Concours d’Lemons: Showcasing the Best of the Worst and the Worst of the Best

For decades Monterey Car Week has celebrated the best of the best–the fastest, the prettiest and the most exclusive. And then there’s the Concours d’Lemons, the Saturday morning celebration of the odd, the mundane and the weird. It’s the place to see perfect examples of ’70s Detroit sleds, strange homemade creations and post-apocalyptic art cars.

This year’s Concours d’Lemons, held August 19 on the grounds of Seaside City Hall in Seaside, California, celebrated two cars rarely associated with the glitz and glamor of Monterey: the Muntz Jet, the ’50s oddity created by Earl ”Madman” Muntz; and the Cosoworth Vega, Chevrolet’s mid-’70s answer for those seeking average performance at a premium price.

The coveted Worst in Show award went to Randy Carlson’s two-headed 1979 Honda Civic. This oddity joined together a pair of Honda Civic front ends, each with its own drivetrain, steering wheel and driver seat. It was hailed as the ultimate team-building experience–or, take your pick, the ultimate waste of time and resources.

Other standout attractions on the field included home-made dune buggies, smashed-up British classics and unloved quasi-classics. Brad Phillips drove in from Maryland in a Japanese-spec Nissan limousine, the ultimate in status and complexity.

Such fine displays of automotive perfection demanded the week’s best judges. Walking the grounds, clipboard in hand, were such honorees as NASCAR commentator Mike Joy, Amelia Island Concours founder Bill Warner, and classic car tire magnate Corky Coker.

This year’s new venue doubled the size of the show field. And, as a result, the event welcomed the biggest crowd ever: some 5000 souls, including Pebble Beach car owners, automotive celebrities and even a TV crew from France.

Thanks to the generosity of Grassroots Motorsports magazine and Hagerty, both participants and spectators get to enjoy the show free of charge. For a walk-around of the show grounds, visit the Grassroots Motorsports Facebook page

Worst of Show
1979 Honda Civic
Randy Carlson
Aguanga, California

Class Awards
Rust Belt American Junk-Chrysler
1965 Chrysler New Yorker
Matt Morilo
Monterey, California

Rust Belt American Junk-Ford
1972 Pinto Wagon
The Pope
San Jose, California

Rust Belt American Junk-GM
1973 K5 Blazer
Shawn Lynch
Randolph Center, Vermont

Rust Belt American Junk-Other
1961 Rambler Roadster
Tom Jennings

Warsaw Pact, 1945-1990
1980 Trabant 6015
Santa Cruz, California

Swedish Meatballs
1979 Volvo 244DL
Erick Ebberoth

Unmitigated Gaul (French)
1986 Renault Alliance
K. Norback
Sonoma, California

Soul-Sucking Japanese Appliance
1992 Nissan Century
Brad Phillips
Salisbury, Maryland

Rueful Britannia
1959 Triumph TR3A
Jake London
Alameda, California

Needlessly Complex Italian
1984 Pininfarina Azzurra
Brett and Andy
Dallas, Texas

Der Self-SatisfiedKrauttenWagen
1985 Volks-Corvair
Gary O’Connor
Santa Rosa, California

Special Classes
Cos-worthless Vega
1976 Chevy Cosworth Vega
Barry Connally
Oceanside, California

Munoz Class-less
1953 Muntz Jet
Petersen Museum
Gendale, California

Corporate Awards (presented by Hagerty)
Slightly Better Than a Go-Kart
1958 King Midget
Ken Mitchel
Sebastopol, California

WTF Award
Snail of Reality golf cart
George Krieger
Seaside, California

Best Back Seat
1987 Ford Wagon
Jeff Niles
Salinas, California

Driving on a Prayer
1989 Yugo GVL
Janet Vakovich
Fresno, California

Engineering Crap-ulance
1971 Opel Kadett
Paul Gerstenberger
Hood River, Oregon

Photos by Tom Suddard

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View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/21/17 9:03 a.m.

Just a Monday morning bump. Thanks, everyone, for joining us.

Vigo UltimaDork
8/21/17 11:01 a.m.

That civic looks nicely done. That amount of effort definitely deserves to win something.

Two_Tools_In_a_Tent New Reader
8/21/17 1:25 p.m.

A whole lot of talk, a handful or random unlabeled pics, a list of the winners without a comprehensive photo gallery of what those cars looked like. Worthless post ! ! Classic bogus Motorsports move.

Feedyurhed SuperDork
8/21/17 1:36 p.m.

Cool stuff. I didn't know there were that many Chevy Vegas left!

Vigo UltimaDork
8/21/17 4:55 p.m.
Worthless post ! !

I for one just enjoy being reminded that these events exist so i can say 'maybe next year' because i'm assuming one of these times it'll stick and i'll go.

ckosacranoid Dork
8/22/17 12:28 a.m.

dang you guys for hanging ah hour video that i have to watch later and have to go to bed right now....

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