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Lancia Scorpion installed on Toyota MR2 Chassis
Even though a LeMons team that swaps an MR2 chassis under a Lancia Scorpion doesn’t need a theme, I think the members of Team Police Brutality ought to go with their foaming-at-mouth lunacy and wear straitjackets to the Rod Blagojevich Never-Say-Die 500 24 Hours of LeMons.
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I feel at least partially to blame for this insanity, since I’ve been ranting about my desire to see a LeMons Lancia Scorpion for a couple of years now (the Renault Fuego Turbo and Buick Reatta are on that list as well).
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Team captain Speedycop has definitely earned the 24 Hours of LeMons Lifetime Crazyman Award, not only for hitting LeMons races in Connecticut, West Virginia, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, and (soon) Illinois, but for the vehicles he chooses to run. First, there was this MN12 Lincoln Mark VIII, which we first saw at the LeMons South Spring 2009 race. It’s fast and it’s unreliable… but not unreliable enough! We’ve seen this Lincoln at many races now, and it has set fastest lap of race at least a couple of times.
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Then, for the Lamest Day ‘09 race at Nelson Ledges, we saw Police Brutality’s first shot at the coveted Index of Effluency: this 1963 Cadillac Fleetwood, which ultimately took home the Organizers’ Choice trophy. But, dammit, even though the team had to go without sleep for a week while bashing the Cad into shape and then wrench on it endlessly in the Verdun 1914-style mud, this car was just too easy!
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You see, Speedycop is totally spun made of sterner stuff… which is why he bought this extremely rusty 1963 Ford Thunderbird. It was at the Detroit Irony ‘10 race that we first saw what serious last-second race-car thrashing was all about; the T-Bird showed up with about a month of work left to go and managed to get onto the track for, well, some laps. There were some transmission problems, some engine problems, a massive fire, and no sleep whatsoever for the team. For their efforts, they took home the created-for-the-occasion Epic Failure Repair trophy.
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Some would give up and swap the Thunderbird for a Supra or something boring, but not Speedycop! Risking his mental and physical health, not to mention his marriage, he decided that the problem with the car at Detroit Irony was insufficient cylinders! Of course! So, in went a BMW M50 V12 out of a 750iL, along with an ammo-can carburetor conversion and a couple of random six-cylinder distributors? Was it ready in time for the race? No! Did it work? Yes! Well, for (almost) two glorious laps, with the transmission locked in second-gear-only limp mode.
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So for the New England ‘10 race, Speedycop figured, hey, we need reliability here! That’s why the diesel I6 out of a BMW 524td went into the car. Naturally, the car wasn’t quite ready when the green flag waved, and nobody on the team had slept for about 18 days beforehand, but it all paid off when the car actually held together for most of the weekend… and finally, Police Brutality won the IOE!

The DieselBird turned out to be quite the burnout machine as well!
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How do you top that? Lancia Scorpion! Chief Perp Lamm heard of the plan and suggested that Speedycop ditch the Lancia engine and go with Toyota MR2 power… which, of course, meant that the entire MR2 chassis would get swapped.
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Apparently, the build just started a few days ago, which means it’ll be another trademark Police Brutality fabrication-a-thon, no doubt continuing while the car is being trailered 10 billion miles from Maryland to Illinois and then through the night before tech inspection. Did I mention that there’s a driver opening on the team?
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So you guys who whine that an E30 was “the only car we could find” when we sweat you in the BS Inspection: now you know what a real LeMons car looks like!

18 Responses to “Speedycop’s Lancia: New Zenith, or Maybe Nadir, of LeMons Madness”

  1. ronman

    As a team member and long-time participant in Speedycop’s automotive shenanigans, I love this article. Thanks for the coverage, Phil!

  2. LTDScott

    I’m not in the same league as this team. Hat’s off to them!

  3. Speedycop

    What Ron said. NICELY done, Phil. You da MAN!
    BTW, it’s not even 6am, it’s dark and chilly outside, and I’m preparing to get out there and resume work on this thing. Those who think my LeMons cars are never ready because I procrastinate too much have no idea how many late nights and long hours are involved. Maybe if I knew what I was doing instead of making it up as I went along, I’d be able to build more quickly… :)

  4. Sir Thomas Crapper

    Epic builds, epic fails, epic fixes.

    It’s what he do.

  5. mechimike

    This is awesome. Everytime I hear of some car that I think hits the apex of LeMons, something like this comes along. Something…even more AWESOME. Makes our efforts with a lowly Volvo Amazon downright pedestrian.

    I’ve got so many ideas floating through my mind now…especially since our car is about 6″ shorter since T-boning that civic a few weeks ago.

  6. iMPY

    Speedycop is a pretty cool guy, eh makes epic cars and doesn’t afraid of anything.

  7. Speedycop

    BTW Phil, You can sleep with a clear conscience tonight. I know now you’d been clamoring for a Scorpion for a long time, but when I found it on CL, I’d never even heard of one. I wanted a rare IOE candidate, that’s why I bought it. Well, that, and the seller taking less than half his asking price after I pointed out that the carpet was the only thing keeping my feet off the ground when I drove it. You’re off the hook.

  8. Sharon Velez

    Hi! I am SpeedyCop’s Mom! As a kid, he took everything apart in the house to see how it worked!!! He has ALWAYS been a challange! Jamie, you are a saint!!!

  9. Bonedriver

    Please remember… most of our team is spread out ALL OVER THE US and Speedycop pretty much wrenches on these cars by and large BY HIMSELF. There are a couple of team members up there don’t get me wrong and help whenever they can… but us “southerners” can only send him positve waves and keep sending him inspirational quotes via text messages…

    Love ya man!!!

  10. jeff

    I don’t see how any engine swap can be done for less than $500.

  11. 1300ccsoffury

    Our team hasn’t huffed quite enough brake cleaner to come up with something like this, but considering how we’re tearing our own hair out over a rather plebian SHO for the Chicago race I can’t imagine the depths of mental hell someone has to reach in order to make a rebodied Lan-cha work. Bravo, sir.

    I witnessed firsthand Speedycop’s heroics at the first Detroit race earlier this year and put a video of their Saturday tech inspection on YouTube. I didn’t even know Fuzion made a white-walled tire!

  12. Speedycop

    Fuzion didn’t make whitewalls. I did, with a brush and a can of white paint. ;)

    Oh, and Jeff, engine swaps under $500 are really easy. Craigslist is a gold mine! I paid $600 for the Lancia, the seller was asking $1250. I paid $200 for the wrecked MR2. The seller was asking $500, but it wouldn’t start. Turned out to be a loose battery connection! You might say that puts me $300 over budget, right? WRONG. Not when I am parting out the Lancia drivetrain/interior stuff I no longer need! I’m selling the engine itself for $300. I got offered $100 today for the two sail panel glasses. I still have a ton of parts to sell, which should allow for more work to the new build. Its all about keeping a watchful eye on CL, and finding the deals.

  13. jeff

    re: $500 engine swap.

    Engine swap, usually a transmission swap, shift linkage, clutch linkage, throttle linkage, modified prop shaft which requires spin balancing, probably some kind of steering mods are necessary, rubber parts, fluids,

    It all adds up. It’s not just the donor cars. In fact, i think if the donor cars are free you’re still going to get near $500 on the little stuff.

  14. Speedycop

    Which is why I simply cut the wrecked body off of the $200 MR2, and left the suspension/drivetrain/center tunnel intact. I then cut the floor/suspension/drivetrain out of the Scorpion, and replaced it with the MR2 (see the first pic above, that’s the MR2’s black chassis). The blue rusty floor/chassis was the original Scorpion stuff. No steering mods. No drivetrain fabrication. No expensive swap parts. Just days and days of cutting and welding…

  15. jeff

    Yes, a body swap would be cheaper, no doubt.

  16. CaddyWrecker

    Great article, Phil! I approve! Not that I am whining, or anything, but it was great to go back through all those old links, thinking about all the hours of wrenching and driving, and paying tribute to long lost clothes with untold visions of funk and smell, I have been side tracked from my daily work responsibilities.

    I did chuckle with the E30 comment about you sweating out other contestants in BS inspections. TPB does like to raise our bar each and every time (When there is time.)

    Have fun out at Joliet! Can’t make this one, but I’m considering heading down to New Orleans for the full 24hr.

  17. Mad_Science

    If anyone can do a twin-engined LeMons car, SpeedyCop can do it.

    Yes, that is a challenge.

  18. Speedycop

    Already in the works…

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