Project Car Hell: Lotus Europa or Honda S800 Coupe?S

With the '67 Scout 800 just barely ahead of the '78 Scout II in yesterday's International Harvester Choose Your Eternity poll, I figured today would be a good time to return to Sports Car Hell. Now, it's child's play to find innumerable cool/nightmarish British machines beckoning to you from the smoldering gates to Hell, but after seeing the Honda S800 earlier I knew what I needed to find to pair up with today's Blightymobile.


The only thing that would make a Lotus better as a PCH entrant would be if you could somehow add some French engineering to it... wait, hold on a second- the early-70s Europa had a Renault-built 5-speed transmission! Now it's just a matter of finding one cheap enough to make you think dreams of legendary Lotus handling are agonizingly within reach. Perhaps this '72 Lotus Europa (go here if the ad disappears) for an asking price of $6,000 is just the ticket! In one of those Hell Project understatements we love so much, all you get about this car's condition is "Needs some work." And, really, that says just as much as several lengthy paragraphs detailing every single thing you'll need to fix, because it's a 36-year-old Lotus. You'll be on intimate terms with every fastener on this car, and that's just to get it to where it can move under its own power for distances of a block or so. You won't be done even if you get it driving, though. That's because, with just 105 factory horsepower in the American version, you'll need to do something about the engine. How about a boost-enhanced 4A-GZE and MR2 transaxle?

It's pretty tough to find Japanese machines that are both hellish and cool enough to make the PCH cut (what with the chronic shortage of beater Toyota 2000GTs and all), but I've found one whose sheer awesomeness can be summed up with two little words: Chain drive! Yes, you can buy the 23rd 1966 Honda S800 coupe ever built (go here if the ad disappears) for an astounding seven-and-a-half grand! You get an 800cc engine, four microscopic carbs, and right-hand drive all in one impossible little package. It looks like a miniature Japanese MGB-GT! The seller doesn't even bother to describe the car's condition, because finding even the tiniest component is going to be so challenging that describing multiple problems on this car will be like adding infinity to infinity. The one thing you'll have going for you is that a lot of the running gear is likely to sourced from Honda motorcycles, which will help a little. But who cares? Imagine somehow getting this thing roadworthy and buzzing around your local twisty roads in full 60s Japanese Hoon Mode- you'll be living the Soichiro Dream!

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