The Truth About Cars » Mazda MX-3 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:20:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » Mazda MX-3 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/and-the-winner-is-26/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/and-the-winner-is-26/#comments Mon, 19 Dec 2011 02:37:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422751 This year, the Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3 won the Showroom-Schlock Shootout in Charlotte, the Cain’t Git Bayou in Lousiana, the ‘Shine Country Classic in South Carolina, and the Southern Discomfort, also in South Carolina. Today, Hong Norrth won their fifth race in the 2011 24 Hours of LeMons season, by taking the Heaps In The Heart Of Texas race by two laps..
It’s hard to believe that this was once the lovable-but-hapless team that won the Heroic Fix award for performing a record five engine swaps in their terrible CRX. Once Hong Norrth got over their Honda loyalty and switched to the strongest marque in LeMons racing (sorry, BMW fans, your Bavarian overlords may have won the ’11 season Constructors’ Championship based on strength-in-numbers top-ten finishes… but Mazda had eight P1 finishes next to BMW’s four), their screwup-free driving skills were finally allowed to shine. The Hong Norrth MX-3 wasn’t the quickest thing on the track this time, though it came close (a Taurus SHO and an E30— both previous winners— topped its best lap by a couple of seconds), but in the end that didn’t matter. A few seconds saved in a pit stop here, a black flag avoided there, and a car that never breaks— that’s what you need to set the all-time record for most 24 Hours of LeMons races won in a single season. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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Heaps In The Heart Of Texas LeMons Day One: MX-3 Leads, Index of Effluency Battle Heating Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/heaps-in-the-heart-of-texas-lemons-day-one-mx-3-leads-index-of-effluency-battle-heating-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/heaps-in-the-heart-of-texas-lemons-day-one-mx-3-leads-index-of-effluency-battle-heating-up/#comments Sun, 18 Dec 2011 01:19:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422702 It’s not much of a shock to find that the most dominant team of the 2011 24 Hours of LeMons season, the seemingly black-flag-proof Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3, ended today’s race session at Eagles Canyon in P1. A lot can happen tomorrow, though, so unhatched chickens aren’t being counted yet. The day’s events featured plenty of Texas-style ventilated engine blocks and panicky trips to the junkyard as well.
Hong Norrth already has four LeMons overall wins in 2011; they’re not the fastest team on the track, but they don’t make mistakes and their car doesn’t break. It appears that BMW has the 2011 LeMons Constructors’ Championship nailed down at this point, thanks to the hordes of quick E30s and E28s, but Mazda will have far more wins than the Bavarians.
Hong Norrth isn’t leading by much, however, and the drivers of the Blue Goose Rabbit have come so close to a LeMons win so many times that they’re probably chewing lug nuts out of frustration at this very moment. If Hong Norrth stumbles in the slightest, the second-place Blue Goose Rabbit will be right there to grab the lead and keep it.
Because this is Texas, the SHO contingent is out in force. In P3, we have the SHOTime A Taurus SHO (foreground). Taurus SHOs have won plenty of LeMons races… and they’ve also destroyed more engines and transmissions than the rest of the field combined. Today, only one of the five SHOs scattered an engine all over the track (necessitating a lengthy red-flag delay to clean up the mess) and each of the remaining four sits in the top ten of the standings at day’s end.
We often forget that Hong Norrth runs two MX-3s in each race. They seem mechanically identical, but the team’s best drivers run the black Hong Norrth A car while the more black-flag-prone drivers take the red Hong Norrth B car. For the first time ever, the red Hongmobile has managed to finish a day’s race session near the top of the standings. Looks like the Hong Norrth B Team has been taking lessons in spinout avoidance from the Hong Norrth A Team.
No team in the first four positions can afford to relax, because they’ve got another tough previous winner looming behind them. The BenzGay 300E won the Garrapatas Peligrosas race (against most of the same teams in this weekend’s race) by the vast chasm of a 17-lap margin, and they could do it again.
On paper, the Los Bastardos Duratec-powered Renault Dauphine has the power-to-weight numbers to annihilate the competition at a horsepower track like ECR, but sometimes things— we can’t really call them unexpected things— just go wrong. Nobody hurt in the blaze, all-night wrenchfest sure to come.
It’s early to speculate too much on who might win the top prize of the weekend, but we can look at a few of the front-runners as of now. This dead-stock, 302-powered 1978 Mustang II (a team member’s grandmother’s ex-daily-driver) is looking strong.
The Barracuda of IOE-winning veterans NSF Racing is right in the thick of the IOE hunt; with its healthy 340 engine, it will need to finish reasonably high in the standings to defeat the Malaisemobiles for the Index (and by “reasonably high” I mean “top half”).
The Speedy Monzales Chevy Monza should be capable of going toe-to-toe with its Mustang rival for IOE honors; this Monza has a reasonably reliable Buick V6 under the hood, so it should blow up less frequently than the small-block version would.
The Mercedes-Benz 560SEL stayed running most of the day and sounds great on the track. It’s probably too well-built (i.e., one of the best-built cars in the history of the automobile) to qualify for the IOE, but it’s still a great big luxury car on a tough road course.
Photo credit: Nick Pon

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/and-the-winner-is-21/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/and-the-winner-is-21/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2011 01:56:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412528 They won the Southern Discomfort race in February, the ‘Shine Country Classic in May, the Cain’t Git Bayou race in August, and now Hong Norrth has taken the overall win at a fourth 24 Hours of LeMons race this year. That run of victories makes Hong Norrth one of the most dominating teams in LeMons history.
Conditions were difficult for much of the weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with rough patches on the track and plenty of dihydrogen monoxide falling from the sky.
Nothing seemed to slow down the Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3, however, and the team had a comfortable 11-lap lead when the checkered flag waved. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!
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Where The Elite Meet To Cheat Day One: MX-3 Leads, Monte Carlo Close Behind http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/where-the-elite-meet-to-cheat-day-one-mx-3-leads-monte-carlo-close-behind/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/where-the-elite-meet-to-cheat-day-one-mx-3-leads-monte-carlo-close-behind/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2011 01:28:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412450 After a long, occasionally rain-soaked race session, it was no surprise to find that Hong Norrth, winner of the Cain’t Git Bayou race (and two others in ’11) held the lead at the end of the day.
The Hong Norrth MX-3 is quick and the team doesn’t spin out or commit cone-icide (though they did benefit from ownership of several Get Out of Penalty Box Free cards in escaping from pass-under-caution busts today). It looks like Mazda may end the season with the manufacturer’s trophy, which would be a huge upset over 2010-dominating BMW.
However, a lot can happen between now and tomorrow night’s checkered flag, especially with the Simon Says Integra menacing the MX-3 from just three laps back. The Acura is a bit quicker than the Mazda, so Hong Norrth can’t afford to make a single mistake on Sunday.
14 laps behind the Integra, we find the extremely rusty Team Molde Carlo Chevy. Yes, it should be impossible for this monster to hang with the nimble front-drive Japanese cars on CMS’s tight, twisty road course, but the Molde Carlo has threatened to win several LeMons races at similarly cramped Carolina Motosports Park in the past. A rash of black flags and/or minor mechanical problems for the Acura and Mazda would be the invitation the Monte Carlo has been waiting for.
Meanwhile, Unununium Legend of LeMons Speedycop has done it again, with this… this… well, I’m not sure quite what to call this car. It’s a rollover-victim BMW E36 with (if I recall correctly) ’42 Buick fenders, a ’50 Dodge roof and hood, and a ’51 Plymouth grille. Aside from an unnerving tendency to scrape the bodywork on turns, it’s looking pretty quick on the track.
The Tunachuckers managed to keep their ’75 LTD Landau on the track, in stark contrast to their bad-fuel-system nightmare at the last South Carolina race. The Landau is on the ponderous side, but reliability counts for a lot in LeMons racing.
We’re hoping the weather will be a bit nicer on Sunday, after being forced to throw the checkered flag 15 minutes early due to a massive rain shower that flooded the storm drains on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course. Life was hard for the teams that didn’t show up early enough to grab the covered garage spaces.

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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, 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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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-winner-is-12/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-winner-is-12/#comments Mon, 23 May 2011 03:33:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395849
The temperature soared well into the 90s today, causing fearful mechanical carnage among the cars that had survived the first session of the 2011 ‘Shine Country Classic in South Carolina. Through all the busted engine blocks and vaporized head gaskets, one Screamin’ Chicken-bedecked Mazda just kept blasting out fast lap after fast lap, padding its lead and avoiding even a hint of a black flag. In the end, the Hong Norrth 1994 Mazda MX-3 took the checkered flag with a dominating 12-lap cushion separating it from the second-place car (the Team SOB VW Golf, a perennial South Region contender that’s way overdue for a LeMons win on laps).

Just goes to show: ditch your head-gasket-frying CRX (as Hong Norrth did this year) and get a Mazda, start winning LeMons races. Two wins so far this season, which gives the team the early lead in the national LeMons points competition. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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‘Shine Country Classic Day One Over, Mazda MX-3 Leads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/shine-country-classic-day-one-over-mazda-mx-3-leads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/shine-country-classic-day-one-over-mazda-mx-3-leads/#comments Sun, 22 May 2011 02:21:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395809
It was a hot, muggy, rod-throwin’ day here at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina; when the checkered flag waved to end the session, only 36 of 68 starters were still moving under their own power.

Still, somebody has to be leading, even with a near-majority of entrants sitting in pools of oil and broken engine parts. As of now, the race leader is the Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3, which took the overall win at the Southern Discomfort race a few months back. Zero black flags, zero breakdowns.

The Index of Effluency battle could still go any of several directions tomorrow. The Nissan Stanza wagon of Team Sputnik leads Class C by a good 20 laps, the NSF Racing Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 remains in the game in spite of breakdowns every quarter-hour, and the Greene County Moving Company S10, complete with couch and handtruck in the back, is making a strong IOE bid.

Meanwhile, the Tunachuckers’ 1975 Ford LTD Landau remains in the IOE conversation, but just barely, after managing just 43 laps today. The culprit was their varnish-and-rust-filled factory fuel tank. The solution: a fuel cell purchased from a nearby dirt-track roundy-round racer, with the LeMons-rulebook-mandated bulkhead separating the fuel cell from the driver manufactured using a piece of sheet metal cut out of the car’s roof. Now that’s ingenuity!
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Southern Discomfort LeMons: And The Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/southern-discomfort-lemons-and-the-winner-is/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/southern-discomfort-lemons-and-the-winner-is/#comments Mon, 21 Feb 2011 03:56:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=384497
Plenty of Mazdas (including the Protege, Miata, RX-7, and— depending on how strictly you define a Mazda— Ford Probe) have taken the win on laps at a 24 Hours of LeMons event, so the fact that the Hong Norrth 1994 MX-3 wore Mazda badges didn’t shock anyone. No, what shocked everyone was the crazy series of lead changes during the race’s last hour, with a Saab 900 Turbo, BMW 325i, and Honda Prelude slugging it out with the Mazda for the checkered flag.

With less than an hour to go and a massive 20-lap lead, it appeared that the RBankRacing Saab team was ready to start clearing space for their second LeMons overall-win trophy… but then the transmission failed. The Southern Region 2010 season champion Magnum P.U. Prelude took the lead for a time, but soon the race became a battle between the Hong Norrth MX-3 and the Road Warriors’ “Falcon XB” E30. The Mazda was a bit quicker around the Carolina Motorsports Park short course than the BMW, but its fuel tank was nearly empty and the Hong Norrth driver had to take it easy on the throttle to make the juice last until the checkered flag; the Road Warriors closed the gap to just under a lap but ran out of time. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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