We had another close one yesterday, but the '69 Crown managed to edge out the '59 Datsun in the race to the Lake Of Fire in the Choose Your Eternity poll. We've seen some pretty affordable cars lately (well, affordable to start with, before you start buying parts), but what about Hell Projects that raise the pressure in the boiler by starting out with gut-punch price tags? You must finish a project that you spent 30 or 50 grand just acquiring, right? And if you need to spend $5,000 on a windshield or crankshaft... well, what choice do you have? Can't give up now! We've picked a couple of cars that, if restored, would bring tears to the eyes of vintage racers and eagle-eyed concours worshipers alike, and would fetch vast sums from the same crowd. If restored.

Those who wanted to buy a new Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster back in 1958 had to come up with $5,020, about $1,400 more than a new Corvette and about the same as a '58 Lincoln Capri hardtop. We're talking about quite the high-buck machine (though you had to spend twice as much to get its mighty 300SL sibling), and much in demand today. It's got some German notoriety, too, being known as the Nitribitt-Mercedes after the murdered Frankfurt call girl who drove one. If you've got $27,800 to spend on your next project- or even if you don't- why not blow it all invest it wisely in this '58 Mercedes-Benz 190SL (go here if the ad disappears)? Look at it! Sure looks nice... so nice that you shouldn't fear that "light rust on the floor," because the seller says right in the ad that it's an "easy restoration." Right! It's even got a rebuilt engine "that is bolted in the car," yet for some reason it's not running. Maybe a few turns of some carb screws, perhaps some futzing with the distributor, and it'll roar to life! It looks like most of the trim is still there, and maybe the interior is good enough, which leaves you plenty of time to puzzle out the drivetrain problems.

What are you, some kind of cheapskate? Only 28 grand, and for a German car? Where's the fun there? What you need is a super-rare Jag, say one of only 32 1956 XK140 dropheads with automatics and left-hand drive (go here if the ad disappears). Not only that, the seller wants to make it perfectly clear that this car was once ARBOUR GREEN, and that you'll need to get up off of $49,000 if you want to take it home. Whew, almost 50 grand! That's perfectly understandable when you learn that the seller estimates that "the car is 90 to 95% complete as to parts." Skeptical types might try to rain all over your parade by pointing out that 5% or 10% of an automatic-equipped 52-year-old Jaguar is a helluva lot of parts, but we'd counter by saying that maybe the missing stuff is the easiest 5 or 10 percent! Don't try to lowball this savvy seller, though, because it says right in the ad (twice) that "THE PRICE IS FIRM!!!" Thanks to htrodbldr for the tip!

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