If you have been following the madness of the 24 Hours of Lemons racing series, you know that fast cars mix it up with slow cars on the same track, while broken cars come in all speeds. Class A is for the quick and maybe-reliable cars, Class B is for the somewhat pokier cars (and the quick ones that we all know will break frequently), and then there’s Class C. This is the class dearest to the hearts of the Lemons organizers, and we reserve it for the awesomely sluggish, outstandingly unreliable, and just plain spectacular entrants. Sometimes, though, a theoretically-not-so-terrible car can be placed in this most prestigious class via the Class C Loophole, and the wise and fair justices of the Lemons Supreme Court have slammed the Class C Gavel-O-Justice down on four new machines.
The way the Class C Loophole works is simple: You bring a completely stock (other than mandatory safety items) car that the judges have proclaimed as an official Class C Loophole car, we put it in Class C until it (or another vehicle of the same type) wins Class C at a race. Why do we do this? Because the judges want to see these cars on a race track! And, to be honest, most of the Class C Loophole cars of the past have been so soul-shreddingly horrible in races that the teams involved wish they’d never even heard of our stupid car suggestions. Past examples have been the Chrysler LH Class C Loophole (see photo, above) and the Dodge Spirit R/T Class C Loophole (the car didn’t finish a single lap), and now we want to see some late-20th/early-21st-century Korean luxury in a Lemons race. Let’s take a look at the four cars that now enjoy Class C Loophole status.
Korean Luxury Class C Loophole 1: Daewoo Leganza
Here we’ve got a stately Giugiaro-designed luxury sedan, built in Bupyong, South Korea, and equipped with a Holden-derived 133-horse engine driving the front wheels. You’ll find plenty of these Japanese-Detroit-Korean-Australian thoroughbreds priced at or below scrap value, and junkyards still have generous inventory stocks. Class C!
Korean Luxury Class C Loophole 2: Suzuki Verona
For reasons we don’t understand, the Leganza wasn’t a stunning sales success in the United States, so in 2004 the second-generation Leganza was sold in the United States as a Suzuki: the Verona. It was bigger and plusher than the Leganza, and it boasted a thunderous 155 horsepower from its transverse-mounted straight-six engine. Yes, you read that right— Daewoo squeezed an inline-six engine sideways into the Verona’s engine compartment. Class C!
Korean Luxury Class C Loophole 3: Kia Amanti
Have the judges lost their minds, allowing a car sold new as recently as 2009 to race straight-up in Class C? Perhaps they have, and now you have the opportunity to beat all those Chevy Citations and Datsun F-10s in Class C by hundreds of laps in your 264-horsepower Korean statuswagon. Keep in mind, however, that we know of a team preparing an Amanti for the upcoming South Carolina race, and the loophole closes on the Amanti if they win the class. Class C!
Korean Luxury Class C Loophole 4: Hyundai XG
The judges of the Lemons Supreme Court have been haranguing teams about our powerful desire to see a Hyundai XG300 or XG350 in a Lemons race for years now, and yet nobody has accepted this
challenge opportunity. The XG was sold in its homeland of South Korea as the Grandeur— Grandeur!— and was the successor to the Hyundai-badged version of the fabulous Mitsubishi Debonair, a Yakuza mob-boss car if there ever was one. 1998-2004 XGs may be found for next to nothing these days, and they have close to 200 rampaging V6 horsepower driving the front wheels. Class C!
The Chrysler LH Loophole still stands, but we think you’d be more likely to dominate with a Leganza, Verona, Amanti, or XG. Remember, to qualify for the Class C Loophole, the car must be absolutely stock— no stiffer springs, no extra transmission coolers, no Smokey Yunick-style rule-bending; the judges will kick your cheatified Leganza into Class B if they smell wrongness. To be sure your car qualifies before you spend money caging it, it’s smart to discuss it with Judge Phil (i.e., yours truly) early in the process.