Classic Car Watch
Personal Luxury Car

November 1, 2004
By Scott Lewis

This month I want to look at a few cars that fall into an unusual category. Personal Luxury Car. Sounds kind of neat, doesn't it? I think this term was invented to describe the original Thunderbird. The two seats in that Thunderbird is where the personal part of that name came from.

How I got to this category is unusual. I was trying to think of what cars should be truly affordable from the Muscle Car era. It seems every Joe Blow with a Chevelle thinks he should get as much as a decent SS396 even if he only has a 307 with a Powerglide.

I was getting a little nostalgic about a car I put more miles on than I care to remember. My mother's 1976 Grand Prix. I was thinking that the Grand Prix really did a good job of re-defining the personal luxury car in its heyday. By the late 60s the Thunderbird had a hard time maintaining this moniker as it went to four doors. Now, we can't look at the early 70s Grand Prix without looking at its cousin over at Chevrolet, the Monte Carlo.

While searching for cars to fill this month's column I came across a really nice 71 Riviera that I couldn't resist. So I decided to add the 71-72 Riv to the list.

All three of these cars have some history with me. You know what that means... I have to tell you stories. Let's start with the Riviera story, which will be the shortest. A guy down the street from me, when I was a kid, had a 71 Riviera. All I really remember was that it had a big engine and that boat tail rear end was very cool looking. It has always impressed me.

My mother bought her 1976 Grand Prix new. I remember it well. I drove it for a few years. My older sister and younger brother each had their turn at abusing that car. My mother signed it over to me as an incentive to lend my brother money to buy a car, rather than buying one myself. So I put a lot of miles on that car. In fact, I remember signing the title back over to my mother the morning before I "shipped out" to join the Air Force.

A friend had a 1974 Grand Prix with a 400 engine. I took it for a spin. I wanted to know if the Grand Prix was remotely quick with a bigger engine. My 76 had a 350, 2 barrel engine and was slow as a dog. The 74 was definitely more powerful. However, my little test drive was cut short when someone ran a stop sign right in front of me. Because I was driving a Grand Prix I knew the car so well I was easily able to avoid an accident by driving it up a nearby sidewalk. Had I been driving any other make or model I would have been hit. I impressed the friend that was riding shotgun.

I had another friend that drove a 70 or 71 Grand Prix. His was an SJ with a 455. I never got a ride, but it was fast. It burnt a fair amount of blue smoke (oil), but it also smoked the rear tires at will. As you can tell, I have a certain fondness for the Grand Prix.

One of my closer friend's parents had a Monte Carlo SS454. It was senior year in high school (1981) and his parents had the 454 engine rebuilt. He took it out for a joy ride. I was not there, but heard about it. Half a mile from his house the car stalled and would not start. It would not even turn over. My friend assumed he seized the engine. He called a friend and they pushed the car home in the middle of the night. The next morning my friend expected the worst when he heard his father head out to go to work. The worst never happened. The car started right up and his father never found out. Talk about luck. We all assumed the engine just hadn't fully broken in for a joy ride. Whatever the reason, my friend escaped a very close call.

Finally, I remember in the early to mid 80s Popular Hot Rodding magazine had an early Monte Carlo as a project car. The project revolved around gas mileage. The goal (as I remember it) was to increase both performance and mileage, with modifications helping mileage. I seem to remember that big Monte running high 13 seconds in the quarter mile while pulling down 18-19 mpg on the highway. And with a 350 no less. I was impressed and always liked the Monte Carlo after that.

This month I felt pretty confident I was going to be looking for cars in the right price range as far as our hypothetical $15K budget is concerned. I did a little research on CPI and NADA in advanced. CPI lists the Monte Carlo and the Monte Carlo SS454 separately. The SS454 tops out at $16,500 for 70 & 71 in excellent condition. Remember, CPI defines excellent as, "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."

We should be able to find plenty of SS454 Montes that are in very good condition, slightly below CPI's excellent condition in our budget of $15,000. Now, if we eliminate the SS454 then the Monte Carlo becomes easily affordable. CPI puts all three years at the same value. From good to excellent condition we are looking at a price range of $5,000 to $8,250. If we look at the Grand Prix we will see that it is even more affordable with a range of $4,450 to $7,350. However, this is for a "base" model. There are J and SJ models as well. CPI only lists the the base model and the SJ. Same for NADA. NADA says the SJ model is only worth 5% more than the base model, making the J model a moot point. CPI puts the SJ model at closer to 30% more than the base model. For Grand Prixs let's just take the lowest "good" value to the highest "excellent" value should have us in the $4,450 - $10,275 range.

The Riviera is close to the Grand Prix in price range but its GS option does not fetch a big sum over its standard offering.

My requirements for these cars are higher than my usual requirements. For starters, these cars are big. My 76 Grand Prix weighed (according to the registration) 4,144 lbs. That's without gas or driver. Figure you are pushing around 4,000-4,500 lbs. down the road with any of these. So performance is not a concern, since we won't get much. However, these cars are personal luxury cars. We are sacrificing performance for luxury, so luxury will be a requirement.

I expect any car to have power steering, power disc brakes, and air conditioning. I will only make an exception for the Monte Carlo. Equipped with a small block Chevy it should be easy to add a Vintage Air system to the Monte Carlo. The other cars might take more effort since there are far fewer of them around, but I will strongly favor a Monte Carlo with A/C.

The next item is power windows. These cars are more likely to have them than most cars I would normally look at from the era. For the Riviera power windows will me mandatory, as I think this is the heaviest of these cars and I am sacrificing the most performance for that ocean liner luxury. And the most in gas mileage as the Riv came with a 455 standard. I will strongly prefer power windows with a Grand Prix. These were supposed to be at a higher level than the Monte Carlo, so let's try to put that to use.

Now, I have a hard time looking at personal luxury cars without giving some credit to the original. No, I am not going to look at 55-57 T-Birds. But I can look at the ones I like... and can afford. I find the 61-66 Thunderbirds particularly pleasing to the eye. Within those years I prefer the 64-66 vintage with the sequential taillights. This works in my favor as CPI puts the 64-66 birds at about two grand lower in value than the earlier ones. For regular Thunderbirds CPI says I should find excellent examples for under $11,000. This is in keeping with my other choices this month.

I am very picky about my Thunderbirds. Remember, this is a luxury car, so I fully expect to have PS, PB and air conditioning. No exceptions. Like the Riviera I will expect power windows. Back in the sixties the Thunderbird was a Halo car for Ford. They put all the best technology for the day into these cars. That included all the power accessories mentioned plus power seats, fiber optic display (to tell what lights were working on the car, I believe) a swing away steering wheel, automatic power locking doors (they locked at 5 mph) and even power wing windows. Yes, the little triangular windows that just pop out a little. Standard on the Thunderbird was a small window crank for these wing windows. You could get power windows, and you could also get power wing windows. I will do my best to find all the cool options that made the T-Bird special in its day. With the huge array of options on the Thunderbird I can see where people would jack up the price for some of these ultra luxury items. I may have to concede to that.

So, we are looking at 61-66 Thunderbirds, 69-72 Grand Prixs, 70-72 Monte Carlos and 71-72 Rivieras. I must say, I really prefer the Montes and GPs in this group, but wanted to include the others for fun.

Another thing about these cars. They made a lot of these cars with ugly colors. In my searching I came across a lot of cars that I just could not consider, no matter how good the condition. Sorry.

I saw a lot of Monte Carlos under $10K and some even under $5K. But they did not have decent pictures. You know me, a picture is worth a thousand words. If I was really shopping for a Monte Carlo or Grand Prix I would relax my standards some and call for more details and better pictures of all those low priced cars.

Finally... yea, I know I am rambling an awful lot this month. I want to mention how fast some of these cars went. I continuously look around and save the descriptions, pictures and links for ads. I look through all of them when I decide what I want to profile for the month. This month was different. I actually decided to look for Grand Prixs and Monte Carlos after the month started. Until the middle of the month every car was still for sale. But a few of my top picks started dropping like flies. I mention this because I did not have any trouble finding nice cars. However, the good ones moved fast. If you are interested in the GPs and MCs you should be able to find some excellent examples for under $15,000 easily. However, when you see a really nice one don't hesitate.

On with this month's cars:

1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS - $14,500

70_mc_ss_black_454_1.jpg (24911 bytes) 70_mc_ss_black_454_2.jpg (22710 bytes) 70_mc_ss_black_454_3.jpg (33136 bytes) 70_mc_ss_black_454_4.jpg (34801 bytes)

Description: One of only 3,823 of the SS454 made. New shocks, new trim, interior completely redone including A/C. Rust proofed top and bottom. A fine example of affordable American muscle.

Value: $10,000 - $16,500 (+2.0%)

Source: America's Classic and Vintage Auto

Comments: O.K. We are at the top of our budget, so let's check things out. A/C... check, PS... check, PB... check, rust free... check, performance potential... duh, it has a 454... check. What's not to like? We even have buckets and a console. Too bad it doesn't have power windows. That would be the icing on the cake. With so little money left over from our budget this car better be mighty close to perfect.

I have no complaints about this car. With the 454 and full power I have nothing I need to add. However, if I was to buy this car I would look into adding power windows. I know it is possible, but I would want it to look like it was a factory job.

This is the car if what you want is a bad ass Muscle Car from the era, at something resembling a reasonable price. In this case reasonable means a true, factory SS 454 for under $15,000. It looks excellent and is priced where it should be.

This car worked its way to the top as three or four other cars got sold. That's alright, I want it!

1972 Chevy Monte Carlo - $13,500.00

72_mc_black_1.jpg (119617 bytes)Description: 350 4BBL V8, automatic (Turbo 350), power steering, power disc brakes, correct AM radio, factory A/C car, buckets/console, Halo vinyl roof, Rallye wheels, Only 66,000 actual miles, 2 owner car, #’s matching motor & trans, Correct “Tuxedo Black”, extremely well kept, very original car! What a fantastic find!

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Comments: This car is pricey, but some of the nicest cars this month went fast. So I am giving this one a good looking over. The pictures are nice high resolution shots, so it helps. But notice that the regular Monte Carlo has gone down in value over the last couple of years. We need to be careful.

Let's start with what's wrong with this car. First the driver seat has a nice size tear in it. At this price I would get them to throw in new reproduction seat covers for the front and maybe even the rear (so it all matches). Next, they mention "very original car" yet it has aftermarket valve covers and air cleaner. Finally, they state, "power disc brakes." I don't see a power brake booster in the engine shot. The front reservoir of the master cylinder looks bigger then the rear, so it probably has manual disc brakes.

So what's to like. I love these big cars in black. If the body is as good as it shows in the pictures I could see getting this car. It would have to stand up very well to scrutiny at this price. Of course I would try my best to get them down. I really don't see much special except it does have just the right combination of accessories. If it had power windows I would care less about the price.

1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo- $12,900 (Sold)

70_mc_402_black_1.jpg (97075 bytes)Description: Matching #s 402 big block V8 freshly rebuilt with warranty. Turbo 400 automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel, rear defogger, CD sound system, immaculate black cloth interior, gorgeous black exterior and black vinyl top. Excellent chrome and stainless. Rally wheels with new TA radials. New dual exhaust. Lifelong Northwest car with original Build Sheet documenting colors and options. Must see and hear to appreciate.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Memory Lane Motors

Comments: If this car had buckets and a console I would be there. That's is all that is missing. We have all our power accessories, including power windows. We also get a big block and stay within out budget. I don't know where I can bargain with the price. Yes, CPI says the Monte Carlo tops out at a little over eight thousand dollars. But NADA gives credit for the 402 big block (though it is weird in that it shows a 15% increase for the 402 in 70, and 35% increase for this engine is 71). We have to assume this car is going to be more desirable with the numbers matching big block, so we really don't have much to bargain with.

Let's assume we are going to pay top dollar. It looks worth it. Of course I would always try to negotiate, but this site seems to price cars pretty well, and they don't seem to last long if they are good. 

Well, as it turns out this car was sold before the end of the month, so I was right, this site had it priced right. This was my biggest disappointment this month. When I originally picked the preferred car this was it. I am sorry it sold. Even though I don't have the cash to spend I would like to have dreamed a little while longer.

1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $7,900 (Sold)

70_mc_triple_black_1.jpg (73614 bytes)Description: No rust California car with original build sheet. Black with black vinyl top and black interior. Factory bucket seats with center console and floor shifter. 15X8 in Corvette Rallye wheels and Firestone tires. 350, auto, Holley carb and Weiand intake. Flowmaster exhaust, A/C, power windows, power disc brakes, factory radio, and am fm cassette in glove box. 12 bolt rear end with 3:08 gears.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: American Dream Machines

Comments: From the looks of the pictures of this car I see a very clean car that looks almost new inside and out. Obviously the under hood area needs a lot of detailing, but that is fine by me. It doesn't effect driving it or taking people for rides. The power windows in the cincher for me. I love power windows in old cars.

What really threw me for a loop with this car was the quality of the pictures and the price. This car looks very, very straight. That's hard with a black car. And it is not overpriced. What is this world coming to. As I said earlier, when I read the power windows I was sold.

This car, with its small block, would be the car I would try to reincarnate the Popular Hot Rodding project Monte Carlo. I would add a 4 speed overdrive transmission and make sure it works with the factory console and shifter. Then I would start tinkering with it to maximize mileage, with a nod toward performance. I would love to see if I could get this car to beat my 93 Camaro in the mileage department.

This car had made it to the top spot, but it sold. Oops.

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ - $12,995 (Sold)

69_gp_sj_428_black_1.jpg (207356 bytes)Description: 428 4BBL HO V8 (390Hp), auto (turbo 400), power steering, power disc brakes, factory A/C, buckets/console, correct AM/FM, power windows, Teakwood steering wheel, 10 bolt w/3.08 posi, #’s matching, 62,727 miles believed to be original, chrome Cragar wheels, correct color combo, very original car, rare find!

Value: Model SJ: $6,225 - $10,275 (-1.2%)
             Grand Prix: $4,450 - $7350 (-1.0%)

Source: Fastlane Classic Cars

Comments: Wow! A numbers matching 428 SJ with all the power accessories I want. I don't know if that is a rare find or not, since I found this car only a week after I started looking for Grand Prixs. I do like the idea of it. This car will get lousy gas mileage, but it should be worth it. I would probably prefer a 70 model with a 455, but this will due nicely.

As we said, this car has all the power accessories I want. The price is within our budget. So what are we waiting for? Well, for the same asking price I have a numbers matching 402 big block Monte Carlo. Even though I had a Grand Prix, I still like the Chevy better. And the 402 big block is more easily modified with a lot of big block Chevy parts available. So the nod goes toward the Monte.

Has anyone notice yet how many black cars are on this month's list. Quite a few. I have said in the past that I wouldn't want a black car in South Central Texas. But these are luxury cars equipped with air conditioning. And these cars really do look good in black. In fact, my 76 Grand Prix was triple black. However, black cars show every imperfection, so these cars will all have to pass a vigorous visual inspection for paint quality. Too many waves in those long body panels (the 70-72 Monte Carlo has the longest hood ever put on a Chevy) will be a major factor against any of these cars. This is were really good quality pictures are a must before making a decision to fly half way across the country to buy a car.

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix - $12,500 (Sold)

69_gp_j_green_1.jpg (358326 bytes)Description: Verdero green, black top, green int. 400, auto, a/c, elec. windows. Too much to list must see.

Value: Model SJ: $6,225 - $10,275 (-1.2%)
             Grand Prix: $4,450 - $7350 (-1.0%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This car is a J model. CPI only lists the base Grand Prix and the SJ model. Maybe this car falls somewhere in between. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt, and say it is worth as much as an SJ model. That means it should top out at around $10K according to CPI. That means this car is overpriced. I have a special fondness for these cars. I mentioned above that my mother had a 76 Grand Prix that she eventually gave to me. Well, I barely remember this, but when I was in first grade (I think that was 1969) my mother had a Grand Prix. I am assuming now that it was 69, and I think it was green... just like this one.

This car is in New York, so we need to be extra careful of rust. Otherwise we have everything we need. Power steering and power disc brakes should be a given since it has air conditioning and power windows. All we need to do it test drive it.

I think this could make a good daily driver. Gas mileage will suck. My 76 got about 9-10 around town and 16-17 on the highway. Without the nasty mid seventies smog equipment we might be able to get this car up to about 12-13 around town and maybe 17-19 on the highway. That would be a stretch, but that might be the interesting part of a car like this. We could make it a personal challenge to see how high we can get the gas mileage. We would definitely want to swap in an overdrive transmission if that is one of our goals. I kind of like the idea.

Let's offer this guy $11,000 while showing him that it tops out at less than that. Notice this is the first car this month that is not black.

1971 Buick Riviera Boat Tail Coupe - $9,500

71_riviera_5.jpg (21576 bytes)Description: Sporty, sleek, and plenty of power - 455 V-8. Air, bucket seats and curved full length console for guaranteed comfort. AM/FM, tape. Air conditioning. New tires on Original Buick Mag wheels! Original car w/documented mileage. 

Value: $4,600 - $7600 (+5.9%)

Source: America's Classic and Vintage Auto

Comments: This is the Riviera that I stumbled on while looking for GPs and Montes. This car has all the power accessories, including power windows. It looks good in black. And check out that beautiful boat tail rear end.

I do have a problem with it. They claim bucket seats and a full length console. The interior picture shows a bench seat and no console. Too bad. That is why this car did not make it with all the other black cars above.

This is purely a cruiser. It has a 455, but it weighs so much that it will be lucky to do 0-60 in under 8 seconds. It will feel powerful to those that haven't experienced the big V-8 power that American cars were known for back in the late 60s to early 70s.

I am still a little hesitant on this car. Mileage will be terrible, and I don't know if this would be a good way to drive to work on a regular basis in the light of gas that may stay over $2.00 a gallon. It does look cool for an occasional driver. I think it would be different and kind of neat.

1970 Chevy Monte Carlo - $6,500

70_mc_silver_orig_1.jpg (38083 bytes)Description: Not a Chevelle or Camaro or SS. Here is an original one owner car. 350/350 trans, 10 bolt 3.08 rear ratio, Rally wheels. Car is silver with black interior and is 100% untouched. This vehicle is a pleasure to cruise in. Not a rattle or noise at 70 mph. Motor runs without valve taps or any noise and burns no oil. The interior is nice with all original dash and instrumentation. No holes or cuts in any of the trim. Headliner is perfect. Cars options are custom deluxe belts AKI, also has vinyl roof CO8, power steering N40, and has AM push button radio U63. Paint was done approx. 12 yeas ago and still shines. Fenders, quarters and doors all original with no rust, Bondo or filler. Must see and drive to understand how original and straight this car is and drives. Motivated seller.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: Wow a nice, clean, original car that is priced where it should be. Now, for the bad news. This is a project car. Why, you ask? Let me tell you something. This car is located in New Jersey... which happens to be where my best friend lives, so I can get him to take a look at it for me. But, in New Jersey you may be able to live without air conditioning, but not here in South Central Texas. So, I need to factor in $1,000-1,500 for a Vintage Air system. He mentions power steering but not power brakes. We might need to plan for that. Finally, I need to put in a factory console and bucket seats. Then we can get to work on that engine and trying to duplicate Popular Hot Rodding's project Monte using today's technology. I do like the color, so that is in its favor.

Let's see. I could send my best friend with his digital camera to look it over and send me really detailed pictures. Maybe I can get him to bring his step-father (my old mechanic) and give the car a real looking over. Then we test that "motivated buyer" statement and show up with $5,000 in cash. If this car stands up to a good inspection I would pay what he's asking. But we will always look for a bargain. Besides, we can be completely honest and tell him that we are going to add air conditioning.

Within our $15K budget we can do a lot with this car. Since it is in New Jersey, close to my old mechanic, I would seriously consider asking him to swap in a manual transmission for me. I would fly up to help with the actual swap and then drive it down. Later we could add a 383 stroker small block or maybe a crate big block. Like I said, I see this car as a real nice project car. We would end up putting way too much into this car to ever expect to get it out, so we better like it a lot.

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix - $9,500 (Sold)

69_gp_j_mayfair_1.jpg (227305 bytes)Description: Model J, 2 owner, beautiful Mayfair maize lacquer, black vinyl top, black interior, 86K original miles, always a Southern car. Original 86K miles 400-4bl auto with cold air, ps, pdb, p trunk, rallies, AM/FM stereo, 8 track. Car is beautiful inside and out, runs and drives great. Purchased from original elderly owners 11 years ago.

Value: Model SJ: $6,225 - $10,275 (-1.2%)
             Grand Prix: $4,450 - $7350 (-1.0%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Here is another Model J. The color is not the greatest, but the paint looks to be in excellent shape. I like "always a Southern car." This should be a very rust free car. The price is right, assuming a model J is worth more than a base model. Too bad it doesn't have power windows. For three grand less than the green one elsewhere I can afford to put power windows in. Also this one is in Louisiana, so I should be able to fly to see it and drive it home in one day.

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $9,200

71_mc_4_speed_1.jpg (61189 bytes)Description: Arizona car, built 350, 12 bolt, factory tach, 4 spd, sharp car, looks great, rare, needs very little.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

SourceCollector Car Trader

Comments: Wow! A 4 speed in a Monte Carlo. That is rare. I like the color, but the picture is not good enough to make a judgment. We will need to see a lot more to decide on this car. I really like that 4 speed. However, they don't mention air conditioning. This could be a project car. As a project car we would want to get this car for $6,000 - $7,000. Remember, CPI places this car at $8,250 in excellent condition, so we should be able to negotiate that price down.

1970 Chevy Monte Carlo - $10,500

70_mc_blue_console_1.jpg (25421 bytes)Description: 350, Turbo 350 trans, factory air, Cragars, dual exhaust, very clean, has original console & tilt wheel (setup with bucket seats now). Original 60,000 miles. Runs and looks excellent.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: This is a strange one. I don't understand "has original console & tilt wheel (setup with bucket seats now)." In the picture it has a column shift, but bucket seats. Did he add a console after the picture was taken?

This car is in here because of the picture. It is a really nice shade of blue. I like it a lot. This car almost inspires me. It is in New Jersey so we have to be careful of rust. The Cragers look decent, but I would prefer a set of factory Rallye wheels. Since the interior is in question I have a hard time putting this car high up on my list. But I can't help the picture. It looks good enough to call and get more information and pictures.

Another thing bothers me. Cars On Line puts counters on their pages. This car was visited over 5,400 times. I don't like when I see that on this site. I'll bet this car sold quite a while ago. I get the impression that happens a lot on this site.

Note: This is the first of a handful of Montes that will follow. They all seem good enough, but will require some close inspection. Since there are nicer ones out there, these could easily be left behind. I wanted to include them to give you an idea what I could find with very little effort.

1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $8,950

70_mc_blue_nd_1.jpg (37472 bytes)Description: 2 Owner Car, 94,000 miles, 350, auto, power steering & brakes, cold A/C, new Corvette Rallies & tires, new dual exhaust, perfect interior, everything works, AM/FM/8-Track, beautiful car.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Noel Davis Auto Sales

Comments: This is a very pleasant looking Monte. Nothing too special here. The bench seat and column shift will have to go for buckets and a console. Other than that this is your basic Monte Carlo. Make sure it is rust free and the usual stuff. I would offer $7,000 and see where we go from there.

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $7,500

71_mc_puke_green_1.jpg (21537 bytes)Description: Wow!! L48 350/270HP, automatic, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning. Buckets, console. All records back to 1971. Protect-O-Plate, rust free and solid! 

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: Time Rider Classic Cars

Comments: This car doesn't look as nice as some of the other Monte Carlos here. However, it does have all the mandatory options. Too bad it lacks power windows. The asking price is exactly half our budget, so I left it here just for fun. Oh, and it is documented back to 71 complete with Protect-o-plate.

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS  - $10,500

72_mc_ss_454_1.jpg (20067 bytes)Description: Factory 454 V8, auto, A/C, power steering, power brakes, 12-bolt rear, buckets & console. Numbers match.

Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)

Source: C&C Auto Sales

Comments: Dilemmas, dilemmas. It wouldn't be right if I didn't have at least one good dilemma. Factory 454 in a 72. Hmm. I would have to do some research on that. I thought the SS only came in a SS454 in 70 & 71. Was the SS 454 really available in 72?

Let's assume for a moment that this is a numbers matching SS 454 like they say. This requires a much closer look. We really need better pictures because this one sucks. If it didn't have the 454 I would have left this one behind. 

1971 Buick Riviera - $7,000

71_riv_gs_maybe_1.jpg (27224 bytes)Description: Grand Sport, 455/315 HP, ac, power windows, power seats, over $12,000 invested, excellent driver.

Value: $5,625 - $9,275 (+3.0%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Hey, we have another dilemma. He says the engine has 315 horsepower. He also says it is a GS. So what's the dilemma? The GS came with a 330 horsepower version of the 455. Oh, who cares about 15 horsepower when you have power windows. We might have a GS clone, but the price isn't out of line, so who really cares.

1972 Buick Riviera - $9,000

72_riv_1.jpg (14616 bytes)Description: Boat Tail, 455/310HP, AT, power steering, power brakes, Tilt, Cruise, Air, Orig chestnut met paint, rust-free CA car, Always garaged, Rare find.

Value: $4,600 - $7600 (+5.9%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This one doesn't mention power windows, but I really like the color. This one is maxed out as far as asking price, so the owner better be ready to negotiate. I really can't comment much on this car. If it does not have power windows I will not consider it. The color is one of the few unusual colors I like, so I would call for more pictures and to find out if it has power windows. Just another cruiser.

1966 Ford Thunderbird Landau - $8,500

66_tbird_silver_1.jpg (241996 bytes)Description: Medium silver mink, 390 engine, full power (windows, vents, locks, steering & brakes), A/C, 76k miles, second owner, stored for 20 years, $11,000 invested, black interior and vinyl top, FM radio (have original AM), no body rust, new paint & tires and serial numbers original.

Value: $5,300 - $8,750 (+1.4%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Here's a Thunderbird with those power wing windows. I love that. This car looks very clean, and I like the price. I would call.

1965 Ford Thunderbird - $9,995

65_tbird_yellow_1.jpg (53267 bytes)Description: 390 V8 and auto transmission. New repaint on excellent body. New vinyl top and perfect black interior. PS, PDB, Air conditioning, power windows and swing away steering. New tires. Only 66K miles. New Custom Auto Sound Stereo. This is such a nice car I am sure you will like it!

Value: $5150 - $8,425 (-6.6%)

Source: Valley Motors

Comments: For some reason I cannot make up my mind on this one. I am getting a strange vide or something. It has all the right stats, and the price is reasonable. Maybe I should just get off my high horse and call.

1965 Ford Thunderbird - $5,995

65_tbird_sand_1.jpg (40828 bytes)Description: Nice driver. Good chrome and interior, all options. Power steering, brakes, windows (including wings), antenna, AM/FM, Air. Not a show car but a good original. Runs and drives great.

Value: $5150 - $8,425 (-6.6%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This car is in here simple because of price. It has both the power windows and power wing windows I love so much about these cars. But at this low price I would be very skeptical. That is what the telephone is for.

1966 Ford Thunderbird Landau - $12,995

66_tbird_428_1.jpg (21994 bytes)Description: 428 V8 rebuilt engine, automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, power seat, bucket seats w/center console and roof console, cold A/C, leather interior, tilt wheel, sequential lights, AM/FM cassette, original owner's manual, new tires, rebuilt wheel bearings and brake cylinders, transmission overhauled, black vinyl top, third owner since new.

Value: $5,300 - $8,750 (+1.4%)

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Here is the gas sucking pig of the lot. A 428 in a very heavy car can only mean single digit gas mileage. The car looks good. I would want to drive a car like this and know that the 428 makes it feel very powerful, especially compared to the standard 390.