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The bad, the ugly and the weird shine at the Concours d’Lemons

Celebrating the oddball, mundane and truly awful of the automotive world and promising to be ‘bigger and dumber every year’, the Concours d’Lemons has become one of the most anticipated events of the Monterey week. Naturally, we couldn’t resist having a look at the weirdly wonderful automobiles.

After spending the last days among the most iconic, elegant and valuable cars of all times at the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance and watching the latest hypercars being unveiled at The Quail, we badly needed to ground ourselves before the Sunday concours. So having a stroll through the rust buckets and marmite cars lined up at the bad taste extravaganza that is the Concours d’Lemons. Created in 2009 as a prank event to tease the high-brow collector car community, the anarchic anti-concours has become a Monterey Car Week fixture – just like the big concours events. 

The cars at the Concours d’Lemons are divided into classes like ‘Rust Belt American Junk’, ‘Needlessly Complex Italians’ or ‘Der Self-Satisfiedkrauttenwagen’ and all compete for the title ‘Worst of Show’, although side prices like ‘Most Dangerous’ or the ‘WTF??? Award’ are equally desired among competitors.

Naturally, the field included the usual rust buckets and thrift-store finds and rotten muscle cars that appeared to have housed families of meth-headed zombies for decades, but some owners went even more creative: There was a flipped Pontiac that was still able to drive on its roof (apparently it had even taken part in the ’24 Hours of Lemons’), and a horse-headed DYI centaur car with its owner riding on the rooftop carrying, err, a parrot. 

Replica garage builds gone wrong are always a crowd pleaser – and this year one had to marvel at what must have been the world’s worst Lamborghini Countach. And while the leotard-print and airbrush vans celebrated American hippie and trailer park culture at its best, and a teenager girl explained her ‘gothmobile’ powered by what seemed to be the head of Frankenstein’s monster in a fish bowl, we felt sufficiently refreshed to return to the manicured lawns of Pebble Beach to marvel at billionaire blue-chip cars all day.

Photos by Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2022