Project Car Hell: Fairlane Wagon or Volvo Bertone?

We learned yesterday that two out of three Jalopnik readers surveyed would rather reign in Project Car Hell with a '62 Renault Caravelle than with a '62 Corvair Monza. Which makes perfect sense to us, but what happens when we jack up the admission cost just a touch and make you choose between a chopped Göteborg sedan and a vintage Dearborn family hauler?


Actually, this 1978 Volvo Bertone 262C isn't chopped; that crazy roofline is exactly how Volvo and Bertone wanted it. No doubt the bigshots from both companies had eaten some of those funny blue mushrooms in the Västergötland countryside prior to the design meeting and gibbered the ensuing psilo-riffic brainstorm to the confused designers. But that doesn't matter; what does matter is that you can buy this strange-looking machine for the hard-to-believe price of 1200 American dollars. It needs new "altanator paint" (sic) and four years of back registration payments, and the seller isn't exactly clear about the whole running versus not-running question. But who cares when you get 4-speed transmission? Not only that, its got overdrive! Since it shares a lot of parts with your ordinary garden-variety 200-series cars, you'll have no problem grabbing junkyard bits for this thing... but the special Bertone-only stuff might- nay, will- be another story. Imagine this thing dropped about 5" with a Chevy small-block under the hood, with the help of the Jaguars That Run swap kit. Or you could stay Swedish (well, Swedish-French) and simply stuff ludicrous amounts of boost into the factory V6. Either way, we recommend Cherry Bombs.

Have we mentioned that we love vintage Detroit station wagons? Yes, indeed, it was a sad day when the one-two punch of the minivan and the SUV killed off the wagon, but the good news is that you can still grab yourself this 1967 Ford Fairlane station wagon for a paltry $1100. Now, even a six-banger Fairlane wagon would be just fine, but this one sports a 289 under the hood. Best of all, it's a 3-speed manual car with bench seat and floor shift! Yeah, sure, the flywheel teeth are shot and the engine is hard to start (the seller seems a bit evasive about whether the car can be started at all in its present state), but you won't worry about that when you realize it has the original yellow-on-black California plates. The suspension was primitive in 1967 and it's probably downright scary now that all the components are worn out, so those who dislike understeering into telephone poles or looking like weaving drunks on the highway might consider a thorough suspension rebuild/upgrade. And if the 289 isn't enough engine, why, the good ol' 351W will fit with enough room left over for a nice centrifugal supercharger (er, just be patient when you try to install headers in that narrow engine compartment). Just as long as you keep a floor-shift manual transmission in the picture, it's fine with us.


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