19 Vehicles Spanning 63 Years: Meet the Staff’s Project Cars

An eclectic mix of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and a side-by-side are owned by The Garage’s writers. The newest is from 2021, the oldest is a 1958 scooter.

byMay 6, 2022 2:01 PM
19 Vehicles Spanning 63 Years: Meet the Staff’s Project Cars
Hank O'Hop; Andrew P. Collins
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This week we launched a new section of this site for practical car advice, product buying guides, and of course, project cars. It’s called The Garage, and congratulations, you’re reading it right now! Since you’re here, we thought you might like to see what's actually in our garages.

Don’t worry — the list of cars, bikes, and Klein's crazy buggy below are not the only vehicles we’ll be writing about. Our knowledge is deeper, and we’re fully capable of researching machines we’re not immediately familiar with. But we’re all pretty proud of our own hardware, and I think this list will give you some good insight into the personalities of the people you'll be reading in this column of The Drive.

I’m going to put everybody's vehicles in order of model year, from oldest to youngest, because this group of machines is so eclectic I can’t really think of any other way to sort it. Here's what the staff’s currently working on and driving.

1958 Lambretta LD 125

  • Owner: Kara Snow
  • Mods: Rebored cylinder to 150 cc (shhh!), Dellorto 28-mm flat-slide carburetor
  • Broken: Nothing, but I keep her in my living room so I can stare at her lovingly

1964 Norton Atlas

  • Owner: Kara Snow
  • Mods: Cafe mods and a taillight that looks like a cat’s face
  • Broken: Throttle cable was run incorrectly, and I haven’t fixed it yet

1969 Dodge Charger

  • Owner: Hank O’Hop
  • Mission: Rock-solid driver / cruiser / fun machine 
  • Mods: Edelbrock Torker 2 intake, Crane 312 cam, Mallory dual-point distributor, Hurst shifter, Holley 800 Double Pumper, Unknown headers, QA1 control arms, Borgeson “pump-down” mod, Hotchkiss 12:1 steering arms, front and rear Addco sway bars, Competition Engineering subframe connectors, 3.55:1 Sure-Grip rear, Mickey Thomspon Sportsman S/T 275/60R15 rear 245/60R15 fronts, fiberglass hood, fiberglass front valance, Wilwood front disc brakes
  • Broken: Clutch is shot (Centerforce ready to go), the rear axle is leaking, the windshield is cracked, and it needs plenty of bodywork. The car is rocking a cheap coat of primer and needs paint before the new panels rot away. I'm sitting on a stockpile of panels and parts to make it half decent. I just have to stop taking it out and breaking things long enough to stick them on it

1970 Opel GT

  • Owner: Tony Markovich
  • Mission: Convert a $1,200 field insect into a unique driveable second car
  • Mods: Purchased with electric fuel pump, aftermarket stereo, and rear custom speaker panel. Dashboard had also been painted with something similar to Rhino Liner. Recently refurbished the entire front end with polyurethane bushings
  • Broken: Everything. Rust everywhere and holes in the floor pans (lots of metalwork and welding to be done), been repainted multiple times, been in an accident or two, battery was in the passenger footwell (should be in tray in the lower nose of the vehicle), engine was leaking oil and had poor compression, all plastic and rubber needs replacing, interior carpet needs rehab, one wheel doesn’t match, dash and steering wheel are cracked, front seat is broken, front and rear lights need attention, front and rear suspension need overhauls, bondo all over the place (including in place of some old rear reflectors), and more

1975 International Scout Traveler

Owner: Andrew P. Collins
Mission: Country road cruiser, ice cream getter, dog hauler, drive-in movie attender
Mods: Big ol' bird painted on the hood (by the one and only Jules Muck), some Rancho shocks; sketchily attached Warn winch, dumb heavy wheels, tires that are way too big, custom seat covers (by the one and only me)
Broken: It pretty much works as designed — but it's about as refined as Fred Flintstone's pedal car so it feels broken if you're jumping into it from something modern

1984 Nissan 300ZX

Owner: Andrew P. Collins
Mission: Time machine (I like to drive around pretending it's the '80s)
Mods: Chrome exhaust tips, BFG radials
Broken: Really just needs to be painted — invested a lot of time and money to bring this car's shine back

1991 Suzuki GSXR750

Owner: Andrew P. Collins
Mission: Museum piece
Mods: Yoshimura exhaust, gold fairing bolts
Broken: Technically everything — this bike is permanently off the road and on display in my grandparents' garage next to my opa's model ship collection. I had my fun restoring it around 2010 and riding it for years afterward, now I enjoy it as a statue

1998 Mitsubishi Montero

Owner: Andrew P. Collins
Mission: I set this up to combine my two favorite vehicle genres: Overlanders and tuner cars. The idea is to have a long-range travel rig that's lean and lightweight with a 1990s period-correct JDM look.
Mods: Konig Countersteer Type-X wheels with Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires, Bilstein shocks with OME rear springs, majorly customized interior for sleeping, custom graphics, lots of small-but-sweet decorative upgrades
Broken: It just started making some new creaky noises, and I'm pretty sure there are some fried bushings in the steering system somewhere

2003 BMW 330ci ZSP

Owner: Andrew P. Collins('s wife)
Mission: Backroad galloper, daily driver
Mods: Just a set of Michelin Pilot Sport tires (the less intense all-season variant), in the ZSP Sport Package stagger
Broken: Got a little bend in a rear control arm and I think the transmission mounts are a little tired

2003 Acura RSX

  • Owner: Tony Markovich
  • Mission: Daily driver
  • Mods: Completely stock, aside from a single-DIN Pioneer radio that replaced a broken original stereo
  • Broken: Ripped leather seat on driver’s side, inconsistent idle, glove box light comes on during acceleration.

2006 Honda Civic Si

  • Owner: Andrew P. Collins
  • Mission: I want to build my definition of the ultimate Civic Si — not the fastest or most hardcore — but the truest to the essence of the car: sporty, revvy, simple, engaging, without being punishing
  • Mods: Injen CAI, A’pexi WS2 exhaust, Enkei RS5 wheels, Koni STR.T dampers with Tein High.Tech springs, SPC camber bolts, aluminum adjustable rear control arms, ZEVO bulbs
  • Broken: Got a stanky heavily smoked-in headliner, tie rod ends are fried, compliance bushings are cracked (works in progress)

2011 BMW 128i 6MT

  • Owner: Peter Nelson
  • Mods: Dinan camber plates, Koni Sport dampers, Eibach Pro-Kit springs, E90 M3 control arms, mildly track-oriented 225/45/17 Yokohama Apex tires, and Hawk HPS pads at all four corners pushed by Motul RBF 600 brake fluid. More fun stuff inbound!
  • Broken: Recently, I crushed an ABS sensor wire while installing the dampers and springs, so I've got that going for me, Some interior bits need to be replaced, and there's a light oil pan leak, but otherwise, it runs like a top

2008 Yamaha WR250F

  • Owner: Chris Rosales
  • Mission: Dirt bikin’
  • Mods: CA-legal pipe, jet kit, re-valved suspension
  • Broken: Nothing!

2010 Volkswagen GTI

  • Owner: Chris Rosales
  • Mission: My ultimate street car
  • Mods: Unitronic intake, ECS charge pipes, APR Stage 1+ low torque tune, Forge oil catch can, iABED external oil cooler, Fluidampr, 034 Motorsport Density engine and gearbox mounts, Neuspeed dogbone mount insert, Dieselgeek Sigma 6 short-shift kit, Dieselgeek slop eliminator shift bushings, Stoptech ST41 front BBK, Hawk HPS 5.0 pads all around, aluminum front lower control arms and knuckles from a Passat, Whiteline Anti-Lift Kit, Whiteline 24mm 3-way adjustable sway bars front and rear, Tyrolsport rigid collar kit, Integrated Engineering camber plates, 225/45/17 Falken Azenis RT660 tires with optional 245 reverse stagger, Wedssport SA-97F wheels in 17x7 +48, stock springs and dampers. Genuine VW Euro tail lights, Genuine VW 2013+ headlights with LED DRLs, Mk7 GTI air directors on tailgate, VW Golf R32 full-length undertray, Audi RS3 brake air directors, PolarFIS CAN to MFA interface
  • Broken: Oil leaks from nowhere and generally breaks something new every couple of weeks, rattle from the tailgate area, and I'm suspicious of the health of the turbocharger

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

  • Owner: Kevin Williams
  • Mission: I don’t believe any of you all, I needed to know if this car was what y’all all said it was back in 2012
  • Mods: None
  • Broken: Nothing, aside from standard battery degradation

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth

  • Owner: Kevin Williams
  • Mission: I have never had one, I just go with the flow, baby
  • Mods: Headunit has been upgraded to a Kenwood aftermarket unit with Apple Carplay and Android auto. Stock 16-inch wheels have been swapped for OEM white OZ 17-inchers with some Kumho PA31s wrapped around them
  • Broken: Just a small oil leak from a vacuum pump

2012 Chevrolet Camaro

  • Owner: Kara Snow
  • Mods: Upgraded the infotainment system to include backup camera, Bluetooth, Sirius XM, and a very nice touchscreen 
  • Broken: Nothing, but this prompt is going to jinx me

2019 Honda Ridgeline

  • Owner: Jonathon Klein
  • Mods: None… yet
  • Broken: There’s a rattle in the passenger side door frame I can’t freaking find and, yes, my teeth are clenched as I type this

2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 Max DS Turbo R

  • Owner: Jonathon Klein
  • Mods: A windshield (and more) coming
  • Broken: I’m dooming myself, but nothing at the moment

It's a mighty fine list of machines if I do say so myself — and we didn't even get into the news team's cars (Kyle's K5 Blazer, Caleb's dump truck, Kristen's AMG, and the rest). They'll get their chance, but now it's yours: Tell us about what you're working on in the comments! And if you're so inclined, or if you're currently between projects, tell us which machines you'd like to learn more about from The Garage's stable.