The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!

Well, after the Loverman and I covered the last couple 24 Hours of LeMons races, we just couldn't maintain our usual ironclad journalistic detachment. Objective has now become subjective in a big way, as we've rounded up a crew of junkyard-crazed madmen intrepid competitors and have started preparing our mighty iron steed for the race at Altamont in May. This gang of seven (four of whom are pictured above) includes a couple of our more misguided loyal commenters: three-time DOTS honoree WhatWouldJesseDo and Aussie-iron-drivin' PCH Poster Child BrendanSF.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Yes, it's a Volvo! An '84 244 (aka DL), to be exact. How can you turn down a running $100 car that's already equipped with four-wheel discs, rack-and-pinion steering, plenty of room for a cage... and a spacious engine compartment?

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Over the weekend, I met up with team member Dave (a fixture in the East Bay street-rod scene and builder of numerous Altamont-racing enduro cars) and we took his car trailer over to Milpitas to pick up our new powder-blue Swedish bomber.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Brendan showed up later in his '70 Holden Ute, to help with the carnage careful dismantling of the Volvo.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


But before we picked up the prybars and sledgehammers, we all had to ogle some of Dave's projects, including this legendary machine: the Mark Mist '36 Ford show car. Dave is restoring this beauty to its early-60s glory (and, yes, I'll do a feature on this car later on- stay tuned).


Then it was out to the Volvo, to begin the radical weight-loss program. The factory shipping weight on the 4-door '84 DL was under 3,000 pounds, but that's still too heavy.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


All the aluminum and steel we remove is going to be sold as scrap to a metal-recycling yard- hey, it won't be much, but every dime we can recoup from selling unnecessary stuff off the car can be added to the $500 ceiling (it says so right in the rule book).

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


The interior is in pretty good shape, so we'll sell what we can on Craigslist; all the switches, instruments, mirrrors, etc., are going up on eBay.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Even change from under the carpets gets added to the $500 limit; the car ultimately yielded $1.23 in coins (plus one Canadian penny and a Malibu Grand Prix video-game token).

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Lots of stuff goes right in the trash, of course.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


But how about the other team members? Well, there's the San Pedro Mt. Washington-based Loverman, of course; he'll be heading up to NorCal to shred his knuckles on some Göteborg tin during the next few months.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


And, just because you can't have too many journalists on the team, we've suckered persuaded Jack Baruth (aka ViergangFuchs) into coming out to Californy to drive for us. Jack drives pretty good, in addition to being a Doctor of Automotive Journalism.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


I didn't manage to get a good photo of team member Wayne, but since he owns a building-demolition company I figured a shot of the Sands imploding would establish the appropriate air of hoonage. Wayne has been building and racing dirt-track cars for quite a while, and we nearly had to physically restrain him from grabbing the cutting torch before the Volvo was even off the trailer.

The Die Is Cast: Work Begins On 24 Hours of LeMons Car!


Oh yes, one last detail: You know how the Volvo DL is underpowered? Welcome to Dave's Island of Misfit Engines, including a loose-but-serviceable Ford 302. Hey, anyone want to buy a Volvo engine and transmission?