Southern Discomfort LeMons: And The Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Plenty of Mazdas (including the Protege, Miata, RX-7, and— depending on how strictly you define a Mazda— Ford Probe) have taken the win on laps at a 24 Hours of LeMons event, so the fact that the Hong Norrth 1994 MX-3 wore Mazda badges didn’t shock anyone. No, what shocked everyone was the crazy series of lead changes during the race’s last hour, with a Saab 900 Turbo, BMW 325i, and Honda Prelude slugging it out with the Mazda for the checkered flag.

With less than an hour to go and a massive 20-lap lead, it appeared that the RBankRacing Saab team was ready to start clearing space for their second LeMons overall-win trophy… but then the transmission failed. The Southern Region 2010 season champion Magnum P.U. Prelude took the lead for a time, but soon the race became a battle between the Hong Norrth MX-3 and the Road Warriors’ “Falcon XB” E30. The Mazda was a bit quicker around the Carolina Motorsports Park short course than the BMW, but its fuel tank was nearly empty and the Hong Norrth driver had to take it easy on the throttle to make the juice last until the checkered flag; the Road Warriors closed the gap to just under a lap but ran out of time. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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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  • Anchke Anchke on Feb 21, 2011

    I knew it, godfriggindammit! All the Saab had to do was coast with a 13 lap lead. Let the other guys expire trying to catch up. But nooooo, they have to extend their lead to 20 laps. And then . . .

  • Skor Skor on Feb 21, 2011

    The only Ford Probe I WOULDN'T consider a Mazda is the 90-92 LX version with the Ford 3.0 Vulcan V-6. That car would be a Forzda. All the other iterations were 100% Mazda running gear.

  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
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