Racing a bargain AMC: Like Penske and Donohue but different?

By Staff Writer
May 20, 2023 | AMC, lemons, 24 Hours of Lemons, Low-Buck Tech, Penske, Ambassador, AMC Ambassador, Donohie, Index of Effluency | Posted in News and Notes | Never miss an article

With 16 years of events under its belt, you’d think the 24 Hours of Lemons would have seen just about every humdrum crapcan on track by now. Alas, several obscurities, like the Eagle Medallion and Mitsubishi Tredia, remain un-Lemonsed. Even some incredibly common vehicles, like the Chevy Celebrity, have evaded Lemons to date.

The most recent Lemons oddity to turn up was the Kenosha Kickers’ AMC Ambassador, which debuted at GingerMan Raceway. The team–who have previously done most of their racing on the drag strip–found the non-running, perfectly patinaed AMC for cheap. They looked around their shop for what was available to build a drivetrain, put a roll cage in it, and that was pretty much it.

Yes, that means road racing with completely stock and blown suspension plus four-wheel-drum brakes. Cornering and stopping were suboptimal, which just makes the cornering experience more fun anyway.

Being drag racers, the Kenosha Kickers naturally went with the utility knife of quarter-mile powerplants: a junkyard 5.3-liter Chevy truck LS engine. They tossed out the modernity of pesky fuel injection and went with a carburetor atop it. One side bore a stock truck exhaust manifold and the other a shiny aftermarket piece from the shop.

In a full commitment to simplicity, they also raced with a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Good enough for Chaparrals, good enough for Lemons?

Did it all work? Aside from some overheating and one of the cylinders failing and needing to be deactivated–causing the car to spend most of the weekend backfiring–we’ll say good enough for an Index of Effluency.

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A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/2/23 10:15 a.m.

Something something something...LS'ing all the things...something 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UberDork
1/3/23 10:22 a.m.

Always cool to see old American iron like this one rumbling around a track.

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