So many great junkyard-engineering ideas were on display at the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons that it’s going to take me weeks to get to all of them. Today, we’re going to admire the Commies-’Я’-Us BMW E21, which was converted from a not-so-reliable underpowered race car to a thrown-rod-waiting-to-happen overpowered race car by the addition of a supercharger torn from a Toyota Previa minivan.
Did you know that most of those mid-90s Previas came with Roots-type blowers? Commies-’Я’-Us madmen Vadim and Evil Clint sure did! 90 bucks and a bunch of fabrication later, they had their M10 getting force-fed by a blower intended for a Toyota 2.4 TZ engine. The best part? This supercharger has an electrically-actuated clutch, just like an air conditioner compressor, which means the Commies-’Я’-Us BMW has a switch that lets the driver decide when he wants the BOOOOOOOOOOOST! We’re guessing that the boost stayed on whenever the car was anywhere near the track surface, meaning the switch was pretty much irrelevant, but it’s still a great idea.
At one point, the crankshaft pulley fell off on the track (such are the pitfalls of ghettocharging, whether you go with the turbo- or supercharging route) during the race session, which seemed like a pretty severe problem. How could the team find another Previa pulley in Buttonwillow? Answer: Evil Clint talked the tow truck driver into taking him out to search for the wayward pulley on the hot track, and he found it (and added another item nobody had ever thought to add to the LeMons thou-shalt-not rulebook… until now; there was some talk about a Heroic Fix trophy for the team, but rewarding egregious safety violations is never a good idea). Unfortunately, the blower died soon after and the Commies-’Я’-Us E21 managed just a 90th-place finish. Still, 90th out of 172 is pretty good, and the awesomeness of the blower swap wins LeMons Legend status for the car. Congratulations, Commies-’Я’-Us!

Top photograph by Nick Pon

7 Responses to “Driver-Activated Previa Supercharger Transforms Commies-R-Us 320i Driver Into Mad Max”

  1. evil clint

    Hey Evil Clint here, thanks for the article Phil!!

    Vadym and I were very proud of the contraption even though it did not give the power we were expecting with 9-12psi. but at least the car finished albeit w/o boost since I was un able to retrieve the S/C belt. and luckly the vovlo EFI worked superbly too.

  2. m610

    Great write-up. The car looked great on track, not just power but also handling. If you had seen it at Thunderhill you’d know what I mean. Contrats Clint and Vadim.

  3. mechimike

    Hmmm…previa roots blower for a 2.4 litre engine. So let’s just say, for the sake of theory mind you, one had a 6 and a half litre engine…could you, in theory now, string 3 of these blowers together to provide enough CFMs for the big mill?

  4. Battles

    I can’t believe nobody has had to go out onto the track to retrieve important parts before.

    I’ve been at a couple of track days where someone has been out at the end of the session looking for a tax disc that blew away or a number plate for the drive home.

  5. admin

    Racers go out to retrieve lost parts on the track after every race session… when the track has gone cold. Clint was the first (and, if we’re on the ball, last) one to find a way to get his parts on a hot track.

  6. theeastbaykid

    Yeah, we went out on a (cold) Thunderhill track to retrieve parts, and found other parts from our car we didn’t even know we’d lost!

  7. frederickus

    I want to apply for the Loctite concession.

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