24 Hours of Lemons 2018 Season Champions

By: Judge Phil "Murilee Martin" Greden. Photo Credits: Murilee Martin, Nick Pon, Eric Rood.
December 14, 2018

We just wrapped up the final event of the 20-race 2018 24 Hours of Lemons season, and the member of the Lemons brain trust have put their heads together and determined the winners of the subjective 2018 awards. As for the objective awards, well, those are determined by cold, hard numbers.

2018 National 24 Hours of Lemons Team Champion: ONSET/Tetanus Racing
 

As is so often the case, the struggle to get the most team points came down to the wire, with the action at the Road Atlanta race determining the top team of 2018. A team gets three points for managing to get at least one lap out of their hooptie; a top-ten finish yields one to ten points (one point for tenth, two points for ninth, and so on). The sprawling ONSET/Tetanus Racing team, sort of the bewilderingly complex Austro-Hungarian Empire of race teams, has ten total cars and outposts in the West, Gulf, and South regions. The team competed in ten races and gathered an amazing 85 total points; the highest ONSET/Tetanus finish was seventh overall, but the sheer volume of entries resulted in a dominating points total.


Verti-Gogh Racing, a California-based Porsche-driving outfit, got 85 points as well. The team’s trio of Porsche 944s competed in six Western events and grabbed a bunch of Top 10 finishes (typically, one Porsche runs while the other two break and donate parts).


However, the official Lemons rules state that the oldest car wins tiebreakers. Verti-Gogh’s oldest car is a 1986 Porsche 944, while ONSET/Tetanus Racing runs a 1963 Volvo PV544 with GM LZ9 V6 engine out of a Chevy Uplander. That means ONSET/Tetanus wins the tie. Congratulations, vast crowd of ONSET/Tetanus racers!

2018 24 Hours of Lemons Constructor Championship: MG and American Motors

If you want to be a real nit-picker about the points championship for vehicle manufacturers, BMW wins with 365 points, Mazda comes in second with 176 points, and Nissan gets third with 90 points. However, we noticed that AMC and MG both grabbed top-ten finishes at Lemons races (the Magically Delicious AMC Gremlin at the Get Yer Phil 500 in Colorado and the Silversleeves Racing MG 1100 at the Pacific Northworst race in Washington), which—by our very scientific calculations—suffices to kick those Beemers and all the rest off the podium. Be proud, residents of Kenosha and Longbridge Nanjing!

2018 24 Hours of Lemons Deconstructor Championship: Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles

While General Motors grabs more Index of Effluency trophies than any other manufacturer, the Lemons race cars of the FCA empire really stood out for their combination of visual appeal and heartbreaking reliability woes.


The Lancia Scorpion of McDad’s Racing/A Fart set a new nadir for FCA Lemons suckitude, somehow managing to be harder to fix than even the legendary Sugar Skulls Dodge Spirit R/T of a few years back. If you think you can break the curse of this car and be the automatic IOE front-runner at any race you enter, it’s for sale.


We gave a team based out of a tow-yard/scrapping operation, Pacific Motors, budgetary carte blanche to go ahead and drop the V10 engine out of a Dodge Viper into a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, because wouldn’t you? Surely this would provide bragging rights for FCA fans!


Three laps in, the mighty luxo-snake’s V10 blew the hell up.


What really sealed the Deconstructor’s Championship for FCA, in our minds, was the hilariously miserable performance of the first-ever Chrysler TC By Maserati at the Where the Elite Meet to Cheat race in Michigan.

2018 24 Hours of Lemons Coppa di Bondo Award: Duff Beer

The Coppa di Bondo prize goes to the team we think was the best of the entire season, and the 2018 CdB is something of a lifetime-achievement prize as well. Duff Beer started in Lemons with a garden-variety Civic back in 2011, but eventually the madness took hold. The team built the first electric car in Lemons history (a 1981 Jet Electrica 007) last year, then added a chuggingly slow Mercedes-Benz diesel sedan, and capped it all off by running the first-ever Triumph Stag in our series… and making it run all weekend.


Well done, Duff Beer!

2018 Spirit of Lemons Award: Team Lowball

The AMC-driving Texans started out with a Levi’s Edition Gremlin X (which, sadly, got destroyed in a crash at the Houston race last month), then added a 1977 AMC Hornet Sportabout, and finally showed up to the Smells Like AMC Spirit race with an AMC Spirit they’d bought on the way from Texas and race-prepped (including welding in a roll cage from scratch) in the paddock.


There are driver and team awards for each of the five Lemons regions as well, and you can take a look at those winners rat cheer.

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