Black Betty

Black Betty: #8

The fourth car in our fleet was actually the fifth build we started.  While we were building the Fairmont, and having issues with it in paint, we decided to keep moving forward with the next build.  Black Betty is a ’91 LX hatchback that we got from one of our best scouts.  This is the same scout who found us the Cop Car. Betty was going to be his M4C car, but after an incident known as “The Thomas Affair” he informed us that he was no longer going to be able to come racing with us, and that he wanted to sell the car to us.  No harm, no foul.  We gladly took the car, and to honor / tease our fickle friend, we decided to keep the name he had given the car, and keep his original design vision, a fully blacked out car with an 8-ball for the number plate – Whoa Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

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Betty all murdered out


Black Betty’s engine was in an unknown state.  At least a blown head gasket, but we decided that since we were trying to build this one fast, we’d just pull the motor and replace it with one we had recently picked up for $100 that was supposedly low miles, but was sitting for 10 years.  We ripped and replaced the motor, and to this day, it’s the smoothest motor we have.  It’s also the best roll cage we’ve built with the most head room, as we’ve learned from each build how to make things incrementally better.  It also was the first 91-93 car to get a 4.56 rear gear in the 8.8 housing.  Two other cars have 4.56s now as well, but this is the only 8-plug car with this set up.


Betty benefited from the paint-house screw up with the Fairmont by getting a free paint job.  We had her back from paint in a week, single-color cars are the way to go.  A quick finish out of the interior, and Betty was mostly done.  Sure, we may have skipped a few steps in our rush to get her to track, like we removed the power window motors and didn’t put anything in to replace them, so her windows like to close during a drive.  Her door panels aren’t quite completely attached, so she looks a little ratty inside.  We also ran out of tail pipes when we went to the exhaust house, so they conveniently made us one that doesn’t turn down, so Betty sounds “distinct,” shall we say?  She grinds a little going into 4th gear, and has developed an intermittent brake light failure.  And this week she shit her alternator.  We’ve also had two different people break off the shift ball going into “Mustang” (Turn 7) so she has a stock stick shift and knob now.
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Chief of Instruction and “Boy Wonder” in a working session

But enough with the bad things.  She has 3.2 negative camber, so she turns in like only one other car, and the straight exhaust pipe makes her sound just fantastic, she’s fast, and she sits about a quarter inch lower than the others cars, for reasons unknown.  But, unlike Beta or the Cop Car, you have to drive Betty hard to get her there.  She has to use fifth gear to get a decent lap time, and there are those of us who still struggle to do two downshifts going into several of the turns at H2R.  Mostly, you’ll see Betty being driven by “The Boy Wonder” who’s still trying to figure her out and bend her to his will.  I would have predicted Betty and The Boy Wonder to be at the front of the pack shortly, as he had a lot of practice time.  Fortunately, one of our more shrewd drivers hired The Boy Wonder and keeps him busy on his prime track-time days.  What’s that quote about old age and treachery over youth?