And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
and the em real em winner is 8230

If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency nailed down if you can manage to keep the thing on the track for most of the weekend. Easier said than done, of course, but Zero Budget Racing managed to do just that with their ’82 Chevette Diesel.

This car managed about five laps at its Gingerman debut back in April, limping to an ignominious halt in a cloud of busted-Isuzu-engine smoke while the snowflakes swirled. That’s about what you expect from this sort of car, but Zero Budget didn’t give up. No, they didn’t give up then, and they didn’t give up this Sunday when the mighty 51-horsepower (really!) engine bombed their transmission. Fortunately, the team had thought to bring a spare transmission, and so they got right to swapping it in.

Oh, it was incredibly slow indeed, although the cornering speeds weren’t too bad. In the end, the Zero Budget Racing Chevette managed 39th place (out of about 65 entries), which we think makes it the most reliable (and maybe fastest) Chevette Diesel in history. Congratulations, Zero Budget Racing!

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  • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on Jul 18, 2011

    How did SpeedyCop and the wagon do? Watching the footage of them caging it with the roof off made me think that GM should have built the El Camino on the full size chassis.

  • Neil Neil on Jul 18, 2011

    Besides blowing out an oil line, breaking a wheel stud, and losing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear in our first transmission, it was...well, somewhat reliable. Let's just say that Zero Budget Racing was glad the race ended when it did. I guess that is true to form for most diesel Chevette experiences ("whew, I cannot believe I made it"). For the record, we passed three vehicles that were still (technically) running. Yup, nearly 200 laps. Relatedly, we are also indebted to our pit neighbors for successfully suggesting that we take their orange triangle "slow moving vehicle" sign. What a freaking fun weekend. PW60: Speedycop finished! His tank/Impala wagon appeared to blow some major (but insignificant for racing, apparently) suspension piece near the end of the race...but it kept going. He was a much deserved winner of some awesome prize. As a followup, SpeedyCop made an extra award for the actual owner of the wagon...out of welded together parts of his wagon. Awesome moment.

  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.
  • Prabirmehta I charge my EV at home 100% of the time. The EV is used for in-town driving and the gas guzzling SUV is used for out of town trips. This results in a huge cost saving and rare trips to the gas station.
  • Conundrum Three cylinder Ford Escapes, Chevy whatever it is that competes, and now the Rogue. Great, ain't it? Toyota'll be next with a de-tuned GR Corolla/Yaris powerplant. It's your life getting better and better, yes indeed. A piston costs money, you know.The Rogue and Altima used to have the zero graviy foam front seats. Comfy, but the new Rogue dumps that advance. Costs money. And that color-co-ordinated gray interior, my, ain't it luvverly? Ten years after they perfected it in the first Versa to appeal to the terminally depressed, it graduates to the Rogue.There's nothing decent to buy on the market for normal money. Not a damn thing interests me at all.