Showroom-Schlock Shootout LeMons Day One: Honda Ber Alles!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

So many 24 Hours of LeMons teams have their still-beating hearts torn out by the Civic and Integra, race after race; the little Hondas are very quick around a road course (which is the evil lure that makes teams want to race them), but the B and D engines have this terrible head-gasket-blowing problem. When they’re not losing the head gasket— usually 15 hours into a 20-hour race— then they’re shooting connecting rods in all directions. Who cares? When today’s race session was over, Honda products sat in the top three positions.

In first, we have the Clueless Racing CRX. Clueless won the 2010 American Irony race 18 months ago, but since then they’ve gone through about 1.5 engines per race. They’ve even won the I Got Screwed award, partly thanks to my cruelty in mocking their agonies. Maybe Clueless will still be on top when the checkered flag waves tomorrow! Their car is quick, their drivers fast, and they have a four-lap lead when they start tomorrow. I don’t want to open myself up to charges of jinxing these poor bastids yet again, so I won’t emphasize their car’s big weakness any more.

You’d think that the Integra would be more reliable than the Civic in LeMons, but they may be even more fragile then their econo-siblings. So many times, an Integra has built up a seemingly insurmountable lead, only to puke the engine with an hour to go. Today, the Holy Rollers ’88 Integra managed to knock out a best lap a full five seconds quicker than Clueless Racing’s quickest trip around the Autobahn Country Club’s course. If they can match Clueless in black-flag-free driving and pit-stop times, they should catch up sometime early on Sunday afternoon. That is, if the h–d g—-t holds out.

Here’s a car that we’ve seen contend for a LeMons win in races going back at least two years: the Free Candy Racing “Pedobear” Civic. They’ve got a guy in Pedobear costume roaming the paddock and handing out candy, they’ve got horrifyingly offensive Pedobear aphorisms all over their car, and they’re on the same lap as the Holy Rollers. What could go wrong? Do I need to spell it out? There’s a BMW E30 and a Chevy Caprice in third and fourth place, respectively, but it’s unlikely that all three of the Hondas will have catastrophic… well, you know.

Meanwhile, the owner of the famous LeMons ’65 Impala Wagon showed up late Saturday afternoon instead of the promised Friday morning, after being unreachable by the Speedycop and the Gang of Outlaws crew that flew from Maryland to Illinois to meet him… and the car wasn’t quite ready.

That means the Outlaws will spend all night installing a new exhaust system, racing seat, harnesses, and probably a bunch of additional time-consuming stuff, in the hopes of making the green flag early Sunday morning. Such drama!

Since Halloween is approaching, we’ve been making teams carve the manufacturer logos of their race cars into jack-o-lanterns. This Integra-driving team’s “Pumpkin of Shame” was by far the best (though watching an Alfa Romeo team struggle with their car’s complicated logo was more entertaining).

Looks like the Tricky Dick effigy on the roof of Team Resignation’s Escort could use some more Dilantin. Check in tomorrow for more Showroom Schlock action!

Leader photographs courtesy of Sideline Sports Photography

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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4 of 11 comments
  • J Sutherland J Sutherland on Oct 09, 2011

    Roger that-already done.

  • "scarey" "scarey" on Oct 09, 2011

    The articles about LeMons and Murilee Martin's 65 Chevy Chronicles are the best things written in the modern age. I mean since the GM bankruptcy. Maybe since Gordon Baxter. Only a dolt would not appreciate them. Bertel Schmidt is too good for you too. You should read Road and Track. Sorry to be so harsh.

    • See 1 previous
    • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Oct 10, 2011

      @J Sutherland Um, no, all it usually takes is one sentence from the muchly over-rated Ferrell to cause me to change the channel.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.