24 Hrs of LeMons: Rust-Bound Rotary Rides Again

There’s something heroic about a 40-year-old Mazda RX-2 that’s more rust than steel charging down the banked lanes of Texas World Speedway. In this case, however, one may just as easily witness a decidedly unheroic banzai-flagged Mitsubishi Cordia or sombrero-clad Chevy Monza doing the same. Such are the sights of the 24 Hours of LeMons, the not-misspelled enduro series in which $500 is the upper price limit of each participating car. 

As you can imagine, this series can deplete at an alarming rate stocks of vintage Japanese cars that have not quite reached collector value. But as LeMons tours various raceways around the nation it can occasionally become the venue for a forgotten heap’s triumphant last hurrah.

Such was the case for this Capella, whose previous owner had let it rot in a Gulf Coast swamp after its storage barn collapsed around it. Our friend Murliee Martin, LeMons Supreme Judge and beat reporter says that Sensory Assault (teams are encouraged to conjure wacky names and themed cosplay) dug out the rusty patina-ed rotary and began dropping a 13B two weeks before race start.

And like the city of Hiroshima from whence it came the RX-2 rose from its ashes to thrive again! Of course, some would not call coming 47th of out of 57 entries thriving. Yes, but as with all LeMons contests the real winner isn’t who crosses the finish line first (in this case a Black Gold-ish 280ZX) but which car defies expectations to finish at all. And in this particular round, the RX-2 took the Index of Effluency trophy, hands down.

[Images: Murliee Martin, Car and Driver]


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12 Responses to 24 Hrs of LeMons: Rust-Bound Rotary Rides Again

  1. shah_Malaysia says:

    remain in my memory….grandpa to all Mazda…this car have been used before by my dad…huh!! so historic!!!

  2. Derek says:

    team sensory assault is always a favorite of lemons.
    can someone clarify for me though; i thought the rx-2 was built under contract in new zealand.

  3. Tyler says:

    Always had a thing for Chevy Monza’s as well! It makes me sad to see cars like that and the Mazda in LeMons races when we in the Northern states are lucky to see them at all.

  4. Chuck says:

    As the owner and driver of this car, let me say that this will not be the last time it sees a track, but next time we will WIN!

  5. good luck chuck…all the best

  6. Kevin T says:

    Holy beater!

  7. Alan says:

    Where on god’s green earth do you find an RX-2 for $500?

  8. jB says:

    Makes a fellow Capella owner proud to see rusty kicking some azs for the old school. Great power to weight ratio now that half the paint along with half of the metal has flaked off. Acid dipping is so 80’s, they should be able to hold off the bigger piggys in the corners with no problem.
    Keep the old ones alive…

  9. Chuck says:

    For anybody that wants to keep up with this car please join our Facebook page

    Also pass the word


  10. Drive510 says:

    Racing that car is an awesome feat. The name ‘LeMons’ is a bit degrading to such classics but with limited race classes here in the US for your entry or average tuner, track time is valuable no matter how you slice it(pun intended). To Chuck and the rest of the gang, I’ll be following you guys on your facebook link. I am really looking forward to seeing more. Hope the car gets improvements as time goes forward. That first photo RULES!!

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