PCH, European Pain Edition: Borgward Hansa Wagon or Peugeot 304?

Illustration for article titled PCH, European Pain Edition: Borgward Hansa Wagon or Peugeot 304?

We had another nail-biter yesterday, with the Subaru XT6 edging out the BRAT by a 234 to 228 vote count in the Choose Your Eternity poll. We're going to declare that one a tie, and that's a good thing; after all, what's Hell without difficult choices? Today we're going to park a pair of European machines just inside the gates of Hades, where they will beckon enticingly to you with their only-one-in-town obscurity and double-take-inspiring appearance. It's lots of fun having an oddball car whose mere presence makes onlookers question your sanity respect your taste in fine automobiles, and either of these two could be a life sentence highly fulfilling project. Thanks to HotRodElectric and Franzouse for the tips!


You love wagons, we love wagons, everyone loves wagons! But old Detroit station wagons are a dime a dozen, and parts obtainment is just too darned easy. You need something European, preferably from a defunct manufacturer and packed with weird engineering. We've definitely got you covered here, and we're sure that once you lay eyes on this 1961 Borgward Hansa 1100 Wagon" (go here if the ad disappears) you'll be a believer in a boxer-four-powered 47-year-old hearse-esque German wagon! Don't worry about the body, because it's "almost free of rust," and your Subaru-driving friends will be envious of your wagon's engine: "Subaru bought the blueprints and maybe some tooling too. I am told it uses a VW 36 horse cam and crank." Imagine the fun of getting this engine of dubious ancestry running again (normally we'd advise swapping in a turbocharged Subaru mill, but it would be a sin to dump an engine this hopeless rare). Best of all, the Project Car Hell meme continues to gain fresh territory: "Need a small hearse to carry you off to project car hell?" You bet you do!

They made Borgwards in Mexico into the 70s, so you might be able to get some parts for that Hansa without having to pay vast amounts for shipping, which means you could be taking the easy way out with that car. How about a machine that wasn't even sold in North America, a machine that will raise, then dash, your hopes repeatedly as you scour the world for parts, all the while taunting you with the fact that it was built by one of the world's major manufacturers and should be easier than this? Come on down to eBay and drop a big bid on this 1971 Peugeot 304! There's no reserve price, and the top bid is sitting at $100 with only a couple days to go. Come on, a 37-year-old front-wheel-drive French sedan that's been sitting since 1990... for a hundred smackers? You can't go wrong! We're a bit put off by the seller's punctuation and spelling (where's the traditional eBay CAPS LOCK, not to mention the requisite "i saw restored one a thees go for $$$49000$$$ dollars resently" statement?) but the spare transmissions, heads, etc. compensate for that drawback. And hey, the seller says "it was every bit as reliable and efficient as, and much more "substantial" than, my 77 Honda Accord," so you figure it will be a bulletproof daily driver once you've got it running again!


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Rob Emslie

Borgward. Just because I'm not feeling the love for the French today.