Last Call: Regal Dusk Edition

This past weekend there was a very special 24 Hours of Lemons race. It was special in the fact that it was an actual 24-hour race, from 11:00am to 11:00am the next day, as oppose to the typical lemons races that are broken up into two days and halted for the night.

The Hooniverse Buick ran in that race, unfortunately without me as I am in house renovation hell, and managed to finish 8th in class and 16th overall. That’s pretty good in my opinion, many others didn’t finish.

A true endurance race like this has a significantly different set of potential issues. Things that can typically be tended to at the end of day one, such as brakes, now need to be done during the race. More on that later. For now enjoy this glorious image of our Regal at dusk, courtesy of Ron Vickers. Click here to see the 357 other pictures.


    1. Smart idea for a business! I hate waiting at the shop for tires.
      (In my typical ADHD fashion, I read the post way too quickly and missed the parenthetical note. My squirrel brain then fired off with “What kind of van is that… Must be outside of LA, because that looks like a quiet suburb… And those road signs look odd… Is that Deutsch?” I should really be medicated.)

      1. They started with fixing construction vehicles, but they realized that people are willing to pay for service. I proposed to offer a “tire hotel”, so people would never have to touch their off-season tires, but he said that he needs to grow slowly first for another year or two – he might start with a “have your new tires shipped to me” service, but is wary about people picking the wrong size/load/speed index, and he would have to coordinate the process (he really has just a pair of garages for the business).

        The railway station is labelled “Landshut Bay.” – not helping

        1. Mobile tyre businesses are definitely a ‘thing’ now, even the local auto clubs (ADAC equiv.) are getting into it.

  1. Random car-related thoughts I’ve had so far this week:

    => I wish cars were available directly from the manufacturer through a fully custom-optioned order process. I’d be willing to delay my purchase for several weeks or more to get the options I want without paying for things that I don’t. I also think this would make it feasible for more manufacturers to offer less popular options (such as the manual transmission) that are increasingly excluded altogether because of the low take rate. Besides, I loathe the dealership experience.

    => People who don’t return grocery carts to the parking lot corral really piss me off, especially when it results in a blocked parking spot. That’s immensely lazy and selfish. It’s been raining here often of late, and people seem to do it more often in bad weather.

    => I saw a later-model Mercury Grand Marquis yesterday and thought “I forgot how cool those cars looked. That’d be fun with a 5-speed swap, a disco potato stuffed in the plumbing, and some suspension upgrades…” I’m not sure if I’m just getting old, or stupid, or both.

    => Either my (fairly new) tires aren’t made for standing water, or minivans just generally suck in slippery conditions. I’ve decided that when these tires wear out, I’m installing a set of all-terrains. I’ve already researched it, and there is one tire, the Yokohama Geolandar, available in the stock size. I may even run them white-letters-out just for the fun of it. I’ve used LT tires on a prior van before (then, for longevity), but never ATs.

    1. I think OEM’s have concluded that there are just a few options that people really want, but if they include it as a package, people will pay $1000 more to get the one bit of tech or performance equipment that standalone would only cost $500 if they throw in another $200 worth of color coordinated trim bits or LED marker lights or somesuch. Presto another $300 in profit!

      1. You’re absolutely correct. It’s engineered to generate profits. However, I think if they cut out the dealerships, they’d save enough money to maintain the profit they’re otherwise getting through the limited packages.

    2. My random car related thought: Why do electric cars follow the same basic design and proportions of ICE cars? They don’t need a radiator? There isn’t necessarily anything engine related under the hood. The only thing that the consumer needs to worry about servicing is the washer fluid. As long as you can meet safety qualifications, go wild with the design.

      1. BMW i3 and Jaguar iPace do that, retaining some front end for appearance and crash safety. Presumably Tesla sees the value in luggage space.

      2. I’d say they’re trying not to do anything radical that might throw off conventionally-minded buyers. Too much change might turn some people away. Tesla only nixed the grille, and I’ll be honest, I don’t like the look. Whereas old Porsches, VWs, and Corvairs remain interesting enough up front to do without, the bland nose of the Tesla needs something, even if it doesn’t need air.
        Besides, the space up front is good for storage, and you need crumple space to protect passengers. Lighting requirements, pedestrian impact standards, etc. all contribute to some standardization of design. But I think aesthetics are probably key.

        1. The front storage could potentially be a problem, and one of the drawbacks to a rear-engine car IMO. Eg if theoretically someone put a block of solid enough metal in there, that interfered with the crumple zone?

    1. Builds character? In my experience, not so much. But then again, our car blew the engine only a couple hours in (turns out it’s hard to find Simca engines in the mid west. Who knew?)

      1. Heck, it’s hard to find two-stroke SAAB engines during a Lemons race even in the middle of California, but honestly I wasn’t all that surprised.

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