Project Car Hell, Nightmare On A Budget Edition: Iked Lotus Elite or Haunted Skoda 1101?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Want an oddball European project, but you're living in a hobo jungle? Problem solved!

We'd really like to go with a couple of the German Cheesecake Hell Machines for this, but the shipping costs to your hobo jungle just puts the price tag too far out of reach. Despair not, though; we've got a pair of budget classics for you, and you get to choose between Malaise Era British build quality and Warsaw Pact parts availability. If you're willing to substitute optimism sweat for sanity a fat bankroll, you could never, ever get one of these hair shirts fine European machines back on the road!

Have you ever gone Lotus shopping? Man, they sure ain't cheap! That's because serious car freaks know that nothing handles like a Lotus, particularly one that's equipped with a nervous high-revvin' Torqueless Wonder engine. However, a true bargain hunter knows where to go for a genuine Lotus at a Festiva price: hurricane country! Head on down to Houston with 1,250 Washingtons and this slightly flood-damaged 1980 Lotus Elite (go here if the ad disappears) could be yours. That mean ol' Hurricane Ike was rough on vehicles (we saw some real flood horror stories on the track at the Yeehaw It's Texas 24 Hours Of LeMons last year), but how bad could a little water damage be when you're looking at a no-frills sports car such as the Elite? Fix some electrical bits here, maybe wring out some mildew-enhanced carpeting there, and you'll be several years and vast quantities of cash just a few turns of the wrench away from driving your Elite. Not only that, you get an alleged two grand in "undamaged by Ike" new parts in the deal!

1948: An Iron Curtain descends over much of Europe, yet those plucky Czechs somehow manage to shove a few Skodas under the curtain and across the Atlantic. 1951: This '48 Škoda 1101 (go here if the ad disappears) breaks down, its owner is hauled before Richard Nixon and the House Un-American Activities Committe for attempting to purchase replacement parts from Czechoslavakia, and the car is parked in the woods near Gig Harbor, Washington. We can't swear for sure that the story went just like that, but the car's appearance certainly suggests a lengthy campout in the damp forests of Washington state. According to the seller, it has "semaphor blinkers," which is pretty neat, and it looks like the majority of parts are still there; as an added bonus, you can impress your computer-geek stoner friends by informing them that 1101 is the binary for 13. Dude! Imagine this Škoda jacked up over a solid front axle and equipped with the "KGB Special" V8 out of the GAZ-23 Volga sedan- you'd have yourself a Warsaw Pact GAZser!


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