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Is it worth restoring?

shibainu1shibainu1 Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Plymouth
Purchased a hurting 1970 Barracuda convertible; 6
cylinder, 3 speed, red paint, red interior, black
top, all original. Floor in back under passenger
seat in gone. Wondering if anyone knows how many
of these were produced, how many are left, and if
it is worth restoring?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    There were 1,554 Barracuda Convertibles with all engines produced, but the sixes aren't broken down in that total.

    Chances are only a few hundred left.

    Is it worth restoring? Well, in terms of cold hard cash, no, since you can buy a nice V-8 convertible for around $10,000, and you'd have to ask less for a restored 6-cylinder model, at least 15-20%. So that potential value isn't so great as to justify the heavy expense of a thorough restoration.

    If you restored it on the cheap, figuring 41,500 for a cheap paint job, $1,000 in body work, $600 for a top, $3,500 engine and trans overhaul, $1,000 for upholstery kits, $1,000 miscellaneous, and you doing a lot of the R&R work, you might break out even if you don't count your labor.

    I'd say if you really like this type of car, and want to restore one, shop for a V-8 with less rust and start with that one. A '69 or '71 isn't all that different a car, and gives you more to look for.

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  • I now have two of these runs and the other is all there but has a blown rear...what are these cars worth if properly it worth restoring both or just one? I owned my 1st one since 1991, have taken it to dozens and dozens of shows...don't see too many of these cars at all. I am supposed to drive to Carlisle, PA to CHRYSLERS in July...maybe I will meet some people there
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Probably a really top car would bring around $6,500.

    As a hobby, of course, it may be worth getting one of these cars in nice shape, but there doesn't seem to be a justification for spending lots of money on one....being a later Imperial Lebaron, and therefore looking the same as the other Chrylser Imperials of lower price, and also a 4-door car, all adds up to a slow rate of appreciation, money-wise. It' like the difference between early Chrysler 300 "letter cars" and later ones.

    The reason for their rarity (only about 1800 made or so) is that they were very expensive, and for the same price you could buy a Caddie Eldorado they didn't make many because there wasn't a big demand for them at that time.

    Good, sturdy car, though, and a nice cruiser for modern highways. So if you can get one running and looking good for less than $5,000 say, as a total investment, you won't lose your shirt.

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  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Needs body work (after run-ins with a fence and a tree), some interior repairs, and an engine rebuild. It runs now. Plan to use it as a daily driver until the car is a hundred years old, so I'm not really look at resale value that much. Would it be worth restoring?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Honestly, no I don't think so...just go out and buy a nice should be able to find a beauty for $3,000...and you can keep your old one for parts!

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  • My neighbor here in Souther California had a completely original one w/ 70K miles on it for sale at $1900. Four door in really good original shape. I considered buying it for a beater around town but he took if off the market and gave it to his grand kid to cruise around in.

    Skip the restoration and look for a good condition original. They're cheap!
  • joe111joe111 Posts: 28
    I've got a chance to buy a 71 VW superbeetle. The engine and transmission are fine, however it needs struts, a new paint job, and an interior to put it in excellent condition. I will have about $2000 total into the fix, car included. Would there be any profit when I sell?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Hi Joe,

    No, I don't think that's the bug I would fix up. Anything prior to the Superbeetle would be a better choice if you are trying to profit some from the deal. Best of all would be pre-1968.
    Of course, as a clean used car for $2,000 that you could always sell for around $2K, then it would be won't make much of a profit, but you could use it and sell it and so drive around for "free".

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  • joe111joe111 Posts: 28
    Thanks for the advice sir, you have verified what I suspected. You know a lot more about this restoration thing than I do, and besides, my wife didn't want me to get it anyway.... Joe
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Well, Joe, keep looking for a fun project, maybe a bit older bug--they're easy and fun to restore, and don't cost a lot.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Well, ethio, on the face of what you've told me, I think it would be unwise to repair this car further, for a number of reasons:

    1. If you fix the rust, do the necessary paint and interior work, you will not be likely to recover your costs. You'll be financially buried in the car for life.

    2. Your car will be forever tainted as a repaired and patched up vehicle and could not compete in the marketplace with very clean and unmolested 280SLS selling for $18,000.

    3. The rust will return.

    4. There are plenty of nice 280SLs out there...find one where someone ELSE has spent all the money and needs to sell at market price.

    So that's what I think...pull the ripcord and get out while you can. I think if you present the car for inspection to someone, and even with some rust, it is worth what you paid for it.

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  • Hello There and again thank you for your advice.
    Being a senile old fart, as they refer to me at my place of work, I have decided to do a complete restoration of this rust heap instead of trying to pass it on to someone else.

    The engine has recently been rebuilt and requires minor cosmetic detailing. I am going ahead and doing most of the disassembling of the car myself. and will be having the entire body sand blasted and all the rusted parts replaced. (might even use this opportunity to buy a welder, a toy I have always wanted :) )

    Again thanks for the advise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Sure, why not if you need the therapy...cheaper than a shrink I guess :)

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  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    It's kind of hard for me to think of
    any car that is worth putting a lot into.
    I suppose a couple of factors come into play

    . What do you mean by restore?

    I think most folks think of restorations as
    painting the car, rebuilding the engine,
    and slapping on some new tires. That's
    a far cry from a national show winning,
    $100,000 invested, Hemi Challenger or something.

    . Price of parts (and availability) vs. value
    of finished product.

    Assumming that labor is free, there are some cars
    I think are in the sweet spot for dumping money
    into. Convertibles are better than hardtops
    (if the top hardware is there, I bet the cost
    of going through a convertible is no more
    expensive), desirable mass produced cars are
    good. (Examples are split window beetles or
    ZL1 Camaro's. While rare, there is a lot of
    parts interchange and a big aftermarket).
    High performance models are good. Every time
    I see money spent on a 1969 Mustang notchback,
    I see money wasted on a good parts car for
    a Boss 302 or Mach 1.

    . Are you really going to finish it?
    It is mucho work to really go through a whole
    car. Most projects languish in garages until
    sold for peanuts (or the owner dies and then
    it is sold for peanuts). While the therapy
    angle is of some value, it is probably of
    equal therapy to save up a few more coins,
    buy a decent driver (no garage queens please)
    and cruise around in a cool car. You'll
    have enough therapy work just in the breakdowns
    and tuneups inherent in 30 year old (or whatever)

    ...Enough with the negative thoughts Moriarty.

  • Here's a new one. I've got a 1959 Chevy Nomad wagon sitting in the side yard. It is not a separate body style from the other Chevy wagons, just a trim package. I have not been able to find production numbers on this model. I think that there was a strike at GM that year, and several models were sent up to the Canadian plants to be finished.

    The car looks cool, with the fins and cat eye tail lamps, so I thought that it would be a custom alternative to a minivan and I doubt that I would see any cars like it at the soccer games. I also have access to a parts car in decent shape.

    What do you think, would it be worth it and how might a car like this be valued. I'm not in to make a profit, just to have a keeper and a driver. Thanks!!!!! Jon
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Yep, it's worth saving if you don't go hog-wild on it...these old wagons with decent options on them (yours is, I believe, an Impala Nomad) are starting to be worth something.

    I figure that this car decently restored for street use could be worth $5,000-6,000, and restored professionally $10,000. Certainly much more valuable than a 4-door sedan.

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  • Thanks for the response. Yes, it is the Impala trim level, and I believe that it was actually the most expensive car Chevy sold in 59 (!). Hah, a wagon. Anyway, I was not planning on going hog wild but just doing a nice clean job with a little help from my friends. I look forward to working on it soon. Thanks again.
  • solid101solid101 Posts: 12
    This is amazing, today I saw this '68 Chrysler
    300 in my uncle's garage, and I didn't know he's
    been having this car for the past 30 years, with only 1,000 Mi. on it, seems brand new to me, he
    had just retired, and is thinking about restoring
    it, is it a fun car to do so?( If you ask me how this happend, well, he said 1 month after he bought the car, thee were no more leaded gas for
    this car, funny how things changed.) Any inputs?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    If it's a 300 hardtop, no, I wouldn't restore it unless he needs a money-draining hobby (and haven't we all done this?), but I don't feel it's really worthy of restoration from a history point of view. By this time the "300" label had been rendered pretty meaningless by Chrysler marketing.

    If it's a convertible, it might be worth a cosmetic restoration but I'd do so with restraint myself...but at least you'll have a car worth a few bucks when you finish....not big bucks, but some bucks $7K-8K ??

    Personally, I'd sell or drive the car as is, as its originality is the only valuable thing going for restoring it, you destroy the only thing that makes it worth something IMO.

    Driving it with unleaded gas should not be a problem, as this seems to affect only engines that are driven under severe operating conditions, like racing or towing.

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  • i have a 1968 ford f-100 the model with an original wooden bed, i would like to restore it but i know the value is only around $6,000 mint. This truck needs a lot of work, do you know of any web sites, adrresses or specialty catalogs that i could get replacement parts at a resonable price.
    thanks for the help
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Yeah, take a look in the truck section of Hemmings Motor News. They have tons of sources. You can order the latest edition at, and it's worth it!

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  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Several years ago, my grandmother passed away, leaving me her 1967 Dodge Polara coupe. It was purchased new by my great-uncle, who later sold it to my grandmother (after a load of logs overturned on her and her '55 Chevy, but that's another story).

    It has just over 78k original miles on it. According to the numbers it has a high-performance 383 option, automatic transmission, factory air, and even a vacuum-operated remote trunk release. The interior is in virtually like-new condition, except for one seam split on the drivers seat (which according to Grandma was there when she bought it from her brother-in-law). With the exception of about an 18-month period (just after her death) the car has been kept in a garage. Has the original black vinyl top that is beginning to show signs of wear, but overall not bad. Not much rust on the body (but the undercarriage could use a good once-over), and only one dent and some damaged chrome on the passenger side (Granny had some trouble getting the thing in the garage in her later years).

    When I first took possession of the car, I replaced the water pump, belts, hoses, replaced the brake fluid, etc. However, in an attempt to drive it home one day so I could do some more work on it, something gave way in the engine/tranny, and I lost forward momentum. The engine continued to run for a minute or so, with an occasional, erratic knock; then it died. No smoke, no leaking oil, nothing. Since I was only a few miles from my uncle's house where I'd been storing it, I managed to fire it up again and turn it around before it died for good (and a friend towed me back in exchange for a case of beer).

    Three questions:
    1) Any idea as to what the problem might be with the engine/tranny (i.e. an easy fix or a lost cause)?
    2) Knowing that this car isn't exactly highly sought after by collectors, what's the MOST money you'd consider putting into it to get it into driveable condition?
    3) Excluding cosmetics like paint and such, what would be a good estimate of the $$ involved to get a car like this into "daily driver" condition? (Not that I could afford to drive it daily w/the 383!)

    I'm primarily wanting to fix the car up for sentimental reasons, and it could make a pretty fun car to knock around in (and not worry to death about someone scratching it).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    I doubt that the engine/trans has failed...they are pretty sturdy units...but perhaps the timing chain has slipped?

    I'd say you could put about $2,500 into it and still be okay, but I wouldn't "restore" it in terms of new paint, upholstery, replating, rebuilds, etc (oh, you fix the dent of course and replace the chrome strip).

    The value of older American cars is either tied to body style(convertibles are best) and power (the bigger the engine the better). Since your car is not really a "muscle car", and isn't a convertible and isn't one of the popular Mopars, you can see that the value is limited in the future...right now, a mint '67 Polara like yours might bring $6,000. So you can see where you have to watch your budget.

    Actually, the most valuable thing on your car is its originality, which I would not mess with, or as little as possible. It's the one thing money cannot replace on an old car.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    that you might check the fuel system if you haven't already. This year was at the beginning of emission controls that often caused drivability problems. Chrysler used a "lean burn" system which meant in some cases lots of stalling due to lean fuel mixtures and carb adjustments. Add to this some dirty fuel, and you might have a problem like you describe. The fuel tank itself might also be contaminated with water or rust, from years of sitting. I'd overhaul or replace the carburetor, clean the fuel lines and gas tank, and try that. That engine trans combo is nearly bulletproof, like Shifty says, so I doubt if there's anything major wrong. It should last indefinitely. Enjoy the ride!
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Glad to hear my Polara problem might be relatively minor. The car is currently stored at my parents' house; I'll pass along everyone's suggestions to my dad - now that he's retired I'm hoping he'll have time to serve as "general contractor" to try to get the car up and running.

    One final question; in researching the VIN number information on the Dodge, I read that the "high performance" 383 in this particular car was rated at 325hp and 425ftlbs of torque. Are these figures directly comparable to those reported on new cars today, or did they figure this info differently (I've seen references to "gross" and "net" horsepower, but I'm not certain how they're derived).
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    for "gross horsepower" in those days, so the 325 rating would not compare to the same rating today. I think it was 1971 when they went to the "net" ratings, and I can't tell you the formula for converting, except that I remember the Dodge 318 V8 was rated 230 HP gross, and went to 150 net. That same year, though, all cars suffered some other changes [lower compression, etc] to accomodate unleaded gas, so the actual power output WAS lower, and the lower ratings reflected that. I'd guess that your 325 gross horsepower would convert to around 250 net today. Anyone know for sure how to convert these ratings?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I think there was something in the latest Road & Track, in the tech section. I'd look it up but I gave my copy to the library.

    I think the manufacturers rated engines at both gross and net in '71, then net only from '72 on.

    By the way, the 383/325 was considered a good combination of power and economy in its day (believe it or not) but the real hi-perf 383 came in '68, in the Road Runner. Different heads and cam, among other things.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Gross HP is the power the engine pulls at the crankshaft, with all the accessories stripped off except for what is actually needed for the engine to run long enough for the test. For Net horsepower, they add on things like alternators, power steering, air filters, a/c, a complete exhaust system, and a few other goodies that "borrow" engine power. As for the gross to net conversion, I have no idea how that's done.
  • I have a chance to get my hands on a low-miles 1979 RX7. It has been sitting up in a garage for the last 12 years. What should I expect to pay for it and how much work would I have facing me if I decided to take on this project? I knoe a new engine should run about $2,500, but I wanted to see from a seasoned expert what else I may be looking at to get her up and running?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Well, the amount of work necessary to "wake up" a car that's been asleep for 12 years varies, depending on the storage conditions and the original shape of the car. For sure, you'll need to deal with the brakes/clutch hydraulics and the battery and the tires for starters. As for the engine, well sometimes you have good luck and sometimes not. If you've got oil in there (fresh oil would be nice), you can put in fresh spark plugs and crank the engine on the battery for a while without starting it (disable the ignition safely). If it kicks off after enabling the ignition, run it at idle for 15-30 minutes and then have a look around...check for leaks, bad hoses, bad belts.

    I'd plan on a minimum of a few hundred dollars + 5 hours time and a maximum (excluding major engine work) of $1,000 + 20 hours to get yourself a safe, good running car.

    This is not nor will it ever be a valuable car, so you need to think about how much you want to put into it. You can buy very nice examples of this car for a few thousand dollars.

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