And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
and the em real em winner is

We were all quite impressed by the way the Cardorks/Invisible Pink Unicorn BMW clawed the win from the grasp of the Pro-Crass-Duh-Nation Alfa Romeo, but the serious battle at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons took place among the contenders for the race’s true top prize: the Index of Effluency.

The Scuderia Regurgito Fiat 131 seemed to have the IOE all but won by mid-Sunday, having climbed into the mid-20s in the standings.

Then… KABOOM! That huge hole torn in the floor of the Fiat happened when the transmission became a giant grenade on the track. Fortunately, the driver suffered only a big bruise on his leg, but you’re not going to find a Fiat transmission and driveshaft on short notice on a Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.

The other IOE candidates— and this race had plenty— fell, one after the other, as the high speeds of New Jersey Motorsports Park’s track ate their engines. In the end, the plodding but extremely reliable 1968 MGB-GT of Gormless Racing took 32nd place and the Index of Effluency trophy. Congratulations, Gormless Racing!

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • EyeMWing EyeMWing on Apr 11, 2011

    Yep. When the RWD car comes around, I'm insisting on a transmission blanket.

  • Tinker Tinker on Apr 13, 2011

    I only owned a single fiat, and I'll admit I bought it under duress, (my wife's car died just before I left on 9 months cruise). But the most distinctive feature / constant irritant was the Clutch Cable, which went out at regular intervals, so that I used to buy a spare a month ahead of failure, and keep a ratchet/socket in the center console. Finally it lunched 3rd gear, after failing every 8,000 miles, plus or minus 200 miles. So I could get rid of it, without complaint. I wonder if the 131 had a clutch cable like the 128... As long as that damned clutch cable stayed in my mind, I wonder if there is any point in bringing Fiat back, even by proxy.

  • KOKing I like 2dr SUVs (I'm glad the new Bronco is available w 2 doors; it's MUCH better looking, and I'm finally seeing more of them on the road), but I've seen the Mexico-only 90s Ramcharger a couple of times and it has that same too-big rear window look that these old ones had.
  • MaintenanceCosts A Dodge truck without a Cummins from the era when the only selling point of Dodge trucks was the Cummins. Nope, even though these 2-door proto-SUVs are so trendy right now.
  • IH_Fever Seems in decent shape. No mention of miles. 2WD. One would think this is a $2500 car at most, but the market for them seems to says otherwise. The 318 is a decent engine. I'd still drive it every day over some POS MB diesel.
  • ToolGuy Handy word guide:• Grenadier - one who flings grenades• Grenadine - made from pomegranate• Granada - a fine Ford sedan in a long line of fine Ford sedans• Geraldine - played by Flip Wilson
  • Tassos When I saw the featured piece of junk, HONESTLY I thought it was written by Murilee as part of his "Junkyard find of the day" series. Then I noticed the name and it was... Tim Which reinforces my belief that MANY of Tim's finds are NOT Used cars AT ALL but candidates for JUNKING, and DESERVEDLY SO.