Project Car Hell, Euro-Gasser Edition: Opel or Alfa Romeo?

The Super Hell Potential of the Starion pounded the sashimi right out of the Corolla GTS in yesterday's 80s Japanese Muscle Edition of Project Car Hell, which is probably as it should be; both cars are pretty damn cool, but there's no way any Toyota could ever be as hellish to work on as a turbocharged 80s Mitsubishi. But enough talk about finely balanced imports with high-tech (for their time) engines- today we're going to look at a pair of imports with solid front axles and large-displacement low-tech engines (well, space for such engines, anyway). Imports that handle so poorly that a stiff wind can tip them over when parked. Gassers!




First, let's watch some gassers in action, so we can get an idea what the goal is here. Yes, such a wonderful car could be yours... if you but drag one of the following two machines through the Lake of Fire. With your teeth.

Lots of Ford Anglias got stuffed with big engines and drag raced back in the day, so it makes perfect sense to apply the same treatment to one of GM's European creations. Say, this '59 Opel (go here if the ad disappears), which could be yours for just $3,500. It appears to be a Rekord, and the seller claims it's an actual early-60s gasser. Back then, it had a 392 Hemi... but today there is just a yawning nothingness where engine and transmission once lived. That's good news, really, because then you'll be free to break free from the shackles of tradition and put something different under the hood. How about a Mercedes 6.9, to keep the car all German? Or maybe stick with the General and put a GNX-style Buick V6 in there? The car comes with unspecified "extra parts," and we're guessing that a windshield isn't one of them. Better brush up on your German skills, because the nearest '59 Rekord windshield is likely in Deutschland.

You say you want a car with some authentic racing history, but an Opel is just too, uh, mainstream for your taste? We hear you, you rebellious freethinkers, which is why we're going with this 1968 Alfa Romeo GTV 105 gasser for our second choice. We don't know how much the seller wants for this car, because the auction's reserve wasn't met, but he or she is probably ready to listen to reason now (provided the rustle of a stack of Benjamins is audible). The ad describes some painfully cool Italian V8 engines that once lived in this car... but you don't get those engines as part of the deal. Well, you can buy the Alfa Tipo 33 2.5 liter V8 from the car's early drag race career, but the seller adds the ominous- if honest- note: "But believe me, that motor won't be cheap, even if the car goes for a song." So we figure you'd be better off tracking down a Maserati Quattroporte V8, getting an adapter plate made to bolt it to a Powerglde, and then spending a few years trying to get that setup working properly. But if you did, imagine the glory! Thanks (and a Project Car Hell Tipster T-shirt) to TK, who gets his shirt the hard way by sending in two separate tips for two different PCHs; you may recall TK as the reader who tipped me of about the Aston Martin Lagonda a couple months back.

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