PCH, Mysterious Factory Racer Edition: Ferrari 360 Challenge or BMW E46 M3?SWelcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Yesterday, a majority of you felt that the Porsche 928 would be a better LeMons car than the Lexus LS400, citing the alleged reliability of the big Toyota as a factor in the decision. Would a car designed to haul well-to-do realtors in utter comfort be reliable after a few hours of full-throttle hoonage, bashing into tire walls and other cars, even with Japanese engineering on its side? Only one way to answer that question! But maybe we should forget about homemade race cars for a moment and talk about factory race cars. Who hasn't toyed with the idea of waving the Magic Wand Of Legality over a factory race machine- say, one with an absurdly cheap price tag- and making it into a profoundly satisfying daily driver? How hard could it be?

You like the Ferrari 360, but you say it's just not extreme enough for you? Well, then you're an obvious candidate for the 360 Challenge, the stripped-down, race-only version of the 360 Modena, and we think you have what it takes to convince the bureaucrats in your state that it deserves street-legal status. Before you can do that, however, you need to find one that you can afford (hey, all those lawyers ain't gonna be cheap), so we've found you this one for a paltry $40,000. No doubt you're having a hard time accepting that a genuine Ferrari 360 Challenge can be purchased for that kind of small-time cash, but it's for real. You see, it needs some work. Tell the truth, it's been in a bit of a fender-bender… or maybe a more accurate term would be chassis-bender. You know how most Ferraris come with an exhaustively documented history? How boring! Not so in this case, though; the seller states "I really can not tell you alot about this car,I do not know how it was wrecked,I do not know how many miles or hours are on this car." It appears that the engine was spared during the crash- though perhaps it was one of those throw-rod-then-hit-wall incidents- and the seller adds that he or she "was told engine was recently overhauled by ferrari of new england but i do not have the paperwork at this time." So there ya go- blurry photos, information-free description, no title, all on a hideously mangled somewhat battered factory race car. We like it!
Ferrari, Italy, Pininfarina… blah, blah, blah. Don't your eyes sort of glaze over when Italian-car geeks go droning on about "soul" and "passion" and all that noise? You want precision in your factory race car. Science! Naturally, that means you must start shopping for a BMW… but where could you possibly find one with a description as maddeningly vague as the Ferrari Challenge we just contemplated? Impossible! The bar has been set too high! Put your monocle back on, Helmut, because we've managed to find this BMW E46 M3 (go here if the ad disappears) for the steal-it-today price of 36 grand. The listing for this car- that is, if "car" is the right word in this case- is a genuine Craigslist masterpiece; we can't even figure out quite what's being sold here. The "factory built roll cage is up for sale," but there's also the "rolling chassis is as is in photos shown below." The photographs muddle more than they enlighten; we've got two blurred shots of what appear to be shipping labels, one shot of a car that appears to be a chassis that rolls only on pallet jack wheels, and one shot of a vehicle- perhaps the same one- surrounded by packing materials. Do you get a suspension? Does the cage come with the deal? How about ownership paperwork? We're pretty sure there's no engine involved, so you can go ahead and start building up a wild Bavarian six-banger now; we know you'll leap all the other hurdles as they come.