Southern Discomfort LeMons: And The Real Winner Is…
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.
Nothing whatsoever came easy for the NSF team and their Rust Monster-gnawed Fury; the team got flagged off the track endlessly for mechanical problems and never did manage to put together a single stint of more than a few dozen laps at one time. The much-abused, quadrillion-mile 340 engine suffered from so much blow-by that oil was being forced out of every possible gasket and orifice and onto the headers, where huge billows of smoke would follow the car; bad piston rings caused more oil smoke to spew from the tailpipe… and the smoking problem was just the beginning of NSF’s troubles. The brakes failed on several occasions, for a different reason each time. The driver’s seat broke. The brake lights stopped working. The brake lights were on all the time. Octillion-mile parts and 1950s suspension technology made the Fury handle like a Mississippi grain barge, which made it by far the slowest thing on the track. More oil smoke. The carburetor stopped working. Yet more oil smoke. Meanwhile, the Fury’s toughest IOE rival (a hilariously bad Nissan Stanza Wagon) kept grinding out slow, steady lap progress all weekend. When the green flag waved, however, the Plymouth’s 218 laps were deemed more effluent than the Sputnik Stanza’s 441 laps. Congratulations, NSF Racing!
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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