The search for a LeMons car never really stops at RBR, even when we still have one. Wasting hours on Craigslist searching for cheap beaters is a sickness with which Andy and I are both afflicted. The 24 Hours of LeMons is a symptom. Or maybe it’s the other way around….
Around Christmas time, the Craigslist ads really started flying back and forth. We checked out a few cars, including another Taurus SHO and a pile of rust which at one time may have been a Fiat. Neither inspired us, so we kept looking. Eventually, I stumbled upon a $1000 1984 Porsche 944 with a substantial amount of damage to the front end. Andy and I both have more knowledge of the bastard child of Porsche, Audi and VW than we care to admit, so it seemed worth checking out. After a pretty major effort to extract some pretty basic information from the owner, we set up a time to meet.
There she was, just like the pictures. The front end was mangled, including the radiator and about 18 inches of the driver’s side frame rail. A cursory examination didn’t reveal any obvious red flags, and we were assured that the car “ran great, right up until I wrecked it.” It was LeMons or the Crusher for this particular 944, so we decided to do the right thing and save her. Let the negotiations begin!
Fortunately, we were not exactly dealing with a stellar negotiator. He informed us that he “really wanted to get $600 for it, but I listed it for $1000 to ‘get attention’.” Not entirely sure what he meant by that, we offered him $500 and said we’d take it away that day. Hands were shaken, and we headed off to get the trailer while the PO finished tearing out the stereo.
We returned with the cash and the trailer, ready to ride off into the sunset with our mangled, non-running 944. After a minor setback pushing our new friend onto the trailer, we were off. The car would live outside while we made final arrangements to “retire” the e12, which meant closing the windows. We connected a jump box for power (the battery was conspicuously absent) and were welcomed by a cloud of smoke from the dash as the windows slowly crept upward. We convinced ourselves that the smoke must have come from some of the hack-job stereo wiring and headed home, pleased with our purchase.
Turns out we were wrong about the source of the smoke….