And the Real Winner Is…

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

The Index of Effluency, the top prize of LeMons racing, goes to the team that accomplishes a feat far beyond the apparent capacity of their horrible, never-belonged-on-a-racetrack “race car.” Sometimes the IOE goes to a team that climbs way the hell up into the standings in a moderately terrible car (e.g., the Exhibition of Slow Tercel EZ grabbing 10th overall in Texas)… and sometimes it goes to a team that somehow keeps an apocalyptically terrible car on the track all weekend and finishes well inside the top third of the field. We have no idea how such a thing could be possible, but the Speedycop and the Gang of Outlaws 1980 Pontiac Bonneville donk managed 16th place out of 52 entries this weekend.

I took this car out on the track at the Capitol Offense 24 Hours of LeMons, and I can say firsthand that it’s even scarier than it looks. There’s no suspension to speak of, the smallest surface irregularities want to send the car airborne, it lifts the inside front tire on turns, and the 301-cubic-inch engine wheezes out about 80 horsepower. In spite of all this, the donk ran just about all weekend long at Stafford Motor Speedway, and it actually passed quite a few cars.

The tone was set for the awards ceremony when, on the checkered-flag lap, a front wheel came off this Olds and the car scraped across the finish line to the cheers of an overjoyed crowd. If that isn’t a sign that General Motors will continue to dominate the Index of Effluency, I don’t know what is.

This is the third IOE for Speedycop and his henchmen, and the hardest-earned one of the three. Congratulations, Speedycop and the Gang of Outlaws!

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  • Tiredoldmechanic Tiredoldmechanic on Jul 25, 2011

    A long, long time ago I worked at a Rent-A-Wrech franchise as a mechanic. We were always on the lookout for cheap B-bodies that hadn't been abused too badly. They were tough as dirt and cheap to maintain. There's a reason these were a staple of the taxi industry for 20 years. They were by no means perfect but I have long thought that GM built the best RWD big cars in the industry and these were the best generation of GM big cars. I'm pretty sure you could get a real Pontiac 400 in them for the first couple of years of production if you favoured Pontiacs. With a few simple engine mods, the Chevy 9C1 suspension and a 3.23 or 3.42 rear gear you'd have pretty decent sleeper on your hands. And yeah, snowflake wheels for sure.

  • Jon Jon on Aug 02, 2011

    You can see a video of that Team Olds as the tire pops off. Our car was right behind it when it happened.

  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.