Nixon, Muppets, and an Intrepid: BS Inspections of the Showroom-Schlock Shootout 24 Hours of LeMons

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

We’re here at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, for the first annual Showroom-Schlock Shooutout (we raced here last year, but the race was called the Rod Blagojevich Never-Say-Die 500). The track is great, the weather is perfect, and we’ve got some super-LeMonic cars among the hundred or so entries.

We’ve got a real dilemma in the Judgemobile department. Do we go with the Reliant Super Robin, provided for us by the very generous team that’s racing…

…this VW Type 3 Squareback?

Or do we use the ’12 Dodge Challenger SRT8, provided by Chrysler? What do you think? Super Robin all the way! Both cars will get to do pace car duty tomorrow, so there’s a consolation prize for the tire-charring Mopar.

This extremely redneck-looking ’81 LTD Crown Victoria has never raced on dirt before (though its builder has been building dirt-track racers for decades), in spite of its appearance, and it turned out to be very well constructed and set up. The driver claims 50/50 weight distribution with the engine and driver setback, and we believe him.

Team Resignation is back with their Milhous Special Escort. They are not crooks!

The legendary Speedycop had arranged for the owner of the amazing Rent-A-’65-Impala-Wagon to meet him Friday morning at Autobahn, and he and his henchmen flew in from Maryland for that purpose. Only problem was, no Impala, and no contact from the owner! No problem, said Speedycop, we’ll find a car on Craigslist tonight and prep it. Fortunately, the Impala’s owner finally checked in, and the car should be arriving early Saturday morning. Here we see Speedycop getting his imaginary car inspected.

I’ve always sort of liked the early Chrysler LH cars, in spite of their inherent horribleness, and so it made me very happy to see this dead-stock Dodge Intrepid gearing up to race. It has the hot 24-valve engine, but I still put it in C Class. That means it’s racing against the likes of Olds 98s and the Squareback.

Speaking of Class C, check out this Opel GT with Mazda rotary. It needs some roll-cage work and a windshield, plus it doesn’t exactly have a carburetor right now. Don’t worry, though, because it’s getting a Harley-Davidson carb tonight. That should work just fine!

We got our first-ever Alfa Romeo 164, though we were forced to hammer it with BS Penalty laps for being cheaty even by our lenient standards for Italian machinery.

This team had some good costumes to go with their Kermit-The-Frog-ized RX-7.

This Pabst Blue Ribbon-themed Maxima was fairly entertaining.

But the wolf-drinking-rainbow-PBR mural will probably give me nightmares.

The Little Douche Coupe is back, with Funny Car god Cruz Pedregon on the team and ready to fry the clutch and/or brakes as needed.

We’ve stopped worrying so much about a cheaty BMW E36 running away with the race, because it turns out that the E30’s successor is actually quite slow and unreliable on a road course.

The Wisconsin contingent is in full effect, with some of the delicacies peculiar to their far-off land (though we’re still waiting for someone from Racine to bring us a Pecan Kringle).

I was too busy to photograph all the cars that passed through the LeMons Supreme Court’s clutches during the day, but my timelapse camera sees all. Here’s a day of inspections compressed into a few minutes. Check in tomorrow for race updates!

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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  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 08, 2011

    I LOVED the shot of the Milhous Special Escort and it's laughing escorts. Also, that first shot is, uh, very revealing.

  • Willy1959 Willy1959 on Oct 09, 2011

    Pecan Kringle? I brought ya 2 different flavors, and NOW you tell me pecan.. next time ,, next time