C3 Corvette with BMW Engine Is a Lemons Racer You’ll Love to Hate

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When Low Road Racing got this Stingray, it was a hillbilly off-roader, so the team decided to class it up with a BMW 5 Series power plant.

Lemons racing has spawned some pretty incredible builds in recent years. For instance, there are teams that use the series as an invitation to build the wildest, and occasionally most sacrilegious machines they can possibly dream up…like the team featured in the video above. When Low Road Racing was given a free 1976 Corvette with rotten floors and quarter panels that had been hacked to accommodate 33-inch mud tires, they knew it had to become a Lemons car.

24 hrs of LeMons C3 Corvette

Unfortunately, it didn’t have the ideal power plant. But when a wrinkled BMW 5 Series fell into their lap for a song, the Low Road Racing team immediately had the perfect engine swap as well as the perfect idea for the theme and livery. For those who don’t recognize it, this was BMW’s DTM livery in the 1980s decked out in full Warsteiner beer and BMW M colors.

With the more modern BMW M50 inline-six mounted between the shock towers, this C3 Corvette actually makes about 25 horsepower more than it would have with its original all-American small block. And because the Bimmer mill is aluminum, it weighs at least 100 pounds less than the engine it replaced. This car made its race debut last weekend at Ridge Motorsports Park near Seattle, Washington, and of course, there were folks who wondered how the car made it in under the $500 budget. There are admittedly some really cheaty Lemons cars lurking out there, but this was a legitimate sub-$500 Lemon.


CHECK OUT: What the Forum Has to Say About this Sacrilege


Being that this was the car’s first race, the team’s only goal was to give the car a shakedown and make sure things ran smoothly. Unfortunately for them, the exhaust manifold broke, and there were a few issues with the car’s cobbled-together wiring harness, thus keeping them from finishing the race. Given another few races, and a few minor fixes, this “Bimmervette” could potentially dominate.

For more on the car, check out the video above, as well as the feature on Roadkill.com. Once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, weigh in on the forums to tell us what you do or don’t like about this monstrosity. Do you appreciate the engineering and sweat equity involved here, or do you wish the car had been restored instead? Is this the Corvette Chevy might have built if they’d continued building inline-six engines for America’s sports car?

Photos: Eric Rood

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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