Hooniverse Asks: What's Your Dream Project Car?

We’ve been updating you this past week on all the project cars we, your humble-bumble Hooniverse staff, have in the hopper at the moment, and on this past Friday you shared with us some of yours. I guess misery love company. Of course all of those represent what we presently can do, a limitation forced on us by budget, space, and happenstance. I’d say we’re all pretty happy with what we have, but there’s always that thought gnawing away in the back of the brain that says, hey what if…?
There’s a sense of pride in having achieved a station in life that allows you to play with toys the size and expense of cars, but even that has its aspirations. Have you ever wanted to take apart a classic Porsche? Lovingly catalog and restore every nut and bolt so you not only take pride in the work done but also in the knowledge that you now share an intrinsic understanding of how the car was designed and originally built? Would that hold appeal?
That’s what we’re interested in today—not specifically Porsches, but whatever dream car you might have that you would like to save from the junk heap. What is your ultimate dream project car?
Image: TonyAng.net

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74 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's Your Dream Project Car?”

  1. Double Avatar

    For me, the dream project car is not an exotic or expensive car. It would be a car that’s fun to drive and reveals something about the era in which it was produced. So maybe a Porsche 924S or 944. One other thing: it would be a car for which I always have the money to immediately buy the parts I need. Delaying the project while I wait for money to become available takes some of the fun out of the project.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Good thinking, close to mine, ahem.
      Seals and gaskets for 100 Dollars will get you tens of hours of wrenching, aka. thousands of dollars in workshop time.
      Nonetheless you should set yourself a yearly or accumulated monthly budget, so you don’t buy all the parts and then lose motivation. The small and cheap bits (with loads of wrenching) keep you busy anyway while you are saving up for something more expensive.
      A 924 2.0 engine is rather demanding to keep alive in the northern Americas, I hear, since the parts are not as ubiquitous, relatively, as they are in Europe. If you like the sleek 924, take a 924S. The earlier 944 are simpler to wrench, and the turbos and 968 are most complex. Read and learn before you buy, fix the maintenance backlog, and be rewarded. Go ahead and do it.

      1. Double Avatar

        I actually do have 924S in my barn. This one is my daughter’s car and is very much a project. The goal (and don’t tell her) is to finish it up by next spring’s college graduation.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          I won’t tell her, promise. Keep your eyes open to fill the empty nest garage spot next year!

  2. HycoSpeed Avatar

    When you put the word dream out there…
    Really I guess for me the dream part of project imaginings isn’t so much the car, as it is the scenario. Kindly old person out in the country has a car stashed from their youth, just wants to make friends with a young person who will love and appreciate the car the way they did and give it to them, then continue the friendship as the car revitalizes and come back to life.
    Also, time, money, repair skills, etc.

  3. Alff Avatar

    I’ve been thinking hard about a Subaru powered 914. Getting there is more a matter of will than means. After years of daydreaming about it, I had a neighbor offer up car, engine and conversion kit a few weeks ago. If only I had the time and space.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      There are Subaru-powered Caymans and Boxsters, to start your training. ..

    2. salguod Avatar

      There’s an STI powered 914 that comes by our C&C fairly often. Verry nice.
      Porsche 914

      1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        That must be a handful. Hopefully they upgraded brakes & suspension to match.

  4. onrails Avatar

    Tuesday answer – if I ever sell my track bike, I would really like to do an old cafe racer style one. It’d be cheap – especially compared to a car, minimalist, and not take up too much space in the garage. (Image shamelessly stolen from a google search)

      1. onrails Avatar

        Loving the rear suspension! And I always forget how stinking compact the Bultaco engine/trans is until I see them again.

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          Especially when you realize that they’re a multi-row chain primary, not gear drive like all the Japanese two-strokes.

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      This is clearly an excellent idea. (Full disclosure: I have a retro-mod project FZ-07 in my garage.)

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Pix or it didn’t happen.

          1. Tanshanomi Avatar

            A big “yes” on that headlight.

          2. jeepjeff Avatar

            I know, right? I swapped that bucked lamp on, and suddenly the bike’s styling worked.

  5. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    The dream restoration project is a 1959 Flxible hearse. There is a fair chance that there is no longer a ’59 Flxible in existence that isn’t already fully restored. They only made like 18 of them, and there are (I think) still only 2 known to still exist.
    Slightly more realistically, I’d like to do a RWD resto-mod on a Berkeley SE492.
    The real dream, though is to finish what I have before I acquire any more projects, but if a basket-case SE492 or a ’59 Flxible in any condition comes up for sale…

    1. Sean McMillan Avatar
      Sean McMillan

      the future 500$ racecars facebook group just posted a 61 http://rochester.craigslist.org/cto/5711064782.html

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        It’s cool, but look at it next to a ’59, and you’ll understand why a ’61 will not sate my desire for a ’59 Flxible. A ’60 might, though.

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    If “dream” also means unrealistic, I’d just love a classic in chrome and steel that looks, sounds, smells like an old car, but that is also stone reliable. I can occasionally feel like I have ten left thumbs and the “project”-part is really what’s been putting me off the last six years or so since my last classic. Something shiny, square, with great utility and some gravel-road-ability would make me very happy. Speed I don’t care about as much, as I am locked into a low speed, twisty road environment anyway.
    Last, but not least: Pretty impressive to get such a neat presentation of how many honest-to-oil car guys contribute to the Hooniverse! No aversion to reading about the “project” part here, just as long as I’m not involved in breaking anything myself…

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        That’s a tempting proposition. I see no oil leaks anywhere.

  7. engineerd Avatar

    I have two at the moment…
    A LoCort restoration
    The other involves finding a ratted out BMW E9 and building it for rally. Maybe even Targa Newfoundland. So, if you have a 3.0 CSL that’s seen better days and is just taking up space in your garage you can send it to me.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      Change the Cortina for a MK1 Escort the E9 is very high on my list too.

  8. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

    It’s all there, but likely needs a TON of work to get it road-worthy, reliable, and safe. Speaking of safe, disc brakes up front at the very least.
    Though, maybe not this one, as the blue is a tiny bit “off” for the period, to my eyes. Should be slightly lighter and less green, I think.
    If that car is as solid as it appears, and nothing catastrophic is marginal or outright broken, that’s a nice price. The interior isn’t horrible, either. Far from perfect, but hey, “project” car.

  9. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I would love to build an old-fashioned single-seat, open cockpit, open wheel car set up for street use. Perhaps something like a Model T sprint racer, but not so much a replica as an “inspired by” build. Same body style and suspension setup, but give it with a modern EFI 4-banger and 5-speed. Maybe make it 4WD by hanging a solid Dana axle from that front transverse leaf spring. And since I’m dreaming, adapt some modern ABS and stability control electronics into it so I don’t die.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Seems to me you had an excellent chance to get at least some of this for a song.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Not following you there, Buddy…

        1. Alff Avatar

          Lunch this week?

    2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      I like this plan. Personally, I’d go more “home-built street-legal belly tanker”, but we’re pretty close here.

    3. Sean McMillan Avatar
      Sean McMillan

      Yes. This. It seems doable for a person of decent mechanical expertise and meager budget. Especially if you keep it simple. And it would be hella fun.

  10. theskitter Avatar

    A Citroen Xantia Activa.
    We’re coming up on 25 years…

    1. Texlenin Avatar

      Hydropneumatique 3? Grab me one- think it’d be perfect in a SM.

  11. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    Not a “Project Car” in the sense of saving an interesting old car from certain death, but I’d really like to build a Factory Five Type 65:

    1. JayP Avatar

      I’d love to build a Caterham… working with parts that aren’t locked with rust is appealing.

      1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

        I love the idea of the Caterham, but for a track build I want something with a little more side protection (also front, back, and rollover protection…).

    2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      As much as I love the Type 65, If I went Factory Five, it would have to be a GTM, but the true dream kit car for me is the TWRR XJ13 replica.

      1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

        This is a thing that I did not know existed. When I have to summon IT to replace the keyboard I just drooled to death, I’m blaming you.

    3. Guest Avatar

      I also desire a Type 65, but I’d want mine done up almost exactly like this one:


  12. jeepjeff Avatar

    I want a beater hotrod, either a Gremlin or a Chrysler A-body. Strip the interior, drop racing seats and a roll cage in it, clean-up the floor pans, then throw down a modest layer of bedliner. Drop in a nice drivetrain (for the Gremlin, a 4.7L stroker, for the A-body, a built LA V8). Appropriate manual transmission, LSD with short gears in the diff and good brakes and tires. Probably some suspension upgrades. I want it to be street legal, modestly fast, and silly fun on a track (either drag strip, autocross or road course). This one is modestly likely to happen in the next year, given my current finances.
    If I got a windfall (could happen, I’ve got some start-up shares that are currently worth “cannot be sold without permission of the board of the company” dollars), Factory Five ’33 roadster with a Gen III HEMI and manual transmission. If the windfall is big enough, salvage hellcat drivetrain (from a six speed challenger).

  13. mdharrell Avatar

    At least one Quasar Unipower was imported to Canada in 1968; it was last photographed in the early 1980s. I like to think it’s still out there somewhere, waiting.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Couldn’t you built with a golf cart and a trip to Home Depot?

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        No mere replica could ever lay claim to the impeccable provenance of Wharf Museum.

      2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        You have no idea how long it would take to get Home from the Depot on a fully-laden golf cart.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      A duopower would have devoted half the assets to AC?

    3. Vairship Avatar

      Hint: has anyone spotted a somewhat mobile aquarium in that neighborhood lately?

  14. nanoop Avatar

    I’d like me a 928, but money and space and time point at “no”.
    In Dreamland, I would also like to create a 968 wagon, or shouting brake or whatever they are called now.
    Also, an Imp would be great. And… snap, I can’t weld yet. I need to learn that first. ..

  15. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    My dream is to build something like Georg Plasa’s BMW 134 Judd hillclimb car. It was just a beast of a thing with Georg behind the wheel, but sadly they were both sent to the highway in the sky after a horrible wreck.
    The build would basically consist of the same 3.4L Judd V8 that his car used and some other kind of BMW… maybe an E92 3er or an E89 Z4 with their GT3-spec bodywork. So basically a GT3 car with an 11,000 RPM V8 because reasons. A while back I looked at pricing for those Judd V8s… only about $90,000 for a refurbished unit.
    I’ll let this video explain why Plasa and the 134 Judd were awesome and why my dream project involves a $90,000 engine.

    1. Joey DaVive Avatar
      Joey DaVive

      At 2:48 or so, my.. hair stood up, yeah. That is some special sauce.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        I’ve spent many hours watching as many of those videos as I can. They’re all wonderful. It’s hard to describe the effect that sound has on me but I just love it.

  16. Professor Lavahot Avatar
    Professor Lavahot

    A million men have tried and failed, and where they have failed; I too will have fun failing.
    That’s right: A Skoolie.

    1. gerberbaby Avatar

      I sell school bus parts. I can get you a nice used bus for about $3k.

  17. Tomsk Avatar

    So many I’d like to do, but if I had to name just one, I guess it would be a 1979-’81 Chrysler R-body sedan, the company’s last true full-size cars. It was an evolution of the B-body so, theoretically, modern aftermarket chassis and handling parts designed for late-’60s Chargers, Road Runners and the like would fit with little or no modification. Oh, and Gen 3 Hemi power is a must.

  18. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I want to build a Riley Elf Shooting Brake (basically put a Riley front end and trim on a Mini Countryman woody). I also really want a Citroen DS or CX, which would probably get me into PCH.
    Also a Merkur XR4Ti Toppola camper would be awesome.

  19. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    I’ve thought about a old formula car, FF or FV. Just something to tinker with in the garage in my retirement days.

  20. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    A 1969 AMC AMX, with the 390 V8 and a four speed, with the Go Package, in either Matador Red or Big Bad Blue, green, or orange. It will be mine one day. Oh yes, it will be mine…

  21. salguod Avatar

    My dream hasn’t been around the car, but the space to work on it. I’m blessed to have a garage, but it’s a quite snug 2 car. Can’t get around both ends of the T’bird and with the T’bird in there, working on anything else is tough. The new house is a good start to fixing that.
    Still a 2 car garage, but looks to be several feet bigger in both dims, plus a nice full width workbench and a heater on the wall. Should make it a much more pleasant place to work.
    Hopefully the 3-4 car workshop out back won’t be far off too.

  22. salguod Avatar

    I love how out in left field this group’s “dream projects” are.
    Because I had one in college, mine is a Chevy Monza 2+2 with a GN turbo V6 and a 5 or 6 speed stick. I’d cut the roof into a targa, with appropriate chassis stiffening, of course, and maybe go for the “Mirage” body kit. Replace the door handles with Baretta beer pull style for a cleaner look. I’d pay attention to the chassis as I’d be more interested in handling than speed, of course the targa conversion might work against me there, but I love the wind in my, uh, scalp.
    If I was real lucky, I’d score the Buick “astro roof” plexi panel to make the targa panel transparent.

  23. Chad Geidel Avatar
    Chad Geidel

    Something like this (only a little bit slower) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lArUXYlXsH4

  24. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    All my cars are dream project cars- though to be honest the Gamma Coupe is turning into a nightmare, worse than the CX

  25. fede Avatar

    since a few day ago when I first saw the austin ad, I can’t stop thinking about merging these two…

  26. kogashiwa Avatar

    Mine is quite modest: a V6 SW20 MR2. The conversion is quite easy, and once you have it initially built the amount of refinement and development you could do to that package is nearly limitless.

  27. Krautwursten Avatar

    Now that I’ve forgotten to reply sooner and the thread has slid onto page 2 meaning that no new comments will ever be noticed again it’s the perfect time to actually write something.
    Fourth latest idea (read: a complete pipe dream): A VW T2 van with a stock drivetrain, but as large of a jet engine as possible fitted into the cargo area, electronically sliding backwards two feet out of the electronically opening tailgate at the drag strip to move the heat further away from the interior and to make space behind the cab for the retractable roof air intakes.
    Third latest idea (read: I don’t think so, Tim): A ’70s full size Cadillac Series 75 with a stretched front end accommodating a custom forged V16 block eating up the internals and heads of two 500 cu Cadillac V8s, with four superchargers feeding four cylinders each, and dual rear wheels on a shortened truck axle grafted into the limits of the body. This one I’ve actually put together as a 3D model, individual components curtesy of other people.
    Second latest idea (read: pretty much a pipe dream): A 1961/62 Pontiac Tempest wagon with 1961/62 Buick Special wagon body panels, cut up into a ute, with a turbocharged Rover 3.5L V8 and a Corvette C5 or C6 transaxle and suspension.
    Latest idea (read: largely a pipe dream): Running Hot Rod Drag Week in a first generation Dodge Caravan with a mid mounted, RWD 600 hp turbodiesel setup with multiple computer settings for strip and road to scratch on the 10 seconds mark in the daily driver class. People (read: Scandinavians) exist that have forced insane amounts of power out of some European diesel powerplants like Audi or Volvo straight fives and sixes or Mercedes or BMW straight sixes.
    Realistically: With laws and inspections as harsh as ours I’d already be content with creating a decent hot rod some time in my life. To even come close to realizing any of the other downright silly ideas I’d have to move to the US. And once I did I’d probably lose interest in doing something as bonkers as these things because sometimes the small things are the most enjoyable.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      “…to make space behind the cab for the retractable roof air intakes”
      Why bother with a retractable roof air intake, if you can just open sliding doors on both sides? ;-)http://car-from-uk.com/ebay/carphotos/full/ebay327995.jpg

    2. theskitter Avatar

      Followed so as to not miss any more Page 2 comments.

  28. Alan Cesar Avatar
    Alan Cesar

    A more or less complete and finished one that I can then upgrade, rather than a car with huge problems that I have to fix before I can even get to the really fun stuff.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Sounds terribly sensible. I am not sure we can tolerate this here.

  29. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    I’m hoping that once the “rat rod” craze dies down there will be a bunch of rusty, chopped channeled 30’s fenderless sedans around for cheap on fairly well built chassis that so I can then pick one and fix the body, put fenders back on it and make it look like a smaller version of a coachbuilt classic.

    1. Sean McMillan Avatar
      Sean McMillan

      Or, get a cheap T bucket frame, learn to weld, and make a Big daddy Roth style rod out of the remains of my 62 Lancer parts car