Classic Car Watch

September 1, 2004
By Scott Lewis

This month I wanted to try checking out nothing but Mopars (that's Dodge and Plymouth to those that don't know). It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but it wasn't easy either. In my normal searching I notice that most Mopars tend to sell for more than their Ford or GM counterparts. I believe this is partially due to how many where made in their day. GM had 50% of the entire car market back in the late sixties. Ford was number two and Chrysler brought up the rear of the big three. That means they had a good deal less than 25% of the market.

Regardless, it has been my experience that Mopars tend to be overpriced by CPI's guide more than the others. Plus the high performance Mopars actually have high values. But I did find a few cars to show you.

I had a the toughest time so far picking a preferred car this month. IN fact as I wrote this during the month I changed the preferred car three times because my preferred car kept selling. Remember, the preferred car is the car I would call about first if I had the cash in hand.

Originally I really wanted to put the 74 Dart Sport Rallye as the preferred, but the car was sold and the link to it disappeared. I want to try as hard as possible to make sure the preferred car is still for sale at press time. I then put up the 72 Demon equipped with a 383 big block. This car was in my April 2004 Car Corner article. But the price was dropped from $14,600 to $11,000. It sold within about two weeks after the price drop (as close as I can tell). Nothing like lowing the asking price of a car by $3,600 to get it to sell. 

I really like the simple 69 Barracuda that was priced under seven grand. This is a nice clean original car in the same "spirit" of my own 67 Camaro convertible I sold last year.

In the end I decided to go against the grain. I really want to put cars in the preferred category that I would be willing to pay the asking price if the car was in the condition to justify the price. But this month I decide to put up an unusual 70 Barracuda with A/C, PS, PB and even power windows. The engine is the unusual part, as it is powered by slant 6.

Let's get on with the list.     

1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran' Coupe - $14,500

70_barracuda_slant6_1.jpg (64730 bytes) 70_barracuda_slant6_2.jpg (65149 bytes) 70_barracuda_slant6_3.jpg (54919 bytes) 70_barracuda_slant6_4.jpg (72358 bytes)

Description: 6cyl., auto, power steering, buckets, A/C, power windows, overhead console, fender tag, VERY RARE 1 of 182, exceptionally nice interior, clean & original, front grille in perfect condition, a great daily driver & an awesome candidate for a big block!

Value: $7,675 - $10,075 (+36.6%)

Source: Texas Toy Box

Comments: Here is a car I would love if it was priced right. I don't know where they got the 182 produced number, but so what. This car is very plain. The paint is faded. It is not a performance Mopar, but just so happens to have a couple of nice options with the A/C and the power windows. I like that. In fact this car has all of my requirements except of course the manual transmission. However, I am not so sure about performance potential. Certainly at the asking price we don't have any real performance potential.

I would love to use this car as a daily driver. The slant 6 is a super reliable motor. A testament to this engine is all the power accessories. You will be hard pressed to find a Ford or Chevy from the era with all those power accessories attached to a six cylinder. The engines just suffer too much under all the strain.

I can hope their are some performance parts available for it, but that is not important. If I had this car I would minimize any mechanical modifications to simple stuff. Mild handling improvements mostly.

What I would concentrate on would be appearance modifications. I hate the word clone, so let's call it a "look." I would like to go for a AAR Cuda look or possible just a Cuda look. I only like the AAR look a little, so I think just a cool looking Cuda should be good enough. I definitely want to fit a Shaker hood on this car. That might be tough with a 6 under hood, but I would try. Once the shaker hood is in place we plan a decent paint job that would give this car a nice Muscle Car look, and a nice set of wheels and tires.

Once we get the look down I would just drive this car until the wheels fall off. Mileage should be decent, and reliability should not be an issue. All of this would assume this car was priced right. They are asking over four thousand more than this car is worth. Except for the power windows there isn't really anything that special about it. So, if this car was price at about $10,000-$11,000 I would be all over it. I might even go up to 12 grand since almost all my modifications would be cosmetic. This car is on the same web site as the 72 Demon below that went down in asking price $3,600. Maybe we just need to wait this car out. We could hope it is being sold on consignment and they will take any offer we make to the owner.

1974 Dart Sport Rallye - $8,200

74_dart_sport_rallye_1.jpg (88405 bytes) 74_dart_sport_rallye_5.jpg (56825 bytes) 74_dart_sport_rallye_3.jpg (114683 bytes) 74_dart_sport_rallye_4.jpg (177373 bytes)

Description: 318, auto, all original, 61K miles, air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, AM Radio, courtesy lights, rear window defogger. VERY SHARP, drives and looks better than new.

Value: $4,400 - $6,075 (+5.7%)

Source: The Dodge Dart Classified

Comments: I really wanted this car to be the preferred car this month, but it sold fast. And I can see why. You may be thinking I am nuts on this one. What in the world am I doing looking at a 318 powered Dart from 1974? Big bumpers, smog motor, automatic on the column. Am I crazy? And it's overpriced according to CPI. What gives?

I know, this is an unusual one. But take a look at the pictures. Too bad this car sold. You could have followed the link to his own web page (which I did not save). There he had a bunch of excellent photos of the car and more words than you can imagine. He even showed the original ad for the car from 1974 proving the car to be something unusual. He is even providing the ad mounted on a plaque with the car. So what we have here is a very well optioned and documented car. I would guess that the CPI rating for this car would be off due to its unusual options and documentation.

This is the cleanest Mopar I have ever seen in recent years. We can always add a few bolt-on goodies to get more performance out of the car. The color looks very nice, one of the best original colors except for Plum Crazy. The interior is spotless. This is truly a time capsule. It would be like driving in 1974.

The car does need some A/C work. He claimed it blows a little cold. Probably needs a leak fixed, but we have to assume the worst. He also says the vinyl top is about ready to be replaced. You can't even tell in the pictures. I would track down an early 70s Mopar console with a slapstick shifter for the interior and add some horsepower and enjoy driving a really nice condition old car.

Let's add it up. $8200 for the car, $1000 (maximum) for the A/C. $500 for a good intake and carb. $200 for a cam and lifters. Maybe $500 for a nice console on eBay or something. That's $10,400 for a great old Mopar that will turn heads. It's not the best car out there, but beggars can't be choosers. Within our $15K budget we could even look into swapping a manual transmission or dropping in a 360 crate engine. I like the idea of the manual to match the reproduction ad he has for the car which talks about the car with a 318 and a wide ratio 4 speed. Remember this is an ad that would have come out just after the first oil crisis, so they were reacting to gas prices..


If this car was not sold when I went to press it would have been the preferred car this month. I like this car that much!

1972 Dodge Demon - $11,000

Description: 383 big block, auto, power steering, Rallye wheels, dual hood scoops, new Plum Crazy purple paint (basecoat/clearcoat), new interior, buckets, runs & drives great! Very Sharp Looking!

Value: Demon 340: $8,950 - $11,550 (+29.8%)

Source: Texas Toy Box

Comments: This car is a returning guest. If you look back to my April 2004 Car Corner you will find this car listed. That means this car has been up for sale for quite a while.

Let's take a closer look at the facts. 1) This car has a non-original motor. The 383 big block was not available in the Demon in 1972. 2) This car is about three grand overpriced (it was originally listed for $14,600) even if it were a numbers matching Demon 340. 3) It has not sold for at least 6 months. Why?

I would say this car was a good chance to make a low ball offer. And there lowering the price to $11,000 I was right. Back in April I thought I would be willing to go up to 12K for this car. Maybe I should still try and low ball an offer of 10K.

This car actually looks very nice. I love Plum Crazy! We would need to add air conditioning and power brakes to this car. We may even have to upgrade the brakes to front discs. But at the new price that fits in our 15K budget. I would also want to add a factory style condole with a slapstick shifter. As a bonus (for me) this car is located in Texas so I could easily drive to see it and take cash to help sway the sale.

If I bought this car for $10-11K I would do exactly what I have outlined above. The 383 big block in this relatively light car should be very fast. I could see myself wearing the rear tires down on this car every six months.

This car was in the preferred position while I was editing this page, but the car sold about two weeks after they lowered the price $3,600. Imaging that, they lower the price to where it should be and the car sell. This is validates when I keep saying to offer low amount for some cars.

1969 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop - $6,850

69_barracuda_coupe_plain_1.jpg (43570 bytes)Description: This car has 47,000 actual miles. 318 engine, 904 automatic transmission, power steering, manual brakes, AM radio. Car has been well maintained and stored inside most of its life. The following has been done for preservation and reliability. Repaint is over 15 years old. Brand new tires, rebuilt original alternator, replaced original spark plug wires (have originals), new hoses and belts, new fuel pump, new battery. 99% of the interior is original. Original spare has never been mounted. Car runs and drives great and is a pleasure to drive.

Value: $5,550 - $7,625 (+16.4%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: This car reminds me of my 67 Camaro RS convertible. I bought it from the second owner. He was adamant about keeping it stock. He replaced pieces as needed with stock parts and kept it garaged almost all its life. I like that. The car was not perfect, but was a very clean unmolested car. This car looks to be the same. Not a show car, but all original with a decent repaint some time ago. Mileage is low, and the car is garage kept.

Now look at the value of this car. In excellent condition this car is worth almost eight thousand dollars. He is asking just under seven. This should mean the car is in very good condition. Based on CPI's value rating this car should not have any rust, or need any major work. And that sounds like what we have here.

Now for the bad news. This car is at the top of its value, and we would be buying it for a project car. That means we won't get our money out of it. We can add air conditioning and power disc brakes. Add some horsepower to the stock engine or replace it with a crate 360. Maybe even swap in a 4 or 5 speed. All these are possible and still fit in our $15K budget. I would be careful about doing all of that due to losing money. However, this would make a nice classic daily driver with just the air conditioning and a brake upgrade. So maybe we should look at this like a nice driver to be different. I love being different. The bench seat and column shifter have to go for buckets and a console though. This car came soooo close to be the preferred car you will have no idea.

1971 Dodge Dart GT - $12,995

71_dart_gt_1.jpg (67230 bytes)Description: This is a rare factory GT. It features a fresh built 340 motor. Power steering. Bucket seats with console. Stunning body and paint with perfect black interior. This car is as nice as they get. MUST SEE!! Runs and drives like new.

Value: Swinger 340: $7,850 - $9,975 (+33.0%)

Source: Premium Motors

Comments: When I saw this car it made me look for Darts on the Internet. In fact, if it were not for this car most of the Darts/Dusters/Demons on this page would not be here.

Now, onto the car itself. This car is a dilemma. They say it is a "rare factory GT." However, CPI only lists a Dart Swinger and Dart Swinger 340. I did a little digging around the Internet and didn't find any information that they built Dart GTs in 70 or 71. 1970 saw the introduction of the Demon as a sportier version of the Dart with the "fastback" roofline. I would want some documentation that proves this car is more rare than a Swinger 340 before I pay over 10 grand.

When I saw the first picture of this car I really hoped it would have a 4 speed. Too bad. The 340 should make this car pretty fast. After all they are light enough.

I love the color combination here. The car looks right. That is a big thing with me. This car is missing power brakes, and they are probably drum brakes to boot. More importantly we need to install A/C on this car. At the asking price we would just barely be able to install A/C and stay in budget. However, the authenticity is in question. If they can't prove it is something special (above a Swinger 340) then I would offer $10,000. That would assume that its condition deserves top dollar for a Dart Swinger 340.

1968 Dodge Charger R/T - $9,999

68_charger_blue_1.jpg (56162 bytes)Description: Super Screamin Built 440 R/T Charger! Ratchet shifter with a tach. Power windows (that still work, all of them!), power brakes, power steering and disk brakes up front. Nice blue body over black interior.

Value: $15,800 - $22,100 (+9.7%)

Source: Luedtke Auto Group

Comments: I love Chargers. And, no not because of The Dukes of Hazzard show. My best friend as a kid had a brother with a 70 R/T with a 440. I also loved the "bad guys" car in Bullit. O.K., and I watched Dukes of Hazzard for years as a young teenager. Shoot me. I like the 68 year the best. I like the round taillights. Clearly this car is not stock. We only have one picture of the interior... to show the power windows. I am assuming this is not a numbers matching car. I don't care. As long as the engine is strong and reliable. I doubt it has a console, and may not even have bucket seats. And most importantly it needs air conditioning. So, if we get this car the A/C is first. Then bucket & console. After that we take a step back and see if we want to add anything. This car has the right look for a Charger. The vinyl roof looks great. Hopefully this is a rust free car. This could be a big, bad ass project car.

1969 Dodge Charger - $14,950

69_charger_purple_1.jpg (52750 bytes)Description: 2dr Hardtop, big block 440ci V8, automatic, P/S, P/B, bucket seats & console, new Plum Crazy Purple over nice black interior, custom wheels. New chrome bumpers, clean!

Value: $9,600 - $ 13,900 (+17.3%)

Source: Brocker's Beautys

Comments: Once we open the door to looking for Chargers we can't just stop. They don't mention that this is an R/T, so we have to assume it is not. That means that they are asking a lot for this car. However, it looks good. I love Plum Crazy Mopars. This car would need A/C to make it a daily driver. That big 440 would go a long way toward making me forget about a manual transmission. Gas mileage would suck, so I probably won't drive it every day.

Overall I like this car. Assuming it is not an R/T I would have to offer them $13,000 unless the condition is truly excellent, then I would go up to the $14K CPI tops this out at. We would be hurting to put in A/C, but we would save to do it.

1969 Plymouth Roadrunner - $10,000

69_rr_red_1.jpg (33763 bytes)Description: 383, 4-speed, 3.23 rear end. VIN # RM21H9A156851. Original motor with 98,000 miles. Car is solid and needs only minor repairs. The following things need replacing or repairing: carburetor, gas tank, windshield wiper motor, surface rust in trunk, and dash pad. Too many details to mention.

Value: $13,350 - $20,150 (+4.4%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: I was blown away when I saw the pictures of this car and the price. Was I seeing things, or is this guy just selling a car for what it is worth. I love Road Runners with four speeds. This one needs a few things and he even tells some of them. So this is a project car. At this price I don't mind the flaws. I would probably replace the intake manifold and carb together with modern pieces. The dash pad would get changed as we added air conditioning. Of course we need to replace the stock shifter with a pistol grip shifter.

Overall I think this car is just right for a project Muscle Car. I like it.

1968 Plymouth Road Runner - $14,900

68_rr_4_speed_1.jpg (115551 bytes)Description: 383 ci, 4spd, 3:55 rear end w/ posi, Holley carb, headers, 15" magnum wheels, power steering.

Value: $13,350 - $20,150 (+4.4%)

Source: Car Scene, Inc.

Comments: Oh Wow! A Road Runner with a 4 speed. I don't seem to find many of these. And at a price that fits in my budget. This car looks SHARP! But I noticed a couple of things from the pictures and the short description. First, the bumpers are body color. I don't think that is stock. The color doesn't look stock either. The engine is not stock and they don't tell us if it is a numbers matching car. And the dash was cut for a stereo.

Now, within our budget we can't afford the air conditioning and power brakes the car needs. Too bad. I really like this car. If I could get them down to $13,500 I would have enough money left over to put in a Vintage Air system (hopefully). I would consider this car even without air conditioning because of its value. In excellent condition this car is worth over twenty thousand dollars. This could be an investment car. Drive it for a while as is and sell it for a small profit in a year or two when I get tired of the lack of air conditioning. Or possibly do a mild restoration (get chrome bumpers, fix the dash, etc.) and sell it for a profit. Or, just use all the problems to get them low enough in price so I have enough money left over to make a daily driver out of it. That would be cool!

1973 Dodge Challenger 340 - $10,000

73_challenger_4_speed_1.jpg (42255 bytes)Description: 4-speed. Beautiful Texas car. Now this is not a show quality Challenger, but it is a fun-to-drive classic muscle car. It's a 340 4-speed car with Holley Throttle Body Fuel Injection and 3.23 gears which makes it pretty quick. The engine was rebuilt about 5000 miles ago and produces approximately 270 hp. The vehicle only has about 70,000 miles on it. The body has a few minor blemishes but it has little to no rust. The interior was redone with purple piping to match the unoriginal plum-crazy paint. This car came with A/C but it is not hooked up, it also has manual steering. The car has 2.5 inch exhaust with dual Flowmasters and sounds SWEET!

Value: $13,500 - $18,150 (+39.6%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: Upon my first "quick" glance at the ad for this car all I saw was a Plum Crazy Challenger with a 340/4-speed and A/C for 10 grand. Wow! I must be dreaming. Then I started reading and woke up. Yes, it is an A/C car, but it is not working. We have to hope he has all the parts for the air conditioning, so we can get it going. I always assume a non-functional A/C system will cost as much as $1,500 to fix. Also, he mentions rust, as in "little to no rust." Well, even a little rust does not mean no rust. So we will need to take a very close look at this car. He mentions that the color is not original, so did they paint over rust? Can you say Bondo. How little rust is there? Are we looking at another paint job after getting rid of the rust correctly?

Now let's go a little further. The purple "piping" on the seats will have to go. We might as well get restoration seat covers to re-do the seats. He mentions a Holley Throttle Body Fuel Injection. That's a good thing assuming he has it working properly. It should make for a nice daily driver. Is that 270 hp at the flywheel or the rear tires. Considering that the early 70s 340 was rated at 275 hp at the flywheel where did his 270 number come from. Even at the flywheel it should move pretty well with the 3.23 (posi?) and the 4 speed. We also will need to add power steering and probably a brake upgrade.

Everything depends on how much rust this car has. This is a project car, but should hopefully be "a fun-to-drive classic muscle car."

Finally, this car is in Texas. I could go see this car on a Saturday. Too bad I don't have 10 grand laying around at the moment.

1973 Dodge Dart Sport - $9,800

73_dart_sport_4_speed_1.jpg (36713 bytes)Description: This car is 1 of 800 built, has Rallye wheels with BF Goodrich white letter tires, original 340 with headers & dual exhaust (rechromed factory exhaust tips), new clutch, rebuilt 4 speed, build sheet (decoded by Galen Govier) reproduction window sticker, service manuals, owner's manual, new carpet, excellent upholstery, good chrome, painted metallic Gold original color, runs and sounds good.

Value: $6,250 - $8,000 (+16.8%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: This car is a little overpriced for an excellent condition car. So let's assume this car is in excellent condition. He has some documentation to backup the car, and it seems to be a numbers matching car. It is a 340 with a 4 speed, so it should be quick by today's standards even if not by Muscle Car standards. But we can fix that.

Of course, we would need to add air conditioning to this car, and maybe some other power accessory upgrades. Also, the bench seat has got to go for some buckets and a console. All this is certainly possible within our budget. Too bad this car is a boring brown. I would prefer Plum Crazy, but this car should make a good driver. This car is boring enough that it would not be here if it did not have a manual transmission.

1970 340 Duster - $12,500

70_duster_340_1.jpg (222310 bytes)Description: 340 high performance V8, 4-Speed manual transmission, 8-3/4 3:91 Sure-Grip, Rally dash, no tach, factory disc brakes.

Value: $7,450 - $10,200 (+26.3%)

Source: Central Valley Classics

Comments: The 74 Dart Sport Rallye above had me looking at other Darts/Dusters. I found this one. This is a very plain looking Duster. They also have it priced significantly over its value. Keep in mind that CPI's excellent rating means a car "restored to the current highest standard." Just from the pictures I can see that this car is not restored that well. It has a lot of non-stock parts under the hood, and the interior could use a cosmetic work.

So why do I list this car here. Bottom line, because of the 4 speed transmission and 3.91 Sure Grip rear end. This should be a quick car. Properly tuned this car should run in the 13 second range in the quarter mile. I have seen some really nice looking Dusters when they are painted right. That means we would be buying this car with the intention of painting it. At its current price this car is a money pit. We need to add air conditioning on top of the necessary cosmetics. CPI tops this car out at a little over $10K. I would be willing to pay a bit more for the 4 speed and the 3.91 rear end, but not that much more. If we could talk them down to $9-10K I would think hard about a car like this. All this would depend on two major points. 1) This car better be rust free, and 2) it should be a numbers matching true Duster 340. If the engine is not original, or worse this is not a factory Duster 340 then all bets are off.

1973 Dodge Challenger - $10,900

73_challenger_yellow_1.jpg (76115 bytes)Description: Banana yellow with black hood and side stripes. 340 cubic inch V-8 with 4 barrel carburetion. 4 speed transmission with V-Gate shifter. Power disc brakes and power steering. Interior is black with bucket seats and console. Rallye dash, but gauges not working. Raised white letter radials on chrome Rally type wheels. Runs and drives fine.

Value: Challenger : $7,425 - $10,075 (+38.0%)
             Challenger 340: $13,500 - $18,150 (+39.6%)

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Comments: This car is a problem. First, they don't mention that it is a numbers matching car. I have listed the values for a regular Challenger and a true Challenger 340. Notice the difference. The gauges do not work and the shifter is weird. What is a V-Gate shifter? And why are there two shifters sticking through the floor? Also, they say it has a console but it does not. It does have a manual transmission and power steering and disc brakes. All we need to do is add air conditioning.

I am getting a weird vide here. Maybe we shouldn't look at this car. If we do, we need to authenticate it so we don't risk losing money in a car we won't be able to sell later. We would definitely need to track down a good center console to make the interior right. We also need to replace that funky V-Gate thing with a proper Pistol Grip shifter.