By on September 25, 2011

Some 24 Hours of LeMons fans get all excited about the team that turns the most laps at a race, but the real cognoscenti know that the Index of Effluency (the prize given to the team that accomplishes a great racing feat with a car that never belonged anywhere near a race track) is the pinnacle. Only the most legendary LeMons heroes manage to win the Index of Effluency more than once, and now South Carolina’s Tunachuckers have driven their two-ton Ford to that achievement.
It’s possible that the Tunachuckers now have more 24 Hours of LeMons trophies than any other team; I believe today’s IOE gives them a total of seven. They started with a ’66 Volvo Amazon, which was replaced by the LTD after getting stuffed into a tire wall at Carolina Motorsports Park last year.
The LTD was tremendously slow (though it did blow the doors off a Fiero and a Cavalier), but reliability is more important than speed in an endurance race. By the time the checkered flag waved Sunday evening, the LTD was in 36th place (out of 66 entries). Astonishing!
Not only did the Landau manage to get through a weekend of racing with no mechanical problems (making the Ford 400M one of the most reliable Detroit pushrod V8s in LeMons history), it set a record for the largest number of passengers during a Saturday night LeMons paddock party: 44. Yes, 44 people managed to get in or on this car, raising the gross vehicle weight to something north of five tons, and the LTD hauled them for a few laps around the CMS paddock in this condition. Try doing that with your E30.
Congratulations, Tunachuckers!

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5 Comments on “And the Real Winner Is…...”


  • avatar
    Hoser

    As a previous owner of a 76 LTD Landau equipped with a 400M, I say congrats, and I knew you could do it. I beat that car like a left-handed, red-headed, step-child and it never failed, until I forgot to fill the radiator with something other than water when it got to 10*F. Can’t blame the car for that.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    I could wind the 400M in my dad’s 79 F250 up to 53 mph in first gear (auto, 4wd). That engine was indestructible. Well, it was until the next owner of the vehicle dealt with a carburetor backfire while plowing snow by calling the volunteer fire department. There wasn’t much left to put out by the time they got there…

  • avatar
    mechimike

    If this race proved nothing else to me, its that it is tremendously more fun to drive a slow car fast, than vice-versa. Sending the LTD Landau into a 4 wheel drift right before plowing onto the back straight, that massive v8 thumping away at 2500 RPM, and the wild fishtails after somehow negotiating the U-turn into the NASCAR pit lane…

    One of my favorite memories of the race was coming onto the back stretch and somehow locking bumpers with the Cock Block Ford Crown Vic. The LTD’s front bumper got hooked around their back one, and the two cars stayed locked about 1/2 way down the back straight before I finally had enough room to give the steering wheel a quick jerk and dislodge the two beasts.

    We’re still trying to find pictures of the 44 people piled onto the car Saturday night.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    I believe it as I had a ’74 Country Squire with the 400M, and it’s log hauling capacity was amazing. Other drivers would laugh aloud at the sight of it coming down the road at full capacity. My father-in-law gave it to me at 160,000 miles and as he had had it running on propane, its engine was as new. God, I wish I had that car now.

  • avatar
    carve

    We inherieted one of those from my great grandma. What a land yacht! VERY floaty and isolated. The steering wheel had zero feel. It was like a rehostat, and so overboosted that you could probably give the wheel a quick spin and move the tires lock-to-lock on inertia alone. It was reliable though.


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