The 24 Hours of Lemons season is officially underway, following the Shine Country Classic at Barber Motorsports Park. That 2020 season-opener featured some good racing and efficient pit stops. Of course, that’s not remotely interesting, so we’ll nominate Dunkey’s Flying Carpet and their blown (and blown up) Camaro as this week’s Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week.
We first saw this team’s fourth-gen, V6-powered Chevy Camaro at Road Atlanta in 2018. We were surprised—as you might imagine—to find that the team had found a bookstore to sponsor their racing team. We might expect that on, say, a Volvo, but a Camaro/Camero…not so much. But you can’t judge a book by its Camero or something.
Their debut in Atlanta was relatively humdrum, but when they brought the V6 Camero [sic] back to Barber, they’d…upgraded. Gone was the original 3.8-liter V6 and in its place was the supercharged version from a Pontiac Bonneville SSEi. This engine is well known in Lemons (and in the Rust Belt) for its ubiquity and for the GM Sound of Power. Refresh yourself on what that means.
Swapping the supercharged version of the engine into an F-Body does require some modification. On front-wheel-drive engines, the intake sits to one side. When mounted longitudinally, it suddenly sits at the back. As such, the team had to relocate the top section of firewall to accommodate the supercharger intake. Not only does this complicate airflow, it also means the driver will near nothing but Hoover-caliber intake suckage through the new firewall.
But the Dunkey’s crew planned for the change to airflow with a clever “tunable ram air” intake from. Home improvement, engine improvement…same thing. The team had the original V6 packed up at their home four hours from Barber in central Georgia. They mulled over tossing it onto their trailer but ultimately decided, “Will we really need this?” Surely, the blown V6 would last.
As it turns out, yes. The “indestructible” supercharged Buick 3800 engine didn’t kill the five-speed manual transmission as predicted (They also didn’t bring a backup for that). Instead, a whole bunch of parts exploded out of the block in a rush to be engine externals.
The team sent some unlucky bastards back home—four hours each way—to fetch the original V6 for replacement. From there, they threw it all back together and put their oldest driver in for a triumphant return to the track. For two laps. But hey, better than nothing. They took home the Heroic Fix trophy for their efforts and lack of foresight.
Want more from the Shine Country Classic? We’ll have a full video recap soon on the Lemons YouTube Channel. Stay in the loop by following the 24 Hours of Lemons on Facebook and on Instagram. We’re racing next at Inde Motorsports Ranch for La Carrera Arizona on February 28-March 1. Check out full details here.