By on May 17, 2019

Original Venice Crew Shelby GT350 On Track

Easy, now — this isn’t what you think. Contrary to the beliefs of the Millennial journo-fronted social media swarm coalescing over this headline, the question we’re answering today has nothing to do with people, and everything to do with another diverse element of society: cars.

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to vehicles hailing from different countries, each built with different purposes and different customers in mind. And any two of these vehicles could face off against each other on the track.

Is it wrong to assume there’s a very unlikely race you’ve always wanted to see?

It’s not just Johnnie Walker and pesto fueling this QOTD. Earlier today, your very online author noticed a vintage automobile being trucked into a certain dealership, one inhabited by a former managing editor. That car was a Hyundai Pony — a five-door hatch that launched Hyundai’s big push for the North American economy car market. My aunt owned one back in the day. Who knows how that relationship ended…

When thinking up a race partner for that ’80s relic, my mind naturally turned to an econobox option you Yanks couldn’t get… and probably didn’t want: the Lada Samara, which happened to be the last model sold by the surprisingly long-lived Lada Canada. That shoestring operation closed up shop in 1998.

Put together, the Pony and Samara’s horsepower figure tops the three-figure mark, so naturally I pictured them battling it out on a tough circuit — while struggling to reach 60 mph. Fun viewing with a can of Coors in your hand, but my interest lies elsewhere. Exotic supercars, you ask? Hell, no. Too well-suited to the task at hand.

Glitzy grand tourers hailing from the most refined factories of the Old World? Nah, though I’d show up for the race. No, like a teen with unrestricted internet access, I’m interested in seeing Americans going at it.

Specifically, old ones. Relics. Vehicles not particularly adept at corner carving.

I’ve always wanted to watch a race between stock, full-size family sedans of the 1970s and 80s. Ideally, a whole fleet of ’em, each one immolating its rear rubber, heeling alarmingly from starboard to port as the driver frantically spins that overboosted wheel to and fro. In this category, my choices are many. Dodge Monaco. Ford LTD. Mercury Marquis. AMC Ambassador. Chevy Caprice. Buick LeSabre. Olds Delta 88. And so on and so forth — I’d fight my way to the front of the crowd (assuming it drew one) to see any two landau-ized family haulers battling it out under such challenging conditions.

Your ideal race might be an entirely different beast. What two entries would you most like to see go head to head?

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC, Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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25 Comments on “QOTD: Managing Race Relations?...”

  • avatar

    Watching slow, ill handling cars squall around the racetrack isn’t all that entertaining, so no.

    Also, if Steph’s aunt had a Hyundai Pony, I assume that’s in Canada. I don’t recall them being sold in the States.

  • avatar

    Better QOTD: why write clickbait headlines?

  • avatar

    The best race I ever heard of was when one of the car mags ran a 1/4-mile drag race of the International Harvester Scout w/Nissan Diesel engine vs…

    A runner from the local high school track team.

    The Scout won, but not by much.

  • avatar

    I always wanted the “Econo Box” special – all subcompact cars under a a given price range, all stock except for tires. You could have different classes too – ie, moving up from the Ford Focus SE, to the ST, to the RS.

    • 0 avatar

      Back in the day they’d run races like that, and they even used stock tires!

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      SCCA has the B-Spec series a few years ago. I was all geeked out, thinking it would be great, then only 8 or 10 cars would show up to race.

      Sad, because I can remember watching the Bilstein Cup (for Rabbits) and Renault Cup (for Le Cars) as a little kid in the early 80s and it was crazy fun to watch. 45 guys diving into the Esses at Mid-Ohio and nobody wants to lift b/c they’ve only got 70hp.

  • avatar

    Since very few are answering this question, I propose an alternate QOTD.

    What sporting evemts would you like to attend, but so far have not?

    I have three:
    24 Hours of LeMans
    Springfield motorcycle TT
    Isle of Man TT

  • avatar

    I’d love to watch stock muscle cars from decades past trying to keep up with modern 3-row family vehicles…

    Alas, it might be a little one-sided. At first glance, it seems that a 4400lb vehicle with a modern 300HP HP engine should be able to take with a decades-old 4400lb vehicle with similar horsepower. But modern suspension, brakes, (and tires) will likely win the day.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a modern minivan can take most of the period muscle cars on the track.

  • avatar

    I have a few:

    Air Cooled VW Bug vs Mercedes W123 diesel, or “The rich man vs the common man”

    RX8/S2000/FRS/BRZ, All stock, a race to see if the FRS can at least outrun older sports cars.

    Volvo 240 vs 740 turbo, which crate is truly the sportiest?

    Stock AE86 vs modern Corolla, cool vs ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the idea of the RX8, S2000, FRS, and BRZ. I am going out on a limb to say “No” the new cars will not win.

      The Corolla showdown would be good as well.

  • avatar

    Stock car racing like the good old days.

    Take family sedans (and crossovers) out of the showroom, remove the glass, weld a cage in, LET’S GO RACING!

    I’d even allow the ones that have towing packages to show up so equipped. Let’s see how those 9 speed automatics and turbo 4s hold up to 500 laps wide open throttle! Settle this durability debate once and for all.

    • 0 avatar

      Me too. Any class of modern stock vehicles. We’d all be surprised by some unlikely winners & losers as the survivors come limping in with glowing rotors, smoked transmissions and slagged engines.

      Imagine the bad press any automaker would get by refusing to participate: “Wassa matter…you ain’t chicken, are ya???”

      • 0 avatar

        They used to say “Racing Improves the Breed” (and “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”) but that’s only true if you can “run what ya brung.”

    • 0 avatar

      I like the basic idea, but instead of sedans that nobody buys, it should be stock crossovers – CRV, RAV4, Escape, CX-5, Encore, perhaps spice it up with some exotics such as X1, GLA, and Q3 – two-liter turbo maximum engine and AWD. Might be fun to bring back a beach race or some dirt tracks to properly test that AWD.

  • avatar

    LMP1-H’s at Eldora.

  • avatar

    “a race between stock, full-size family sedans of the 1970s and 80s”

    Didn’t that used to be called the Demolition Derby?

  • avatar

    All you have to do is backtrack to roughly 1965 and earlier and that’s exactly what you would see on the Nascar circuit–family cruisers, not sporty speedsters.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Sounds like a good idea for episode for Top Gear USA.Oh wait canceled. There is a good episode from a few years back from GT(or maybe was still TG) crew racing compact SUVs across the countryside, towing trailers. The SUVs actually held up fairly well.Those video shorts are when the 3 are at their finest-crashing into stuff

  • avatar

    Phase III Ford Falcon GTHO against any american/Italian/European iron of the same era

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t that happen in period? Alan Moffat ditched the Falcon for the superiority of a Boss 302 Mustang in the 1971 and 1972 ATCCs, and nobody’d know better than him.

  • avatar

    Motorhome racing.

    Yeah, it’s been done on TG. But it would be fun to see it live, in person.
    Especially if the winner is the last one still running.

    LTDs and Delta 88s? Nah, we could do better than that!

  • avatar

    How about a “tractor” pull with a Ram Heavy Duty, Silverado HD, and F-?50 Super Duty who all claim to have these massive towing capacities. Throw in an actual semi for fun.

    • 0 avatar

      This is already a featured attraction at county fairs across the Midwest every summer. The “run what ya brung” division usually attracts a couple hotshots with stock late model diesel pickups eager to get embarrassed by the built 12V pulling trucks.

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