Friday, January 23, 2009

Okay, we're IN!




Sorta...

I have officially registered the team for Lemons South, the Spring edition this coming April.

I hear you "But Hammer, your car doesn't run yet"
I know.
"But Hammer, you don't even have a team yet"
I know.
"But Hammer, you barely have 2 months before the race"
I know.
And yet, here I am fighting the good fight!

Now, every team has a schtick, a story, a "reason for being." Simply put, a Theme. Ours...

"Hammer's Heroes"

The Plot:

  • A handful of misfits come together while stuck under the tyranny of an old German. In this case, a 26 year old BMW 320i, lovingly referred to as “Stalag 13”

The Cast:

  • Colonel Hammer: John “Hammer” Palazzolo. Detroit, MI.
    • Senior ranking officer, electronics expert & radio operator. Shot down in an air raid while strafing the front stretch at VIR in a Spec Miata.
  • Tim “Kinchloe” Craver: Welcome, NC.
    • “Kinch” is an expert in imitating a racecar driver. With a penchant for wearing name brand race suits while performing half assed, he looks the part even though, quite frankly, he sucks.
  • James “The Sarge” Ballard; Mooresville, NC.
    • Excels in not shaving, wearing sweatpants & welding front clips. He brags he escaped the Third Reich, er…Turn 3…no, wait…he didn’t escape Turn 3 at all, he nearly totaled a car at Turn 3 at Road Atlanta.
  • Royal Air Force Corporal Geoff Moller. Capetown, South Africa.
    • He creates a total mess as the team tries to decipher his accent over the radio while on a mission…or simply coming in for a pitstop.
  • Lieutenant Kelly Childress. Atlanta, GA.
    • A master of covert operations; he sneaks in and out of traffic passing the enemy at will. Of course, his barracks are VERY close to the gas chamber, er, refueling rig…and it’s assumed he’s been sniffing fumes.

The Vehicle:

  • 1983 BMW 320i
    • With 26 years of Autobahn under this German’s tracks, it’s amazing it still runs. The comedy comes often as the car, dubbed “Stalag 13” does it’s best Colonel Klink impression and works to stop Hammer’s Heroes from victory. Watch closely as hilarity ensues!

Making Lemon-Aid (sic!) Update

We need your help! I'll tell you about it in a minute...but first...



Is hydraulic fluid bad for your eyes? Work continues on the BMW to turn it into a racecar; today's job; rear brakes. I'd never done drum brakes before today...and I'm not exactly sure they're on right...but, they're on the car. Trouble came calling a couple times; the shoes I got weren't exactly the same as the ones on the car...oh, they were close, but for some reason 2 of them needed at bit of grinding to fit properly. Once done, everything went back together well.



Then I had to bleed the system. Now, my buddy Jim (who says he's joined the team...yeah, he's another of "us")...Jim has this pressure bleeder thing; like a garden sprayer with some fancy bits added on...it pressurizes the brake & clutch system so you can force new fluid through it without 2 or 3 people lending a hand. Perfect! Except... Just as I was directly under the center of the car bleeding the clutch slave cylinder, the seal let loose on the master cylinder up above me...which leaked...square onto my face. I rinsed it out immediately & it appears my vision is fine, but if you've ever wondered how caustic hydraulic fluid is, go pour some on your neighbor's truck (do it late at night...and don't get caught).



Quite a few folks have said "Hey Hammer, that car looks too nice for the Lemons race...and using the 30/30 rule I'd say you're right (30/30 = Looking decent from 30 feet at 30 mph). I finally got a good shot of the hood to show how bad the paint is. And the right rear shot shows the rust in the window opening. The floor of the driver's side has some rust too...although it's just on the surface.

Up next; flush the fuel system & try again to get this beast to run.

Now...how can YOU help US? We need a theme. Teams in this race have themes; "Busted Knuckles Racing" or "Surrender Monkeys" (both real teams!). There's probably a play on "BMW" somewhere. Or, things you'd make fun of with a BMW; Members Only jackets, Izod polos with starched collars, divorced MILFS...

C'mon, you know you've got something smartassed in your brain...let'er fly here. Post it all! What is our theme? 4 guys, a BMW, tight budget...

Saut Cakalaka... That’s German for Redneck!

Work on my new racecar is coming along well; the '83 BMW 320i that I'm building so we can race in the 24 Hours of Lemons a couple times in 2009.

I'm mooching as many freebies as I can to keep the budget REALLY tight; even with $800+ in a rollcage, I'm expecting to keep the total cost of this car under $2000...hopefully closer to $1700. Most recently, I got offered some wheels from John Applegit of the Upstate South Carolina Vintage BMW Club. I swung by the BMW factory today to pick them up (he works there) & had a great visit at BMW's museum & visitor center, the Zentrum.














































































Stay tuned for more updates on the car (it'll be NOTHING like the ones shown here!)

Are we out of our minds? Pretty Much!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The BMW Project!
Current mood: jubilant
Category: Automotive


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If you've been around me at all the past year, you've heard me talk about the 24 Hours of Lemons...an endurance race for $500 clunker cars. Some friends did it last season & I've been inspired to build a car for it, too. The intent is to put together a team of friends and go run the 2009 edition of the race in South Carolina.

I've spent the last couple months searching for a good car; the requirements were pretty easy: manual transmission, rear wheel drive, something with personality. So, I've been looking at things like old RX7s, old Volvos, old Fiats, old Pontiac Fieros...you see where I'm going with this. I even went to check out a mid '70's Datsun 710 that had been living it's life as a dirt oval race car (it was HAMMERED!).

Well, I found it. The one. Bought it yesterday. Mrs Hammer doesn't seem to think I'm a total moron with this one, either (that means there's support in the house, yes!). It's an '83 BMW 320i. I actually had an '81 320i back in MI as a Winter Beater so the car isn't totally foreign to me; I've had some experience with them. The plan is to gut it down to the bare minimum, weld in a roll cage, refurbish the thing & go racing!

Want more photos? Click the pic above to get the whole album. Wanna help the team out? Drop me a line.

Game on!