Project Car Hell: Finback Mercedes or VW Squareback?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: Finback Mercedes or VW Squareback?

Looks like the '55 Packard Patrician crushed the '50 DeSoto Deluxe in Monday's Project Car Hell poll, with a whopping 78% of the vote going to the V8 machine. Today we're going to go with a couple of Los Angeles-area 1966 German projects with low admission cost and high potential coolness factor...

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Dang, this 1966 Mercedes 230S looks pretty good, and it's only $495. The fins! The radio with shortwave band! Thing is, it lacks engine and transmission, but it's way easier to find replacements than it is to do bodywork on a Mercedes. Hmmm... would an LS1 fit under that hood? Or maybe a Buick V6 with, like, a billion pounds of boost?

If you're willing to cough up an extra $305, you could take on this sorta-complete-looking '66 Type 3 VW for a mere $800. It doesn't run, but at least you get an engine (or the crafty seller has coat-hanger-wired an exhaust system into place to simulate the presence of an engine). Parts availability for mechanical components should be a breeze, and even body/interior stuff shouldn't be too hard to get. We'd go for the 1835cc engine upgrade with Webers, of course. Just look out for floorpan rust!

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DISCUSSION

I'm not sure everyone is voting as originally intended: your vote is supposed to indicate which one you would rather AVOID, right?

I'd take the VW, easy. Sure, there's a big support base for either, but I just love the VW and its barely-past-steam-age tech. And there's almost literally no end of support and tweakage potential there. You can go as stock or trick as your wallet will stand.