PCH, Pre-Shoebox Chevy Edition: Jag-Powered '51 or Dwarf-Built '53?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Last time around, the De Tomaso Longchamp trounced the Bricklin SV-1 in the Choose Your Eternity poll, showing that Canada has a snowball's chance against PCH Superpower Italy. Today we're going to Detroit; as we all know, the ready availability of parts and expertise for most postwar America vehicles makes such cars insufficiently hellish for this series... unless you go for heavily customized machinery! That's the road- paved with broken whiskey bottles- we're taking today.


We're all accustomed to seeing ads for potential Hell Projects that describe rusted-out hulks that look like they've been stored for decades in boiling salt water as "easy restorations," and the statement "One of these just sold for $180,000!!!!" is often applied to a basket-case heap that's been used as a rifle-range target since 1973. That's why it's refreshing to see a seller who doesn't try to apply a smiley face to a tough project, as is the case with this 1953 Chevy (go here if the ad disappears). You really need to read the entire description, because it's a PCH masterpiece, full of bitterness ("I got screwed on the getting the wing vents replaced by the meth-head lying loser crook that runs Casey's Auto Restoration Here in Cawlville") and black humor ("It's only money after all. They print more of that worthless green paper everyday"). This '53 has a Chevy 350, which means you can make it go fast for cheap, and '79 Camaro underpinnings, which means you could probably make it handle and stop pretty well for a 55-year-old car... but it's going to take a lot of your blood and treasure to make that happen.

If you're going to have a custom early-50s Chevy, you might as well go with a radically modified body, right? And what better way than to buy someone else's half-finished project? But where to find such a car that hasn't been fitted with yet another small-block- or even big-block- Chevy V8? We suggest going to Van Nuys, where you can pick up this Jaguar six-powered '51 Chevy roadster. It runs and drives, and we think it looks great just as it sits; the Jaguar spinners really work on those custom wheels. However, with all the work that went into that Pontiac front sheetmeal and boattail rear, you'll be overcome with feelings of guilt if you don't finish the damn project, and you'll be cheating if you just drop the thing off at a hot-rod shop and have them finish the body and interior. No, you need to do everything yourself, including the addition of a supercharger to that sweet-sounding Jag 4.2. Thanks to Graverobber for the tip!

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