By on June 17, 2011


One of the cars the organizers of the 24 Hours of LeMons have always wanted to see careening around a road course is a proper General Motors donk. Until today, only the crypto-donked Big Ghetto Skank Tank came close. Now Unununium Medal winner Speedycop has raised the bar again, with this 1979 Pontiac Bonneville coupe rollin’ on 22s. Oh yeah, and 99 other cars showed up to the race at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia.

The Bonnie has the stock 135-horsepower 301, the factory cassette deck, and incredible amounts of style. The naysayers claim it will fall apart on the track, but you just never know what will happen in a LeMons race.

Speedycop and his Gang of Outlaws have brought five cars to this race, including the Parnelli Jones ’67 Galaxie, the MR2-ized Lancia Scorpion, and this late-model Cougar. The Cougar will be racing for charity, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. We had at least two more Cougars as well, which sets the all-time record for Cougars and Mercuries in a LeMons race.

The Mercedes-Benz contingent was out in force. We had three 190Es, including this crazy-rare Cosworth 16-valve car. The special interior parts from this thing were worth a ton on eBay, but math disputes led to 16 BS laps: one per valve.

Then the Cosworth ran into a deer on the track during practice this afternoon. The team fixed the car, but yecch!

This Benz team stepped up with a pretty good bribe suitcase.

This BMW E36 team spent what must have been months gathering beer cans, cutting them up, and screwing them to their car.

The entire car was covered. That’s dedication!

This Fiat 128 is ready to take on the MGB-GT tomorrow morning.

Sorry, 240SX team, we weren’t convinced that you got this SR20DET in the car for under the $500 price limit.


I had the timelapse camera going all afternoon, so here’s a video showing most of the cars that came through the inspection. Green flag waves Saturday morning, and I’ll try to post updates if I can find some sort of internet connection; otherwise, I’ll do a leader post tomorrow night.

Music: Scrap Iron Jazzerinos, 1919

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20 Comments on “Donked ’79 Bonneville Prepares To Battle Cougars: BS Inspections of the Capitol Offense 24 Hours of LeMons...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Cool. A Bonneville with a real Pontiac engine.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I quiver with anticipation: which drive line component will suffer catastrophic shear failure first?

    At 135 hp, I think the ring and pinion are safe, which leaves the C-clip axle retention mechanism – unless Speedycop had the foresight to install bolt-in axle retention plates, which should then make the wheel studs the prime candidates.

    • 0 avatar
      Smells_Homeless

      If it weren’t for the giant rims, I’d say the rear was safe. My bet is on the Metric 200 trans to go first. On the other hand, the 301 is truly a piece of crap. This coming from a lifetime Pontiac man.

      In any case, I hope it rolls the whole race with no problems at all. That would be almost poetic in its improbability.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Agreed: I would be especially pleased (and surprised!) if that creature suffered no major drive line failures. I can imagine some special engineering related award for accomplishing such a feat with such a strong intentional handicap. Oh geez, I remember the repeated warnings from the custom car mags to check the bottom of the TH-200 trans: “if it’s stamped METRIC, just walk away: there’s nothing you can do to save those.” The post-turbo era 200-4Rs have become popular to replace a 700-R4 as the 1st gear ratio and 1-2 change made for a quicker launch compared to the 700.

        I was first introduced to the results of poorly engineered customs in the early 80s, during the highriser truck phase. A lot of nice 2WD pickups suffered bent and snapped front spindles when their owners attempted to stuff oversized wheels with large positive offsets under their block lifted suspension kits. Amusingly, during the concurrent lowrider pickup truck craze, the first example of the type seen on my home island survived for another 20 years, as the owner had carefully spent money underneath to ensure critical stress points were reinforced – and his dump bed was a traditional rear-hinged type which served him well when he brought it back to stock height and turned it into a working truck for his home and garden.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    Surely they will replace those dorky tall masturbator wheels?

  • avatar
    spank

    I predict a record number of flat tires thanks to those self-tapping screws…

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Cool Bonneville, but that is a 1980 or ’81 model, not a ’79.

    • 0 avatar
      ppxhbqt

      For those questioning your superior automotive knowledge, two things really give it away: 1977-79 Bonnevilles have their turn signals in the bumper, not between the headlights. And the roof-line on the older cars isn’t that upright. But I had to look that up. That the side-marker light just didn’t look right is what tipped me off.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Also, the grille protrudes in a convex sort of way not seen in the 1977-79s. (There was a time, long since past, that I could differentiate a ’77, ’78, and ’79 from each other. Of course, it was easier when I was a little kid and the front end changed substantially every year, up through ’75 or so.)

        The rooflines for the 1980 models became squarer not just on the Pontiac but on every GM division’s full-size cars that had been new three years earlier. Their bumpers also tended to be more smoothly integrated than before, and the Ninety-Eight rejoined the Bonneville in having fender skirts.

  • avatar
    priapism

    Lemons-ing a Cosworth makes baby Jeebus cry.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The spindle bending stress increases proportional to the spindle centerline to ground dimension. Of course you have to be able to develop some cornering load to really make this happen.

    Should be fun to watch.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup I can’t believe they are letting that car on the track. Unless they upgraded the braking system those large diameter (and heavy)wheels and tires are also going to make it hard to stop.

      • 0 avatar
        Bryce

        Agree it aint safe but with the wanker wheels it will be sloooow

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Bryce, yeah those huge tires will make have the same effective gear ratio as changing to something like 2.00 to 1 rear end gears and normal sized tires. The added weight of them will help to slow it down, the old drag racers rule of thumb was every pound you take off the tires and wheels is the same as shedding 2.5 lbs of non rotating mass. So coming out of the corners it will be like they added 200 lbs or more of useless ballast on top of the gearing effect.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        . . .the old drag racers rule of thumb was every pound you take off the tires and wheels is the same as shedding 2.5 lbs of non rotating mass.

        And then physics was invented, and it was determined that the factor is 1.5 for a solid disk and 2.0 for a thin ring. So it’s somewhere between that.

  • avatar
    DeadInSideInc

    Predictions:
    1) The donk will threaten to roll if it corners at more than 26mph and will become a the judgemodonk.
    2) That BMW now weighs 700lbs more

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      I agree, I don’t think the Bonni will fall apart on the track it will fall over on the track. Or one of those ridiculous wheels will yank the front suspension clean off the car. Yeah, they probably added at least 10 lbs in hardware alone to the BMW.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    The battle-of-the-least-reliables is going to be between the 128 the MGB, the 128 will probably out pace the MG, until it jumps a few cogs on the timing belt, or one of the many relays takes a holiday.

    I’d also like to take bets on how many valves that Cosi will still have by the end of the race-still in the head, not in the pistons.

    • 0 avatar
      Jman

      Our engine and electrical stuff did great. Unfortunately we tore up an axle, and our attempted quick fix basically destroyed the trans. We tried though, and when it was running it ran great.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhef

      cosworth engine still has all of them, although the picture above is only half correct. the silver car pictured was originally a 16 valve, but the engine in the photo is a 3.2L M104 6-cyl. The red mercedes we ran originally had an 8v motor in it and we put a 16 valve engine in instead 2 months before the race.


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