Project Car Hell, Cold War Edition: Dodge Power Wagon Town Wagon or Lada Signet?Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! In our last foray into the Burning Garage O'Pain™, the Buick Reatta beat the Olds Troféo by a 53% to 47% poll split. We've had unifying vehicular themes for most of our Hell Challenges recently, but sometimes you need to choose between two totally different eternities- say, one in which St. Helena earwigs colonize your bile ducts, and another in which you are stuck in an Amway PowerPoint presentation 24/7. And, just for fun, we're going Warsaw Pact versus NATO, with one machine from the hottest period of the Cold War and the other from the wild and crazy endgame.

Back when we were gearing up for some toe-to-toe nuclear combat with the Rooskies, a man could walk into his friendly Dodge dealership and order him up a Town Wagon, to haul six or eight passengers reliably (if not comfortably), or he could opt for the military-truck-based four-wheel-drive Power Wagon and flee those mean ol' Tsar Bombas in an off-road run to the mountains (although you'd need to get quite a head start to escape the blast radius of the Tsar Bomba). Or, because this is the greatest nation on earth, he could have had both! Yes, you could buy a Power Wagon Town Wagon, with four-wheel-drive and lots of seats. Fine vehicle, the Power Wagon Town Wagon, but where can you find one today? They've all rusted away or tumbled down ravines, stuff like that. Except, of course, for this '60 (go here if the ad disappears), which Mad_Science has found for us in Reno. As Mad_Science observes: "note the guy in the picture for scale. Either that guy's a midget or this thing is enormous!" Does it run? Is there rust? What's the interior like? We don't know any of that, but we do know that it's only $1,695 and maybe even, as the seller claims, the "rarest 4x4 in america!" Should be an easy project!
You couldn't buy the Lada in the United States, because we didn't do business with gulag-havin' Stalinists, you betcha. However, the Canadians thought the Soviet-made Fiat 124 sedan clone was so good that they were willing to do business with the Evil Empire, if that's what it took to get their mittened hands on that fine Russian interpretation of an ancient Italian design. That means you need to head up north to Lada Land if you want an example of Late Cold War machinery for your own… and SoNaive has pinpointed the location of this fine '87 Lada Signet (go here if the ad disappears) for us. No mention of running condition is given, but is that even necessary? This is a Soviet Fiat, people! Naturally, you'll want to get on the horn to Italy right away and order up every possible hot-rod engine part you'll need to build a seriously hairy Fiat Twin Cam, or maybe you'll perform a not-yet-found-in-nature Japanese-Soviet-Italian swap and put an SR20DET in this sucka! You might have some issues getting it registered in the United States, because the Lada was never certified to meet US emissions, equipment, or safety standards, but we're sure you'll find the folks at your local DMV are eager to smooth your path to fully legal Lada ownership! Whatever you do to this car, you'll be performing the work in the manner of a Glorious Hero Mechanic Of The Proletariat, because this car comes with a set of Soviet wrenches! Oh yeah! Suddenly I must have a Soviet wrench set!