Re: Lame-o unoriginal car choice penalties?
When you decide to field a Lemons car, you have to decide if you want to be competitive and get a car that has a chance of winning but is likely common, or go the completely odd-ball route and realize that your car will not win and likely will not finish.
While I respect and love the latter route, some teams (like ours) are forced to go with the former mindset due to talent/budget/equipment restrictions. It's a lot easier to go with some weird ass car if you have a whole shop, a ton of experience, and lots of tools at your disposal.
We picked an E30 because they have half a chance at finishing and maybe even winning (we lost that gamble at Altamont '08 - I still curse whatever German engineer decided the crank position sensor should run off the flywheel), are easy to find parts for, and have bolt-in roll cages available (we would not trust our lives on our own welding skills). Without these points, we wouldn't have had the chance to build up a race car at all.
I've seen some of the other teams blogs showing their cars being repaired on lifts in shops next to exotics and full blown race cars. If building our E30 in my buddy's navy housing garage (don't tell the HOA) using nothing but hand tools, a floor jack, and a bunch of Tecates is the "easy" way to build a Lemons racer, you might as well call some of the other team La-Z-Boys.
Forgetting the fact that there were only 3-4 E30s in the race before I decided to enter my own team (I had twice raced with another team previously), we knew that our car would be fairly common, so like Murilee said, we decided to go with a cool theme (at least in our opinion) which we have been improving on with every race. It also helps that it's self depreciating humor, and hopefully that'll piss off a few BMW ///nazis, heh.
Bottom line, don't penalize anyone for any car. If Jay and his crew deems the team acceptable, that should be enough.