Project Car Hell, Fat Bankroll Edition: Stutz or Pantera?S

The appeal of a couple of right-hand-drive woody wagons was almost, but not quite, enough to beat out the pair of MGB-GTs plus supercharged Toyota engine in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll. However, both of those choices, painful as they were, were on the inexpensive side. How can a project truly be Hell if you can just walk away from it a little poorer and a lot wiser? That's why we're going to look at a couple of "no turning back now" high-ticket machines today. Each is a car that will blow the dial off the Cool-O-Meter, in true Rock Star Excess style... but only if you can scrape up some more cash (out of your now-depleted reserves) to fix it up.


We've seen a few Stutzes on the site- say, the Diplomatica and the Blackhawk- and we've admired them greatly for their subtle, restrained beauty. But come on now- those cars were made by fly-by-nighters who won the right to use the Stutz name in a Kansas City poker game. What a class act like you needs, my friend, is a real Stutz! You think you just can't swing the kind of dough necessary to put a Jazz Age Stutz in your Hell Garage? Think again! We've found this 1931 Stutz SV16, and the bidding is still under ten grand at the time of this writing. This one's got a custom body "said to be crafted by Brunn," a thoroughly trashed interior, and a big heap of bits and pieces. We're not going to lie to you- Stutz parts are kinda hard to come by- but we figure you could make do with some interior components out of a late-70s Pontiac Bonneville. We'd keep the straight-eight engine, of course, but it really needs some turbocharging and Cherry Bombs. Come on, the Stutz was all about excess!

A Stutz is great... if you're William Faulkner, squandering your advance money from your latest crap screenplay and guzzling from a jug kept under the driver's seat. And that's fine, but these days you'll catch a higher grade of STD if you're rolling in Rockstar Mode. And it's just about impossible to get more rockstar than a De Tomaso Pantera. We've found this fine '74 Pantera for a seems-reasonable-to-the-seller 27 grand. There's rust. There are many layers of old paint. There are many missing parts ("The calipers were sold as I was goingto upgrade anyhow"). The engine is either "brand new" or "will be complete within 3-4 weeks"- take your pick! But if you're not serious- and we mean dead serious- forget it, because this seller says straight up: "NO LOOKIE-LOOS!"

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