Just like Texas itself, the Yeehaw It's Texas 24 Hours Of LeMons Über Gallery is big. So big, in fact, that it must be shown in three parts. So here we go with Part II, featuring cars numbered 20 through 55. Go here for Part I and here for Part III.
#20: Ike 101, Datsun 280ZX
Another quick 280ZX that spent more off the track than on, finishing in 50th place. Dammit, why don't Datsun Zs do better in LeMons? Who can explain?
#21: Sheila And The Sheikhs, Ford Mustang
So many Mustangs; this one was quick around the course at 1:21.447 seconds, but managed only 71 laps.
#22: Second Gear Second Team, Pontiac Grand Prix
Hey, a front-wheel-drive Grand Prix! Unfortunately, the mean-looking white Pontiac could manage only 28 laps before retiring to the pits for the duration.
#23: Longhorn Raceworks, Toyota Celica
1:20.917 quickest lap for the Longhorn Raceworks car, but broken parts held it back to 40th place. Still, it was on the track when the race ended.
#26: Bavarly Hillbillies, BMW Bavaria
Haven't you always wanted to see a BMW E3 in the 24 Hours Of LeMons? Of course you have, and the Bavarly Hillbillies obliged by bringing this early-70s Bavaria. The green-and-yellow proto-5-series got out there and looked good… and then the driveshaft vibration damper- a big ol' rubber thing through which all engine power must be transmitted- disintegrated. Quick, drive 150 miles to a junkyard that has a 5 series part, which might fit! It turns out it did fit, sort of, but the car shook like crazy and the new driveshaft setup threatened to explode with every shift. They managed to get some more laps in before the inevitable happened, though, and finished a hold-your-head-high 58th place. We're sure to see the Hillbillies again next year.
#27: Los Gringos Locos, Acura Integra
Here it is, the car with the quickest lap time of the entire race: the Gringos Locos Integra! You can't argue with 1:14.037, which was nearly two seconds shorter than the second-quickest car, and these guys were able to avoid mechanical failures and penalties well enough to come in third place. Integras are very, very fast on the racetrack… but you're gambling on that fragile Honda head gasket with one. In this case, the gamble paid off.
#28: Team VIP (Very Important Peasants), BMW 528e
This bunch from LA showed up with a 350,000-mile BMW 5 series purchased from a super-sketchy member of the Methamphetamine-American Community. They had the best shark fin we've ever seen on a LeMons car (along with spotted bovine paint jobs, shark fins are plentiful at LeMons races) and their car was fast, like 1:18.097 fast. Unfortunately, they also got harpooned by black flag after black flag, but still returned to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula full of the pride bestowed by a 22nd-place 24 Hours Of LeMons finish. Plenty of good photos and videos on their site!
#29: TSOL, Saab 9000 Turbo
You know how Saabs always blow up at LeMons? So confident were we of this essential truth, so absolutely certain, that we let this Saab 9000 Turbo slide on some of the most egregious high-buck suspension cheats we'd ever seen at a BS Inspection (though we did paint Swede-offendin' graffiti on the excessively shiny car, including "Jag älskar Norge" and "Finland #1"). In fact, because the team captain had a lengthy standup routine (explaining how he'd obtained the car so cheaply) that was so entertaining as to itself constitute a bribe, Chief Perpetrator Jay Lamm opted to give the TSOL negative 20 laps. "It's a Saab," he said, after members of other teams pointed out the total cheattastic cheatosity of the car, "so we could give them a hundred free laps and it wouldn't make a difference!" Well, that didn't sit so well with the TSOL guys; next thing we knew, they'd bet us $25 that their car would finish the race. Heh, heh. Five laps into the race: BOOM! Add another occupant to the very crowded LeMons Saab Graveyard.
#31: Little Buckaroo, Volkswagen Beetle
You can't imagine how excited we were to see Little Buckaroo in this race; in theory, the absurd power-to-weight ratio of a gutted Beetle with heated-up "1600" engine (saying your LeMons Beetle has a 1600 is like saying your Camaro has a 350; we won't really believe you, but it shows more respect than claiming it's a 1300) ought to make it accelerate out of turns like a Pluton missile. Of course, the 5/95 weight distribution makes for some white-knuckle drama in the turns, but life is a compromise. Sadly, this Baja Bug only managed 48 laps, first obliterating its clutch, then succumbing to a cascade of failures centered around the fan belt pulley that resulted in massive overheating and a thrown rod. However, that was enough for Team Little Buckaroo to snare the Organizer's Choice trophy and many pounds of nickels!
#32: Alamo City Rollers, BMW 325
This was the car known to all as "the BMW with the huge tires." Perhaps the flywheel effect of the monster tractor-scale meats slowed the car down somewhat (its best lap time was 1:26.355), but reliability and non-crazy driving garnered the Rollers a bragging-rights-enabling 14th place finish.
#33: Large Intestine Debris, Ford Mustang
You wannabe Mustang racers think you need a V8, or maybe a turbocharged four, to do well in the 24 Hours of LeMons? Think again! The L.I.D. Mustang (go here for the team site) had an obviously bone-stock, naturally aspirated "Pinto 2300" four-cylinder- the same lackluster-yet-reliable powerplant that motivated many a super-slow 80s Ford Ranger- and yet they finished 11th and tore up the track to the tune of a 1:19.778 best lap. In fact, they beat all the V8 Mustangs except the Formula M As In Mullet car… which racked up exactly the same number of laps as did the L.I.D.
#34: Def Leppard Sucks, Ford Mustang
After we turned the Grocery Getter Neon into a Civic, we were itching to get our hands on a Mustang to turn into a Camaro. Sure enough, here comes the Def Leppard Sucks car in for a penalty, so we sicced the Rally Ready crew, armed with spray paint and giant markers, on them. Was this excessively cruel on a car that managed only 101 laps? Nah, these guys had the right attitude, so we're sure they'll be back.
#35: Mad Cow Motorsports, Datsun 240Z
Here's another Datsun Z, this one Frankensteined together from the corpses of a 240 and a 280 by TTAC's Sajeev Mehta and teammates. This car was really, really fast- its 1:16.720 best lap time was third-fastest in the race- and the drivers were good, but stuff broke, and then they had some penalties… you know how that story goes.
#36: Flying Hoondie, Merkur XR4Ti
This Merkur sure looked familiar, and that's because I'd seen it through the windshield on the Altamont racetrack in the spring. The Hoondie guys managed to avoid blowing a head gasket this time- a minor miracle for an XR4Ti in LeMons- but their car was rivaled only the Unintended Acceleration Audi when it came to scary handling. Spins, near-spins, drifts, and dramatic recoveries galore pleased the crowd, but the black flags just kept waving. Still, 29th place (and a 1:19.628 best lap) should make Merkur fans proud.
#38: Enginerds, Datsun 280ZX
Man, this ZX looked pretty. Fast, too… but that didn't keep the team from having to change their theme in the Obama Change We Can Believe In penalty. Even with penalties, they came in 28th.
#39: Out Of Town Racing, BMW 325
This 3 Series managed to stay reasonably invisible, considering it was roaring around the track at a 5th-best 1:16.824 clip; rack my memory banks as I might, I can't come up with a single anecdote about this car. 17th place.
#41: Team Sour Puss, Acura Integra
Another red Integra, which led to a lot of confusion among teams who were bitter about badness allegedly committed by "the red Integra." Fast they were, at 1:16.747 (you Integra owners can go ahead and feel smug), and we can assume that they went home feeling good about their 15th place finish.
#42: No Sex In The Champaign Car, Mazda Protege
A Protege won at the Arse-Freeze-Apalooza 24 Hours Of LeMons 2007, further cementing Mazda as the dominant marque of the series, and this rough-looking Protege did pretty well in Houston: 13th place.
#42: Little Rock Racing Scene, BMW 325e
This car just looked too nice, so we beat it with hammers and spray-painted left-coast commie slogans all over it during the BS Inspection. Later, we added a huge "SKODA" to the hood. Another respectable BMW showing: 21st place.
#44: Fletch Tech Racing, Pontiac Firebird
These guys had a low-budget K.I.T.T. theme, so we decided to help them out by rattle-canning the "bouncing eyeball" thingie on the hood. Then we found they'd painted over our improvement, so we painted their whole hood pink. This V6 Firebird spent most of the race with the hood up and the whole team wrenching, managing only 98 laps.
#46: Rotor-Heads, Mazda RX-7
Did you know that metal shavings in a Mazda rotary's crankcase don't really hurt it? Well, until it catches on fire, that is. With a 1:16.501 best lap, there was no arguing with the speed of this car and/or the skill of its drivers, but… penalties, breakdowns, etc. 27th place.
#49: Texans In The Sun, Volkswagen Scirocco
This team worked on their car all weekend, but it never left the jackstands. Still, I got photos, so here it is.
#50: Over Fifty Racing, Isuzu Impulse
We love race Isuzus, especially ones in which the fried turbocharger had to be replaced with a bypass pipe. Electrical problems galore; 54th place.
#51: The Professionals (At Having Fun), Ford Ranger
This bunch from New Orleans were driven absolutely mad by our 14-lap BS penalty, but it didn't stop their four-cylinder Ranger- which handled incredibly well for a pickup- from coming in 9th and annihilating the No Prayer Of Finishing field.The team's site has some great race photos.
#55: Team Blue Goose, Honda CRX
The trophy you don't want to get at LeMons is the I Got Screwed award. These poor bastards- their car a much-crumpled veteran of two previous LeMons races, including one in which they placed 8th- blew the engine during transponder-testing laps and spent the rest of the weekend in a fruitless hunt for Honda parts.