Chevette Diesel Vs Radial MR2: BS Inspections of The Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis LeMons

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The official weather report at Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway today was “butt cold and windy as hell,” but the LeMons Supreme Court slogged through the inspections of the 70 or so teams who won’t let a little miserable weather stop them from racing.

The big news, of course, is the Toyota MR2 powered by a 1942-vintage, 540-cubic-inch aircraft radial engine. It showed up with a blown transmission, but helpful racers made a run to a not-so-nearby state and brought back another Subaru Legacy gearbox. The Radial MR2 drove around the paddock this afternoon, so we’re optimistic that it will be racing tomorrow. As we say in LeMons, what could possibly go wrong?

Quick, what’s the slowest American car of the postwar era? Maybe it’s not the Chevette Diesel (because how could anything be slower than the Crosley?), but it’s hard to beat the little oil-burning Chevy in the sluggishness sweepstakes. That’s why we’re so overjoyed that a team has opted to skip past the BMW E30s and Mazda RX-7s and go right for Index of Effluency glory. Well done!

Speaking of cars GM would rather we forgot, how about the Chevy Monza? This one is on its third engine… today.

If not for the Radial MR2, this car would be getting all the attention. Sure, it looks like a Fiat X1/9 with a Group B Stratos Alitalia paint job, which is pretty cool.

Ah, but there’s a lot going on under this X1/9’s skin. You’re looking at the engine, subframe, and front suspension from an Alfa Romeo 164, stuffed into the back of the X1/9. 190 quad-cam V6 horsepower in a car that had, at best, 75 horsepower: Lancia Splatos! Team Splatos, after doing some test laps in the rain today, report that the car goes like crazy on the straights but has “interesting” cornering characteristics. Will it hold together? Probably not, but who cares?

After last weekend’s MGB-GT Index of Effluency win, we’re happy to see yet another GT at this race. SU carbs, Lucas Electrics (the car has already failed tech due to bad brake lights), lever shocks, the works. You’d think this thing would be the Chevette’s only IOE competition, until we saw…

…this 3-cylinder Geo Metro.

As always, brain-scarring scenes abounded. What’s going on here?

Or here?

Fortunately, Barbie showed up in her Capri.

We of the LeMons Supreme Court will be back in action tomorrow morning, as the racers hit the rainy/snowy track and vie for 24 Hours of LeMons glory. Check in tomorrow night for the latest LeMons updates!

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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  • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on Apr 16, 2011

    3 motors before the first lap at full race pace? Jeeze, what lake did they pull the Monza out of? Anyone know what motor they were running? Of course a SBC is starved for cooling in that car in street use, so my money would be on that.

  • ToyotaSlave ToyotaSlave on Apr 16, 2011

    My goodness - love the artwork in that Fiat. Splatos indeed!

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