Class: Rust Belt American Junk - Ford
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Is it junk? No. Is it the absolute ethos of Malaise-era excess? Well, also no. That's probably the Bill Blass Continental, but the '78 Grand Marquis comes close! An ashtray for every passenger, enough velour to make your Italian uncle sweat with jealousy, 7.5L of iron block V8 making all of 220 horsepower and 5 foot long doors that weigh 250+ pounds each. When you wanted the fellas down at the mill to know you had arrived, but didnt want to shell out Continental money, you pulled up in this bad boy. Which is exactly what my grandfather did after ordering this car from the dealer back in March of 1978. Having covered only 50,000 miles since '78 this couch on wheels, this OPEC flaunting barge of yesteryear, has many more years of taking up 2 parking spots and single handedly undoing the environmental benefit of a fleet of Teslas ahead of it. 2020 Amelia Island Concours d'Lemons Sight for Sour Eyes winner.
This wonderful example of Malaise Era engineering is my 1976 Ford Maverick with the uncommon 302 V8 on board with all the goodies such as power steering (which never worked) along with the barely functioning power brakes and air conditioning. I picked it up at auction not knowing if it would run but thought it would make a fun challenge for me and my son. Well, we got lucky and the engine wasn't seized up. After some tinkering and some money, we got the original engine to run and had a nice little cruiser that everyone loved but nobody wanted to own. We would visit the local car shows and everyone has a Maverick story such as "my aunt had one..." or "that was my first car...". With all my other distractions and projects, I never had time to make this car 100%. I have been trying to sell this thing for about a year and someone finally claimed it as their own. So the old Maverick is off on new adventures with its new owner.
Because he should be taken out behind the barn and shot.
[OR you can skip all this and just watch the "music" video below]
Presented for your consideration is this unrestored 1990 Ford E350 with historic provenance and unique décor.
Purchased at auction by the late auto journalist and racer Tony Swan in the mid-1990s, this retired So Cal public utility fleet vehicle retains its original “utility yellow” paint and lemony patina, interrupted only by a splash of baby blue latex house paint applied by a back-alley walk-by Jackson Pollock wannabe. Yes, that makes it an Art Van. (Only readers familiar with Midwestern furniture store chains will get that.)
Used as a tow vehicle for decades of SCCA and Lemons races, Old Yeller’s utility was enhanced by Swan’s master carpentry with the addition of a bunk in the rear—perfect for sleeping at racetracks during those hard times between stints writing for major automotive publications.
Old Yeller has appalled competitors at tracks ranging from Nelson Ledges and Mid-Ohio to Grattan and Gingerman and, yes, even the famous Flatrock Speedway in Michigan for an early 24 Hours of Lemons event on its quarter-mile oval. (“Speed” and “paved” are words that should not be associated with that track. And yes, it was a real 24. Today’s Lemons drivers are only dumb; back then they were idiots.)
For about three years in the early 2000s, Old Yeller became home to several generations of wasps while serving as a storage shed behind Car and Driver’s Hogback Road location in Ann Arbor. He was resurrected when nearby tenants complained about staffers’ wrecked race cars and support vehicles baking in summer sun and blocking winter snowplows.
After rehabilitation, which consisted mainly of removing the wasps and filling the tires, Swan’s wife, Mary Seelhorst, dubbed Old Yeller “The Hovercraft,” in honor of his terrifyingly vague rack and piñata steering.
Following Swan’s death in 2018, Seelhorst considered adding a roll cage and entering Old Yeller in the 24. Luckily she came to her senses when an Ypsilanti neighbor, Michael Newberry, expressed his undying love for OY and pledged to keep him in the 'hood if only she would sell him. Newberry restores houses and needed a monster van to haul tools, clawfoot tubs and the like. (He's about the same age as Old Yeller and thus too young to know better.)
Seelhorst was persuaded to sell, but in a confounding and inexplicable turn of events Old Yeller remains parked in her garage, taking up every available inch of space not occupied Team Hell Kitty’s Prelude Si; still available for occasional schlepping of Hell Kitty as needed. It's the worst of all worlds, but nostalgic nonetheless.
Newberry and Seelhorst had planned to enter OY in the Concours d’Lemons in Michigan this month but, alas, these videos will have to do. We felt good about our chances locally, even in the heart of Rust Belt American Junk country. But now that we’re competing in the Wide World of Junk we’ll have to resort to bribery. Seelhorst does know a few of the judges...
I have a friend who brings her '60 Edsel to the actual Concours d'Lemons, so I want to make sure we get one in here if she doesn't present hers.
For your consideration dear judges is a factory tri-tone '58 Edsel Corsair 2 door Hardtop. Chalk Pink, Charcoal Brown Metallic, and Snow White (optional dwarfs not included). I'm alleged to be the 4th owner. It runs! It Drives! It embodies the EDSEL acronym - Every Day Something Else Leaks!
Mary Kay your Uber is here
Not a bad 20 footer!
Look! the optional engine compartment cooling vents!
So wide it barely fits under or on a lift
And what self loathing d'Lemon could call itself an EDSEL be without pushbuttons* in the steering wheel?
(*and for some reason these actually still work)
I assume I can't win anything (nor do i deserve such an honor) but I'd like to share my MAGNIFICENT project car that kinda runs and kinda looks amazing from certain vantage points: my resto-mod 1983 Continental Valentino.
It's based on the Fox Chassis, hence why I couldn't resist the restomodding via Mustang powertrain and suspension bits. Nothing crazy, just a lot of period correct parts if you were a mentally compromised Ford geek interested in upgrading Ford's malaise era engineering to the finest bits available for Mustangs in the mid-1990s.
Which is, of course, not a stupid vision at all.
It looks big but trust me, since it's a Fox, it's actually tiny by today's standards.
And yes the Valentino-only color scheme was hand selected by Valentino Garavani himself. Or maybe by one of his assistants...who knows.
Nothing but the finest engineering from 1995 for me.
It's only a Lemon on the outside...but I better relish the contrast as long as I can.
Beige sedan, blah styling, no A/C (in Arizona!) and it's a manual. This car was on its way to the scrap heap when I decided I didn't have enough misery in my life. The roll down windows compliment the tape deck. The 16" moons compliment nothing. Thanks for looking at my eyesore.
Significant only to residents of California, this is the California High Speed Fail—-The Bullet Drain. Based on a 1975 Lincoln Towne Coupe (the high performance model), this vehicle previously participated in the 24 Hours of Lemons as the Fir Burger-Express Delivery, and the Phony Express. Due to poor judgement, in a desire to keep the ‘racing weight’ light, the body is made of foam insulation panels. I learned that these are not conducive to accepting a paint job. After about 8 coats of paint, and many applications of permanent marker (which is not permanent after about a week in the sun), it is what it is. The exhaust ports in the rear are set up to blow Monopoly money all over the track, representing your hard earned tax dollars blowing away in the wind. The difference between this train and the official mega million dollar government one, is that this one exists. It is licensed, but after sitting outside a while, it doesn’t quite look as good now as it did in the photo.
@lemon @24hoursoflemons @lincoln
My grandpa bought this 1978 Ford F-250 back in late 1977. It’s been passed around the family ever since and according to him it’s mine now. It has a 390 in it but I can’t show it off because the hood latch is caught, there is no back window, it’s all original, and it was hand painted with a paint brush by my great grandpa who was like 90 at the time so the paint is not the best either. And the body is not straight by any means. Either way I have still grown up hearing lots of stories about how my family would take this thing from California to Miami and back constantly as well as taking it to the beach and using it as a work truck and at one point a place to camp in. It’s definitely not it the best shape but it’s still an important part of the family!
Faster Than The Cops!!
When you think about outrunning the cops, guaranteed the first car that pops into your head is a Ford. A Ford Truck? American made Built Ford Tough!! Back when my dad was a young rebel with too much time on his hands he was cruising around looking for love when he got pulled over by a cop for speeding. He talked his way out of the ticket and promised the cop he wouldn’t be CAUGHT speeding again. The very next night, sure enough, he’s out seeing just how fast that 1932, V8 Flathead Ford power horse could go! Flying through an intersection he makes eye contact with the same cop! Lights immediately start flashing, and the chase is on! Well that ol’truck had more than you’d expect! My dad got far enough ahead and pulled in behind his house and hid the truck!! Nothing says “It’s Built To Last” than a truck, a half century later still in the witness protection program hiding from a cop!
Not junk. It's only saving grace is its originality. 85 LX with a 3.8 V6 and 85k miles and no AC
Amazingly the car came from Michigan last year and has no rust. I freshened the the brakes and suspension; replaced the 20 year old Sears Road Handler Michelin radials and upgraded to 15 inch wheels and gave her a tune up.
This 1970 Ford Maverick was saved from a life of sitting on movie sets as it had done since the nineties. I believe this to be the car Johnny Depp, as Hunter S. Thompson, drove in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. For sure it was Dylan’s car in Modern Family and was used on the OC and in SWAT.
As is the case with many picture cars, the least amount of effort was put into keeping this car in a state where it could be driven fifty feet at a time. The thermostat was plugged, which they remedied by adding an overflow bottle to the radiator. The original one year only fuel tank was poorly replaced with a more common ‘65-‘67 Mustang piece mounted sideways. Body filler was added in places that lacked dents to give the illusion that someone actually cared about this car.
Plans are to make this car somewhat reliable and hopefully safe for an upcoming Lemons Rally.
My 1979 Ford Pinto Squire Wagon. Its Tangerine paint and plaid interior won the "Sight for Sour Eyes" award at the 2019 Concours d'Lemons at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, MI