The world’s fastest autocross event happened last weekend, otherwise known as the F1 Miami Grand Prix. As one of America’s few Formula 1 events, its opulence is off the scale, and possibly best represented by this Tweet containing a picture of the official menu. If you’re prone to sticker shock, you might want to avert your eyes.
Yo. I thought this was a different currency at first pic.twitter.com/CIyxjhBufe
— Jon Schaff (@JonathanSchaff) May 7, 2023
Since the items are said to serve four, the nachos end up costing about $69 a person, and the empanadas are around $88 a head!
If I’ve done the math correctly, every menu item together adds up to $4,565, which is a lot of money for what is essentially the menu for any restaurant with the word “social” or an ampersand in its name. The world is abuzz about this, with The Daily Mail writing “‘Fyre Festival vibes’: Miami Grand Prix is slammed for extortionate food prices as fan shares snap of awful $42 ‘Wagyu steak sandwich’ – and menu lists lobster rolls for a HUGE $450.” Wow that’s a long headline. Motor1 wrote “Nachos For $275 Were On Extravagantly Priced Menu At Formula 1 Miami GP.”
Anyway, you could buy an entire project car for the price of all the items on that small menu, so I went poking around the online classifieds for a few select picks.
When it comes to classic BMW 3-Series models, there’s certainly a hierarchy. The E30 gets all the glory, but that doesn’t mean the E21 is a bad car. In fact, these little oft-forgotten 3-ers are fun, affordable classics, combining a little bit of 2002 charm with modernity more in-line with the vaunted E30. While Europe was able to enjoy inline-six power, American-market E21s came with the M10 four-cylinder engine. Being a late 320i, this one features fuel injection and a jaunty 101 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but with little mass to shove around and five forward gears to row, the 320i is still a fun little runabout.
Beneath the heavily-oxidized paint lies a remarkably nice interior with nice door cards and remarkably well-kept seats. Given that this one’s up for sale in Sacramento, I wouldn’t expect any huge rust problems either. Plus, the owner claims to have Euro bumpers, and those have a value on their own. Best of all, the E21 320i has a distant F1 connection. The batshit M12 F1 engine of the ’80s used the rugged M10 engine block as a base, maxing out BMW’s engine dyno at 1,280 horsepower.
While this Datsun pickup truck is firmly in project territory, it’s a truly unique ride that’s worth fixing up. Although the exterior is very well-worn, I reckon the patina just adds to the charm. This is a surviving early Japanese pickup truck in America, you almost never see example of the genre that are this old. The seller has gone to the trouble of pulling the interior to assess floorpan condition, and I don’t see a ton of daylight. Grind back the surface rust, patch whatever holes exist, and you’re pretty much good to go.
As with many classic Japanese cars, everything’s so adorably tiny. Power comes from a tiny little 1.2-liter E-1 four-cylinder engine with dual carbs making 59 horsepower and 67 lb.-ft. of torque. The seller claims that it runs and idles on starter fluid, which means this little truck is eager to live again. Plus, it’s only $2,500. That’s only like five F1 Platters at the Miami Grand Prix.
Secretly, the RX-8 was the best-driving Japanese sports car of the 2000s. You can keep your bump-steering AP1 Honda S2000s, I’ll gladly revel in the RX-8’s lithe chassis and willing two-rotor engine. If you’ve never driven a car with a rotary engine, it’s an experience worth having. These powerplants make the process of internal combustion feel massless, freely surging to redline on command.
This particular RX-8 is an Ohio car, so it’s on the crusty side of things. Expect to do some light welding on the sills. Sure, this one has an oil pressure light that comes and goes, but forward propulsion is sure to last longer than the food at the Miami Grand Prix. On the plus side, it does have a remarkably low 87,271 miles showing on the cluster, and it’s a genuinely usable sports coupe with decent rear seat access and all manner of modern amenities.
Normally, a Ford Maverick isn’t what most people would build a fun little street car out of. This economical compact car succeeded the Falcon in North America, and it was normally regarded as perfectly ‘70s transportation. However, this one’s had some work done. We start in the engine compartment where we find not a Thriftpower inline-six, but a five-liter Windsor V8. Even better, it’s hitched to a five-speed manual gearbox which means you can slam gears with the best of them. Or at least, you could if this Maverick ran. The seller claims that it needs wiring done and engine accessories fitted, but that doesn’t seem to bad when you look at the rest of the car.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a four-door Maverick this minty. From the pristine interior to the decent black paint, this is a remarkably presentable car. A set of period-correct mag wheels up the curb appeal, while raised white letter Cooper Cobra tires are just the icing on the cake. Sure, the tops of the quarter panels could use wet-sanding and the trunk needs a respray, but those small details aside, this Maverick is visually perfect.
So there we go, four wicked project cars you can buy for what the entire menu at the Miami Grand Prix cost. I know, people in the real world aren’t buying everything on the menu, but these concession prices are insane. Don’t get me wrong, carne asada nachos do sound pretty good right now, but give me the deep-fried monstrosities found at regional racetracks over a $275 plate of nachos any day of the week.
(Photo credits: Craigslist sellers, Twitter/Jonathan Schaff, Dh16dh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)
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