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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Cop builds upside-down car, races at LeMons

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

A highway patrol officer and car enthusiast has combined two cars into a hybrid monstrosity for the 24 Hours of LeMons junk car rally.

You get to see some pretty interesting vehicles at 24 Hours of LeMons (not to be confused with 24 Hours of Le Mans), the series of endurance races across the US for cars that cost less that US$500.

Police officer Jeff Bloch — also known as Speedycop — has driven a few different builds in the races, including a bright pink Cadillac, a modified camper van and a repurposed Cessna cockpit paired with a Toyota engine.

This year, he went completely topsy-turvy — literally — with what he calls the Upside Down Race Car, driven at the Pacific Northwest GP circuit on 20-21 July.

The car is actually two cars: a 1990 Ford Festiva, around which he wrapped the upside-down body of a 1999 Chevy Camaro in a process that took around two months. The Festiva's engine was, bluntly, awful: a tiny 1.3-litre model with nearly 190,000 miles (305,775 kilometres) — not exactly suited to endurance racing, especially trying to carry a much larger car's body in addition to its own.

"Putting this thing on a race course with real race cars would be tantamount to suicide, were it not for the stringent safety rules," Bloch said on his website. "Now, it's merely extremely hazardous, and highly ill advised. The reactions have been every bit what we expected: bewildered looks, broad grins and plenty of laughter."

It certainly looks like it's struggling along the racetrack.

"The drivers, stewards and spectators kept telling me they had a momentary panic and thought 'oh no, he's crashed', which is what I wanted," he told SWNS. "Other than a clutch failure, which we fixed, nothing went wrong. The car was slow, though, and there was no working speedo. It was probably capable of about 85mph (137km/h), but was a blast to drive; every time you tried to push the car, it was all over the place, it was like a white-knuckle ride."

You can see more pictures of the car and its build process in the Flickr slideshow below.

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MitchellT posted a comment   

struggling, yes. cars are shaped that way to increase downforce and maximise grip, (the opposite of lift) upside down, the car creates lift, and has no grip

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