And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Index of Effluency, LeMons racing’s top prize, gets handed to the team that accomplishes a lap total far beyond what any sane person would have imagined possible for such a terrible, terrible car. Sometimes that means getting 10th overall in a Toyota Tercel EZ, and other times it means taking 36th out of 57 entries in a 1977 Ford Mustang II. Macaroni Racing, in their Cologne V6-powered “big Pinto,” managed the latter achievement at the Heaps In The Heart of Texas 24 Hours of LeMons today.

158 laps on the 2.5-mile-long Eagles Canyon Raceway track is 395 miles. Imagine taking your grandmother’s basket-case Mustang II and beating the crap out of it at full throttle for the entirety of a 395-mile road trip on twisty, hilly roads (say, San Francisco to Los Angeles on the Coast Highway), while getting passed every few seconds by buzzing, angry swarms of BMW E30s, Mazda Miatas, and Ford Taurus SHOs. Would you expect your Mustang II to be in one piece at the end?

No, you wouldn’t. This brings Ford’s Index of Effluency trophy count for the now-completed 2011 LeMons season to four; behind Chrysler (with 4¼ IOE wins) and GM (with seven wins). Congratulations, Macaroni Racing!

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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  • Rudiger Rudiger on Dec 19, 2011

    I always thought it was a little odd how some enthusiasts sneer at the Pinto-based Mustang II when the original Mustang was based on the lowly Falcon. For the times (i.e., gas mileage was paramount), basing the 1974 Mustang II on the Pinto was really a no-brainer. As pointed out by others, Mustang II sales were quite good (initially, anyway). One wonders if things would have really been that much different if the 1974 Mustang had been based on, say, the Maverick platform, instead.

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    • Dolorean Dolorean on Dec 20, 2011

      A fair point considering the '95 I drive was build around the '79 Fairmont frame. It even has the last 302 under the hood, an engine in use since '68. That archaic frame went on until the last of the New Edge Stangs in '04. That being said, its hard for most folks to remember that the Mustang's original purpose in life was not for the muscle crowd. It was for the secretary, who wanted something flash but didn't have a lot of money. Mustang's ever since have followed this simple principle of hot looks with near-entry level pricing on the base models.

  • Blue coyote Blue coyote on Dec 21, 2011

    Only one problem here. Oiram1970, you said you put in new points (among other things), although the Mustang II V6 used the Duraspark ignition from 75 on. BTW, with the 2.8 V6, if it had been in better shape than a decade of sitting left it, manually shifting it WOULD have made a great difference in performance. The automatic transmission (whether it had the C4 or the weaker C3) even at wide open throttle will shift long before the stock spec torque peak of 4600 RPM. Oh, and the knock probably as the lifters. Being solid lifters, chances are that they were not adjusted, and/or started backing off, which can really mess with compression and thus performance. I personally own a black on black T-top King Cobra as well as a 74 V6 Ghia with considerably more than the stock fact, almost double what a stock V8 Mustang II left the assembly line with {225 hp and 8k redline}

  • Geozinger Put in the veggie garden (Western Michigan, we still can get frost this late in the year) finished the remainder of the landscaping updates and hand washed both my beater Pontiac and the Town and Country! Going to the beach today...
  • Rochester I wouldn't obsess over the rate of change, it's happening whether we want it or not.
  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.