Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: IRS-ized V8 MGB-GT or 1963 Studebaker Avanti?

The majority of voters felt that an eternity spent wrenching on a pair of Willys Station Wagons would be preferable to eternity spent with a '58 Pontiac/'62 Mercedes-Benz combo, according to last Friday's Choose Your Eternity poll. That's fine, but what if you'd prefer endless toil on a hopeless challenging fast car? Something with light weight, V8 power, and primitive 60s suspension and brake design, perhaps? The red-hot iron gates are opening- come on in!


The Pininfarina-designed fastback body on the MGB-GT looks great, most of us would agree, but that old BMC B engine left something to be desired in the power department. From personal experience, I can say that an MGB can barely get into triple-digit speeds with a stock B, and the six-cylinder and Rover V8 versions aren't enough better to justify the funky handling. That's why what you need is an MGB-GT whose funky handling is justified... by the presence of a good ol' small-block Chevy. In fact, you need such a setup with the Added Handling Funk of a backyard IRS conversion, such as this 327-powered 1967 MGB-GT (go here if the ad disappears), with a price tag of just $2,500! The 327 is actually a 283 bored out and stroked to 327 specs (because 327 blocks are so hard to find?)... or maybe it is; the seller can't be sure. That won't matter much, of course, because you'll want to drop in a gnarly-ass 406 in it right away... well, that is if the Corvair transaxle can hold up. Yes, a Corvair transaxle, with the driveshaft coming in from the front! Don't fret about build quality, though, because this project was built by a NASA engineer in Huntsville. A small-block powered IRS MGB built by a rocket scientist and then stored for years in Missouri- what could go wrong?

You have to like that MGB-GT, but many of us won't allow our Hell Garages to be contaminated by the presence of foreign steel, plus the Hell-O-Meter™ reading of a lunatic factory hot-rod built in the last desperate throes of a soon-to-be-defunct American automaker may well be higher than that of a vehicle built under the evil spell of the Prince of Darkness. Yes, we're talking Studebaker Avanti here! You think it's impossible to get a project Avanti for anywhere near the same price as that MGB? Bah! You pessimists can just take your best shot at suspending some disbelief here, because I've managed to find this 1963 Studebaker Avanti (go here if the ad disappears) for just a bit more than half the price of the MG! Now, keep in mind that when you get an Avanti for $1,400, you don't get everything. However, the seller says it "has almost all the parts and a fresh engine," and you even get a Lark (not pictured) as a parts car! The photograph doesn't tell us much about the condition, but it's a safe bet that a word falling somewhere on the Adjectival Scale between "Execrable" and "Dreadful" would be pretty accurate. And so many questions unanswered! What kind of "fresh" engine are we talking about here? The 170 six-banger out of the Lark? Or maybe you've won the lottery with this car and you get a perfect NOS supercharged 289 crate motor! The seller claims "it is complete," so perhaps a couple of days of work is all you'll need to hit the road in your souped-up Stude!


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