When a group of hooptie racers gathers to build a race car and then spend weekends together keeping their heap running— after a fashion— on a race track, a sense of pride in their dubious accomplishments often compels them to show team pride. One of the best ways to do this is to design a team shirt, and hundreds of Lemons teams have done just that. Five years back, Car and Driver showcased a big gallery of some of our favorite team shirts. We’re working on another such mega-gallery, photographing the inventory of the Official Lemons Team T-Shirt Museum (i.e., a bunch of boxes in Judge Phil’s garage), but we decided to start with a gallery of team-shirt photos taken in the wild: on the backs of racers, at race tracks, ideally before the shirts became coated in 90-weight and pizza sauce. Be sure to click on the gallery at the bottom of this post!
One of the best times to have the whole team dressed up in matching shirts is during the awards ceremony after the checkered flag. If your team wins something, you can strut up to claim your trophy in uniform, making the crowd feel envious of your skill and solidarity (unless you won the I Got Screwed award, in which case they’ll feel relief that some other poor fools blew up worse than they did). If your team didn’t win a trophy, you can gather together in the audience and look
goofy cool in your matching shirts.
Some of our favorite shirts are parodies of well-known images. For example, a movie poster celebrating a wave-riding summer in Southern California becomes an homage to the suffering of a team busting their knuckles on some wretched clunker’s innards in the Central Valley.
Sometimes a team will commission a special commemorative shirt for a single race. Here’s the shirt for Team Little Engine That Could, which raced a spectacularly modified Dodge Shadow.
Speaking of Chrysler P-Bodies, the Communist-themed United Partnership of Pentastar Racers— famous for Soviet-style mechanical kludges— made this excellent Thermonuclear Failure Tour shirt to celebrate five years of wearing out tools.
When Team S.O.B. ditched their VW Golf for a BMW E30, there was a certain level of bitterness about all those races lost due to broken Volkswagen parts, and that bitterness was expressed on their commemorative T-shirt.
Check out the gallery below, and check in later for even more Lemons team shirts.