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sanyarcosean Reader
10/18/16 7:50 p.m.

I had video of Andy's first ever Autocross Run back in 2004 driving the Nova. I'll do some digging and see what I can find.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
10/18/16 8:21 p.m.

Bat van

Clowns cosworth powered mgb Clowns Datsun 300z with the paddle shifter.

Mongrel Miata and BMW

Mikes abomination

Boosted dodge Aries

Andy Nelsons beetle.

Anyone who bought a cheap car and just showed the hell up because they could.

Cotton UberDork
10/18/16 8:28 p.m.

Whatever happened to the bat van?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/18/16 9:24 p.m.

I have a hard time believing no one has mentioned this yet:


Or the 510 with the side-mounted Caddy engine.

Or the V8 RX7 that won by just being ridiculously competent.

Or Ed Malle's Timebomb.

Or the Isetta.

Or the Gutty CRX.

Or the SooperTurd.

Or any of the Westside cars.

bluej UltraDork
10/18/16 9:42 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I've never been to the Challenge - but the ones that stick in my mind as a long-distance observer are the Sucker Vette and the Mongrel Miata. Also, Batvan.

I heard they were down a Concourse Judge this year... Mayhaps an opportunity for a first time visit?

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
10/18/16 9:52 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak:

I just saw this thread and came here to vote for the white SBF-powered 2nd gen RX7 owned by Jeremy Butts IIRC. 3rd place in his debut, won it all the next year. That car was sick because it was subtle.

TheV8Kid Reader
10/18/16 9:55 p.m.

I too just saw this thread. Ed Malle's Time Bomb is my vote.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
10/18/16 10:03 p.m.

Anything Denny Crabill got his hands on was fast.

Same for the Hongs, except for the Boss Hong, and it was legendary for other reasons.

And Gutty.

And Cliff Sebring and the rest of DC-SDAC.

There have been a lot of great cars over the years.

wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 4:45 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: Since we don't have results spreadsheets from any of the early years, I've been punching into an Excel doc every team and car that has entered the $2000 Challenge over the years, along with their scores in the event's 3 categories. Those entries will be ranked using a unique scoring system that will allow an even playing field to compare times and scores, taking into account the different autocross course lengths over the years. Bonus: This will also finally gather all of the Challenge results over the years into one archive for your convenience. So, any guesses as to who has built the best Challenge Car? (We don't know for sure yet, either. Still punching in numbers.)

I have every year on spread sheets except one. I will send it later today. Statistically it is easy to find the top performer. However, the normalization of the auto-x score does influence the outcome. You may want to calculate the average of the auto-x times to use as the normalized factor in your calculation. Just saying.

As far as greatest challenge car, Steve DeFayette's $2006 Challenge Winner. 10.926 in quarter, 5th in auto-x, high in concour, big field (61 cars) of competition and the car was built when brakes taxes tires and safety equipment all counted towards the budget. And he continues to race the car today and has won a punch of races with the car

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
10/19/16 5:23 a.m.

In reply to wheels777:

Was that the white and blue SBC-powered 2nd-gen RX7? For a while there, that seemed like the chassis to have.

wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 6:24 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair: Yes

Appleseed MegaDork
10/19/16 6:38 a.m.

Still is the chassis to get, except most of the cheap ones are long gone.

alfadriver MegaDork
10/19/16 6:46 a.m.

Seems to me that there needs a special side bar for the cars that changed the rules. There are a few of them.

The one I encountered was the Mongrel Miata.

I think it's pretty creative to use the rules so much that they have to be changed- that car was really awesome.

Bear in mind- there been major shifts in the scoring as well- trying to tweak the scores to not favor one event over another. The cars that forced that should be noted, too.

mazdeuce UltimaDork
10/19/16 6:55 a.m.

The SDAC guys were great. When I was building the K-tona, which never made it to an event, one of them reached out to me to tell me about welded diffs and the tricks that make them work on pavement in a turbo Dodge. They were a great group and helped set the bar in the early days.

spin_out HalfDork
10/19/16 7:50 a.m.

I'd have to vote for this year's winning PACC Yellow Beetle. I saw it make the new record setting 10.263 quarter mile run. (Of course this year as they were leaving I heard them say that they intend to bring a truly fast car next year... leaving me wondering if I had any concept of the meaning of the word "fast".)

Ed, It's very cool that you are putting a spreadsheet together.

PseudoSport Dork
10/19/16 8:18 a.m.

Oh man, so many cool builds. I missed seeing some of the early ones in person but Ed Malle's Time Bomb, The Scaires, Gutty’s Honda/Subaru, Westside's Mirage, The DirtE30, and the Nelsons black bug all stand out to me. I’m sure I’m missing a few. My personal favorite is the XJ-R but I’m a bit biased.

SilverFleet UberDork
10/19/16 9:37 a.m.

Here are my favorites:

-The ScAries. I used to make fun of K Cars when I was slinging auto parts. This one shut me the hell up.

-Ed Malle's Mustang. The amount of craftsmanship (and fiberglass) in this build was incredible. Loved all the changes he made to the typical Fox Body platform.

-Basically anything the Nelsons bring. I appreciate the craftsmanship and all of the small details they put into every build. Yet somehow, out of all his builds, I love the simplicity of the Sunbird they brought for 2014. It looked straight out of a high school parking lot circa 1982, and I mean that in the very best way possible!

-Condor Speed Shop's DirtE30 in M3 DTM Spec. One of the most beautiful BMW's I have ever seen, period. And it was fast!

-This Ford Festiva with a Mazda 1.6 Turbo swap. Not sure who brought this thing back in 2009, but I thought it was one of the most entertaining cars to watch. A tiny Festiva forcibly powered by a boosted Mazda motor with ALL the boost made this thing a handful around the cones and in a straight line. I nicknamed it Squiggles, because it's 60' used ALL of the lane just to get traction. Plus, it dispensed beer from where the rear wiper should have been!

-The XJ-R (yes, I'm biased). When we first brought it in 2010, along with our 1991 Turbo Miata, we ran out of time to turbo the Jeep, so we tossed a bunch of turbo bits in a milk crate and threw it in back of our $1000 Suburban tow pig. What you guys may not know is that the Suburban itself played a big part in a truly great moment in Challenge history.

You see, that stupid Suburban was not the best at towing or even being a working vehicle. On the way down from MA, it started running like crap. After replacing a MAP sensor, air filter, and a number of other parts somewhere in a CT Autozone parking lot, it still ran terrible. After asking for help on here, we unplugged some sensors (I think an O2 sensor was the culprit) and it ran OK enough to get us to Gainesville. On the way home from the track after the autocross, I was driving the Suburban when we stopped for beers at a Walgreens. When I got back in the truck, I hit the brake pedal, and it went right to the floor. As luck would have it, there was an Autozone right in the same parking lot, so we were able to cobble together a new brake line right there, but the whole ordeal took hours and we were all very tired.

When we finally got back to the hotel, we were beat. We had missed the Friday night activities in the banquet hall, so we just started drinking beers. Somewhere around 10:30pm, we remembered that we brought that milk crate full of turbo goodies. One thing led to another and this happened:

Then guests started watching from their rooms!

Random people started showing up and lending a hand.

After wrenching until about 3AM, we finished up the rest of it the next day, but we lost our big turbo injectors in the mess the night before. But hey, if not for our stupid Suburban, none of that would have happened.

We couldn't run it to full potential until the next time we would return in 2012. We also painted it up like Mark Donohue's Javelin.

At that event, it had enough power to place 1st in the autocross and place 3rd overall. We did the same thing in 2013. I would love to bring it back one more time for a stab at #1!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 9:43 a.m.

In reply to wheels777:

We've been playing with scoring systems that could normalize autocross runs across the years. Tried to convey that in the original post, but I guess it fell through.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman HalfDork
10/19/16 10:19 a.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham:

Will it also reflect the change in scoring on the concourse scores? I ask because I know the scoring system has changed as my first year I finished last with a 14, second year I finished second to last with a 13.2 and now I couldn't buy a 14 and I finish in the middle of the pack.

Other than that I loved the XJ-R. When I told my friends I was defeated by a Jeep in the autocross they laughed at me. When I told them everyone lost to the Jeep they didn't want to believe me.

eastsidemav SuperDork
10/19/16 10:26 a.m.

In reply to wheels777:

The 2006 event was also noteworthy for another reason. None of the competitors who made it to the challenge that year DNF'd a single event, if I recall correctly. Which is part of the reason my pathetic car finished in second to last place.

Has there been another year where all three events (Concours, drag, autocross) were completed, and no one missed out on at least one?

wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 10:53 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: In reply to wheels777: We have a scoring system that will normalize autocross runs across the years. Tried to convey that in the original post, but I guess it fell through.

Ed, The implication was clear, the method was/is not. Having been down that road I knew/know the shortcoming.

All, Did you know.... 9 of the 12 Challenges in the Dynamic Scoring Era the winner was first in the Dynamic portion of the event. And no one has won who was outside of the top 3. 1st-(9), 2nd-(2), 3rd-(1).

Did you know... In the Pre-Dynamic Era, the winner of the concour won 3 of the 5 challenges?

wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 11:00 a.m.
eastsidemav wrote: In reply to wheels777: The 2006 event was also noteworthy for another reason. None of the competitors who made it to the challenge that year DNF'd a single event, if I recall correctly. Which is part of the reason my pathetic car finished in second to last place. Has there been another year where all three events (Concours, drag, autocross) were completed, and no one missed out on at least one?


mndsm MegaDork
10/19/16 11:24 a.m.

The volks rod showed me just how good some of you people were. Nashcos rear engine cvcc (?i think) was amazing. Always followed Westside because od my predilection for 4g63s. Really, it was the challenge that got me to pick up the magazine.

SVreX MegaDork
10/19/16 11:33 a.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham:

I think you've got your work cut out for you!

This is NOT a job I would want to be tasked with.

The hardest part is going to be the subjectivity of the Concours. Most of the most loved Challenge cars were not really that fast, and the Concours goals have completely changed over the years. Cars like the BatVan, John Haas' Chevy, John Welsh's Q, the detailing of Mike Guido's cars, Jeremy Butt's beautiful RX7, the creativity of the Pan Am Porsche/ Camaro, the great metalwork of Andrew Nelson's yellow bug, the Sucker Vette, the Zamboni, etc. etc.

I think the Concours has successfully morphed over the years to reflect the editorial content the magazine is looking for. But it's gonna be tough to compare apples to apples.

Some of the years didn't even HAVE a drag score! Andrew Nelson's Fiat would probably have beaten the Sucker Vette for the overall, but never had a shot at the drags.

It's easy for us readers to throw out various lists of our favorites. I have no idea how you will judge many of them against each other objectively.

But I really do appreciate you guys, and look forward to the article!!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 11:49 a.m.

In reply to Andy Neuman:

Yes. In fact, that's the more tedious portion of the event to normalize. The early years especially changed concours scoring systems almost every year. Basically I'm writing a formula for every year that will convert that score to how it would be weighted per the $2016 Challenge rules.

In reply to Wheels777:

Bottom line: Since the article isn't finished and things get refined/changed I don't want to publish the exact scoring method just yet.

Here's what I will say: I've tested a couple different methods. One of them uses the existing dynamic scoring method that is currently used at the challenge and just converts past scores to that system.

The other method is a much more complicated (but maybe more complete for cross-year scoring) system that weighs all three portions equally with Dscores for each discipline weighted by how much better than average they were for their year and as a whole in that particular discipline. The drawback to this method is that it obviously gives slightly different results than what we actually give at the Challenge (because it's a different scoring system) and I don't want to ruffle any feathers or confuse anyone with different results.

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