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Bargain "Classics"--$12,000 or Less and 20 Years or Older

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well by all means strip the small bits off...
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    dave8697dave8697 Member Posts: 1,498
    looked like a '72 auto 4-4-2 in it. Gold with white convertable. Brings back memories. In '78 my friend bought that exact car from his friends parents for $1100. About 120k miles on it in S. Fl. We cruised around Lake Park until he got so many tickets he had to sell it. He wanted to show me what the 455 could do once, so we started at a stop sign. He floored it. rubber all through first, all through second, and at least 50 feet of third gear as we went through the third stop sign at somewhere over 70mph in a 25 zone. We blew through 2-3 more stop signs before he got it slowed down. I would have bought it from him if I could afford the gas or the car. I had a '70 Delta 88 with a Rocket 350 at the time. There was no comparison. I did manage 20mpg on a trip to NY in the Delta 88 with the radial tires that came on it and a 2.56 rear axle ratio.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    Any insights on the "lightning rod" transmission 200-4R (is it durable?). I seem to recall that someone had posted that certain GM transmissions were a bit more fragile than others.

    When that transmission first came out in 1981, it was troublesome. It was improved over the years, but I don't think it was until around 1984-85 that they really got it right, more or less. There was a beefed-up version of it that was used for the Grand National. I'd presume that it would've also been used in the Monte SS and the Hurst/442, but you never know, with GM!

    I had an '85 LeSabre 307 and '86 Monte Carlo 305 with the 200R4 tranny. The LeSabre had 157,000 miles on it when we finally got rid of it, and the Monte had 192,000 on it when I got t-boned while delivering pizzas, and neither ever had any tranny trouble.

    Now that I think about it, there was a guy at work who had one of those Hursts. AT least I think it was the Hurst and not the 442, as it had the lightning rod shifter and not the normal one. I forget how many miles he ultimately got out of it, but I know it was well over 200,000. I forget the year, but it was a grayish-silver, if that helps. It was pretty worn out when he finally got rid of it. I remember asking him if he'd ever be interested in selling it, and he told me that I wouldn't want the thing, as it was high-mileage and getting tired. Nevermind the fact I was driving a '68 Dart with over 300,000 miles on it at the time. :P

    The 200R4 transmission was also used in full-sized station wagons and in the big RWD C-body coupes and sedans in the 80's. Many of those easily topped 4,000 lb. I wonder what would stress out a transmission more...an engine with a lot of torque, or a lot of weight to lug around?

    I've also heard that the beefed-up version of the transmission was used in Impala and Caprice copcars in the 1980's, even with the 350 V-8, but I think that was actually a truck transmission, like the 700R4 or something?
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    Your post possessed me to do an eBay search for "1981 Buick", and I found this gem.

    Sounds like a great car, but the only thing I'm having trouble deciding, is whether there's only one too many zeroes to the left of the decimal point, or two! :blush:

    I'd really like to see a Riv Diesel get 41 mpg, and suuuuure, the thing has anti-lock brakes. :P

    I actually like these cars, but gimme an '84-85 model with the 307/4-speed automatic...none of this Diesel crap. And for some reason, I actually prefer the Toronado, although most people find it to be uglier.
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    fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,261
    It might even be three too many zeroes.

    I noticed the "diesel" emblem is the same as used on the period Monte Carlo diesel.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    81 Buick -- looks like around $700 bucks to me, on a good day, if you can pawn it off on someone. They are hard enough to sell when they are in GOOD condition, much less this.....thing. Some people are mad, totally mad.....

    Book says $1200 bucks in "fair" condition....okay, I was a little off....
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    but I really like this old beast. Kinda makes me wish I had a spare $2695 laying around! :shades:

    I really love that shade of green. The bucket seats are cool, too, but I hate when they give a car bucket seats, but then stick in a column shift! What's the point in that?! My old '69 Dart GT was like that.

    Overall, it looks like it's in decent shape, just with the interior being a bit rattier than my '76. Has the rust spots in the same place as my '76, and even has a tear in the driver's seat, as does my '76!

    I know I'd be better served taking that $2695 and putting it into the LeMans I already have...especially since it quit running. :sick: Or one of my other cars. But still, I feel the siren song of Nebraska calling out to me....

    Oh well, it'll pass, I'm sure.
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    oregonboyoregonboy Member Posts: 1,650
    Nice color, although I really don't care for the pinstripes or the side moldings. Are those stock? :confuse:
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    Andre, Sheriff Buford T Justice would be proud of you!

    Thanks for the follow up on my transmission question. I wouldn't mind getting serious over a hurst olds, but I would definitely have to thin out the herd a bit.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    I think the side molding might be stock...probably an option. My '76 has that molding too, and I hate it. I think the problem is that on the LeMans, the fenders bulge out a bit, both front and rear, compared to the doors, giving the car a somewhat wasp-waisted stance. As a result, that side molding has sort of a wavy look, depending on the angle you view it from.

    As for the pinstripes, I believe they were an option, but I think the stock ones would be narrower than what's on this car. Personally I don't mind them...but the thing that bugs me is the mirrors on the car. They should be body color and not white. But I guess that's not too hard of a fix.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    Andre, Sheriff Buford T Justice would be proud of you!

    Funny you'd mention that, because "Smokey and the Bandit" is what turned me on to the '76-77 LeMans, in the first place! I know most normal kids lusted after the Trans Am. Or Sally Field :shades:

    I always liked the 442/Hurst. I wonder why they weren't better sellers, compared to the Monte SS and Grand National? Did Olds just not market them?
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    Well, the Hurst was a limited run (3001 and 3500 units in 1983-84), it wasn't as fast as the Monte Carlo SS or the Buick Grand National (or the Camaro Z-28 for that matter), all of which could probably be purchased for similar money (more or less). I suspect it was marketed to those Olds guys who lamented a lost opportunity to own a Hurst back in the day and wanted a modern one.

    It's funny, my brother's 5 year old minivan could probably out accelerate :shades: it, out brake it and out fuel economy it, but I don't find myself lusting so much after it LOL
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    I finally posted some pics of the 240Z on my space. My favorite is a close up of the rear license plate. It has 37 years of registration stickers on the plate, it is literally 3/8" thick LOL
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I always liked that color for a 240Z. There's a similar Porsche color which I think is called "Colorado Orange"
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    I really like the orange too, because it is such a "period" color (like the bike I got from Santa (in 72) which was orange too...) LOL

    I took my 3 year old out for a drive in it over the weekend. He was excited because he got to ride in the front seat (in his car seat) with Daddy...
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    euphoniumeuphonium Member Posts: 3,425
    3/8" stickers won't happen up here in WA. You have to buy a new plate every seven years. (trailers included)
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    fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,261
    If your car is old enough, you can get year of manufacture plates - no new stickers and no new plates. Yay.

    I had year of manufacture plates put on my car in 1996. I found them at a yard sale for a quarter.

    Do you have those on your Mustang? If you don't, you should seek out a set...they look cool on an old car.
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    The mustang has recent personalized plates on it now. The car was originally from NY. I am not sure if CA DMV has released the Black Plates from the 60's yet. My 442 had the black plates, but those were original to the car. I don't think I would get the black plates for the mustang, as that might be a little misleading. Of course my wife will never sell the car, so I guess no one is really going to be mislead thinking they purchased a car that spent its whole life in sunny CA.
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    hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    The most recent issue of Corvette Magazine (the title is actually Magazine Corvette) features an article on Corvettes that can be bought for $12,000. They include low mileage, well maintained C3s, many C4s, some C5s, and even a few high mileage C6s. Apparently, some collectors and enthusiasts are really into C3s. As one might expect, C4s are plentiful and popular, and Chevy made incremental improvements to the C4 from the '84-'96 model years. C5s are somewhat less plentiful at the $12,000 price point, but popular. If you don't mind a 100,000+ car, you can score a C6.

    The previous issue had a similar article, using a $9,000 price point, and the next issue will feature Corvettes that can be bought for $15,000.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    High mileage C5 and C6 Vettes are bad investments. I'd only pay wholesale or less for one. Corvettes do not take kindly to high miles (don't be insulted--neither do Ferraris).

    About the only hi-performance car that doesn't seem to suffer too much with high miles is Porsche.

    Here's a good running C4 for $3000 asking:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/1113523503.html

    another good runner for $2800

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/1108936519.html

    Here's a year 2000 C5 that I bet you could get for $12000

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/1117498569.html
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    hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    On the off chance that BMW E30s ('84-'91, and newer for the convertible) haven't yet been talked about in this discussion, good examples of these can be purchased for ~$2,500-$4,500. I bought an '87 325 four years ago, and I still enjoy driving it.

    Except for the M version, they're not the fastest cars from that period, but they permit you to enjoy the vaunted Beemer driving dynamics for a modest outlay. E30s are also among the lowest cost-to-own BMWs available. That doesn't mean they're inexpensive to maintain and repair, but from my experience, ownership expenses are not unreasonable.
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    garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    I totally agree. My neighbor ended up purchasing a 325i convertible (1989 I believe) for around $3K, aside from a seam split on the top of the back seatback, the car is immaculate. He also got the complete maintenance history as well. He bought the car because gas was heading towards $5/gallon and commuting in his truck was killing him. After he bought the car, he realized it was too nice to commute everyday in, so he ultimately purchased an 80's 320i for commuting.
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    bob550kbob550k Member Posts: 148
    Vettes are tough and high miles don't bother them in the least. Outstanding cars.
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    bob550kbob550k Member Posts: 148
    Now BMW's have eaten me out of house and home in repairs, my Vette just keeps going and going and going.....
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I meant that Vettes start to look very shabby with high miles (or even with not so high miles)---they don't hold up cosmetically and they get loose and rattley. Yes, the drivetrains are pretty indestructible and they are easily repairable---which is a *big* plus, I agree---but some parts are more expensive than you'd think. Vette interiors especially, age in dog years,and the switch gear is cheap, and fit and finish is pretty suspect--things like that.

    Easily correctible, if you want to buy a high-miler and spiff it up. A late model C4 is a very good buy right now and there are all kinds of opportunities for under $12,000 bucks.
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    texasestexases Member Posts: 10,736
    "A late model C4 is a very good buy right now and there are all kinds of opportunities for under $12,000 bucks."

    Just saw the 'Wheeler Dealer' where they did just that, bought a ratty one for 2,100 pounds, fixed it up for about 1,000, not counting labor. That included an entire new exaust from the manifold back and a reconditioned instrument panel. They sold it for about 3,800 pounds. Buyer got a good deal, it seems.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah, how can you beat that for "bang for the buck"?
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    plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    The problem is - if you want something fast AND old and cheap, it's usually a deathtrap. for instance, a 20 year old Porsche 928 might fit the bill, but unless it's properly maintained($$$), you'd be stupid to actually drive it fast at that age.

    The smart money is on something fast, well made, and under everyone's radar. The Volvo 850 Turbo was a good example of this - a decade ago. Today, it's a lot tougher, since most of the middle-end cars are either aging classics or no longer made. A good example is the Surpa. Cheap used, fast, and oops - not made any more.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah but being a deathtrap is half the fun :P
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    bob550kbob550k Member Posts: 148
    I don't know what vettes you've been looking at, but these cars are plentiful in southern california. There are certain years that are pretty crappy, just don't look at those. I saw a 100,000 mile ZR1 blow out around $12,000 at the palm springs auction, and it was nice.

    A well maintained 928 will drain your wallet faster than a topless blond and the boobie bar.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'll testify to THAT!
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    hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Was wondering how we might revive this discussion. Shifty, do you think replacing the word "Classic" with "Collectible" would increase interest in this topic, without materially affecting the intent of the subject?

    I recall that some time back we reduced the minimum age to 20 years, from 25, and raised the dollar value for this discussion to $12,000 from something lower. By substituting "Collectible" for "Classic" we could also consider increasing the minimum age to where it was originally, and/or rolling back the dollar figure to $10,000, or whatever.

    Since it appears from some posts that some people don't make much distinction between classic and collectible, it may not matter much, but I thought I'd pass these thoughts along.
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    parmparm Member Posts: 724
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230383102944&viewi- - - tem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AVRI

    1970 Bonneville convertibles are one of my "guilty pleasures". Like the Super Bee, the front end of these cars are so ugly that I love'm. And, here's what appears to be a pretty nice one that recently sold on ebay for $12,000 - right at the threshold of this discussion. This car had been listed the week before with a "buy it now" price of $12,500. The high bid of $10,400 didn't meet the seller's reserve. It was soon relisted and immediately sold for $12,000.

    I'm sure Pontiac made a ton of these, but it's fairly rare that you see one in nice condition that's for sale at a reasonable price. Ironically, there are two other 1970 Bonneville convertibles on ebay right now. And, an auction for a third one sold earlier today for $10,476 - but, it wasn't as nice as the one referenced above. There's also a '69 on ebay, but it's not a '70 and isn't as nice.

    So, here you go. Submitted for your approval . . . . . . a 1970 Bonneville convertible!
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    Yeah, those '70 Pontiacs are kinda ugly-yet-cool. Actually, I think the car looks gorgeous when viewed from the side, all sleek and voluptuous and whatnot. And I love the Bonneville without the fender skirts....really helps slim the car down.

    But I never cared for that rear-end treatment. I thought the '69 looked good, with the big bumper and the hockey stick-shaped taillights above, but on the '70, I think it's just a bit poor-fitting. And I never cared for the "6 headlight" look created by putting those horn ports in. FWIW, I never liked it in later years either, when they put the turn signals between the headlights on some Cadillacs and Pontiacs.

    Pontiac's image started going through some turmoil in the late 60's. I think 1967 is the last year the big Pontiacs really made a serious attempt at being sporty and youthful. That was also the only year they had a Grand Prix convertible, and the year with the hidden headlights, that made it look really futuristic. But then almost overnight, the '68 Pontiac seemed a bit dull and dowdy. The midsized cars looked good, but I just don't think the look translated as well on the big cars. But then I kinda like the big '69 Pontiacs. I had a Bonneville 4-door hardtop for a few years, and that thing was a nice car...at least in that rare moment that occurred after it firing up without eating a starter, but before it overheated.

    By 1970 I think the big Pontiacs were just becoming, for lack of a better word, confused. At some angles they do look sleek and sporty, but then they have that retro look going on (they called it "neoclassic" back in the 70's), with the fake horn ports, tall, skinny grille, etc. Still, that deep red one you posted, Parm, looks really nice. Only real downsides I can see are no a/c and no power windows (yes, I guess I'm getting a bit spoiled). I'm sure it really moves with that 455, though! I'd love to know what kind of driving conditions you'd have to endure though, to support that 20 mpg claim.
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    lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    But you can buy a really nice late '90s Boxster or Z3 for less than $12K easily.
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    stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    Not sure what it would take to find a really nice one, but I'd like to get my hands on a first-generation AMC Javelin. This one looks like the best of a bad crop of them on eBay right now.
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    plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    If you want the same car with a better front end, look at the Buick and Oldsmobile versions of the same thing. They're generally very under-valued.

    Ebay Item number: 300353785696

    A good example. I think it looks a lot better than the Pontiac version.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    Nice car, but that's a midsize Cutlass. Actually, all of GM's intermediates were good lookers that year...can't go wrong with any of 'em. Now for an Olds equivalent of that Pontiac though, here's a dreadnaught class Ninety-Eight. It's a 4-door hardtop though, not a convertible, and being a C-body is a bit bigger than that Bonneville.

    And here's a 1970 LeSabre convertible. I think the big Oldsmobiles and Buicks were very handsome cars in 1970...a bit less controversial than the Pontiacs. But then, controversial can be charming sometimes.

    Kinda interesting how Buick and Olds played around with the split grille idea back then, along with Pontiac. And 1970 was the year the Dodge Coronet tried on that awkward double-loop bumper/grille that was kind of a love/hate thing.
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    hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Hey, that's the same color as my '72 98. Same or similar upholstery pattern too, although mine had no tears and was a lot cleaner. The body of my 98 had some rust, though. I think mine had ~128,000 miles on it when I donated it to the Salvation Army.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    The interior of that '70 Olds also looks close to the color of my '69 Bonneville, sort of a gold with a hint of green. My Bonneville was all-vinyl, though.
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    ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    ....cool, gaudy, was-in-style-then French Provincial upholstery, looks loaded (tilt-tele wheel, factory 8-track, along with the usual stuff), and body looks OK. I would have paid the sales price of $915, though I doubt it would fit in my garage (maybe if the garage were COMPLETELY cleaned out).

    The LeSabre convertible looks nice, though it's at the St. Louis place that has beautiful cars, typically overpriced by about 50% (I lived in St. Louis, this dealer was about 5 miles from our house, I used to BEG my mom to take me there, regularly). Back then (87-88), they typically had more imports (old 911s, Corniches, Silver Spurs, etc.), along with newly-collectibles ('59 Cadillacs, '60s Vettes).
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    I was curious to find out how long overall that 70 Olds 98 is, and tried googling it. Closest I found was a Wikipedia article listing the 1969 version at 224.4 inches. So, hardly stubby, but for some reason I thought they were actually longer! That surprises me that my old 1969 Bonneville, at 225", was actually a bit longer overall! Shorter wheelbase though, 125" versus 127" for the 98/Electra. And the C-bodies had a larger passenger cabin, where the Bonneville was essentially just a Catalina with a longer rear deck, and a rear axle moved a few inches back, without making hte passenger cabin any bigger.

    Is that St. Louis place you mention Gateway Classic Cars? I used to love looking through their inventory online. One of my former co-workers bought a '66 Charger from them back in 2000. I think he paid $6,000 for it. It looked to be in great shape at a quick glance, although it had a funky paintjob with flames on it. It was sort of burgundy overall, with light gold flames at the front. It had a few quirks, too. Headlights wouldn't flip; you had to force them manually. I think you had to start it in neutral. Heater was disconnected, and I don't think it had a/c. It was a good driving car, though. He had registered for the Mopar Nats at Carlisle in 2001, but had to bail at the last minute because his mother took ill, so he let me drive it up there. It had a 383 4-bbl, and definitely had some kick to it! Yet, I remember that at 75 mph, it turned about 2500 rpm, same as my Intrepid. Fuel economy, not so good though. Got about 14 mpg on that trip, while a friend of mine, who drove my Intrepid up, got around 28.

    I didn't realize it at the time, but my friend had fallen on some hard financial times. I got a clue though, when he said that if anybody expresses an interest in buying the car, get their contact info! Here, this guy had talked about nothing but '66 Chargers for as long as I'd known him, had wanted one since he was a little kid, finally got his dream car, and suddenly starts talking about selling it? Yeah, something was definitely wrong with that picture. :sick:
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Any "classic" car that is a bit funky is taking a beating in price right now. Nobody wants "projects" unless they are very cheap. People seem to be either wanting top-notch "turn key" cars that they don't have to work on....or "cheap and cheerful" old cars they can tinker with.

    But things like substandard paint and disconnected heater are not minor items, and will probably discourage many buyers today unless the price drops accordingly.

    A slightly funky '66 Charger with 383 is probably worth no more than he paid for it in 2000.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,729
    A slightly funky '66 Charger with 383 is probably worth no more than he paid for it in 2000.

    I forget now how much he ended up selling it for. My friend had a bad habit of over-paying for things when the times were good, thinking that the prosperity would go on forever. He'd bought a few other overpriced toys, but compared to them the Charger seemed downright cheap. I remember at one time he said he was looking for $4-5K, and I was kinda tempted. However, the '66-67 Charger really doesn't excite me. Now if it was a '68-70 Charger, or even a Satellite or a '68-69 Coronet (don't care for that double-loop bumper '70 as much) I probably would've hopped on it!
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    if it's not a R/T or a Big Block or a '68 on up, it's really a fairly ordinary and plentiful car.
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    ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    no, the dealer near us was Daniel Schmitt (www.schmitt.com); nice cars and usually good selection, but their prices are pretty high. St. Louis Car Museum (they should use the term lightly) is lots of fun....tons of cars and automobilia in a huge warehouse.
This discussion has been closed.