And the Real Winner Is…

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

When a first-time 24 Hours of LeMons team finds some ancient hooptie that’s been rusting in a field for a decade and makes a “race car” out of it, most of the time that team spends the entire weekend thrashing on fuel-system components, shriveled transmission seals, and rodent-gnawed wiring. This did not happen with Team NASA’s Space-Shuttle-themed 1978 Ford LTD wagon.

The old Ford was quite slow, what with its original shocks and Malaise-grade 400M engine, but its drivers kept out of the way of the faster cars and never once visited the Penalty Box. Other than an hour-long pit stop to deal with a vapor-lock/dead-starter problem, the wagon never broke down; the team rebuilt the entire fuel system with fresh parts and thus avoided the bad-gas adventures of the Tunachuckers’ ’75 Ford LTD Landau that we saw last month. In the end, the NASA LTD finished in 34th place (out of 56 entries), a miraculous performance from a dead-stock Malaise wagon. Congratulations, Team NASA!

Note: For more B.F.E. GP adventures, check out Longroofian’s coverage over at Hooniverse.

Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Obbop Obbop on Jul 11, 2011

    I believe it was a 1969 model, maybe 1968, Country Squire wagon with a mighty 390 the old man sold to the neighbor. It burned to the ground while traveling the I-580 freeway outside Livermore, CA. Neighbor stomped over and demanded, vociferously, that the old man return the money paid. Old man just looked at him. Ex-cop, ex-Marine, left Nebraska to avoid prosecution for pummeling a man until extensive medical care required (the guy touched his wife inappropriately, old man paid him off later to drop charges so he could get a government job), and was a fireman at the time. The HULK versus the corporate cubical dweller. A few minutes of old man staring and the cubical dweller swearing (and threatening)and the neighbor turned and stomped off. The old man turned to me and, with a laugh, declared that the neighbor seemed to be a bit upset and that, often, it is best to allow them to rant and rave and to just listen with no reply. Seemed to work; neighbor never talked to us again. That was a nice Ford, though. Before it burned to the ground.

  • PRND21 PRND21 on Jul 11, 2011


  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.