Gator-O-Rama LeMons Day One One: Celica, 280ZX, J30, SHO, E30 Make Up Top Five

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

As is typical for races at MSR Houston, the mechanical carnage has been quite extreme. We saw sheared axles, blown head gaskets, thrown rods, and a Jetta with its engine dragging on the pavement (the last one is a first in my experience). Still, some cars haven’t broken, and the battle for the win on laps has been cutthroat; meanwhile, the battle for the Index of Effluency— LeMons racing’s top prize, which goes to the team that accomplishes the most with the worst car— seems to have settled into your classic Tercel-versus-Camaro-versus-W110 slugfest.

It’s probably too early to get serious about the IOE discussion, since the Pontiac Montana may recover from its damage and blow away the competition on Sunday. Let’s discuss the race for the win on laps, which has the GT$500 Toyota Celica leading by a single lap. The GT$500, as you may recall, won the 2009 Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez LeMons and led the 2010 Louisiana event before throwing a connecting rod in spectacular fashion.

In second place, we see the Z-Wrecks Datsun 280ZX. Most observers of LeMons races (me included) feel that a 280ZX cannot take the win on laps, due to innate horribleness, but the veteran Z-Wrecks car, with its excellent drivers and bewildering reliability, may be the only example of the breed that has even the slightest chance. With a crazy-fast best lap of just 1:56.012, the ZX is getting around the track nearly four seconds quicker than the GT$500’s best effort… but reliability and consistency, not raw speed, win endurance races. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

We’re shocked to see a 280ZX in second, but an Infiniti J30 in third is just as startling. The Swine Flew Raycing car has a couple of top-ten LeMons finishes to its credit, and it’s now perched just two laps behind the leader.

We’ve seen a Ford Taurus SHO win a LeMons race before, but mostly we see the SHOs scattering engine and/or transmission parts all over hell. The SHOTime Ford will be threatening the other leaders all day tomorrow… as long as it doesn’t blow up in typical SHO fashion.

So many E30s in the race, but only one in the Top Five. The Theissen’s Revenge car has been breakdown- and penalty-free so far, and only four laps stand between it and the lead.

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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  • Dancote Dancote on Feb 27, 2011

    So when will there be a LeMons race in the Pacific North Wet? (not a typo)

    • See 2 previous
    • Dancote Dancote on Feb 27, 2011

      Edward Neidermeyer said: "I will be there… will you?" Absolutely. The motorhome is packed and ready.

  • Obbop Obbop on Feb 27, 2011

    Curious as to the extent Consuumer Repoorts bases their reports/recommendations upon opinion and date conferred by reporting such as viewed in this helpful article.

    • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Feb 27, 2011

      Probably about the same time that the New York Times searches the lower midwest looking to add some obbopitude to their op-ed page.

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.