Saab-O-Maniac SeanKHotay won our last PCHPC vote, but now dculberson has stepped up in an attempt to unseat Belvedere Adrian, owner of the '58 Plymouth Ambulance, to take the Ambulance Hell Project trophy for his own! He's got a '66 Pontiac Superior Consort that looks like
a never-ending nightmare quite a refreshing challenge...
The first thing all of you need to do is head over to dculberson's collection of photos and take a look at what he's dealing with here. It's got the siren! It's got the stretcher cart! And, of course, it's got rust! I'll let dculberson tell you the rest in his own quite eloquent words now:
It's my lovely (to me) 1966 Pontiac Superior Consort - a hearse/ambulance combo based on the Bonneville. It has the advantage of being a "standard wheelbase" which means it's only about 19 feet long. It does have the high top and commercial glass, which meant a badly cracked windshield led to a statewide search and a $600 purchase of a used, pitted up replacement.
Condition-wise, well, the pictures will tell most of the story. It's mostly complete, just missing a place for anyone to sit or even put their feet. It runs but tends to overheat, and the transmission leaks like an olestra victim. Every metal surface is rusty, and the more I dig into it, the more rust I find. I keep thinking about how much cheaper and easier it would be to just give it away and find a completed car or have Barris fab up a frame, suspension, body, and glass from scratch.
I cleaned the interior - vinyl is now my favorite material. Can you believe that mildew cleans right off? But c'mon, when was the last time you saw MOSS growing on the outside of a car? It has to have been at least a week. And as bad as the floors look in the pictures, they've turned out to be much, much worse. I spent a few hours tapping and cutting, and there really wasn't much metal left on either side. I've got some patches put in the passenger side and have since been adrift in the sea of helplessness brought on by an attack of "sober realism" which is entirely overrated. Beer should help cure that and get me back in the garage. Well, that and a few hundred dollars worth of tools that I have to try out. I started with a nice set of right and left aviation cutters, a metal seamer, and an air shear. I might have to move on to a roller, planishing hammer, and a set of dollies. Along with one of everything in the Eastwood catalog, that'll make me an auto body expert, right?
There were about 150 of these made, and any Ambulance-specific body parts have to either come off a parts car or be fabbed from scratch. I have spent six years looking for a replacement tail panel extension to no satisfaction. I almost bought another one of these, in worse shape, for $800, just for that part. Why didn't I? Because I forgot to bid before going to bed.
I have about $6k into a car worth about $1k. If that isn't hell, well, what is? But turn the key and it starts. Dream for a little while, then realize you're about to succumb to the carbon monoxide...
So... what do I get if I win, an assisted suicide? That would be awesome.
What do you think, dear readers? Is this a more hellish-yet-painfully-cool medical machine than the Moparbulance?