Race Cars

datsun2000

1968 Datsun 2000 Roadster: Low-Buck Racer

While there’s rarely such a thing as a cheap race car, this ’68 Datsun Roadster here on eBay may be the exception to the rule. Said to be a California car through and through, the structure looks sound and has been reinforced with a professional roll cage and lots of cool period go-fast bits, from competition-grade Nissan parts to Koni shocks. There’s some troublesome primer at the rear, which could indicate hammered-out race day damage or corrosion issues stemming from a hasty bondo job. If you can get into it for under $5,000, I’m not sure I’d be too worried about it, but much more than that and it may make sense to find a more turnkey candidate. Personally, it’s hard not to be swayed by the period racing graphics and vintage American Racing mags. Do any of our autocrossers or Chump Car experts think it’s worth a bid?

Model A racer

Period Drag Racer: 1931 Ford Model A

This Model A is claimed to have been raced throughout the 50s and 60s before being parked in a climate controlled garage where it then sat for 49 years! It ran in A/Gas class around the New York area and was owned by Michael Crugnale. The body appears to be very solid and the story seems plausible. There are tons of trick modifications under the skin including a 327 V8, roll bar, gasser tank, and custom interior. The engine turns over, but someone will need to go through everything before it is going to make any quarter mile passes. Hopefully the next owner will be able to get this piece of history running again and will take it to their local drag strip on a regular basis so it can be enjoyed by all. Find it here on the H.A.M.B where the seller is asking $27,500! Read more »

66ghia

1966 Fiat 1500GT Ghia: Exotic Looks

While just about any car looks better on wire knock-off wheels, this 1966 Fiat 1500 GT Ghia could be sitting on cinder blocks and I’d still consider it beautiful. Spotted by Barn Finds reader Harlyn J, this Ghia can be found here on craigslist and is a rarity no matter where it is discovered, and thankfully appears in good order despite its current storage arrangement in a barn. The Ghia-designed body houses a tiny but simple Fiat motor that makes sourcing spare parts and performing repairs a relatively painless task, a pleasant surprise considering exotic bodies typically house expensive and complicated running gear. I’ve seen these 1500s used as road rally cars and as preserved collector-grade vehicles, so they occupy a useful niche for those seeking a unique project car. It definitely deserves to be saved and stored properly, and the price is fair considering what other examples have sold for.

1971 AMC Hornet SC360

What A Buzz: 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360

This AMC Hornet has been done up for drag racing and from the looks of it, the work was done quite a while ago. The engine was built, the interior stripped, a roll cage added, and some slicks were tucked up under the fenders. I like the ratty drag car thing, but it looks some of the original parts are included in case you want to take this one back to original. You may want to do just that because the SC/360 was a rare car. It was AMCs answer to the high insurance premiums suffered by larger muscle cars. You can read more about them on Hemmings. The SC/360 was able to run 14 second quarter miles stock, so I can’t help but wonder what this little stinger could do. The roll cage makes me think it could have been a sub-11 second car? The seller has tried to sell the car once before but it did not meet their $7,000 reserve. I’m not sure if they have lowered that, but it has been relisted here one eBay with a lower BIN.

a7

Engine Needed: 1929 Austin 7 Special

This charming little special is just begging for someone to finish it – engine needed! Reader Robert R sent us this find, which is physically located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and listed for sale here on eBay. There’s a buy-it-now of $23,500, while bidding has yet to meet the reserve at just below $10,000. Many of these specials have been built over the years, mostly in the UK. For example, Colin Chapman’s first Lotus cars were based on the 7, and entire classes of British racing have existed for these little specials. In the US, I have seen them used mostly in vintage racing, although if this were mine I’d have to license it for the street and use it occasionally for short jaunts just to surprise my neighbors. No history for the car is listed in the ad, although the seller invites phone calls and seems knowledgeable about the car. Is this too high a price to pay for a car that weighs well under 1,000 pounds without an engine and can fit in the back of most pickups? Or is it a bargain for a hand-crafted evocative piece of history? Tell us what you think!

1959 Corvette Gasser

1959 Corvette Dragster: Period Gasser

Now this is a hot looking machine! I’m not usually a fan of gasser Corvettes, but the fact that it was built back in ’68 makes it alright in my book. The seller even has time slips from when it ran back in ’68 through ’70, showing that at one time it was capable of running a 9.48 at 144 mph! It really was built for one purpose, going fast in a straight line. Many of the original racing parts are still here, although the seller has decided to pull the engine and transmission from this beast. That is one of my single greatest pet peeves, especially with a machine like this. The engine was what made this dragster so special. Removing it is strips it of most of it’s history and value. Hopefully, they will change their mind and will leave the engine where it belongs! You can take a closer look at this old gasser here on eBay in Glendale, Arizona with a BIN of $25k and bidding just over $6k. So would you leave this Corvette a gasser or would you give it a more original appearance?

914lakester

1975 Porsche 914 Lakester: Single Seater

With the abundance of project-grade 914s on the market at a given time, it can be tempting to hack one up to use for something other than a conventional restoration. While plenty have found their way to the autocross course, this 1975 914 on eBay is the first I’ve seen in a Lakester configuration. On a very broad level, Lakesters refer to racing vehicles with a heavy emphasis on streamlining the body as much as possible to yield excellent aerodynamic qualities. Most of us associate Lakesters with the impressive machines chasing speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and this Porsche’s California location may indicate it made the trek to Utah on more than one occasion. Even if it didn’t, a race-prepped 914 could offer some cheap fun on track days depending on the condition and quality of this car’s mechanical and safety systems. What would you do with it – take it to Bonneville or go cone chasing with a local autocross club?

1960s Midget Racer

The Milk Man’s Midget Racer

As I was on the hunt for an interesting motorcycle to feature, I came across the most interesting of finds! It clearly isn’t a motorcycle, although it is powered by a Cushman motor. This 1960’s midget racer looks like it could be an absolute blast to restore and zip around it! I imagine size wise it lands somewhere between a go-kart and an ATV. And with the right tires would probably be as comfortable on a dirt track as it would be on road course. I love the plaid seat and its back story! The seller states it was last raced by a guy who went by the name “the Milk Man”, which seems like the perfect name for an all white midget racer! While it is going to need work, there really isn’t a lot to this little machine. You can find this racer here on eBay in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with bidding just over $1,200.

Rare Racer

1959 Turner 950S: Past Racer?

The only Turners I’ve seen in the flesh have all been restored vintage racing cars or current SCCA racers. As a lightweight alternative to a Spridget, these little cars are surprisingly quick around road courses. Thanks to Robert R. for this neat find! This particular 950S is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $8,500, but best offers are invited. Turners were produced from 1951 to 1966, with the 950S made from 1956 to 1960. According to the seller, this is a previously “unknown” car to the Turner Register and brings the total known worldwide number of 950S survivors to 68. Signs of a past racing career include ancient Dunlop racing tires, holes where a roll bar used to be, and a set of tubular headers. Inside the car, however, is a bit of a surprise. Read more »

tornado

1962 Tornado GT: Lucky Talisman?

Barn Finds reader Jim S uncovered this Tornado Talisman GT, located in Bowling Green, Ohio and offered for sale here on eBay. The buy-it-now price is $29,900 but they are also taking bids with a reserve. This is an extremely rare car with only 186 made from 1961 to 1964 in Rickmansworth, England. The car was originally a four-seater, but has obviously been modified for vintage racing by the famed “Beady Eye” Racing Team. A nine-year restoration shows in the nice mechanical and cosmetic condition. It’s powered by a Cosworth-tuned version of the famous “Kent” Ford 4-cylinder. A huge number of pictures are included in the auction listing, and while some racing wear is evident, the car was obviously restored to a very high standard. Although I can imagine it being fun for occasional blasts down the road, I fear that if this isn’t raced a great opportunity is being wasted. I know I’d love to race it, and the price seems fair for what is obviously an outstanding and rare automobile. But do you think it’s fair, and would you race it if you owned it?

Photo courtesy of Huneycutt Photography

Southern Discomfort 2015: Race Report

Photo courtesy of Huneycutt Photography

As consistent Barn Finds readers know, I am the team owner of a 24 Hours of LeMons race car that races one of the most unlikely vehicles to ever enter a race track: an Austin Marina (Morris Marina to the rest of the world). You may or may not have heard of LeMons; and it’s changed a lot in recent years, so previous impressions are probably out of date. LeMons is endurance racing for $500 cars. No, we don’t run 24 hours frequently, although there are one or two of those a year. Generally we are racing on road courses typically used for SCCA, NASA or other club-type events for most of the day Saturday (in this case 10 am – 6:30 pm) and sometimes on Sunday (6 hours this time). This race was at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, a beautiful track in a beautiful setting! LeMons no longer crushes or destroys cars, and has generally become more like regular racing, although themes and unusual cars are still encouraged and rewarded.  The racing is broken down into three classes, with Class A being for cars that might actually belong on a race track (Mustangs, Miatas, old BMW’s, etc.), Class B being for regular cars, and Class C for those vehicles that would normally never end up on a race track (the Marina is a Class C car).  Other class C cars at this race that might interest you are a 1970 Valiant, 1964 Fairlane, an early 80’s diesel Mercedes and a Pinto (the eventual Class C winner). Many cars are pulled from junkyards; you don’t have to worry about anything really nice being destroyed at the race by an errant pass. Read more »

1932 Chevrolet Business Coupe

1932 Chevy: Saved From The Chrusher

It makes me wince every time I think about the cars that have met their demise at the hands of a crusher. Being smashed into a cube to be transported to a recycling center is a sad way to go, so anytime I hear about a classic saved from the crusher it brings a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, recycling cars isn’t always a bad thing, but when it has special history or is becoming rarer but the minute it needs to be saved for future generations. This 1932 Chevy Business Coupe isn’t extremely rare, but it appears to have been used as a stock car at some point in its life. The seller, who listed it here on eBay after saving it from certain destruction, didn’t provide much information about it. I would assume they spotted it on its way to the crusher and deemed it worth saving, so it’s unlikely that they know much about its history. It is sadly in bad shape and will need extensive work. I just wish I knew more about its history, like who raced it and what years it ran. I’m sure if it could talk it would tell some interesting stories! So do you think this one was worth saving or should have they let it get crushed?

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