Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Pressure Drop Edition: Stanley Steamer or Gardner-Serpollet?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Yesterday, we saw a cat-piss-enhanced, meth-head-damaged, Camaro-suspended '53 Chevy take a beating in the Choose Your Eternity poll at the hands of the Jaguar-powered, bugs-in-face customized '51 Chevy. But you ask me, all these internal-combustion vehicles are getting a trifle monotonous. We need to change things up today, by looking at a pair of external-combustion vehicles. Yes, steam-powered cars! Thanks (and a PCH Tipster T-shirt) go to dwegmull for finding these cars for us.


My initial plan was to call today's challenge the "PCH Cleveland Steamer Edition," but that's just too easy, plus neither of the cars is anywhere near Cleveland... then the Toots & The Maytals song (above) got stuck in my head. So, Pressure Drop Edition it is.

There's nothing more macho than driving a vehicle that can have a boiler explosion at any time! Just think, you could be like the immortal Steve in the "Wreck Of The Old 97" and get scalded to death by the steam... and we've found a steam car that's already committed explosive double homicide: this 1917 Stanley Steamer. In fact, the owner (a "state deputy of boilers and pressure vessels") wants to be sure prospective buyers know that the explosion was so catastrophic that it "resulted in a CA safety law." It hasn't been run since 1990, the boiler is 44 years old, and you'll have to track down or fabricate plenty of interior and trim components, but you know you can make it happen!

Come on, the Stanley Steamer is the only steam-powered car that everyone has heard of- it's, like, a total cliché! When you're steam-powered car shopping, only a French steam car will do! Better stock up on fuel oil, because this 100+ year old Gardner-Serpollet Type D is just waiting for you... in Russia. The price is a bit daunting, we'll admit; in fact, it's the most expensive vehicle in Project Car Hell history: one million Euros! That's $1,500,000, give or take a few ten thousand, but just look at this... well, it's not quite a car these days, but it looks like many good components could be extracted from the fused-solid hulk somewhat weathered car, using methods perfected by archeologists digging for ancient bones. There are no details about the car in the listing, not even the year of manufacture, but just shoot an email to the totally non-dodgy-sounding Vadik Kidav and he'll give you the info.


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