The Corona Racecar That Shocked The 24 Hours Of Lemons

May 6, 2021 2 min read
The Corona Racecar That  Shocked The 24 Hours Of Lemons

Don't worry, it's the good kind of corona.

The 24 hours of Lemons is an incredibly fun event for any car enthusiast lucky enough to compete. This American race series was created to poke fun at the 24 Hours of Le Mans which makes a point of having the greatest GT cars in the world racing against each other for 24 hours straight. However, the Lemons are a completely different race. Firstly the competitors don't race for 24 hours, it's 2 days of racing for 8 hours. While the race doesn't last a full 24 hours, it does deliver on the second half of its name. Each car must be bought for $500 or less, however, you can sell parts from the car to reduce the amount counted. This means that if you buy a car for $600 and then sell parts off of it for $100, you would be allowed to compete.

John Ficarra has a passion for speed, his storied past in the automotive community combined with his pension for high horsepower vehicles makes him the perfect candidate to compete in this legendary race. He began racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons in a 1987 Toyota Supra which he purchased for a mere $300. After blowing up the stock engine more times than he could count he finally decided to swap the engine to a 1JZ. This engine became famous for the extremely high potential for horsepower production on the stock bottom end. Of course, the judges were not happy with the decision to use the legendary engine, and after time and time again having received penalty laps just for having a good engine Ficarra was done being pushed around.

After discussing the issue with the Judges they gave him two options, either put a 6 cylinder ford motor under the hood or swap the 1JZ engine into a pre-1975 Toyota. The obvious choice here was the pre ‘75 Toyota. So after learning that one of the Judge’s first cars was a 1969 Toyota Corona he went searching. The final car was bought for just $1000 and was eventually trapped under a collapsed roof after a particularly terrible storm. Finally, 1 year later, the car was rescued from its grave. All performance components were swapped from the Supra to the Corona and at 800 lbs under the original weight, this thing was a monster.

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