200 Days In Project Car Hell!

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Hard to believe, but today's Choose Your Eternity matchup was the 200th Project Car Hell post since it all began in the summer of '07. It's a lot of work, it generates more hate mail than everything else I write put together (every so often, the seller of a PCH vehicle will discover the post with his or her car and try to set me straight about how it's really a great deal), and my constant searching for sufficiently cool/hellish candidates has made it virtually impossible for me to choose out a Hell Project of my own... but I still enjoy the hell out of writing PCH. In honor of this occasion, I've picked out ten of my personal favorites from the first 200 posts. Some were the most fun to write, some had the most head-clutchingly nightmarish cars, and some inspired more than the usual number of brilliant comments from y'all ; crank up the Project Car Hell Song and make the jump to check 'em out!


Fiat 500 vs Austin-Healey Sprite The post that started it all; I came very, very close to buying the Toyota 20R-powered Sprite, then changed my mind and wrote the post. Then, the day after the post went up I changed my mind back and called the Sprite's seller, resolved to buy the car... and it had just sold that morning. I had no idea at the time that I'd ever make a series out of the concept, but (after spending the whole weekend kicking myself for tipping off thousands of potential competitors about a car I wanted to buy) I started spending crazy amounts of time searching online for similar deals... which led to more PCH posts.

VW Bus-Powered 911 vs 911-Powered VW Bus
The title of this one says it all. One of those matchups in which the winner was a foregone conclusion, yet still good and twisted.

Studebaker Weasel vs Faun-Kraka
A Studebaker with tank tracks? A West German military vehicle made to be folded up and dropped by parachute? You can't go wrong with either one!

Engine Swap Mix-N-Match Hell
Two choices? Not hellish enough! You need eight for a serious Hell Project! This one got started when the Loverman found a good deal on a BMW V12 on the same day I started thinking about the monstrous Detroit Diesel Series 60 as the powerplant for something smaller than an 18-wheeler. The Testarossa V12 in the Porsche 912 was the big winner, though I was rooting for the S60-powered Minor.

Cyclone-Powered Mercury Cyclone vs Jet-Powered Olds Jetfire
Still in an engine-swapping mood, this time I decided to pair engine names with car names. What could go wrong?

It's not often that you can find two (non-Anglia) European-car-based gassers for sale at reasonable prices... and, by the way, the Opel gasser is still for sale!

Blown Kaiser Manhattan vs Blown VW Corrado
Factory supercharged cars are always hellish fun, but when you pit early-90s VW build quality against a 50-year-old car made by a long-defunct American manufacturer? No sweat!

Forward-Control Jeep vs Spanish Citroën
This one is on my personal Top Ten because how often does an automotive writer get to bring up de Gaulle and Franco ("a machine that combines the huggable warmth of Charles De Gaulle with the lighthearted playfulness of Francisco Franco") in the same piece? Such opportunities are to be savored!

Panhard Tigre vs Renault 15 & 17
When I started this job, I had owned one French car in my life and figured that was enough for me. After a while, though, I started to yearn for another example of the glorious lunacy that is French automotive engineering...and something about the cars in this post really enhanced that yearning. Yes, I'm keeping my eyes open for a Matra Bagheera!

1957 Chrysler Limo vs 1981 Ferrari Limo
You cut a car in half, add a center section and some TV sets... instant luxury! These cars had me laughing almost too hard to write up the text, though I still wanted to buy both of them.

OK, that's it. Keep sending in those PCH tips! And, because polls are fun, let's vote: