Days after the United Auto Workers found themselves outside the gate at the Volkswagen plant in Chatanooga, Tenn., South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist have vowed to do all they can to ensure that the Southeastern United States will never see unionization in the region’s auto industry and beyond.
South Carolina’s WSPA TV is reporting that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles is considering doing away with stamped metal plates and replacing them with new, electronic tags that would be linked to a central computer database. According to WSPA’s website, the new plates use “electronic paper” technology that can hold an image without power for up to 10 years. A clear coating on the plates could also generate small amounts of electricity, which would be required to change the image, from sunlight or even vibrations generated when a car is in motion. (Read More…)
Of all the cars at the ‘Shine Country Classic, none inspired more speculation than the ’75 LTD of the Tunachuckers and ’79 W116 of NSF Racing. So many questions! Would either car be ready for the green flag on Saturday morning? Which one would be quicker around a road course? Could an ungodly complicated Teutonic flagship even make one lap on a race track after 32 years and a 99.97% value depreciation? Could Grandma’s long-abandoned big Ford roar into life and survive on the race track with little more than a cage installation and a hasty tune-up? Each team had joined the elite of LeMons veterans, with one Index of Effluency win apiece, so expectations
of horrible failure were high. (Read More…)
GM cars start any 24 Hours of LeMons race with a big Index of Effluency advantage, and when you throw a big couch and handtruck in the bed of your Chevy S10 and spend the weekend hurling the thing around a twisty road course full of much faster vehicles… well, for the Greene County Moving Company, the end result was LeMons racing’s top trophy. (Read More…)
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). (Read More…)
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. (Read More…)
I’m normally pretty curmudgeonly about the inherent inferiority of old cars. A 5-year-old Camry will outperform just about every classic Detroit muscle car or Italian sports machine in nearly every category from comfort to acceleration. The windows fog up, you just push a button: problem solved. The asphalt gets rough, you don’t notice it: problem solved. Road trips in 60s cars in the pre-cell-phone era could turn particularly hellish; I’m trying to conjure up a sense of romance from my mid-80s memories of limping a Fairlane with a failing distributor down some godforsaken California Central Valley highway, in search of a junkyard with a Windsor-equipped donor car… and I just can’t do it. Yeah, the good old days were really pretty terrible. However, all that sensible real-world nonsense gets thrown right out the window when I go for a nighttime drive in rural America in a rattly-ass old car and a good song comes on the radio. Quick, get me a ’71 Plymouth Cricket and a stretch of two-lane! (Read More…)
What does it take to win the Heroic Fix trophy at the heroism-heavy Southern Discomfort 24 Hours of LeMons? Frantic engine swaps are a dime a dozen in LeMons racing, but what happens when the replacement engine goes bad? (Read More…)
The Index of Effluency trophy goes to the 24 Hours of LeMons team that accomplishes the greatest feats with the most improbable car; if your team’s car is a horrifyingly rusty heap that sat in a field for decades prior to being resurrected for racing, is a type of vehicle that never belonged on a road course in the first place, and manages to clank through more than 200 tough laps on a car-killing track, you have an excellent shot at taking home the coveted IOE. The NSF Racing 1962 Plymouth Fury accomplished this feat at this weekend’s Southern Discomfort race. (Read More…)
Here I am, back in Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina for the second annual Southern Discomfort 24 Hours of LeMons, and the seventh LeMons event to take place at CMP. The ’10 Southern Discomfort really was uncomfortable, with freezing-ass temperatures and plenty of frigid mud all around, and that scared off many of the usual Southern LeMons teams this time… but the joke was on them; the 50 or so teams that had the guts to show up will enjoy beautiful 70-degree weather all weekend. (Read More…)
Earlier this year the South Carolina General Assembly enacted a law that will make it even more difficult for red light camera and speed camera vendors to attempt to do business in the state. Under a provision that took effect on April 9, police are authorized to replace traditional handwritten citations with “electronic traffic tickets” designed to speed the roadside ticketing process. These electronic citations, however, cannot be used as part of a photo enforcement system.