The Trippy Tippy Hippy Van Build Saga

The idea came to me—as so many other bad ideas do—by simply wondering how to make something totally conventional into something far more creative and entertaining to watch. Our previous builds were based on the same premise. What if a plane could be made into a racecar? We built the Spirit of LeMons, a ’56 Cessna 310, into a totally reliable street/track car that handles incredibly well, despite the mundane ’87 Toyota van base. I chose that particular model van because it uses a mid-engine/RWD setup and torsion bars in the front, which made for a low center of gravity, and left no strut towers protruding from the narrow fuselage. What if we did it again, but with a helicopter? Most helicopters have quite rounded bodies and use narrow skids, so even if a fuselage could somehow be sourced cheaply enough, neither would hide the chassis of even a small vehicle inside. The solution was clear to me—use pontoons to hide the vehicle chassis, and add an extra layer of challenge to the build by making it amphibious as well! The Upside-Down Camaro presented fewer serious engineering challenges, but still worked amazingly well as a visual gag. I wanted to recreate the jaw-dropping wow factor of that build, but how? A backwards truck had already been raced. I needed to think more unconventionally.

Why not a vehicle on its side? Continue reading

Moscow (PA) to Paris (TN): The LeMons Rally is in just a few weeks!

At the end of this month, we will embark on an EPIC adventure. We’re planning to take both the SpeedyCopter and the newest addition to fleet: A 1971 Reliant Regal! This 3 wheeled, fiberglass, Harry Potter-esque car last saw road duty in the U.K. in 1991. We acquired it a couple of weeks ago, and managed to get it running just a few days ago. Well, if you consider popping, sputtering, slipping clutch, dripping oil from everywhere, and leaking fuel from it’s 25HP (750CC) engine ‘running’, that is. We have our work cut our for us in the next two weeks! No worries, though, because our 185/45R13 snow tires arrived on schedule, and are now mounted. As long as there’s no wind, hills, other vehicles around, or darkness, we should be fine. Right? Right. Cheers, Mates!