The 24 Hours of LeMons has become a truly wonderful event for those folks who have that itch to go racing. It's far more affordable than your average racing series, it doesn't take itself very seriously (minus safety regulations of course), and it's filled with a community of people who are generally rather helpful and enthusiastic about the idea of racing really crappy cars. I had competed in LeMons races a few years ago, and I was eager to get back out there. That's just what I did recently up at Sonoma Raceway...in a car born 18 years before I was.
Our "race" car was a 1962 Ford Ranchero, and it wasn't exactly packing a ton of power. Under the hood sat a 200-cubic-inch inline six-cylinder engine from a slightly later model year Ford product. The original horsepower rating for the engine? Probably around 120. We upgraded the single barrel carburetor to a double-barrel unit, but we would've been quite happy if our engine was hitting the century mark in the power department.
The engine wasn't the problem for us, though, as it was backed up by a three-speed manual gearbox. Not on the floor, mind you, but up on the steering column. Yes, we were going racing and we'd be shifting a "three on the tree."
Want to see how it all ended for us? You have to click play on the video above. I'll give you one spoiler, though...we didn't make it to Day 2 of the event.