It's official: a single Lotus has what it takes to beat a trio of Italian minicars, according to yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll. And when you're done with your Éclat project (well, you'll never be done, but let's pretend), odds are you'll have the urge to put together a smooth-riding vintage European luxury machine to park alongside it. And have we got just the cars for you!
Normally you need to spend, like, a cubic yard of Benjamins if you want a reasonably complete Bentley S3; after all, the 1963 model sold for $16,355- $111,671 in 2007 dollars- and collectors swarm like sharks maddened by the scent of blood when a nice one goes on the market. That's why you might wonder what's wrong with this '63 Bentley S3, which has been bid up to a mere $5,600 at the time of this writing. Well, nothing much- just the matter of a little Katrina damage, that's all. Surely you've got the skills to get this slightly damp British dream machine shipshape again, right? There's rust, there's rot, there's a bunch of engine parts sitting on one pallet and who-knows-what-all parts sitting on another pallet. But... how hard can it be? You could probably fit a GMC Twin Six in that vast engine compartment, and a quick trip to Tijuana would do wonders for the interior. Tub the rear and put some Mickey Thompson steamroller rubber underneath, and you'd have just the ride for unwinding after a hard day of throwing your Lotus through the twisties.
We're going to push the admission price up a bit- well, quite a bit- for our second choice today, but you'll understand when you see it. Yes, it's a 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 cabriolet, currently bid up to $31,100. Now, as you look at that battered hulk squatting forlornly in the snow, try to imagine what it will look like fully restored. As the seller puts it (twice): "THIS IS A VERY RARE CAR AND COULD BE RESTORED TO A VERY NICE CLASSIC." It might cost a few bucks to find the bits and pieces you'll need... bits and pieces such as, oh, every single interior component. There's rust, though apparently not as much as you'd expect from a car that's been sitting in the woods of Ohio for decades. The engine and transmission are still there, but the seller admits "I AM SURE THE CAR WOULD NEED SOME MECHANICAL WORK." Yes, we're sure of that, too.