Monday, July 16, 2018

NMS Announces More Lemons Goodness!

Brian down at NMS-South has driven in two 24 Hours of Lemons races so far, and coming up in September he's going to do it again in the 72 Coronet with Team Coronautski. CORONAUTSKI ON FACEBOOK At the same event to be held at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw SC, NMS-North is going to get in on the action for the first time with a new team driving a Nissan Altima.


Who will win the NMS Battle for Lemony Supremacy? Will both cars even start on race day? Will the temperatures exceed one bazillion degrees inside the race cars? We'll be covering the race from the inside and report from SC later in September. For now, there's a bunch of racing gear to buy and car stuff to get in working order for both teams.  


You can learn all about the many 24 Hours of Lemons Races at their home page: LEMONS

A cool feature of this race is the Friday night parade and block party, where all the race cars that run will try to drive to downtown Camden, park in one blocked off street, and then you can meet all the teams and laugh at their cars, have a drink, listen to a band, and hang out. This is the only Lemons race in the country with this Friday night fun, so we highly recommend it!

The racing action will be on track at CMP Saturday September 15th from 10AM to 6:30PM, and then again on Sunday from 9-11AM and Noon-4PM. 


Here's the full LEMONS SCHEDULE:

Like the butterflies to Capistrano, or more likely the buzzards returning to Hinckley Ohio...or the Groundhog to Punxatawney PA, the NMS drivers will be returning to Carolina Motorsports Park in September for another 24 Hours of Lemons Race! Here's a look at the three day schedule of crappy cars and driving on track: 

Thursday, 13 September 2018
5pm: Gates open for early arrivals.  
Friday, 14 September 2018
9am-4pm: Pre-race track testing hosted by CMP.
Noon-4:30pm: Mandatory Tech Inspection (All cars MUST be inspected on Friday)
6pm-9pm: Downtown Camden BS Judging / Block Party / Lemons car show 
Saturday, 15 September 2018
7am: Gates open
9am: Mandatory drivers' meeting
10am-6:30pm: Race Session I
Sunday, 16 September 2018
9am-11am: Race Session II
11am-Noon: CMP quiet time. No race motors.
Noon-4pm: Race Session III
4:30pm: Awards Ceremony
7pm: Gates close

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What is the Cheapest Car Sold in the US?


So, what is cheapest car sold in the USA? The right answer is: The free one someone gave you! However, in the interests of finding a reason to do some Googling on the ol' Internet, we checked out the cheapest list prices we could find on line for brand new shiny cars. 

These are the prices listed on line for their respective manufacturers, so since we found this information on the Internet, it must be true! While your mileage will always vary, these prices may not include destination charges, so you can add about a thousand bucks to the prices seen here. Oh, and if you've ever tried to actually FIND one of these rock-bottom-no-option cars on an actual dealer's lot, odds are you won't find them. Dealers tend to load a lot of options on the cars they sell, but still, it's possible that these cars AT THESE PRICES may actually exist.

Also, many of these cars have rebates and money off, so you can go lower than what's listed here, in addition to good old car-buying haggling. You should never pay the sticker price for a car, so go ahead and offer those dealers less, you've got nothing to lose and plenty of money to save by wheeling and dealing when you buy new. 

10. First up, we thought of probably the smallest car, the Smart. You'd think this automobile would be inexpensive, but when we Googled it, it appears that they only make electric ones now, so from what we could see, the cheapest one starts at $23,900. Hey, that's not exactly cheap chicken feed, but then again, the Smart is made by Mercedes Benz, a brand NOT known for their cheap cars!  SMART

9. Let's stick with small cars, and go to one of the biggest brands in the world, Toyota. Their lowest cost auto is the  Yaris, and it easily lowers the bar compared to the Smart, all the way down to $15,635. OK, now we're getting somewhere. Given that the average price paid for new vehicles in the US is now several thousand over $30,000, this gets us into the fun trivia range of "for the price of a fully loaded Camry you could buy TWO YARIS cars!" See, isn't this fun!   TOYOTA YARIS

8. Here's our first US branded car, the Chevy Sonic, starting at $15,295. Probably the best feature of this car is that it shares a name with a well known drive-in chain that has happy hour discounts on soft drinks every day. What could be cooler than driving your Chevy Sonic down to your Sonic Drive-In and having a chocolate malt? NOTHING is the word you're looking for, although we have been known to drive our FIAT to Sonic, it just doesn't sound as cool. Try the Tater Tots while you're there.   Chevy Sonic


7. Next, how about NMS-North's favorite (meaning affordable) Italian brand, FIAT. Their basic 500 model is less than the Yaris cost, coming in at $14,995. Plus, the 2018 FIAT 500 this year will have all cars with a turbo, so instead of only about 100 horsepower you can now actually accelerate onto the interstate in a time measured in seconds instead of by sun-dial.   FIAT 500

6. Ford has made big news with their announcement that they plan to stop selling most of their cars, like the Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion. The cheapest of the lot is the Ford Fiesta, now going for $14,205. Hey, that's even cheaper than the FIAT with turbo, so what's the attraction with the Fiesta you ask! Well, one answer would be THREE big cylinders! How about that for POWER POWER POWER! Seriously, the Ford Fiesta is a nice little car, the NMS family has had a couple of them, although to be honest we don't own them now. If you're going the Fiesta route, we'd recommend you look for a used Fiesta ST with the sporty Recaro seats, and that you go auto crossing with it like we did. You'll love it!  FORD FIESTA

5. OK, here come the Korean cars, starting with the KIA Rio at a microscopic price of $13,900, cracking under the $14K barrier. I kinda sorta remember getting an Accent as a rental car once, and it seems I remember that it did NOT  have cruise control and still had roll up windows. Pretty much unheard of cost-saving for a car in the 21st Century, but when your car is this low priced you're going to find some cool features are not included. Hey, some people don't like cruise control, or so I've heard.   KIA RIO

4. Also from a Korean maker, the Hyundai Accent  comes in at $13,495, so we're well on our way to finding out if there is such a thing as a new car priced under $13,000. That sounds crazy, because we're now getting down to cars that might be a third the cost of many fairly common cars.   HYUNDAI ACCENT

3. Mitsubishi goes one better than the Hyundai, as in one hundred dollars cheaper, so their Mirage lists for $13,395. If you're shopping in this price range, every hundred bucks counts, so our hat is off to the Mitsubishi folks, who we sometimes forget are still selling cars. Nothing against them, we just haven't gotten around to owning one yet.   MITSUBISHI MIRAGE

2. Higher up the price list we heard from Ford and FIAT Chrysler, so here comes the other member of what used to be the USA's Big Three, Chevrolet and their entry level car the Spark, which will set you back $13,050. For a smaller car, the Spark has been getting good reviews, and Chevy plans to keep making cars like the Spark, the Camaro, and the Corvette for a long time. The Spark is SO close to getting into the $12,000 range that you'd think they could just knock off fifty bucks and get some great publicity, but oh well, their web page says 13,050.   CHEVY SPARK

1. So, who haven't we heard from yet, and who has the cheapest car sold in the USA? From what we could tell the winner is Nissan with their Versa $12,310. Somewhere we had a Versa as a rental, and it was a fine little car, so we'd say that if cost is your number one priority, go for the Versa. We're a long ways from the days of the crappy little cars like the Yugo and just about anything made in the 1970s, so why spend big when you can get a reasonable car in this price range?   NISSAN VERSA

Remember, these were all NEW car prices, and of course there are tons of cheaper used cars out there, like the NMS BMW that Brian wrote about last week, or the Mustang we bought for $250 at an auction!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

BMW: One Week In

After one week, the BMW has seen a number of updates and a few more are on the way.
All clean, sitting at home.

Starting with the free items, the hood bra was falling apart and made it's way into the trash before the whole exterior got a wash. The wind deflector for the sunroof was a factory accessory and I'm sure helps with a little wind while the sunroof is open, but it was cramping my style, so I easily unbolted it from the roof (also to help better clean the roof).
Shot of the cleaned up interior.

The interior benefited from a vacuum and almost a full bottle of leather cleaner.  The back of the driver seat was put back in place and I cleaned out a few odds and ends left by the previous owner. If you find yourself cleaning really grungy old plastic inside a car, I can now recommend the Magic Eraser sponge. It worked great!
45 minute wait to check out at LKQ on the 4th of July.

Thanks to a tip-off by Kyle, the LKQ junkyard in Greenville just dumped an '88 BMW 5 series on their lot on Wednesday, and being 4th of July, they offered 40% off! I snagged a replacement set of side mirrors (the passenger side did not come with the glass mirror), weather strips for all four doors (the ones in there were extremely rough and falling down), as well as a 10 disc CD changer to replace some parts missing from the one in the car now. The line to check out was huge, but I snagged a bunch of needed parts for $58, when new replacement parts online would cost over $1000!
One ex-CD changer.

Saturday, Luke used his electrical engineer wizardry to diagnose a failed starter.  Sunday, I spent most of the day replacing the starter, but I got it all sorted out and it fires up every time now! At only $66, it was a pretty affordable fix to do at home. I did get a shot of the new cheapo shift knob to replace the one that had broken and could easily be pulled off while making a quick shift.
The Sony unit in the junkyard car looked similar to the one in mine, so I took a chance and it paid off. I replaced the broken cover and now have a 10 disc holder so I can actually use the CD player! $10!

If all that isn't enough, I've noticed the driveshaft's center support bearing seems to be going bad and the rear end of the car is sitting a couple inches lower than the front, so a new bearing and some rear shocks are on order to remedy those issues. The odometer and trip counter stopped counting at some point in it's history, which I've found is a common issue with these cars, so for $17 there's a kit with new gears to get it ticking again. Hey, maybe we can hit 400,000!
The new shift knob that stays with the shifter!
All of that should get the car back to solid mechanical shape, but I'll see what else pops up and keep making small updates as it goes.