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By Rachel Morgan | September 7, 2004

“4-Cylinder 400” is an outstanding documentary short about the Annual Barnyard Car Race (AKA the 4-Cylinder 400) that takes place in Bovina Center, New York (population 664). The documentary features the 5th annual installment of the event and the characters that attend and participate in the competition. There’s lots of beer, mud and, of course, cheap, crappy cars. The rules to the race are basic: no participating car can cost more than $300, only 4-clyinder engines are allowed (no turbo charge) and hitting a competitor’s driver-side door is off limits. The race is organized and run by Jonathan LaFever, but he isn’t just the ringleader, he’s also the proud reigning champion (all 4 years in a row). I won’t ruin the suspense of the race by mentioning who takes home the glory and the whopping $140 1st place prize money- I was actually on the edge of my seat.

The short is mainly shot on video, but does contain a few apposite Super 8 film sections at the beginning. “4-Cylinder 400” is funny, entertaining and well constructed. My only complaints are that it isn’t longer (it really could have been- the material is there) and that I wasn’t able to attend.

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