The opening day of the “Retreat From Moscow” brought everything you would expect from a trip to Buffalo in January. The second LeMons Rally opened with frigid car inspections at AJ Auto Center in Moscow, Pennsylvania, and the appearance of 56 of the hooptiest road cars every assembled in one place. You want snow? We got that. You want frigid roadside repairs? Roadkill has that. Read on for more from Rally inspections, the road, and our intrepid Freiburger and Finnegan along with a gallery.
One of the first arrivals, The Knoxvegas Lowballers, dug out one of the world’s crustiest ’63 Mercedes 200D. Yes, that’s a diesel and it has the largest Mercedes emblem you will ever see. The old Merc made it all the to Pittsburgh, thank to a wiper-fluid setup that implemented plastic tubing attached to a Super Soaker.
The last Rally participants to register—besides Finnegan and Freiburger, of course—were Speedycop’s two entries. The Audi-powered, Toyota Van-based helicopter-car was first off the trailer with an overcomplicated process involving 12-foot pieces of lumber.
They “towed” their three-wheeled Reliant Regal at the same time in the back of the team’s tow-vehicle. A massive effort that involved lifting the mite-y three-wheeler onto ramps freed up the fiberglass heap to run all 700 cc’s of fury. Both cars suffered chronic overheating for the day and, as of this writing, were still 120 miles from the day’s end point in Pittsburgh with the Robin topping out around 20 miles per hour (about half its normal top speed).
From the tiny to the massive, these veterans of the inaugural LeMons Rally showed up in an Initial D-painted, rusted out Cadillac Fleetwood stretch limo. The rally route for the week includes a trip down the Tail of the Dragon, so we will be poised waiting for this sucker to come down the winding Appalachian road. But Buffalo was home to all the checkpoints for Day 1.
In Buffalo, the checkpoints varied from giant currency to a sculpture of a shark-headed lady. We ran into Aaron Horn and Jonathan Weake in the parking lot outside the “Lake Effect Man” stop, a sort of figurehead on the edge of a pub, appropriately enough of a very cold-looking man. Aaron and Jonathan also looked a bit cold, and tried to steal the window stripping off the camera car to patch up their 1972 Bronco.
Inside the pub we shared a window table with the owners of a Chrysler Fifth Avenue, who assured us it was running like a champ, and they had tested it with a 250 mile drive before the rally.
You know who didn’t test their car before the rally? That’s right, Roadkill! Freiburger and Finnegan spent the morning (and the afternoon and the evening) chasing electrical faults around the engine bay of the 1978 shortened Lincoln we call the Missing Linc. Missing was right. Missing spark. As of this writing, the shortest of pimp-mobiles was still on the road, but it wasn’t alone. We heard the Morris Minor and Speedycopter helicopter car were even further behind. Tune in all week for updates from the LeMons Winter Rally.