PCH, Totally Affordable Racing Madness: Austin Healey Sprite or Lancia Scorpion?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Yesterday, the Ferrari 328GTS vanquished the Japanese upstart NSX in a PCH Superpower Smackdown, which should make fellow PCH Superpowers Britain and France- unsettled since a Glas beat a Lotus day before yesterday- breathe a sigh of relief. Today we're going to let a couple of Superpowers have at it, in a Sub-$500 Race Car Challenge: Britain versus Italy!

With UDMan's '63 Corvair raising the Index Of Effluency stakes for next year's New England 24 Hours Of LeMons, anyone who shows up with the same ol' snoozeworthy RX-7 or Camaro will be the object of well-deserved ridicule by his or her peers. You need to limp roar onto the track in a car manufactured by one of the Big Three PCH Superpowers, and we've managed to find one that already has a roll cage! In fact, this '68 Austin Healey Sprite is a proven racing champion, having taken the SCCA Grand National Solo II Class DP trophy in 1978! Since that time, well, there's been near-total a certain amount of deterioration, but who the heck cares about non-structural rust damage in a race car? Of course, there is certainly might be some structural damage as well, but you'll get to fixing that… right after you figure out how to get a new engine installed with the $1 in budget flexibility you'll have after spending $499 on this car. There must be something you can sell off this hulk racer; if nothing else, you can sell off the transmission and use the $75 to buy a basket-case donor car with some sort of functioning engine/trans combo. Thanks to Evil Genius for the tip!
Since the rollcage doesn't count against the $500 LeMons price ceiling, why pay for a car that already has one? Instead, go for a mid-engined Italian machine, and we don't mean some cheapo Fiat X1/9 here. You can kick it up a notch and send your opponents staggering back with a mixture of pity fear and confusion dread when you drag drive this 1976 Lancia Scorpion off the trailer before the race. It's got some accident damage, but so what? You're not racing to look pretty, you're racing to spend an entire weekend turning wrenches and cursing in Italian win! Does it run? Is the Pope Italian? Hey, that Fiat Twin Cam engine is just months minutes away from firing up, you'll see!


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