GRM $2009 Challenge Competitors’ Vehicles

Yesterday I introduced you to the Grassroots Motorsports $2009 Challenge.  I met 2 competitors & their cars on September 25, 2009, at the most recent SPOKES AutoX #9…

Adam with his a 1989 Dodge Aries

Adam's GRM Aries - the Ultimate K-Car

Jimmy with his 1989 Ford Festiva.

Jimmy's Festiva @ speed ! - Photo by Antonio Morano Photography

Adam has had this car for years & has been replacing motors & transmissions multiple times, like 5!  He says that’s because he’d always gotten very high mileage (& cheap) used parts, then run them till the end of their usefulness.  He then found out about the GRM $2009 Challenge.  Adam decided that since he’s been wrenching on this car for so long, it would be a good car to work on – besides, it’s been his daily driver.

Jimmy, Adam & Mason comparing GRM $2009 Competition notes...

Adam’s cars’ theme is, stay & upgrade within the Chrysler, Dodge & Plymouth family.  The replaced engine is a stock 2.5 L 4 cylinder, SOHC engine from a 1989 Plymouth Voyager, with Turbo!

This turbocharged 2.5 liter motor is a good, powerful fit!

Everything fixed, changed & upgraded has been with used parts, with the exception of the clutch (& that’s the only part that’s been giving him problems).  And yes, I said clutch – it’s been converted from automatic to standard.  Check out both of the gearshift levers:

Dual gearshifts - COOL !

Adam told me a LOT about all the MOPAR changes/upgrades, but his  “build diary” on the Forum goes into much greater detail, even some videos – all the dirty glory is exposed.  Adam has not been working on this alone; he’s partnered up with Mason, who’s had his share of getting into the intimate details of working this project.

Great GRM thumbs ups from Adam & Mason!

Jimmy had started his Festiva project with the intent of competing in the GRM $2008 Challenge, last year.  Well, that didn’t happen & he’s continued working on it since.  He came into this project with a car that was never completed by its previous owner.  The replaced turbocharged “BP” 1.8L motor is essentially the same motor as in Karlino, my 1999 Mazda Miata, but mounted transversely, with a different valve cover…!

Here's that Ford "BP", turbocharged motor...

Jimmy’s endeavor has been pretty much a solo project, but with assistance from team members not present at the autocross.  For more specific details, here’s some “build diary” data from the Ford Escort Owners Association Forum (

Jimmy's Festy Team Members...

This Festiva’s appearance is actually aggressive, what with the much bigger front tires & a massive air-to-air intercooler where the front air dam used to be…

Festy back up on the tow-along trailer, ready to go home...

Both of these guys have what people in the past have called true grit.  I believe the main reason for their pursuit of of this competition is purely for the fun of it & wanting it show they can do it.  All’s well that ends well…

I'd rather be shopping at HFT, too!  :-)

So, Racing Ready says, “Bring it home, boys!!!”


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