Porsche will theoretically sell you a 991 GT2 RS-based 935 race car right now. I mean, not right now, because they’re sold out by now, but you know what I’m getting at. The Porsche-certified track-only car was about three quarters of a million dollars new, and they occasionally trade hands for $US1.5 ($2) million now. If that’s too much for your household finances to bear, rest easy knowing that you can faithfully replicate the experience using engineering, dumpster diving, charity, and $US500 ($715).
24 Hours of Lemons competitors Team Charnal House chose the latter route, building their own. This car has been racing in various guises for a decade, showing up to its first Lemons event as a mid-engine Geo Metro with a Ford Taurus SHO engine mounted behind the seats. Since then the car has made apperances dressed up like the late-1980s Jaguar GTP “Silk Cut” prototype, and later as Nobuhiro Tajima GoPro Suzuki SX4 Pikes Peak race car.
Around 2016 the team had really developed the car and made it work pretty well. Which is a fancy way of saying the wheels didn’t fall off anymore. The suspension was cobbled together from dumpster-picked coilovers of unknown origin. Allegedly there are parts from 67 different manufacturers bolted to the original Geo chassis.
2016 was also about the time that real actual racing driver Scott Sharp got wind of the the project and gave the team a huge charitable boost. And by boost, I mean turbochargers. Mr. Sharp, formerly the head of the Extreme Speed Motorsports racing team, sent the Charnal House boys a set of super exotic turbochargers from his Honda-powered Ligier JS-P2 LMP2 car that raced at (and finished 10th) the Le Mans 24 hour.
The Honda HR28TT engine is a 2.8-litre V6, so really how different could it be from a Ford 3-litre V6? The team bolted both of these super exotic liquid-cooled turbos to the back of their Lemons car and when it raced again it was about as close as you can get to a Porsche 935 for under $US500 ($715). According to my friend Lemons Judge Eric, the team’s most recent budget calculation was around $US360 ($515).
With about 7psi of boost the Geo Metro now makes about 340 horsepower and another 103.63 m lubs of torque to the rear wheels. Considering the original 1-litre 3-cylinder made around 55 horsepower at the crank, that’s a not insignificant jump. Take any car and sextuple the horsepower and you’re bound to have both a lot of fun and a handful.
Honestly, for my money, you can keep Speedycop’s upside-down Camaro or the Zombee or Rory’s old Lada. Ten times out of ten, this is hands down my favourite 24 Hours of Lemons cars ever built. This team has shown not only an ability to engineer some truly hooptie crap into a fun and fast race car, but they’ve managed to keep a seriously strict budget in the process. Hell, I’d almost prefer this over a real 935.
And if you want to see an in-depth walk-around of the car with an explanation from one of the team’s genius engineers, check out this video.