Now that I've had a chance to go through my photos of the 24 Hours of LeMons South event, it's time for the traditional LeMons Über Gallery! You'll see a set of photos for every car that managed to roar (or sputter) onto the track in Kershaw, South Carolina, plus links to team websites and other citrus-flavored goodness.
Any of you LeMons South racers who want the uncropped, full-resolution photos of your team's car should email me with a request and I'll hook you up. If you
feel like punishing the Gawker server hamsters some more still haven't gotten your LeMons Über Fix after checking out these shots, take a look at the LeMons SF '08 Über Gallery, the Arse Freeze-A-Pa-Looza LeMons '08 Über Gallery, and the LeMons SF '07 Über Gallery.
One of many BMW E30s- almost all sporting 325e emblems and low-RPM tachs- at the race; we were suspicious of this car during BS inspection, but LeMons Supreme Court Chief Justice Lamm decreed that it was too slow to be cheating after a brief test drive. Euro Trash finished 24th overall. For the Euro Trash story, go here.
These guys had a full set of Soviet and Democratic Party flags on their anti-Obama themed CRX (which they hauled through non-Gingrich areas of Atlanta without incident) and were quite quick with the fourth-best lap time of the race. But what the CRX giveth on the racetrack with its great handling and crazy power-to-weight ratio, it often taketh away with its fragility. Brake malfunctions and other mechanical woes held this Honda down to a still-respectable 30th-place finish. We wanted to see the flags stay on for the duration of the race, but apparently their aerodynamic drag was deemed excessive.
Can you get a late-90s Accord, complete with VTEC H22 engine, for under 500 bucks? Ray's Redneck Racing can... although we'd have hammered them with major BS lap penalties if the car's slushbox hadn't softened its highly suspicious appearance. This Honda was slower than I would have expected with so much Soichiro-grade power under the hood, so I suspect it wasn't quite running at 100%. 57th place finish.
Someone suggested that this team took its name from Houston Astro Mark Lemongello, but I never did get around to asking the team. What I did ask them was why the rotary in this car sounded so incredibly good, and the (Mazda mechanic) captain produced receipts for a bunch of rebuild parts- totalling under 500 dollars, of course, and quite legit-looking. The car itself looked to be worth about $9, and Lemonjello's innovative de-roofing procedure probably reduced the weight by almost as much as the rust had. Of course, this car turned out to be fast as stink on the track, taking 2nd place by three laps; did we get taken in by a bunch of RX-7 slicksters in the BS Inspection, or were they just great drivers? Probably some of each.
We were overjoyed to see a Fiero competing in this race, especially after Car & Driver's Fiero brought such misery to its team at the last Altamont race. Sure, we sweated team Ponticrap mercilessly during the BS Inspection, since the team was so clearly packed with Fiero-expert ringers and the engine sounded like more than 500 bucks worth of power, but we secretly wanted to see the plastic Pontiac make a good run for the flag that is checkered. Sadly, the rainy weather and funky Fiero handling led to numerous spinout-related black flags, and the car ended up being pulled from the race due to safety concerns. 61st place, but their 1:12 best lap time was pretty decent.
You're looking at the winner of LeMons South (and, of course, the winner of top-ranked Prayer Of Winning class)! The She Got It All RX-7 team went about its business quietly (well, as quietly as is possible for a Wankel) and without drama, never attracting much attention yet staying in the lead for most of Saturday and all of Sunday. By all accounts, they raced clean and didn't piss anybody off... and maybe they really did build their car for under 500 bucks!
I'm not sure what happened to the Red Rocket Escort; its 1:09 best lap time showed it had the speed, but the 64th-place finish- that's 330 back of the winner- indicates much time battling broken parts and/or penalties. You can watch Cartman getting knocked off by the Tunachuckers in the Schumacher Taxi video below:
We were highly skeptical about the legitimacy of a sub-$500 Impreza during the BS Inspection... until we got underneath and saw that this one was a 2WD example. The guys on the Good Stuff team brought what amounted to a complete barbecue restaurant's worth of cooking gear- hey, this is the South- and plied the entire LeMons staff with excellent barbecue chicken and beer on Saturday night (the culinary scene in the pits would have been worth the trip to South Carolina, even without the race). FWD or no, this Subie made it into the Top 20: 19th place finish.
It was a spinout- one of many- of the Tokyo Auto Wreckers' 240SX that resulted in the Driving While Awesome Porsche eating my rear bumper at Altamont, and the same Nissan fell off its trailer on the MacArthur Freeway after the race. Perhaps because of this, I cringed when I saw the TWaffle 240SX roll up in Kershaw, but it proved to be quite safe-n-sane. 37th place.
Here's another seriously quick Honda; We-Todd Racing had the third-best lap time of the race. One of many cars to sport the infamous cheap eBay adjustable coilovers- you better believe we looked 'em up during the BS inspection- this Civic came in 28th overall.
The pizza deliverer on the roof of this car was frighteningly realistic- the guys on the team said it took them months to get it just right- but the thrown rod that knocked Double Team Supreme out of the race was even more realistic. 66th place.
There was some debate going around the pits about what team most deserved the Most Heroic Fix trophy. The Utility Muffin guys were mentioned frequently, as were the Turbo Schnitzels, but once we heard the heartbreaking tale of Team BMWTF, there was no doubt. These guys went through countless nightmares building their car- several bad engines, a complete car taken away due to some sort of legal hassles- and were still working on their car as the pace car went around the track on Saturday morning. Their L6 was quick- 1:08 best lap time attests to that- even after getting T-boned by a Mustang and a bunch of extra camber bent into the rear suspension- and managed a 59th-place finish to go with their Heroic Fix trophy.
That great in-car video you just saw came to us courtesy of the Schumacher Taxi Corolla FX16, and doesn't that 4A-G engine sound glorious? They must have broken to finish 26th- especially with a great 1:09 best lap time- and maybe the full story may be found on their website. We might as well listen to that engine a bit more (and you can watch many more Schumacher Taxi videos here:
What are the odds that you'll have unrelated teams with FX16s randomly choose 7 and 07 for their car numbers? This team was made up of a bunch of Toyota engineers and interns ( here's their website), which triggered some alarm bells during the BS inspection. The slick-looking paint jobs on this car and their Celica didn't help matters, but we let the FX16- which was actually pretty beat under the paint job- go without any lap penalties. 49th place.
Rust aficionados would have loved the Slee-Z Racing 280ZX, which had numerous see-through areas not specified by Nissan engineers. As I recall, they had a black flag or two, plus some busted parts, and piloted their leopard-skin-adorned purple Datsun to an entitled-to-bragging-rights 40th place in spite of those setbacks.
Although the LeMons Supreme Court can be bribed during the BS Inspection, sometimes even Boss Tweed-esque levels of cash can't buy a team enough justice to get their car through the check unscathed. The Inmates Running The Asylum guys put together this car in their Spec Miata-building shop and their cost numbers just didn't add up to our satisfaction: 200 lap penalty. The car was fast and the drivers were very, very good; in fact, they'd have won the race by a lap without the penalty.
This Celica was intended to be the faster of Dai Mondai's two LeMons entries, and it attracted plenty of judicial scrutiny during the BS inspection (say, do you suppose a team made up of Toyota engineers might know a few tricks?). They were nice guys, so we cut them some slack; all the controversy turned out not be pointless, anyway, since this car threw a rod on the third lap of the race.
We got a bribe from the Doriftodogs sufficient to buy pizza for the whole LeMons staff after the race, and they probably weren't even cheating (much)! The Dogs managed to break some fine Bavarian parts, but still attained a solid 27th-place finish. The dogface grille treatment was pretty cool, reminding us of the Porcubimmer. Be sure to check out their website. Here's some Doriftodogvision for you, too:
The Toyota MR2 is a great LeMons car, with good handling and a well-protected radiator, but... well, these are five hundred dollar cars. The Shark Sandwich Toyota started out strong, but then a rod bearing- unobtainable on short notice in Kershaw- gave up a few hours into the race; you can read the whole story at the team's blog. 65th place overall.
These guys had everything we most like to see at the 24 Hours of LeMons: Absurd-yet-powerful car, great theme, matching costumes, and serious never-say-die spirit. Even after the burning-brakes incident on Saturday (and all-night rotor/caliper job), after eating up a pair of front tires every two hours, after every component capable of overheating was doing so- yes, even after the Corporate Machine was down to a half-dozen laps per stint before the engine and/or transmission crapped out and required a lengthy cool-off period, this team kept getting that Cad back on the track. The DeVille's crazy handling alone would have been enough to send lesser teams running for the trailer; I'm pretty sure the entry for "Understeer" in most dictionaries includes an illustration of the front-wheel-drive, 4.9 liter V8-powered '91 Cadillac DeVille. The Corporate Machine Corporation let me drive their car for a few laps- yeah, after I went the wrong way down the pit road, due to my being distracted by the dread of what would happen to me if I got a penalty- and all I can say is that 51st place in this beast was quite an accomplishment. Slam-dunk People's Choice award. Be sure to take a look at their well-written team website, then watch the video of my driving adventure below:
It's amazing how you can find Datsun ZXs for just a couple hundred bucks (hey, a serious sports car with six-banger power and independent rear suspension!), but such cars often have issues. In the case of the Hard Luck Racing Datsun, fuel-system nastification and wheel stud failure conspired to produce a 56th-place finish. We really dug the ACME Secret Weapon and hope to see this machine at future races. You can read the whole Hard Luck tale here.
This car was the topic of much heated debate in the pits, mostly centering around the impossibility of purchasing a genuine V8/5-speed '94 Mustang GT- yes, the one with all the hi-zoot suspension goodies- for under 500 bucks. Superkak's cost-accounting paperwork looked legit, but I was pretty sure they'd have been excavator bait if driving penalties hadn't taken them out of contention for the checkered flag. As it turns out, Superkak gets the bragging rights that come with the best lap time of the race.
The POP BANG POW BMW did 112 laps on its way to a 67th-place finish, but I wasn't able to determine its fate. If you're reading this, PBP guys, let us know your story.
Apparently hoping to follow in Arse-Freeze-A-Pa-Looza LeMons winner Red Meat And Poontang's tire tracks, What's That Smell Racing showed up with a Mazda Protege (dubbed the "Accsmellerator 3000"). We liked the Little Tree theme, and the 18th-place finish shows that the Protege
We couldn't help but admire the brazenness of the dodgy accounting and maybe-they-won't-notice supercharger we found with this PT Cruiser, but we had no choice but to hand down a steep BS penalty on the KML Racing PT Cruiser. Without the 70-lap penalty, they'd have been in the top 15; with it, they finished 31st.
While this Caprice managed an even quicker lap time than the Punisher Racing Chevy- a stunning 1:08 against the 3rd-place Punishers' 1:09, mechanical problems held the Biscuit back to a still-impressive 16th-place finish. The real story here, however, is that this car actually survived the People's Curse at the LeMons Detroit race last year; see all the repairs on the roof? The story and photos may be found here. Rubber Biscuit team member Terry has this to say about their LeMons South experience:
We had a great time but did have some problems. The whole first day we were way down on power - couldn't get more than half throttle without the motor missing very badly and blowing black smoke. We figured that we would lose more laps than we could ever get back if we brought it to the garage to figure out the issue, so we just ran it that way the first 7-1/2 hours of the race and dealt with it at the evening break. It turned out that the passenger side O2 sensor had crapped out. We replaced it with a new AC Delco one and it was fine the next morning, but our lap times that first day were 5 seconds slower than the leader and we were down 23 laps by the end of Saturday. We would have lost more laps than that if we hadn't raced in the rain for 2 hours when everyone else had to slow down too. Our car did great in the rain.
The next day the car ran great. We started up again at 8:30 AM and were running laps 1-2 seconds faster than the leader all morning. But our transponder had stopped working and Scoring didn't black flag us to let us know of the problem until over an hour into the day. We were able to negotiate with the gracious scoring officials for them to give us 50 laps, but the leader had run 58 by then and we were faster than them all morning. Still - it was way better than nothing. By the 11:00 -12:00 "church break", we had made up 8 laps and things were looking good for a top 10 finish. But right after the break we cut a brake line from some track debris. We replaced the line but lost 15 more laps while we fixed the car. Then around 12:30 the transmission stopped shifting into 3rd gear - we think a simple $5 shift solenoid died. I guess that stock motor (yes, it really was bone stock) just didn't like 3 hours of being run up to the rev limiter in 2nd gear on the 2 long straights, so with 2 minutes left, it threw 2 rods through the oil pan in protest. It probably didn't help that we had bumped the rev limiter up 400 RPM from stock. Maybe I should have mentioned that to my team mates... :)
Here's another Top 20 machine, more proof that Soichiro made plenty of quick hatchbacks that hold together for 300,000 miles (though I remain skeptical that it's possible to buy any running Civic for under $500 with the shadow of five-buck gas looming across the land). The Squeeze My Lemon Civic came complete with BMW M badges, and I believe it's also billed as a "Type R" to boot!
The Rusty Wankel RX-7 seemed plagued by breakdowns throughout the race; they were pitted quite close to LeMons Supreme Court HQ, and we saw the Mazda moving under team muscle power more than once. Their quickest lap time (1:10.785) was just a half-second slower than the winning RX-7's, so we assume we'll see a contender next time, once all the bugs are worked out.
What do you do when you build a race car and then it breaks its camshaft in half during a practice lap the afternoon before the race? You could throw in the towel- you know, wasn't meant to be... or you could do what the Utility Muffins did: crank up some Burnt Weeny Sandwich and drive all-out to Charlotte before the junkyards close, then wrench all night to do a head swap on the CRX and be ready to race the next morning. As so often happens with CRX LeMons cars, other mechanical ills slowed down the Zappa-themed team, but they managed a top-half 35th-place finish.
We all know how the race ended for the Salazar Racing BMW team. Sure, there was no way in hell that 325is was a $500 car, and maybe they exhibited something of an aggressive streak out there on the track, but by all accounts they were nice guys (once they got out of the car) and they took their punishment with good humor.
We saw quite a few Ford Escorts at LeMons South, and their performance ran the gamut from Top Ten to DNF. The Turkey Fryers kept their car alive and in the mix for most of the race and finished 46th. The account of their build is worth reading.
The Ones2Drive BMW was the recipient of the dreaded Grille Of Damocles punishment (a Volvo grille covered with spikes is welded to the front of the car, guaranteeing radiator death in the slightest impact), and finished the race with a crazy vertically-oriented radiator yanked from the carcess of a stricken competitor's car. This car definitely got used up on the way to its 60th-place finish, but at least the hood will live on as decoration for Canada Racing HQ.
A Subaru SVX racing at the 24 Hours of LeMons? Wow! Thing is, the kind of SVX you can get for 500 bucks... well, there might be a few compromises in the ol' reliability department. The Thunder road team roared onto the track feeling strong and optimistic to start the race, then- hey, why doesn't the steering work? No problem, just weld up the troublesome steering components and get back on the track... oh no, we need the tow truck again! That's how it went for Team Thunder Road, who were thwarted by South Carolina's Thou Shalt Not Sell Car Parts On Sunday blue laws in their final repair attempt and managed a grand total of six laps. It wasn't for naught, however, because they took home the coveted I Got Screwed trophy, joining the likes of Team Porcubimmer in that honor.
This Jetta seemed awfully new- and fast- for a $500 car, but sometimes car shoppers just get lucky, right? We'll leave that for the readers to debate, but there's no arguing with the fact that Loose Tool's VW got into the Top Ten, with a 9th-place finish.
The Kommandos were able to knock off the second-best lap time of the race, but the Ultimate Driving Machine tends to become the Ultimately Hard To Fix Machine when that close-tolerance Bavarian workmanship goes awry. 54th place. Here's an account from Kommando Ed:
A thrown fan belt and later a hard tap that made the motor smash the bottom radiator hose pissed off the head gasket. Later, two or three hoses, a water pump and a melted oil pressure switch took us out of contention on Saturday.
Sunday we decided all should drive one more time. We spent a fare amount of time and money to get there (we are not wealthy by any stretch of imagination) and each driver only had one turn on Sat.
After each run we brought the car in, waited until we could get the cap off without boiling what was left, put in about 2 gallons of water and the next guy went out.
The engine would get so hot on each run the head would start leaking oil on to the exhaust. Eyes would burn and the last driver almost threw up. GREAT FUN! WE WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! Winning is overrated.
We ran that poor car with a blown head gasket for a day and a half. How's that for German engineering?
If the Mary Kay salesforce had to be a little faster (and went to a sort of sickly house-paint version of Salmon Tumor instead of pink for their car color of choice), this is what they'd drive. We were ready to bring the lap-penalty hammer down on this car during BS inspection, thinking it was the six-cylinder Supra at first, but that 22R under the hood was pure Celica. Mary Kay Racing drove to a strong 11th-place finish overall.
This Prelude had sufficient junkyard wings and spoilers- mounted all over the car- to win the Dangerous Banned Technology trophy. According to official LeMons rules, the trophy goes to the car with the best use, ie "didn't actually fall off and kill anyone," of any device currently banned, no doubt wisely, by the FIA. (Partial list: sliding skirts, active air brakes, active wings, turbine engines, suction fans, active suspension, dual axles, and probably shortly Max Mosley). As we all know, each additional wing adds 50 horsepower, which is likely the reason Dawg House Racing racked up a boastworthy 15th-place finish.
First of all, we were impressed by the Schlitz Blue Bull graphic and 40-ounce reference with the car number (though we didn't actually see any Schlitz 40-dogs in the Malt Liquor Tech pits). While many of the BMWs succumbed to the usual fuel/electrical-system problems that go with Cheap BMW Racing territory, Malt Liquor Tech's car held together and came in fifth overall. That means they took home not only the pride of cracking the LeMons Top Five but the Fastest German Car trophy to boot. They also had the best team decal of the race: a screaming-possum design that now adorns my laptop.
The folks at Crownvic.net don't seem to be connected to this Police Interceptor Crown Victoria, but I'm sure they'd be happy to know it finished in the top half, with a 32nd-place finish. Their best lap time of 1:10.353 was just a hair slower than the winning RX-7's best time (though not as quick as either cop-car rival Caprice), which shows that those cheap ex-cop Crown Vics have LeMons-winning potential.
Like the Porsche 944, the Merkur XR4Ti looks like an ideal LeMons car on paper. Lots of turbocharged power, rear-wheel-drive, IRS, and you can get ugly ones for peanuts. In reality, though... well, let's just say we didn't worry too much about cheating when we BS-inspected this car, because it goes without saying that all cheap XR4Tis blow up. We were up late drinking beer and shooting the shit with the Schnitzels on Saturday night, after they'd fixed their blown head gasket... which promptly blew again on Sunday. The car looked great on the track, as did the team's "Fahrt Schnell" T-shirts, and we hope to see these guys back at future races. For the behind-the-scenes story, check out the Turbo Schnitzel blog
Here's proof that bribing LeMons judges pays! These characters showed up with a genuine, numbers-matching Escort GT and expected us to believe they'd paid less than $500 for this highly sought-after classic. We threatened to hit them with a symbolic 5-lap BS penalty, just because their car smelled like cheating and the 95-degree weather had us in a foul mood, but we were so impressed with the cash taped under their car's hood that we let them go. As it turns out, they made the Top Ten by a mere four laps! Don't miss the team website.
It took me a while to figure out that the object dangling from the front bumper of this ex-cop box Crown Vic was supposed to be a cow's tongue. There's nothing like the sight of a big Detroit sedan screaming through the turns while a bunch of nervous imports try to squeeze past it, particularly when said Detroit sedan is painted to resemble a bovine. The Mad Cow Ford came in 38th; check out the team's story here.
You know all those Thunderbird Turbo Coupe guys who go on and on about how quick their cars really are (in spite of being cheapo Fox Fords that tend to shed parts when going over speed bumps)? If this race is any guide, they're right! Team Thunderturd came in 7th, with pretty good 1:11 lap times and- much more important- no major breakdowns or penalties. The mailbox hood scoop was a nice decorative touch.
We see a lot of German LeMons cars dressed up in WW2 military markings (thankfully, the teams leave the swastikas off, thus sparing us the need to apply the mandatory 100,000,000-lap "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" penalty). So how about painting a Ford Mustang to look like a P-51 Mustang? This car looked great (we especially liked the aircraft-style exhausts on the fenders) and the team had a fine name, but the (non-turbo) four-banger under the hood meant it had a tough time keeping up with the competition.
The CMP Mafia's initial plan was to have several full-sized bicycles on the roof rack during the race, which would have been good for plenty of fun when they flew off and got run over by all the other cars, but safety concerns mandated their removal. This Eclipse was run by a bunch of Carolina Motorsports Park employees to a 6th-place finish. Great track, guys- I'm definitely coming back for future races!
An Opel in the 24 Hours of LeMons! Hooray! This Opel 1900 is a brain-scrambling Malaise Era mashup of GM-related marques; badged as a "Buick/Opel" and powered by an Isuzu engine, it probably confused the hell out of car buyers. This one is an abandoned-in-back-yard ex-race-car, run by a team from the Richard Petty Driving Experience (no, we don't know why it isn't #43). It was very quick (best lap time was an excellent 1:09.677 seconds), but penalties and/or breakdowns resulted in a 41st-place finish.
We've already seen the Tunachuckers, whose Volvo Amazon just kept circling the track, hour after hour, and finished in 47th place (a three-hour crap-in-the-fuel-lines repair knocked them well down in the standings). These guys took home the Index Of Effluency trophy, which goes to the team that does better than anyone thought possible with their
I thought I saw this Accord hatchback suffer a catastrophic engine explosion early on Sunday, the type that sends flaming connecting rods whirling off over the horizon; it must have been some other car, however (or the team had a spare engine and crazy swap skills), because the Freeman's Car Stereo Honda was still on the track and moving under its own power when the race ended. 33rd place.
Here's the car run by our host (and creator of the Driveshaft Through The Skull design), Walker Player Canada. The ZX's V6 refrained from catching on fire (though there were some fuel-system maladies) and the CC Canada team knocked off many 1:09 laps on their way to an 8th place finish and a Prayer Of Finishing class trophy.
You can be proud when your team wins the Most Likely To Leave In An Ambulance trophy at the 24 Hours of LeMons, and that's just what Team Animal House did with their Fox Thunderbird. Note the Deathmobile fins and portrait of Chief Perpetrator Jay Lamm as hood ornament, then thrill to their in-car video:
Plenty of Civics showed up to race at CMP, giving the E30s and Escorts a run for their money, and this one was the race's top Honda: 13th place. Hey, my '92 Civic would look good with a paint job like this car's!
Another "looks good on paper" LeMons car is the Saab Turbo; usually you see the 900s, but Team Saab Story managed to find a 9000 for (allegedly) under 500 bucks. They were pretty quick, battled through various brake and transmission ailments, and got themselves a respectable 21st place finish and the No Prayer Of Finishing class trophy (they also won the Fastest Swedish Car medals, but weren't there for the awards ceremony and the Tunachuckers grabbed the medals instead). You can read their story here.
SMV Racing brought a couple of cars to the race; this GTI and a Pinto. We stomped on this car with our hobnailed lap-penalty boots during the BS judging- come on, guys, you can explain away your budget-busting mods better than that- and that resulted in a 52nd-place finish. Their best lap time of 1:10.544 showed that this 3-wheeler could really move.
How can you not love a Geo Storm at LeMons? Of course, the Storm wasn't very fast and lots of stuff broke, but we loved this car anyway. The patriotic paint job inspired us to tape a map of Iran on the side of the car. 58th place.
Even a Camry can be a race car at the 24 Hours Of LeMons! The 1:18.026 second best lap time was garbage-truck-esque, but the Camry's ability to just keep going gave KML Racing a nothing-to-sneeze-at 21st place.
Since cars tend to crunch into each other with great regularity at the 24 Hours of LeMons, you've got to admire a team that fields a race car with the timing belt located about four inches behind the grille. The Quattro Libre Audi 4000 survived the race, however, and did so with no major mechanical problems. While the car exhibited some truly scary-looking body lean in the corners, it totally owned during the couple hours of rainfall. When you're done watching the in-car video below, read their account of their experiences here.
That's right, it's yet another BMW E30! It appears that Butchered Motor Werks never quite got their 325e working quite right (in spite of the great team name), but they picked up a 42nd place finish nonetheless.
With a Supra winning last year's Flat Rock race, we expected the Howard J. Turkstra Toyota to be a real contender at this race. Unfortunately, $500 cars don't always... well, you know the rest. 62nd place.
After seeing a couple of diesel Benzes at the Altamont race last year (including one in the Top 20), we already knew the relentless reliability of the OM617 engine makes these things LeMons contenders. The handling is excellent for such a big car, too, and On The Run From Nuns took 25th place. They've got an extensive set of photos here, but we still can't figure out why they're running from nuns.
You take an old dirt-track Monte Carlo that's been sitting in someone's back yard for a few years, drop an Olds 350 in it, apply some paint, and it's racing time! The removal of the hood partway through the race suggests overheating woes, but we never did find out what sort of mechanical problems were troubling the Modle Carlo. 39th place.
Right at the end of the race, initial reports had the Punisher Caprice at 2nd place, but the Lemonjello RX-7 had a single lap on the big Chevy. Still, third place in this race is grounds for much strutting, boasting, and chest-thumping back home, which is no doubt what's happening in whatever rust-plagued town the Punishers hail from. We were disappointed that they wouldn't race with the huge broadcast-tower antenna mounted on the roof, though perhaps the extra 500 pounds had something to do with that. These guys took the No Prayer Of Winning class trophy- pretty funny, given how close they came to winning. Hey, why don't more police departments have "To Enslave And Torture" as their motto?
It's good to see a pickup truck out there on the track with all those cars, and Team FDonk beat quite a few cars with their 29th-place finish. We enjoyed the "cuts of meat" paint job on this Nissan.
This seems to happen every time I cover one of these races: one car manages to evade my camera for most of the race. Yes, I shot just one photo of the Mad Bombers' Buick, which had a good B-24-ish theme going on. With only 109 laps total, I assume the Bombers spent most of the race spinning wrenches. Still they finished ahead of four other teams with their 68th-place ranking.
This car was by far our quickest BS inspection; after ascertaining that they really were going to race a Golf Diesel (who the hell bought these things in North America?), we waved them on by. Bummer about the breakdowns that limited Karmann Geddon to a mere 35 laps, though. 70th place.
Explosive Racing! Everyone loved watching this Pinto, which nailed down 34th place. But where was the Chevy Vega?
The BeerTech 318i was the race leader for a few glorious hours on Saturday, leading us to feel that we hadn't been harsh enough on their not-real-convincing insurance-buyback tale during the BS inspection process. By the race's end, they'd dropped down in the standings a bit, but 12th place is a mighty strong finish in this car-killing event. Here's what the BeerTechs have to say for themselves.
You want rust? Hammer Down will show you rust! This iron oxide-centric Mazda had the 5th-best overall lap time and roared to a 17th-place finish.
The Saabs Gone Wild maniacs appear to follow the 24 Hours Of LeMons around the country the way Deadheads once followed Jerry Garcia, and so we weren't at all surprised to see them with yet another Saab 900 Turbo in South Carolina. While their car managed a smoking (literally) fast best lap time of 1:08.922, its fine Swedish engineering wasn't up to the grueling demands of the race: 44th place.
You want to know why it's so important to sell the legitimacy of your car's budget to the judges during the BS inspection at this race? This Camaro would have won the race... only we gave it a six-lap BS Penalty for going over budget on the build. You see, when you show up A) with a small-block Chevy that sounds like it's making about 400 horsepower, B) with your budget sheet scrawled on the back of a cereal box, and C) your own math shows you going over 500 bucks, we have no choice but to penalize your Camaro. But still, Craigslist Built My Hotrod got 4th place.
We knew this Fox Mustang was packed full of cheatin' flava, but the lovely GG&G Ladies Auxiliary and the thoughtful gift of a case of cold beer convinced us to ease up a bit on the BS Penalty laps. Not that it mattered much, because this car drew black flags galore and spent a great deal of time sitting in the time-out zone. Oh, it was fast (1:10.036 best lap), but that might have been the influence of the Chemical Ali punishment. 55th place. Be sure to watch the love tap given to the BMWTF? car in the video below:
Here's another example of how not to go through the LeMons BS Inspection. Every member of the team looked like Smokey Yunick, and their Camaro was powered by a lumpy-idling Chevy small-block of unknown displacement. That's right, they didn't know what engine they had- just found it sitting around! I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something seemed fishy with this car. I felt bad about the big lap penalty we gave them as a result, because the engine, transmission, radiator, and damn near everything else failed on this car, and it spent most of the race up on jackstands with its innards scattered all over. 69th place.
Can you tell this is a Ford Escort? Neither could we. Technically, the pickup bed makes it an Escachero; the triple-decker wing gave it the speed needed to get a 20th-place finish.