1 2 3
pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 3:42 p.m.

John's Q45 proved that a stock luxury barge can be a path to GRM challenge success. Two solid 11th place finishes in a row is nothing to scoff at, and he resoundly proved that there is room at the challenge for unlikely vehicles. This year 7 of the 50 some odd challenge vehicles were Aristocrats. The racing was great and three of us went into the drags separated by less then a tenth of a second. After the drags were done four of us were still battling for the trophy. The final standings came down to the concours. Sure none of the Aristocrats were in contention for the top prize but almost all of them finished in the top half of the standings and we all had a great time.

We discussed the success of the aristocrats with several of the magazine staff members over the course of the weekend and floated a proposal of something a little different for next year. I brought it up at the town hall meeting and it seemed like everyone was on board.

So obviously a Miata, a Mustang or 3 series is the easy answer but how fast can one go in a.... Minivan? Well next year we intent to find out, enter the soccer mom class.

Minivans exist in all manners of flavor. RWD, FWD, AWD, mid engined, you name it they are out there. They are cheap, and everywhere, what more could you ask for in a challenge car? (Don't answer that it was a rhetorical question)

Will an all wheel drive Astro be "the answer", a turbo dodge caravan, a supercharged previa, or a J powered Odyssey with its glass transmission? Who knows but I can't wait to see where this goes...

So next year lets see what you got... I will be there with one as will several others.

pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 3:44 p.m.

Some inspiration

rob_lewis SuperDork
10/26/15 4:02 p.m.

Not that I'll ever have time/money to do the Challenge, but define "mini-van". You mention rear wheel drive and have a picture of a daijaban. Wouldn't the Dodge be considered full size?

There are a number of sub 12-second Chevy Express vans out there......


Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
10/26/15 4:05 p.m.

The Turbo-Dodge guys are waaaaaay ahead of you on this one. They built and entered a (factory) turbo Dodge 5spd Caravan about a decade ago. It blew everyone's minds when it covered the 1/4 mile in the low 13s! It was a pretty capable autocrosser too!

Bring it on! A bunch of racing minivans would be pretty amusing.

pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 4:09 p.m.

We were thinking van, minivan or weird crossover things, like a buick rendezvous / Pontiac Aztec. Not SUV and not wagon. That can be for another year.

pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 4:10 p.m.

I think a turbo dodge caravan won the first one in 1999 didn't it?

93gsxturbo Dork
10/26/15 4:13 p.m.

The van lost to the clown for Challenge 1.

An Astro could be the hot ticket, wouldnt mind seeing a Previa all done up either.

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/26/15 4:24 p.m.

Some wanted to add rwd SUVs but that formula has been perfected recently.

LuxInterior Reader
10/26/15 4:24 p.m.
Gasoline SuperDork
10/26/15 4:28 p.m.

scoops of fun 1989 dodge ice cream truck van - $837 (pearland)


WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
10/26/15 4:31 p.m.

The good news is that you'll have room for Bob Ross jokes......

Driven5 Dork
10/26/15 4:35 p.m.

Since funding rather than space would certainly be the limiting factor, I wonder how many sportbike engines could be sourced within the Challenge budget for a minivan build. At least 2 would be required...But 3, or even better yet 4, would be preferred.

...Or is maintaining full 'soccer-mom' capabilities required for class participation?

Dave Reader
10/26/15 4:36 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Since funding rather than space would certainly be the limiting factor, I wonder how many sportbike engines could be sourced within the Challenge budget for a minivan build. At least 2 would be required...But 3, or even better yet 4, would be preferred.

One engine per wheel seems reasonable ...

moparman76_69 UltraDork
10/26/15 4:44 p.m.

I wonder if I'm still under budget...

dropstep HalfDork
10/26/15 4:47 p.m.

Should be amusing to see, plus epic build thread.

rob_lewis SuperDork
10/26/15 5:06 p.m.

Some armchair building:

1) Caravan - The stock turbo model has proven to be a potent competitor. The third gen had a 3.8l option that I hear can get a nice bump with a port and polish, one put in a shorter Caravan would be quick. As would a later Caravan with an SRT-4 swap (although some serious budgeting skills would be needed). Only drawback is no easy 5-speed swap. But I don't know them well enough to verify that.

2) Did you know the Nissan Quest has the same basic V6 out of a Maxima? And the same basic V6 out of early 300Z? Seems like some junkyard searching for a turbo of a 300Z could yield interesting results. Could a Maxima 5-speed be fit into one?

3) Kenny Bell did a supercharged Ford Windstar

4) Honda's swaps are like Lego. I'm sure there's tons of potential there.

5) V8 Astro?

6) Chevy Express Turbo?

Wonder if someone will end up chopping a van to lower the CG?

Will the mid-engine VW bus make a comeback?

Can you tell I think this is an awesome idea?


mazdeuce PowerDork
10/26/15 5:21 p.m.

The first gen Mazda MPV is a pretty solid RWD van. There is some potential there. Not that I'm looking......
So is this going to be a replacement for the Aristocrats or something existing alongside?

SVreX MegaDork
10/26/15 5:21 p.m.

You still haven't defined "mini van".

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/26/15 5:22 p.m.

Along side.

I don't want to discourage anyone to come out and play the way they choose.
Pimpm3 willwill be selling the GS400 and Lincoln which was always his plan.
LS400 might return or a Gen 3 Q45.
BMW 750iL might return.

My Q45 might get improvements beyond budget so I am headed towards mini van. Actually I might bridge the classes with the rare Infiniti minivan, the QV35t

Wall-e MegaDork
10/26/15 5:30 p.m.
SVreX wrote: You still haven't defined "mini van".

It's like pornography. I may get caught looking from time to time but won't admit to being in one.

oldtin UberDork
10/26/15 5:30 p.m.
oldopelguy SuperDork
10/26/15 5:36 p.m.

So if you stack a few SBCs together end to end, connected at the crank, can one computer control the injection on all of them? How many cylinders can megasquirt support anyway?

Off to find a shorty Astro....

driver109x HalfDork
10/26/15 6:07 p.m.

Someone do a Vanagon with a suby swap please...

Maniac0301 New Reader
10/26/15 6:09 p.m.

Obviously what this class needs is a mid engine, awd, manual monster. Its basically a Lamborghini Gallardo with sliding doors.

dropstep HalfDork
10/26/15 6:09 p.m.

if you could keep it from rolling over im guessing a 2.3t swap into a factory 2.3 aerostar could be fun.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners