And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

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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  • 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


  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.