By on August 14, 2014

24 Hours of LeMons 014

It feels as if it’s finally the Year of the Porsche 944 in the 24 Hours of LeMons. Several well-organized, knowledgeable teams such as Porch Racing and Floridiot Motorsports have made the 944 work reliably and well enough to contend for an overall win on laps. “Der Porschelump,” however, is not one of those teams.

I had tried to buy my way into one of those cars by buying an ex-ChumpCar winning ’83 944, but unfortunately, my time with that car was cut short. Some of you may recognize me from Jalopnik, where my first paid article was about having my racecar totaled in the first driver’s stint. Oops.

So, I bought another one. A commenter on my banana’d 944 article responded that he had one for sale, so I jumped on it. Enter: My First Racecar Build.

Can someone with almost zero mechanical experience beyond brake pad swaps make a 944 with a busted water pump run?
(Read More…)

By on June 25, 2014

Were you ever taught something you already knew, something you normally teach others? That moment of surrealism came for this regional LeMons Judge while attending the Newbie School in a new racing series called the World Racing League. Baruth already gave you a tease: I set aside the idiotic ironic Indian Chief hat of LeMons for a weekend stint as a racer/pit crew/errand boy with the same team that brought you the iconic Ford Fairmont Wagon: now with more Granada. (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2014

Aside from “real racers” who insist The 24 Hours of LeMons is a joke, everyone else understands this series’ willingness to embrace engineering and artistic creativity, providing somewhat-wholesome entertainment and—best of all– giving away a metric ton of track time for little cash.  As a member of the LeMons Supreme Court in their Texas races, well, bias from judicial bribes and heartless praise bestowed upon me aside…

…here’s a dirty little secret: you can go LeMons racing in any fully depreciated machine with ZERO PENALTY LAPS, no matter how awesome the vehicle was when new. Provided you bend (not break) the rules with your whip.  And give everyone a good reason to love/hate you.  The Poorvette is proof positive. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2014

15 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe quantities of true Chrysler K-Cars in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards have been declining a bit in recent years, though I still see enough of them that I choose only the most interesting to photograph for this series. So far we’ve seen this “Hemi 2.6″ ’81 Dodge Aries wagon, this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon, and today I’m adding a gold Aries sedan that has special significance for me. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2013

My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine the two for this quick vignette into an alternate world of automotive design: come up with a moderately creative theme, say or do something idiotic, make me laugh and perhaps I’ll forget about that fancy header…or those super cheaty shocks that supposedly “came with the car.”

Did you really think that car design ends in the studio? (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2013

jules1

What a long, strange trip it’s been for the TTAC Racing shirts! To begin with, they never made it to MSR Houston for the actual race, being left in a storage area by the folks who were prepping the car. The car itself never made it on track for the race. So this commemorates a race effort that, strictly speaking, never happened. It’s like having a shirt for the 1983 Corvette.

Which makes them either worthless or highly valuable. If the latter were the case, they’d be on eBay like, right freaking now. Since it’s the former, we’re raising the stakes.
(Read More…)

By on September 30, 2013

benz1

Gorgeous, huh? She appeared in the night like a white-robed dream, resplendent in her restrained livery and requiring just four or five hours of work to be ready to race.

Problem was, the race had already started.
(Read More…)

By on September 24, 2013

450slc

The Truth About Cars has long had an explicit editorial policy and tradition of not covering motorsports.

However, nobody ever said that we couldn’t go racing ourselves. For the first time in the site’s history, TTAC will be fielding a race team. And because we love our readers, we’re having a T-shirt made to commemorate the disaster occasion, and we will be giving those T-shirts away to our commenters.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2013
Look closely, and you can see your humble author spewing the coolant that forced us into a head gasket swap that night

Look closely, and you can see your humble author spewing the coolant that forced us into a head gasket swap that night

 

Remember that guy who built a Subaru powered race car from a VW floor plan and a Wartburg? Sure you do. He won the car with an essay, beating a future TTAC contributor in the process. Still no? Well too bad, his name is Jim Thwaite and you should get to know him. He knows a thing or two about having fun with beaters, and he wants you to join him.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2013

Toyota V8 - Picture courtesy of LextremeIn my role as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, prospective racers often ask me questions that go something like: “I have a (car type known to be fast and/or expensive) that I got for (credulity-strainingly cheap price) and I would like to race it in LeMons without getting hit with penalty laps. How can I do this?” In most cases, the car will turn out to be a BMW M3, Acura Integra GS-R, or C4 Corvette, and I tell the questioner to seek another type of car. Still, you can get genuinely horrible C4 Corvettes for LeMons-grade money, provided you sell off some trim parts and so on, and that’s just what happened with this bunch. No problem, I said, just drop in an engine that will anger the Corvette Jihad and all will be well (it helps that the Chief Perpetrator of LeMons racing was the owner and editor-in-chief of Corvette Magazine for years, and he can’t stand the Corvette Jihad). I suggested the Toyota 1UZ V8, as found in Lexus LS400s and SC400s, but perhaps there’s an engine that would raise the blood pressure of Corvette fanatics even higher. What engine would that be? (Read More…)

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