Arse Sweat-a-Palooza Day One: Model T GT Leads, Usual Suspects Close Behind

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Were a reality show being made about the Arse Sweat-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, the old-time hot-rodder crew and Spec Miata-champion drivers on the Model T GT team, just off their triumph of a feature in Hot Rod magazine, would be the dramatic focus for sure— the 302-powered ’27 Ford ended the day’s race session in first position. However, there are three former LeMons winners within a single lap of the Model T GT… and the T’s flimsy Mustang T-5 transmission is stuck in fourth gear and showing every sign of impending total disintegration.

The T-5 has proven itself to be an extremely fragile transmission in LeMons racing, and this isn’t the first time the T GT guys have suffered from transmission woes. Even if the gearbox holds together all day tomorrow, the several seconds per lap that its current single-speed nature costs the Ford makes it inevitable that Ununquadium Legend of LeMons and 2010 Season Champions Eyesore Racing will catch them. At this point, the Eyesore Playboy Miata sits about a half-lap behind the ’27. Of course, the Eyesoremobile has been known to suffer from mechanical woes itself, and sometimes the drivers screw up and get black-flagged out of the running. Not often, but you just never know.

If both the Eyesores and the Model T GT falter, the Geo Player Special CBR1000-engined Geo Metro, winner of the ’08 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza at this very same track, ended the day breathing down the Eyesore Miata’s neck. 199 laps for the Miata, 199 laps for the Metro. Also at 199 laps: the Altamont ’08 LeMons winning Krider Racing Integra.

In case that cluster of perennial LeMons contenders falls behind, a whole mess of German machinery lurks about five laps back, waiting for their shot. A few E30s, a Porsche 944, and the If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk 5 Series.

After a half-dozen or so very frustrating races, the Angry Hamster Honda Z600 (a car I believe to be the best-engineered LeMons car ever built) is finally holding together long enough to rack up respectable lap numbers. 18th place overall, out of 120 or so entries, and putting down some fairly quick lap times. Tomorrow, everyone gets back onto the track and continues where they left off.

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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  • Grzydj Grzydj on Aug 07, 2011

    This should be a reality TV show series. It could show the cars being built in garages everywhere, then the staging and bribes to get into a race and the carnage that ensues. Sounds like a winner to me.

    • Murilee Martin Murilee Martin on Aug 07, 2011

      I think a documentary that follows the Class C entries at a race would get the best LeMons stories. Usually 3 to 6 C cars per race. IOE is almost always a C. Heroic Fix often from C Class as well.

  • Tuckerdawg Tuckerdawg on Aug 07, 2011

    Why hasn't BBC's Top Gear gotten in on this, can you imagine somebody like Clarkson thrashing around in a $500 racecar? Just watching those guys trying to put together a car like that would be hilarious. I love these articles by the way, hopefully one day I will have my priorities so screwed up that I too will participate in a Lemons series.

    • See 4 previous
    • Outback_ute Outback_ute on Aug 07, 2011

      @Murilee Martin Oh well, the url is there. It was a pretty wild machine, and being back in the '70's saw a bit of (illegal) highway time too. Supposedly there was a photo of it in the local paper lifting the front wheels off the deck on a highway at 60-70mph

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