Project Car Hell: Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina or Austin Gipsy?S

Because not even a burned and wrecked 80s Ferrari can compete with a burned 70-year-old car mentioned by name in a Robert Johnson song, the '38 Hudson Terraplane ran away with the victory in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity Poll. Today we're going to skip the common theme tying the two PCH contestants together and return to that perennial battle between two of the globe's contenders for the Hell Machine Crown: Italy and Great Britain. Here we have two mighty PCH superpowers, each vying to put one of its products in your garage... and France is waiting to take on the winner tomorrow!


How did it come to this? We've gone over a month since our last Alfa Romeo in this series. That's like having a hockey team with no Canadians! That's why we're going to skip the frivolous sporty convertible Alfas and go right for the no-nonsense four-door sedan, with this 1974 Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina. It's got a Buy It Now of just $2,000, it runs and drives, and it's even had the horrible Malaise bumpers replaced with chrome units from an earlier car. The seller clearly doesn't understand the hallowed traditions of eBay description writing; there are no unreadable blocks of CAPS LOCK text in multiple colors, rules of grammar and spelling are honored, and the description itself is coherent and complete. But we won't hold that against him or her, and it doesn't make the project any less hellish that you know what you're getting into- hey, this is a 34-year-old Italian car in Michigan! But just think about how stylish you'll feel picking up the groceries in your Berlina, while the boring-ass Normals carry on their business in minivans and Accords.

Righteous as a high-revving Italian sedan might be, you want a project that will be able to slog through the mud on beer-saturated road-sign-shooting expeditions camping trips to the purple mountain majesties. Now, you could just pick up an old Land Rover and spend the rest of your life fishing Whitworth sockets from the bubbling sulfur pits in your garage, but it's just too easy to find parts for Land Rovers and the cost of admission is too high. But you can still get a cheap, half-century-old British 4X4, simply by peeling off 15 Benjamins from your roll and buying this '59 Austin Gipsy (go here if the ad disappears). The Gipsy had a complicated sophisticated fully independent suspension all the way around, 67 pushrod horsepower, and a tendency to rust that was shocking even by British standards; in other words, it's perfect! Unlike the seller of the Berlina, the Gipsy's seller knows how you're supposed to describe a car for sale, with no very useful information given. It runs and drives, but there's rust and it "needs restoration." We figure all it needs is year after year of metal repair, a grunt-happy diesel engine, and great big swamp-ready tires. And your soul.

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