Project Car Hell: Lancia Thema or Baldwin Motion Corvette?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: Lancia Thema or Baldwin Motion Corvette?

Looks like the voting is still neck-and-neck on the Plate-O-Shrimp Edition Choose Your Eternity poll, so those of you who feel strongly about J. Frank Parnell's Malibu or Bud's Impala better go and cast some votes. Today we're going to ditch the common-theme-between-entrants idea and go with a couple of compelling-yet-markedly-different choices. Thanks- and a Project Car Hell Tipster T-shirt- to ZZMarcus for the tip!


How would you like a stealthy sedan with design by Giorgetto Giugiaro and a Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole engine under the hood? Say, perhaps, this 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32, which just failed to sell when the top bid of $7600 didn't meet the reserve price? That means the seller's probably in a price-cutting mood! Never heard of the Thema? Well, head on over to this bitter and heavily pro-Thema-biased Wikipedia entry and check it out! This particular example is in "excellent original condition," according to the seller, needing only some minor paint work. Not a project, you claim? Ho ho ho! It's a Lancia! This car promises to be a bigger, more sanity-obliterating project than the rustiest Detroit car you can find in an Upper Peninsula swamp! That's because you'll never be done- fixing problems on this car will be like squeezing a balloon, with each repair triggering a new failure! Hmm... wonder if the vanity license plate SYSPHUS is still available? Adding to the fun, an American owner of this car might have some bureaucratic hoops to jump through during the registration process, because this car comes from the Great White North and may not conform to US emissions regulations.

The problem with the Thema is that you pretty much know exactly what you're getting into when you buy it: a finicky Italian car that will crush your soul 364 days a year and make you very happy the other one. But what happens when you try to buy an alleged Baldwin Motion Corvette, from a seller who may or may not actually want to sell it? Hell, that's what happens! Check out this 1969 ZL1 Baldwin Motion Corvette and imagine it in your personal Hell Garage. Does it run? Does it stop? Where is it? Has someone dumped a 55-gallon drum full of Urine Concentrate in the interior (Urine Concentrate is to urine as Coca-Cola syrup is to Coca-Cola)? Here's the sum total of what the seller has to say: "not really for sale but would NOT CHEAP." And then there's the setting; as ZZMarcus puts it: "My favorite part is that it seems to be stored in an old dealership/service depot, ready to bellow forth from the barn doors once the feds/zombies arrive."

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Raphael Orlove

If only I could vote harder for the Baldwin Motion. Not more, just harder.