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Ebay Project Car Competition -The Challenge

Burning Rubber And Budgets For Charity

Photography by Terry McGean, Henry De Los Santos

Elsewhere in this issue we detailed the buildup of two project cars, a Fox Mustang and a Nova, constructed for the eBay Motors Editor's Charity Challenge. In addition to the efforts of those two teams, there were eight additional groups of editors from other titles that prepared vehicles of their own. The ultimate objective of this exercise was to have all of the teams convene on a level playing field with their completed vehicles to shoot it out for the glory that can only come from defeating a small group of your peers. Those who conspired to engineer the Editor's Challenge were obviously well aware of the competitive nature of magazine types and wisely sought to use that ego factor to add an element of drama to the program-a well-calculated plan.

The ChallengeThe basic guidelines were simple: Take $25,000, buy a vehicle on eBay, and spend the balance of the budget upgrading the vehicle to improve its performance for the Editor's Challenge. The program began about four months prior to the event, and the rules allowed for 20 percent of the budget (after purchasing the vehicle) to be spent outside of eBay to allow for labor costs or other specific items that couldn't be acquired on eBay (though these days there's little that can't be found there). The structure of the Challenge event was laid out up front: an automotive triathlon consisting of a dragstrip competition, braking test, and slalom course. The vehicle selected and the scheme for its metamorphosis were left completely to the imagination of the team members.

The CompetitionAs would be expected, the vehicles selected tended to fall in line with the subject matter for each team's magazines, making for an interesting field of competitors. The Mustang Cobra and the Nova were obvious choices for their respective teams; less apparent was the reasoning behind selections like Hot Rod's front-engine dragster. Motor Trend selected a late-model VW Golf with an all-wheel-drive conversion and a heavily boosted VR6 engine, while the European titles scored a '95 BMW M3 and then made it even better with a turbo kit, bigger brakes and stickier rolling stock. Truck entries posed less of a threat; and then there were the bikes, including a Suzuki GSX-R 1000-a ringer right off the showroom floor.

As is often the case with magazine projects, most teams had to thrash to complete their vehicles for the event, but all 10 were present that morning, including the Hot Rod rail, finished just hours earlier. There was little breakage and none of the teams fell out of the competition as a result of mechanical issues. In the end, the GSX-R took the glory, but all of the vehicles will be offered for auction in the near future, with the proceeds going to charity. Check out eBay Motors for additional coverage of the Editor's Challenge and to find out when the auctions for the vehicles will begin so you can bid to make one of these gems your very own.

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