Project Car Hell: Zagato or Javelin?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: Zagato or Javelin?

Jalopnik readers- or at least the readers who bother to vote in our polls- have decreed that they'd be crazy enough to take on the awesome Purple Datsun 510 Limo over the slightly less awesome Bugamino in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity matchup. But let's say we're willing to jack up the cost of admission to a Hell Project- not a whole bunch, but closer to two grand than one. What then? Of course, since we all know the cost of the car itself is one of the least expensive parts of Project Car Hell, a few hundred bucks for the car itself isn't really all that significant.


Which brings us to today's first contestant: a 1981 Lancia Zagato off the streets of Bakersfield and available to the first cat who rolls up with $1700 in his trembling paws. You'd sure as hell be the only '81 Zagato driver in town if you owned this car, and you'd be sure to wow the ladies with your early-80s Italian style (be sure to get the skinny tie and wafer-thin watch to go with the car). Not only that, it's got the Targa top! According to the seller, it "RUNS EXCELLENT!" Skeptics could point out that even the most insignificant replacement part for this car might as well be made from pure U-235, if one is to judge by the difficulty of obtainment... but hey, where would we be if we paid attention to reason when it came to the cars we love?

Dang, that Zagato is cool, but only the flintiest heart could resist the appeal of a genuine 1974 AMC Javelin, which is ready to roll right into your garage for the bargain-basement price of $2100. Look at that shape! The crazy lines of the front fenders! You might consider losing the 12" JC Whitney leaf spring shackles and getting some rubber that fits inside the fenderwells... or maybe you'd keep it as it sits, in all its property-value-lowering glory. The 304 "RUNS REAL GOOD" and the transmission shifts, but we'd be shopping for a 401 and 4-speed about 12 seconds after taking ownership of this car, anyway. Drivetrain parts should be pretty easy to get, but body/interior stuff will be more of a challenge.

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@Heep: And once again, the comments lean towards the Lancia, the poll does not. Oh well.

Weird. Anyway, I voted Lancia, based on the fact that it would be an order of magnitude more difficult to restore. Also, I hate the ridiculous fender arches that AMC put on later Javelins & AMXs.

And you'd definitely be the only kid in town with one. Hell, I've seen a gathering of old AMCs at a local hotel, but I've never seen a Lancia Zagato.