Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week: Dirty Duck’s 1983 Volkswagen GTI

Our kind of racing tends to be a bit tough on cars, so not many 24 Hours of Lemons teams have managed to get more than 30 races out of a single vehicle. The incredibly battered Eyesore Racing Frankenmiata is the king, having competed in 45 races since that first one in 2009. A few battle-scarred and wizened veteran cars such as the Black Flags Toyota Supra and the Scuderia Limoni Alfa Romeo Milano have attained the rarefied 30-race level, but only one Volkswagen team can make that claim: Dirty Duck Racing and their 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI.

Dirty Duck

The first race for the Dirty Ducks took place at Thunderhill Raceway in California: the 2010 Arse Sweat-a-Palooza. The magicians-with-rabbit-in-hat theme looked good. Note the shiny, unwrinkled bodywork on that GTI— it didn’t take too many paint-tradin’ Sears Point races to give the car some character.

Dirty Duck

The team has always mounted some sort of rabbit on the car’s roof. At the 2012 Arse Sweat, it was a stuffed rabbit standing alone.

Soon after, the team built a gigantic magician’s top hat for their car’s roof, and they fabricated a reciprocating apparatus to make the rabbit pop up out of the hat while on the race track. They change the theme from race to race; for 2014, for example, the animatronic rabbit celebrated the World Series win for the San Francisco Giants.

Dirty Duck

After 35 Lemons races, the Ducks have managed to win Class B but— like all of the quick-but-reliability-challenged Golfs in Lemons— have struggled with the very tough Class A competition in West Region Lemons events. Their best finish was fifth-overall at the 2014 Utah race. We love the Dirty Ducks, for their clean driving, good attitude, and creative judicial bribes, so it’s possible the judges might sneak them back into Class B again.