The Truth About Cars » 24 Hours Of LeMons New Orleans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 04:41:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 24 Hours Of LeMons New Orleans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-real-winner-is-19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-real-winner-is-19/#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2011 18:02:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407176 In the LeMons world, the Index of Effluency is the Holy Grail, the elusive prize that makes teams ditch their RX-7s and E30s and install cages in the likes of Hillman Minxes and Pontiac Executive wagons. You get the IOE by turning many, many more laps than anyone ever imagined your car could do, and […]

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In the LeMons world, the Index of Effluency is the Holy Grail, the elusive prize that makes teams ditch their RX-7s and E30s and install cages in the likes of Hillman Minxes and Pontiac Executive wagons. You get the IOE by turning many, many more laps than anyone ever imagined your car could do, and we’ve never had an easier IOE decision than the selection of today’s winner: the Swamp Thang 1978 Ford Granada coupe.
My personal history with the Granada taught me that this is one of the worst cars that Detroit grunted out during the Malaise Era (despite being the direct descendant of the reasonably reliable early-60s Fairlane), and the Swamp Thang’s 302-cubic-inch V8 wasn’t really much of an upgrade over the base 250 six. This Granada ran fine from green to checkered, knocking out slow-but-steady laps all night long. Every bushing in the suspension was completely shot, calls to the engine room for more power produced zero results, and the rock-hard tires never found any purchase on Circuit Grand Bayou’s racing surface… but in the end, the old Ford won both its class (C) and the top prize of the race.
Adding a note of extra drama to the proceedings, Unununium Legend of LeMons Spank was an arrive-and-drive member of the team, which gives him an all-time-LeMons-record four Index of Effluency awards. Spank himself feels that, since he didn’t help build the car, he doesn’t deserve IOE honors, but I disagree. Either way, an impressive accomplishment for the team. Congratulations, Swamp Thangs!

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-20/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-20/#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:44:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407162 The formula for taking the win on laps at a 24 Hours of LeMons race remains the same regardless of whether a race has a Sears-Point-bulging-at-seams 170 cars… or 20, as was the case at this weekend’s swampy, sweaty Cain’t Git Bayou event: you have a team stacked with drivers who turn consistent quick laps, […]

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The formula for taking the win on laps at a 24 Hours of LeMons race remains the same regardless of whether a race has a Sears-Point-bulging-at-seams 170 cars… or 20, as was the case at this weekend’s swampy, sweaty Cain’t Git Bayou event: you have a team stacked with drivers who turn consistent quick laps, your car never breaks, and your drivers never get black-flagged. Driving a Mazda (which, in my opinion, is the most reliable LeMons marque) certainly doesn’t hurt. Team Hong Norrth stuck with the plan that got them two wins earlier in the year, and now they’ve just grabbed their third LeMons Overall Win trophy in 2011.
Things weren’t always so rosy for Hong Norrth (formerly known as Hong Norr). They campaigned this reliability-challenged CRX for a couple of years, winning the Heroic Fix trophy for performing a probably-never-will-be-topped record five engine swaps during the course of a single race weekend. The Honda was a bit quicker than their MX-3, but the Mazda keeps all its connecting rods inside the engine.
This bunch has become the team to beat in the ’11 LeMons season. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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Cain’t Git Bayou: Granada Still Running, MX-3 Leads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/caint-git-bayou-granada-still-running-mx-3-leads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/caint-git-bayou-granada-still-running-mx-3-leads/#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2011 02:42:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407145 I must admit that I assumed the first-ever Ford Granada in LeMons history would fall apart on the track within minutes of the green flag, but the Swamp Thang is still groaning around the course after nearly two hours. Meanwhile, the two-time LeMons South winners of Hong Norrth Racing are sitting in the overall lead. […]

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I must admit that I assumed the first-ever Ford Granada in LeMons history would fall apart on the track within minutes of the green flag, but the Swamp Thang is still groaning around the course after nearly two hours.
Meanwhile, the two-time LeMons South winners of Hong Norrth Racing are sitting in the overall lead. With 12 hours to go, however, no lead is safe.

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Mudbugs, Gators, and a Granada: BS Inspections at the 24 Hours of LeMons New Orleans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/mudbugs-gators-and-a-granada-bs-inspections-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-new-orleans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/mudbugs-gators-and-a-granada-bs-inspections-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-new-orleans/#comments Sat, 13 Aug 2011 23:05:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407072 I’m back on the LeMons trail again, this time at Circuit Grand Bayou aka No Problem Raceway in lovely Belle Rose, Louisiana. It’s so hot and swampy here in August that we’re running the race from 8:00 PM to 10:00 AM, making it more like the 14 hours of LeMons. It’s all sugar cane fields, […]

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I’m back on the LeMons trail again, this time at Circuit Grand Bayou aka No Problem Raceway in lovely Belle Rose, Louisiana. It’s so hot and swampy here in August that we’re running the race from 8:00 PM to 10:00 AM, making it more like the 14 hours of LeMons. It’s all sugar cane fields, bugs, sweat, and excellent Cajun cuisine here, and we’re having a great time.
So many weak-kneed racers are scared of Louisiana in August that we’ve got only about 20 super-hard-core teams that showed up for this one. The teams that are here tend to be the never-say-die type, and that’s what we’re seeing with this Prelude team; they spun a rod bearing in their engine during practice yesterday, so they promptly went out and found a running Ford Tempo for 200 bucks on Craigslist. At this moment, they’ve got a replacement engine (of dubious provenance) on the way from Houston, but if it’s no good they’ll be swapping the cage from the Prelude into the Tempo. How hard could it be?
No Problem is definitely the top LeMons track when it comes to pit cuisine; racers have brought us crawfish, ribs, barbecued chicken, and the best boudin sausage we’ve ever tasted. The Southern Comfort and cracklins are for emergency use only.
Of the Index of Effluency contenders, the obvious favorite is this ’78 Ford Granada coupe, aka the Swamp Thang.
The team hails from “Bayou Self,” Louisiana.
Wait, who’s this guy? Yes, Unununium Legend of LeMons Spank has flown out from San Diego to help drive the Granada; after fellow Unununium Legend Speedycop flew from Maryland to California to drive at the Arse Sweat-a-Palooza, we’re seeing a very pleasing trend here.
Because we have the smallest turnout in LeMons history at this race, I decided to make a special LeMons Supreme Court “Bribed” stencil. That way, the 100 teams that show up at the next Houston race can turn green and yellow with envy when they see this super-exclusive collector’s-item stencil on the competition.
Speaking of envy, there’s a certain Motor Trend editor who wishes he’d decided to judge this race, now that he’s seen the diecast Isetta bribe that could have been his.
The favorite for the win on laps has to be the two-time-winning Hong Norr Mazda MX-3 team… but a lot can happen on a LeMons track. Check in later for race updates!

LCGB11-BS-01 LCGB11-BS-03 LCGB11-BS-04 LCGB11-BS-06 LCGB11-BS-07 LCGB11-BS-09 LCGB11-BS-10 LCGB11-BS-11 LCGB11-BS-12 LCGB11-BS-13 LCGB11-BS-02 LCGB11-BS-07 LCGB11-BS-08 LCGB11-BS-14 LCGB11-BS-15 LCGB11-BS-16 LCGB11-BS-17 LCGB11-BS-18 LCGB11-BS-19 LCGB11-BS-20 LCGB11-BS-21 LCGB11-BS-22 LCGB11-BS-23 LCGB11-BS-24 LCGB11-BS-25 LCGB11-BS-26 LCGB11-BS-27 LCGB11-BS-28 LCGB11-BS-29 LCGB11-BS-30 LCGB11-BS-31 LCGB11-BS-32 LCGB11-BS-33 LCGB11-BS-34 LCGB11-BS-35 LCGB11-BS-36 LCGB11-BS-37 LCGB11-BS-38 LCGB11-BS-39 LCGB11-BS-40 LCGB11-BS-41 LCGB11-BS-42 LCGB11-BS-43 LCGB11-BS-44 LCGB11-BS-45 LCGB11-BS-46 LCGB11-BS-47 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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The 2010 Legends of LeMons: Ununquadium Medal Winners! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/the-2010-legends-of-lemons-ununquadium-medal-winners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/the-2010-legends-of-lemons-ununquadium-medal-winners/#comments Mon, 17 Jan 2011 07:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380675 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 […]

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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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Eyesore Racing

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.

Fuck yeah!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Misfit Toys Racing

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Pendejo Racing

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.”

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Azz Backwards Racing

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!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Red Rocket Ratnest Revival

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Team Sleigher

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!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Rocket Surgery Racing

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 batshit insane ambitious side, and so it goes without saying that the last couple of weeks before the race were a ball-busting, panicky thrash a bit on the stressful side for the Rocket Surgeons. Here we see Team Captain Rich wondering how he’s going to get it all done in time.

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!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Bastardos Too/Blue Oval Cult Racing

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…

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Chris Overzet

Chris and his accomplices have been in LeMons racing since the earliest Altamont races, running a pair of ungodly terrible somewhat battered Hondas. He’s already a lifetime LeMons Legend, but he went Ununquadium last month. For the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza race, Chris brought true luxury to Buttonwillow Raceway.

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Speed Holes Racing

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Race Hard Race Ugly

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Beverly Hellbillies/Death Cab V8olvo

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Special Deliverance

We don’t hate all E30s in LeMons. All you need to do is follow Buford Hogswaller’s lead and build a Bavarian Ranchero!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: E30ata

Another approach is to combine an E30 with a Miata. That’s Ununquadium territory right there!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Charnal House

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Phoney Express

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Toxic Asset Racing Program Clown Car

I’m scared of the Clown Car. You should be, too.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Italian Stallions

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: FireKatz

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.

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Rust In The Wind

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!

Ununquadium Medal Winner: Big Ghetto Skank Tank

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!

Uuq-Wartburg Uuq-Eyesore-ArseSweat-track Uuq-Eyesore-AZ Uuq-Eyesore-FuckYeah Uuq-Eyesore-FuckYeah-Track Uuq-Eyesore-SP Uuq-Eyesore-TH Uuq-Eyesore-TH-Track Uuq-Fiaguzzi Uuq-FiaGuzzi-Engine Uuq-Firekatz Uuq-Firekatz-burning Uuq-GeoSHO-engine Uuq-GeoSho-track Uuq-Marlin Uuq-Marlin-Engine Uuq-Overzet_Limo Uuq-Overzet-Cigar Uuq-Overzet-Demolition Uuq-Overzet-Tattoo Uuq-Pendejo_Jag Uuq-Phoney_Lincoln-Buttonwillow Uuq-Phoney_Lincoln-Infineon Uuq-Quattroporte Uuq-RHRU-FL Uuq-RHRU-NO Uuq-RRRR Uuq-RRRR-MASH Uuq-Saab_300ZX Uuq-SHO-Stang Uuq-Skank_Tank-driver Uuq-Skank_Tank-track Uuq-Sleigher Uuq-Sleigher-Close Uuq-Sleigher-Track Uuq-4CV-Garage Uuq-4CV-Team Uuq-4CV-Track Uuq-Azz_Backwards Uuq-Bavarian_Ranchero Uuq-ClownCar Uuq-Dauphine Uuq-Eyesore-ArseSweat Ununquadium-520px Uuq-Wartburg-rear Uuq-e30ata ModelTGT-V8olvo ModelTGT-Track

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Endurance Racing a Gremlin: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/endurance-racing-a-gremlin-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/endurance-racing-a-gremlin-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/#comments Sun, 28 Nov 2010 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=374749 Some might say that the AMC Gremlin, being one of the crudest simplest cars ever built, should be as reliable a tool as the stick used by chimps to extract tasty ants from anthills. It wasn’t quite like that for Substandard Racing and their Gremlin, as we saw at the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 […]

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Some might say that the AMC Gremlin, being one of the crudest simplest cars ever built, should be as reliable a tool as the stick used by chimps to extract tasty ants from anthills. It wasn’t quite like that for Substandard Racing and their Gremlin, as we saw at the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons last weekend.
Our first sighting of the Substandard Racing AMC came at the 2010 Gator-O-Rama LeMons, back in February. As the second-ever AMC product (after the Hornet that races in the West Coast events, and if you don’t count the Renault Alliance and/or Eagle Premier as AMC products), the Gremlin’s presence made everyone at LeMons HQ very happy… until its flank ended up serving as the perfect launching ramp for an Escort ZX2:

After that, things went downhill fast for the Gremlin; first, the four-wheel-drum brakes kept catching on fire, thanks to the never-anticipated-by-Kenosha-engineers duty cycle of a high-speed endurance race (yes, you could still buy a car with full drums as late as 1974). Then the allegedly reliable AMC 258 six-banger blew up. Total laps finished, in a race in which the winner got 328? Twelve glorious laps for the AMC!
For the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez race, Substandard Racing came prepared! Not only did they hang a couple of Black Ice Little Trees from the rear-view, they’d installed front disc brakes and a beefy 4.2-liter Jeep engine out of a 1990 Wrangler. For good measure, they even threw a rings-and-bearings rebuild at the venerable AMC-Jeep-Chrysler six-cylinder powerplant. Checkered flag, here we come!
As their secret weapon, the Substandards brought along a complete parts car with running engine: this frighteningly hacked-up AMC Eagle! The plan was to let the LeMons Supreme Court use the Eagle as the Judgemobile, which would have ranked it right up there with the Greatest Judgemobiles of All Freakin’ Time, because the new engine would be utterly bulletproof! Right?
Well, not exactly. For some reason, the “bulletproof” engine wasn’t getting any oil to the top end. Actually, the horrible bearing scream sounded like no oil was getting anywhere. Kibitzers from other teams kicked around some theories: The main bearings are in backwards! The lifters are in wrong! The oil pump is bad! The oil pump has an air bubble! The pushrods are clogged! Anyway, the green flag waved at 3:00 PM and at 9:00 PM the team was still thrashing on the engine, trying to figure out the problem.
I’d been recommending that they just give up on the 4.2 and swap in the Eagle’s 258 since about 3:05 PM, because years of LeMons experience has taught me that a simple engine swap is always simpler than a complicated engine repair. However, this wasn’t quite as simple a swap as you might think; much had changed on the AMC Six between 1974 and 1990, including headache-inducing stuff like throttle linkage and exhaust manifolds, plus the Eagle’s primitive AWD drivetrain made for a totally hellish somewhat challenging engine removal. Still, Substandard Racing didn’t give up!
Helping the Substandards for about 36 hours straight was John of Hoonatic Racing (shown here posing with Judge Anna aka Bikini Racer). John won the Heroic Fix and I Got Screwed trophies at the 2010 Yeehaw It’s Texas race in September for the all-weekend, one-total-lap madness he performed on his Integra after his whole team bailed. He figured, what the hell, the Gremlin should be easy after that nightmare!
As it turned out, nothing about the man-versus-Gremlin struggle was easy. When the sun came up on Sunday morning, the Eagle’s engine had finally been dropped into the Gremlin and most of the fasteners had been more or less installed.
The engine ran, sort of, but the Gremlin wasn’t quite ready to hit the track. Their junkyard transmission was a computer-controlled automatic, only they didn’t have the computer. No problem! Just use buttons zip-tied to the roll bar to control the second- and third-gear shifts! Then it turned out that they didn’t have enough transmission fluid. Then Western civilization collapsed and all of Louisiana reverted to savagery, making transmission fluid impossible to obtain. Anyway, the hurdles kept appearing in front of Substandard Racing, and Substandard Racing kept staggering over, under, and around them.
Eventually, with a couple of hours left to go in the straight-through 24-hour event, the Substandards managed to drive the AMC over to HQ for a tech inspection. Aside from the bad alternator wiring, the car was just about ready to race!
Oh, wait… is that a radiator leak? Meanwhile, an asteroid with a diameter of three kilometers smashed into the Gulf of Mexico, engulfing No Problem Raceway in boiling seawater and destroying all life in the Northern Hemisphere.
Still, Substandard Racing soldiered on, this time setting up shop in the LeMons Supreme Court’s Penalty Box.
Good thing they had the shop manual! In this case, they had the Chilton’s for every motor vehicle made from 1972 through 1979.
Finally, the car was ready! We all rushed over to the grandstands to watch its glorious Laissez Les Crapheaps debut.
It wasn’t exactly fast, but it went around the track. 37 times it circled the No Problem Raceway aka The Circuit At Grand Bayou course, more than tripling nearly matching its previous lap record!
The car pitted a couple times for driver changes and repairs, and each visit was a cause for celebration.
The Substandard Racing entry overheated repeatedly, but the team held it together long enough to take the checkered flag. The crowd gave the Gremlin a standing ovation when it clattered off the track at 3:01 PM. At the postrace awards ceremony, there was no doubt about which team most deserved the Heroic Fix trophy. Add Substandard Racing to the Heroic Fix Honor Roll!
Thanks to Nick Pon and Scott Carr for photographic help!
1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin racing in the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons 1974 AMC Gremlin wrecked at the Yeehaw It's Texas 24 Hours of LeMons AMC Gremlin enabler Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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And The Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/and-the-real-winner-is/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/and-the-real-winner-is/#comments Mon, 22 Nov 2010 00:07:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=373817 The Index of Effluency, given to the team that accomplishes the most with the most terrible “race car,” is considered the true top trophy in 24 Hours of LeMons racing. This time, the long-suffering Property Devaluation team finally piloted their oft-repaired Fairmont wagon to a glorious 22nd-place finish. We’ve seen this terrible Fox Ford at […]

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The Index of Effluency, given to the team that accomplishes the most with the most terrible “race car,” is considered the true top trophy in 24 Hours of LeMons racing. This time, the long-suffering Property Devaluation team finally piloted their oft-repaired Fairmont wagon to a glorious 22nd-place finish.
We’ve seen this terrible Fox Ford at many Houston and New Orleans races, and the team has spent most of its time swapping and/or rebuilding junkyard-sourced Ford Windsors. Blown head gaskets, spun bearings, thrown rods, the whole spectrum of 302 woes have dogged these exhausted Texans for years. This time, however, the engine held together and the wagon ran for 24 (actually 19, thanks to an early-morning fog delay) straight hours. Congratulations, Property Devaluation!

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And The Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/and-the-winner-is-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/and-the-winner-is-2/#comments Sun, 21 Nov 2010 23:54:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=373801 The LeMons Traveling Circus has just made its way to the French Quarter, so I’ll cut to the chase: the Race Hard Race Ugly BMW 325iS took the win on laps at the Circuit At Grand Bayou today. Margin of victory? 8.5 seconds after 24 hours of racing. This is the third 24 Hours of […]

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The LeMons Traveling Circus has just made its way to the French Quarter, so I’ll cut to the chase: the Race Hard Race Ugly BMW 325iS took the win on laps at the Circuit At Grand Bayou today. Margin of victory? 8.5 seconds after 24 hours of racing.
This is the third 24 Hours of LeMons win for the Race Hard Race Ugly team, which fields a pair of E30s, and the first for this car. The Warthog Racing E30, pictured in the background in the above photo, had slightly faster lap times but just couldn’t catch up by the time the checkered flag waved. By the way, the LeMons Supreme Court gave Race Hard Race Ugly eight BS Penalty laps (a matter of some unaccounted-for new shock absorbers); just one more and they’d have lost. The drivers made zero mistakes, the car never broke, and that’s how you win an endurance race. Congratulations once again, Race Hard Race Ugly!

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