We return to the Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week series with one of the best possible answers to a question on the minds of many 24 Hours of Lemons racers: How can I get my Mazda Miata into Class B? As Steve Fricker and Boondoggle Racing proved, that answer is to spend hundreds of hours cutting, pasting, and huffing fiberglass dust on a quest to turn an ordinary 1991 Mazda Miata into a replica of the Quaaludically customized 1973 Stingray in the 1978 film Corvette Summer. Meet the Corvette Bummer Stingiata!
Fricker goes back to the early-ish days of Southern Region Lemons racing, campaigning a Honda Civic back in 2011. It didn’t take long for the team to catch the Lemons weirdness bug, so by 2013 they had taken my advice and gone with a beautifully executed Crying of Lot 49 theme, complete with Oedipa Maas, W.A.S.T.E. mailbox, and the incredibly paisley artwork from the novel’s original paperback cover. The W.A.S.T.E. Civic was brilliant and got a lot of admiration from every Pynchon fan at the track (that is, me).
However, this stunning creative accomplishment ended up being overshadowed by Speedycop’s Spirit of Lemons 1956 Cessna, the starting race of what turned out to be the disastrous-yet-triumphant 30,000-mile ordeal of the K-It-FWD Plymouth Reliant, and the debut of three cars that would become all-time Legends of Lemons: the Fairlylame 1964 Ford Fairlane, the Escape Velocity Racing 1964 Dodge Dart, and the crazy Ford Duratec-swapped Geo Metro that went on to win all three classes for the Knoxvegas Lowballers.
Wanting to step up Boondoggle’s game, the team picked up this nondescript 1991 Mazda Miata. We have hundreds of Miatas in Lemons, and nearly all of them go straight into Class A and— other than the ones that win a lot of races— nobody notices them. Fricker got to work making certain that everyone would notice his Miata.
Endless fabrication, fiberglass work, and painting followed at Boondoggle Racing HQ in Lexington, South Carolina. We’ve got a few photos of this process in the gallery, below; if you’re on Facebook, you can visit Boondoggle Racing’s page and check out many photos of the entire process.
The end results were spectacular, and came as a complete surprise to us when the car rolled into the inspections at the 2016 South Fall race. Even with competition from a half-dozen 1960s cars (including a beater ’67 Pontiac LeMans converted into a convincing-at-a-distance GTO), a BMW Z3 with AMC AMX body swap, and the Duff Beer 1981 Jet Electrica 007 electric race car, the Stingiata was the knockout entry of the weekend.
This two-thirds-scale version of the Corvette Summer car got a lot of double-takes from the other races, as you’d expect.
It drives like any other stock early Miata, so it’s quick on a road course, but the judges put it in Class B due to awesomeness. Loophole alert!
When we raced at the National Corvette Museum in the following summer, the Corvette Bummer Stingiata was there.
There was some befuddlement among the Corvette zealots at the track, but at least the Stingiata didn’t get swallowed up by a sinkhole.
Fricker sold the Stingiata to another team last year, because he wanted to move on to another build. We’re not going to reveal anything about the next Boondoggle Racing machine here, but we know enough to say that it will become another Legend of Lemons.