Graverobber has continued to create his totally plausible Project Car Hell Tirades™ for us, and we're going to follow up the original Graverobber Tirade Friday compilation with another collection of his greatest hits today. Jump away, if you dare, and you'll read about the
terrible glorious fates awaiting those who drag Hell Projects into once-cheerful garages.
PCH, Because You Can Edition
The Vee-dub. Ach-Eee-double hockey sticks. The Camper Van Fordiac is freaky enough, and if you bought that you might turn into a pedophiliac version of that Hal Holbrook character from Into the Wild:"Don't hitch to Alaska, I'll drive you in my creepy clown camper!". The Rabbit Limo however smacks of the kind of freaky '70s mashup of economy car and luxury car that Motor Trendused to promote. That's right, gravitate to the Rabbit and you will be inadvertently branding yourself as a Motor Trend reader. Now, MT has been around for a long time. And it, like other car magazines has developed a persona of sorts over the years.
Road & Track has always been the Chardonnay-sipping, European car-loving, Formula One-following, Concours-attending civility magazine.
CAR AND DRIVER has developed the image of Budweiser-swilling, big-engine, parking lot burnout-ing, "Why don't them Ur-a-peun cars have no torque? NASCAR-loving bruisers. AutoWeek is the "WE LOVE ALL KINDS OF RACING ONLY WE PUT IN THE BACK AND IT USED TO EVEN BE UPSIDEDOWN, BUT NOW IT'S NOT AND WE GET A LOT OF OUR NEWS FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS SO IT'S SOMETIMES WRITTEN LIKE IT'S BY SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T REALLY LIKE CARS, BUT WE REALLY, REALLY DO, PLUS WE HAVE DENISE MCCLUGGAGE AND SHE CAN DRIVE BETTER THAN ME YOU AND THAT BLOW-HARD FROM CAR AND DRIVER THAT CRASHED ON THE FIRST LAP AT INDY THAT YEAR, REMEMBER THAT? YEAH WE EVEN REPORTED ON THAT." magazine. But they're trying. But Motor Trend? . . .Well, MT has always had a motto, which is "All Cars Are Good!, or ACAG. MT loves them some Japanese sedans and will frequently test three or four of them at a time. They'll go on for page upon page about the nuanced differences between an Accord and and Altima, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE THE SAME CAR! Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself. Now, you may ask yourself "But I drive a mid-size sedan, wouldn't I be interested in a road test of said cars?" No you wouldn't. You drive that shit-box everyday. You could sneak out of work right now and take it around the block. You don't care about them. When you're sitting on the crapper, laying some cable, you don't want to be thinking about being stuck in traffic in a metallic-gray Camry LE, you want to read about rocketing a Veyron over a treacherous single-lane Alpine road. You want to read what it feels like to get pushed all out of shape by the ferocious acceleration of a nitrous-equipped, seven liter Viper at the clandestine drag races secretly put on by the ghosts of dead bootleggers. You want to vicariously experience all the things that you can neither afford nor are allowed by your wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, mother/probation officer. My god, that's why you read Penthouse forum isn't it?! Motor Trend, likes to take anything and make it more middle of the road. Limos should be big, ostentatious, look at me vehicles. But no, Motor Trend wants you to go to your prom in a Rabbit. Motor Trend wants you to ride to your father's funeral in a four-cylinder, 16-foot long hatchback. Why? Because Motor Trend is the car mag for people who aren't sure they like cars. Hell, maybe they're kind of "Dr Phil" sensitive individual and would actually rather read Cat Fancy (Ooh! Calicos now number one breed in Ohio!) than smoke-em around a corner, rev-the-piss-outta' it car stories. So you don't want to go there. Just walk away. No, don't turn around, don't look back. Just walk away. You're a car guy. Even if you're a gal, you've got 91-octane in your veins, you get excited whenever you hear open pipes coming up the street, and you have a stack of car magazines, non of which are Motor Trend sitting on the floor, next to the toilet. So steer clear of the rabbit limo. Go find a Porsche, or a 427 Camaro, or Deuce Coupe and give it a loving caress. Smell some exhaust, listen to how a real motor sounds when on song. It'll be alright, we're gonna' make it through this, just put down the Cat Fancy.
PCH, Alphabet Soup Edition
I think the NSU is PCH, because the TVR will eventually go PDQ and the NSU looks kind of DOA, although they both will cost so much you'll only be left with your BVDs, so you'll need to CYA by taking out a second mortgage to pay the bills, but then the bottom may drop out and you'd be SOL and living in the car, so maybe the NSU is a better choice than the TVR after all. You'd still be able to take out an ad in Craigslist as a SWM looking for a roommate. Preferably someone with a PS3 so you could still play your favorite RPG and FPS. Eventually you'll need to pay the rent so you'd sell the NSU and put an ad up on the WWW, but no one is interested so you take it to the junk yard because you can't pay the registration and insurance anymore. As you leave you tell it RIP and then head back to your new job at UPS. While there you listen to some MP3s but the boss catches you and saysWTF? and that he's going to fire you. You beg with him and say you have ADD. He acquiesces, but warns you to keep your nose clean or you'll be FUD. You tell him OMG I will, and secretly plan to get enough money back to buy that TVR. LOL!
PCH, Budget Engine Swap Edition
A Nissan-powered Corona is a problem. Japanese industry is controlled by several Zai-batsu family groups, and Toyota and Nissan fall under competing families. Having the swarthy Nissan mill in the demur Toyota four door sets the stage for an entire Capulet vs. Montague tragedy rolling into one little car. Building a car with allusions of Shakespearean predestination exposes you to straddling the cultures of your friends who are JDM traditionalists and those who espouse the rice-rocket hipster lifestyle. You fall somewhere in the middle, not caring more for one side than the other. For It is the east, and both are under the flag of the sun. Eventually . . . well, you know the story. It's not going to end happily, but if you've got to go, you can't ask for a better way to go than a tragic demise. And a V6-powered Corona will be a quick and quirky means to that end. A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents with this engine transplant. For never was a story of more woe and pain
Than this of Corona and her Nissan.
PCH, You Bought What Edition
That über-benz is $42K. It's longer than a school bus. The entire thing operates on 6 gallons of 90PSI hydraulic fluid that costs $67.98 a quart, and it's being sold by a car dealer in New York, so there's not going to be a lot of state regulatory intervention should they screw you. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? Like day-old sushi, Nicolas Cage movies and a herpes-infected girl friend overdue for a breakout, this crap shoot puts the odds against you . . . just the way you like it. A gambling man never takes the path, that's for losers, not winners. A gambling man talks the talk and walks the walk, and with an 11 passenger, 6-door behemoth like this, you'd be a fool not to buy it. If you can actually get it out of the dealership lot without paying extra for the seven boxes full of parts: I don't know if they're actually from that car, but they're from a Mercedes so they'd likely fit, but of course I'm going to have to charge you for them. How about $5,000 for the lot, no questions asked? the seller would tell you. Okay, off to a bad start and in the hole more than you had expected, but shit, just wait until it's done and the offers start rolling in. Limo services, Consulates of up and coming Third World Nations, Rap Artists and the Palin family will all be clamoring to buy this amazing and commodious automobile. Much like clothing Shaquille O'Neal, everything for this car costs extra- just storing it costs double because it takes up two parking spaces. A paint job is double because the spray booth won't hold it all at once. And the guy you have to hire to renew the hydraulics has to be flown all the way from Germany, is 78 years old, and requires a nurse and thrice-daily diaper change. But you persevere. You know that only the strong and the dedicated survive. You know that the only way you will come out on top is by putting your nose to the grindstone and putting all of your efforts behind getting the project done. You know this is right because Tony Robbins told you so on his inspirational tape. So, in order to economize, you sell your TV, you stop the newspaper, and cut your phone and DSL lines. All of your energy is focused on the task at hand- completing the restoration, getting it on the market, and fending off the bidders to make your big gamble pay out. Chrome for the massive grill is $5 grand. replacement leather upholstery takes 32 hides and costs $19 thousand. It all takes money and time, but you're dedicated and see the project through to the finish despite depleting both yours, and your pre-senile suffering grandma's bank accounts, but it's okay, because it looks fabulous. You can't park it on the street, and it won't go around most city corners, but you're gonna' make it al back and more when you sell it to the highest bidder. Opening the garage door for the first time in months, you are struck by how quiet it is. Looking around, you see many pedestrians on the side walks, but no cars. Heading around front to the main street, you see several Metro busses go by, all completely packed with sad-faced passengers, but again no cars.
Heading down the street, first at a trot, then at a flat-out run, you reach the only gas station in your part of the city. There on the marque you see the reason for the dearth of cars- REG $11.999/Gal PREM $13.999/Gal, and even worse there's a banner across the pumps saying NO GAS, NONE COMING.
Your heart sinks. Even on the best day, the 600 would only have gotten about 9 miles to the gallon around town, and here there isn't even any of the stuff to buy! You had been so focused on the project that you completely missed the total collapse of the capitalist machine. Heading back home, you pick up a paper. The headline reads "Federal Government Mandates Public Transportation - CNG Busses only way to get around" and lower on the page "Consulates closing, nations unable to afford foreign outposts. In the Arts and Entertainment section you read about how Rap has become passe and Emo- Green music is the new big thing. Climbing into the Pulman, and pushing the button on the garage door remote, slowly sending the door down, you fire up the car, and decide to end it all. Unfortunately, there's not enough gas in the tank and it runs dry after only giving you a headache. You head up stairs and put another Tony Robbins tape in the machine. You think about the old gambler's maxim: If you make many throws your luck must change. Sadly, you only threw once.
PCH, V8 Imports You Should Totally Run At LeMons Edition
Hölle awaits you with a non-running 928. You don't have enough money to float both the purchase price and the repairs, but after you tell your parents about your plan to run it in the 24HOLMS they offer to pitch in, but the money comes with a stern lecture about responsibility and ownership of your actions.
The fat-bottomed girl looks just right, sitting, somewhat lopsidedly, in your garage. A new fuel pump eats away $156.99 from your repair fund, and the addition of new plugs, wires, 6 skinned knuckles and an oil change sets you back a good $319.12 additional. Fresh gas in the tank and a new battery (total $162.57) gets you to the point where you're ready to try and start the beast. It fires up and settles into a lumpy, twitchy idle. That night, your parents inform you that they will be leaving the next day for a weeklong vacation. You get another sermon on maintaining your decorum while they are gone and not doing anything for which you'll regret in the future.
Once they have left, you call your best friend, Miles, telling him that you're going to take the Porsche out let it stretch its legs. Miles drops by later that evening and you slowly back the car out of the garage. The single taillight, and copious quantities of acrid smoke drifting from the down-turned exhaust pipe do nothing to dampen the excitement you both feel.
The car creaks over expansion joints, and the dried out and threadbare tires make smoke-churning doughnuts in the parking lot of Long John Silver's an easy diversion. While waiting on the apron for traffic to clear, you see her; short dress, pixie nose and blonde hair done in a retro feather cut. You think back to that morning, after your parents had left the house and how you had danced around in your underwear while playing air guitar and singing along with the old Bob Segar CD of your dad's.
She walks over to the car and leans on the window. "You boys look like you're having a good time." She says all slow and languid. Her eyes, masked by heavy lashes and smoky mascara look golden in the streetlamp light reflecting off them. "You want to have an even better time?" she says and reaches through the open window to massage your shoulder. "So tense" she purrs, "I'm thinking you could use a night of Nirvana to calm those tense muscles." Miles leans forward and starts to tell her that you are heading back to your house to watch Conan, and that . . . "Shut up Miles." you hear yourself say. The Porsche shudders and one headlamp dims appreciably. "Mmmm, a Porsh" she whispers, "that really turns me on." "Porsh-ah" you whisper back involuntarily and open the door. Several hours and condoms later, your are in a park and the two of you are lying on the hood of the 928. Miles is sitting under a picnic table, gripping his knees, rocking back and forth and muttering "unclean, unclean, must wash eye sockets!" "Okay lover, time to pay the piper." she leans over facing you and her mention of piper reminds you of what she just did to your. . . well, what did she mean pay? "Oh, of course" you sputter, "you're a pro." "Um-hum" she nods and holds up her hand as she rubs her thumb back and forth across the tips of her first two fingers. "That's three hours at twelve hundred an hour . . . you owe me thirty six hundred, and I don't take plastic." "Thirty six hundred!" you shout, sitting straight up. "I don't have that." "You drive a Porsche cowboy, how can thirty six hundred be a big deal? I happen to know a fuel pump alone for one of these is a hundred-fifty." "One fifty six, ninety nine." you say, staring off across the lake in front of you. She lets out a long slow sigh and then jumps down off the hood. Straightening her dress she puts her fingers in her mouth and lets go with a long trilling whistle. "Hey, Guido! Over here!" she shouts, and a small, hairy man comes out from behind the boathouse. He's wearing Sansabelt slacks and a paisley poly-blend shirt, which is open far enough to display a chest full of hair and gold chains. "This is Guido, he's sort of my boss." she tells you. "Guido, your boss, of course." You mimic her while eyeing Guido as he twists at a large gold ring on the third finger of his left hand. "That's right," says Guido, "only I'm not sort of her boss, I am exactly her boss, and I need to make sure she gets paid for services rendered, if you get me drift." He's moved closer to the two of you now, and is standing just behind the ass-end of the 928. "You drive this?" he asks. "Yes, this is the first night I've taken it out." Frowning, he asks "Do you know what a fuel pump costs on one of these babies?" "One hundred fifty six ninety nine." You say again. Guido: "One fifty six?" You: "Yeah" Guido: "And ninety nine," "Right" "He lets out a slow whistle. "So you don't mind spending money on a beautiful machine such as this, but you can't be bothered with the proper exchange of remuneration for a job well done by this beautiful woman? It was a job well done wasn't it? I mean, there was some sort of job involved, please tell me that at least." You're starting to panic. "Yes, there was a job, and it was undertaken with the utmost of professionalism and completed on time." "Just not under budget right?" Guido replies. "Yes . . .I mean, I had no idea, she should have told me up front." "She should have told you." Guido's shaking his head, "Do you really think that it was her responsibility in this exchange to quote you a price? Don't you think the onus lies on the consumer - you in this case - to ask for the cost before making the purchase?" "I guess so" you sheepishly relpy. "You guess so? You guess so? Look, buddy, we're going to have to work something out here, because there ain't no way you're gonna' get out of this without paying. You understand?" "I understand" you repeat. Guido puts his arm around you shoulder and walks you back to the sloping hatch of the Porsche. Under your feet are torn wrappers from your earlier endeavors for which you are now in such dire straights. "Look," Guido says, and you can smell the alcohol and Pepto on his breath. "Truth be told, we may be able to strike a bargain here." Your mind reels, he needs a place to let his employees ply their trade, your parents are gone for the week, you've got a lot of friends that have college bonds they could cash in, if you're shrewd enough, you might even come out ahead in this deal. You shake on it and give Guido your address. He collects the girl who asks if she's getting paid or not. He grabs her by the arm and says "come one, we got calls to make" and then they are both gone. You are relieved and take your first deep breath since first encountering Guido. Shouting to Miles to come on and get in the car you lean back against the driver's door. The car shifts underneath you. Turning to look at what has happened you are shocked to see the car inching down the hill and towards the short, wooden pier. "No, no, no, no, no . . .!" you shout as it gathers speed. "MILES! HELP ME!" you shout, but there's no response. Jumping in front of it and grabbing with both hands under the bumper you plant your feet in the slick, wet grass. The 928 is too heavy and the slope too steep and you slide down the hill with the car. Impossibly the car picks up speed despite your best efforts and in an attempt not to get crashed by the German GT you leap on the hood. The car hits the dock and stutters across the rough boards. Overhead you see the bright glare of the lights and dark sky pass by. Bracing yourself for the immersion in the cold, duck-shit imbued water, you feel the car slow to a stop. The front tires bump against the 4 x 4 footing at the end of the pier, and you think your luck couldn't get any better tonight. Shouting to Miles you jump off the hood, and then the end of the pier collapses under you, sending car and you flying into the murky depths. Flotsam fills your mouth as you try and yell in surprise, but before you know it, the car is completely submerged leaving only twin clouds where misty air was forced out of the cabin through the cracked door glass. You realize now that you, Guido and the girls will have your work cut out for you, and that your dreams of winning the 24HOLMS would hinge on how many of your horny friends you'll be able to convince to mortgage their futures for one night of nirvana.
PCH, Sochaux Versus L.A. Edition
First off, the Muntz Jet must be saved. I judged the Post-war Touring class at the Los Angeles Concours d Elegance and a Muntz Jet won best in class. It had the original barware in the back and a Muntz wire recorder in the center console, and it worked-playing an old Muntz radio spot. The car was purple with a white top, and the restoration was impeccable. So your hell awaiting you is the 4-squared pugeoti. Why would anyone want 15 504s and a lone 505? Because you own a taxi company, and you're looking for the cheapest way to differentiate your brand from the Crown-Vic sporting competition. Smooth-riding, roomy French Peugeots are just what le docteur ordered. Because French is the language of love, you rename your taxi service Taxi de l'amour and paint all the 504s a candy-apple red, and trim them out with crushed velour and shag carpeting. A door to door traveling condom vending machine salesman talks you into installing a two bits-a-johnnie in the back of each. The final touch is a pheromone-scented tree hanging from the rearview mirror of each.
You, of course, want to take out the first car as a "test-run" and head down to the section of town where all the clubs are located. Your first fare is a Menonite, who has wandered into this part of town and wants to be taken back to the Howard Johnson's by the airport. You oblige and keep an eye on him in the mirror for the trip, but he doesn't seem to be affected by the salacious nature of his surroundings. You slip in a Barry White CD and see if that makes a difference, but he only re-buttons the top button on his stiff-white shirt and glares disapprovingly at the ticking meter. After him, you head back to the hot spot and see a couple of young women in micro-mini skirts and those kind of tops that just seem to hang around their necks and in front of their boobs, bad sadly never seem to fall off. The blond spies you and raises her arm in a hail. You pull over to the curb, the peugeot ticking over rhythmically and seeming to drip sex from its vibrating tailpipe. The girls get in, and ask if you know any good bars. "Sure," you tell them, "there's the Cat Box and the Fire Hose. . ." They both frown and, after some discussion between them, decide to have you take them back to their hotel, as they have an early morning at their volunteer gig with the developmentally handicapped children. Taking one last chance, you switch out Barry for Prince on the way to the hotel and use your hand to waft the scent form the tree hanging from the rearview but the redhead just makes a bad-smell face and opens the window. At the hotel, you help them out of the cab and wish them well. Having struck out twice with your new sex-mobile concept cab, you decide to try fishing in a different part of the lake, and head over to the strip mall-lined boulevard known to be habituated by ladies of the night. Sure enough, once you turn on the street, there they are, all short skirts, go-go boots, mesh tops and meth-mouths. A series of small motels line the south end of the strip, and here, at the north, it's mostly 7-11s, dive bars and Libertarian Party headquarters.
You cruise slowly down the street, timing it so you hit most of the lights on red. After three blocks and seven homeless guys trying to wash your windshield, you spot your prey; a man, dressed in a suit coat, jeans and boots and button-down shirt. He's standing with a Rubinesque hooker, in up-your neighborhood short-shorts and a yellow tanktop that isn't working overtime in keeping her ample bosom in check. They get in and he asks you to take them to a motel. He grabs in his pants pocket and pulls out a wad of cash- mostly singles-and says "no, no, no, take us to a . . . a" The hooker, who is looking around the cab like she's never seen anything as classy before and tells him "Look sugar, you better save some of that for me, otherwise you can just let ol' cabby here get your rocks off." He looks suddenly panicked and asks you "How much if you just drive us around for an hour?" "Half-hour" the hooker corrects.
Seeing as this is your test of the love-cab, you shut off the meter and turn back to the sweating, wide-eyed fare. Give me $20, and I'll take you on a nice romantic drive down to the waterfront and back." You look at the hooker, who is frowning and add, "that's about a half-hour drive." She smiles and says "Thank you love." As she says this you notice that she's a big girl, shifting you gaze back to her trick you note that he's no anorexic either, and you begin to worry about the shocks, which you never replaced.
You head off down the black and turn left at the next light, which is blinking yellow at this late hour. The road heads down a good 6 miles toward the waterfront and gets pretty windy. The couple in the back have started going at it and you sneak glances back to see if the cab is having any effect on the heat of passion. Mostly all you catch glimpses of is the dude's hairy ass bobbing up and down, and this makes you a little peeved.
The Peugeot coasts down the hill, picking up speed and starting to bounce from the frenetic activity in the back seat. At the third corner, you're doing 50 and the tires squeal as you bounce into the oncoming lane. You hit the brakes and realize that the shocks weren't the only ting you should have overhauled. The pedal goes to the floor and your eyes go wide. The e-brake is your next resort, but yanking on it only makes a zipper noise and you glimpse a frayed cable below the lever, damn!
The motion of the ocean is getting worse and you think that suit & boots is getting his money's worth. You're feeling bad to bring his fun to an end, but have to shout back to them, "HEY, YOU BACK THERE, KNOCK OFF THE HUMPING, WE'RE GONNA' CRASH!" It's no use, you're gaining speed, and your attempts to downshift have only resulted in the car no longer being able to find a gear. The bouncing is driving you all over the road, and the moaning coming from the back seat overcomes Barry on the CD. At 70, you lose a hubcap and the hooker tells your fare that he'd better get a move on. At 80, the rear bumper falls off and she tells him, "time's up fool." At 90, he says, "but I wasn't finished." You hit the bottom of the hill at 100 and you're going too fast to make the corner onto the street. Instead you break through the wooden fence rail and hit the end of the pier. The broad boards make a thud-a-da-da, thud-a-da-da noise under you. "You can just let me out here hon. . . ." the hooker says leaning forward and unable to finish the word as she sees the looming ocean through the windscreen. Her trick, pants in hand, sticks his head up next to hers and says "I said I wasn't fin..." He too is caught in mid-word as he realizes that he may very well be finished. The 504, still doing about 90, crashes through the barricade and does what feels like a graceful swan-dive, but is more of an ass-over-hood flip into the drink. You hit the water and it immediately fills the cabin. Barry is literally drowned out and the three of you make your escape through the open windows, swimming back to the shore, you stagger out amid the lightly crashing waves. Checking to make sure everyone is okay, you make your way back up to the pier, and to a phone booth, standing under a lone street lamp. You call the base and tell them what happened. Your partner says, "Well, that's it then, this plan's not gonna' work." "Pfft," you say, "I know where we went wrong, and besides, we have 15 more tries to get it right!"