22 August 2016

Making Lemonade: Concours d’LeMons is Monterey’s most refreshing event

Concours d’LeMons takes place on the heavily goose-pooped grass at Laguna Grande Park in Monterey, fitting for an event honoring so many turds. The free show is a celebration of “the oddball, mundane and truly awful of the automotive world,” is the perfect lighthearted complement to a weekend full of all-too-serious car business.

From Yugos to Panhards, DKWs to Mercury Lynx LN7s, fire-damaged Lincoln limos to swiss cheese Karmann Ghias, you’re guaranteed to come away with a smile and a headache when all is said and done. Alan Galbraith, who delivers the perfect blend of snark and sarcasm in his presentation, emcees the Concours along with Tim Suddard of Grassroots Motorsports, the perfect baritone color man.

The winner of this year’s highly coveted Worst in Show was a 1974 Bricklin, fully prepped for competition in the 24 Hours of LeMons series under the “Hella Shitty Racing” livery. On the dais, Galbraith asked the owner of the gullwing car what would happen in the event of a rollover on the track. “You’d die,” he said.

“What a way to cap this all off,” Galbraith said. “And what a letdown. Thanks for bringing it out. Now get it out of here.”

Other winners included an MG Midget limousine with no powertrain (Most Unsafe) and a 1972 Ford Country Squire wagon on a ’60s F250 dually pickup chassis — perhaps too cool for LeMons but a sight nonetheless (Rustbelt American Junk). A Volvo Amazon wagon took home the Swedish Meatball award, with lingonberries, Swedish Fish and pickled herring as the prize. “This is the result of bad credit,” Suddard said.

Claiming one of the “corporate awards” was a Peugeot 505 racecar towing a Peugeot 304. Galbraith presented the owner with the Double Turd Award, a poop emoji plush toy and a large metal sign with the word TURD in brown script.

If there were any complaints about this year’s event, they revolved around the quality of certain cars. Why anyone would think a clean, shiny C2 Corvette convertible is a lemon is beyond comprehension, but there were actually two of them. It is this writer’s opinion that next year’s entrants should be scrutinized more closely before admission to the concours. We can’t have people classing up the joint.

Learn more about the event at concoursdlemons.com, and find Hagerty’s video walkaround at hagerty.com/youtube.

5 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Kevin H Chino,Hills, CA August 24, 2016 at 17:17
    I know this piece was done as a bit of humor but I do want to point out that the Bricklin in its day, was a very safe car. Unless that "Bricklin owner" cut that Bricklin to pieces and patched it together, that car but for lack of modern airbags, would be the safest thing to be in if you were unfortunate enough that have an accident. Many "lucky" Bricklin owners can attest to that...
  • 2
    John Seaside,Ca. August 24, 2016 at 20:46
    Nice turn out this year for "Concourse d' Lemons"!
  • 3
    Steven Mandell California August 25, 2016 at 14:01
    The show needs an additional class to square up its entrants, as there are some opportunities being lost between the rust buckets, and cleaned up non notables. I propose a "Most ridiculously engineered production vehicle" award. There could also be room for a "Most unconventionally designed production vehicle"- just in case any of the bizarre concepts were to some degree partially functional. I think that the Flipper would have been a good candidate for winning the "Ridiculously designed" award. It would would be good to see other owners of similarly ridiculously designed, or extremely unconventionally designed "stock" cars (that most people have never even heard of), to be encouraged. This will have the effect of exposing future audiences to more shock and awe. Ignominy need not be limited to the mundane.
  • 4
    Steve Green Prunedale, CA August 25, 2016 at 12:39
    Attended my first Concours de LeMons this year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Many pleasing pieces of junk at the show, but also some very nice classic vehicles. As Rambler aficionados, the group of us from Pacific Gold Rush Rambler club were especially impressed by the two AMC Pacers. Looking forward to next year.
  • 5
    John V. B September 8, 2016 at 23:52
    Wish that I could have been there! We used to race a 318 powered 1971 Plymouth Fury in the Enduro races and never took ourselves too seriously. We actually drove our "race prepped" Fury (no side or back glass, no interior other than the driver's seat) about 8 miles to the track for the first race & cut the muffler off with a hacksaw in the parking lot as the rest of us removed the headlights and taillights and painted the numbers on the doors with Rustoleum and a paint brush. Out on the track, sometimes we'd even intentionally run into the other cars that thought that it was "real racing" just to make them angry, and our only rule for the driver was "As long as the car will move under its own power, you stay out there!" We ignored the temp, oil pressure, and other gauges that were installed by self-proclaimed "engineers" who thought that they were smarter than us.

Join the Discussion