Classic Car Watch
Pony Cars

August 1, 2004
By Scott Lewis

I was bitten by the Pony Car bug this month. This month we have a two Trans Am clones, three 2nd generation Camaros, and since Ford started the Pony car market we have quite a few Mustangs as well.

The preferred car this month is a 67 Mustang. Actually, this car is a carry over from last month, but I liked it a lot and since last month's preferred car was sold this seemed like a good time to promote this car. It was a really tough decision between this car and the green Trans Am clone. But the Trans Am clone was sold so I gave up on it. Here is the complete list for this month:

1967 Ford Mustang Coupe - $9,995

67_mustang_coupe_1.jpg (47448 bytes) 67_mustang_coupe_2.jpg (49867 bytes) 67_mustang_coupe_4.jpg (53495 bytes) 67_mustang_coupe_3.jpg (56912 bytes)

Description: This car feature a new 289 motor with a 50,000 miles warranty. Automatic transmission. Power steering. Nice red paint with red interior. New 17" Cragar wheels and low profile tires. Over $17000 invested. 

Value: $5,900 - $9725 (+4.9%)

Source: Premium Motors

Comments: This car is making a come back. It was listed last month. But of the cars from last month that were not sold I like this one a lot. The price is right for a project car. They are asking top dollar for it, and since it is still for sale maybe they will give a little on the price. We mentioned last month that the description clear says this is not the original engine. So maybe they should get full price. This car is located in Washington, so I doubt the warrantee will do me any good in Texas.

This car needs A/C and a power disc brake upgrade. That's about $2500. With the initial investment right at the top of this car's value we might be in a position of paying too much. I would use the non stock engine (instead of rebuilding the numbers matching engine) in combination with the lack of A/C to try and talk them down some. I think it would be reasonable to get this car for $9,000. It's worth a try. In fact we may want ti low ball them to eight grand with the intention of going up to nine.

Everything I have said assumes this is a rust free car in excellent condition to match CPI description of an excellent car. If not then let's start going down the list. The only thing I don't like is the red interior. I would probably convert it over to black and white over time.

1973 Pontiac Firebird - $11,995

73_trans_am_clone_1.jpg (60254 bytes)Description: Great "Trans Am" Clone just completed. A California rust free car. Rebuilt 350ci with automatic transmission. New paint, interior, decals, spoilers, wheels & tires. Power steering & brakes. CD sound system. Drive a new Trans Am today!

Value: Firebird Coupe: $3,400 - $5,600 (+1.4%)
            Trans Am: $9,700 - $16,000 (-0.6%)

Source: Arizona Connection

Comments: I love the look of this car. Too bad it has a wimpy 350 and an automatic tranny. It would cost anywhere between $3,000 and $4,500 to install a good 4 or 5 speed tranny. That would blow the budget right out of the water. In the mean time we need to add air conditioning. I could really see myself in this car. The color looks awesome, as long as it is a good quality paint job. I would leave it as is. However, I would tweak the drivetrain. I would add headers and a good flowing dual exhaust system. As long as you're going to look like a Trans Am you should make sure you sound like one too.

So, we start with A/C and a complete exhaust upgrade. From there we start saving for a manual swap and eventually a bigger motor. I would also look into handling upgrades. If this is still riding on the stock Firebird suspension then we should upgrade the springs, shocks and sway bars for the best handling possible.

Notice that this car is listed above the blue Trans Am clone below, even though the blue car has a 455 and a 4 speed. Why? Good question. Let's call it inspiration. This car inspired me, and is the reason I looked for more Trans Am clones. But notice from the pictures that this car is a better clone. It has the front spoiler that leads into the fender "thingies." I don't know what they are called, but this car has them front and back like a real Trans Am. It also has the fender vents. This is something that cannot be easily added without paint work. So I think I would like to take this car and slowly improve its performance rather than take the big block and slowly make it a better clone. Plus I really like the picture of this car. That can mean a lot as you will learn if you follow this series.

Keep in mind the fact that the value of these cars is not moving much in the last two years so don't expect it to go up any time soon.

1971 Pontiac Trans Am Clone - $12,900

71_trans_am_clone_blue_1.jpg (75510 bytes)Description: 1971 Trans Am Clone, 455 H.O., Class Ratio 4 Speed, 3.73 Posi, Power Steering and Brakes, 3" Exhaust & Flowmasters 

Value: Firebird Coupe: $4,675 - $7,725 (+1.3%)
             Trans Am: $11,350 - $18,800 (+3.3%)

Source: Noel Davis Auto Sales

Comments: You would think I would jump all over this car. It has a 455 and 4 speed, PS, PB, etc. All that's missing is air conditioning. But next to the green Trans Am above it pales by comparison. The car above did a much better job of building a clone. It has a nicer paint job and has all of the Trans Am appearance items. This car is missing those. Performance is great, but I could probably get decent mileage out of the 350 on my 75 mile round trips to work every day. Plus the green clone is cheaper leaving me money left to start tinkering with the car and making it mine.

Sorry, there are times when an automatic will beat out a manual transmission.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS - $15,995

70_z28_rs_1.jpg (67956 bytes)Description: This is a factory Z-28. It features a built corvette 350 motor. 4-speed transmission. Power disk brakes. Power steering. Beautiful body and paint. Recaro seats with tasteful custom interior. MUST SEE!!!

Value: $12,850 - $19,925 (+1.0%)

Source: Premium Motors

Comments: I like this car, but don't tell them that. I would go into this with the attitude that I am looking for a factory RS with a 4 speed. The engine is not original, and the engine compartment is not stock. Both benefits to my advantage in negotiations. Also, that custom interior is pretty decent looking. I like Recaro seats, and they should be excellent. So we tell them we are going to have to convert the interior back to stock, but like the look. The goal of negotiating this car is to try and get the price down to $14K or less. We need to add A/C to this car to make it a valid daily driver. Z/28s didn't get A/C until 73, so we won't use that as a negotiating tool. We have to use all the non stock stuff to talk the price down. I have seen cars go for over $2000 less than the asking price, and I would try that here. When they try to tell me this car is only going up in value I can show them my two year old CPI Price Guide with today's price and show that it has gone up only one percent in the last two years. Inflation is going up more than that. Based on that I would argue this car is losing value and has probably topped out for a long time. That may even be true, so if you call about this car before me keep these points in mind.

I really like the look of the RS split bumper Camaro. The color works real well here. I like the white strips, and even like the Recaros. Some of the interior is too much, but I could see adding A/C and driving this car as is for a long time. Let's see if we can talk them down so we can get the A/C in and stay under our $15,000 budget.

If this car was priced within budget it would have made the preferred ranking this month, and probably next month too. I just have a hard time giving that much praise to a car that is out of my budget.

1966 Ford Mustang - $8,950

66_mustang_coupe_red_1.jpg (87168 bytes)Description: Very pretty red exterior with black Pony interior. C code 289 V-8 with automatic transmission. Factory air conditioning that blows cold. Power steering. New radials on new Cragar SS Wheels. Nice chrome. Aftermarket stereo. Dual exhaust. Bucket seats. Runs and drives excellent. Clean throughout.

Value: $6,575 - $10,850 (+4.8%)

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Comments: This is your basic Mustang Coupe. I look at this car a a serious driver. You should be able to get this car in daily drivable condition easily. We already have power steering and air conditioning. We may need to look into a disc brake upgrade. The color looks nice, and the interior looks decent. Since this car is priced right in the range for this car we should be able to assume is it a rest free car.

I like that price. It is just a tad high for a project car, but reasonable. We could always try talking them down. But it is well within my budget. Too bad this car has an automatic, but so many of them do. If I bought this car I would add the GT fog lights and trumpet exhaust. The wheels look good, so we may be able to keep them. Like I said a t the beginning, a serious driver if you just want a classic old Mustang to tool around in.

1965 Ford Mustang - $7,900

65_mustang_coupe_6_black_2.jpg (57597 bytes)Description: 6 cylinder, automatic on the floor, only 60,500 miles, been repainted, black exterior, white interior, interior is in good shape, nice driver.

Value: $5,975 - $10,150 (+5.7%)

Source: Greene's Classic Cars

Comments: You are probably thing, and rightly so, what the heck I am thinking putting this 6 cylinder coupe Mustang in here. There is nothing special about it. It doesn't even have A/C. So what gives... why is it in here?

I like this car because it looks like a new car from 1965. I can see myself walking into a dealership 40 years ago and this car is just sitting there like any any of the other 600,000 Mustangs sold that year. No, this one is not special. But it looks perfect. It looks like new. And they are right, it could be a nice driver.

Now, a little reality check. There were two 6 cylinder engines in the Mustang. 170 and 200 cubic inches. If this was the 170 engine I would turn away. There was just too little power there to be practical. If this is the 200 then we can get some more horsepower out of it from Clifford Performance. With the 200 we could have a car that is quick enough for daily driving, though most new cars will whoop its ass. But we are looking at a really nice driver that is a time capsule. If you want looks this can do it. Add GT fog lights, and gold Shelby Stripes and hood, and call it a GT-200H. Now that would be a weird clone like vehicle. I like the idea of it. Air conditioning is the big question. I know you could get A/C back in the day on the six, but what would it take to do it now. Does Vintage Air make an A/C system for six cylinder Mustangs? Check that out before we drop down the cash.

1965 Ford Mustang - $8,999

65_mustang_coupe_green_1.jpg (19560 bytes)Description: Extremely clean! It is most likely the cleanest unrestored car we've seen in a long time. It is frost green with parchment interior, 6 cylinder, 3 speed trans, mint original interior, carpets, seat covers and one very nice repaint!

Value: $5,975 - $10,150 (+5.7%)

Source: Kompact Kar Korner

Comments: This is another of those nice old time capsule Mustangs. It is priced a little high for a project car with a six banger, but it does have a manual transmission. It is hard to tell, but it looks like the air cleaner says this is a 200 c.i. engine. If not it is 170 and I would not even look at the car. I lie the interior. The black and white interior can go with any exterior color should we decide to paint this car.

This should make for a nice driver as is. Just a neat old classic at a reasonable price. However, I can never things stay stock, so I would see if a late model 5 speed could be bolted to the engine. If so I would do a "junk yard" swap a a 5 speed from a late model Mustang. Then it would be off to Clifford Performance for some speed parts for that straight 6. We would need to bolt in air conditioning fairly quickly, so the first stop might be Vintage Air. I just hope they may system that bolt on to the 6 cylinder engine.

There is just something about this car that I really like. Keep in mind that t6 cylinder Mustangs have 4 lug wheels. If you want to put aftermarket wheel on, which is just the thing to really change the look and personality of a car, you will be showing off those 4 lugs. We might want to convert to 5 lugs.

All of these things are reasonable for the price of the car. I would try to talk them down anyway since the car does not have A/C and that color just isn't cool.

1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe - $14,900

65_mustang_gt_coupe_maroon_1.jpg (60637 bytes)Description: 91,000 actual miles on this true GT coupe. 289 4v V8, automatic transmission, power steering, front disc brakes, stock dual exhaust through the valance, style steel wheels, Rally Pac, original black deluxe pony interior with wood wheel and console. Vintage burgundy with white GT stripes. Excellent driving, solid, west coast Mustang that’s ready to drive anywhere.

Value: $10,050 - $15,225 (+3.7%)

Source: Memory Lane Motors

Comments: Wow! A really nice condition Mustang that is a real GT and priced reasonably. What is this world coming to? O.K. You may be thinking this car is not reasonably priced at $14.9K. And you would be right. So why the comment? Because when I found this car it was priced at $12,900. And I really did think it was reasonably priced. When I went to check on which cars were sold and which were still for sale I saw that they actually raised the price of this car. What a shame. 

My comments for this car at $12,900 are this: the color is nice, and I like the black interior. The pictures make the car look excellent. It really seems to be priced right (yea, right). There are only two things that could make this car better. A manual transmission and air conditioning.

For the price they are asking (?) we should be able to buy the car and add air conditioning and stay within our $15,000 budget. That doesn't mean I wouldn't try to talk them down. I would go over this car with a fine tooth comb, and do what I could to get the price down.

I would love tinkering on the engine in this car to see how quick I could get it without removing the engine. Carb, intake, cam and headers would be cool. But it just might be good enough to just drive it like it is (with A/C of course).

However, at $15K I think this car need to come down in price. CPI puts this car at $15K in the following condition: "Nearly perfect condition. The vehicle has usually been professionally restored to the current highest standard, but a few exceptionally well cared for originals may qualify. All components are original or are exact replacements. Most excellent cars are not driven more than a few miles per year, if at all."

Sorry, I don't see this car being that good. Let's offer $12,000.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro - $11,495

70_camaro_plain_blue_1.jpg (33806 bytes)Description: 350/250 HP with 4 speed Muncie M20 transmission and 10 bolt rear. Matching number car! All new; Full interior, front fenders, bumpers, mirrors, door handles, door rubbers, emblems, air shocks, exhaust and clutch. Original quarters with new paint, factory 4 speed with console, and AM/FM cassette stereo. Rust free and solid, runs great! Nice 2nd generation Camaro-the new and popular collectable!

Value: $4,725 - $7,800 (+4.3%)

Source: C&C Auto Sales

Comments: If I didn't love Camaros so much this car would never be here. This car is pretty plain. Just to meet my requirements we will need to add air conditioning, power steering and power disc brakes. I guess about $3000 for all that. But this is a Camaro with a 4 speed. They seem so hard to find in nice condition. We would go into this purchase saying we are looking for a 4 speed car (which we are) but that we need to add the A/C, PS & PDB (which we will). Plus we take our two year old CPI Guide as well as a current one to should them that the car is worth less than eight grand in excellent condition. Then we offer the $8,000.

I just can't see spending too much on this car. It is not even an RS with the split bumpers front end. I look at this car as a project car. Even if it is a matching numbers car it doesn't have anything going for it, beside the 4 speed, to justify pricing it almost $4,000 over its value. But they say it is "the new and popular collectable." Maybe that's why they have it priced so high. Sorry. If I was truly impressed when I saw it in person I might go up to $9,000, but that's it.

I would like to tinker with this car at a price below nine grand. It could be a lot of fun, but we would be losing any money invested since this car is just not going to be worth a lot of money.

1972 Chevrolet Camaro RS - $13,900

72_camaro_rs_plain_1.jpg (16465 bytes)Description: Camaro RS, PS, PB, cold AC, 350, cruise, factory AM-FM, factory tach and gauges, 2-family owned, Texas car, original rallies, excellent original interior, protect-o-plate, owners manual, one repaint, 97,000 miles, runs and drives great.

Value: $5,800 - $9,600 (+5.2%)

Source: Pat's Auto Sales

Comments: I love the split bumper look of the early 2nd generation Camaro. This car looks like a real survivor. However, they have this car priced way too high. I would love this plain RS as a project car, but not at fourteen grand. This is a money loosing car. I would take my 2 year old CPI guide along with a current edition to show that this car is worth less than 10K and is not going up in price. They may be selling it on consignment, or maybe they just think they can get a lot for it. Let's offer the 10 grand and see what happens.

Since it has air conditioning maybe we can look into a manual transmission swap. Or maybe we can tinker with teh engine for more power. Carb, intake, cam, heads and exhaust upgrade to get around 350 - 400 horsepower. Then we need front and rear spoilers and white Z/28 stripes.

1965 Ford Mustang - $8,500

65_mustang_coupe_6_ac_1.jpg (37657 bytes)Description: 6 cyl, 2 bbl, 3 speed manual trans, Air cond., AM/FM Cassette, Bucket seats.

Value: $5,975 - $10,150 (+5.7%)

Source: Lawrence Marshall Antique Cars

Comments: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, not in this case. The picture of this car does not inspire me. And getting inspired is important for me to get interested in an old car. However, two words did get me inspired... "air cond."

This month I picked out a few 6 cylinder Mustangs because one inspired me. Once I picked the black coupe I decided I should keep considering them. I did not go looking for 6 banger Mustangs, but when I came across them I took a look. This one would have gotten passed up completely if it were not for those two little words.

This car also has a manual transmission and is red, which is a popular color. It sure beats mist green. However, the dealer this car was at didn't post any other pictures. It looks like the interior is parchment from what we can see through the window. We definitely need more pictures of this car. Also, the description was pretty short.

However, the final reason for me to look at this car is that it is located in Texas, so I could spend a Saturday looking at this car and spend no more than a couple tanks of gas. Would this car inspire me in person? We may never know. One thing that has to go are those wheels. I think I would prefer stock hub caps to what's on this car. But the price is right for a project car, especially one that already has air conditioning and a manual transmission.