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Old 12-11-2010, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default Fiat X19 as a Lemons/ Chumpcar?

Anyone here have much experience with the Fiat X/19? I have an opportunity to pick one up that has been running in the SCCA. Current log book and tons of spares. There are several engines including a 1.5 turbo, tranny's including a Lancia unit, 7 sets of wheels and tires, extra carbs, koni coil over suspension, huge boxes full of misc. parts plus a nearly complete running parts car!

With a thorough go through this thing would be a pretty much ready to go lemons or chumpcar. As an SCCA car it would save a huge amount of build time, effort and expense since the safety gear is all in.

Seems like a nice chance to get into Chump and Lemons relatively easy. Who's had these cars in the past? Currently? If you have any advice? Don't know if this is something to jump on or run away from.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:36 PM   #2
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I had a roomate that had one years ago. Most problems he had with it were due to rust. Not a bad little car, but way underpowered stock. Other than that, I got nuthin'.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:56 PM   #3
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Almost exact response as rleete. My room mate had one, which was rusted pretty badly the more we looked. It has a pretty botched radiator move, to keep it in the back. The metal hard pipes on the bottom of the car looked as if they had exploded from rust. It just had a radiator sitting in the back, I think in the "trunk" like the Firero had.

I rebuilt one of the carbs, that's about it. He did a lot of amateur body work on it until he eventually realized it was just too much and donated it.

The unwritten rules of Chump/LeMons is that you don't use a Firero. An X1/9 is worse than that I'd think.

If/when something like this happens, I'd like to help as much as possible. Call me with a half *** schedule and I'll try to fit a couple hours in her or there to work on it with you or whatever.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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My parents bought one new back in the day. They had it for 6 months I think before they got rid of it because it was incredibly unreliable. Said it was an absolute blast to drive, though.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #5
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Im no help. I had no idea what this car was, until I just googled it.

Thats a sexy little car.



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Old 12-12-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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And here I had no idea that the ChumpCar series even existed.

How many different $500 racing series are there, anyway?

Last edited by Joe Perez; 12-12-2010 at 01:52 PM. Reason: schppeling.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:18 PM   #7
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badass little car when its got a SHO motor dropped in...


...my neighbor had it done, but there was cutting and welding involved.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:38 PM   #8
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I think it would be fun if you can pick it up/sell enough extras to get the price within specs. I know two people who had them back in the '80s, one loved it, the other hated it. I don't think either of them really pushed the car though. What I hear most about them is reliability sucks, but if you can make it last 24 hours then that's all that counts lol.
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Old 12-12-2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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Curly, If I ever pull the trigger and put a car and team together you are absolutely first on my list to recruit! There's a couple other PDX guys and possibly some of the Seattle area guys on this board that would be interested too.

JP - Chumpcar started as a competitor to Lemons a little over a year ago. The inagural race was here in Portland. Pretty similar series obviously. It's newer so the fields have been much smaller. The race here in Portland this halloween was the largest they've had with well over 70 entries. That'd be a smallish field in Lemons. Basically they are picking up the slack in areas and on tracks Lemons hasn't been running. Like Lemons, Chumpcar is a ton of fun. Lot's of drivers drive both series'.

This Fiat seems attractive due to the fact it's already a race car. Greatly improved suspension, sorted out and the truck load full of spares. Power isn't good but they are light and nimble. On a handling track they should be competetive. A Lemons team that's been running one has had very few reliability issues, just a lack of power. Their car is well prepared though.

I don't think it would be tough to have this pass the qualification for Lemons. The package price is 2k. If they write the sales reciept as the car for $500, safety gear $500 and add prices for all the other crap included it's pretty clearly a $500 car. Heck they have 4 spare engines and another 3 or 4 trannies. At $100 each that easily knocks the car value to qualifying range. Also figure in 7 set of wheels and tires!

The biggest appeal is the ease to get into the racing with this. It won't take hundreds of hours and several thousand dollars to prep it. Might not be capable of winning but if it's reliable it could certainly be fun. They did say they had a 1.5l turbo motor as a spare though!!!

Last edited by cueball1; 12-12-2010 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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I'd much more prefer a civic (god forbid) with a cage. I had a chance to get a free CRX a month or so ago, just needed a new engine. I didn't have the garage space for it :(
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:48 PM   #11
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All cars have to have cages for Lemons or Chumpcar.

The X19 is moot at this point. I couldn't get down to see it until this evening and it sold this afternoon. Wonder if whoever bought it will be hitting the Lemons / chumpcar circuit or if it'll stay SCCA. Needed to try harder to get out of work today.

Honda's aren't great in Lemons. They blow head gaskets. Some of the best cars aren't what you'd think. Old Alfa's, Saturns, Volvo's and tops for reliability/durability. Nissan Sentra does well, BMW 2002's are good too. Older and simpler is often desirable. The X19 has done pretty well for the couple of Lemons teams running them. Wish I'd had a chance to get there in time.

An older Saturn SW2 would be pretty good. They are lemony and simple. Would make a better lemons car than the Civic in my book!

Another car that comes up a lot that would be race ready are older VW rabbits that have been running SCCA. They are for sale cheap quite often.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:58 PM   #12
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Serious question: why aren't there more (any?) air-cooled VWs in Lemons / ChumpCar?

Granted, they're getting a bit rare, but it seems to me that there are still plenty of old Beetles around which are in essentially unrestorable condition and could thus be had cheaply. Add to this that everybody knows somebody who has an old T1 engine taking up space somewhere, and I'd think that budget wouldn't be a major concern. Hell, you could plausibly bring engines to the race as spares.

They're simple as dirt. No power steering, no power brakes, virtually no electronics, highly durable suspension, no real cooling system to speak of... Seems that there just aren't too many parts to go wrong.

As for reliability / endurance, well, these cars do run the Baja 1000. Sometimes they even finish it. I can't think of any race which is more mechanically punishing without land mines being involved.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cueball1 View Post
Honda's aren't great in Lemons. They blow head gaskets.
Why exactly is this so? Hondas have got to be some of the most reliable cars on the planet. Is this with the SOCH or B series motors? I'm genuinely curious, do tell.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:03 AM   #14
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I meant finding a cheap civic shell with a cage already in it. I knew they all needed cages. I just thought of them since I had that free one available.

You're the CL master, go find us a Saturn.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireindc View Post
Why exactly is this so? Hondas have got to be some of the most reliable cars on the planet. Is this with the SOCH or B series motors? I'm genuinely curious, do tell.
I don't know why. Cheap Hondas just don't seem to hold up to endurance racing in Chumpcar and Lemons form. The problem is heads. In the Chumpcar race I drove in on Halloween there were several Hondas. A couple of them were contenders. A very fast Civic and a moderately fast CRX. Both blew heads. If you look at the Lemons forum this is a consistent problem. Most Honda guys take several spare heads and get very good at doing the swap in short time.

Here's a link to the Lemons assesment of common cars. http://jalopnik.com/5450289/lemons-t...iviccrxintegra

JB, there are a few air cooled VW's out there in Lemons. Seems they just don't make good power unless they are a serious cheater car. Hard to make horsepower in them cheap.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cueball1
Most Honda guys take several spare heads and get very good at doing the swap in short time.
There was a Civic hatch in the race I ran back in March. It was a Double-7, and the motor blew up day one, swapped in a motor overnight from a friends CRX (who was there spectating lol), and won the next day. I don't know what happened to the first motor though, why it blew up that is.

There were a few cars there that didn't make any power to speak of. A Rabbit turbo diesel for one. Another was an '83 Mazda 626 hatch. Slow as **** but sipped gas, and it actually finished ahead of us both days because it only had to make mandatory driver swaps, only fueling a couple times. We made the most power (subjectively based on all the front straight passing we did), but had to pit about every 1.5hrs for fuel.
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