By on December 3, 2011

Here we are in Buttonwillow, California, for the fifth annual Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons. The judges of the LeMons Supreme Court (that is, me and one of the guys you should blame for the Passat getting Car of the Year) eyeballed 130 or so race machines in various states of cheatosity today, and it’s quite a crop this time around.
After spotting a Quad 4-powered Olds Cutlass Calais in the junkyard last week, I started agitating for a LeMons team to race a Quad 4 HO Oldsmobile. Little did I know that a team with a Mormon missionary theme was preparing just such a car. This makes up for the Humber Super Snipe that was a no-show due to a thrown rod!
We also had our very first LeMons Lotus: this extremely wretched Elite. The team used to run a BMW E30, so we think they’ve made a wise choice.
The only way to make a Malaise Lotus any worse would be to install one of the least reliable engines in LeMons history: a small-block Chevy V8. That’s what the owner of this car did back in the Quaalude era, and we’re sure the swap made total sense back then.
The Elite went out for some practice laps this afternoon, and died about a third of the way around the track. Out of gas, claimed the team, but there sure was a lot of blue oil smoke involved.
As I write this, they’re deep in a feverish wrenching frenzy. They’re motivated, because they’ve got some tough Class C competition.
In addition to the Sex Pistons Triumph Spitfire (top), which blew up before the green flag waved last year, we’ve got this six-cylinder Ford Fairmont in Class C.
Speaking of non-Mustang Fox Fords, there’s also this Zephyr. It’s got a 302 and 5-speed, so we felt compelled to put it in Class B.
For reasons that probably have something to do with California’s Central Valley, we saw many, many Camaros and Porsche 944s. This IROC has one of the best themes we’ve ever seen on a Camaro.
The Geo Player Special, a two-race-winner CBR1000-powered Metro, threw a rod in spectacular fashion during practice. The rod ended up on the floor of the car.
Fortunately, the team has a spare engine on hand. All-night swap session!
Next door to the Geo’s pit space, we’ve got umpteen-race-winner Eyesore Racing’s ghettocharged Miata. They’ve gone with a very topical theme this time.
We’ve also got a team made up of Oakland police officers, so we’re enjoying the penalty possibilities involving an OPD-versus-Cookie-Monster clash.


Thanks to the magic of timelapse video, you can watch the entire eight-hour process in a few minutes. Music: Steva Nikolič – Arnautka (1927).

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4 Comments on “Occupy Sesame Street, a Quad 4, and a Lotus Elite: BS Inspections at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons...”


  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Oh geez, there was an Elite at the yard for a year or so, with an LS7 planned for installation. We finally convinced the guy that attempting to route the exhaust safely would turn into a nightmare of custom fabrication involving stainless steel, Inconel and maybe some beryllium and wouldn’t he rather clean up that straight F-body over in the corner of the yard instead?

    I love the wheel shot between the cupcakes photo and the Jag: the undersize tire and exposed lip makes it look like a high pressure spare.

  • avatar

    That Elite kept more than half of my practice laps under Yellow Flags. (shakes fist!)

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Loving the missionary themed car. Should be flying temple underwear from the bike handlebars or something. :P

  • avatar

    The Billy Beer Fairmont Futura was pretty much trouble free all day Saturday and most of Sunday. Toward the end of Sunday the motor just didn’t have enough compression to keep going, or start again even after it had cooled off. We will be back next year, and I think this motor may just prove to be one of the most reliable engines to race at 24 Lemons.


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