California Automobile Museum visitors are in for a disorienting treat the next few months when viewing Northern California racer Jay Lamm’s “upside-down Camaro.”
The car is at the museum as a part of the NorCal’s Fastest exhibit celebrating Northern California’s racing scene. It will be on display through March 12.
“The upside-down Camaro is so unique compared to anything else that we have in this exhibit,” said Carly Starr, museum curator. “It’s completely different. It looks weird, but it’s the idea of racing can be whatever you want it to be.”
Starr said the Camaro represents the sillier side of racing. The car was built to participate in Lamm’s 24 Hours of Lemons race, which he founded as a rebellion against the more serious, expensive side of racing. In these endurance races, racers have to compete in cars that cost less than $500 to buy or build. The winners of the races are awarded $1,500 in nickels.
The 24 Hours of Lemons first race was held at the Altamont Speedway in Tracy, but there are now races all over the U.S. and in Australia and New Zealand.
24 Hours of Lemons is scheduled March 24 and 25 at the Sonoma Raceway.
Washington, D.C., police sergeant Jeff Bloch built the upside-down Camaro to participate in a Lemons race, according to Starr. Lamm was so taken with the car that he bought it from Bloch. Lamm loans the car out for events, exhibitions and media appearances.
Bloch built the car, actually a 1990 Ford Festiva with a 1999 Camaro body mounted on it, in 2013 to participate in a Lemons race, he told SFGATE.com. Bloch goes by the name Speedycop and has built several other odd cars, such as a sideways Volkswagen van and an attack helicopter morphed into a street-legal car.
Bloch’s unusual race car got its moment in the spotlight earlier this week when television host Jay Leno was spotted driving the car around San Francisco with Bloch for a 2018 segment on his show, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” according to SFGATE.com. The Camaro also made headlines a few months ago after racer Dave Montoya got a notice from his homeowners association to move the car from in front of his house after he borrowed it for an event.
The car is featured in the Automobile Museum’s exhibit as an homage to Lamm and his goal to “keep a lack of seriousness in this racing,” according to the exhibit. Lamm will come to the museum at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 to give a talk about the career he has made hosting endurance races for “souped-up junkers.” Tickets are $12.
Sacramentans can check out the upside-down Camaro and other historic race cars, including Sacramento racer Angelique Bell’s sprint car, through March 12 at the California Automobile Museum. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, and the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays.