PCH, Saturday Night Massacre Edition: 1973 De Tomaso Pantera or 1973 Lotus Elite?SWelcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! 1973 was quite a memorable year; engine compression ratios were down as US emissions laws sprouted some sharp claws, the Arabs got so pissed about their ass-whooping in the Yom Kippur war that they cut off the oil, and Richard Nixon was forced to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox in the Saturday Night Massacre, in order to save the country from those pinko traitors who would see a Viet Cong flag flying over the White House and celebrate their victory by dumping a megaton of pure LSD in the nation's water supply! Yes, that was a simpler time, a happier bygone era captured in little square Instamatic photographs; think about that next time you're hearing those oldies wheezing out of the speakers at a car show and some grumpy old guy sitting on an ice chest next to his numbers-matching '74 Charger gripes about how much better things were back then.

First, let's hear what Tricky Dick had to say to those communists in the media who wanted nothing less than total emasculation of the Executive Branch of the United States government. You see, he canned Cox for selfless reasons, yet once again the press was out to get him!
It would have taken a miracle for Nixon to survive impeachment, which is the reason he resigned. Unlike Nixon, however, you won't have the option of resigning from your Pantera project, not when you've managed to buy the car for the once-in-a-lifetime low price of just $2,500. Got your attention now? That's right, this 1973 'Lamborghini' Pantera (go here if the ad disappears), complete with genuine "Clevlander" 351 engine, is sitting there in North Jersey with a 25-Benjamin price tag! The seller states that it's in "Good Shape just rusted," which is much like saying that the reputation of the United States Presidency is in good shape, other than some Watergate damage. The buyer hardly needs to mention that it doesn't run, but he wants to make that fact perfectly clear. The interior is "in tact," though, which makes the project a bit easier, and Ford Cleveland parts are no sweat to find. If you're thinking of just making it run and then enjoying the glory of driving the meanest-looking rustmobile in your town, think again: the Pantera's monocoque construction means that rust anywhere on the body will probably lead to catastrophic structural failure at high speed. But so what? 2,500 bucks!
Panteras are cool, and there's no denying that they're pretty quick, but the Vince Neil stigma is pretty tough to scrub away. And what if you'd prefer a precise, road-gripping machine to a fire-and-brimstone pushrod V8-powered testosterone monster? Well, also available in 1973 was the Lotus Elite, which- thanks to fiberglass monocoque construction and Lotus' famed suspension engineering- weighed about 17 pounds and grabbed the pavement the way the goddamned Ho Chi Minh-loving press sank its fangs into Richard Milhous Nixon and wouldn't let go! That's right, you'll go all Woodward and Bernstein on your favorite twisty mountain road once you get this '73 Lotus Elite (go here if the ad disappears) back into running condition. Actually, it might already be in running condition, but the seller was too busy slamming a huge fist onto the CAPS LOCK key to type out that inconsequential tidbit, though he or she does state that it "NEEDS RESTORATION." All the photographs are from similar angles, so we can't tell you much about the condition other than the obvious missing front body components, and we also can't tell you how many miles are on the clock; if it really has racked up "5000 K" miles, we're looking at a five million mile British car here, which could mean it's the highest-mileage car in the world (though to achieve that figure it would need to have maintained an average speed of a just under 17 MPH the entire time since it was built). Hey, maybe it's really a super-cherry 5,000-mile car, and all for just $3,400. You can't lose!