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60s-70s big Chevrolets vs. big Fords



  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    "But I remember those '75 to '78 Fords as being massive beasts."

    Congratulations! You win the "Understatement of the Century" award!
  • 73 Marquis Brougham? Cool!

    73 Marquis Brougham Wimbledon White/Medium Blue.
    429-4v/Rim-Blow, Cruise, Buckets, 8-track, windows, locks, seats, climate control. =D
  • kiilewkiilew Posts: 17
    Yep, Bill...

    Judging from the list of equipment on your car, (and assuming yours is a 2dr hardtop) your Merc is very similar to my uncle's 73 Marquis Brougham, right down to the auto temp control. The only differences seem to be color scheme, radio, and engine. My uncle's car was chocolate brown with a white vinyl top and brown cloth interior, had an am/fm stereo (without the tape), and the 460 engine (same as the 429 but with a longer stroke). The car also had wheel keys color keyed to match the exterior paint.

    In late 1977, when my uncle picked up his new '78 Grand Marquis (which he had ordered in the same color scheme and with the same equipment + leather seats) he traded in the '73, which then occupied the dealer's used car lot for a brief while. The following 1977 Christmas morning, the '73 reappeared in my uncle's driveway, literally wrapped up in a big red bow! He had bought the car back from the dealer to give to his 18 year old son for Christmas. For my cousin, it was like welcoming a long lost relative back home!

    It was a very cool car indeed! The only time the coolness diminished was when the rim blow steering wheel wore to the point that the slightest hand pressure caused the horn to sound (i.e. every time a turn was encountered)!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    When I was a kid (OK, we'll call it 1973, either way, a long time ago), my neighbors had (the equivalent of a Marquis, I guess), a '70 (I think) Mercury Colony Park wagon (brown w/wood trim and high-back seats). Quite a plush wagon, IIRC. I think they replaced it with a '74 or '75 of the same variety, both were 9-passenger (I rode in the back).
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    I'm the owner of two classic driver cars, not showcars: 58 Tbird and 64 Galaxie 500XL convert. Both cars have tired 352s, 250 hp for the 64; 300 for the 58.

    I have the opportunity (for free) to get a 68-69 390/335 HP from my wife's uncle. (He's about to trash a once beautiful Cougar XR7GT, red/white vinyl top with manual sunroof.) Motor has low mileage, but the car has been sitting outdoors for many, many years, and the motor may need rebiulding.

    The Cougar's trans is 4-speed. As much as I'd love to put the entire drivetrain in the convertible, finding all the brake/clutch pedal parts and a chrome console top for the manual would be a bear. (I could do away with the console and just keep the buckets, but that would detract greatly from the interior. Can't do away with the console on the Tbird as it houses the heater/defroster controls and the radio speaker.)

    Would the Cougar drivetrain, excluding drive shaft, fit the convert? How much trouble to put the 390/335 in either car and keeping the automatic? Would the autotrans in either car be able to hold the power, although I'm only into occasional full throttle driving. (Dumb luck, I've been running a perfect rear end (3.50)in the convert for years, having swapped out the 3.00 a long time ago.)

    Again, as pure driver cars, I'm not worried in the least about matching numbers. (This is the second 352/250 motor in the convert anyway. I still have a 64 Ford factory A/C system sitting in my garage from a car that I bought years ago to get the motor.)

    Hindsight, I should have talked my wife's uncle into selling me the Cougar XR7 when it was still fresh.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'm not a real expert on Fords but I can sort of point you in the right direction. As you probably know, the 352 and 390 are basically the same engine so the 390 should fit using the same motor mounts. Big Fords from '57-up use the 9" rear end also used in big block Cougars so what's in your cars now should be able to handle the 390's torque if it's in good shape. The Ford-o in your T-Bird apparently lasted into the '70s using different names including FMX but it's a medium-duty transmission, not as strong as the C-6 used behind the 390. My guess is that the Ford-o will bolt to the 390.

    It the 390 is just a rebuildable core I'm not sure it's worth it, especially if the transmissions in your cars have high miles. Engines and transmissions tend to wear at roughly the same rate and bolting a fresh 390 to a tired transmission will just about guarentee that you'll be rebuilding the transmission shortly.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    Thanks for the input.

    Tough choice.

    The 58 TBird hardtop is the cleaner car, more suitable for cosmetic restoration, but not to the extent that it would ever become a showcar. The trans is original (60,000 miles), and, except for leaking, shifts perfectly.

    The 64 Galaxie trans was rebiult (I'm guessing) about 30,000 miles ago.

    Though the Galaxie convt is higher than the 58 TBird on the "fun to drive" list, it's got over 205,000 miles on the body.

    I also found a dealer on the Galaxie car club website that has all the pieces necessary for a complete 1964 Galaxie conversion to 4 speed, including trans and hard to find 64 XL console plate for a 4 speed. Price- $1,250.

    So, I'm guessing, but assuming an engine rebuild from a friend who has an engine shop ($1,200) and an installation price of $700(?), Im looking at roughly $3,150 to convert the Galaxie to a 4 speed or $1,900 to keep either car as an automatic with a 390/335 motor.

    If the 64 had less miles or a stronger chassis, I'd go for the full conversion. But, since it doesn't, I'm still considering just the engine rebuild/swap.

    If the 58 TBird was a convt, that would be the way to go.
  • Yup, That Paint scheme was called "Glamor Paint"

    I bought the car because my father had a Blue Brougham withthe glamour paint in the mid-70s He Bought it new in 73, sold itin 77 whenhe got a 924.. Same year Mom got a BMW 530i.

    Bigh switch,huh? :)

  • With a factory sunroof?

    That's a pretty rare car..probably well worth saving. Seriously., especially an XR7 GT.. they didnt make many of those.

    As far as the engine swap, I'd avoid it myself. WHat it will cost is going to be some $Z$ (that 390 will need a rebuild) and you'll devalue either car. Also, the T-Bird really doesnt have (I've owned 3 Squarebirds, and love them but am well aware of what they are dynamically) anywhere near the braking system or suspension to safely even handle the power of a base 352... To say nothing of a hi-po 390.

  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    Yes, it is an original factory sunroof. I haven't seen the car for years, but, according to the owner, the body's in pretty bad shape.

    Devaluation is not a concern on either car. The 64 Galaxie already has a replacement motor. Also, when I purchased the car in 1969, it was originally a Galaxie 500. I converted it to a 500XL gathering all the XL pieces (buckets/console/moldings, etc) from various cars.

    The TBird still has the original motor, but, the prior (first) owner was (no BS) a 93 year old lady when she sold the car. There's no rust, but the car has different shades of white based upon her numerous fender benders. (In fact, the car had a 1960 grille when I bought it in 1989, and I swapped it with someone that had a 58 grille available.)

    I've thought about a repaint, but the body shop looked at it and said the cost to strip off all the thick, old paint (due to prior repair work) would choke a horse. He recommended that I just enjoy the car as-is, because, unless you really look at it close, the car looks very nice.

    Over the past 13 years, I have had the front bucket seat covers replaced and the rear bumper rechromed. I also changed the dashpad, a bear of a job. Otherwise, the car is an absolutely original 60K miles car (had 49K when I bought it) with the original buyer's paperwork from Hackensack Ford in NJ.

    The major problem is the car's blowby. After a run on the highway, when you come to a stop, the smoke from the open breather pipe makes it look like the car is overheating.

    I totally agree with your brake/suspension comment, but, while I would have to use the 335 HP every now and then, I'm not of a mind (or age) to really push it.

    I appreciate the input.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Would you consider the first three years of the Chevy Caprice (1965-67) classic and collectible? I know that those first models were just basically glorified Impalas with more luxury equipment. But I have seen a few '65s and '66s at car shows and I was impressed by the clean, classic styling. Maybe the unloved last-generation Caprice (1991-96) will become a classic 20 years from now, since it was the last full-size RWD Chevrolet. You never know.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    As far as high-production American cars go, the '65-67 Chevies in generaly seem to be 'coming into their own' as far as collector values go. Like most cars of this era, trim & equipment levels and options go a long way to determine value. That is, a Bel Air sedan with a six is going to be worth about 10-20% what an Impala SS convertible with a 396 or 427 is worth in similar condition. Caprices of this era, from what I've seen, seem to be selling for as much as regular Impalas, but for less than Impala SS. Caprices are frequently better optioned (especially with 'luxury' items of the time--power windows, a/c, tilt wheels and the like) than corresponding Impalas, and generally have bigger engines as well (327s and 396 in particular are common on Caprices). The '65s seem to be quite rare (the Caprice was actually an Impala option on the '65 4-door hardtop only, and became a separate series, with 2-door and 4-door hardtops, in '66).
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    There's a small group of people out there who really really like the '66 Caprice two door because of the roofline. It didn't seem to translate that well to the '67 restyle, at least for me. I can't see anyone getting too excited about a four door hardtop, even if it was the first year, unless it was a 396/425-hp or something else just as improbable.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    Took a look at that 69 Cougar this past weekend. (Outside only; nobody was home.) Damn, what a shame.

    Vinyl top (white) was peeling, leather seat covers (white) were all ripped and actually peeling off the seats, four flats (at least one tire was an original Goodyear Polyglas GT E70-14), three wheels were the original Cougar rims with chrome trim rings, four bricks on the roof holding a big sheet of plastic over the closed sunroof, and (insult to injury) the car was equipped with factory air conditioning.

    Body (red) actually didn't look too bad, but who knows what's underneath. Lot's of surface rust on the bumbers.

    Does anybody have an idea as to what this car would have been worth in clean, driveable condition, not show condition?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,772
    Probably about $2,500 if it were clean and a good driver. As you describe it, it seems to be a parts car.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    The fact that it's an XR7 (is it a GT?) with a factory sunroof (rare) both help the value of this car. Check and Hemmings website for current 'asking' prices of Cougars of this vintage with this equipment, if any exist.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,772
    Asking prices have little to do with actual market value, though. A person can put any price he wishes on a car, and we have no idea if it sold or even if the person is really serious about selling it. I have a nice Mercedes 300D, 1980. I love it. I'd sell it only for $5,000 or more. Will I get that for it? No. Is that the market value? No. The market value is $3,000.

    A sunroof doesn't change value very much in this case because the car itself is not valuable. So a special or rare piece on a car that is not collectible cannot increase value very much, if that makes sense.

    Here's a good price guide, based on actual selling and auction results, not asking prices:


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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, that was my thought too. No one really cares about Cougars, even the best ones, or at least not enough people care to make them worth much. I had four Cougars, including an ultra-rare factory four speed '68 XR-7, and after I sold it for not much it ended up first in a wrecking yard, then in the back of the Mustang Ranch in San Jose, where the owner was going to part it out. And this was a straight, good running car. Cougars are the Rodney Dangerfield of ponies.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,772
    Mercury has always taken a back seat to Ford in terms of collectibility.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    It's kind of a shame because Cougars are so much nicer than Mustangs. Nicer styling, nicer interiors (especially the Jag-look XR-7), sequential taillights. Cougars are a little heavier but not enough to make a real difference. Even a 289-2v automatic has good power, and the four barrel four speed I had was very entertaining. But the Cougar was always more of a personal luxury car (99% were sold with automatic) and it's performance image that sells '60s ponies.

    I think it's Motor Trend that had a very interesting test of a one-off '67 Group 2 Cougar with HiPo 289 (never an option, unfortunately) with Shelby 2x4v, 4.44s and racing clutch. Of the 1% that came with a stick, most were the standard 3-speed so you can see how rare a factory four speed is, but that didn't save my '68 from the scrap heap. As Shifty says, someone has to care.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    It was never my intent to even consider restoring this car. I just thought that it would be interesting to know and to discuss the next time I saw the owner.

    I'm guessing, but $2,500 sounds kind of low if the car were a decent looker/driver. The 390/335, 4 speed, roof, and factory A/C make this a pretty rare car.

    Cougars are like my 58 TBird: nice cars, but no real value. Great cars to show and drive, though, and isn't that why most of us are in the "classics" game?

    Unless you're in the game to make a profit, assuming that it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to make the car driveable, who really cares what the value is as long as you enjoy driving it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,772
    Oh, I didn't realize it was a 4-speed. Okay, another $500 for that.

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  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    didn't Jerry Titus and company run a pair of Cougars in the very early days of Trans Am? Am I dreaming that? What I wouldn't give to hear a 4V 289 screaming up the high end of the tach....who needs a stereo!

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    From what I've seen, the old big Chevys had better body construction and integrity than did the Fords.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    I do know that a 67 Impala SS convertible sells for quite a bit more than my 67 Galaxie 500 XL convertible. Parts are cheap on the Galaxie (except for a few convertible specific parts), assuming the same for the Impala. Repo parts are readily available as well.

    However, you don't realize how many of "classic" car are still around until you own one. There are still a lot of old Impala's and Galaxie's around.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Saw an early 70's Galaxie sedan on the interstate the other day. The paint had long ago lost the showroom shine, but hadn't faded, the body was straight, and no rust, so I'd say considering its age it was in pretty good shape. Reminded me a lot of my 1978 Grand Marquis.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    Sometimes I wished that I had kept my 72 two door LTD Brougham. Ginger glo (metallic brown) with a dealer installed tan/buckskin top. Looked much nicer than the factory dark brown top. Big high back split front seats in ginger glo (special LTD fabric). Really sharp car.

    Car had the 400-2v with, I think, a 3.25 rear. Bad smog year, compared to 71's. Car was peppy off the line, but once it hit second gear, it was like a swift kick in the behind.

    Downside: I could never get rid of a drivetrain vibration. When I sold the car (93,000 miles), I made sure the new owner drove it with the windows down so he couldn't hear/feel the vibration.

    I even installed one of those new fangled 8 track tape players in the car. Not a bad sound, for it's day.

    Car was kept so clean that I was able to get my insurance company to replace the rear bumper that had actually been sandblasted by wind. (I worked at the Elizabeth seaport in New Jersey, and strong winds/sand/dirt blowing across the Newark Airport runway actually destroyed the bumper and both sideview mirrors.)
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    Growing up my parent's had a 72 Ford Country Squire - brown with the woodgrain exterior. Had the 429 because my parents were possibly going to use it for towing - last car my parents ordered from the factory. I thought the power tailgate window and having 2 rear speakers was really luxurious compared to the strippo models my parents usually bought (I had 6 brothers and sisters, my Dad was blue collar)

    My uncle replaced the carb to try to get better mileage, car never ran right after that. Sold it in 1984 due to the rear quarters rusting through -the interior vinyl was in excellent shape.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Test drove a '73 Galaxie 500 sedan the other day. All original, with 351W, and only 60,000 miles! The dashboard and vinyl seats were slightly cracked, it was a little long on stopping, and the oil looked black, but everything else looked near perfect. The guy said he thought it was still on the original tires, and from the looks of them, I don't doubt it! He was asking $1,500, but it was way too nice of a car to use for spare parts for my '78 Mercury, and I don't really need to be taking in any stray automobiles right now, so I had to pass on that beauty. I hope someone with a weird affliction for 70's cars gets her, and takes care of her though. Although, I had forgotten about how much these big cars roll if you take a turn too fast (If you're not idling, riding the brakes through the turns, you're going too fast!)
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