Fiat Le Mans GP Proto Race Car w/Video

by Michael Satterfield

Jeff Johnson is known to many in Southern California as the guy with eccentric taste in cars. Many are cast-off projects found on craigslist, too ambitious or bizarre for the average builder. But Jeff takes all comers, re-envisions what the car could be and puts some of the most unique cars back on the road. Over the last 24 years Jeff has owned around 120 cars, including an amphibious Fiat and this unique street-legal Fiat-based Le Mans GP Proto Race Car.

The car caught my attention on Facebook when Jeff announced that he was putting the car up for sale. I contacted Jeff to get some details of the car. As always when he found it, the car was in a sad state. But the car had been well designed, the previous builder had even gone so far as to build a 1/3rd scale mock-up of the car as a guide.

The car started life as a 1970 Fiat 850 Spider on the other side of the country in Florida. The man that built owned an aerospace-related business and crafted the body out of aircraft grade fiberglass, including a completely smooth under-body. The body has a steel and teak wood frame, kind of like Morgan, however, all the wood is dipped in carbon fiber resin and attached with aircraft quality bolts.

But the car was in need of some major repairs, the car is powered by a Honda Civic engine, to which Jeff added dual 40-millimeter downdraft weber carbs. A new custom racing-inspired windshield was crafted as well as the headlamp covers to give the car an even sleeker look. The interior was completely redone in what looks like an Alcantara suede. If you would like to own this unique car you'll have your chance, since it will be going up on eBay sometime in the new few days.

Photos by Jeff Johnson