It is my humble opinion that every Jalop should have one Bad Idea car. This is a car that is not known for reliability, or is overly complicated, or usually goes for far more than you paid for it. Ideally it is $500-1500, and if it turns out to be a complete disaster, you can sell off some parts and recoup most of your meager investment by scrapping it.
For example, I have a $500 Milano. I knew it was a bad idea when I got it, but after 9 months of work and only about $300 in parts, I've driven it 1,000 miles and enjoyed every minute of it.
A friend of mine purchased a $900 '73 Mercedes 350SL, replaced the fuel pump, and drove it daily for six months. He also drove it from Nashville to Atlanta and back without a hitch.
Both of these cars seemed on paper like extraordinarily bad ideas, but sometimes the gamble pays off. What's your ideal Bad Idea Car? Here's a local example: