TTAC Wins The 24 Hours Of LeMons. Sort Of.

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
ttac wins the 24 hours of lemons sort of

It was bound to happen. Combine the irresistible force of the Datsun 240 Z with the charming demeanor of TTAC’s “LeMons Racing Experience” (LRE) team captain, Troy Hogan, and we were bound to win something. And that point was the February 2010 running of the 24 Hours of LeMons in Houston.

We didn’t win the race, unless in 28th place counts as winning. But this time we got a prize, the highly coveted Index of Effluency now rests on our mantle: and it is the top prize in LeMon Land. To quote judge Murilee Martin,it is “the pinnacle of all LeMons awards….(given) to the team that accomplishes the most with the crappiest car.” While we always had the latter, the former is the textbook definition of “added perk.” And our new paint job (fashioned from the Paul Newman-era BRE racing livery) certainly looks trophy-worthy. The $1500 worth of nickels didn’t hurt either, even if we shouldn’t put them on the roof of the car for photography.

TTAC WinsLRE’s two year uphill battle in getting a 38 year old rust bucket on par with modern iron was no small feat. Adding sheetmetal to the Datsun’s notoriously rusty floor was one thing, filling in other holes with duct tape and aerosol cans of foaming home insulation was another. A parts car here, a parts car there, and the 240’s numbers finally came up, after a new radiator cured its chronic overheating condition. While the finned beauty was all of $140, the time spent babying the motor on Day One of the race kept the car uncompetitive. Considering LRE was rarely black flagged (thanks to teamwork and an experienced crew) the Datsun shall be a top ten finisher. Very soon.

A special mention for the real winner of the race, the Red Rocket Ratnest Revival team won the race in a 1989 Taurus SHO. Followers of this series know that running a SHO is a sure fire way to burn money and win nothing, but this Taurus never broke, never got black flagged. And it led the pack for the majority of the race. Speaking of breaking stereotypes, the SHO was (legally) driven to the event, complete with side windows, headlights and one (formerly) futuristic Taurus dashboard. Whoa, dude.

So the cast has been set. And TTAC’s team LRE has three other cars for the mix: another Datsun 240 Z that placed 58th, our $ 0.99 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Formal Limo for the LeMons Judges, and (wait for it) fiberglass wide body 240 Z fashioned around the “Black Gold” Datsun television advertisement made famous by YouTube. Black Gold and its disco-themed crew is still in the planning stages, but yours truly will race it come October. Come hell or high water: 2010 is gonna be a great year. Stay tuned.

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3 of 8 comments
  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Feb 23, 2010

    Nice job, though I must say the paint job belies the multitude of issues you describe. Thats a fine looking 240Z.

  • Michael Karesh Michael Karesh on Feb 24, 2010

    More photos of the "winning" car? And what are all those cables routed through the hood of the silver FWD car?

    • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Feb 24, 2010

      The silver car has a few feet of hoses from the air cleaner to the B-pillar. It's a "catch can" for all the blow by coming form that worn out motor. Apparently it'll catch half a gallon after a few hours of racing. Scary, very scary. But it worked! It worked well enough the LeMons banned it from track use ever again. Hate to see what would happen if the gallon jug spilled oil on the track or inside the cabin.

  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
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  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
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  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states