Saturday, July 29, 2017

Concours d'Lemons: Now For Something Completely Different--Plymouth, Michigan, July 29, 2017

A short walk from the parking lots where the Cars & Coffee event of the Concours d'Elegance of America was being held, we came to car counterculture event organized by the people who do the 24 Hours of Lemons, where anything can become a race car.  The Concours d'Lemons is the concours equivalent of the ridiculous race, a series of shows held across the United States to celebrate "the oddball, mundane and truly terrible of the automotive world."  So, lots of competition for various awards, including "Worst in Show."

Classes were based on national origin, and none were very complimentary.  Sadly, no "Needlessly Complex Italian" car was present.  Asian cars were exhibited behind a sign that read "Soul Sucking Japanese Appliance."  That said, we rather liked this 1989 Honda Acty pickup truck--it was so kawaii!

Although some of the cars were not in very good shape, many of them showed read pride of ownership.  The Corvair Club was in big attendance, its members obviously having a sense of humour since the Corvair, damned as it was by Ralph Nader, was actually a highly innovative car.

Some cars were just mediocre.  Who remembers the Dodge Mirada, built from 1980-83, as a cheaper alternative to the Chrysler Cordoba?  Although Miradas actually raced with some minor success (17 top 10 finishes for one team) in spite of really poor aerodynamics, the Mirada at the show had been apparently raced at one of the 24 Hours de Lemons events.  It was not an unattractive car in the day but Chrysler was in dire financial straits and cost-cutting was the order of the day when it came to things like interiors.  Comparatively few (53,000) were built--an emblem of the Malaise Era in Detroit (or Windsor, where the Mirada was built alongside the Cordoba).

What were we thinking of back then?  Nice vinyl siding on this Ford wagon...

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