Drivetrain Torture Test: What Goes Wrong?

The sustained high speeds at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons proved very effective at encouraging rods to throw, bearings to spin, and transmissions to explode into a billion pieces. So, what fails when cheap, tired cars spend hour after hour with pedal affixed firmly to metal?

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And the Real Winner Is…

We were all quite impressed by the way the Cardorks/Invisible Pink Unicorn BMW clawed the win from the grasp of the Pro-Crass-Duh-Nation Alfa Romeo, but the serious battle at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons took place among the contenders for the race’s true top prize: the Index of Effluency.

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And the Winner Is…

For the second time in a row, a BMW E30 has taken the win on laps at a 24 Hours of LeMons race. Does that mean that the E30 is an inherently superior low-buck road-racing machine? Not exactly; of the 11 E30s at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey, only four cracked the top 20. What happened over the weekend was a combination of excellent, screwup-free driving by Team Cardorks/Invisible Pink Unicorn… and a pair of lead-destroying black flags on the Alfa Romeo Milano that led for most of the race.

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Real Hoopties of New Jersey: Duct Tape Can't Fix This!

New Jersey Motorsports Park has a very fast road course that lets most LeMons drivers keep the hammer down much of the time… and that means stuff is going to break. Lots of stuff.

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Real Hoopties of New Jersey LeMons Day One Over, Alfa Romeo Milano Leads

The weather went from rainy to nice, and the high speeds seen at New Jersey Motorsports Park took their toll on the field-O-hoopties today. The engine carnage was overwhelming (more on that later), but some cars kept all their connecting rods where they belonged; at the end of the day, the Team Pro-Crass-Duh-Nation Alfa Romeo Milano held the lead. A pair of BMW E30s lurks close behind the Alfa, so there ought to be plenty of excitement when the green flag waves on Sunday morning.

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Engine Swap-a-thon, Rust, and Wifebeater Shirts: BS Inspections at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons

When we come to LeMons races in the Northeast, we can count on seeing plenty of rusty race cars, and on seeing numerous dudes in maybe-not-so-ironic wifebeater shirts. Never before, however, have we seen so many ridiculous engine swaps in one race. During the BS Inspection, which serves to punish cars deemed to have blown past the $500 spending limit, we saw a (very) poor man’s TR8, a supercharged GM 3800 in a Bradley GT, a couple of Camry V6-powered MR2s, and much more!

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  • Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
  • Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
  • SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
  • Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
  • Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?