Project Car Hell: Fairlady or DKW?

Last week, we learned that 63% of you prefer eternity with a basket-case American kit car to eternity with a rattletrap French beach car. What lessons to be learned from that remain unclear, but what is clear is that today's Classic Ad Watch post dictates that we include a DKW in today's Choose Your Eternity competition.


Ever since we saw a Fairlady down on Alameda's street, I've been looking for just the right one to use in this series, and this 1965 Datsun Fairlady seems just about right. You see, a Japanese project car needs to be old, with plenty of mystery, because Japanese cars tend to be insufficiently hellish. This one has the "mystery" part covered, because all the owner says about its condition is "Complete minus interior and top." Could that mean all the connecting rods have been sawed in half, to make them fit in storage better, and the sheetmetal is a thin layer of paint over crumbly ferric powder? Hey, it's 500 bucks! Maybe it will fire right up! Parts should be difficult, though not anywhere near impossible to find, and if you're willing to drop in the right engine (SR20DET), it will be plenty zippy.

Bah, everyone's heard of Datsun... but we guarantee 99% of random passersby will say "DK what?" when you clatter by in your two-stroke Dampf Kraft Wagen. Of course, 99% of the parts you'll need to restore this '58 DKW will require long, expensive searches to obtain, but the cost of admission to this project is quite reasonable: $450! This car comes from South Africa, where no doubt many of its components still reside. The seller says it has body rust but no rust-through (with the caveat "as far as I can tell," which may translate to "didn't really check"). The windshield has a hole in it, but replacing it is just a matter of heading over to your nearest DKW dealer and... oh, wait. The ominous words "previous owner had started taking it apart, so unsure if everything there" make their appearance here. But don't let any of that stop you- you want something different, don't you?

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