PCH, Become A 24 Hours Of LeMons Legend Edition: Panhard PL17 or 1951 Studebaker?

Illustration for article titled PCH, Become A 24 Hours Of LeMons Legend Edition: Panhard PL17 or 1951 Studebaker?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Thinking about entering The Lamest Day LeMons race? We've got the car for you!


As any of you who have been following our 24 Hours Of LeMons coverage know, we're trying to encourage more racers to think outside the E30/RX-7/Miata/Integra box when it comes to choosing their race cars. We'll be seeing a Soviet car in the Detroit-ish race, we've got a '63 Corvair getting ready for New England (plus a number of other cool entries that I'm not allowed to talk about yet), so the bar has been raised for the '09 season! So, just in time to get ready for the October 3rd Lamest Day race at Nelson Ledges, we've got a couple of sub-$500 Hell Projects that (if you could by some staggeringly unlikely miracle get into racing condition) would make your team an instant LeMons Legend.

When we had the Panhard Dyna Z-16 in our last voyage into the flames of Orphaned French Car Hell, Ohio-based Junkman jumped in to say that he had a reasonably complete Panhard PL 17 that he'd sell to any Nelson Ledges-bound LeMons team for below the $500 limit. Well, I couldn't let an idea that good go unexplored, so I asked Junkman if he really, really meant it. He sure did… as long as the team that buys the car lets him take a turn at the wheel during the race. He's getting ready to head to Retromobile now, so he didn't have time to go into all the details of the car. Does it run? Don't know! Does it have stuff like brakes and suspension? Can't say! We won't know any of that until The Man Of Junk gets back from France. But come on, everyone at the race will edge away from you in dismay awe at Nelson Ledges when you roll up with this fine, 42-horsepower French racin' machine, so don't worry about such inconsequential details!

Now's about the time that you red-blooded, commie-sucker-punchin', rear-wheel-drivin', body-on-frame-havin' patriotic racers slam your collective grimy fist on the smoldering workbench in the Hell Garage and shout "ENOUGH!" You'll drive a genuine America race car or nothing at all! Something from Detroit, or maybe Kenosha, or South Bend. Yeah, that's it- South Bend! You need to race a Studebaker, and we don't mean any disc-brake-equipped 60s Lark. We're talking about this 1951 Studebaker sedan (go here if the listing disappears), which boasts suicide doors, a genuinely wicked-looking patina, and a price tag of just $250. The seller isn't saying whether it's a 6-cylinder Champion or a V8 Commander, but it really doesn't matter; ever other driver on the track will be too terrified of your Studely studliness to attempt to pass. And, say, you've got an easy choice for the car's theme:

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Rob Emslie

I'm gonna' have to vote with my right foot and jump into the fire behind the wheel of that turd-pony Stude.

But that is only because the Panhard belongs to Junkman, and he wouldn't condemn a fellow Jalopnikadian to the eternal damnation of PCH (well, maybe that Drearthair guy) so it's gotta' be cherry.

I think, for the 24HoLMs, I'd mount a M242 Bushmaster cannon in the nose hole, and I'd paint the Stude to look like a P40 flying tiger. The gun would be to prevent passing (I'm pretty sure I can get it by the judges as I'll also mount an easily removable case of Mackeson triple stout and a DVD collection of Police Academy next to it for the inspection) and the paint will frighten the competition, and provide erotic stimulation to the ladies.

It's a win/win all the way around.