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This week, the C/D crew sets its sights on Craigslist to find the best possible cars for racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons, an endurance series for $500 vehicles. Like the famous race in France that sort of sounds like “Lemons,” some of the series’ cheap-car races are true 24-hour tests of human and machine, so finding a reliable, durable, and possibly even quick car is key. But there are many other factors that contribute to success here. To find out what works, what doesn’t, and what might be crazy enough to work, we invited Lemons empresario and self-described Chief Perp Jay Lamm to comment and judge our choices.

What we discover is that we all have different ideas of what makes a good 24 Hours of Lemons racer. We dive into the merits of paying more for a car that’s running versus gambling on a really cheap non-running beater; we discuss why a Wankel is a great engine for endurance racing; and we even debate the health of the market for Oldsmobile Aurora parts. Former C/D editor-in-chief and Lemons veteran Csaba Csere makes his Window Shop debut and offers up a Mini Cooper that he admits to not even liking. It’s possible you might learn something along the way, like that the Mini Cooper reboot from the early 2000s has a Chrysler engine and that it’s possible to make a Pontiac Trans Sport minivan into a pickup.

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