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.
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