Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! We haven't done a serious Engine Mix-&-Match PCH for a while, so let's burn!
The Maserati-powered Model T definitely made an impression at the last Billetproof Nor-Cal, which is totally understandable. After all, the [flawless Model A, B, or T] + [Chevy or Ford OHV V8] formula has been done so often and so well that you need a body machined from pure plutonium to really stand out these days, while the [rusty-ass ancient non-Ford] + [weird yet hypnotically cool engine] formula still offers plenty of fun for each pint of blood you spill in the Hell Garage. Tonight, we're going to look at a total of nine possible vehicle+engine combos, any one of which would draw vast crowds of Bettie Page lookalikes at the next Billetproof. Hear the rusty iron doors of the Hell Garage swinging open for you? Once closed, they'll be welded shut until you're done... or insane!
Every time I see the amazing DOTS '47 Plymouth rumbling through my neighborhood, I realize anew that old suicide-door Plymouth sedans let you roll in the purest Hell Garage style. Affordable examples are quite easy to find in diamond-in-the-rough condition, too. Say f'r'example, this 1937 Plymouth sedan, which has a no-doubt-negotiable $1,000 price tag. The patina is already perfect, and the "toast" interior should be viewed as an opportunity to commission a special burlap-and-studded-pleather extravaganza!
It's tough to argue with the appeal of a 62-year-old sedan, but an elderly pickup made by a farm equipment manufacturer might make you forget all about that Plymouth. This '38 IHC pickup, which has been sitting in an Iowa field since Syngman Rhee was in office, has the perfect paint finish for Billetproof stardom, though we're not sure that "no bullet holes" is really a selling point. No matter, though- you can always make your own bullet holes!
Sedans? Trucks? Don't forget station wagons! Sure, you'd like a two-door wagon, and a Ford Ranch Wagon would be an excellent choice... but even that might veer uncomfortably close to the overchromed aesthetic behind those hyper-sanitary Chevy Nomads we see at mainstream car shows. Don't worry, because LeMons Rabbit racer Casadelshawn has tipped us off about this Opel Olympia Caravan, which is priced right in LeMons territory... which isn't relevant, because you know that mini-Euro-Nomad will be just the car to receive the engine of your
deepest fears dreams! And, speaking of engines...
Now that you've picked out your chassis, what would you say to a 317-horse, DOHC/4-valve aluminum V8 that should be making good power until the Sun goes supernova? You can get this Nissan VK56DE out of a Nissan Titan pickup for well under two grand, though you'll need to spend
many a few more bucks setting it up with an octet of Weber carbs and some sort of transmission.
A Nissan 5.6 liter V8 would be fun, but imagine all the wild Teutonic Maltese-cross decor you could put on your Opel, Plymouth, or IHC if you were to drop a Mercedes-Benz 5.6 liter V8 into the engine compartment? An M117, freshly torn from the still-twitching corpse of a big ol' Cocaine Dealer Grade 560SEL, would be just the ticket, and here's a 69,000-mile specimen for a mere 710 bucks! You'll need to ditch that irritatingly modern fuel-injection system and replace it with some carburetors, of course, and we recommend a homemade pipe-organ-style intake manifold made from galvanized plumbing fittings and sucking fuel from as many updraft Cessna carburetors as you can obtain. Then you'll start your junkyard quest for a functional junkyard transmission. How hard could it be?
Is there some rule that states you've got to have a V8? No? Well, how about one of GM's coolest engines ever, a high-performance inline six that struggled to get attention while in the shadow of big-inch monster V8s during the Muscle Car Golden Age? Yes, we mean the Pontiac OHC six-cylinder, which was a Chevrolet 230 or 250 six equipped with a futuristic (for 1960s Detroit) belt-driven overhead-cam cylinder head. The high-performance Sprint version, installed in regrettably few Firebirds and Tempests, could hold its own against V8s with vastly more displacement... but real Sprints are hard to find. No problem, though, because you can build your own Sprint from this Pontiac OHC 250, which is sitting with a top bid of just 150 bucks.
Ready to decide? Let's vote!