And the Real Winner Is…

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
and the em real em winner is 8230

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!

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4 of 24 comments
  • 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}

  • 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.