We’ve had plenty of great cars during the seven years the 24 Hours of LeMons has been lowering racetrack property values, including race vans, big fat luxury cars, donks, and aircraft, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who organize these races don’t have a long list of vehicles that we think need to be raced in our series. We’ve already shared Part 1 and Part 2 of our Cars We’d Like To See wishlist, and racers obliged by checking off the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and the Cadillac Catera. Now we’re adding some more cars that you should be able to find for LeMons money, if you’re resourceful and sell off a few parts to defray the initial purchase cost. Let’s check ‘em out!

Ford had the misfortune of releasing the Edsel during a severe recession (although Edsel fanatics speak darkly of a conspiracy with Robert McNamara plotting to destroy the Edsel in favor of the no-doubt-communist-favored Falcon), and the marque became a synonym for marketplace failure. Perfectly restored Edsels are worth decent money these days, but rusty beaters sitting in some farmer’s field may be had for scrap value or less. Bonus points for dropping a Jaguar V-12 into your LeMons Edsel!

Rover SD1
Sold as the Rover 3500 in the United States, the Rover SD1 was a rear-wheel-drive sedan with V-8 power and wiring by the Prince of Darkness. It’s hard to believe that we’ve never seen one in our race series, considering how cheaply you can find “distressed” examples on the List of Craig.

TVR 280i Tasmin
Also British and sporty but somewhat more challenging to find in North America, the TVR Tasmin a.k.a. 280i experienced rapid value depreciation the moment each one left the showroom floor. Many long-forgotten project TVRs sit under tarps in driveways throughout the land, the owner eager to take a few hundred bucks to get his white elephant gone. This car came with the 2.8 “Cologne” V-6 engine, which can be found in large quantities in various late-’70s American-market cars and trucks.

Given the large quantities of rough Jensen-Healeys sitting forlorn in garages and backyards around the country, coupled with their not-so-great resale value, we’re surprised that nobody has yet raced one of these cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons. Cheap British sports car with Lotus engine—what’s not to like?

First-generation Hyundai Excel
The first-gen Hyundai Excel was the only car that could come close to competing with the Yugo on price (yes, we’ve had a Yugo in LeMons before) back in the middle 1980s, and that fact alone makes it an excellent choice for your team’s next race car. We’ll put any reasonably close to stock early Excel in Class C, where it will compete against the likes of Iron Duke Chevy Citations and Subaru Justys.

Toyota Corona
The Toyota Corona was sold in the United States all the way up through the 1982 model year, and most examples were powered by the truck-torque-delivering R engine (which has earned a vivid reputation among LeMons racers). Imagine the engine-swap potential!

1986-1993 Pontiac LeMans
GM slapped some Pontiac badges on the Daewoo LeMans back in 1988, and the sixth generation of the LeMans name was born. A “high-performance” version, known as the GSE, was built for a few years, and that’s the one you want.

Opel Manta
We’ve seen plenty of Opel GTs and even a Kadett or two in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but what about the “German Camaro,” also known as the Opel Manta? In spite of the Manta’s celebration in song and film in its native land, no LeMons team has seen fit to race one. Rear-wheel-drive, manual transmission, German engineering—the Manta has it all!

Mitsubishi Sigma
We love all Mitsubishis in the 24 Hours of LeMons (though we’re getting a bit bored with the Eclipse and its Eagle sibling) and the Sigma is an ’80s-status-symbol Galant variant that would make us very happy.

First-Generation Honda Prelude
Later Preludes are commonplace in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but a first-gen example has yet to compete in a LeMons race. This car is small, light, cool-looking, and shares suspension and drivetrain parts with junkyard-plentiful Accords and Civics.

Volvo PV544
Just about every type of Volvo from the period between the Amazon to the 850 has been LeMon-ized, so we need to go back in time and get the Volvo that looks like a 1938 Detroit car: the PV544! These things were built through 1966 and are easy to find in diamond-in-the-very-rough form in the United States. Power comes from the built-for-centuries B engine, and engine swaps should be quite easy.

Merkur Scorpio
The Merkur XR4Ti, which was a rebadged Sierra, has been a staple of LeMons racing since the very beginning, but Ford also imported a bunch of Merkur-badged Ford Scorpio Mark 1s for the 1988 and 1989 model years and assigned them to the short-lived Merkur brand. You get the 2.9 liter Cologne V-6, which means sourcing engine parts won’t mean learning to speak German, plus just look at the thing!

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