In sports-car racing, fielded competitors are usually based on car companies' highest-performance models — but not always. And in history, some very dubious vehicles have been pretty successful around the track. What's the least likely race car ever?

My pick is Amos Johnson's IMSA-prepped AMC Gremlins. Back in the early 1970s, IMSA's "Baby Grand" class of small cars approved the use of AMC's 232ci straight six, making it the largest engine allowed. "We figured with enough work we could make the thing handle," Johnson once told me. And they did. He and partner Dennis Shaw's Team Highball Racing's Gremlins defeated many a BMW 2002 and was unbeatable at Daytona. Any others?

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