Both Flying Magazine and a motorsport site called jalopnik.com have profiled an interesting idea for a retired aircraft: Turn it into a racing machine. That’s exactly what police officer and race car driver, Jeff Bloch (aka Speedycop), is doing by merging a 1956 Cessna 310 with a 1987 Toyota Van Wagon. Jeff calls his project the Spirit of LeMons — a combination of Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis and 24 Hours of LeMons, the name of the race the vehicle will participate.
Each endurance race consists of unique vehicles that don’t compete to be the fastest (the time winner will get second place), but instead vie to be “the coolest car that has no business being on a racetrack.” However, the total cost of each vehicle must remain below $500 – a real challenge when using an aircraft.
Jeff managed to find a Cessna 310 for $2,000 because it had been parked at Hyde Field outside Washington, DC since 1973 and many parts had been stripped from the aircraft. And while Jeff could have stripped more parts out of the aircraft to get it below $500, race organizers gave him a cost waiver due to the unique nature of his intended design.
The Spirit of LeMons will be equipped with side view cameras linked to screens in the cockpit instead of rear view mirrors that might distract from the overall look of the vehicle. The first 20 inches of each wing will remain to act as the fenders for the front wheels, but Jeff is still working out what the rear fenders will look like. There was no tail section of the aircraft when it was acquired, meaning some type of tail will need to be constructed in-order for the vehicle. For safety, the vehicle will have a full roll cage and a five-point harness.
Jeff intends to finish his project in time for the 24 Hours of LeMons at the Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, in mid-March, but it remains to bee seen whether he and his team will be able to complete the project in time. It should also be mentioned that Jeff (as Speedycop) has his own YouTube channel with several videos about his Spirit of LeMons project that include the following video which gives a good overview of it: