Good morning, and happy Friday! Today, we’re not only throwing out the rulebook, but actually lighting it on fire, writing a new one, and then flagrantly disregarding that one too. How dare I? I’ll explain in a minute. First, let’s see how yesterday’s bizarre battle went:
Lotus in a landslide! I guess I should have expected that; I mean, it’s a Lotus. Come on. I did consider only doing the three Porsches yesterday, but then I saw that Europa and I just had to include it.
However, you won’t be seeing it again. My position as a minor nobleman* in the Autopian Empire affords me certain rights and privileges that I have not yet exercised. One of those is the ability to set aside the results of any Shitbox Showdown voting and declare a winner based on my own whims. Since twice this week you all disagreed with me, I thought it was time to exercise that right, and just to play devil’s advocate, I’ve set aside yesterday’s results and chosen the best of the Porsches to represent our third, even though I myself prefer the Lotus. And so, I hereby decree the first-ever Second Chance Showdown. Let’s recap.
(*Our peer ranking isn’t well-defined, and Jason refuses to explain exactly how it all works, but as far as I can tell, I’m somewhere between a LeBaron and an Iron Duke.) [Editor’s Note: You need to take that up with the Ford Monarch – JT]
Pros: Cheap fun, lots of potential, better condition than you usually find for this price
Cons: Gaudy, tacky, automatic
Talk about a car with a stigma – C4 Corvettes bring to mind owners of a certain type, and that type isn’t the most flattering. But why should that stop the rest of us from enjoying a V8-powered sports coupe? Sure, this isn’t a “fast” Corvette, but it’s nowhere near as slow as the late C3s during the depths of the malaise years. And the fact that nobody loves them is actually an advantage; you can modify it to your heart’s content and not offend anyone by “messing up” a classic.
Even better, this car is in drive-off condition mechanically. It needs a little electrical tinkering, but that’s true of almost any decades-old car. If you’re not willing to putter around fixing stuff on the weekends, go get yourself a nice Corolla or something. As for the body kit, I say lean into it – drive around blasting Dokken or something, air-drumming on the steering wheel, and just make people deal with it.
Pros: Clean as a whistle, mechanically simple, practical bodystyle
Cons: Parts getting hard to find, sluggish with automatic, a bit plain-looking
Yes, I know – this car would be better with a manual, and better still if it were the all-wheel-drive Syncro model. I can’t hep that. Instead of looking at this car for what it isn’t, let’s consider what it is: a way to out-cool all the Volvo 240 drivers. Most of those are automatics too anyway, and they don’t have a five-cylinder Audi engine with rally pedigree. And Volkswagens of the mid-1980s were nothing like Volkswagens of the mid-2000s; this car is much simpler, much better-built, and much more reliable than that VR6 Jetta that your cousin bought last year.
Where you’ll have problems is finding parts when something does go wrong. This is a nearly-forgotten car, abandoned by VW, with no owner network to speak of, and certainly nothing like the cult that exists around old Volvos. When something breaks – and even though this is a reliable car, something will break eventually – you’ll be on your own. Mechanical parts aren’t too bad, but trim? Interior parts? Anything you might need to repair it from a minor fender-bender? Forget it.
Pros: Very clean for its age, best color for a sports car, appreciating in value
Cons: Hasn’t run in years, lowest spec, needs interior work
Lots of love for the little 914 in the comments, even though the Lotus won yesterday. These weird flat little sports cars spent many years being scorned by the Porsche community and cheerfully abused and neglected by everyone else. It’s nice to see them getting their due. They are tremendous fun to drive, if not particularly fast, and the roof comes off for those nice sunny days. Even better, it has pop-up headlights, and pinch-proof ones at that!
This car really is in the best condition out of those three, and it’s pre-smog and pre-big-bumpers, so it’s the most pure of the breed as well. Sadly, when it comes to 914s, pure means slow, and that’s after you get its 1.7 liter flat-four running in the first place. But it’s a Volkswagen flat-four, an engine with just one or two aftermarket parts suppliers. More power is just an internet search away.
So then, there are your choices for today, three cars you unceremoniously snubbed earlier this week. I’m putting up a poll so you can vote on your favorite, but I want to give you an assignment for the comment section: Tell us exactly what you would do with your choice. Be specific – are there mods you want to do? A race series you want to enter? A particular road you want to drive it on? Let’s discuss.
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)