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Triumphant Win-A-Wartburg Essayist Promises To Install Studebaker Six, Enter Car In 'Trifecta Of Crap'

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Remember the Win-A-Wartburg contest put on by the 24 Hours Of LeMons perpetrators, in which the winning "Why I Want A Wartburg" essayist gets a '58 Wartburg 311 and free LeMons registration? Here's the winner!


As soon the staff at LeMons HQ realized that Jim Thwaite (of Misfit Toys Racing fame) had felt it necessary to build his own widebody Yugo and has owned at least one example of every variety of Lancia Beta ever made, there wasn't much doubt about who would be dragging home one of East Germany's most advanced automobiles. Mr. Thwaite's plan is to install a Studebaker OHV six-cylinder engine- mid-mounted, of course- and then take on what he calls the Trifecta Of Crap: The 24 Hours Of LeMons, the BABE Rally, and the Grassroots Motorsports $2009 Challenge.


Where do I start? I guess I should first say, from one evil genius to another this is brilliant. Only an evil genius such as yourself could find a way to get people to beg him to take a Wartburg off his hands. And having a bit of that streak in myself I must say this car belongs in the evil genius family so it can live out its full potential.

Add to this you would be saving me from the absolute mediocrity imposed upon me when my team handed me a Toyota to build for our Lemons chariot. Where is the potential for evil goodness in that? Where is the flair, the panache? Vanilla is not a flavor I tolerate well. As sure as a swift shot from Auric's gun could have easily ended Mr. Bonds life a Toyota will be swift, accurate and reliable. But Mr. Goldfinger appreciated the flourish of genius, no matter how doomed to fail that the laser brought to the situation. Let this Wartburg be my laser as I set out on my hopeless yet entertaining mission to upset the 007's of this world.

Right from the outset let me tell you I will not be so mundane as to put a small block V8 anything into a gift of this uniqueness. I think this situation would call for a bit more flair and well, hopelessness. I have, sitting now in my garage, a 101,000 mile Studebaker straight 6. And not one of them fancy schmancy reliable flathead 6's. No this is one of the maligned OHV 6s which helped to doom Studebaker later in it's life. And why stop there, I'm thinking this requires mid-mounting in the car, just to ensure no one mistakes it for one of those mundane Wartburg's with a Studebaker 6 in the engine bay.

To be honest from the moment I saw this car I had impure thoughts about what could be. Not those wholesome family impure thoughts like I had when I met my wife's little sister. No, I'm talking about full blown, bottle of Bacardi, some used 40 weight, a Wartburg and me wearing nothing but a smile, kind of impure thoughts.

But I digress, I have a well established history of insanity when it comes to oddballs. My first autocross car was a 1973 VW Squareback with an automatic. I built a wide body Yugo...just to prove I could.

I have issues and I'm proud to admit it. I did not come by the name Misfit Toys Racing by accident, it was thrust upon me by other local racers who always remarked at the litany of oddballs I would bring to races.

Unconvinced? Did I mention I have owned one of every body style Lancia Beta ever made? Coupe, Zagato, Scorpion and HPE. I've suffered through Alfas, Fiats, Triumphs, Austin Healeys, MGs and a myriad assortment of other misfits but up until now something has been missing. Today I realize, that something is a Wartburg. Choose me and I will be able to look you in the eye and say "You complete me".

Remarkably my wife did not immediately hit me with a frying pan when I mentioned I wanted this car. She took a moment to set down her phone first, then took a swing. But she is understanding, and more importantly she realizes the more time I spend in the garage the less time I'm annoying her. Therefore I cannot promise the high quality amusement of marital discourse but I can pretty much guarantee my teammates tie me greased and naked to the hood and take parade laps to punish me for thrusting this upon them.

Generally all of the above might seem enough to make me seem like a complete loon. But please don't pass judgment until you hear me out on this final point. 2010 was to be the year of the Trifecta of Crap for my team. 1 car, 1 year, 3 events. BABE Rally, Lemons and GRM challenge. With this in mind the Toyota makes very good sense. I've never much cared for making sense, as you can tell by reading this diatribe. The Wartburg, oh god, the Wartburg is nonsensical as Dr. Seuss on a 3 day meth bender, it deserves this glory, I deserve this torment. I need this car. Now you may deem me a complete loon, but just as you couldn't turn away while that laser inched toward Bond's naughty bits, you know you want to witness the spectacle we will create.

You might also enjoy some of the the essays written by the runners-up.