Posts Tagged ‘1973’

Indianapolis Auction Over- Final Notes

May 19, 2014

Image Okay, so maybe it is the “Anti-Muscle Car” but this 1959 BMW Isetta sold for a very respectable $33,480.  Normally these go for closer to the $25,000 price point.  This one had what was called the “Deluxe” front door and both a rear outside luggage rack and an interior luggage rack behind the “bench seat”.  You may have heard/read me referring to these as “Urkell-Mobiles” before in reference to the Steve Urkell character from the TV show.

Image This beauty with its “Piranha Grille” would be a 1950 Buick Roadmaster Convertible and with its original 320 cubic inch Straight 8 cylinder engine and Auto transmission sold for a cool $96,000.  Considering its immaculate appearance, and original equipment this will go up in value in the coming years very nicely.  Wire wheels, and those “Gangster White walls” only add to its great style.

Image Similar in style was this 1949 Buick Roadmaster 4 door.  Since it was a 4 door, the price drops.  Despite having the same engine, and having went through a restoration 5 years ago, this one sold for a bargain to its new owner.  $13,000 took it home.  Plus sales commission.  Style and desirability are always the driving force for collectors and they pay accordingly.  For the seller this was a big loss dollar wise but it makes room for the next vehicle in their garage.

Image For the same $13,000 someone bought this 1972 Ford Mustang with its 351.  This particular vehicle had the somewhat rare “Q Code” 4 barrel edition under the hood which was the top dog for 1972 with a rating of 266 horsepower.  The previous year the “Q code” was the Boss engine and put a net 330 at the pavement.  Even the “M” engine for 1971 had a better 285 rating.  The drop in compression was very evident for the end of the “Muscle Car Era”.

Just to update previous picks from the auction……

The Blue 1970 Superbird failed to find a buyer even though the bid went up to $250,000.   Another (Yellow) 70′ Superbird did sell for $145,000 with a 440/375 hp engine under the hood however.  I think the seller should have turned the “Blue” one over to a new owner, but what do I know?

Also the Metallic Black 1969 GTO I listed previously did not sell despite a high bid of $35,000.  And the yellow “Split-Bumper” Z28 was pulled from the sale, possible a sale before the gavel, but I am not sure.

Davey Boy


Quick Update

May 14, 2014

ImageFor those who tell me I rarely follow-up on my posts here is an update on recent writings.  The Mecum Auction is underway and while still far from over there have been a couple of vehicles to cross the block of note.  First would be this 1972 Oldsmobile 442 with its original 455 W30 package.  Prior years were the top performance vehicle you could buy in an Oldsmobile Dealership.  The 1972 could also be said the same thing despite being less “performance” than it’s predecessors due to the regulated compression loss for model year 1972.  This was the final year for the body style and this vehicle had the bucket seat interior and was quite nice as far as condition.  Most fans of the 442 view the 1970-1972 the best looking of the 442 lineage.  This car sold for $22,500.  That equates to less than half what a 1971 442 with a W30 package would cost.  They routinely run upwards of $80,000 in this kind of condition.

The 1966 Fairlane 500 with its 289 listed in an earlier post sold for a very reasonable $14,000 which is well under what the value should be.  Nice purchase for someone.  The 1971 Red Corvette Convertible got a high bid of $10,000 and did not sell. The deal with any auction is that you need the right buyer for a vehicle or nobody will sell anything.  Same deal with the  Green 1967 Dodge Coronet with the “Hemi Hood” which with a high bid of $12,000 was well under what anyone would sell this car for.  Check previous posts for pictures of these 2 since I see no need to repost photos.

ImageA pleasant surprise would be this 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible.  With its original 289 V8 engine it sold for a respectable $27,000.  While you would imagine an original Convertible should sell for slightly more you need to realize that the 1965 Mustang sold 559,451 units with 73,112 being convertible versions.  Add in the “1964 1/2” production of 126,538 with its 28,833 convertible copies and you have one of the few convertibles ever sold in excess of 100,000 copies.  Normally early Mustang convertibles run closer to $22,000.  Not outrageous but this shows where the market is headed and it is UP !

ImageMakes me curious where this 1971 Chevrolet Camaro “Split Bumper” RS/Z28 with its 350 small block will end up.

ImageOr better yet this 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge with its 400 cubic inch Ram Air 4 intake and 4 speed manual transmission.  Only thing better would be if it had the 455.

Davey Boy




Getting Back Into The Groove

September 20, 2011

  The Mecum Auction is over for St. Charles and while prices are somewhat depressed still, there were some very nice high-end cars that drew big money.  I am not going into those here since that isn’t what I deal in – nor is it what impresses me.  If you gotta haul your car on a trailer for a show, then what’s the use having it?

  I prefer nice “driver” quality cars and there are plenty of them available.  I admit to being old.  Physically I am 53….almost 54.  Mentally sometimes I am either 14 or 80.  Rarely anything in between.  While I promote the Muscle Cars as investment tools, there are also other cars that someone can purchase to either enjoy or sell and make a decent profit.  While I promote Muscle Cars, there are many Collector Vehicles that would make nice driver or investment vehicles.  The 4 speed Beetle pictured here is a 1974 and sold for a mere $3100.  If you ever owned an original Beetle with its “jingle-jingle” engine rattle then you would understand the slow but steady charm of tooling around in one of these reliable air-cooled boxer 4 cylinder marvels.


  Then if the Beetle doesn’t turn you misty-eyed we also have the Type 2 Wagon pictured here.  The ever traveled “Hippie” van, this one being a 1970 version.  The Westfalia version had a complete kitchen and bed in it, while this wagon is your basic passenger hauler.  Again, very slow compared to my normal preference for a livery, but when you go nostalgic not everything was built to do 90-100 mph in the 1/4 mile.  The other side of the “slow” equation is that Volkswagen’s were from Europe, not Detroit so they couldn’t be Muscle Cars even if they did have big V8 engines.  This vehicle sold for $5500.

  For the Pony Car people there were several Mustangs that sold for decent money.  Someone bought this 1967 with its original 289 and automatic transmission for just $6000.

  Mustangs are usually very nice entry-level cars for someone who wants a fun, sporty car without breaking into their 401K to buy it.  This is because for much of the early models they were a really big seller and from 1964 through 1970 they produced literally millions of them in all body configurations.  From coupes to convertibles to fastbacks.  From straight 6 cylinder engines to small V8’s and even massive big block V8 engines.  You could buy them as economy cars all the way to full-bore factory prepped race track cars.  Mustang was the only car during the Muscle Car years that was marketed and designed to fill almost every niche in the automotive consumer marketplace.  The only missing piece would have been if Ford had actually built Mustang Station Wagons as well.  If you have been reading my blog, you realize I have actually had a photo of a Mustang Station Wagon before that sold at an auction in the past, but it was a custom conversion unit.

 While we are dealing with Ford vehicles, we need to touch on trucks a bit as well.  This is a 1970 Ford Bronco with its original 170 cubic inch engine and 3 speed manual trans.  These could be ordered with the 289/302 or upgraded further to a 351.  This was the most capable off-road vehicle of its time. Surpassed only by the Jeep CJ so far as rock climbing ability.  Properly equipped I have seen these Bronco’s go places no other off-roader would even think about.  They were small and built to take a beating.  They are still very popular with the off-road racing crowd.  This beauty went for $8500.

  Then we have this 1972 Ford Ranchero.  While the Ranchero did not have the following of the Chevrolet El Camino, it was a very nice looking vehicle for being a “quasi-truck”.  That is a truck that is built as a car….or is it a car that is built as a truck?  Most people do not like the big grille years such as this is, but for me the “fish-mouth” grill is what I like most about the styling.  I am also one of those who find the 2 head light El Camino sleeker and more stylish that the 4 head light versions.  I prefer the Chevelle with 4 headlights, don’t ask why…it’s the way my brain is wired I guess.

  The 351 Cleveland engined Ranchero went for $6700.  While the value is less for a 1972 compared to a 1970 or 1971, that’s due to the fact engine compression and therefore power was down significantly thanks to Federal regulations.  But they were still pre-Catalitic Converter so if you have basic engine skills it is relatively easy and cheap to bump the horsepower numbers back up on these.  And the ease of just swapping the motor for a serious big block such as the 428 or 429 is just icing on the cake.

  While talking about 1972 vehicles we turn to this 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with its 402 big block V8 engine that sold for $8750.  While rated at a meager 240 horsepower, that is very easy to change to closer to a rating of 350-400 horses since the 402 is actually the venerable 396 engine that Chevy used for many years in some of their grandest performance vehicles.  The Chevelle just a year prior with this same 402 engine was still being marketed as the SS396 because the Bowtie fans knew what a 396 was and Chevy did not want to have their fans think it was a new engine.  After all it wasn’t.  It came about because a group of blocks came through with scratches in the cylinders that Chevrolet had to hone out to be able to use them rather than junk the entire batch.  The increased bore is why it became a 402.  Once they had increased the bore size and pistons to fit they did not want to shrink the engine size back and admit that it was a “manufacturing flaw”.

  The final couple to review are both Oldsmobiles.  This is a 1969 Cutlass convertible with it’s “Rocket 350” engine and a 4-speed trans.  Not as good as a 400 cubic inch 442 from 1969, but definitely a nice driver for summer fun.  This baby sold for $10,500.  Nice.

   Then we come to a true Oldsmobile 442.

  For the very reasonable price of $13,750 someone drove this green beauty home to their very own garage.  With its white vinyl roof and white stripes it was a nice looking vehicle.  The only thing I would change would be to put a Ram Air Hood on it instead of the base hood.  Aftermarket fiberglass would run about $450 while a steel NOS can fetch up to $1200 depending how authentic you want to get.  As you can see from both pictures, they used pretty much the same steel “Ralleye Wheels” for several years on the Cutlass and 442 lines.

Davey Boy

Is The American Dream Dead ?

August 17, 2011

What a million bucks looks like.

It has always been said that the “American Dream” is to be your own boss and be the owner of a successful business, most likely doing something you love doing.  The old adage of the best way to make a small fortune…. is to start with a big fortune and open your own business… also comes to mind right now.

I would not say the “American Dream” is dead, but I would say it is in intensive care.  The bad news is that it is also under a HMO for its care.  Anyone in business knows that the current economy “sucks”.  Just totally sucks.  I chose to start my own business a few months back and while I am fortunate enough to still be in business after 4 months, it has not gotten any better.  The future looks bleak, but not without a few glimmers of hope.
I have been working in the “Automotive Detailing” field since the early 1980″s.  The first shop I worked for was an established company that I helped expand and grow from a few thousand dollars a year into one of the largest in the Chicago area at the time.  The second was a Marina on the Chain of Lakes that I did their “In-House” detailing for the boats they sold and their Marina customers as well.  I was a one man operation there.  The third was a tunnel car wash in Northbrook, Illinois that needed to be expanded into a full service Detail Center to expand their car wash business.
Each time the result was the same…. grow the business into a good cash flow and then I was shown the door when the owner decided to keep the cash himself.  There is nothing wrong with that, since it was their money on the line and I was well paid each time.
1967 Riviera

When I decided to go back into the Detail Business this time it was for a shop of my own.  Build something for me and my families security.  Of course, my thought was that with the economy down, it would be starting at the bottom with nowhere to go but up.  Nothing I read or saw prepared me for the fact the economy would run along the bottom in basically a “flat-line” for any length of time.  Normally you would expect to see either an upswing or even further dropping.

With my basic “Business model” now broken, it is time to either reinvent the plan or to expand into additional avenues for income.  So it is that now has become what will be either a colossal financial failure….. or a truly genius move on my part.
1976 Eldorado Convertible

Only time will tell which this will be, but as I said at the start…. The American Dream is not dead…. just in intensive care.

davey boy

Status Update and More Apologies

June 2, 2011

  After the first month in my new shop, we finally have the signs up at the business park entrance.  Small advances seem to be where we are at currently.  We also have the overhead door magnets on and the doors labeled.

  Inventory is in and we are open for business.  Now we just need customers.  The “Detail Business” is one of those types of enterprises where you just build slowly and eventually you get where you want to be based on referrals from your customers.  The whole key is doing quality work and letting your customers do your advertising.  There are people I have known who thought the mass mailing programs and coupons work, but in the end, if you get too big too fast and start slipping in your quality, then you are doomed for failure.

  The best thing to remember about “detailing” is that you are a service business.  That means people will spend what they feel is appropriate for what they perceive to be quality, but nobody wants to tell their friends they got taken advantage of and the referrals end at that point.  Anyway, we ran the Trans Am up to the Volo Auto Museum for their Car Corral, but the weather sucked and turnout was low.

So despite a guy interested in the car, it did not sell.  Not yet anyway.  Never know if maybe he will still turn up for the vehicle.  Well, the good news is I am posting again for the first time in over a month. Now I have to get back to the 1967 model year continuation.  It will be coming soon so check back.  I thank you all for your patience.

Davey Boy

Last Post For 2010…Loose Ends

December 31, 2010

  Although not unprecedented, I am leading off with a photo that is not a car although, as I will explain is car related….kind of.

Photo credits to HRC/WENN via Wonder Wall for the picture.  It is John Mellencamp with his wife Elaine.  After 20 years they have decided to split and while it is sad, I hope the split works out for the better.  Having went through a divorce myself, I can testify that it doesn’t have to be a mess and sometimes things have just run their course and it becomes time to move on.

Anyway, on to the long story.  Having been born and raised in Indiana, John Cougar as he was known in the early days was a musical hero for me and I have followed his career in music since the start.  He is the “Elvis Presley” of Indiana.  He went through the New York and California stages and decided to come back to Indiana because he liked the “small town” life for raising a family and it just suited him better.  That combined with the fact that you would never know by appearances that he was the multimillion dollar powerhouse that he is, is what led me to try my hand at becoming a “stalker”.

The Rolling Stone magazine ran an article about him and his life in Indiana back in August 2008.  After reading the article I decided to try to approach him about my “Muscle Car” idea.  So after a few hours of internet searches and map searches, I decided to drive to Bloomington, Indiana to talk with him.  Now, I live north of Chicago, Illinois so while on the map it is mere inches apart, it is actually about a 6 hour drive one way.  The PT Cruiser was gassed up and the mission was commenced on Labor Day weekend…Sunday.  The drive is nice and while I can skip details of that, the end result was that after bothering his neighbor since I had picked the wrong driveway to buzz the gate, I finally located the correct address.  It was a waste of time.  No answer, and I remembered that a few years prior when I was vacationing at Hilton Head John and his family had also been there at the Holiday Inn at the same time, so quite possibly they were out-of-town for the weekend.  My bad.  With the 6 hours invested in the trip, I did have a backup plan, just in case.

That was to see if his friend and band mate Mike Wanchic would talk to me and possibly pass on some information I had printed up for John.  I did find Mike’s house on the first try and he was home.  We had a conversation in his driveway and afterwards I felt pretty good about what I wanted to do and that I had possibly made a connection that was going to get this deal rolling.

The photo credits belong to Matt Detrich/The Star and this is Mike Wanchic playing with John Mellencamp at the Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University on November 11, 2010.  When I met Mike he had much shorter hair.

Anyway, the point is that while I do not know if Mike passed on the information or not because neither John or anybody else has ever gotten in touch with me, I am still plugging away at the Muscle car game one car at a time and still trying to get the ball rolling.  I talk with a lot of people over the course of a year, and I do try not to be a pest but I am sure I am one anyway.

The whole point of this post is that while my dream may be silly to most and most of the time it seems as if it is a huge failure, you have to do what you believe in.  With the New Year comes our New Years Resolutions and while most of us will not keep them or will fall flat on our faces, it is what helps drive us and makes us who we are.  So while I keep plugging away at searching for my illusive “investor”, you should all be moving ahead towards your dreams as well.  We have another year beginning and while we are not getting any younger, you cannot let your dreams die.  Push on and keep trying, because sometimes dreams can and do come true.

Davey Boy

The After Report about Kansas City Auction

December 7, 2010

 Well, as you know and I will admit a 1966 Impala Station Wagon is NOT a Muscle Car.  However, the station wagon was the basis for a lot of drag strip cars during the era of the Muscle Car.  And the Impala would have been probably the most used.  This particular car sold for dirt cheap.  An actual $3,250 car in great shape with its original 327 under the hood.

 There were plenty of bargains to be had at Kansas City. Check out for the auction details from Kansas City and be sure to compare my last blog with my estimates for the cars I tagged ahead of time.  While it may seem like I am bragging (maybe just a little), my estimates came right on-line for the 3 that sold and the other 4 did not sell because the bids did not reach the reserve on those vehicles.  Obviously the collectors are still picking their needed cars and that means the “average” cars are going real cheap when someone wants to buy one.

Another vehicle that would be a “Collector” car not a Muscle Car would be this 1975 Chevrolet Caprice that sold for a figure of $9,000.  General Motors stopped factory production of convertibles in 1975 for all divisions except Cadillac which ended the run in 1976.  This is the final year of convertible production for a Chevrolet, from the factory.

The white car is of course a 1970 Road Runner and while it came from the factory with a 383 and not a 440 that means the price for this one was $25,000 instead of the usual $40,000 these usually bring. Note the Air Grabber hood.  The “door” in the hood is actually a vacuum operated scoop that pops up out of the hood to feed fresh air to the engine for increased horsepower.  Nice and rare factory option.

The next cars are “continuation” models, meaning while they are built after the 1971 model year, they are what was previously Muscle Car Models.  For those who like the Mopar vehicles of the Era these are the cheapest way to get a Mopar Muscle Car with the “look” from the era of the Muscle Car.  The 1973 Plymouth Road Runner has the original 340 under the hood and sold for $12,500.

Next up is a 1972 Satellite Sebring Plus with the 340 cubic inch engine.  Original throughout and only cost someone $8,500 to take it home.  They also had a 1972 Sebring that sold for an even $10,000 at the Auction, also with the 340.

Then there was a 1973 Dodge Charger Super Bee replica with a 440 and the air grabber hood that sold for $16,000.  Early years for the Super Bee were based on the Coronet body, but  later models were based on the Charger body.  So this would be an accurate “clone” even though the fender tags will tell people it is “just” a Charger.

Then to show you what earlier Super Bees looked like we come to our final picture for this post.  This is a 1970 Dodge Super Bee.  This car came with a 383 that is gone and now has been replaced with a bigger 440 engine.  Because it is not a numbers matching car it sold for a low $16,500.  Even with the non matching engine under the hood this car will “retail” for somewhere in the $40,000 range.

While the prices of these cars may seem low and they are remember the price a collector or a dealer buys a vehicle for at an auction usually means he is the one who will benefit from the savings.

Well, that’s it for now.  The next big Mecum Auction will be January in Kissimmee, Florida and then there are the half-dozen Arizona Auctions also even earlier in the month (January).

Guess, I should start looking through all their listings now to get ready.  Take care everyone and remember that a Muscle Car is an Investment that you can actually enjoy having.

Davey Boy

2010 – Mecum Returns to Kansas City

December 1, 2010

  For those who may be new to the idea of buying a classic Muscle Car, I am picking a few cars that should sell for around $20,000 and could possibly go a little higher.  But based on the current economy and what recent auctions have done, I feel the at the $20,000 ceiling should be adequate.  The blue car here is a 1968 Mustang with a 289.  This vehicle makes for an excellent starter car due to the fact that with over 2 million Mustangs built during the Muscle Car era, parts are plentiful and inexpensive compared to most of these “dinosaurs”.

Mustangs are small in size and fun cars to drive and even a little V-8 can really perk them up.  The 289 is the engine that later became the 302, or as commonly known today the 5-0.

The light blue convertible would be a 1965 Mustang.  Once again it has the 289 and this one is also a convertible so top down wind in the hair enjoyment comes with the price.  Early Mustangs are plentiful, so even though a convertible can double or triple the price of the average collector car, that rule does not apply to Mustangs.  Expect no more than $25,000 to become the owner of this little gem.

You never know if a collector is looking for a specific car in a particular color so should any of you actually try buying a vehicle I show here, remember my pricing should be used as a guide and if bidding goes crazy your best bet is to pass on the car, because the prices I quote are realistic.  Most collectors will end up overpaying for a car that they deem special to their collection, and they usually do not buy cars to sell them right away so if they end up $10,000 over value, they know they will make that back eventually.

The next car is a 1968 Pontiac LeMans with the 350 engine.  Once again it is a convertible.  Most people use the LeMans to build GTO clones and trying to find one in good condition that hasn’t been converted or relabeled as such can be difficult.

As a rule the LeMans would go for around 15-18,000 dollars. In Hardtop form.  A convertible can tip the $20,000 range.  This one should end up around $26,000 as a maximum.

Anyone who has read my blog postings would know that I have the utmost respect for the Chevrolet Nova due to its tremendous performance potential.  This blue beauty is a 1968 with a 350.  The owner has invested $30,000 in it to bring it back to what you see here.  The shame is he won’t get that back.  His overdoing it will become someone else’s prize.  With the 350 it won’t pull wheelstands but then it is plenty of engine to pull this little car around town on cruise night in the summer.  And the 350 from Chevrolet has probably more aftermarket parts than any engine ever made, so keeping it running will not be an issue.  Expect a top price of $24,000, and really it could end up around $20,000 even.

The white car is of course a 1970 Cutlass Supreme from Oldsmobile.  These like the LeMans usually end up being cloned into real Muscle cars.  In the case of a Cutlass that would mean labeling it as a 442.  Unlike the GTO this entails more than just buying badges.  The Supreme would not be a body that lends to cloning since it used the square top rear quarters, whereas the 442 used the rounded top “S” rear fenders, except for the convertible versions (they used the Supreme body).

Still the Cutlass and the LeMans and the Buick Skylark as well as the Chevrolet Chevelle were arguably the best looking intermediates built during the era.  All used 350’s from their division as a base V-8 and you could option a big block 400 and later years the 455 or 454 engines.

The 350 with a 4 barrel carb smoked the tires.  The 400 roasted the tires.  The 454 and 455’s just plain spun the tires untill the rear end was used up or the driveshaft broke free from under the car.  While Chevrolet and Pontiac tried marketing towards the young crowd, the Oldsmobile and Buick vehicles mentioned here were more the “Gentleman’s” Hot Rod.  And many people mistakenly thought that they were not as potent.  This Cutlass should go for around $20,000 with a top run of about $26,000.

An American Motors Javelin with the 360 is next on the page.  This is a 1971 model.  One does not normally think of AMC as a muscle car company, but during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, all the American car company’s with the possible exception of Cadillac and Lincoln had a model or two at the minimum for performance minded consumers.  The Javelin was the basis for the AMX which was basically a shortened Javelin with no back seat.  AMC also had the Rebel “Machine” which eventually morphed into the Ambassador (not the Coupe).  AMC did not sell the volume of cars that the Big 3 of Detroit did, so their engines and transmissions were a lot of times versions of Ford or Chrysler products.  This makes parts compatibility possible but some of the engines do not share parts with their more popular brethren.  Check for parts match if you want to build up an AMC.  Because of this the AMC performance models do not have the higher price tags of their competitors.  This beauty should sell for $24,000 at best.

Then we come to what could surprise even me.  A 1972 Dodge Dart Demon with the 340 engine.  Beautiful car with a bucket seat interior and the Mopars are among the hottest cars from the Muscle Car Era.  They set records every year with the original Hemi engines monsters.

This is not one of those and should sell for a reasonable $26,000 or less since it is a 1972.  Technically the Muscle Car Era ended with the 1971 Models, but Mopar still was offering 440 engines and performance packages into the late 1970’s when their Corporate mandate was to use the 400 cubic inch “Lean Burn” engine as its top choice except for trucks and vans.

Well hopefully this will give someone a little help with getting into the Muscle Car Hobby.  All these cars will be in Kansas City for the Mecum Auction and it starts TOMORROW.

Kind of short notice, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  I apologize to everyone for not doing a report on here for a while, but hopefully I will have time to give more timely, regular blogs in the future. 


Davey Boy

Choosing A Vehicle – Part 3

July 5, 2010

 One of the areas with the highest potential for increasing their value would be what are considered the “fringe” vehicles.  Examples like this 1959 Chevrolet El Camino would fit into that corner of the collector car market.  This would be an extreme example since it is before the “Muscle Car Era” started.  The version shown here was based on the Impala or the Biscayne model line and therefore not an intermediate per se.  Other fringe vehicles would include the Mercury Cougar. 

This one being a 1969 with a 351 Windsor small block.  The “Cleveland” did not reach production untill the 1970 model year.  This is a discussion I have had many times before with guys who are supposed to be knowledgeable in the field.  The Cougar was marketed as a personal luxury coupe to compete with the segment that included the Riviera, Toronado and eventually the Monte Carlo.  As far as sales go it was not very competitive, but with the right options it could compete with some of the lesser Muscle Cars at the time.

The Dodge Charger as this example from 1969 shows was very much a muscle car and its 440 cubic inch big block engine was only outdone by the 426 Hemi from Mopar.  Although it lacked a few cubic inches when compared with the 455 and 454 engines from General Motors.  The big difference was that Mopar was installing this beast into intermediates long before General Motors lifted their 400 cubic inch corporate limit for intermediates in the 1970 model year.

GTO’s and 442’s and Chevelle’s and Gran Sport’s had to do with their 389 and 400 and 396 engines while over at Mopar you still had 2 options above them to choose from.  This is one of the reasons why Mopars are among the most valuable collector vehicles.  While there are a lot of Chargers still around the model year of 1969 is among the most sought after due in small part to the “Duke’s of Hazzard” who’s General Lee is probably one of the most famous cars of all time.

This 1969 American Motors AMX with its 390 big block is another example of a vehicle that while not at the top of the food chain in its time is sought after today.  The Javelin it was based on was equiped with a back seat while the AMX version was shortened and did not have a back seat, but rather a “package area”.

The early models of the Chevelle are also climbing in value a little ahead of the curve.  This is a 1968 138 series which is a SS396.  But the models with the 327, 307 and of course the 350 small blocks are being bought and restored as well.  Later versions of the 396 actually used a 402 engine despite being billed as SS396 models due to the popularity of the engine.  The change was due in part to the blocks having scratched cylinder walls and needing to be rebored by the factory, or so the story goes.  Not everything said by General Motors was as honest as you would have believed during their attempts to get around “Corporate” rules restricting their engine selections.

This 1978 Pontiac Formula is another example of vehicles that are choices when you start looking for cars to invest in.  The Trans Am was bona-fide “BIG DOG” of the Firebird group but the Formula was an equally impressive car with slightly more civilized manners.  The Pontiac division was probably the last Detroit carmaker to give up on the Muscle Car as the Trans Am continued being the fastest thing other than a Corvette, that you could buy from Detroit.  Even though these later vehicles were smog controlled and detuned versions of their former selves, in their time they were the best you could hope for.  And due to this most “collectors” will always have at minimum a Formula in their collection if not a T/A with the 455 HD motor.

So besides the obvious choices from 1964 to 1971 model years there are many choices for you to look through when it comes to picking a car for an investment.

This 1971 Chevrolet El Camino SS454 is an example of what the final year of the “Muscle Car Era” had in store for buyers. 

When you decide what manufacturer you prefer then you start looking through their lineup and based on what you have to spend, you should be able to find something, either an actual muscle car or a fringe vehicle.

Sometimes the choices are overwhelming because there are literally hundreds to choose from, but if you are not in the market soon you will find it much more expensive in the future to get in.  The values on some of these cars will nearly double in the next 2 or 3 years and no matter what they will probably outpace the rate of inflation.

So my advice would be get off the couch, and either get logged into the internet to start searching or go out to your local car shows and see whats around.  Someone always has someones dream car for sale.  And you don’t want someone else getting yours now, do you?

Davey Boy

New Investor’s -Here Is My Help On Picking A Car

June 25, 2010

  When I get asked the question of what someone should purchase for a first Muscle Car or investment grade collector car, I apologize to whomever asks the question.  The answer is one that is different for almost everyone and to give a proper answer I would need to ask you about a dozen questions just to get any clue for what would be your ideal car.

How mechanically inclined are you?  If you are a gifted mechanic with a garage full of tools and equipment then a project vehicle to build and put together yourself would be something to consider.  If you cannot change your own oil then you need something totally reliable and simple to operate.  If you are a normal person and fall somewhere in between these extremes then you would be suited for a vehicle that is already in road worthy condition and maybe needs a few finishing touches such as new carpet or seat covers, or maybe some exterior chrome replaced.

Next question would be what have you got to spend?  $20,000 or less and you can get a nice early pony car such as a Mustang.  Pick a straight 6 and you can get a convertible top.  Pick a nice 289 and you may find a fastback but odds are it would be the coupe.  The same money will get you a Cutlass with a 350 but not a 442.  Or a LeMans but not a GTO,  or a Skylark, but not a GS….although I have run across a few GS350’s with bench seats in the $20,000 range.

This 1969 Fury III shown here should also be a car in that price range.  With either a 383 or in this case a 440 for power it moves well for a large car and being a “fringe” Muscle car it is one of the least expensive Mopar models out there.

This 1966 Mustang with a 289 V8 and automatic trans is what the $20,000 can bring to you.

A 1969 Impala convertible with the standard 350 will also get you into a nice classic car but do not expect a SS Impala for $20,000.

So what if your price point is $30,000 ?  You now move into the territory for real choices in Muscle Cars.  A GTO or GS400, Chevelle SS396, Camaro, Mustang Mach I, and an occasional Mustang Shelby 350 with the 289.

Something like this 1965, maybe.  If you find the right-minded seller, that is.  There are also a few Mopars at the $30,000 range.  Cars like the Road Runner or the Charger or the Barracuda (not a ‘Cuda) or a Challenger.  Granted they won’t be Hemi cars and they won’t even be 440 vehicles.  But a 318 or the 340/360 are nice reliable powerplants and the body work is almost the same as their big block brethren, at least to anyone except the die-hard gear heads out there.  And a lot of the “clones” fall into this price point as well as some of the non numbers matching vehicles.

This nice numbers matching Camaro convertible with its 327 is probably in that range as well.  The sister vehicle to it a Firebird 400 would also be in that range.  Don’t expect to find too many SS396 Camaro’s or any early Trans Ams in this price point.

This 1970 Road Runner will probably be $35,000.  For the $40,000 price point you enter the realm of cars like a 442 and can even find convertibles for the money.

This 1971 Oldsmobile 442 convertible is an example of the type of car in the $40,000 range.  The GS 455 is also a great vehicle that can be bought for $40,000.  Certain options and engine combinations may be off your list but for the most part even my beloved Chevelle SS454 can be had.

Since I always have Chevelle in my blog posts I decided to show an interior photo for this one.  It is what the interior of a 1970 SS454 Chevelle would look like.  Buckets are a premium over bench seat and the floor mounted “stapler” shifter is also, but still available in the $40,000 price point.  Working air conditioning or even an air condition equiped model may be harder to find.

Remember that unless you are mechanically inclined you do NOT want to deal with multiple carburetor engines or engines that have been heavily modified for added horsepower.  Sticking with stock power plants also helps keep the cars value.

Speaking of value, the big question people ask is what will be the big value cars to hold onto for the next 5 years ?  The answer is if I knew, I’d have 10 of them sitting in storage right now.  There are several cars that are under valued right now and we can get into those…….in my next blog.

And in case you were wondering, every one of these cars shown in this blog are for sale at the next Mecum Auction in July over in Des Moines, Iowa.

Davey Boy