Slant Six BMW E30, Mercedes 6.9, and a Parade: BS Inspections of the 24 Hours of LeMons South Spring

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Once again, the 24 Hours of LeMons has taken over downtown Camden, South Carolina, with a parade down the main drag to baffle the locals and a BS inspection scene complete with live band and draft beer. Why don’t we do this for every race?

The members of Stupid But Tough Racing (a Malibu-driving team whose members all work with uranium at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) decided to take my “Tennessee Homer Simpsons” appellation and run with it. This car should look great on the race track Saturday.

One way to make us love the BMW E30 is by replacing the sophisticated, powerful BMW M20 inline-six engine with a crude, heavy Chrysler Slant Six. Since this is LeMons racing, the normally reliable Slant Six has already bit this team, with a spun rod bearing this morning and a panic-stricken hunt for a donor Dart. Look, the car appears nearly ready… and is that the dreaded Carter BBD carburetor?

Here’s a car we’ve been waiting to see in LeMons for years now: a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. NSF Racing won the Index of Effluency with their 1963 Plymouth Fury last time, but they decided that an old Chrysler is just too easy. Now they’ve showed up with possibly the most complicated motor vehicle this side of a Citröen SM. It’s not quite running yet, but they’ve got at least nine hours before the green flag!

This being a Southern race, the LeMons Supreme Court received numerous bribes in the form of unlabeled mason jars full of vitamin-Pb-enhanced, radiator-distilled moonshine. Hope we don’t get the jake leg!

Here’s the traditional timelapse video of today’s inspections.

Music: Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton, “Carolina Stomp”

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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  • FuzzyPlushroom FuzzyPlushroom on May 21, 2011

    That 244 is meant to be a boat? Sure, it'll rock like one if the suspension is stock, but it's just not a very big car. They must have gotten one hell of a deal if they didn't have to sell off the trim bits, though (grille, hockey-stick trim). Same with the 142, although it looks like a proper vintage racer! And taping off a Volvo's composite lenses is pointless unless it's to hold 'em in over bumps - I've personally run over my 244's former right headlight lens after it fell out, and it bent. My 745's, of the same fade-prone-but-indestructible material, has survived a ~10 MPH hit to a Silverado's bumper while the hood, grille, and signal lens bit it. As for that S-10, that's my kind of theme. Probably levels out the weight distribution nicely as well.

  • WRohrl WRohrl on May 21, 2011

    Doesn't the 450SEL 6.9 violate rule 2.1 in regard to the maximum manufacturer curb weight not exceeding 4200 pounds? I've seen both 4270 and 4390 published but not under 4200...

    • NSF Racing NSF Racing on May 23, 2011

      Running that Mercedes, on a small curvy track, violates several rules. Mostly rules of common sense. We had to apply for a waiver for the 80 lbs overweight.

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."