Concours d’LeMons 2012: Worst of Show By James Tate of MSN Autos

In 2008, a bizarre gathering called the Concours d’LeMons was added to the schedule of events during the cultured  Monterey Motor Week and gained instant cult status. Held in a public park in downtown Seaside, Calif., the Concours d’LeMons celebrates the oddballs, the mundane and the truly awful of the automotive world. Its aim is to have some fun amid the seriousness of The Quail, the Concours d’ Elegance and other Pebble Beach activities, as well as to prove that gearhead love isn’t limited to those with rarified bank accounts.

Porsche 912

The Porsche 912 is not the beloved icon that the 911 is, but it has a die-hard fan base just the same. This particular 912 doesn’t look all that bad, right? At first glance, all it seems to need is a little TLC. Well, not so fast. It recently had an engine fire, the floorboards are rusted through, the front bumper is held together with a combination of masking tape and bungee cords, and the seats are all torn up. Frankly, you’ll want to get a tetanus shot before getting close to this LeMon.

“Killer Bees” MGB

We’ve all seen our share of beat-up and rusted MGBs, but this one is something special. From the one-of-a-kind roll cage to every last dent, rust line and scratch, to the racing numbers and sponsor decals, this MGB wears its heart and just about everything else on its sleeve. It’s been flipped end over end and yet still refuses to die.

1927 Ford Model T GT

What? Yes, that is indeed a ’27 Ford Model T GT. Its owner bought the body for the tidy sum of $50 and put it together himself. While not anywhere near pristine condition, this machine is still pretty cool to look at and is probably a blast to drive.

Tribute to Alan Kulwicki

In true LeMons fashion, this is a tribute car to a NASCAR driver who marched to the beat of his own drum. It is a somewhat respectable version of the original Hooters-sponsored Ford Taurus driven by unlikely Winston Cup champion and team owner Alan Kulwicki. However, also in true LeMons fashion, the vehicle is crafted out of a Ford Tempo rather than the original Taurus. It walks the fine line between reverent and ridiculous.

1974 Ford Pinto

This Pinto has made the trip to the Concours d’LeMons before. With bright orange paint and a “KABOOM” license plate, it has in fact become famous — or infamous, depending on how you choose to look at it. Please, if you happen across this Pinto on the road, you really don’t want to get too close trying to read the license plate.

Karmann Ghia

Woe is this Karmann Ghia. Or is it? Sure, the bodywork has seen better days. However, the vehicle is so run-down that it looks like a deliberately trendy rat rod. Of course, it’s not. That would disqualify it from LeMons competition.

Reliant Robin

We probably don’t need to tell you that these 3-wheeled wonders are most famous for flipping over and over. Just look at the design: It’s simply not safe. But this one is a star, having just appeared in a recent commercial for the Dodge Dart in which, you guessed it, the Robin flipped over and over. The commercial’s producers put a roll cage in for the stunt, but it has since been removed, which is why metal shavings are covering the floorboards.

Mazda GLC

Even automakers themselves are starting to take the Concours d’LeMons seriously. Mazda North America brought its very own GLC up the coast to attend the event. OK, we don’t know if you could say Mazda proper was to thank for the GLC’s attendance. Blame the company’s LeMons-addicted Dave Coleman for this thing.

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