A Voisin has once again taken top honours during Monterey car week, not at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours as an Aerodyne did two years ago, but at Concours d’LeMons, the annual celebration of the 'Oddball, Mundane and truly Awful' of the automotive world.
The show returned to Laguna Grande Park on 17 August, and the ex-Bruce Weiner Collection Voisin Biscooter prototype stole the judges' hearts to land the Worst in Show award for delighted owner Celesta Pappas-Boses and husband Scott.
"I'm ecstatic," enthused Celesta. "We come to LeMons every year and my AMC Pacer once won Worst in Class, but this is such a thrill. We've had the Biscooter six months and it has taken us that long to get it going!"
For many, the obscure American clunkers are what LeMons is all about, and this year there was a fine selection ranging from Dave Gilbert's 1958 Edsel Citation (above), via Kevin Wood's glorious - and award-winning - 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis to an amazing line of six Chevrolet Vega Cosworths, complete with twin-cam power.
Verity Spencer bought 'Sherman', her 1975 AMC Gremlin, six years ago: "I needed a driver while my MG Midget was in pieces and I had a High School budget. This was $500 but I got it for $300. I love it for the culture that surrounds the car, people's enthusiasm for its ’70s memories make it more exciting to own."
This year the Hagerty-backed and free-to-enter event was bigger than ever, drawing huge crowds, and organiser Alan Galbraith was delighted with the turnout. "It's exploded on us," he said, "this is our largest year yet and it's been a lot of fun.
"The fact that the Quattroporte is not currently on fire is remarkable, and for me the convertible conversion Datsun 200SX is a standout. We try to bring a little levity to Auto Week and give a home to cars that otherwise wouldn't have one."
Entrants are encouraged to leave a bribe for the judges - for example a case of Old Speckled Hen casually left atop a rough MGB GT - and the prizes are each chosen to reflect the nation of the winning car, such as the basket of Swedish fish and Lingonberry jam given to Eric Abram for his Volvo 240 'R', which features a turbocharged engine and intercooler hoses made from sewer pipes.
Another foreign import drawing attention was Ken Mitchell's Renault Le Car - better known to Europeans as a Renault 5. "It's probably one of the biggest Lemons here," said Mitchell, who bought the Le Car six years ago following a 12-month search. "I had a dream about them and bought a Matchbox model, then decided I was old enough to buy the real thing.
"I bought it from a guy called 'Mushroom Jesus' in Seattle and though I have a couple of other Renaults, this is my favourite."
Here is a list of the award-winners in full:
Worst in Show - 1949 Voisin Biscooter prototype, Scott and Celesta Pappas-Boses
People's Choice - 1964 Peel Trident, Dick Tuttle
Best ’Merican - 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis, Kevin Wood
Best Non ’Merican - 1980 Fiat Strada, Alberto Massarotto
Kitchiest Original - 1975 Lincoln Town Coupe 'Phoney Express', Tom Daley
Dedication to the Cause - 1983 Datsun 200SX Convertible by Custom Coachworks, Myron Burns (from Ohio!)
The WTF? Award - 1974 Chevrolet Van 10, 'Seth from Salinas'
Krappy Krysler Klass - 1983 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible, Bill Adams
Unmitigated Gaul - Citroën Méhari, Roger Vise
Rueful Britannia - 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II, Dodi Khalil
Swedish Meatballs - Volvo 240 'R' - Eric Abram
Needlessly Complex Italian - Maserati 4Porte, Dodi Khalil
Soul-Sucking Japanese Appliance - 1989 Isuzu i-mark RS, Scott Salvero
Communist Class - 1977 Trabant 601, Bill Plan
Der Self-SatisfiedKrauttenWagen - Porsche 356, 'Peter from Seaside'