Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that’s the coolest… and the most hellish!
Basically a game where you get to choose between two hopeless basket-case project cars that were found on eBay, CraigsList or wherever. In 2008 I stumbled across & submitted a pair of oddball cars I saw on eBay, a 1967 NSU Type 110 and a 1985 TVR 280i. They were pitted against each other in a post called Project Car Hell; Alphabet Soup Edition (get it; TVR? NSU? alphabet soup? Yeah, corny, but it was the best I could come up with!)
One of the perks for readers who submit cars for a PCH challenge is a custom-made t-shirt designed & built by Jalopnik contributor Murilee Martin. Not sure exactly what happened, but I didn’t get my t-shirt. I think it had something to do with a shortage of Dave-sized shirts at the time… Like I need another t-shirt anyway (just ask my wife!) Time went on, and I pretty much forgot about it.
Then last September, Murilee announced that he was dropping the Jalopnik gig for bigger & better things. I left a comment on the post expressing my disappointment (as well as my understanding and support for his new endeavors), then the next day I remembered the missing t-shirt & threw a comment on that thread about it. And whaddya know, Murilee offered to make good on the oversight!
A few emails were exchanged (including one that I totally overlooked for quite some time), then yesterday I had a surprise waiting for me at home; a package from Denver with my name on it. Inside was the long-lost t-shirt:
Yvonne’s reaction was predictable; “You’re not really going to actually wear that, are you?” I don’t think that was a question. It was the team shirt for the Tetanus Racing Neon Team from the Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez 24 Hours of LeMons race that was held in New Orleans in November, 2010. Team Tetanus came in 9th overall out of 50 entrants in that race; not bad, especially considering it was a true 24-hour race, using a $500 car!
In reality, the shirt will probably sit on the shelf in my bedroom closet until one of us puts it in a box destined for a thrift store. Still, it’s pretty cool that Murilee made the effort to send it. He also threw in his business card (finally ending my curiosity over what his real name is) and a cool little window/bumper sticker from LeMons. My car will wear that sticker proudly!
I still miss Murilee’s posts on Jalopnik — the PCH and DOTS (Down On The Street) stories were the best. Plus Murilee had a way of putting together great stories. I still follow Murilee’s online stuff from time to time — he maintains a website featuring a catch-all blog, a photo gallery from past LeMons races, and a pile of desktop wallpaper images from the junkyards he frequents. He’s got one book under his belt already and is currently working on another. Yes, Murilee is a true Renaissance man; gearhead, author, blogger, LeMons judge… He’s quite a guy, girl’s name notwithstanding.