Our low-buck showdown dares teams to buy, build and prepare a car without spending more than the $2012 budget cap. As usual, we used autocross, drag racing and concours judging to rank the field. Click here for the full results in Microsoft Excel format.
Think these cars are all piles of junk? Think again.
The 13th running of the Grassroots Motorsports low-dollar Challenge brought together everything from a twin-engined 1986 Ford Escort to a bone-stock 1987 Porsche 944 to compete together in autocross, drag racing and concours judging. Presented by Kumho Tires and powered by eBay Motors, nearly forty teams brought cars this year that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Running annually since 1999 and regularly supported by CRC Industries, this event uses the year as the total budget and combines an autocross, drag race and the craziest concours event that you will ever witness into one weekend. For a total budget of $2012, these teams bought, built and competed their low-dollar wonders at world-famous Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville, home of the NHRA Gatornationals.
Grassroots Motorsports publisher and lead concours judge Tim Suddard said this of the $2012 Challenge: “The average car was way better than it has ever been. We had very few entrants that weren’t worthy of our attention. Nearly every car was well-sorted and well-presented. We also had a return to reality that has been missing in recent years. I could honestly say that every car I judged this year, yeah, with a couple thousand bucks, a little luck on eBay and a few months of nights and weekends, I could have built that.“
Winners included the amazing “Scaries” turbo Dodge Aries of Pat Culkin and Bill Cuttita. They impeccably restored that 1987 sedan, taking top honors in the concours, and also got it to win the drags with an 11.694-second time in the quarter mile. They took it all home: a $2012 check from eBay Motors and a new set of Kumho tires. The External Combustion team won the autocross with their unlikely—and shockingly fast—turbocharged Jeep Cherokee.
The complete story on this long-running and popular event will grace the cover of the April 2013 issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Subscribe now to get the full scoop. In the meantime, many details are at grassrootsmotorsports.com/challenge. An announcement about next year’s event date, usually set in late September, will be made shortly.
eBay Motors has written about the event.