Project Car Hell, Underdog Versus Superpower Edition: Glas or Lotus?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Underdog Versus Superpower Edition: Glas or Lotus?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Yesterday, we found a way for a Citroën SM to lose a PCH challenge: set up a pretty nice example as a clay pigeon to be blasted to dust by a heap of vaguely Ferrari-ish parts. No, it wasn't fair, but it proves the point that the SM still reigns as the King Of Project Car Hell. Now that we're in an upset sort of mood, let's see if it's possible for a German project to take on one of the Big Three PCH Superpowers and win!

What the hell is a Glas? Glas was the company that built the beloved Goggomobil, but it got gobbled up by mean ol' BMW and the marque disappeared after 1968. Before BMW axed Glas, however, you could buy the sporty 1700 GT from BMW dealers as a sort of Glas/BMW branding mashup, and that appears to be what this 1967 Glas is. The top bid of $260.55 failed to meet the reserve price, so we're pretty sure the seller will be willing to listen to reason, were you to come calling with an offer a couple hundred bucks above that figure. The car is in Minnesota, so the seller's mention of "the usual rust issues" can't be good news, the interior is completely shot, and the engine and transmission are long gone. Don't think of those things as hurdles, though- they're opportunities! See, now you have the whole world to choose from when engine shopping, from tried-and-true choices like the small-block Chevy all the way out to Soviet tractor engines or turbines that run on paint thinner. As for the interior, that's what Tijuana is for! We suggest some nice diamond-tuck Naugahyde in the colors of the German flag. The rust… well, how hard can it be to fix? Thanks to about a dozen of you for the tip!
How much does a running Lotus Elite sell for these days? Plenty! To get down to a price range competitive with that Glas, you need to make some compromises. Say, a car that might not be exactly complete, like this 'early 70s' Lotus Elite (go here if the ad disappears), which could drive- well, be towed- into your life for one thin grand in American dollars. The seller used it as a parts car for his Eclat, but don't let that scare you off; the seller says "most parts i have available." Does that mean they come with the car as part of the deal? And, while we're talking about stuff that comes with the car, is some sort of engine included in the package? How about the suspension- what was left over after the Eclat snacked on this car? Those are small-minded questions, my friends, the nagging of a hand-wringer! Here's a chance to get a smog-exempt Lotus basket case project for a thousand bucks! You constantly almost never see opportunities like this! Thanks to W1ngnut for the tip.


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Rob Emslie

The Glas 1600 was a cool little car:

A little too much 911 in the style, but even with most of the car gone, you could still grab this one pretty cheap and drag it home to sit in your yard. The glass (no pun intended) and trim would be hard to find, as would any glas-only mechanical bits, but these guys could help: []

So that wouldn't be too terrible, and at less than a grand how could you go wrong? Unless of course you don't actually have room to take on an auto restoration project. What if you saw either the Glas or the Lotus and you suddenly got massive wood over the car, leaping to your feet from behind the keyboard and announcing to your efficiency studio apartment that "it will be mine!"

U-Haul provides the means to retrieve your new prized possession, but it's difficult to navigate the Ford F150 with "Grandma's Attic" and double-axle trailer down your narrow, urban street.

Parking in the middle of the block with the engine running you leap out and begin to untie the spider's web of fraying nylon cord holding the frail body and assortment of undistinguishable parts from having flown off on the expressway. As you attempt to undo a knot that could only have been constructed by an evil boy scout, or greek sailor bent on revenge, you curse having bitten off your finger nails for want of a grip on the unyielding entanglement.

Giving up and pulling out your pocket knife - damn the neighbor your borrowed the rope from - you notice a sound rising from the front of the U-Haul, a so wail that rises, and as it gets louder, is punctuated by an equally ear-splitting blast of an air horn.

Peering around the rig, you see a city paramedic ambulance nose to nose with your rented steed. The driver gets on the loudspeaker; "Get that thing outta' here!" he shouts, causing you to drop the knife and it drops into the filthy depths of the car's empty shell.

Running around front you slam into the open door of the truck and are miraculously sprung back into the driver's seat. Closing the door you throw it in reverse. Sitting there you picture the truck and trailer in your mind, remembering that to turn the trailer left, you'll need to spin the wheel to the right, and then . . .BWONK! the horn again. "Move it NOW" comes the voice of paramedic. Public servant my ass, you think to yourself, as you gingerly push down on the long, right-hand pedal and the 28 foot contraption moves backward.

Amazingly, you manage to get around the corner and let the ambulance by, only now you're facing the wrong way on the one-way street at the end of your block. Ahead, you see the traffic stacked up at the traffic light two blocks down. The light changes and you floor it in an impromptu game of chicken, you trying to make it to the next corner in order to get off this avenue, your opponents trying to get close enough to start honking and flipping the bird in justifiable response to your idiotic actions.

It's a close call, and you may have clipped that Impala in the curb-side lane with the trailer as you went around the corner, but you made it. Deciding you can't do this alone, you drive back out to the U-Haul shop and pick up a pair of nervous, ballcap-wearing day laborers, neither of whom speaks english, and one of which keeps adjusting things in his pants, and wiping his nose. The other simply looks out of the window and sighs. "Madre Dios" he whispers to himself. The second attempt to unload the car goes better, and soon you are taking the truck, the laborers and the empty trailer back to U-Haul. Catching a bus home, you take inventory of your new project and start planning the restoration. You find a 110 outlet in the stairwell of your building that you could use to run a sander or small air compressor off of. Throwing a tarp over the mass of parts and denuded body where it sits between the line of parked cars at the curb, you decide to hit the hay, as it has been a tiring day.

Early the next morning, you are awakened by a noise. It's a sheep-sheep-sheep sound that seems familiar but you can't quite . . . STREET SWEEPER! You run out of your flat, and down the two flights of stairs, nearly going ass-over-head as you reach the second landing when hitting the throw rug there. Bursting through the front door you see that your tarp-covered bundle is now sitting alone in the middle of the block. You look at the warn sign on the pole right next to it: "No Parking 6:00AM to 10:00AM Fridays, Street Cleaning." Crap! The sweeper is at the end of your block, just rounding the corner. Your only hope is to drag the car to the other side of the street which is swept on Thursdays. You throw back the tarp and are greeted by the sight of two sleeping bags, each with a pair of cowboy boots next to them, and in each one of the day laborers you had hired yesterday! "What are you doing in here?" you shout, and they, eyes wide in panic, attempt to bury themselves deeper in the bags. "No, no, no!" you shout, "You have to help me!" The sweeper is now only 10 houses away. You motion in mime to them that you need to drag the car over to the other side of the street. They look at one another and then shrug, "es okay, forty dolares" "What?, forty bucks? Oh crap, okay here." you throw two twenties at them. "Cada Uno, each" the other one says. THe sweeper is now only five houses away, and you feel like your options are growing limited/ "Okay, here," another two bills flutter down on the prone men, and you make get-up motions with your arms in front of them.

Grabbing the car by the door jam, you pull with all your might. One of the laborers pushes on the other side while the second grabs and kicks the various boxes of parts out into the street. The car gives a sickening sound as it scrapes across the 20 year old asphalt street and you just know that'll be the end of the floor pan. Looking up, you see the sweeper two doors away, its driver; a large african-american man in a plaid woolen coat and flappy hat glares at you as he bears down on your mid-block circus. His eyes are large, white and accusing.

As the car skids to a halt against the granite curb opposite your building you hear a new noise added to the cacophony of the sweeper, a lighter clanging, and you see a seat frame, missed by all three of you, get caught in the spinning, wire brushes of the sweeper. It makes two full revolutions and then is spat out, arcing over the street like a missile and landing square in the center of the windshield of your neighbor's 530i. The alarm goes off, lights begin to flash and glass spills onto the dash and seats. The two men with you drop their jaws and then start rapidly collecting their shoes, bags and passed balloons of black-tar heroin.

You sit on the curb, the cold spray from the sweeper's nozzle landing on your skin and soaking your PJ pants as neighbors begin to rush out of the buildings and the inevitable discovery of the BMW's damage is made by the owner. Hanging your head in your hands, you think to yourself that maybe you should just run like your workers, take up spending the day at the U-Haul lot, and sleeping under a tarp somewhere. That life doesn't sound so bad right about now.