Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! They don't make European luxury cars like they used to.

Nowadays, the unreliability soul is missing from European luxury machines. The flaky electricals character and the sense of misery style. That's why your next Hell Project should be a fine high-zoot ride of decades past! But before we look at today's contestants, congratulations are in order to the United States Of America, the PCH underdog that pulled off a stunning upset comparable to the 1980 US Olympic hockey team's win. That's right, we're talking about the Chevy Corvairs that beat the Renault Dauphine Gordini yesterday, toppling seemingly unbeatable PCH UltraPower France and snatching away the PCH trophy (which now stands, leaking oil and shooting sparks, at the top of the Statue of Liberty's torch).

You know how much you'd have had to pay for a brand new Mercedes-Benz 450SLC back in 1973? $16,498, that's how much! That was more than enough to buy two '73 Cadillac Fleetwood 60s, or seven Datsun 510s. That's right, rather than have a different 510 for every day of the week, 450SLC buyers opted to go with one incredibly sophisticated machine, and that should tell you all you need to know. These days, you'd have an easier time selling a Senate seat without having a bunch of goddamn feds busting your goddamn balls over it- for no reason- than you would finding an affordable project 450SLC, but check this out: here's a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC (go here if the ad disappears) for just $1,200! It's in rust-free Albuquerque, and the seller spells it all out thusly: "Complete, interior is apart,have everything. Could be put back together." You see? It could be put back together, and you're just the one to do it! Can that complicated, prehistorically-fuel-injected V8 be made to purr again? Bring a trailer and cash, and you'll know the answer.

You'd feel pretty sharp driving that 450SLC, but what do the Germans really know about luxury? Discipline, sure- especially when you're talking about a hard-eyed fräulein administering some much-needed discipline on you with her riding crop- but luxury? For that, you need to head over to the UK, where you can readily obtain both a stern caning from the headmistress and a dignified luxury sedan with roughly the same furniture, carpeting, and oak paneling found in King George V's study. In fact, you don't even need to cross the ocean for such a car, because this 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow limousine awaits you in rusty sunny Florida! Nobody was willing to bid on it with a $5,000 asking price- for reasons we'll never understand- and so you'll probably be able to get it for much less. Really, you can buy a Rolls-Royce limo for less than five grand! Isn't this recession great? The seller provides zilch in the way of description, and it appears from the photos that the car is a terrifying basket case needs a bit of TLC, but a few shards much of the wood paneling is still there, and maybe feral cats haven't been urinating on the upholstery for the last decade or so. The engine is still there, and chances are that the majority of brake and suspension components are included in the deal. How can you lose? Thanks to David for the tip!


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