My C Modified introduction

After looking at some new cars that my friends bought recently, I took a hard look at C Modified for my next class after competing in Street Modified with my ’03 lancer Evolution since 2005.  I have been auto crossing this car since it was new, and finding a new autocross car has been very difficult.  They are built as the base platform for the World Rally Car Group-N production rally car.  Needless to say, a rally car, or an exceptionally well-balanced rally car like the Evo make great autocross cars.

Ideally I want to get something cheaper to run and maintain, but has more bang for the buck than the Evolution.  I had recently invested in a tow vehicle and trailer which opened new opportunities for a new car.  Fortunately I saw Mark’s new car, a 90 Van Dieman at the San Francisco regions Boondoggle event.  It was fortunate because I had not started on this seasons modifications which included removing the AC on the Evolution.  I was right at the point of no return.  If I had continued with this seasons preparations, it would be much more difficult to put the car back together and sell in street trim.  I had been hesitating on moving forward with my Street Mod build because of the costs.  Street Mod is a very expensive class to run in.  You almost need to own a small tuning shop to afford the costs in development and parts, etc…  My Evolution is also earned a reputation as the “Poor mans Porsche”, and for good reason too.  It is an expensive car to maintain and I want something cheaper.

At the first event of the year on new years day I saw Mark’s car.  I was totally captivated by it.  I had been considering what to do next after the Evolution.  I had considered a kit car, but that would require some assembly which would mean more time off of racing while I build the car.  Then I saw Mark’s car.

Mark' 90 VanDieman

I tried the car on for size, and even though I don’t really fit that well, I think I could make it work.  Just move the steering wheel back, adjust the pedals, make a new seat, etc….  My mind instantly started churning through the tasks and tweaks that I would need to do in order to make the car fit.  My last thought in that sequence was “damn..  this isn’t my car…”

After that event, I read up on the CM introduction thread on SCCA forums and registered with and started researching the formula ford.  Mark referred me to two websites that were a great source of information on how to get started in C Modified.

3 weeks later at the next event, the first American Autocross round of the year, I got to see another new C Mod competitor.  Mike had driven Mark’s VanDieman, and was so totally thrilled with the ride that he went out and bought one from Apexspeed.  This car was interesting because it would have been one of my first choices when I started looking at the formula fords.

Mike's 88 VanDieman

I have to say I really like Mike’s car.  I had recently been refreshed with a full frame tear down within the past couple of years, with all new rod ends on the suspension bits, and had a lot of work done to it.  For his first run of the day I assisted Mike on Grid.  I wanted to get a close look at the typical running of this type of car as well as taking a good detailed look at Mikes car.  I tried it on for size and came to the conclusion that the VanDieman chassis is a bit small for me.

The more I look at these cars the more I see the pure essence of the mechanical automotive design.  These cars are made for racing.  As a result they are designed to be crashed, rebuilt and continue.  There is nothing else except the bare essentials, engine, cockpit, suspension and wheels.

So what’s next?

The Evolution now sits in the garage while I am slowly putting the car back together.  It is really kind of hard to do because I really enjoy the car enormously.  But it’s time to move on.  If it were not for a gigantic tax bill that I owe, I would be in one of these cars now.  But as it is, I need to sell the Evolution before purchasing a Formula ford.  That will be a slow process, I am taking my time doing it, paying attention to the details.  I have been detailing the paint on the car, and I must say the Evo is looking fabulous!   But (sigh) that just makes it harder to get rid of…

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