A Hoon's First Taste of 24 Hours of LeMons



After reading dozens of Murilee Martin’s posts about the race, I finally got to witness the circus myself last weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Rather than bore you with words, I will just show you the pictures I took. Actually, I will bore you with a few words. Enjoy.

This 1994 Volvo 940 was haulin’ ass and passing much nimbler cars in the corners.


Though more E30 BMWs were used than any other model, I could swear I saw more FC RX7s and Miatas. More than 170 vehicles competed last weekend.


This Harley-powered, chain-driven Prius was a crowd favorite.


There were quite a few obscure British cars in the lot, including this Austin America. A slow-as-molasses Hillman Imp competed and actually completed the race.


This W126 Mercedes turbo diesel was my favorite. It was big, red, and shiny. It reminded me of a super-sized DTM racer. The diesel engine could be heard from a mile away.


I never figured out what was underneath this “Jeep”. Help, guys?


Here is Bernal Dads Racing’s Volvo wagon. Friend of Hooniverse Telstar Logistics was one of its co-drivers.


I took this picture of this Fiesta because when was the last time you saw a Fiesta?


This W140 Merc just reminded me that one day, my Phaeton would qualify for the LeMons race.


This is a Ford Cortina, right?


The team did a great job converting this Porsche 914.


This shot of a Monaro/GTO is for Scandanavian Flick. The diversity of machines and creativity were truly astounding.


A Harlequin!


It was nice to see my first car, an Isuzu Impulse/Piazza with Handling By Lotus, in the race. I only learned after the race that UOP Shadow was an old timey F1 team.


Below are some odd-sized Instagram pictures I took.


The Alfas were by far the best sounding cars on the grid.


One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Hooniverse contributors Ray Lindenburg and Scott Ith. They and their team brought two twin engined Toyotas from Utah.



This poor guy in the middle hurt his neck and received chiropractic treatment right then and there.


Finally, this XJ12 was the first V12 powered car to complete a LeMons race. Kudos!


Images source: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jim Yu



  1. Nice, LeMons is definitely a sight to behold. A few things:
    -That widebody Volvo is packing a Chevy V8.
    -Is that a new car for the Bernal Dads? Last I saw, their longtime veteran Volvo 240 was "converted" to a Mazda Miata.
    -I believe the mail Jeep has Mustang running gear underneath.
    -There have been several V12 cars to compete in LeMons (Jags and Benz), but this was the first one to ever win its class.
    I was very impressed to see Scott's twin engine Corolla do so well on its maiden voyage. Congrats to those guys!

    1. Speedycop had a BMW V-12 in the T-bird for a race. I think it blew up before the start, and they fixed it in time for the last two laps.

    2. The Bernal Dads have two cars: The Molovo (the Volvo-skinned) Miata, and this one… The Whale. We only brought The Whale to Sears Point this year.
      The Whale is actually the older of the two, and a veteran of 14 LeMons races. It's SO fun to drive!

  2. How the heck did someone get a GTO in there? Even totaled, the engine/trans is worth well over $500. That one's an '04, but still…
    I could have sworn I remember a postal style Jeep with a Miata under it running in LeMons, but can't find anything. According to this C&D blog post, it "has received a frame-lengthening job, Ford 302 swap, and Toyota 4Runner rear axle swap." http://blog.caranddriver.com/24-hours-of-lemons-t

    1. They got a ton of penalty laps (I think it was in the millions) the first time they showed up with that car, but have since proven that it's not very reliable on the track, so the judges cut them slack now.

          1. I'd say it was a joke, but the real joke here is the stock GTO suspension…

          2. Ah, I didn't know it was so bad. But yeah, the team was prone to black flags, too, so the judges realized their car wasn't a threat to anyone.

      1. Thanks, Scott. I was wondering about the Goat. It definitely got a No F-sporting Way when I first saw it.

  3. For someone who has followed LeMons for a few years and been interested (if undermotivated) to participate, this apparent improvement in caliber of participants is a bit discouraging. That "$500" Alfa Spider looks cleaner than my dd Spider. Speaking of that Spider, did it undergo a heroic fix? He's tightening a head bolt that also secures the strap that's used to lift out the engine.
    I'm with Flick – I remember reading about a Miata in postal Jeep clothing as well.

    1. There are still plenty of crappy cars out there racing, they just don't get all the attention that the radical ones do. Having said that, in places like CA where there are more applicants for a race than open spots, you better make sure you do something interesting if you want to get in.

      1. If any of the Hooniverse overlords want to sponsor a broadly mechanically talent-free Englishman as a standby wrench / tea-boy for the cost of an airline ticket……

        1. I once drove in a race, so pay my travel bills and you've got that going for you.
          I mean, I lost, horribly, but I did drive.

        2. Actually, you should offer to pay for your plane ticket in exchange for a race-legal helmet and driving suit. I think you'd get the better end of the deal that way.

  4. Sorry I missed you out there, Jim. I was keeping my eye out, but I didn't cross paths with you. Did you find Pete and the BaconBee next to Scott's pit area?

  5. I like the Hooniverse for the Diversity
    The Good the Bad and the Ugly
    The Rare and the Rusty
    Something for every taste.

  6. Dagnabit, I just bought a 1994 Merc 350SD today, thinking it had never been done. Very nice W140, Lemony!

  7. Money always finds a way to ruin poor people's fun.
    LeMons racing is dead. Time for a new series.

    1. I see what you're saying, but I think it's still pretty entertaining. I think the more grassroots racers kinda just roll their eyes at the richer teams.

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