PCH, Force Majeure Edition: Fuego Turbo or Biturbo?

With our patriotic Chevyfied Monte Carlo Versus Camaro Potential Enduro Car PCH poll yesterday, we had some readers grumbling about the low-budget Detroitness of the choices. Well, we understand that freedom to dissent is what makes America great, so we're not going to execute any commenters just because they're clearly taking their marching orders from Kim Jong Il. Yet. In fact, today we're going to see about getting some forced-induction machinery straight from Europe. Real performance cars! And, since this is Hell, we're keeping the budgets lower than morale among French autoworkers...


We never saw too many Renault Fuegos in the US of A, but they were head-on competition for the likes of the Manta and Capri over in Europe (with body design by Rober Opron, the same guy who did the Citroën SM), and the Fuego Turbo was a hot little front-driver. "That's all well and good," you say, nervously fingering the piggybank containing your project car budget, "but I can't afford one!" Well, our bankroll-challenged friend, you can certainly afford this '82 Fuego Turbo, with a self-proclaimed "motivated seller" starting the negotiations with a humble $750 asking price. Less than $750 for such a car? Sacre bleu! Now, there's a small dose of reality in this dream, because the seller forgot to mention whether or not it runs. He or she also neglected to describe such things as the condition of, well, anything. We're sure that's just because the tears dripping on the keyboard rendered it inoperable- to give up one's Fuego Turbo? The pain! Looks like it needs a catalytic converter to pass smog (that's assuming that a new cat will fix, say, six burned valves) and, naturally, it's a bill-of-sale-only car (i.e., you will become very, very familiar with the personnel at your local DMV as you attempt to deal with the title paperwork). We figure one weekend of wrenching, tops, and you'll be tearing up the roads in your Fuego.

If one turbocharger is good, two must be better, right? And then what if you prefer rear-wheel-drive hoonage to front-drive torque-steer madness? Or you feel that your driving style is more Italian than French? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, yet your trembling fingers are still clutching the $750 you counted out for the Fuego, have we got the project car for you! Yes, by God, it's a genuine twin-turbocharged Maserati for the same price as the Fuego Turbo! This one is a bit rougher than the Fuego, we admit, but the seller gives you more description in the listing. Sure, none of it is meaningful description, but you get more of it. But hey, the car "does 0 to 60 in what feels like ludicrous speed." Not only that, but "IT'S LIKE RIDING THE TEACUPS IN DISNEYLAND!" Apparently that means you spin around and around until a 7-year-old pukes a foaming gutload of Sugar Smacks and Mr. Pibb down your shirt when you drive it, but so what? Twin turbochargers, baby! When new, this engine belted out 185 Italian horses, and (once you penetrate the miasma of problems surrounding the clutch and/or transmission) you gotta figure at least some of them still reach the back wheels now. A few twirls of the ol' wrenches, maybe an afternoon of bodywork, and it'll be good as new. You won't even break a sweat with this slam-dunk beginner's project!

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