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Old 12-19-2020, 09:58 PM   #1
Ansel+
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Default Ansel's Gambler 500 244

Part 1: Respect the Build Bro

I'll start this out with a little background on the Gambler 500. What started out as a yearly race between friends with beater $500 (strictly enforced) cars, turned into a not-so-enforced $500 car offroad trail cleanup and navigational rally. You're handed a set of waypoints and you go, sometimes completing challenges etc. and halfway through a two day event you camp out and have a big party. It blew up in 2017 after a short video about it went viral, and went from 40-some cars the year before to over 900 iirc. It's only grown from there and has changed quite a bit but idea is the same, drive crap cars offroad and pick up trash from public land, and the motto is still the same: don't be a dick. https://www.gambler500.com/

I learned about it in 2017 and went to the final waypoint at Portland Meadows (rip) and drank beer and marveled at all the vehicles, stock Volvo 240s, lifted Miatas, articulated buses, anything you can imagine really. I was hooked. Around this time I was dealing with some personal issues, and recently got dumped when I was in a pretty low place already. One of the things that kept me going was wanting to do a Gambler 500 event, and I did a few months later for the Winter Oregon Gambler 500 with a co worker and a crappy Ford Ranger painted like the Coors Light Silver Bullet. It was cold and miserable (wipers stopped working) and an amazing time.

I wanted my own car though, and I happened across a used lift "kit" for the car for sale from a buddy. I actually bought the lift before I bought the car. Consisted of: a pair of machined 1'' spacers for the strut mount on the front, VW Vanagon front shocks for the rear, 205/75R15 General Grabber AT2 tires, IPD wagon overload coils, 2 H&R spacers for the front wheels, and hockey pucks and longer bolts for the upper spring seats .

At this point I had a lift kit but no car, so I reached out to R&R auto here in Portland to see if they had anything garbage for $500 or less that was legal and ran and drove. In about a week Nick got back to me that he had a 1989 240 GL he had taken on trade that was rough and headed to scrap, but had good tags and a clean title. The PO wanted to keep her seats but he had some he would throw in from another car. I went to go look at the car. It was terrible, and perfect.




Driving it home was really sketchy. It was all over the road, making awful noises from both ends, half the lights didn't work, the seats were "thrown in" in a sense that they were not bolted down. The smell was a nice mix of stale weed, patchouli, and sweat.



I cleaned it up and it looked OK other than the missing trim, but in reality it had been hit on 3 corners, including a rear hit so hard that it tore the spot welds off on the rear quarter and a hole in the trunk floor.



If you've ever wanted to see a 240 with only the rear lifted, here you go. I started getting really stoked once I was at this point.




I did the struts next weekend, they were both blown with bad mounts so I got some used mounts and $5 set of used KYB's from IPD garage sale. It was starting to come together.






Added some light bars, IPD skidplate (still had the IPDJerry discount), premium alignment at THE dealer, did a bunch of misc maintenance; the motto of the Gambler 500 is ABG, Always Be Gamblin, but I didn't want the thing to kill me. In retrospect I should have done the 2018 Gambler 500 with the car stock but I figured I was going to sell the thing. Does the muffler falling off count as a mod? I ended having way too much fun with it. More on the Gambler events later. Sticking to the build, I ran it in the 2018 Gambler with the lift, stock engine etc. It did great, we didn't have waypoints due to the number of people but we did I think 600 miles ish and 150? were offroad, not enough but it was a ton of fun. Two things made themself apparent: I had moved so I could keep the car, and it was too slow. This is Turbobricks after all, and to this point I had not actually done a +T. I started gathering parts.





I think I spent somewhere between $350 and $500 on the turbo swap, BuT ThAt IsNt a $500 CaR, fun>rules is the second Gambler motto. I went with a T3 turbo, 90+ manifold, T cam, stock intercooler and piping, 850 turbo injectors, free IPD R boost gauge (thanks Jerry), Sbabbs chips, nxs mbc, and spent too much on braided oil feed and drain fittings. For my birthday I had a turbo party! We took the engine out, drilled the block, i got yelled at a lot for having **** tool etc, but we got the engine and AW72 trans (shoutout @Harlard) back in that day. I am incredibly thankful for all my friends that came out to help, lots of OG turbobrickers, Sbabbs for bringing the hotdog robot, Asher, Dan Crandall, Robbie Barber, HAROLD, Hathos, Taro, Jerd, Trebbor, my co worker Connor, the list goes on I'm sure I'm forgetting people. It was a stressful day but we got it done. Took a few more weeks to get it driving. This was the closest thing to the TB meets I remember from like 10 years ago when I was first getting into Volvos, it was a great time and many people I hadn't seen in a while showed up.





Took it to IPD 2019 and ended up on Shifting Lanes video for 7 seconds saying just that it was a POS, also had a tasteful exhaust made by [REDACTED] I had to promise to not mention his name because of how ****ty it was. Also thanks to Trebbor for the redneck racing stripes around that time. Car was now a ton of fun to drive, the b230f high compression is awesome.




The car needed a theme so I had Trevor give it a premier British paint and body makeover, BLYAT is part of an inappropriate Russian phrase, so we gave it 3 stripes just like Adidas.





From here I took it on more Gambler events, but also to King of the Hammers in Johnson Valley CA. Before that Connor (well mainly him) put in a Spartan locker, as well as a set of Taro's old commando bumpers from his 242. I swapped out the IPD overloads with hockey pucks, and instead used Jeep XJ springs. Also swapped to diesel front springs courtesy of Sbabbs. I also added a bunch of Hella lights for that rally look (removed 2 due to cooling issues), as well as some 10 spoke Nova/Sirius wheels in white. I also added my old NPR intercooler out of my black 240. I also started racing the car in the Gambler 500's sister event HooptieX, which is Rallycross for crappy cars. The car now has sort of an identity crisis but that's ok, it's been the most fun I've had building a car.

Specs:

Drivetrain:
Stock B230F ~200K
T cam
NXS mbc @ 12psi
NPR intercooler
90+ manifold
T3 turbo
Sbabbs ecu/ezk chips
AW72 trans
Dana 30 Spartan locker

Suspension:
Diesel front springs
Custom aluminum strut mount spacers
IPD upper and lower chassis braces
Jeep Cherokee XJ front springs
VW Vanagon KYB shocks
Polyurethane torque rod bushings
Volvo warranty seatbelt custom limiting straps

Other:
Nilight lightbar
Hella 500 driving lights
205/75R15 General Grabber AT2

Here's a couple videos I did, one on the +T and one on the lift setup:



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Old 12-19-2020, 10:40 PM   #2
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Part 2: Gambler 500, it's Not a Race

The first Gambler event we did with the car was a ton of fun. The Gambler 500 originated in Oregon, and since 2017 people from all across the country (and globe) have showed up to camp in "Gamblertown" which I would describe as "burning man for ****ty cars". We met so many teams from across the country. It was a very Turbobricks roster the first year, with Trevor, Eric (Hathos), and Taro.





The first year was a ton of fun. Didn't hit the most challenging forest service roads but we had a great time.








Second year of the OG Gambler 500 was just as good as the first, didn't take many pictures. Did snag a couple at the next event, Oregon Winter Gambler 2019. Super fun event, linked up with Tom in the neon green 242, another car saved from the scraper to serve on as an offroad beater and a cool dude.


BONUS PIC OF HATHOS AKA COOL CAPS MAN CO DRIVER







Next up was the Holiday Hangover Wa Gambler run in early 2020. We managed to link up with my buddy Forrest in the Martineli 245, and had enough Volvos to do a Volvo only drag race down the beach. I think I narrowly beat a 350 swapped 245 because my boost was low (that's my excuse anyway).















The next event I took the car to really blew me away with how fun this thing was. Granted we had just installed the locker. King of the Hammers is a huge off-road race and general ****show in Johnson Valley CA outside of LA. It offers dunes, rock crawling, dry lakebeds, and some truly punishing trails and terrain. Everyone might have laughed at the Volvo at first but everyone who rode or drove it absolutely loved it. We did a ton of random trails and drives, it was pretty solid at anything short of dunes...we got stuck a little. At the end of the week there was a HooptieX event, Gambler's racing cousin. We did a short course racetrack near the race course finishline. I had never gotten nearly that much air before and that was both exhilarating and terrifying. I had previously done one HooptieX event out of maybe 2-3 that had been done period, but I really had the itch to do more. Oh yeah, and I broke a LOT of ****, control arms, shocks, struts, 3/4 tires, transmission pan on the last lap.




The OG Gambler changed a lot in 2020 due to Covid. We still did the event, but there was no Gamblertown, no official meetings, and we did socially distanced camping with a few people. Connor bought a $350 740 turbo and set about lifting that. It was still a ton of fun, we had an awesome campsite with this view, and picked up trash and did a HoopieX race. We actually ran into more people out in the woods on trails, probably because there was no camp to go back to and lounge around like previous years. The Gambler 500 events have been a ton of fun with this car, but I think I may have had more fun racing it.

Last edited by Ansel+; 12-19-2020 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 12-19-2020, 11:09 PM   #3
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Part 3: HooptieX, It's a Race!

Gambler 500 was the brainchild of Tate Morgan, and HooptieX was the brainchild of his buddy Chuck. Chuck wanted to get people into RallyX that wouldn't normally be into it, like the Gambler 500 welcomed everyone to do off road events and pick up trash, Chuck wanted an easily approachable RallyX style event. I think HooptieX and RallyX are somewhat different beasts though; HooptieX invites things like 6x6 military vehicles, complete beaters, or brand new Tacoma's to compete. Anyone is welcome as long as they have a factory roof, basic safety equipment, and no major fluid leaks. There's 2wd, 4wd, and hater/cheater class. Bring something too nice or new and you get thrown into cheater/hater. HooptieX courses also differ somewhat from conventional RallyX as some of them are long enough to be more similar to Stage Rally, others have potentially punishing jumps etc. Courses are created by Chuck on a bulldozer probably with something he drew on a napkin.






The first event I did was either the second or third HooptieX that had been put on, it was amazing and only down the road from me in Oregon City. The turbo entirely put me out of my skill level and I now see why ARA or similar rally organizations don't let noobs run turbos. The car put down way more power than I could control. I wasn't very fast but it was sure fun.





















These are pics from probably 4 different events presented without context. Taro is driving in a few of these. It's been a wild ride.







My favorite set of pics of the car for sure. I have the first one hanging on my wall.












A selection of various other HooptieX cars including Connor's 740 and my buddy Forrest's 245 +T, and yes that is a Reliant Robin.



And now I am at a crossroads, do I build the car for RallyX? I know the lift is detrimental. Or do I keep it where I can do both? Do I buy another car? I'm not sure but I'm sure as **** having a good time figuring it out!
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Old 12-19-2020, 11:26 PM   #4
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First!!
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project slowski (old project now gone)^^^

New Project Slug Works


my feedback thread here > FEEEEDBACK!!!!
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Old 12-19-2020, 11:35 PM   #5
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I WANT THIS FRAMED AND HUNG IN MY GARAGE.

<3
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Old 12-20-2020, 12:00 AM   #6
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Landscaping at Harald's place!
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Old 12-20-2020, 01:18 AM   #7
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Donít show the wife!
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:03 AM   #8
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Donít show the wife!
She knows this happened. Her reaction? "That's hilarious!"
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:05 AM   #9
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i think i'm the one that parked it there anyway. and she would never get mad at me.
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:39 AM   #10
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Hmmm you neglected to mention that I was 1/10th of a second faster than you at the most recent HooptieX

Regardless, I am honored to have been a part of the ****show that has been this car.

Would you mind posting a pic of your most recent "Sponsor's" Logo decal?

Here's a link to a gopro video of me trying to break this car:
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:53 AM   #11
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This was a feel trip.
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GODDAMNIT, IT WASN'T RATTLE CANNED. IT WAS EARL SCHEIBED AND *MATCHED* TO A RATTLE CAN
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:08 PM   #12
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Wow looks like fun doing that!
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Old 12-20-2020, 08:19 PM   #13
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There's a forum?

But also, super sweet
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Old 12-21-2020, 11:20 PM   #14
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You are having more fun than should be allowed.

What is that peak?

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[B]

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Old 02-19-2021, 03:56 AM   #15
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You are having more fun than should be allowed.

What is that peak?
Mt Adams! Going back this weekend with snow to see if I can destroy the car more
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Old 02-19-2021, 05:22 AM   #16
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Cool!

You know, "blyat" in swedish lingo means "leaded"
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Old 02-19-2021, 03:43 PM   #17
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That looks amazingly fun.. but this guy:



I want to know so much more about
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Old 02-19-2021, 05:02 PM   #18
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So rad. Love how many places you have taken this thing.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:06 PM   #19
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Mt Adams! Going back this weekend with snow to see if I can destroy the car more
Good luck. Adams is on my list to ski.
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Old 03-03-2021, 04:48 PM   #20
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Cool!

You know, "blyat" in swedish lingo means "leaded"
Hahaha that's amazing!

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That looks amazingly fun.. but this guy:

I want to know so much more about
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I4QkGlE-nE

HooptieX got slightly more strict with rules this season, I'm not sure if he'll be allowed more than parade laps anymore? He had to start solemnly swearing to not roll intentionally or not.


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So rad. Love how many places you have taken this thing.
Thanks dude! You car was definitely on the list of inspirations for mine!
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Old 03-03-2021, 07:54 PM   #21
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Took the car to a HooptieX Snowcross event a couple weeks ago...only it turned out to be more mud than snow after the first couple cars. Still had a really fun time.








That's me standing outside the car like an idiot in the snow/rain while I let Connor do a lap.





The car did fine in the mud, but the 2 foot ruts got a little gnarly. I actually finished my lap but the 5-6 cars in front of me did not, I forgot to insulate the distributor with duct tape and got water in it, not sure how I drove through deep mud and snow without being able to rev over 3k but I did it. Second lap the car ingested a large amount of mud into the alternator and now it's not charging.

Next event isn't until the OG Gambler 500 in late June, not sure what I'll do with it until then. Jerd and I have been talking about some suspension upgrades that could be interesting, I'd like to add more travel but not add any more height
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Old 03-03-2021, 09:36 PM   #22
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That looks so fun
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