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Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/3/17 4:40 p.m.

As some of you know, I embarked on a wacky adventure a couple of years ago. The main part of this adventure was purchasing a 1981 Plymouth Champ that had been sitting in a Chicago garage since.....ahem.....1988!

After going through the car, I drove it from IL to Detroit, and then onto Florida. (the entire trip was chronicled in a story I wrote for GRM, but was never published--- the story comes with the car!)

The car made it home despite having a failing CV joint, and a leaky gas tank. Besides that...it ran well...really well---with only 88K original miles on it. Since that time, it's been sitting......

I haven't messed with it in a long time, and now the rust has taken hold. The worst area is on the lower strut towers, where there is a hole in each tower. It's repairable, but I'm honestly done with the Champ, as it's served its' purpose. I'd like to pass it along to a GRMer who likes quirky automotive footnotes. Yes, it is the "Twin-Stick" 8 forward gears and 2 reverse gears!

Here's a few pics. It' looks the same these days--- just needs a thorough cleaning. It would make for an exceptional parts car, or you could get it drivable once again. Make me an offer---- chances are I'll say yes! The car is in the Daytona Beach area---just one mile from the GRM offices.

To be drivable it needs a new CV (included with car), and the gas tank has debris in it. The car will run with gravity feed (yes it has a carb), but dies if you attempt to drive it too far. It will usually quit running at the most inopportune time possible! The driver's seat bolster is ripped, but besides that, the interior is in very nice shape--- total time warp to 1981!

Someone save the Champ!

BTW-- parts are comically inexpensive through Rock Auto. The car also comes with a laundry list of new items, which I can detail if requested. Feel free to PM me, or email at Joe@Grassrootsmotorsports.com if you are interested.

The car will will need to be towed from my property.

Danny Shields
Danny Shields Reader
1/3/17 5:38 p.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin:

Since it wears Plymouth badges, I think it would be cool to fix that up and take it to a Mopar show like the one at "Big Daddy" Don Garlits' place.

Those cars must run pretty well, because it seems like half the advertisers on Craigslist claim their car "Runs like a Champ!".

Robbie UltraDork
1/3/17 6:53 p.m.

So what is this dual stick thing? An second Hi-Lo transmission bolted together with the main transmission?

Like an eco button now? Hi for eco low for acceleration?

Stefan MegaDork
1/3/17 7:09 p.m.

In reply to Robbie:

dual range final drive. For power/economy.

Spinout007 UberDork
1/4/17 12:55 a.m.

Why does this thing amuse me so much???

fasted58 UltimaDork
1/4/17 2:02 a.m.

Twin-stickin' over the Summit Pass... in my '81 Champ

Dig it

Spinout007 UberDork
1/4/17 2:22 a.m.
Spinout007 wrote: Why does this thing amuse me so much???

I think I've figured it out. It has pretty much the same interior as our old Plymouth Sapporo sitting out behind my dad's place. Just in red.

Lots of shenanigans in it as a kid in that thing, taught my kid sister to drive stick in it. Lots of want, but over 1k in vet bills in the last month for our 13 year old pup, and not sure what the future is going to bring says I must wait to see if someone else get's it before I do. Unless you want a pile of NA miata parts. THAT I can help you with.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 9:25 a.m.

Thanks Spinout007. I no longer have an NA--- I recently sold the old GRM Project Miata to Jack Heideman--- Carl's son. Look for it to dominate local autocross events in the upper Midwest. (Jack is pretty excited!)

The "Twin Stick" works sort of like a semi truck- transmission. There are two gear levers....one traditional 4-speed, and the other has two positions--- Power and Economy. The lowest gear is first in Power mode, then first in Economy mode, then second in Power, then second in Economy, and so on.

While it's designed for most folks to use just the economy mode, or the power mode depending on driving conditions---- it's fun to run through all the gears--- manipulating both sticks as quickly as possible. You really don't go anywhere fast.....or even sort of fast, but it's still fun.

This car is a total time-warp to 1981. It's not fast, or even sort of fast, it has basically no safety equipment besides brakes and seatbelts, no it doesn't have power anything, but strangely, it's also fun. It gets a ton of attention on the road, as it's tiny, and kinda cute looking. Kids love it.

Someone save it! I really don't want to just dispose of it--- I'd love to see one of you make something out of it.

Oh--- it also has brand new General Altimax tires, and a host of parts that come with it.

It also has the custom "POWER HOLE" which adds massive horsepower. I haven't had it on the dyne yet, but the hole is surely worth 25-35hp......easy!

For being a small car, it also holds a ton of stuff!

Mazdax605 UltraDork
1/4/17 9:33 a.m.

How much are you looking to get for Machamp? Yes I already have a Pokemon name for it. Not that I am into Pokemon, but my kids are, and we already have Project Pokemontero on the books, so this would fit with the theme.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 10:07 a.m.

^^^ Make me an offer. I paid too much for it, as I sort of fell in love with the odd little thing. ($2K) I'll take less than 1/2 of that, as it's not currently operational.

The car is located in FL, near Daytona Beach. It will have to be towed, so keep that in mind. I"m really open to any offers, as I just don't want to see it headed to the crusher. Full disclosure--- it does have rust, but is repairable. (isn't everything)

Spinout007 UberDork
1/4/17 10:09 a.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin:

Between the power hole, and open top air cleaner mod, you're talking an easy 35-40HP! I bet it's a beast!

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 10:48 a.m.

^^ Oh yeah, it will spin that tire in gravel, or ice! The original air cleaner top was missing when I bought the car, so we fabricated a replacement. It's sure to shave 3-4 seconds off the 0-60 time. And yes.....it can do over 60mph!

Mazdax605 UltraDork
1/4/17 11:07 a.m.

Any pictures of said rust, so I know what I'm up against? Some peoples idea of fixable, and what is reality are different. I personally don't know how to repair rust, but I'm willing to learn.

Mazdax605 UltraDork
1/4/17 11:10 a.m.

Also, why in the picture of the engine bay does it appear to be RHD?

T.J. UltimaDork
1/4/17 11:27 a.m.

The most amazing thing to me about this thread, is that it has been over a day now, and none of the crazies here have started their $2017 build thread for it yet. Did everyone make New Years resolutions to stop buying so many project cars or something?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 11:30 a.m.

It's LHD, the engine bay just looks a little funky in that pic. The rust is substantial--- no point in sending old pics of rust, as it may have grown. I'll get a few modern pics posted shortly. The bottoms of the strut towers have rust holes--- it's fixable, but you'd want to remove the engine, or at least loosen it on the motor mounts to give you room to work. The underside of the car also has rusty parts--- but no big holes in the floor, or anything like that.....at least the last time I checked!

You'd be able to learn how to fix rust on this car---- or it would make a stellar parts car, as the trim, interior, engine, and glass are all very nice. For someone living in say......Mass, or Chicago, this car would have moderate rust. For someone living in AZ---- it would be a rust bucket. I suppose it all depends on your perspective.

If I were to keep it, I'd fix the holes in the strut towers, and just drive and enjoy the thing.

Stefan MegaDork
1/4/17 11:53 a.m.

My Mom had one and she loved it. She'd drive it all over the Oregon coast and through the cascade mountain ranges and when she lived in Ogden, Utah it was nearly unstoppable on the snow with good tires.

rob_lewis SuperDork
1/4/17 12:21 p.m.

SWMBO would kill me, so I'm just going to post to bump for now. I had one of these through the last couple of years of college and first job. '81, in red, black vinyl seats (with WalMart black "sheepskins" to cover the split vinyl), but mine was a standard 4 speed. It wasn't fast, nor did it do anything well, but also didn't do anything badly and was fun to just wring the hell out of. Mine even had A/C which was like tossing an anchor out the back when turning it on.

Seeing yours brings back a smile and memories, but my standards (and personal girth) were much different in college than today.....


Stefan MegaDork
1/4/17 12:43 p.m.

In reply to rob_lewis:

They're small, like a field mouse, just stick it in your pocket and SWMBO won't know :)

Cotton UberDork
1/4/17 12:46 p.m.

Whatever you do don't scrap it! If no one else steps up I'll try and figure it out, but I have a lot of work travel coming up, so would have to work the trip form TN to FL in there somehow.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 1:29 p.m.

I really don't want to scrap it. Its too funky and cool, and it is repairable. I'll post more pics soon.

eastsidemav SuperDork
1/4/17 1:52 p.m.

Hmm, I wonder how big the box flares would have to be to stuff a 4G63T into it?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/4/17 3:02 p.m.

^^^ it would be a rocket with anything more than 150hp. This little tin can weighs less than 2000 lbs!

Spinout007 UberDork
1/4/17 4:57 p.m.

Dammit... I picked up a 1.8 NA Miata at the challenge this year with a no start condition. Figured fix it, drive it, challenge it this year, and then sell it off As SWMBO is really eyeballing a ND. This thing has me wanting to bump off the miata for some 80's amusement.

Oh, and I HATE carbs, but I really want this thing. I need my head checked.

minivan_racer UltraDork
1/4/17 5:23 p.m.

Are we talking "offer me slightly more than scrap" money?

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