And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Index of Effluency, considered the top LeMons prize, goes to the team that accomplishes the most with a car that never, ever belonged in the same time zone as a race track. A Fiat 600 with 1000cc Moto Guzzi motorcycle engine swap? Effluent and then some!

The Italian Stallions used to race a Fiat X1/9, but that car was just too reliable for their taste (chew on that for a while, you racers who feel that the universe of available LeMons cars includes nothing but the RX-7, E30, and Sentra SE-R). A 1964 Fiat 600 seemed like just the ticket, but why not hot-rod the thing with a big Moto Guzzi powerplant? Sure, great idea! As it turned out, the “big” motor tended to overheat in a hurry when pushed on the race track, so the team’s drivers spent the entire weekend driving by the cylinder-head temperature gauge; when it hit 450 degrees, they slowed down. That meant that the tiny Fiat spent hour after hour creeping around the track while cars scaling in at five times the Stallionmobile’s weight roared past. Countless Crown Victorias, a ’76 Continental, a Maserati Quattroporte, and a freakin’ full-stretch Town Car limo menaced the 600 for hundreds of laps, but the Stallions just kept the car out there. Congratulations, Italian Stallions!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.