The Truth About Cars » Yeehaw Its Texas 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 » Yeehaw Its Texas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Tastefully Modified Texas Ranchero Packs Cadillac Power, Towing Package http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/tastefully-modified-texas-ranchero-packs-cadillac-power-towing-package/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/tastefully-modified-texas-ranchero-packs-cadillac-power-towing-package/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2011 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414463 When you’re looking at a basket-case Ford Ranchero, a Cadillac 500-cubic-inch V8 plus TH400 transmission, an ancient Mercedes-Benz hood, and a yard full of random scrap metal, do you feel optimistic? The builder of this fine machine certainly did!
Built on a budget of just under a grand, this daily-driving, super-customized, tire-melting monster gets plenty of respect in the Houston area.
The engine came from an abandoned 24 Hours of LeMons Eldorado project, and the Shorty Ranchero’s builder decided to come check out the Yeehaw It’s Texas race and see what this weird race was all about. Little did he know that his machine would be worshiped by LeMons racers the way that cargo cults worship C-47s. I’m pretty sure he’s been drafted onto a team by this time.
Little touches like this “fuel gauge” abound; there’s a mirror positioned so that the driver can see the fuel level from behind the wheel. The beer keg fuel tank was found at the side of a Texas highway.
The Excalibur-style spare-tire mount didn’t have a tire attached, but that didn’t take away from the Shorty Ranchero’s class.
Supposedly it drives just fine, quite comfortable on the highway and with ridiculous power. We can’t see a single flaw!

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-real-winner-is-21/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-real-winner-is-21/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:53:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413315 Working in the 24 Hours of LeMons Penalty Box, the constant refrain of “Four wheels off” over the radio from the corner workers reporting miscreant drivers gets a little tedious. Hearing “Six wheels off,” however, really livens things up for us. That’s just one of the many benefits of having the Team Apex Vinyl Texas six-wheeled Toyota Hilux in a race.
This truck has been competing in Houston LeMons races for a couple of years now, but it never ran sufficient laps to qualify for the Index of Effluency (LeMons racing’s top prize) until this weekend. The problem lies in the engine; the Toyota R engine may be utterly bulletproof on the street or in a Third World combat zone, but 20Rs and 22Rs have one of the most miserable failure rates we’ve ever seen in LeMons (though the R is better than any other engine at running after a loose connecting rod has punched a huge hole in the engine block). In fact, only the Mitsubishi Astron and small-block Chevy can rival the Toyota R for LeMons futility, and we probably don’t need to discuss the handling peculiarities of a 34-year-old pickup with an extra axle. This time, though, the truck worked just fine; the Apex Vinyl ’77 Hilux did suffer a rocker-arm failure and lost an hour or two, but otherwise stayed on the track. When it was all over, the six-wheeler rolled to a 24th-place (out of 59) finish. Congratuations, Team Apex Vinyl Texas!

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-winner-is-22/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-winner-is-22/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:22:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413309 There are some fast LeMons cars that suffer from a single glaring weakness that knocks them out of the running after maintaining a lead for hour after hour. For example, the Acura Integra and Honda Prelude and their fragile head gaskets, or the Toyota MR2′s chronic engine-cooling/oiling woes. The Ford Taurus SHO, however, is constructed entirely from weaknesses; the transmissions explode, the engines throw rods (when they aren’t too busy spinning bearings and/or burning valves), the brakes overheat, and the suspensions crumble like pretzel sticks in a trash compacter. Wheel bearings, electrical components, you name it. But when a well-driven SHO doesn’t fall apart, very few LeMons-priced cars can catch it on a race course.
That’s what happened with the SHOTime “Rat Patrol” ’92 Taurus SHO over the weekend of the 2011 Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons. The Rat Patrollers did everything right: no mechanical problems, quick pit stops, no black flags, super-smooth driving for hour after hour. In the end, the SHO kept the Blue Goose VW Rabbit at bay, taking the checkered flag with a two-lap lead over the very quick Volkswagen. The other two cars on the SHOTime “SHO Mafia” team came in fifth and twelfth (out of 59 entries), which annihilates the previous record for most total SHO laps without a nuked engine or scattered transmission in a LeMons race. Congratulations, SHOTime!
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Yeehaw It’s Texas LeMons Day One: Rabbit Breathing Down SHO’s Neck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/yeehaw-its-texas-lemons-day-one-rabbit-breathing-down-shos-neck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/yeehaw-its-texas-lemons-day-one-rabbit-breathing-down-shos-neck/#comments Sun, 02 Oct 2011 04:37:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413220 After a grueling all-day battle of thrown rods, car fires, and busted suspensions at MSR Houston, we never expected to see a Ford Taurus SHO with a Rat Patrol roof gunner on the same lap as a bar-sponsored ’84 Volkswagen Rabbit. That’s how things sorted out after the first race session of the fourth annual Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons.
There’s something of a SHO Mafia in Texas, for reasons that go beyond my understanding of geo-cultural factors, and so we’ve got three SHOs on Team SHOTime. One of them won two races in the ’10 season, but that car now sits in seventh. The leading “Rat Patrol” 1992 SHO hasn’t had a single black flag today, and (as far as I know) not a single mechanical problem as well.
It’s good to be the leader, but the SHOTime Rat Patrol guys can’t be feeling very comfortable with the perennially contending Blue Goose Rabbit a few seconds behind them.
The Blue Goose VW is one of those LeMons cars that everybody knows is going to take an overall win one of these races; it came within a couple of laps of the win at the North Dallas Hooptie and has been near the front of the pack at race after race. Right now, all the Geese need is the smallest stumble by the Taurus— say, a transmission scattered all over MSR’s Turn Six (a depressingly common SHO occurrence) or something as mundane as a slow refueling stop— and the VW will leap into the lead.
Thing is, the Blue Geese are themselves being sweated by the only 280ZX ever to have won a LeMons race, Team Z-Wrecks. This 29-year-old Datsun is a mere lap behind the Rat Patrol and the Blue Goose, and its best lap is quicker than both its competitors. No black flags, no mechanical problems.
As if the SHO guys weren’t already stressed enough about their escape-risk connecting rods and glass transmission, the BenzGay Mercedes-Benz 300E (winner of the Garrapatas Peligrosas 24 Hours of LeMons in June) cruises a mere three laps behind the Z-Wrecks car.
And, because you can’t have a LeMons race without a BMW 3 Series in the heart of the drama, the Hello Dead Kitty Racing E36 lurks a single lap back of the Benz (they’d be tied with the Z, were it not for the four BS laps handed out by the LeMons Supreme Court yesterday). That’s five cars within a five-lap spread, and a whole day of racing Sunday to sort things out.
Meanwhile, the toll on the competition’s running gear has been even harsher than usual. Toyota MR2s like to eat 4A engines, as was the case with this rod-throw victim. The team has a new (to them) engine on the way, and an all-night thrash should get them back on the track by the time the green flag waves tomorrow morning.
This Nissan Sentra SE-R engine suffered one of the most spectacular failures we’ve ever seen in a LeMons race, with a wayward connecting rod punching holes in both sides of the block and the oil pan, spraying oil all over the exhaust header and turning the engine compartment into a sea of fire. The driver got out of the car safely, the rescue crew put out the fire (including the infield grass fire that spread from the burning car), and the team is even now installing a replacement engine.
The MetroSexuals Suzuki Swift GT-engined Geo Metro (1,300 screaming CCs of twin-cam power!) suffered a catastrophic rear wheel hub failure, which resulted in a three-wheeled off-road adventure. End of the race? Not at all!
That’s because the MetroSexuals’ pit neighbor offered the hub assembly off his daily-driver Metro. That’s how they race, deep in the heart of Texas.

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Super Piston Slap: The Buick-infused Fiero at LeMons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/super-piston-slap-the-buick-infused-fiero-at-lemons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/super-piston-slap-the-buick-infused-fiero-at-lemons/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2011 19:56:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413157

Perhaps you already know a little about this car from a previous post, but let’s look a little deeper into what makes an engine swap in a Fiero so positively epic.

First off, if you don’t know about the Pontiac Fiero, shame on you! This is one of many half-baked efforts from General Motors that deserved a better fate. Let’s face it, the Chevy Corvair coulda lived to see numerous upgrades and cult classic success, sparing us from colossal money pits of premium compact car hell, like the Mk V Volkswagon Golf. The multi-cammed, custom bodied Corvette ZR-1 (with a dash) was far too excellent to die, although it has finally come back with a vengeance in a slightly less unique guise. The Cadillac Allante finally made some sense when it received the Northstar V8 in the last year of production, but the Fiero was the worst sin a neglected GM product faced. The staggering number of upgrades in 1988 and the clean “Formula” trim level made this ride a potential success…if that wasn’t to be the last year of production.

Thank goodness for people who keep the flame, and raise up the heat. The Buick “Fireball” 3.8L V6 is a fun and worthy upgrade, as seen here in this LeMons racer that we all ogled during the BS inspection. Of course, the team’s wicked Ferrari theme didn’t hurt, even the wheels looked great! Adding the hood vents from a Trans Am GTA (correct?) and an impressive roll-on red paintjob with catch phrases in Ferrari’s own font absolutely sealed the deal. Opening the hood while doing my judge-ly duties, I remarked, “wait, that isn’t right? Is that a…

…and before I could fully digest the sheer volume of awesome presented to my eyes…

It’s a 3.8,” said a team member. Well, that just made my day. The 3.8L V6 is a gutsy, durable and coarse little mill, compact and easily fitted into the Fiero’s little frame. The later model (Series II and up) mills give you way more grunt than the 60-degree pushrod motor that came in a factory Fiero, and upping the ate with the (roots-type) supercharged Buick V6 would be absolutely wicked. Too bad this one is naturally aspirated! And while this motor (and any mid-engined car) has a serious uphill battle in an endurance style, crapcan LeMons race, this type of automotive expressionism is wholly encouraged and applauded ’round these parts.

Ready for more? We have another Fiero motor swap that’s worth a closer look, coming soon. In the meantime, you know I had to drop a little LSX love, even if that won’t fit within LeMon’s $500 budget.

Yeeeee-ha! LS4-FTW and I’m headed back to the races this weekend!

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Fieros, SHOs, and TTAC Hacks: BS Inspections at the Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/fieros-shos-and-ttac-hacks-bs-inspections-at-the-yeehaw-its-texas-24-hours-of-lemons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/fieros-shos-and-ttac-hacks-bs-inspections-at-the-yeehaw-its-texas-24-hours-of-lemons/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2011 04:12:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413099 Here we are at MSR Houston for the fourth annual Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons race. To ensure that TTAC’s coverage of the race remains completely objective, we’ve got three of your most loyal and dependable TTAC scribes delivering hard-hitting, hammer-jack-stomping journalism for y’all.
Sajeev and I are race officials, and Jack “That’s a PLYMOUTH Neon, Sucka” Baruth will be getting some seat time behind the wheels of the Tetanus Racing Neon and Porsche 944. By the way, that pistol in my hand is an “Hijos de Villa” commemorative tequila bottle.
The fact that I’ve been judging for the 24 Hours of LeMons for more than three years, with LeMons Chief Perp Jay Lamm handing me rapid fire louie like Rambo got bullets, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Lamm is The Greatest Race Promoter Who Ever Walked The Earth (indeed, he is one of the Giants of Motorsport), nor does it alter my certainty that the 24 Hours of LeMons will one day be regarded as the pinnacle of American civilization.
Speaking of integrity, the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court has plenty! I’ve been making special commemorative BRIBED stencils to spray on the cars of teams that grease the gears of justice, and this weekend’s racers got a Houston-centric version that I’m sure they’ll prize for years to come (or until they repaint their cars, which happens every few months).
We had some good themes and costumes on the cars, including this puzzling Whoopie Cushion/Daisy Duke/Big Foam Cowboy Hats arrangement on a Texasified BMW 2002 (they claim it’s a 1602, but the engine is out of a 320i, which de-1600-izes the thing). What does it mean?
Also puzzling were the Scary Clowns. I hope they wear these outfits all weekend!
We set a new record for Fieros at a single race, with three showing up this time. One has an original 2.8 V6, one has a Lumina 3.4 V6, and this Fierrari has a late-model 3.8 V6. Sure, Fieros always blow up in LeMons, but we still love them.
That’s because the Fiero is the American mid-engined sports car!

It’s late and I have to get up painfully early to inspect the 20 or so cars whose teams didn’t have their act together well enough to make it through today’s inspections, so I’ll leave you with this timelapse video showing most of the cars that did make it through our gauntlet today. Check in tomorrow for live coverage from Judge Sajeev!
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