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Project Car Hell: R33 Skyline GT-R or Aston Martin Lagonda?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: R33 Skyline GT-R or Aston Martin Lagonda?

Perhaps it was the terrifying rust coupled with warrior heritage, but somehow an American Hell Project managed to beat an obscure Warsaw Pact convertible in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll. Actually, it was a near-tie, but still a triumph for the red-white-and-blue over the, uh, blue-white-and-red. Today we're going to up the price of admission to the Gates Of Project Car Hell, though we've found a couple of high-buck cars available at (what ought to be) reasonable prices. Will you go with Late Malaise British super-luxury or Mangled Super Tokyo Hoonage? It's up to you: buy now, repent at agonizing leisure!


You want a genuine right-hand-drive, straight-from-Japan R33 Skyline GT-R, don't you? Of course you do! A 250-horse twin-turbocharged 2.6 six (which is eager to be boosted up to ridiculous power numbers using off-the-shelf components and well-known tuning tricks), all-wheel-drive, and JDM-only prestige that will leave jaws dropping in your wake. You could take your rapidly-eroding dollars and attempt to put together enough yen to get one shipped over from Japan... or you could buy this 1996 Skyline GT-R (go here if the ad disappears) right here in California! No, you're not allowed to buy it just for the RB25DETT engine (although we'd certainly approve of a Honey Bee B210 with such a powerplant)- you need to fix this car! We don't know how much the seller wants for it, but you can tell by his tone ("Don't waste my time. Serious buyers only!") that he or she means business. It's only got 10,000 kilometers on the clock, so the question is: was it hooned to death and wrecked in Japan, or was it hooned to death and wrecked over here? You'll have plenty of time to contemplate that question as you deal with layer after layer of state and federal bureaucrats, all of whom will disapprove strongly of the idea of you registering your Skyline for street use in North America, and all of whom will treat the car's sketchy lien-sale paperwork as being moderately radioactive. Oh yeah, the seller can't say whether it runs or not! Thanks to Jonee for the tip.

The last time we saw a Lagonda in this series, it stomped an Alfa Romeo Giulietta into a heap of rusty scrap metal in the poll. We thought maybe we'd save this '83 Lagonda to do battle with a Citroën, but then figured the horror of registering the Skyline, coupled with undeniable coolness, likely puts it on the same level as the Aston Martin. The best thing about this Lagonda is that it has the full-on electronic dash, which makes ordinary Lucas Electrics look downright bulletproof. And you know how much its price tag was in 1983? $150,000, which seems utter lunacy even before you convert it to the 2008 inflation-adjusted figure of $323,529. This car's auction has no reserve and is currently bid up to just $4,000; we may be looking at the ultimate in car-value depreciation here... which is bad news for the seller, but great news for you! Now, those of you who don't know Malaise Era British cars may be scoffing at the idea of this beautiful, fully-functional Aston Martin as a "project" car, but we guarantee it was a Hell Project the moment it left the assembly line (if not before then). You'll be lucky to get it up your driveway and soon-to-be sulfurous garage under its own power (four carburetors on a British DOHC smog V8- cue evil laughter). Thanks to UDMan for yet another great tip!


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Rob Emslie

Well, the dead asian hipster stuck to the floorboard of the rolled Skyline would be pretty horrible to have to scrape out, but nothing compared to mid-'70s british electronics and the prospect of dealing with Aston Martin factory-installed rust.

Plus the fact that the interior is a shade of green rarely seen outside of a leprechaun's butt cheeks:

and you've got yourself a wiener.