You have no idea of the agony I went through, narrowing down the Legends of LeMons Unununium Medal winners down to just four recipients. The Ununquadium medal goes to those outstanding 24 Hours of LeMons teams that have attained near-Unununium Legend of LeMons status… and they’ll get their Uuq-287 medals just as soon as we find a way to deal with the 2.6-second half-life.
The only reason that the 2010 Season Champions aren’t taking home Unununium for 2010 is the fact that they ran a Mazda Miata, a car that bores us almost as much as the BMW E30… particularly when the team captain is a Mazda engineer. Otherwise, Eyesore Racing has done everything right; they took first-place honors in two races and second overall in two more, they traveled thousands of miles from their Southern California homes to compete in the Arizona, Colorado, and Florida events, and they totally get LeMons racing.
Unlike most of the other teams that show up to a race gunning for the overall win, Eyesore goes all-out in the theme department, with top-notch car decoration and team costumes. Here’s their Alice In Wonderland theme from the Auction Weekend Gravel-Trap LeMons in Arizona.
For the Goin’ For Broken race, they went with a Star Trek theme.
They were willing to sacrifice some performance by adding the weight of the Enterprise to their car, because they knew it would look great on the track… but they’re also such geeks that they did virtual-wind-tunnel simulations to optimize the aerodynamics of the disc. That pretty much sums up Eyesore right there.
For the Arse Sweat-a-Palooza, they went with an Arabian Nights theme; they also added an extremely unreliable Prelude to their stable, with predictable head-gasket-blowin’ results. Still, the Prelude helped them gain the Western Region points they needed to win the tough West by 14 points over their nearest rival.
For the Buttonwillow race, I tried to talk them into converting their car into Norma Desmond’s Isotta-Fraschini, but they opted for a newer movie.
The winner of the Win-A-Wartburg Essay Contest got a ’58 Wartburg 311 and free admission to a future race, and Jim Thwaite of Misfit Toys Racing won handily.
We knew the car was in the right hands when we heard it was getting a rear-mounted Subaru boxer engine and would be entered in the “Trifecta of Crap” (24 Hours of LeMons, the BABE Rally, and the Grassroots Motorsports $2010 Challenge). You can follow the evolution of this amazing project on the LeMons forums and on the Misfit Toys site.
Pendejo Racing has a thing for V12s, as we saw with their “$500 Mercedes-Benz S600” in ’09. Their Jaguar XJ-S needed only gigantic tires to handle “like a 4,000-pound Miata” at Thunderhill. However, they got tired of changing head gaskets (a typical Jag V12 head gasket lasts about 4 hours on a road course) and decided to upgrade for the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza race.
And what an upgrade! A 1980 Maserati Quattroporte, sort of a semi-rough 100-footer but still bursting with Italian style and passion. Not only did Pendejo allow me and Judge Jonny to take it out on the track, they very considerately reinstalled the butter-yellow leather-and-wood interior after building the roll cage. This ensured that we experienced true Maserati luxury. As Pendejo Seth puts it: “Bragging about winning LeMons is like bragging that you’ve cleaned your toilet twice in one day.”
We were totally unprepared for the Azz Backwards F150 when it rolled up to the tech inspection at the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez LeMons; something looked odd about it at first glance, but what? Then we realized that the “rear” wheels were turned, at which point we discovered that we were looking at a Crown Victoria chassis with backwards-mounted F150 crew-cab body on top. Then we discovered that Azz Backwards Team Captain Nick was the entire team, his flake-azoid teammates having ditched him early in the build process. Yes, he built and raced this mighty machine solo… and we have inside information that the Azz Backwards truck will be nothing next to what he’s building for the ’11 season!
Only one team really challenged Eyesore Racing for the 2010 season points championship (and the free trip to Le Mans that went with it), and they drive a Taurus SHO. Think about that for a second: an example of the most explode-y, rod-throwin’-est, transmission-shreddin’-est type of vehicle ever to race in LeMons was totally sweating the seemingly unstoppable Eyesores, looming in their rear-view mirrors all season (figuratively speaking, of course; the Ratnests race in the Gulf Region and the Eyesores race in the West Region). Not only that, the Ratnests drove their SHO to the Texas races and they drive it on the street between races.
With two overall wins, one second-place and one third-place finish under their belts, the Ratnests went into the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez race in November needing a top-three finish to have a shot at beating Eyesore for the trip to France. As it turned out, the SHO finally blew up, but their great M.A.S.H. theme shows that they’ve stepped up their game to Eyesore levels; we expect RRRR to be top contenders again in 2011.
There’s only one team that’s won the Organizer’s Choice trophy as many times as the Unununium Medal-winning Cannonball Bandits, and that’s these guys. In fact, they’re the only team to win both the Organizer’s Choice and the People’s Curse with the same vehicle! They showed up to the Detroit Bull Oil Grand Prix with the #666 car, and it’s always a good sign when you can’t tell what kind of vehicle a LeMons car once was (this is a Mazda MX-6).
It would take me thousands of words to really do justice to the neutron-star-dense grade of awesomeness here. Just look at it! Perhaps the National Day Of Slayer folks might rent this fine machine for their celebrations.
Best of all, the Sleigher Sleigh is street legal and registered and got quite a few street miles prior to the race. Imagine seeing this thing in your rear-view mirror! Ho ho hail Beelzebub!
If you follow LeMons racing long enough, you’ll figure out that we love French cars and we love ill-advised engine swaps. Combine the two and you’ll have a great shot at Legend of LeMons status!
This project, which combined a 1956 Renault 4CV, BMW 1800 suspension, mid-mounted VW Rabbit engine, Audi transaxle, and center driving position, was on the
When the Rocket Surgery 4CV showed up at the B.F.E. Grand Prix LeMons in Colorado, it still needed about two weeks of work done before it would be trackworthy. That didn’t stop the Surgeons from putting together some excellent Napoleon costumes for the BS Inspection, and then they managed to beat the Renault into shape in several hours. Onto the track and straight to an Index of Effluency win!
Speaking of Terrible French Cars With Ill-Advised Engine Swaps, how about a Renault Dauphine with a mid-mounted Ford Duratec V6? Los Bastardos figured, correctly, that upgrading from 32 to 200 horsepower would be a great idea for their Dauphine.
After a couple of Texas races, the Bastardos haven’t yet been able to get the Dauphine to live up to its potential on the race track, but we expect to see it haulin’ Lone Star ass in 2011. And just for laughs, the same crazy Texans went ahead and dropped a Taurus SHO engine in a Fox Mustang; sure, it blows up like clockwork, but once the bugs are worked out…
Chris and his accomplices have been in LeMons racing since the earliest Altamont races, running a pair of
That’s right, a full-stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine with bachelorette-party theme! Chris let all the LeMons HQ folks take the limo out onto the track, including Judge Jonny, and the Rolling Chicane Racing Lincoln managed to stay on the track for most of the weekend.
There’s also the Arnold’s HummerHonda, complete with real Hummer hood and cigar.
And the Lemon Demolition CRX, which has survived at least 10 LeMons races and is still— sort of— in one piece.
Bringing an AMC Marlin to a LeMons race catapults a team into stratospheric company, just from the choice of car. Dropping a set-back Chevy 454 and Jaguar rear suspension into a Marlin gets you instant Legend of LeMons status!
Much like their friends on the Rocket Surgery 4CV team, the Speed Holes crew ran the clock right down to the last few minutes before the race, but the car was ready to go when the green flag waved. I had the opportunity to drive this fine race car for a few laps at the B.F.E. Grand Prix and I knew Speed Holes had earned Ununquadium status at that moment.
Only three teams took the win on laps in two races apiece during the 2010 LeMons season, and two of them competed in the super-tough Gulf Region. Race Hard Race Ugly, a team with a pair of maddeningly identical-looking red BMW E30s, edged out Red Rocket Ratnest Revival for the Gulf Region championship.
The Race Hard Race Uglies always run a clean, nearly-black-flag-free race, and we expect them to battle with the Ratnests all season long for the 2011 Gulf Region championship.
Until the Hellbillies’ 1927 Model T GT showed up at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza LeMons, the Rocket Surgery Racing 1956 Renault 4CV had been the oldest car in LeMons history. Not only did the T GT look great, it was incredibly quick around the track, setting the quick lap of the race (against 171 other entrants) and taking 8th place overall. That’s what you get when you combine the fabrication skills of old-time hot-rodders Dave Schaible and Fish with the driving talent of some of the top Spec Miata racers in Northern California. You can get the whole story of the Model T GT in my Popular Science piece.
Before there was the T GT, the same bunch of racing miscreants ran the infamous Black Metal V8olvo/Mustard Yellow V8olvo Doing 45 In the Fast Lane/Death Cab For Cutie V8olvo, which contended in every West Coast race during the 2010 season. What’s next for these guys? It’s a secret… but it should be right up there with the next Azz Backwards Racing creation in the awesomeness department.
We don’t hate all E30s in LeMons. All you need to do is follow Buford Hogswaller’s lead and build a Bavarian Ranchero!
Another approach is to combine an E30 with a Miata. That’s Ununquadium territory right there!
Ever since the CBR1000-powered Geo Metro Gnome roared right into LeMons Legend status in ’09, rumors have flown about other LeMons Metro-based engine-swap projects. It’s going to be hard to top the madness of the Team Charnal House Taurus SHO-powered, rear-engined Geo Metro, though.
The build quality was a bit, er, rushed, but the Charnal House Metro held together way better than anyone expected. We’d like to see this beast go head-to-head with the Bastardos Dauphine in ’11.
Covering a ’76 Lincoln Continental with fur and installing a giant horse-and-rider on the roof seems like just the ticket for an endurance race, especially when the car gets driven to and from the track.
This car looked great at the Sears Pointless race, too.
I’m scared of the Clown Car. You should be, too.
Why not stuff a Moto Guzzi 1000cc motorcycle engine into your Fiat 600 race car? Index of Effluency for the Stallions!
It had a few overheating problems, but it sounded great and stayed on the track for most of the weekend.
While we’re on the subject of engine swaps, what would any sane person say to a Pontiac Firebird with an L28T engine out of a Datsun 280ZX Turbo? Who cares what they say— I say it takes home the Ununquadium!
Oh, sure, the FireKatz lived up to their team name, but sometimes earning Legend of LeMons status comes at a price.
It’s hard to top the FireKatz’s engine swap, but Rust In The Wind may have done so with their Saab Turbo B installation in a Nissan 300ZX, complete with handmade adapter plate and train-whistle blowoff valve.
The Rust In The Wind folks made a nice documentary about their car, just in time for this post!
Instant Legend of LeMons status for this Caprice.
OK, that’s it for the 2010 Legends of LeMons Ununquadium Medal winners. Next up: Ununhexium medals!