Daily Driver? Street-Legal NASCAR Racer!

Alright, I bet the subject of a “Toyota Camry” here on Barn Finds of all places caught your attention! No, we’re not going to start featuring Camrys, Accords, and Altimas unless… they have something very special about themselves and that’s definitely the case here. A former NASCAR entry, this Camry has been modified and made street legal so that had to be quite an undertaking – let’s check it out. This Toyota is located in Yoncalla, Oregon, and is available, here on craigslist for $59,999. Thanks to Matt H. for this discovery!

Nothing in NASCAR is what it appears to be as the days of modifying a stock model into a “stock car” have long since passed. This, either Cup or Xfinity Series car, it’s not stated which, could just as easily be a Chevrolet Camaro or a Ford Mustang, the other two NASCAR entrants. It has nothing in common with a real Camry other than the hood and a hint of the grille. And it’s that homogeneity that has chased a lot of fans away from NASCAR – one ends up rooting for a driver more than a brand but perhaps that was NASCAR management’s intention.

What do we know about this particular car? It’s from the Joe Gibbs Toyota team, a preeminent NASCAR Toyota participant and it has been modified for street use. So, what would street modifications entail? The seller doesn’t elaborate other than to mention air ride inclusion to the front suspension to gain the necessary height for clearing driveway/parking lot entrances. But other items would include working lights (including brake lights), windshield wipers, and an exhaust system, perhaps a horn and turn signals – and probably a whole host of other things that I haven’t considered. It seems that it would also depend on where one tried to register this car for street use – regulations vary from state to state. The seller claims to have a title and registration but I wonder about the origin of the VIN for a racing body laid over a tube frame.

As for driveability issues, that’s another matter. The engine is a 358 CI Toyota Racing developed V8 that usually puts out about 750 HP in Cup trim. These pushrod architecture affairs used carburetors until a few years ago and then switched to throttle body injection and I believe they are now port-injected with coil-over ignition packs. This example appears to have none of that. Has this engine been dialed back for street use? An inquiry would have to be made. One also has to wonder if it will run at street speeds without overheating. The transmission should be Jerico-type, four-speed manual with straight cut gears – they sound like a Muncie M-22 “Rock Crusher” or a gearbox that’s run out of lubricant. The differential is a Ford 9-inch style Hotchkiss with one of a multitude of available ratios.

Minus the decals, the body of this Camry is a bit of a black blob but that look accentuates the wind-cheating design of the body – a design that ensures stability and a low drag coefficient at 200 MPH. If you look closely at the back end, you can see where taillights have been added. Note the license plate, it’s registered!

I’m not sure what it costs to build a Cup car but I imagine it’s probably about $125-$150K, perhaps one of our readers will have a better line on that item. So here you have an example, with an extra seat, and for a lot less, that will scratch that Kyle Bush wanna-be persona itch, assuming that one has such a thing. I don’t think this race car is for me but I must admit it’s pretty cool, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice write up Jim. Well, I would not be caught dead driving this on the sreet. Could be fun at the local track though.

    Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I’m thinking Silver State Classic, or other on-road speed events?

      Like 6
    • Mike

      “I would not be caught dead driving this on the street”.

      That’s ok, I’ll pull your lifeless corpse out, climb in and take it for a spin. This looks like so much fun.

      Like 2
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good job Jim. I’ll admit, it is kind of cool, something a hard-core NASCAR fan might like. It looks like the mechanical modifications were do-able, but I wonder about the whole VIN/registration process. Taking the neighborhood kids for a ride would be a hoot.

    Like 7
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    I wonder what it’s registered as,& how hard would it be
    for the buyer to re-register it.

    Like 2
    • RayT Member

      My guess is that it’s registered as some kind of “special construction” vehicle. Or maybe a “kit car,” which is basically what it is.

      It’s a cool idea, though I’d hate to have to get engine parts; Auto Zone would probably be clueless.

      Even though my taste would lean more toward Smokey Yunick’s Chevelle, a Junior Johnson Ford or even a Fabulous Hudson Hornet, I admire the skill of whoever put this together.

      Like 14
  4. CCFisher

    Without all the decals and stripes, you can really see how homely NASCAR racers are. Stock Carmrys look far better, and that says a lot.

    Like 9
  5. Fred

    Cannonball run?

    Like 6
  6. Joe Haska

    I think Joe Gibbs Should have given it to one of his drivers, my preference would be Martin Truex Jr. He is a class act and has raised lots of money with his girlfriend for their cancer charity. I know I would stand in line to donate money and get a ride with Martin on the freeway ,in a street legal “number 19 Car” what a ride that would be!

    Like 2
  7. Hemidavey

    I’ve been wondering when someone would do this! Great Idea! I’d drive this on Hot Rod Power Tour after adding A/C

    Like 5
    • Allen Libecap

      Richard Petty had a black Trans Am with all the Nascar goodies tucked in it…..no way it was legal but he drove it daily…back when he was still drivin.

      Like 2
  8. Ken Carney

    Neither would I Mike. When I think of
    how much fuel and maintainable costs,
    it just makes me wanna grab a nitro.
    Besides, I don’t think Mom’s neighbors
    would appreciate hearing this beast
    rumbling through the neighborhood. Some cars just don’t belong on the
    street and this is one of them.

    Like 2
  9. Mike H

    You would have to be a special person to own this car. Specifically someone that can and don’t mind climbing through the window every time you wanted to drive it. But it is neat and I bet on track day at a closed course it would be awesome.

    Like 1
  10. Rob

    architecture=artifact?

  11. CJinSD

    This would be a whole lot of fun for $60K. People have been trying to turn racing cars into road cars since there started being a difference between racing cars and road cars. This seems more capable of operating on the roads I have to use than a typical endurance prototype or formula car, and a bargain to boot.

    Like 1
  12. Joe Machado

    In January I obtained a Nationwide/Xfinity racecar for fun.
    It was ordered by Michael Waltrip and first was 00 for Ryan Truex and Martin Truex Jr. It was a Toyota.
    Eventually Carl Long obtained it.
    Last race was in 2018. Chad Finchum was last to drive it.
    Carl ran it as a Dodge Challenger numbers, 13, 61, 66, and last 40.
    Known drivers of this one I have:
    Patrick Carpentier, D J Kennington, Ryan Truex, Martin Truex Jr, Carl Long, Timmy Hill, Chad Finchum.
    Ryan’s best finish a second behind Brad Keselowski.
    Best qualifying, 2nd, after Brad Keselowski.
    I get people saying, make it streetable.
    Nope, I just want to run it at road courses for fun. I will be 76 next month.

    Like 13
    • Charles

      Great birthday gift from you to you!

      Like 1
  13. Howie Mueler

    Here in CA this would be a tough day at the DMV.

    Like 5
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Be prepared for a battle with your DMV on this one, registration or not.

    If that is indeed a NASCAR engine, it could be pulled and sold for a good amount and a street LS1 thrown in.

    It might make the whole thing worth it.

    Like 1
  15. Camaro guy

    Big question how would you get it to pass emissions in any state i would think that would be the bigger problem

    Like 1
  16. chuck

    Most Barn Finds readers, including myself, are too old and fat to climb in through the window.

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I’m old, and carry some extra pounds around the middle…

      But I do the NASCAR style entry/exit quite a few times a week. Sometimes half a dozen in a single day.

      My work trailer is a 24′ enclosed Featherlite. No way to drive a car into it and dismount without climbing through the window. I drape a blanket over the door and driver’s seat to prevent any marring.
      There are some cars which are a real challenge, due to window size. Both height and length dimensions come into play, as well as the relationship between the window, seat, and steering wheel.
      911’s are really rough… But there are a few others that would surprise you how difficult they can be.
      The Mustang convertible? I cheated and put the top down before loading it.

      Like 1
  17. A.G.

    This was a purpose-built vehicle. It makes little to no sense as a streetable car. The windshield wiper is a nice touch but without windows driving in any rain won’t be a treat. With a light foot a driver could improve on a Cup car’s usual 2 to 5 mpg but don’t expect double digits. In bulk (54 gallon drum) unleaded race fuel runs about $12 a gallon. Without detuning this car won’t run on pump gas. With detuning what’s the point?

    Streetable or not this CoT is overpriced by at least 50%.

  18. Crawdad

    If you buy a junk car similar to your race car with a good title, register it in your name, scrap out the car, and use the vin on your ex-race car for the street, no one has been defrauded, the DMV gets all their taxes and fees, and are thus happy, and most cops wouldn’t bother to investigate beyond the Vin on the car matching the title/ license receipt. At least in Kentucky.

    Like 1
  19. JoeNYWF64

    If 4 doors are so popular & great today, why isn’t this racecar a 4 door Camry lookalike? & if front wheel drive is so great, why isn’t this race car front drive too? Also, considering Toyota made a 2 door Camry ONLY in ’94(shocking none were made earlier!), i think it’s ridiculous to call this car that name. The only 2 door only bigger car Toyota made in the last 25 yrs was the also front drive Solara, but of course that is no more & was nothing to brag about appearancewise either.

    This race car looks more like a Supra on the front & a later front drive Monte Carlo in the rear area. Hardly a Camry representative.

    Like 1
  20. Joe Machado

    Nascar is on purpose, removing the manufacture from racing.
    Eventually, all bodies will be generic. No makes running.
    Since I am a makes fan, I am an outdated car guy in today’s world at 76.
    I pushed for years to get Dodge back in.
    We did a return promotion in 2000 as Ray Evernham was building Dodges and Bill Davis, Petty, etc.
    We did this at Sonoma.
    Worked with Stacey Compton, number 92, and Jason Leffler, number 01.
    Have some great pictures. Some are no longer with us.
    Now, the last Dodge, Carl Long, the lite Blue, number 40.
    Mine last run as 40, as Chad Finchum drove.
    Carl completely checked, and changed, per my request, to White, inside and out. I can’t do Black cars where it gets to 125 in the Summer. Today it will be cool. Only 100.
    I had questioned years ago on 4 doors as Joenywf64 said.
    Now I know why Dodge never came back after 2012 season, in which Doodge number 2, Penske built cars, won the championship.
    Both Roger and Brad bragged how they never had a Dodge engine expire that year.
    In 2010, when my racecar was built, Brad won the championship in Dodge name cars.
    I just want to keep the name Dodge out there.
    I will be taking this car to Muscle cars at the Strip, September 11 at Las Vegas motor speedway for show. I will not drag race it.
    I run 110 leaded race fuel at $9.50 a gallon.
    See ya there?

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      @Joe Machado: Thanks for keeping the Dodge name alive in NASCAR.

      I always liked their organizations: Ganassi, Evernham, etc. and found myself pulling for their racers.

      A highlight for me was watching Jimmy Spencer (I used to run a fan site) win in a Dodge in the Truck Series at NHIS.

      Like 1
    • T. W.

      Havent u noticed the recent years NASCAR body shapes? The newer Camry’s, Mustangs and Camaros!- are al fabricated in the nose and tear to assimilate more closely to the looks of their street version counterparts. The newer next gen 2022/23 series NASCAR bodies will be even mor so , TRD is switching to the Supras BODY STYLES in23′ ,Ford is going to Mustang Cobra ,and Chevy will be the wide body C3 Camaro.
      Thus they will look more realistic 8n shape size etc of the manufacturers
      dealership lot cars.
      Side note to anyone that’s worried about the noise from or passing emmisions/smog in their state, the add here did state that it has a Full exhaust added to it .so that may be a positive for registrations purposes. Even in California.
      I know of 3 prev race cars that were refit for street legal use, that were registered in Southern CA, in recent years- the fees were higher but they ALL got CA Plates and reg stickers on them! So this car should pass as well if the new owner is s Californian,or otherwise

      Like 1

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