How to win a LeMons Rally, the Rally Series for Misfit Cars

The best way to see America has always been via a slow, scenic, winding road, and what’s slower than a car overheating if you’re going over 60 mph? welcome to the lemons rallythe cross country rally race for cheap and weird cars.

Destinations lean toward the bizarre American roadside culture, encompassing geographical wonders and man-made oddities alike. Rallies are group rides for Hooptie fans. As an offshoot of the wacky 24 Hours of LeMons, the LeMons Rally shares the same spirit as its drag racing counterpart.

While it’s fun to show up in whatever you’ve got and just drive the route (the event even has a special class for rental cars), going for overall victory is the ultimate achievement. Do you want to dominate in a future LeMons Rally? Here are some tips that should improve your odds of doing it.

how to win a lemons rally cars

Stefan Schrader|car and driver

Pick the right (wrong) car

Your choice of car is worth an enormous amount of points, so it’s almost impossible to get overall victory without taking part in something exceptionally weird or interesting. Fortunately, the LeMons Rally has a score sheet to clear things up: Warsaw Pact cars get 250 points, while kit cars using Volkswagen Beetle pans get 300 points. On the other hand, getting into a shiny media car results in a deduction of 2500 points.

However, using a Beetle pan as the base of your weird homemade creation isn’t the only way to rack up big points. A former LeMons Rally winner, the Cradlehe used the underpinnings of an old Pontiac LeMans as a base.

If the point difference between two competitors is virtually non-existent, then the entry of the vehicle that has proven most difficult to reach the finish line of the event often ends up on top.

commit to a little lemons rally ford mustang convertible yellow dot

Stefan Schrader|car and driver

compromise a little

If there’s one thing the LeMons Rally judges love, it’s a good theme. Not only is it worth a lot of points toward an overall score of, say, doing an entire winter rally dressed as a road crew while driving a Department of Transportation-themed Ford Mustang convertible with a front-mounted plow, but good themes can score LeMons Rally competitors one or more of a variety of awards handed out by event judges.

how to win a lemon rally

Stefan Schrader|car and driver

map it

It helps to plug in all of the LeMons Rally checkpoints into Google Maps before you start your day. You can easily drag and drop the order of the different stops to prioritize the places you most want to go to and skip the others if your car is too slow.

Mapping everything beforehand is also a good way to spot extra stops along the way. If the rally route passes something you’ve always wanted to see, then make the detour! Document your side missions on social media using the hashtag #lemonsrally for some potential bonus points. The LeMons Rally is very much a choose-your-own-adventure event, as long as you get to the finish line on time.

While you’re planning things, you can also peruse the event information packet. After all, there’s nothing worse than finding yourself disqualified from a LeMons Rally because you inadvertently broke a rule early in the ride.

this is a picture

Stefan Schrader|car and driver

Make sure the judges understand your story

Looking to earn a few extra bonus points or win a prize or two? Then you better have a good story to tell.

Did you drive across the country to participate in the LeMons Rally? Are you a 16 year old boy getting by with your dad in an MG Midget? Is your theme a bit dark, but fun for those who understand it? How vague or last minute was the purchase of the vehicle from him? Awards are subjective, so be sure to keep the judges in tune with your LeMons Rally-related stories.

silver volkswagen in the lemons rally

Stefan Schrader

While it might make things easier for you to get into a nice, comfortable modern car at a LeMons Rally, this kind of behavior won’t land you a podium spot. If you want to win, then you need a vehicle that fits the essence of this event that is all about driving sketchy cars to faraway places.

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