Lemons 1978 Celica

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  1. #1
    CelicaSupra.com Member brett85p's Avatar
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    Lemons 1978 Celica

    I figured I would throw up some pictures and updates for my 24 hrs of LeMons Celica.
    The car has evolved into something of a frankenstein over 4 years and 16 races. It started off as a AutoX car with cage, coilovers and mildly built 20r with 4 barrel holley. It had been for sale for over one year having become somewhat obsolete against even modern rental cars in terms of horsepower.
    I added some rollcage bars to make it Lemons legal and a 16 gallon fuel cell (later replaced with 22 gallon) replacing the 5 gallon and added a mild theme.
    As purchased:


    Lemons ready:


    We had a very eventful first race earning our first trophy...http://blog.caranddriver.com/lemons-...engine-blocks/

    After this I built a 20R/22r hybrid using the valve springs and cam from the first engine and we ran a bunch of races with this engine at Road America, Autobahn, Gingerman, and Barber Motorsports Park. We were not the fastest car in B class but threatened to win class B a couple of times only to be let down by minor issues like the Panhard bar parting ways with the chassis, running out of fuel on track, running out of brakes on track (Turn 5 at RA is very scary when the pedal goes to the floor) and general endurance racing failures.

    The hybrid engine finally dropped a valve during practice for the day night race at Autobahn in 2015 and we ran on a $200 CL engine that leaked oil and was down on power.

    I priced up another 20/22r hybrid engine build and decided that spending $1000 on a 100 hp engine that can only rev to 4500rpm reliabily was not the economical way to go and the good parts for these are getting harder to find. After much internet research looking at Chev V6 and toyota straight 6 engines I finally settled on a 4 Cylinder chevy Ecotec due to the junkyard availability and the easy upgrade to Turbo/SC. I have a rather long winded build thread here for the engine swap here http://www.ecotecforum.com/forums/sh...nto-RWD-Celica and I still have the Turbo Saab engine but will likely sell it and move to an LE5 2.4 liter next to jump to 180HP. I like the compactness of the 4 Cylinder as well as the weight saving as the car was very front heavy with the original engine.
    We gradually upgraded to 3rd gen front struts and then 300zx brakes (thanks RevHappy!), A 81 Supra diff with 84 Celica calipers and rotors, Chevy Colorado 2WD 5 Speed transmission (with the engine swap)...

    Anyway we managed a class B win at Joliet this year and finished 6th overall then followed up our class A introduction with a 5th overall out of 108 cars at Gingerman for the 10th anniversary race after making a single stop on Saturday. It turns out the Ecotec is quite economical, I was able to get 4hrs 10 minutes driving conservatively with help from a couple of full course cautions and the next driver did the same to finish that day in 3rd coming in on fumes! We ended up 5th overall as Sunday was not long enough for our fel strategy to help against the quicker cars but it made for a fun race.

    We did re theme for the race going with a period correct classic paint scheme to at least look more racey and I added a new front bumper/airdam/splitter.



    Next year we are tentatively planning to run LeMons Barber in Feb, WRL Road America in May, LeMons NCM in July and possibly Road Atlanta with LeMons in December.
    1978 Toylet Celica LeMons Racecar
    2.2 Ecotec Engine, Colorado Trans, Mk1 Supra Rearend

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  3. #2
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    great story! seen you in some of the wrapup videos

  4. #3
    CelicaSupra.com Member revvhappy's Avatar
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    Welcome, Brett!

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  6. #4
    CelicaSupra.com Member
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    I like it brother! I really liked the old flat black scheme.
    1985 Celica GTS Endurance Race Car
    Chump/WRL
    Raleigh, NC

    my other car is an AH-64D

  7. #5
    CelicaSupra.com Member brett85p's Avatar
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    Found a slightly bent hub from some minor contact in the last race. Found a new pair here on Celicasupra.com so will have a spare now.
    1978 Toylet Celica LeMons Racecar
    2.2 Ecotec Engine, Colorado Trans, Mk1 Supra Rearend

  8. #6
    CelicaSupra.com Member CLToy's Avatar
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    I love seeing old toyotas still finding ways to shake up competition! Good luck with improvements and thank you for posting here for others to enjoy!

  9. #7
    CelicaSupra.com Member drjim's Avatar
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    I remember reading the Car and Driver article but never thought I'd "meet" the perps who pulled it off!

    Great story.

    - Jim
    1985 5-speed "Ms. Swan"

    OH, What A Feeling!

  10. #8
    CelicaSupra.com Member brett85p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
    I remember reading the Car and Driver article but never thought I'd "meet" the perps who pulled it off!

    Great story.

    - Jim
    That was a fun time and we still get people at races saying "Oh you are that team"
    1978 Toylet Celica LeMons Racecar
    2.2 Ecotec Engine, Colorado Trans, Mk1 Supra Rearend

  11. #9
    CelicaSupra.com Member brett85p's Avatar
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    Adding images of the front spoiler/splitter. The final finish is not what i wanted but it will do for now.
    Whole thing is removable, pipe slides into larger pipe and held in place with trailer hitch pins.
    Added some supports on the sides not pictured.




    1978 Toylet Celica LeMons Racecar
    2.2 Ecotec Engine, Colorado Trans, Mk1 Supra Rearend

  12. #10
    CelicaSupra.com Member brett85p's Avatar
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    We managed a 2nd place finish in the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Barber this past weekend. We were not fastest but drove a 99% clean race (one small off as the track was drying) and had minimal pitstops. We finished day one in 2nd and maintained through the rain on Sunday morning and finished up 7 laps out of first and 7 laps ahead of 3rd. Unfortunately the off track excursion tore the splitter off but didn't slow us down.

    The only mechanical issue was two broken wheel studs on the right rear found at the end of the saturday session. I replaced with more of the same but will be replacing all with ARP now...does anyone have an ARP part number?
    1978 Toylet Celica LeMons Racecar
    2.2 Ecotec Engine, Colorado Trans, Mk1 Supra Rearend

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