Hello, and welcome once again to Shitbox Showdown! I’m back at the helm at the usual time, after a whirlwind trip to the Midwest. My beautiful, brilliant wife now holds a Masters degree from Purdue, and I spent the weekend wrecking the average MPG readout of my mother-in-law’s Subaru Forester (it went from 41.5 mpg down to 39.2 under my heavy right foot).
But we’re not here to talk about any of that; we’re here to talk about crappy old cars. Let’s see what you thought about yesterday’s rustbuckets:
The Safari is the less scary of the two to most people. I’m still not sure it’s any less rusty; I worry about what’s under those Pep Boys bottom door trims.
It feels like another Odd Couple day, so let’s take a look at a pair of derelict hulks, one of which is half the length of the other. But it comes with a parts car, so they even out. Here they are. I stuck close to home today, because when you’ve been traveling, there’s no place like it.
Engine/drivetrain: 4.6 liter V8, 4 speed automatic, RWD
Location: Portland, OR
Odometer reading: 100,000 miles
Runs/drives? “Beautifully,” but read the fine print
Take a Lincoln Town Car, chop it in half between the doors, add in a section to the middle, plop in a mini-bar and some cool lights, and fill it with drunken bridesmaids or high school kids on their way to prom. It’s a simple business plan, but it seems to work.
But what happens to a stretch limo after its working days are over? Who wants to drive around in something with the tuning raidus of a battleship, filled with the ghosts of a thousand bachelorette parties past? Even worse, what happens to one that gets trashed on the inside, but still runs fine?
From the looks of it, it gets parked in somebody’s scruffy backyard along with a lot of other junk vehicles. This poor Lincoln Town Car apparently suffered a fire inside the passenger compartment, and was “badly damaged,” but the seller hasn’t included any photos to show just what we’re dealing with.
The seller does say that you can drive it home, but then what? Where are you going to park it, if you don’t have a huge scruffy backyard of your own? And sure, the Ford Panther chassis on which the Town Car is based is legendary for reliability and toughness, but does that include one that has an extra five or six feet of scorched wasteland between the axles? What, to put it bluntly, the hell is someone going to do with this thing?
I leave that up to you, Autopians. Tell me in the comments what you’d use an old limo for after you clear out the burned upholstery and crispy carpets.
But first, take a gander at this fun-size project:
Engine/drivetrain: 1.0 liter turbocharged inline 3, 5 speed manual, FWD
Location: Portland, OR
Odometer reading: 62,000 miles
Runs/drives? Runs but not drivable, no specifics given
The Chevy Sprint is a car already known to Autopians from Jason’s deep-dive into its bizarre hood release design. Yes, you push down on that little black rectangle to open the hood, after pulling the inside T-handle. It was immense fun to watch my fellow mechanics who weren’t familiar with it struggle to open the hoods of Sprints when I worked in a garage. But it’s what’s under the hood of this particular Sprint that makes it intriguing:
Yep, that little 993cc three is turbocharged, intercooled, fuel-injected, and good for 79 horsepower instead of 48. Still not a ton of power, but it’s not a ton of car either. Literally; the Sprint’s curb weight is around 1500 pounds.
The seller says he has gotten the Sprint to start and run, but it isn’t driveable; my guess is that it’s been parked for a very long time, and still needs some other systems gone through. You can probably count on having to replace everything made of rubber that holds liquid before you even think of moving this car under its own power.
Like the limo, this interior is trashed, but at least we get a photo of it. This one is easy, though: gut it, pop in a racing seat, weld in a cage, and go have some fun with it. Those quarter-inch-thick door cards aren’t providing any sound deadening in this thing anyway, so why bother trying to find new ones?
The sale also includes a second Sprint Turbo for parts. Not many details are given about the parts car, but it looks like the drivetrain is there, so at least you have a spare engine and gearbox to work with. Most of the glass is intact too, which is nice to have for a rare car.
So that’s what I found for us today. A stretch limo that runs fine but needs a whole new interior and purpose in life, or a turbocharged roller skate that needs damn near everything but comes with a spare of most things. Which lost cause are you willing to take on?