And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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!

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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  • 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.