What’s the oddest vehicle you’ve seen at an autocross?

Staff
By Staff Writer
May 26, 2022 | Autocross

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

Okay, so our Garage Rescue Miata might not be the weirdest car to attend an autocross, but what is the oddest vehicle you have ever seen show up?

Bonus points if it's the car you ran.

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boulder_dweeb
boulder_dweeb Reader
5/24/22 11:45 a.m.

60's VW bus with a SBC in the backseat.....Not worthy of Emod, but that was the only class it could run..(Grin)

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/24/22 11:54 a.m.

My friend Josh's Grand Cherokee 5.9L Limited. He had it lowered, way stiffer springs, 200tw tires, and the front driveshaft disconnected so that it was CAM legal. It met height-by-width and he got a letter of approval from the SCCA, but pretty much every tech inspector and safety steward hassled him about it, leading to it's retirement after just a year.

He followed that up with a Ram S/ST the next year, but it was the same issue with tech inspectors and safety stewards not being thrilled about it, and he also kept annihilating cab mount bushings (turns out they aren't meant for this kind of abuse). He has since moved on to a $400 P71.

dps214
dps214 Dork
5/24/22 11:57 a.m.

(not me)

Second place is probably an sufficiently lowered canam x3, complete with hoosiers.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/24/22 12:04 p.m.

I've brought some weird ones

jgrewe
jgrewe HalfDork
5/24/22 12:04 p.m.

I once ran a 1986 Jetta diesel at a rainy event in Toledo. This was the 52hp version, none of that fancy TDi stuff. I think I finished 2nd in D or E stock out 7 cars. Most runs I had 3 passengers.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 12:15 p.m.

Weirdest I've run:

  • 2001 Crown Vic P71 in STU... and won
  • 2008 Mazda5 in SMF... and won
  • 2008 Mazda3 in CAM-S (labeled as SCAM) and nobody protested (last event of the season and the Cobra had grenaded it's diff at the event the day before and nobody else in CAM showed up).
  • 1973 Javelin... DFL on slicks in snow

Weirdest I've seen:

  • 1970 Satellite wagon 383, and it was half decent! (With a ton of $$$$ in the suspension)
  • 1966 Chevelle with a roots supercharger through the hood
  • 2008 Mazda5 with hand controls that was fast!

 

shane86
shane86 New Reader
5/24/22 12:29 p.m.

"Run what you got"

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
5/24/22 12:32 p.m.

After course cleanup, the firefighters that had stopped to watch the last runs of the day hustled their firetruck around the course by following the tire tracks. It was an extremely impressive showing that earned them a standing ovation from all awaiting the awards ceremony.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/24/22 12:42 p.m.

 

My Yugo (aka "The Yugo from Hell) was a contender. 
 

The car could do a 360* spin inside an autocross gate without touching a cone!  (Ask me how I know!)

Cadman5
Cadman5 Reader
5/24/22 12:42 p.m.

Run what ya got...4 door Plymouth Acclaim...mine

 

A buddy's Honda 600

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/24/22 12:44 p.m.

 

I ran the autocross course at the $20XX Challenge with my son on a single speed tandem bicycle. 
 

I also ran the same bike on the 1/4 mile drag strip with Alan McCrispin riding shotgun. 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
5/24/22 12:46 p.m.

SpeedyCop in a Cessna.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/24/22 12:50 p.m.

I mean, I was at challenge in 2019 when wreck racing ran a couch ...... And I have most of the run on video somewhere. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
5/24/22 12:52 p.m.

This guy is fairly regular at our events:

GregAmy
GregAmy New Reader
5/24/22 12:58 p.m.

What in god's name is that in the main photo background? I'm in love...

Duke
Duke MegaDork
5/24/22 1:05 p.m.

In reply to GregAmy :

I believe it's the mobile quarantine bus for the Apollo astronauts.

[edit] I stand corrected.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/22 1:06 p.m.
GregAmy said:

What in god's name is that in the main photo background? I'm in love...

It's a NASA space shuttle crew transport vehicle turned into a lounge at Florida International Rally & Motorsports Park.

Video of it in action here and story about its barge trip to Keystone Heights here

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/22 1:09 p.m.

More about the mobile lounges

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/24/22 1:19 p.m.

One time a friend and I towed my turbo Miata down to the autox using his 2nd gen (supercharged) F-150 lightning and trailer.  Then we both co-drove both vehicles.

The Lightning certainly wasn't the car to beat in F Stock, but it was total hooligan fun.  Left giant smoke trails through the sweeper. :)

 

borf42
borf42 GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/24/22 1:20 p.m.

One of my friends occasionally comes out with his 69 Cougar. I had the pleasure of going for a run in that thing. It is both amazing and terrifying. I loved it!

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
5/24/22 1:25 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

More about the mobile lounges

Haha, I was going to say, that looks like its related to the Dulles airport terminal-terminal shuttle busses.  What doesn't come across immediately in that photo/article is how far they travel up and down.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny Reader
5/24/22 1:37 p.m.

I've autocrossed and tracked my BMW E34. It's not unusual to see a BMW on the track, but my car being a 5 series always confused people. And then I'd run halfway decent times with it and would actually pass people despite having only 189hp.

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/24/22 1:43 p.m.

I saw an ur-Quattro once.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 1:45 p.m.

Said Javelin at a different event where it wasn't terrible. Not good, but not terrible. 

By this point I had swapped in a Ford 8.8 rear axle with 3.55 LSD, quick-ratio steering box, front sway bar, front disc brakes, and KYB gas shocks along with 200TW tires on 17x9/10.5 wheels.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
5/24/22 1:51 p.m.

When we had Slalom at the old BugIns at OCIR , I ran my 1966 bus.....

also at the Drags the same day.... I think I broke 20 seconds in the quarter !

sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
5/24/22 1:59 p.m.

Favorite WTF competitor: Years ago, at the Duel at De Anza. De Anza College in Cupertino used to (and may still, I left the area in 2001) hold a one-day autocross in their parking lot, which brought out all KINDS of vehicles. It was organized by the auto tech class, who had built a front-engined Dodge Colt as their class project. I was writing up the event for the Mercury-News, and had the pleasure of driving the car while interviewing some of the students and the teacher, the day before the autox. 

But the event itself... Someone showed up with a Fiat Topolino body on a custom chassis with what looked like a gigantic Hemi between the firewall and radiator. (Not under the hood: they had removed that to fit the blower.) Motorcycle front tires and wrinkle-wall slicks do not a cone-chaser make.

The thing basically LAUNCHED at the exit of every corner, then braked to avoid peeling the skinny front tires off the wire wheels, tiptoed through the apex, and then LAUNCHED again.

It was a joy to behold, and a crowd favorite.

Wish I had photos...

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/24/22 1:59 p.m.

It's not inappropriate for Autox in fact it was built for it but my Subaru 360 is definitely strange.  

husky450cr
husky450cr New Reader
5/24/22 2:21 p.m.

I was working Morning Waiver and a guy pulled up in a beautiful Lotus Cortina...I told him what a cool car it was, thanks for bringing it out, etc.  I intended to get some photos of it, but he left before I got the opportunity. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 2:29 p.m.
sir_mike
sir_mike Reader
5/24/22 2:31 p.m.

Back in 72 or 73 one club member decided to run his MB 600.Took awhile to put all the cones back up.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 2:32 p.m.

Me at the Flyin' Miata autocross in 2019. Some of the Miata drivers complained about how tight the course was.

Not the fastest run of the day, but not the slowest. And certainly the best time per pound.

This was actually the second run in a "FCA turbocharged six cylinder grudge match" against a Maserati Levante. The Maserati won despite having four people on board, but it didn't tow two cars home afterwards.

AMiataCalledSteve
AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
5/24/22 3:26 p.m.

As far as I know, it's completely stock. It makes me think of the big barge car chases in 70s cop movies when it's out on the course

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/24/22 3:51 p.m.
sfisher71 said:

Years ago, at the Duel at De Anza. De Anza College in Cupertino used to (and may still, I left the area in 2001)

Duel at De Anza ended about a decade ago when they decided to put solar panels over the parking lot that was used for the event. :(

I never drove the event (it was always sold out by the time I thought about it), but I went a number of times to watch and take photos.  

FieroReinke
FieroReinke Reader
5/24/22 4:02 p.m.

1969 Jaguar E-Type 2+2

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
5/24/22 5:47 p.m.

When I was very young I was at a local event with my parents when someone ran a Gogomobile. Damn near rolled it first run. He had it up on 2 wheels so far several times that the organizers (Suburban Sports Car Club) asked him to leave. I took the photos below of Honda 600s type N and S at McGuire AFB in 1972.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/24/22 6:09 p.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

2 sheriff deputies ran timed runs once in their patrol cars. They asked nicely. What are you going to say, No? They were in P71s so it was a good show. 

There was the Dakota R/T that was running some of the national tour events in ESP back in the mid 2000's as well. 

 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/24/22 6:13 p.m.

Oh, I know. I saw a Citroen 2cv do a hillclimb autox once. It was frightening to watch with the body roll those things have. 

Don49 (Forum Supporter)
Don49 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/24/22 6:14 p.m.

That was my S600 that I then took road racing with EMRA. But, one time the car wasn't ready so I ran my 66 Impala 283 auto that was my tow pig and beat a Boss Mustang at Fort Dix Speedway.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 7:02 p.m.

The oddest cars (2) that I've ever seen at an autocross were also the fastest cars there that day. 
 

Back when they were new, somebody brought a pair of Consuliers to one of our events. I don't remember if they were with Mosler or if they were regional distributors but they were giving test drives and demo rides. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 7:07 p.m.

We also had a guy who started with a gold 1976 Monte Carlo, possibly the biggest car I've ever seen on an autocross course. It was terrible, but he ran it for the whole season, caught the bug, and bought a Lotus Formula Ford with a 4AGE swapped in to replace it. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 7:27 p.m.
Mndsm said:

Oh, I know. I saw a Citroen 2cv do a hillclimb autox once. It was frightening to watch with the body roll those things have. 

I lived on the side of a mountain in France for 6 months or so. There were 8 hairpins to get down to the valley floor. Body roll is just the French way, you did not want to get in front of the local Renault 4.

JThw8
JThw8 UltimaDork
5/24/22 8:23 p.m.
SV reX said:

 

My Yugo (aka "The Yugo from Hell) was a contender. 
 

The car could do a 360* spin inside an autocross gate without touching a cone!  (Ask me how I know!)

Came to post this as well.  The YFH was an oddity that dominated EP and many higher classed cars in the NJ/Philly autocrosses when I owned it.  It wasnt fast but it was a true no lift car, you could just peg the pedal and roll, a good driver could do wonders with it (I had a young guy who was the son of my mentor in autcross who drove for me and took on all comers with it)

 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/22 8:44 p.m.

Back when I was autocrossing, my car was 40 years old, but whenever I autocrossed, my friend brought out his GTA Jr, which was 6 years older than my car.

But I have seen some late 50's Giulietta's autocross at national conventions.  They would have been about 50 for those events, since that was a while ago.  I think those would be the oldest cars I've seen autocross.

corolla2tcte27
corolla2tcte27 New Reader
5/24/22 10:15 p.m.

My dad ran a 66 Ford Econoline van back in the 70's. The 69 Toyota Corona he usually ran had a bad clutch. Just 1 event in Hagerstown,Md. Straight six 3 on the tree. Still remember the leaning in the corners, thought he would roll it.

triumph7
triumph7 HalfDork
5/24/22 10:28 p.m.

We had a guy back in the 80s that ran a full size police car with lights and siren going.  (You would know the person if I mentioned his name.)

Around 2003 there was a guy that was a distributor for Superformance and Noble that autocrossed a Noble M18(?).  Really cool car.

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/24/22 11:11 p.m.

One of the most fun trips I had around the course was in my 68' Fairlane.  I was asked to limit myself to one passenger after a few runs.  The people in the back seat were banging their helmets together.  Interestingly, the next owner also brought it out for a few runs.

Pictures are terrible due to the age, but it was a blast!

 

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/25/22 4:44 p.m.

There is a AWD 454 powered S10 Blazer that autoxs up here in new england.

trucke
trucke SuperDork
5/25/22 5:03 p.m.

We have a guy running a 1947 MG TC and it is mint!  Very cool to see him running it, wire wheels and all!

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/22 5:57 p.m.

There are photos on physical film somewhere, but 97 SCCA SOLO Nats there was an old, even for the time, Sprint car with circle track Hoosiers on it in AMOD.  It had one of those mega cubed Chubbys innit putting out zillions of torques.  There were several drivers all of who had lots of fun being epochs behind the class leaders on time.  

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
5/25/22 6:23 p.m.

I know I'm biased, but for me, it's still this thing:



Hopefully someday it will carve cones in anger again. It's so fun to watch people's facial expressions when they see that red, white, and blue brick dancing around a course/track.

blue1968GTO
blue1968GTO
5/25/22 6:46 p.m.

A '54 Hudson Hornet.  No pictures unfortunately.  It was at the airport in Lone Pine, CA in about 1986.

BillKeksz
BillKeksz New Reader
5/26/22 1:48 p.m.

 

Not me, wasn't there...

KyAllroad
KyAllroad MegaDork
5/26/22 2:01 p.m.

I'm also a bit biased.  But my "1959 Zamboni" is reasonably unusual.

car39
car39 Dork
5/26/22 2:08 p.m.

Had less than $2000 invested in the pair, outside of tires.  Most of the graphics are shelf paper, cars were assembled out of several other trashed Subarus.  

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 2:22 p.m.

I joked about autocrossing my Kia Rondo once, and someone posted a picture of one racing. I can't locate it now, but that is the last thing I would want to toss around a course. 

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
5/26/22 11:42 p.m.

In reply to The Staff of Motorsport Marketing :

My LS1 BMW E34 Touring

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
5/27/22 12:28 a.m.

No photos but back in around '74 or'75 we were running an SCCA autocross at Phoenix International Raceway.  We used 2/3 of the oval and the infield road course, with pylons mostly to show the line through the road course corners and a couple of offset gates to keep speeds from getting too ridiculous (even so, I hit the finish line at 95 mph in a Corvair stage rally car on snow tires).  We kept hearing this great V8 noise from over on the back part of the road course, which you can't see from the infield.  Turns out a local racer named Don Roberts, a former national champion in a 289 Cobra, was doing jetting tests for a local Cobra collector.  The cars were a team USRRC Cobra roadster, and a Daytona Coupe - a real one.  Sure enough, after completing their testing they came over to watch the event, and they entered the Daytona coupe for Roberts to drive.  Of course he took FTD, but he spun the car on his second run and just missed a tall saguaro cactus.  No way a Daytona owner would do that today.  It was really special to watch (and hear).

footinmouth
footinmouth Reader
5/27/22 6:27 a.m.

I've done about 4 auto -x's / mid pack #'s and smiles all the way home and nobody has made a fuss because it sits as high as a non stance sedan .

russinok
russinok New Reader
5/29/22 6:00 p.m.

I used to autocross rental cars from National's Emerald Isle fleet whenever I was traveling on the company dime back in the early '90s.  At different events in the Chicago area one year I ran a Pontiac Bonneville SE (3.8L FWD), a Tempo V6 (you could get them with the 3.0L Taurus motor) and one time a 4.5L Seville!  None of them were competetive in class,  I think the Seville ran in F stock.  But hey, the rental company did not charge me for tire wear!

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
5/29/22 7:31 p.m.

Shortly after my uncle got back from his first tour of duty, he bought a '69 GTO Judge.  He and his wife, along with my mom and dad went over to a naval air station that was having a relief festival.  It was were the fly boys got jet training, and most of the bought '69 big block Corvettes when they graduated.  There was an autocross going on, and my dad convinced my uncle to let him drive the Judge in it.  It was classed with all those Vettes, about seven or eight of them.

It had rained that morning, but was still a little wet. The first run,they sent a Vette out, and when it got halfway around, they sent my dad.   My dad caught that Vette a few gates from the end, so they sent him back out behind someone they said was faster, and he caught them too.  After that, every time he pulled up to the start line, the PA announcer would repeat that line from Rowan & Martin's Laugh In, "Here come da Judge".

Unfortunately, when my uncle went to Singapore shortly afterwards, his wife and a bunch of her friends took the car to Mexico and claimed that it caught on fire and burned down. I have other theories.

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
5/29/22 8:25 p.m.

That Tacoma looks great with those wheels!

 

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
5/29/22 9:40 p.m.
bmw88rider said:

In reply to Driven5 :

2 sheriff deputies ran timed runs once in their patrol cars. They asked nicely. What are you going to say, No? They were in P71s so it was a good show. 

There was the Dakota R/T that was running some of the national tour events in ESP back in the mid 2000's as well. 

 

Funny stuff, I autocrossed both my 93 ext cab 360 swapped Dakota and then my brand new 97 Dakota R/T; before that I ran my Diplomat Police Interceptor a few times. The carb wouldn't ever react fast enough so it was bogging all the time. 

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