Super Piston Slap: Poorvette Fever!

Apart from the “real racers” who insist that the 24 Hours of Lemons is a joke, everyone understands the desire of this series to embrace engineering and artistic creativity, providing healthy entertainment and– the best ever – give away a metric ton of drive time for little money. As a member of the LeMons Supreme Court in their Texas careers, well, apart from the court’s bribes and ruthless accolades that have been bestowed on me…

…Here’s a dirty little secret: You can run lemons on any fully damped machine with ZERO PENALTY LAPS, regardless of vehicle quality when it was new. As you bend (not break) the rules with your whip. And to give everyone a good reason to love/hate you. La Poorvette is proof positive of that.

Now, it’s no secret, as Murilee Martin already mentioned how the Poorvette should have been buried under the penalty laps. But that was not the case. Why ?

  1. The team: Historically, they’ve been nice to everyone, before owning the C4 Corvette. Sometimes this goes a long way in determining penalty rounds, or lack thereof.
  2. Poorvette’s somewhat believable story: Being an old C4 (Tuned Port Injection) body with an LT-1/6 gear change gone bad (allegedly), then sold cheaply and broken up to fit the rules of LeMons.***
  3. Track Record: The American iron V8 has rarely endured LeMony racing, let alone with the fuel economy to match the more efficient metal’s infrequent stops. #nowinner
  4. Margin of error: you sure enjoy passing every lily liver hairy car in your tassic Vette, to the point where euphoria sends you a black flag. Then serious repercussions (often accompanied by zero penalty rounds) in the judging area… no chance of winning.
  5. Not winning is a big “win” for everyone: the fans have water for their mill, the enemies do their thing, and LeMons tells another crazy story.

This is clearly a win-win for everyone. Especially you, oh cheat racing team.

Courtesy photo: (

And how did the Poorvette do it? She led the pack, keeping everyone warm and bored. But then the stock fuel tank/pump had starvation issues in the corners, which was the icing on the cake after the power steering failed the day before during testing. you’re going fast, those Z06-style wheels are too wide for the lack of power steering to be acceptable. Still, the Poorvette probably had one of the best lap times as well, which means absolutely nothing in a drag race.

Hare, meet the tortoise…son!

Nonetheless, the Poorvette’s maiden voyage scored a respectable 6Y put on a weekend without favorable weather to the Corvette. Not bad considering the number of Porsche 944s that need a lot more work to achieve similar results. If so, don’t expect Judge Phil to go easy on the C4s again. Already.

Never mind, the crew of the Poorvette even won a Judge’s Choice Award, proving once again: we need more C4 at LeMons! Well, not exactly.

Perhaps more “taboo” cars other than the retired E30 or Spec-Miata variety. Like more Porsche 928s, rear-wheel drive Maximas bloated with Z-car parts, more cheater compact trucks (cough, RANGER, cough), and more GM sedans easily modified to DOMINATE in the slower classes: C and B. Not forgetting ultra-durable Panthers CVPI.

So there you have it: Good things happen at LeMons when you play your cards right. Thanks to Poorvette for trying this out.

*** Given the utter dominance of early C4s in SCCA at the time and their still impressive autocross performance today, the Poorvette team would do just as well at LeMons with the stock L98 with aluminum head and a 4+ gearbox 3 closed relationship. Its LT-1 swap and wide-ratio T-56 gearbox did very little for me. It’s a drag race, not a drag race!

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