Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week: The Mod Squad’s VW Vanagon

By: Judge Phil "Murilee Martin, The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla" Greden. Photo Credits: Judge Phil, Nick Pon.
March 18, 2020

Welcome back to the Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week series! One of the things we love best about the series is vans on the race track, and another is lunatic body modifications that make everyone watching the race do huge doubletakes and wonder what they just saw go by. The Mod Squad Racing Volkswagen Vanagon combines both these things.

The theme is the Island Hoppers Vanagon from Magnum P.I., and that alone would be enough to win the team a trophy. Mod Squad Racing did, in fact, win the coveted Organizer’s Choice for this race van at the 2014 Halloween Hooptiefest race, but there’s a lot more going on here than just a chopped Vanagon with a TV-show theme.

You might have noticed that the driver sits well back in the van, and that the suspension seems impossibly low for a Vanagon. That’s because this machine is really a Toyota MR2 with a chopped Vanagon body welded onto the Toyota structure. This results in a vehicle that weighs 800 pounds more than a stock MR2 and looks a thousand times more spectacular on the race track.

It wasn’t fast, and the MR2 guts meant that it also wasn’t reliable (the MR2 is one of the least reliable cars in LeMons history, thus proving that everything we know about street cars is inapplicable to LeMons), but it had a shot in Class B, was a lot of fun to drive, and got more attention from spectators than all the other entries combined. Well done, Mod Squad!

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