PCH, You Bought WHAT? Edition: Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman or Lamborghini Urraco?

Illustration for article titled PCH, You Bought WHAT? Edition: Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman or Lamborghini Urraco?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Yesterday we saw more evidence of what happens when a German car takes on PCH Superpower Italy in a Choose Your Eternity challenge: a 68-32 drubbing of the BMW by the Ferrari. Going up against a Superpower is no picnic, but we're going to give Germany another shot at a stunning upset today. Who will triumph, the Benz or the Lambo? Which one do you want more? Which one scares you more? Mix those two factors together and you'll know what to do!

The Mercedes-Benz 600 may well be the ultimate vintage German land yacht; the list of 600 owners includes such luminaries as Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Leonid Brezhnev, and John Lennon. In 1972, the four-door Pullman 600 listed at $37,928, or about $199,000 in 2008 dollars… but why limit yourself to a proletarian four doors? You're a high roller! A whale! Your entourage is so big (and so heavily armed) that only six doors will do, and we've found just what you need: this 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman six-door limousine, priced so low that you'll still have enough cash left to stock it with champagne and Eastern European prostitutes. We may not even be justified in calling an easy restoration like this a project- after all, the seller claims it's 100% complete (though those parts that are "off the car" may have wandered off during its 15 years of storage). Whoa, did we say "15 years of storage?" Sure, sure, you might have to fiddle with the hydraulic system for decades a day or two, since everything on the car is hydraulically operated- including the windows and doors- and the seals have definitely could have gone bad while the car sat waiting for you to come rescue it. The engine is a smaller version of the famous 6.9 V8, which means you'll have the opportunity to turn large amounts of cash into engine parts from Germany… but hey, there's no way in hell maybe the engine will fire right up!
While the 600 is pretty fast- in the same way that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is "pretty fast"- it's not quite what you'd call a sporty car. Let's say you want a project that will be lots of fun on twisty roads after you by some miracle get it fixed up? Something with a high-strung small-displacement V8 and that legendary Italian shoddy build quality passion we all love so much? That's right- we're talking about this 1975 Lamborghini Urraco, which is priced at a very un-Lambo-esque $26,500. We know, there are some who say the Urraco isn't a "real" Lamborghini, but they're the same ones who say herpes isn't a "real" STD," so pay 'em no mind! Now, this here Urraco seems pretty solid; the owner claims it's "WITHOUT ANY RUST, MOTOR SOUNDS EXCELLENT," and the only problem seems to be a bad clutch. You think anything else might be wrong? We don't! Put in a new clutch and get ready for years of trouble-free daily driving, we say!



Rob Emslie

That über-benz is $42K. It's longer than a school bus. The entire thing operates on 6 gallons of 90PSI hydraulic fluid that costs $67.98 a quart, and it's being sold by a car dealer in New York, so there's not going to be a lot of state regulatory intervention should they screw you. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE. Like day-old sushi, Nicolas Cage movies and a herpes-infected girl friend overdue for a breakout, this crap shoot puts the odds against you . . . just the way you like it. A gambling man never takes the path, that's for losers, not winners. A gambling man talks the talk and walks the walk, and with an 11 passenger, 6-door behemoth like this, you'd be a fool not to buy it.

If you can actually get it out of the dealership lot without paying extra for the seven boxes full of parts I don't know if they're actually from that car, but they're from a Mercedes so they'd likely fit, but of course I'm going to have to charge you for them. How about $5,000 for the lot, no questions asked? the seller would tell you.

Okay, off to a bad start and in the hole more than you had expected, but shit, just wait until it's done and the offers start rolling in. Limo services, Consulates of up and coming Third World Nations, Rap Artists and the Palin family will all be clamoring to buy this amazing and commodious automobile.

Much like clothing Shaquille O'Neal, everything for this car costs extra- just storing it costs double because it takes up two parking spaces. A paint job is double because the spray booth won't hold it all at once. And the guy you have to hire to renew the hydraulics has to be flown all the way from Germany, is 78 years old, and requires a nurse and thrice-daily diaper change.

But you persevere. You know that only the strong and the dedicated survive. You know that the only way you will come out on top is by putting your nose to the grindstone and putting all of your efforts behind getting the project done. You know this is right because Tony Robbins told you so on his inspirational tape.

So, in order to economize, you sell your TV, you stop the newspaper, and cut your phone and DSL lines. All of your energy is focused on the task at hand- completing the restoration, getting it on the market, and fending off the bidders to make your big gamble pay out.

Chrome for the massive grill is $5 grand. replacement leather upholstery takes 32 hides and costs $19 thousand. It all takes money and time, but you're dedicated and see the project through to the finish despite depleting both yours, and your pre-senile suffering grandma's bank accounts, but it's okay, because it looks fabulous. You can't park it on the street, and it won't go around most city corners, but you're gonna' make it al back and more when you sell it to the highest bidder.

Opening the garage door for the first time in months, you are struck by how quiet it is. Looking around, you see many pedestrians on the side walks, but no cars. Heading around front to the main street, you see several Metro busses go by, all completely packed with sad-faced passengers, but again no cars.

Heading down the street, first at a trot, then at a flat-out run, you reach the only gas station in your part of the city. There on the marque you see the reason for the dearth of cars- REG $11.999/Gal PREM $13.999/Gal, and even worse there's a banner across the pumps saying NO GAS, NONE COMING.

Your heart sinks. Even on the best day, the 600 would only have gotten about 9 miles to the gallon around town, and here there isn't even any of the stuff to buy! You had been so focused on the project that you completely missed the total collapse of the capitalist machine. Heading back home, you pick up a paper. The headline reads "Federal Government Mandates Public Transportation - CNG Busses only way to get around" and lower on the page "Consulates closing, nations unable to afford foreign outposts. In the Arts and Entertainment section you read about how Rap has become passe and Emo- Green music is the new big thing.

Climbing into the Pulman, and pushing the button on the garage door remote, slowly sending the door down, you fire up the car, and decide to end it all. Unfortunately, there's not enough gas in the tank and it runs dry after only giving you a headache.

You head up stairs and put another Tony Robbins tape in the machine. You think about the old gambler's maxim: If you make many throws your luck must change. Sadly, you only threw once.