Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week: The Do Or Die Cadillac Hearse

Three of the first four 24 Hours of Lemons races took place at Altamont Motorsports Park in Northern California, site of the infamous Altamont Free Concert of 1969, and a handful of cars from the 2006 and 2007 races still compete to this day. One machine that raced in just two of those events, the July and October 2007 Altamont races, disappeared from the Lemons radar after that year but made a big impression on those who witnessed it in action: the Do Or Die Cadillac hearse.

The Lemons organization was still learning how to keep a lid on excessively crashy behavior (not to mention sketchy repairs) during those early days, and the tight confines of the Altamont course gave big cars an advantage when contesting the line.

The Do Or Die hearse was by far the heaviest thing on the track, and its drivers weren’t afraid to throw their car’s weight around and shove smaller competitors to the side.

In the words of Scott Chamberlain (who went on to build the most famous Lemons car of all time as well as donning the sacred robes of the Lemons Supreme Court), “Some of the larger cars took advantage of the traffic to go barreling into turns like a shark diving into a school of minnows. Team Do Or Die (the hearse) was one of them.”

My recollection of the Do Or Die hearse was that it resembled a flipper on a pinball machine, gathering up CRXs and B210s and hurling them into the tractor tires as it slid wide through corners.

Still, the spectators loved the sight of a hearse going wheel-to-wheel with all those racy German cars, so our memories of this onetime terror of the track have mellowed in the 13 years since we last saw it.