We’ve all seen the rusted out, dinged up lemons, paint peeling, bumpers missing and bumpers hanging on with a bungee cord. But which of these is really America’s ugliest automobile? That’s what the folks from Haggerty Insurance want to find out – and the winner among those losers could be in for a sweet surprise as part of the second annual “Search for America’s Sweetest Lemons.”
The grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the year’s most exclusive automotive event, the Monterey Classic Car Week in California’s tony Pebble Beach.
The winning car will come along for the ride, there to be celebrated alongside rarities like a Bugatti Royale and some equally rare gems. Appropriately, the winner of the Sweetest Lemons contest will serve as Grand Marshal of the Concours d’LeMons, now being renamed Hagerty’s Tour of Lemons.
The event is a mock race that requires entrants to come up with the cheapest, rudest and crudest junkers they can find. Simply having the car survive the race is generally considered a certain degree of victory.
“We believe all cars are beautiful and deserve to be celebrated,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “This is an opportunity to showcase these eccentric, quirky and weird vehicles. Many cars that were once viewed as hopeless now enjoy an enthusiastic, cult-like following.”
Whether the winners of the contest will develop their own cult – complete with car groupies or not – remains to be seen, but there’s a growing counter-culture following for truly awful automobiles, as demonstrated by the growing success of what is now the Tour of Lemons.
The big race will take place only a few miles away from the Lodge at Pebble Beach where the 2012 Concours d’Elegance is scheduled. It is generally considered the most exclusive classic car event in the world and routinely draws some of the rarest vehicles in the world to compete – some only after restoration efforts that can top $10 million, significantly more than the entire field at the Tour of Lemons.
Anyone who wants to risk going up against America’s other great lemons can submit a photo of their car and a brief description of why it deserves to be christened “America’s Sweetest Lemon.” Submissions can be sent to SweetestLemon@Hagerty.com by Sunday, July 8. The top ten candidates will be posted for public voting from July 11 – 20 at www.Hagerty.com/sweetestlemon.
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