHC engine, it has flat top pistons so it’s at least trying to make power. All needs to be put back together, of course.
Inside it has a full cage, Autometer gauges, a nice Kirkey seat that’s just a little bit too small for your boy Kurtis, but I can be made to fit.
It’s been sitting for about ten years by my math. I found an old website tells some of the history of the car from a former owner when he was selling it in 2011 or so, everything I know about it is from that page. So weird that it even exists.
Also so weird that I even found the thing again. It was on Facebook Marketplace a year ago for $1200 and I had messaged the guy, then ended up buying something else. Somehow it ended up back on my Marketplace feed this week for $600, and I still don’t get that because if I went to Marketplace and searched for it I couldn’t find the damn car. I guess I was just meant to have it.
I’ve got all (or most anyway) of the motor parts in a box, so I’ll put that back together and start doing little stuff on the car. I’ll set the suspension (fully adjustable with Koni coil-overs and custom camber/caster plates) to neutral to make it easier to move, update the harness and replace rubber fuel lines, lose some weight so I can fit in it (I’m close!).
$500 for this car, I don’t even think I could replicate the gauge cluster for $500.
Tomorrow I’ll vacuum it all out, maybe take some Tilex to the hood. For now I’ll just sit here and look at it.
So that’s what I bought. It’s good to be back.