Tonight only: Mini-Van Halen | Low Buck Tech

By Staff Writer
Sep 24, 2022 | 24 Hours of Lemons, Low-Buck Tech, GRM+ | Posted in News and Notes | From the May 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Eric Rood

Story by Eric Rood

Forget your Dan Gurney IMSA GTP car. Forget the Talon. Forget, even, the proto-crossover AMC product. The Raleigh-based racers from the team “It’ll Be Fine…” present your new favorite Eagle: Mini-Van Halen.

Yes, this Eagle Summit Wagon has been converted to the ultimate Lemons tribute to Van Halen. Like so many oddball crapcans, a Summit Wagon doesn’t really need a theme, but Lemons organizers appreciate this kind of dedication. 

In addition to the Frankenstein-guitar paint job and wing supports, the team added an “I Don’t Feel Tardy” clock to the driver’s gauges. At the Mini-Van Halen’s debut, the team also bribed the Lemons judges with a copy of Van Halen’s famous tour rider (no brown M&M’s). Not that anybody doubts the relative worthlessness of an Eagle Summit Wagon, but a little greasing of the judicial wheels helped get the car into the worst/best class, Class C.

Like its platform-mates the Mitsubishi Expo LRV and Plymouth Colt Wagon, the Mini-Van Halen was powered by Mitsubishi’s 2.4-liter 4G64 engine. And like all the best minivans, this one had a five-speed manual transmission to boot.

So, was Mini-Van Halen’s debut on par with that first 1978 Van Halen record? It was certainly a hot first outing for the team at NCM Motorsports Park, though it lacked an “Eruption.” Some cooling and electrical problems kept the Summit Wagon from shredding through the field. In spite of a 55th-place finish and not a ton of speed, it managed to take home Organizer’s Choice from that first race.

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View comments on the GRM forums
4/18/22 1:47 p.m.

The 2022 tour for Minivan Halen starts at CMP this weekend

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/18/22 2:44 p.m.


Durty Reader
4/18/22 7:42 p.m.

Their tribute is better than this IMSA Challenge Aston that was "asked politely to desist."


Hopefully the Lemons VanHaulin doesn't get the same treatment. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/18/22 9:18 p.m.

I wouldn't mind burnin' down the avenue in that.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/22 9:57 a.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/19/22 10:29 a.m.

RIP, Eddie. crying

anavrinIV New Reader
4/19/22 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

So far no C&D letter from anyone associated with the band, although I doubt they know this car exists and probably care a little less since we're not making any money with the image.

For the next race it will be....more

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/22 12:21 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

Ugh, I know.

We saw them on their final tour–first time I saw VH.

Was DLR's voice not as sharp as it once was? Who cares? Killer show and he’s still a terrific front man. 

msterbeau New Reader
4/19/22 1:30 p.m.

The wing mounts are creative genius.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/21/22 10:07 p.m.

Have we even mentioned the box flares? 

RadBarchetta New Reader
6/13/22 10:36 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Dave's voice has definitely taken a hit. But that's normal for a rock and roll frontman at an advanced age. I mean, Dave was never a particularly good singer (and I say this as a lifelong VH aficionado) but the years have not been kind. He pretty much doesn't even try to "sing" anymore. He just says words in a tone and rhythm vaguely reminiscent of the original recording. Still puts on a great show, regardless. For what it's worth, Sammy has also lost a step and sounds like an old man lacking energy compared to his younger days. I don't think Mike's falsetto is quite what it used to be, either. 
\m/ \m/ forever.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/13/22 5:16 p.m.

In reply to RadBarchetta :

Speaking of DLR, did you see this?


FJ40Jim New Reader
9/28/22 2:41 p.m.

Just checked the results from the NCM race. This fine machine won Class C going away. We had a faster best lap, but they had zero issues and had consistently quick drivers, in comparison to our random lap times. Nice job!

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
9/28/22 3:31 p.m.

Yes, I was one of the judges at the race and they dominated Class C.  They ran clean and consistent laps.  The car is surprisingly quick, they finished 15th overall if memory serves.  They also are a great group of people.  They have a wonderful attitude and they "get it" with how Lemons is supposed to be fun.  They stayed in VH character all weekend too, so we presented them with our Halloween Meets Gasoline award, which is worth $1000.  Can't wait to see them again...this time in class B.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
9/28/22 3:57 p.m.

My wife B4 I dated her in 1980.  Today she can't hear me and I blame this third row concert.  Picture taken with Kodak Instamatic.

anavrinIV New Reader
10/12/22 10:52 a.m.

In reply to SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) :

Thanks for the shout!  We were suprised to win class C, especially in that fashion, then even more surprised that our outfits were good enough to take the Halloween trophy.  We love racing in Lemons and hope to run even more races next year

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