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Adventures in Field Expediency with a ’95 Peugeot 306


It was twenty past eight in the evening that I got the call. I was in the living room, my laptop sitting on top of my lap, frantically concluding this Carchive post to hit a schedule deadline approaching in ten minutes time. So deeply involved was I in typing and rescaling images (somehow making them blurry in the process) that I didn’t notice the phone ringing for several seconds. With a start, I launched the laptop across the sofa and lifted the receiver.

My other, better, infinitely prettier half had fallen prey to mechanical malady in her beloved Peugeot. She was about half an hour away from home and her dashboard had exploded with that big red Peugeot warning light that simply announces “STOP”. There had been much eruption of steam from up front, too, so she had obeyed the Panic Light without dispute. And that was that.

Being the “car person” elect in our household, it was up to me to be heroic. This is how it went down.

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Ranger Roadster? Sure, Why Not?

I don’t have any tattoos. It’s not because of some aversion to them in principle, it’s just that I have a hard time thinking of anything I want written or drawn on me for the rest of my life. It must be nice to have no hesitation to making permanent changes. Case in point: I’d bet five bucks the seller of this dropped and chopped Ranger has some ink.

ford Ranger convertible

Sure, it’s been afflicted with the barbed wire armband and tribal thing of custom cars: bad interior customization and crappy flat black/gray paint. But then again, it’s got a 3.0L V6, five speed and a kinda-sorta decently executed roofectomy. Not unlike that “Bravery” Kanji tattoo your girlfriend said you should get, this could be a good idea for about one summer. For $2000, check it out on Atlanta Craigslist.

Galaxie or Porsche Shell: How Do you Take Your Project Car He…wait, that title’s taken? Dang.

1968 porsche 912 for sale1963 ford galaxie for sale

Lest you not get the joke, be sure to check out Murilee’s continued series over at Autoweek. Anyway, today we’ve got a pair of projects that tempt with their awesome updsides, but even the “just leave it ugly and get it running” path may require serious work. Hellacious quantities of work, if you will.

Starting with my personal pick, we’ve got a 1963 ½ Ford Galaxie fastback. It’s a “Z code” (high-compression) 390ci V8 backed by a four-speed manual. Adding an awesomeness multiplier is the bench-seat plus four speed combo. It’s in “all there” condition, but technically so is the Titanic. It’s got classic signs of long-term outdoor storage and water intrusion: a rusted out trunk and wrinkled-up interior vinyl. If it’s just an interior re-do and some patch panels it’ll still take five years, that’s not too bad. Let’s just hope the frame’s solid. The seller describes the condition as “not in a hateful state”, a phrase I’ll be stealing. $3,500 buy it now, auction ends Friday.

1963 ford galaxie trunk rust

We’re light on air-cooled Porsche expertise here, but the common knowledge is that clean examples go for crazy money and people get angry if you modify them too much. Luckily, neither is an issue with this ’68 912. We’ve got a shell with what looks like just cosmetic rust issues, no engine and whatever transmission a 912 came with. It appears to have received some rear flares and possibly other stylistic updates. Seeing as though it’s already gutted and pre-lightened by oxidation, your first weekend of prepping it for race car duty has been covered for you. After that, you’ll just need to source like everything a motor, some patch panels, a cage and some race buckets. No reserve and bidding’s at $2,850 as I type this.

1968 porsche 912 rust

A Half-Dozen Great, Cheap Vehicles for The Noobie Wrench


A couple of days ago, Jeff received an E-mail from Hooniverse reader “John”, who says he “never had a mechanic-savvy family member to teach me as a teenager, so now I find myself learning the ropes all by my lonesome.” He wrote seeking recommendations for a cheap and easy project car to fiddle around with and learn the basics on. John is in college and doesn’t have a bucket of extra cash to spend, but he doesn’t want to attempt to wrench on his daily driver and wind up without reliable transport. He’s currently considering “an old Datsun Z, an old VW bug, or an ’80s-to-early-’90s Japanese four-banger….”

When Jeff asked for input from the Hooniverse staff, I replied that I’d read an article on this very subject in either Auto Restorer or Cars & Parts about 10 years ago. The author of that article said that everybody thinks that old Beetles make good beginner restoration candidates, but in reality they are a horrid choice. They inevitably have extensive corrosion, flimsy sheetmetal, a lot of weak components that can break easily during dis-assembly or are difficult to re-assemble, and Beetles rarely run properly once you get them back together unless you know which things need to be adjusted and tweaked just-so.

Jeff’s reply back to me was succinct: “So write the article.” That is how, despite being perhaps the least qualified of the Hooniverse staff to erudiate on auto restoration or modification, I find myself suggesting six vehicles that I think are suitable project cars for the neophyte hobbyist. I’m thinking of truly starving-college-student budgetary restrictions: in a quick survey of La Liste de Craig, I was able to find multiple ads offering of each these vehicles—complete and in (claimed) running condition—for $1000-1200. … Continue Reading

A Carmudgeon Writes: Nice Vs Necessary.


Hello. Hooniverse’s resident tight-fisted luddite here,

We all talk about model bloat, we all moan about the fact that the Golf GTI has swollen over the years to gargantuan proportions, as if evolving specifically to serve as Pavarotti and Mr Creosote’s daily ride. Unfortunately though, this is never going to change.

With ever more complicated emissions and efficiency equipment becoming mandatory, weight savings have to be made to offset the gravity of all these bits and bobs. That’s a given. But things aren’t helped by the buying public, who insist that their car be equipped with more gadgets than The Sharper Image museum. Worse still all these gew-gaws add more than just mass; they’re murder on the pocketbook.

Read on for a curmudgeons view on what we do and don’t need in today’s cars.

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For this Euro 635csi, I Might Overlook your 93% Seller Feedback Score

Tim Odell January 16, 2014 For Sale, Terrible Ideas

1980 bmw 635csi for sale The BMW 6-Series experienced a change in character over its model run. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was still the spiritual successor to the heavenly E9 CS coupes: a great-driving sports tourer. By the end, it was the proto-8-Series, a platform to show off as much luxury and tech as your coke sales could afford. Luckily, today’s specimen comes from Back in The Day, as well as the European market. That means it’s got a high-compression 3.5L M30 I-6 good for 218hp (about 20 over the more common 633csi). Most importantly, it’s got the Getrag 265 “dog leg” five speed manual and those svelte Euro-spec bumpers.

Devoid of extra luxury features like central locking or car phones, the 6-Series is actually a pretty simple car. This 1980 version is on the E12 chassis, which shares much with the E9, dating back to the late ’60s. From underneath, the look a lot more like a classic car than you’d expect. I say that to ease us into the fact that this might be a pretty dubious score. The seller’s feedback history is less than ideal, which might be an issue if he trafficked in slant-6 Darts, but the spread between a good 6-er and a bad 6-er is vast. Also, this will never pass smog in a million years, so it’s headed to a non-emissions state or a “classic vehicle” loophole.

1980 bmw 635csi interior1980 bmw 635csi spoiler

Care to roll the 6-sided dice?

1980 BMW 635csi for sale – eBay Motors

1978 Lotus Eclat Benefits from Buick Transplant

1978 lotus eclat v8 swap for saleBuick and Lotus occupy nearly opposite ends of the automotive character spectrum: one has a reputation for comfy (if portly) highway cruisers, the other wispy (if under powered) corner carvers. Mix them together and you get Bizzarro Carol Shelby a decent deal on a decently powerful malaise-era oddball. Specifically, we’re looking at a 1978 Lotus Eclat with a Buick 215 V8 and Borg-Warner T-5 transmission swapped in. While the optimistic 200hp from the 215 doesn’t set any records, it’s a decent bump from the optimistic 150 the stock four cylinder was good for. Besides, the Buick 215 went on to become the Rover V8, meaning there’s at least some precedent for its presence in a British car.

The ad copy reveals a man looking down an endless to-do list of minor fixes, proud of much of his car but finally sick of it’s BS. Unsurprisingly, there’s lots of little electrical demons, including a turn signal that goes from working to non-working over the course of the listing. contrasting with that, the mechanicals seem sound. Well, the engine and transmission at least. The adjustable shocks are shot and the body’s showing stress cracks.

lotus eclat v8 swaplotus eclat rearlotus eclat interior

So…price? $3500 (with a history of 3 offers) and a day left on the auction. This is obviously a bad idea, but it’s the kind of bad idea you might just fall in love with on a test drive.

1978 Lotus Eclat with Buick 215 V8 Swap – eBay Motors

What to do with a Citroen Basket Case? je ne sais quoi

1972 citroen sm for sale

The Citroen SM represents the pinnacle of something, it’s just no obvious what. Oddball engineering and unique styling combined to make it a car splits the difference between a BMW e9 (CS coupe) and a Cadillac Eldorado: European craftsmanship and cabin layout to pilot a floaty front-wheel-drive highway missile. Beyond that cursory description I’ll chuck it over to Lieberman from a 2007 induction piece to the Jalopnik Fantasy Garage.

Jonny’s never been one for spinning wrenches (he’s got people to do that for him now), so while the SM made great sense if you were Burt Reynolds in 1974 the budgetary realities for you and me in 2013 mean our examples are a bit less awe inspiring. Actually, they still inspire awe, just differently. Case-in-point, today’s 1972 Citroen SM for sale is a mere $504 with unmet reserve, but will likely need everything. The body shell has dents but no rust, but the interior is aged and the motor is frozen. The hydropneumatic suspension will need complete replacement.

1972 citroen sm engine1972 citroen sm front

Unlike so many nearly hopeless classics of yore, “LSX Ford FE390 FTW” doesn’t really play out here, given the FWD chassis and bonkers suspension. Off the top of my head (or maybe some other part of my anatomy), dropping in the FWD drivetrain out of an old Eldo and offending everyone seems attractive. Sacre bleu!

Long Shots: A Slightly Modified Cavalier

LongRoofian December 3, 2013 Terrible Ideas


So, a couple weeks ago this olelongrooffan successfully negotiated a new professional gig making a whole lot more money, driving a h*ll of a lot less, and divert out of my life a whole d*mn bunch of business related drama. Plus this olelongrooffan has been able to relocate back to my old hometown, Naples, Florida, an area I refer to as FantasyLand. Yeah, I am pretty stoked about it. However, my permanent living accomodations have yet to gel so I am Residence Inning it until I can find the right spot. As such, weekly visits to one of those places that takes coins to clean my clothes has been required. But it’s okay, its kind like a working vacation (or college) and on this trip I spotted a super cool Cavalier to share with my fellow Hoons should you choose to jump on through.

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The Carchive: ’78 Chevy Malibu


It’s Tuesday which means, strangely, that it’s time for the beginning of this week’s foray into the murky past to blow some dust off those cars which need a little more exposure; or possibly a little less, depending on your point of view.

Sometimes it’s a lucky dip as to what The Carchive serves up, but this time I was that moved by Ann’s wretched memories of their family Malibu, I just had to check for myself whether it could really have been that bad.

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