Running a Corvette on veggie oil in The 24 Hours of LeMons

Posted By on November 2, 2012

corveggeOh my … one would think there were limits to just how low someone would go to embarrass both diesel and Corvette lovers with one modified vehicle. Obviously not as they created the CorVegge.  

The builder converted one of the finest of diesel engines – cough, cough — the Oldsmobile 350 longblock to run on WVO (waste vegetable oil) for The 24 Hours of Lemons race.
Winking smile

Yes, you could be the next owner of a 77hp Corvette (Dyno-verified at Thunderhill). While it’s not the only diesel Corvette in existence, I’m pretty sure it’s the only one running on WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil).

It’s entered 2 events (3 if you count upcoming Chuckwalla), but we haven’t dedicated enough energy into making it flawless yet. But it’s pretty darned close. Stupid crap like adequate coolant flow and ancillary belt alignment have caused the hiccups. If I were the type of person who could stay focused on a single car and optimizing it for a full year, I would do an alignment and lower it back to normal stance, look to run a taller final drive and keep the th400 automatic (dyno says about 142 ft lbs of torque but it’s all down at 2K rpms). Maybe put a shift kit in it. Others have suggested to put a saginaw 3-spd in it.

It’s got a bunch of new parts on it like fancy brake discs, performance pads, good tires, new belts, heat exchanger to pre-heat the veggie oil, and then 6 extra wheels, Kirkey intermediate road seat, etc. Best thing about it is it’s got an Evil Genius Racing cage installed by them. I asked them to build an SCCA and NASA legal cage so the chassis could go to someone outside of LeMons and it could then get some real HP behind it. It’s not stamped yet because John says he can’t tech a car that isn’t to full SCCA spec (it needs a fuel cell and fire bottle) but he will tech it for one of the other groups after it is fully prepped.

It’s just a 1-tank system since we’re a SoCal team and cold startups on veggie oil aren’t exactly our concern. No hose-in-hose or anything like that. Just a firewall mounted heat exchanger and a second one at the fuel filter head. It seems pretty straightforward to make it a 2-tank setup (small 1-3 gallon diesel for startup and purging) but it’s far easier to drain the tank and dump a few gallons of diesel in it to warm up the engine and then just dump your veggie oil into the tank after 20 min or so. Or heck, just run it off diesel if you’re a wimp.

All indications thus far are that it’s burning ~ 4 gal/hr of veggie oil on track. We used about 3gal/hr at Buttonwillow when we were all ginger-footing it just to take 5 laps a piece in it, it’s very first outing. With a 20 gallon stock tank, you can turn 5+ hours stints.

Engine is an Olds 350 diesel. I’ve got a second 350 diesel longblock with heads removed. Needs a going through.

I understand according to the interwebs that the 350 diesel can just have the heads swapped, a gas intake manifold and carb put on, and a dizzy put where the diesel vacuum pump is and the engine becomes an 11:1 gas motor. But do your own research (don’t believe a word I’ve written, essentially). Would be a shame to undo all the diesel/veggie stuff, but the new owner can do what he/she wishes.

I’m willing to sell it as a package deal for $3500 and include a seat at the Chuckwalla season ender. Give me a $550 deposit (to cover the race expenses) and I’ll hold it for you to decide until after you’ve driven it. If you come help prep it before the race, tow it to the track for the race etc. we can talk about dropping the overall price.

If you absolutely must own it prior to the race so you can field it with your own team, we can work out a purchase price adjustment for that, too.

I’m hesitant to sell this. Especially since it hasn’t fallen into IOE consideration yet. I’m stuck this year with no IOE and I know I’m stupid for selling it prior to having given it a chance for earnest consideration. But I also realize I’m being a bit of a hypocrite for telling folks not to worry about winning and just go out and have fun yet I hunt for another IOE. The other truth is I (like Speedy) have 4 IOEs and for either of us to win another we have to do something completely earth shattering (take note: Speedy is building a friggin’ PLANE!) . I suspect if the CorVegge were fine-tuned and fielded by someone other than me or Speedy, it would get noticed again for its IOE potential.

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Comments

  • 350 cubic inches and all it puts out is 77HP?! I realize there’s no turbo or intercooler, but wow. Compared to the ~115 cubic inches of many a TDI?

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.