Project Car Hell, Debacle Edition: Matra Murena or Alpine A310?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! I really wanted to call today's matchup Édition Débâcle, but the heads of our beloved Server Hamsters tend to explode when they're forced to deal with weird furrin letters in our headlines, and headless hamsters don't run on wheels. Never mind the English-only hamsters, though, because we've got to choose between two equally impossible desirable French cars.


I tell you what, every time I see that three-across seating layout of the Matra Bagheera, it makes me ache for a Bagheera to call my own. You figure all the possible automotive seating layouts had been established a century ago, and then here come the French with a totally new approach. Sure, it's a crazy approach, but that's why we love French cars so much! The Murena was the successor to the Bagheera, and the seller of this '80 Matra Murena is quick to point out that "Only 6 are known to exist here." Stressing about hard-to-find parts? No need! This Murena is in "very good condition considering the age of the car," so what could it need? Turnkey operation, for sure- hey, this thing can hardly be considered a project at all! Well, the transmission is hosed ("deliberate and not fast shifts at high revs usually eliminates or lessens problem with 2nd gear"), there's a big crack in a rear fender (plastic body, just like a Fiero!), and no doubt some other surprises. Thanks to UDMan for the tip!

You've got to love that Matra, but where's the power? If you're going to plunge yourself into the never-ending agony infinitely rewarding world of French car ownership, don't you want something fast? Sure you do, and that's why Teargas has found us this 1979 Alpine A310. The '79 A310 was powered by the exact same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 drivetrain as the one used in the De Lorean DMC-12, and if that's not a great reason to buy a car... well, there's really not much more to say, is there? Just like the Murena, the transmission in this car has some issues with second gear. You'll get around to fixing that problem, just as soon as you synchronize the six Weber carburetors. Yes, six- got to have one carb per cylinder in a true performance car, right? The windshield is cracked, but you get a new one (list price: $2,800, which should give you some idea of the cost of every single part, no matter how insignificant, on this car), and there's the somewhat disturbing statement "it was setup for rally and raced before that-by the previous ownder" in the description. Best of all, a "sterling silver Alpine collectible keychain" comes with the deal.

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