Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!S

With 21 LeMons races in the books, we've learned a few things about which vehicles can take the torture. We've analyzed the LeMons records of 38 vehicles and ranked them according to performance. How does your car measure up?

You see, the results of all those races, each with 50 to 150 competitors, gives us a real-world look at which vehicle types can hold together under some of the worst full-throttle, panic-brakin', suspension-bendin', rod-throwin' conditions found anywhere on the planet. All the single-interest car guys in the world can get on their respective car forums and throw out unverifiable statements such as "FAGSTANGZ ARE TEH SUCXKKK!!!1! CAMARO OWNZZ!!!!!!1!" all day long, but only the student of 24 Hours Of LeMons racing can point to the numbers… which show that Mustangs hold together quite a bit better than Camaros under truly punishing conditions (though even the Mustang comes out looking pretty miserable, according to our analysis).

What about this analysis? Where do we come to the insane conclusion that the Alfa Romeo Milano is a much better $500 race car than, say, the Toyota Supra or BMW E21? What we did was go through each LeMons race from 2008 and 2009 and divide the standings into thirds; every vehicle is placed in the top, middle, or bottom third of its respective race. We're looking at reliability more than anything else here, because even the slowest car on a LeMons track will finish in the top third of the standings if it never breaks; penalties aren't a large factor here in most cases, because even the most black-flag-prone team will almost always crack the top third if their car keeps driving all weekend. As for the bottom third, the only way a LeMons car ends up in the bottom-third dregs is via mechanical woes that knock it out for at least six hours (or if the car gets zapped with vast quantities of BS laps, which doesn't happen frequently enough to make a real difference in our analysis).

Because teams that spend a good chunk of their race weekend wrenching on their broken car have a lot less fun than those who get to do more driving, we've weighted failure more heavily than success in our breakdown. Those of you who geek out on stats are free to download my spreadsheet here and recook the books any way you see fit (and if you can find a way to present British LeMons cars in a less-than-sucky light, please do).

Speaking of British cars, you'll note that we've done a certain amount of arbitrary lumping-together here. To be considered for this list, a vehicle had to have racked up at least 10 car-races (one car, one race; a unit much like man-hours), so we ended up grouping all British cars together. Same goes for Audis, Mercedes-Benzes, non-240 Volvos, all pickup trucks, and so on. We're also considering the Civic/CRX/Integra to be the same car for our purposes; we did likewise with BMW E24s/E28s, Toyota Supras/RWD Celicas, and Nissan 200SX/240SX.

For those of you who don't feel like clicking on the thumbnails below, which are arranged in order of least to most sucky and feature pie graphs indicating top/middle/bottom-third breakdowns, here are the big winners and losers:

Best
1. Volvo 240
2. Alfa Romeo Milano
3. Saturn S Series

Worst
1. British cars
2. BMW E21
3. Pontiac Fiero

OK, here's the complete analysis. Feel free to scream in the comments about how your favorite car got totally hosed by our obviously rigged analysis; we'll enjoy it!

Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
volvo 240
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Alfa Romeo Milano
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Saturn
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Alfa Romeo Alfetta
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Nissan 240sx
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
BMW 2002
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Toyota Corolla
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
BMW E30
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Chrysler Neon
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Mercedes-Benz
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Ford Escort
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Ford Crown Victoria
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Toyota Supra/Celica
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Mazda (other)
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Honda Civic/Integra
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Chevrolet Caprice
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Mazda Miata
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Pickups (all)
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
VW Golf/Jetta
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Toyota MR2
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Mazda RX-7
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Honda Prelude/Accord
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
GM G Body
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Saab 900/9000
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Volvo (non-240)
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Nissan Sentra
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Porsche 924/944
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Ford Mustang
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Audi (all)
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
BMW E24/E28
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Ford Taurus SHO
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Toyota Celica FWD
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Nissan Z
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Mitsubishi
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Chevrolet Camaro
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
Pontiac Fiero
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
BMW E21
Results Of The LeMons Torture Test: Volvo, Alfa, Saturn The Most Reliable $500 Beaters!
British (all)