Topic: WARTBURG CONTEST OVER: WINNER ANNOUNCED INSIDE!
After a month and 86 entries, the first-ever essay contest in which the prize was a three-cylinder, two-stroke East German crapbox is over. Without further ado, here are the top entries. Each runner up will receive five Lemons T-shirts, and the first place winner will be forced at gunpoint to Nelson Ledges on October 3-4 to retrieve one 1958 Wartburg 311 sedan. Without further ado....
HONORABLE MENTION: MS. FORTUNE COOKIE
I'd like to win this beautiful old gal because I met two wonderful women in the Hartford airport who were laughing about being on a LeMon team and they told me all about it and got me all excited and interested and made me promise I'd join them in the next effort. Aren't girl friendships great like that? Anyway, I'd like to bring something special. You know. Like cupcakes, only better. And I think the Wartburg outta just about do the trick.
Plus, given the fact that we're fielding an all girl team, she'd be a perfect addition! Besides, I feel a special connection to "Warty" because she and I were born the same year and we both have a bodacious pair of "headlights"! (Just saying.... but hey! Don't go checking to see if my serial numbers match now!)
Anyway, I'm betting that after a little TLC from her team's all female fingers, we'll have her 7 moving parts purring like a kitten and she'll have a wicked little rear end motion going and some junk in her trunk, too. (Maybe we can even find her a German made bra? Yah?) Besides, who doesn't want to see the all female version of greased lightning? We'll make Warty a Pink lady you'll NEVER forget!
Love and kisses from the all the lil Misses but especially from Ms. Fortune Cookie
SECOND RUNNER UP: CHRISTIAN WARD
You see, I’ve got this pack of buddies, of course everyone does, unless you’re some toothless freak who lives under a bridge, like that overpass in Miami where they make the sex offenders live (I’m not making that up, google it, it’s for real). But I digress, as I so often do. I’ve got a pack of buddies, good friends who would not only have you back in a bar fight, but would have already made friends with the bouncer before we walked in, ensuring we’re not the ones getting tossed out.
I approached them in 2007 with an idea, that honestly, wasn’t that odd considering what we have done before (most of it is still in litigation, so I can’t discuss it here). “Let’s enter a race for $500 cars!” Most of them shrugged and said “Sure.” It’s not that they weren’t excited, we were just a strip club and they were distracted. Not in the way you think, it was a very bad strip club and the Red Sox game was on the TV.
And we did. Military schedules interfered and the driver’s roster had to change a bit, but the lot of us gutted and raced a clapped out Thunderchicken in Altamont California and had the freaking weekend of our lives. That’s saying a lot, because I met this pack in Las Vegas where we were all living at the time.
Live and careers have scattered us to the four corners of the world (Seriously, Afghanistan, Germany, Guam, Omaha) but we have been planning a not so triumphant return the dizzying glory of Lemons ever since that scorching summer afternoon watching our twisted car dump its life’s blood onto the twisted front A arm.
And suddenly, there it shines, on my dual monitor screen as I sit in my cubicle farm here in Colorado. A 1958 Wartburg, indeed as I stare on Jalonipik dot com, the angels themselves sing a heavenly note from above, for my prayers have been answered. To be honest, they are Soviet-era angels who chain smoke unfiltered cigarettes with the quality of lawn clippings, so chorus sounds like dozen Dr Girlfriends’ making vroom-vroom noises. Ahh the sweet sound of music to my ears.
Why me, why team “Polish Military Staff” (You like that? I just made that up, right then)? Well you’ve got some nerve asking me that! Oh wait, that’s why I am writing this. Well I suppose every submission deserves it, but can all of them actually make it? I will be relocating to Edmond, Oklahoma (population 74881, Saaaalute!) in September to be re-united with some of my sporadic gearhead buddies, one of which owns no less than 4 Honda N600s, a S600 and a 1968 Mini truck. So he knows axis powered motorcycle drivelines in small cars. I myself have a 1965 Mercedes Fintail (another choice of other Lemons Competitors of lore) slowly oozing diesel and rust chips onto my driveway as I type this. None of them run, so you can see how this team is shaping up (oh wait, I mean he’s a good mechanic…crap, I knew I should have used a computer instead of a typewriter!). But we are experienced GRM Challengers, previous Lemons folks, lively autocrossers and generally all around good dudes. Except for that one time in college and I swear, that tiny pony was asking for it.
Allow me the slight indulgence of our military background. Now, imagine, the former glory of the “Iron Curtain” Soviet Empire being driven to its doom by freedom loving, insane patriotic gearheads! Yeah OK, it’s not the glory of the cold war empire, but certainly as close of a relic as we can get without a Trabant, which I think the EPA rules made illegal to crush.
What I can guarantee is a group of capable gearheads, low on cash, lower still on skill, but big on dreams armed with a cache of sawzalls, at least craftsman tool boxes, two welders and a lot of good beer (of which I’ll be happy to send you. I mean Colorado is the largest concentration of microbreweries in the US and a case could “accidentally” end up on your doorstep…) that will leave that mighty car as original as possible, save for the red star on the door and the staff flags, with a solid safety additions and if we can’t make that engine turn over, another equally worthless power plant in its place, that will adhere to both the spirit and intent of competition that dominates the 24 Hours of Lemons. You will have the smiling-est, uncompetitive car out there, acting as if it has a chance (not in a dickheaded “smash you” kinda way, but in a “never say die, hand me the duct tape” kinda way), and I can probably assure you that only the guy who actually shaves his legs (you know, for speed, it’s not gay) will be the one in the mini-skirt.
Can we win? No. Can we try? Hell yes. Will we have fun at Lemons Texas in Houston? Dam skippy! I already have a plan, you see, I got this group of buddies….
Thanks for your time, (and I am not kidding about the beer.)
Capt W. Christian "Mental" Ward
FIRST RUNNER UP: ONRAILS
Give me the car.
I have a 3 year old daughter. A 4 month old daughter. We're renting a room to a local college student. Also a girl. It's not a 'Dear Penthouse' type of situation, either. Even the dog is a girl. I'm getting a vasectomy in a month and a half. My dreams of a race car are died in a flurrey of daycare, formula, diapers, ballet outfits, Disney Princesses, and a house that smells like moisturizer and fruity candles and looks like a pink plastic grenade blew up in the living room.
Give me the car.
If nothing else, this will guarantee that I can get out of the house for a weekend, free to burp, fart, and scratch myself. The fact that a race may be involved and I can drive in it too? Icing on the cake. Maybe I'll get lucky and the engine will blow early so I can sit in my POS Wartburg and get some sleep behind the ARMCO, lulled there by the scent of unburned gas, burned oil, shredded tires, melting aluminum, lousy cigars, and stale beer.
Please, for the love of Steve McQueen, give me the car.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: JIM THWAITE
Where do I start? I guess I should first say, from one evil genius to another this is brilliant. Only an evil genius such as yourself could find a way to get people to beg him to take a Wartburg off his hands. And having a bit of that streak in myself I must say this car belongs in the evil genius family so it can live out its full potential.
Add to this you would be saving me from the absolute mediocrity imposed upon me when my team handed me a Toyota to build for our Lemons chariot. Where is the potential for evil goodness in that? Where is the flair, the panache? Vanilla is not a flavor I tolerate well. As sure as a swift shot from Auric's gun could have easily ended Mr. Bonds life a Toyota will be swift, accurate and reliable. But Mr. Goldfinger appreciated the flourish of genius, no matter how doomed to fail that the laser brought to the situation. Let this Wartburg be my laser as I set out on my hopeless yet entertaining mission to upset the 007's of this world.
Right from the outset let me tell you I will not be so mundane as to put a small block V8 anything into a gift of this uniqueness. I think this situation would call for a bit more flair and well, hopelessness. I have, sitting now in my garage, a 101,000 mile Studebaker straight 6. And not one of them fancy schmancy reliable flathead 6's. No this is one of the maligned OHV 6s which helped to doom Studebaker later in it's life. And why stop there, I'm thinking this requires mid-mounting in the car, just to ensure no one mistakes it for one of those mundane Wartburg's with a Studebaker 6 in the engine bay.
To be honest from the moment I saw this car I had impure thoughts about what could be. Not those wholesome family impure thoughts like I had when I met my wife's little sister. No, I'm talking about full blown, bottle of Bacardi, some used 40 weight, a Wartburg and me wearing nothing but a smile, kind of impure thoughts.
But I digress, I have a well established history of insanity when it comes to oddballs. My first autocross car was a 1973 VW Squareback with an automatic. I built a wide body Yugo...just to prove I could.
I have issues and I'm proud to admit it. I did not come by the name Misfit Toys Racing by accident, it was thrust upon me by other local racers who always remarked at the litany of oddballs I would bring to races.
Unconvinced? Did I mention I have owned one of every body style Lancia Beta ever made? Coupe, Zagato, Scorpion and HPE. I've suffered through Alfas, Fiats, Triumphs, Austin Healeys, MGs and a myriad assortment of other misfits but up until now something has been missing. Today I realize, that something is a Wartburg. Choose me and I will be able to look you in the eye and say "You complete me".
Remarkably my wife did not immediately hit me with a frying pan when I mentioned I wanted this car. She took a moment to set down her phone first, then took a swing. But she is understanding, and more importantly she realizes the more time I spend in the garage the less time I'm annoying her. Therefore I cannot promise the high quality amusement of marital discourse but I can pretty much guarantee my teammates tie me greased and naked to the hood and take parade laps to punish me for thrusting this upon them.
Generally all of the above might seem enough to make me seem like a complete loon. But please don't pass judgment until you hear me out on this final point. 2010 was to be the year of the Trifecta of Crap for my team. 1 car, 1 year, 3 events. BABE Rally, Lemons and GRM challenge. With this in mind the Toyota makes very good sense. I've never much cared for making sense, as you can tell by reading this diatribe. The Wartburg, oh god, the Wartburg is nonsensical as Dr. Seuss on a 3 day meth bender, it deserves this glory, I deserve this torment. I need this car. Now you may deem me a complete loon, but just as you couldn't turn away while that laser inched toward Bond's naughty bits, you know you want to witness the spectacle we will create.
The grand prize winner will also receive a three-pack of freshly-brewed Doppelhubig Brau (Two-Stroke Brew) made at the Brew Keeper in Cleveland!
Congratulations to Jim (we think), and a big thanks to everyone who participated!