The Lemons Rally has now covered more than 1,400 miles this week and the end is nigh. The second annual Retreat From Moscow has included all kinds of awesome: Lemons Rally’s first mid-rally engine swap, a full run with four grown men in a convertible, and 66 more of the hooptiest cars still on the road.
The highlight of the day was the meet-up at the Deal’s Gap Resort at the top of Route 129. The famed road—aka the Tail of the Dragon—puts more than 300 turns into 11 miles, which serve as one entryway into Tennessee from North Carolina.
Deal’s Gap opened up their parking lot for a car show, provided the rallygoers could clean up after themselves. Competitors hung out and shot the breeze just before the rains came in the mid-afternoon.
Aside from 60 janky heaps on a windy mountain road, the biggest story circulated around the Straight Outta Crapton ‘63 Chevy Impala, which led the rally on points after Day 2. The team had pulled the car out of a barnyard with a stuck engine a few weeks ago. After more than 1,000 miles, the Impala’s 230 cubic-inch inline-six engine finally gave up with a terminal connecting-rod failure.
Not giving up #1 We are thrashing away and gonna hit all the checkpoints we can after we get this motor in!!!! The motor swap going down in autozones parkinglot #teamstraightoutofcrapton #greatsmokymountains #RouteBook #LemonsRally #HellOnWheels #RoadTrip #Hoopties #WinterRally #Rally #Rallying #EastCoast #Pennsylvania #Virginia #Maryland #NorthCarolina #Tennessee #Alabama #virginiabeach #Charlotte #Nashville #Birmingham #LemonsWorld #HooptieScenes
Naturally, the team stuck to it, found a CraigsList Chevy 250, rented a box truck and a trailer dolly, and then set up shop in an AutoZone parking lot. In just a handful of hours, they had a new, running engine and were off again before sunset. They even got a hug from the AutoZone manager.
Meanwhile, the second-place LDOT team continued to run with their Ford Mustang Convertible roof down, even in a rainstorm on the way through the Wild West that is I-40 in Tennessee. That’s dedication and they’ll still be in second place.
The rally winds down on Friday with visits to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee, and Waterloo, Alabama, like a proper Napoleonic adventure. The awards ceremony takes place in the paddock of the 24 Hours of Lemons race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birimingham, Alabama.