This Car Won Worst of the Worst for 2023

Jackson Wheeler
7 Min Read


There are beautiful cars in this world, and they are celebrated at fabulous concours all around the globe, from Pebble Beach to Villa d’Est, from Chantilly to Amelia Island.

And at the end of every concours season there’s even an award handed out each year picking a winner from all the Best in Shows from all those storied events. It’s called The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.

This year that Best of the Best went to a special one-off two-seater 1938 Delage Type D8-120S Cabriolet that took top honors at Hampton Court Place in the UK. That car beat out Ferraris, Duesenbergs, and one very nice Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet. The award was voted on by a distinguished panel of judges all wearing navy blazers and patting each other on the back.

Then Alan Galbraith had to go and ruin it.

You may know Galbraith, a congenital miscreant who appreciates nothing except the sputtering K Car that is his professional life. He is the founder of the Concours d’Lemons, that unbroken string of bad-car car shows that besmirches the periphery of legitimate car shows like Pebble and Amelia the way a parasitic barnacle clings to a rotting beluga whale.

Galbraith’s logic was simple: “We take all the Worst of Show winners from throughout the year, all the Concours d’Lemons held, and we put ‘em all together and let you vote for the Worst of the Worst.” By “you” he means anyone with a Facebook account.

Yes, while legitimate award voting goes on behind closed doors of expensive hotels in rooms filled with cigar smoke and bourbon, Lemons voting was done via FB.

The nominees:

Wayne Francis’ 2012 Porta Pottie Car was made by tilting an actual green plastic Porta Pottie on its side, mounting it on some sort of scooter, cutting out a hole for the driver’s head, and terrorizing legitimate attendees of the Amelia Island Concours.

“He took it through the valet parking at the Ritz Carlton,” Galbraith said, with school boy enthusiasm. “Everyone was horrified.”

So much so that the Porta Pottie won at Amelia Island.

a yellow car parked in a field

In the town, where I was born…

Lemons

Next up among the nominees was Steven McCarthy’s 1969 Citroën DS21 Safari Wagon, “Yellow Submarine.”

“The car sat out in the California desert for 30 years and I rescued it,” McCarthy says in the Worst of the Worst video.

He recently took it on a 2600-mile drive.

“That’s the kind of chutzpah we like to see,” said Galbraith, who also admired the Beetles figurines glued to the hood and the Home Depot bucket painted yellow with periscope-like 3-inch PVC piping sticking out the top. McCarthy won Lemons at Pebble.

a white car with a person in it

The Fiero just needed a bigger engine…

Lemons

And finally, there was Jack Gunsett’s 1985 Pontiac Fiero.

“Now, it may look like a stock Fiero from the outside,” intoned Galbraith with all the sincerity of a used car sales professional, “But it has an important feature: it has an LS3 engine swap.”

Turns out Gunsett loves Fieros.

“He bought this one decades ago, drove the heck out of it, and when the original engine gave out he said, ‘Hey, here’s an opportunity, I’m going to drop an LS3 in it,” Galbraith said, the amazement still in his voice. “He drives the heck out of it. He drove it three hours from LaGrange, Kentucky, to the Chattanooga Motor Car Festival and that earned him Worst of Show and an entry into the Worst of the Worst.”

And the winner is… (cue conspiracy theories, accusations of cheating, and DieBold lawsuits):

“The voting was hot and heavy but there was a hands-down winner and it is…” Galbraith said, prefaced by what sounds on the video like the exact same trumpet flourish that plays just before Pebble Beach Best of Show…with fake video streamers shot in the air and a raised, cheap, swap-meet trophy, “The Yellow Submarine Citroën!”

Clearly there are those who supported the Porta Pottie and the Fiero, and they will launch their campaigns of “Fraud! Etc.” But for now it’s the DS. Deal with it.

“A very well-deserved Worst of the Worst!” says Galbraith.

And while at Pebble you get a crystal Lalique Trophee and maybe a Rolex or something, “Steven wins absolutely nothing but shame… and a plaque that we’re gonna make up sometime in the near future and send it out to him.”

Right now there are only two Concours d’Lemons on the 2024 schedule, one at Pebble and one at Amelia, which helps your chances of winning. So, as Galbraith encourages, “Sign up your hooptie for the Concours d’Lemons at concoursdlemons.com.” Amelia is March 1. Start scouring junkyards now.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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