You can't make out the car photos in the new/improved page layout anyway, so we'll put the "traditional" PCH image after the jump. Right, back to business as usual in the Hell Garage: last time, the turbo rotary-powered Datsun 510 just barely beat the small-block-Chevy-powered Austin-Healey Sprite, according to the results of the Choose Your Eternity poll. It may be that the certain rage of 510 worshipers upon seeing that blasphemous engine swap tipped the balance in favor of the Datsun- or against it, depending on how you interpret these things- and so we'll continue with a couple of cars with heavy zealot followings: Chevy Corvair and Renault Gordini!
Never mind that Dan Neill wrote that the Renault Dauphine was "a rickety, paper-thin scandal of a car that, if you stood beside it, you could actually hear rusting." The nerve- he probably got that Pulitzer at a yard sale! The Dauphine was a fine motor vehicle, and then that Renault hot-rodder Amédée Gordini worked his tuning magic on it and upped the horsepower by nearly 16 percent. Yes, the Renault Dauphine Gordini packed 37 French ponies in the back (not the measly 32 you got with the regular Dauphine) and you can get yourself this '65 (go here if the ad disappears) for under a grand! The seller is asking for $900, but you won't have to pay that much once you point out that those "newer tires" are space-saver spares (though we can't help but think that driving on four of those things would be quite entertaining). There's rust. Lots of rust. It doesn't run, but you'll be ditching the Renault engine and swapping in something a bit more powerful, like f'rexample this 2165cc VW unit. Add some turbocharging, a beefed up Type 4 transaxle, and you'll be
broke driving the quickest Dauphine in your time zone!
Rear-engined cars from the 60s are
deadly exciting, but why go with European oversteer when you could drive patriotic American oversteer? The Chevrolet Corvair is the obvious choice, and the 1969 model may be the very best one. It's also the very last one, so they're pretty rare; The General was only building '69 Corvairs to prove that he wasn't going to knuckle under to that paranoid communist agent, Ralph Nader, and so the cars were all assembled by hand in the "Corvair Room" in Willow Run, Michigan. That's right, lovingly handcrafted by the same perfectionists who made the Nova the envy of the Mercedes-Benz quality-control department! The '69 Corvair is hard to find these days, but we've found a pair of them for just $2,875 (go here if the ad disappears). Both are running, Powerglide-equipped hardtops, and one is the sporty Monza model. These Southern California survivors have "very little" rust, though decades of blazing Ojai summer days mean that the upholstery is likely on the crumbly and/or faded side. While you're searching for repro carpets and getting the seats recovered, you can also go shopping for a bulletproof leisure suit; you'll need one to protect yourself from the high-velocity projectiles fired at you by Corvair zealots, once you stuff this Porsche 997 six in the back of the Monza (which leaves the other car available as an "instant junkyard" parts car, to be deposited on your front lawn). In fact, you'll probably have the Porsche guys after you as well, so better add some Kevlar longjohns to your sartorial shopping spree. You won't have to worry about the Corvair guys catching you on the road, though- not with 385 horsepower behind you!