Originally Posted by blinded
Lemons is loads of fun. My $0.02:
OP, you don't want to try to cut cost in the safety department.
Unless you are really experienced with building cages, I would highly recommend getting the cage done at Evil Genius since you are in Sacramento. Lemons is strict about safety (which is a good thing), and the folks at Evil Genius also just happen to do the safety inspections for Lemons races. We tried to do the cage on our own, but it would have failed and Evil Genius ended up doing our cage over. It's just one less thing to worry about, and it's not really any more expensive.
FYI, I would think that you would be sweated during BS inspection if you show up to race in an e36. BS inspection is where they assess the vehicle's value, and if they think you are over $500, you could get penalty laps, even if you have a properly documented $500 car (which really should be possible with an e36). There are some really talented teams though, so it takes a quick car that gets through BS inspection without penalty laps and doesn't break, good pit stops and driver changes, and good drivers to be competitive. Most importantly, it takes a clean race (no spins, stay on track, don't hit anything, don't pass on yellow, etc.). So, depending on your capabilities, if you want to run an e36 and your only goal is to have fun, then go for it. But if you're worried about penalty laps, you might want to think about picking a car that is a little more low profile.
Also, you might be surprised how much a $500 race car ends up costing...
Yeah for sure I've been told about 5K is a good estimate to build the car. I wouldn't dream of trying to do the cage myself since I'm not keen on failing safety or dying in a crash, so that's 1500 maybe 2000 right there. I'm sure I'd be a little over on the cost since I paid 1100 at the salvage yard and there is probably only 4-500 in parts that I could sell. I'd be happy if I could get the actually value @ 1k. I'm not sure how many laps I'd have to give up, but after one race I'm pretty sure they'd see how un-fast a 323 with a slush box is and I'd be ok in any race after that. Unless it breaks then it'll be one and done.
I'm going to do a couple of races before then to try and get a feel for whether I can rope people into splitting the cost of the build or whether I should just scrap the car and try a different car.
Thanks for the referral I'm going to give them a call.