And the Real Winner Is…

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

In the LeMons world, the Index of Effluency is the Holy Grail, the elusive prize that makes teams ditch their RX-7s and E30s and install cages in the likes of Hillman Minxes and Pontiac Executive wagons. You get the IOE by turning many, many more laps than anyone ever imagined your car could do, and we’ve never had an easier IOE decision than the selection of today’s winner: the Swamp Thang 1978 Ford Granada coupe.

My personal history with the Granada taught me that this is one of the worst cars that Detroit grunted out during the Malaise Era (despite being the direct descendant of the reasonably reliable early-60s Fairlane), and the Swamp Thang’s 302-cubic-inch V8 wasn’t really much of an upgrade over the base 250 six. This Granada ran fine from green to checkered, knocking out slow-but-steady laps all night long. Every bushing in the suspension was completely shot, calls to the engine room for more power produced zero results, and the rock-hard tires never found any purchase on Circuit Grand Bayou’s racing surface… but in the end, the old Ford won both its class (C) and the top prize of the race.

Adding a note of extra drama to the proceedings, Unununium Legend of LeMons Spank was an arrive-and-drive member of the team, which gives him an all-time-LeMons-record four Index of Effluency awards. Spank himself feels that, since he didn’t help build the car, he doesn’t deserve IOE honors, but I disagree. Either way, an impressive accomplishment for the team. Congratulations, Swamp Thangs!

Join the conversation
2 of 23 comments
  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Aug 15, 2011

    My family had a Monarch for many years of mostly trouble-free motoring

  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Aug 20, 2011

    This car is actually a 1975-77 model; the 1978-80 had, as someone stated earlier, rectangular headlights and a different grille and taillights. It was probably one of the earlier versions, since the FORD lettering is above the grille. Don't ask how I know all of this.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.