"Of all of the cars display, Big Orange would be my favorite. I drove it more than all the other cars except the 911, and had a tremendous amount of fun driving it. The condensed version of Big Orange life is this – I bought it by mistake! In 1987 the SCCA created a new racing class called Improved Touring. Essentially, this class allowed participants to slightly modify old street cars for the purpose of road racing. Bob Griffith developed a kit of parts to put on a stock 142 to make it a street car. I found Big Orange
in Knoxville in non-running condition, and bought it for $500.00. My plan was to turn it into
a race car. After purchasing the car I discovered it was the wrong year, meaning it had mechanical fuel injection, which produced less power. Around 1989 Bob Criss decided to sell his racing Volvo for $4,500.00, so I bought it.
Big Orange sat in my front yard for the next two years accumulating moss. In 1991 I decided to see if I could get it running, and after replacing the starter along with a few other repairs, it was on the road again. I found it to be a great car in which to haul stuff around; 25 cases of soda could fit in the trunk with no problem. It was such a lofty yet unassuming car, the police would not give it a second look. I loaned it to Mr. Richerson who worked at my vending business for a couple of months, and he washed the moss off. I switched the front seats from left to right as the springs in the driver seat were starting to come through. I drove it
to Florida a couple of times, arriving at my dad's gated community, only to have the guard sternly remind me that I couldn't park the car outside. (Big Orange sat in my dad's garage while his $100,000.00 Mercedes V-12 sat in the driveway!) I also drove it to Michigan more than once. After a couple of years the engine blew up. By then I had enjoyed using the car so much I rebuilt and souped up the motor.
I still drive Big Orange a couple of times a year, and have lost none of my enthusiasm for it." - Jeff Lane
Year purchased: 1989
Years Jeff owned this car: 13
Mileage when purchased: 164,471
Mileage now: 164,471 (odometer was broken when I bought the car)
Performance level: Higher than one might think!
Fun factor: Lots of fun
Creature comforts: Quite comfortable
Difficulty to drive: Easy to drive
Practicality: Very utilitarian