Feature Cars

Best engineered cars of lemons 3 - the angry hamster

The Best-Engineered Cars of LeMons - #3: The Angry Hamster.

By Dave Coleman

At 1400 lbs and 116 hp, the Angry Hamster has the power/weight ratio of an S2000. It packs a mid-mounted, 10,000-rpm V4 engine mated to a 6-speed sequential dog box, and puts its power down through a limited-slip diff. Weight distribution is a dead-even 50/50, and the wheelbase is nearly a foot shorter than a Lotus Elise's. And all of it was built for $449.


Best engineered lemons metrognome

The Best-Engineered Cars of Lemons
#2: The MetroGnome (now availbale in rear-drive)

by Dave Coleman

When rumors of a rear-drive CBR-1000-powered MetroGnome surfaced, we immediately assumed Alex had turned his clever streak from junkyard engineering to misinformation and rumormongering. Well played, we thought... We gave him too much credit. The rumors were true. MetroGnome 2.0 does it from the rear.


Frankenmiata freebuilding the engine

Freebuilding The Engine

by Dave Coleman

The engine used in this project was freebuilt from no less than four junk engines. Freebuilding is like rebuilding, but without all the stuff that costs money. Ignore all your instincts to think long term, and focus only on what is absolutely necessary to make the engine perform the task at hand -- surviving 14 hours of abuse before exploding. Labor cost, it should be noted, is not considered in LeMons accounting, a fact that can lead to countless lost weekends and the absolute destruction of any social life. You have been warned.



Frankenmiata turbocharging

How to Turbocharge a Miata for less than $100

by Dave Coleman

After a few timid part-throttle passes listening for detonation, we finally buried the pedal and watched in horror as our little creation ripped off 170 hp on 7 psi of boost, pegging the 100-psi fuel pressure gauge in the process. Shock, horror, giddy satisfaction and abject terror had a bus fight on the way to our heads. Abject terror won the fight. There was no way the car would survive 14 hours of racing at this power level. It would overheat, throw a rod, melt a piston, ping its ring lands into oblivion, and overheat some more. Then the fuel lines would explode and we'd all burn to death. We immediately started trying to figure out how to make less boost.


EVENT COVERAGE:  24 Hours of LeMons - Buttonwillow Histrionics 2009

By Jeff Naeyaert

I took a trip to the high desert this weekend to shoot the 24 Hours of LeMons Buttonwillow Histrionics race and catch up with 4 of our MotoIQ editors who were racing their jalopies therein.  Dave Coleman and his team of disturbingly dressed french maids (even for high desert standards) raced in the Eyesore Racing FrankenMiata while Chuck "Toadstool" Johnson, Annie "The Princess" Sam , Travis "Luigi" Englert and Martin "Racoon Mario" Gonzales took turns in the Team 1UP Sentra SE-R.  While none of our guys brought home any trophies, everyone had fun and no ones car got too banged up.  CLICK on to see pics from this weekend and stay tuned for more 24 Hours of LeMons features as well as an in depth look at LeMons car engineering by Dave Coleman.  MORE


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