Classic Car Watch
Inspiration By A Dodge Dart GT
April 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis
I have been inspired. I know, this is not the first time I have been inspired. But this time I am going to let it drive me. I found a really nice Dodge Dart GT that blew me away.So this month I decided to go through the ads I have collected and look for cars that inspire me. This is not as easy as you might think. Since I collect ads for lots of different cars, and in varying levels of wants vs. needs, this month's cars are going to be an eclectic group.
Normally a car will have to have a great look to inspire me. So, if you are selling your car keep this in mind. Low resolution pictures will not inspire me. Also, I like to see some decent options. That's why almost all of the cars below have air conditioning. Finally, you can expect cars to be priced over their value by CPI and even NADA. That's because when you are inspired you think more with your heart than your head. You just have to have it.
One quick note about the order below. Except for the preferred car the rest of the cars are listed in chronological order. It's the way I pulled them from the fold I keep them in.
Will the Dart can take the top spot? Will my head overcome my heart? Let's see:
1973 Chevelle Super Sport - $9,500
Description: Last year for the Chevelle Super Sport. This car is identical to the car seen on the cover of the September 2004 Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine. Fresh correct blue paint with silver stripes. All new weather strips installed when painted. Car was fully de-chromed to paint. Nicely detailed. 350
ci, Quadrajet carb. Completely stock & original under the hood. Fresh interior. Blue swivel bucket seats with console shifted automatic transmission. Gauge package with functional factory tachometer. Factory cold air conditioning. I am the 3rd owner & have owned this car for 8 years. Drive this car anywhere. Original intake & exhaust manifolds are still on the car. Original style dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. See Hemmings Muscle Machines Sept 2004 for specs on these cars. The car on the cover looks identical to this car.
Value: $6,125 - $10,100 (+16.1%)
Source: Cars On Line
Comments: How did a 73 Chevelle with those big ugly bumpers make it to the preferred slot. Well, look at how many cars sold this month. Also, I loved the price for what I see as a very good looking old car with a really nice color. I was very tempted to put one of the Monte Carlos in the spot, but I couldn't decide between them, so I decided to save money and go with a southern car that I should be able to assume is completely rust free and ready to drive with air conditioning.
I found this car while actually
searching for 73-76 Chevelles. Don't ask me why. Mostly because I was desperate to see a nice Chevelle that would not be priced so far out of my reach that I would get depressed. I remember that they installed the 454 in these cars until 1974. In fact I remember an old Super Chevy Magazine project car using a 1974 Chevelle with a 454. They built that car with the intension of getting the best gas mileage possible
from the 454. I don't remember if they ever got the car to even hit the 20 mpg mark on the highway, but it was an interesting series of articles.
When I first saw this ad I was pleasantly surprised at how clean this car looked. When I saw the price I assumed this car would be overpriced. Surely this year Chevelle would only be worth $6-7,000. Lo and behold, this car is priced right. There is some value in this car. I am relieved. This car doesn't have the same appeal as the earlier Muscle Cars, but that's why it is priced so low. With this car we get an old car from a time gone by. It will still draw some looks from people, though not as much as my 67 Camaro Convertible did.
Blue is my favorite color, and this car is a nice shade of blue. If he had the car painted properly we should be able to buff out (wet sand) the paint to a great shine. As for modifications... this is a cruiser, and cruisers need big blocks. I would save the original engine and swap in a 454 or 502 crate motor. I would also install an overdrive tranny. Hey, maybe I can dig up those old Super Chevy articles and pick up were they left off. I wonder if we could get this boat to knock down 20 mpg with a big block and overdrive.
Maybe I could get Chip Foose and the Overhaulin gang to tuck in the bumpers on this car and add a Laguna nose like they did for a 77 El Camino on the show. Then this car would look as good as the earlier Muscle Cars.
1963 Ford Thunderbird - $12,995
Description: This possible 3 owner 1963 Ford T-Bird is in immaculate shape. It has great looking Dark blue paint with a beautiful two-tone blue interior. It’s powered by an original 390ci/300hp V8 motor with an automatic transmission. 85,220 actual miles. It has newer electronic ignition, new tires, new exhaust, new springs, new shocks, new radiator, electric fan, and a fresh tune up. Optioned with original radio, swing-o-way steering wheel, power windows, power brakes, power steering, spare tire in trunk, still in the engine compartment is the Ford Motor Company genuine accessories bag. The body, interior, chrome, engine, are all awesome. This car has been maintained and kept in excellent original condition. This T-Bird starts right up and drives. Don’t miss this one.
Value: $ - $ (+%) 6800/11225
Source: Holt Auto Sales
Comments: WOW! This is one great looking Thunderbird. I am torn here. I really like mid sixties Thunderbirds, but I have not truly made the leap to thinking about driving one every day. Can you say 9 M.P.G.? I usually prefer the 64-66 model with the sequential taillights. But I recently followed a Thunderbird restoration on DIY Network, and this inspired me.
This car looks like it is finished. However, I see two things this car needs. You have probably already guessed that it needs air conditioning. What is the other? Well, with all the excellent pictures it is obvious that this car needs new carpet. Other than that it looks perfect. I even like the color... a lot.
This car came very close to taking the preferred spot thins month, but as i said I am not sure I am ready to drive a total gas sucking hog on a near daily basis. When I make that "leap of faith" this car will be at the top of any list.
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado - $12,900
Description: The Tornado was Oldsmobile's' first front wheel drive car. All the early Tornados were built at Lansing Michigan. Standard equipment was comprehensive and included power steering and brakes, carpeting, deluxe armrests, instrument panel and courtesy lamps, outside rear view mirror and parking brake light. The Tornado was Motor Trends car of the year in '66'.
Value: $5,550 - $9,150 (+1.6%)
Source: Black Tie Classics
Comments: O.K. I am a copycat. If you read the first article in this column you will recall that I mentioned I could easily be influenced by what I see on American Muscle Car. No, I did not see a Toronado on AMC, I saw it on Rides. They did an episode on Jay Leno's new Toronado. He converted it to rear wheel drive and put in a special crate engine that puts out over 1000 horsepower. He left the exterior close to stock looking and painted it gold. Wow, this looks like Jay's car. I love it.
Now I don't have the resources Jay has to put a Corvette chassis under a Toronado and covert it to rear wheel drive. But I would be very interested in learning welding and look for another Toronado as a parts car. I would take the entire front drivetrain (this car is front wheel drive) and install the second engine in the trunk. A dual engine car with full time all wheel drive. Now that would be cool.
Fortunately this car looks pretty nice (we really need better pictures to be sure) that I could drive it for a few years while I learn how to weld and fabricate to put an engine in the trunk of a car. But it would be different.
What do you think of a two engine, all wheel drive Toronado, Jay?
1967 Chevelle Malibu - $14,500
Description: This is a super clean California car. Original 283 with
Powerglide. Cold factory air conditioning. Still has California smog pump intact and working. Purchased in California 2003. This car was a municipality car for San Jose department of drivers education. Extremely well cared for. New
Flowmaster dual exhaust, Chevy Rallies and BF Goodrich T/A Radials. This car runs and drives great.
Value: $ - $ (+%) 7300/12000
Source: Cole Classics
Comments: I was very surprised when I saw the price of this car. It is not often I see a 67 Malibu (my favorite of the pre 70 cars) with air conditioning and in really nice condition. Far too often these are grossly overpriced. This one looks very clean. It is not special, except as already noted. I love the studio shots. A good picture is necessary to inspire me.
I like it.
Now for the bad news. 283 in a mid-sized car is not going to blaze any performance trends. And that Powerglide two speed automatic will fail in under six months of daily driving... believe me. Since we are so high priced I would try to live with the 283, but I would look into trading out the Powerglide for a 200-4R four speed overdrive transmission.
1967 Dodge Dart GT - $14,500
Description: We are proud to offer this fine little
Mopar. A real GT and loaded with options. Check it out: Factory A/C (retrofitted to use the modern 134-a
freon), power steering, power brakes, original AM/FM radio, console and bucket seats with automatic floor shift, 14"
Rallye wheels and brand new Coker Red Line radial tires, dual exhaust. 273 ci V8 with Edlebrock aluminum intake painted to look stock and 4V
carb., nicely detailed trunk with mat. This little Mopar runs and drives very well. Not a screaming hot rod just looks awesome and will provide lots of enjoyment to the new owner. Low mile car with lots of investment potential, Just look how sweet it is.
Value: $4,250 - $6,300 (+7.2%)
Source: Street Dreams
Comments: When I first saw this car I was looking at the thumbnail with the price. I clicked on the main image and was blown away. This is what a Dart GT should look like. The black paint looked stunning in the picture. But that price is pretty high for a Dart, even a GT. I prayed it would have a 340. The 340 was never a "regular" engine. It only came in a four barrel version. No "passenger car" versions with 2 barrel carbs. Darn it, it has a 273. What about air conditioning. Check. Good enough. Let's check its value. Oops! This car is way overpriced. But I have found that it is impossible to find a mint condition real Dart GT for only $6,300. I don't know where CPI is getting that figure. Let's check NADA. NADA puts this car at $15,300 for high retail with the 273 and air conditioning. This is at a dealer, so it's reasonable that a dealer is asking $14,500 for a truly exceptional car.
I would love to take a really close look at this car, and in this case that would not be hard at all since this dealer is located in Texas.
What would I do to this car. Hmm. Nothing! It has everything I want in a classic daily driver. If the car looks as good in person as it does in the pictures then this car may be too good to drive every day. I will probably risk it since I believe cars are meant to be driven. Certainly I would drive it a lot. Since this car is at the top of my budget I wouldn't do anything to it other than enjoy it for a long time. Long run I would improve its handling and performance. I would probably tinker with the 273 for a little while, but a crate 360 dressed to look like a stock 273 would be cool. The goal in performance is to be able to leave a 100 foot burnout. I would also like to try and find a late model overdrive automatic that could be slipped in and attached to the stock shifter.
I like this car. It looks a lot like the quality of cars I see on American Muscle Car on Speed Channel. In fact, I just saw an episode of American Muscle Car that covered the Dart GTs of the late sixties. Maybe that's why this car inspires me as much as it does.
Ultimately this car didn't win the preferred status because it was sold. Had this car still been for sale at the end of the month it would have landed the preferred status this month.
1968 Ford Mustang - $9,995
Description: This car features a strong running 289 motor. Automatic transmission. Bench seat. Power disk brakes. Power steering. AM/FM Cassette. Nice red paint with beautiful black interior. New Boyd Coddington wheels and tires. Great driver!!
Value: $5,825 - $9,600 (+4.3%)
Source: Premium Motors
Comments: This is a nice looking Mustang. They are right... it is a nice driver. The picture is not high resolution, but it still looks good. The paint seems to have a lot of shine. If this car looks as good in person as I see here, I would be very interested.
They are at the top of the price range for this car, so let's hope it is worth it. We would need to install air conditioning to enjoy this as a daily driver. At this price I would consider this a project car. It already has a nice look, so we could concentrate on making the interior a really pleasant place to spend time, and getting some more power under the hood.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro - $19,800
Rare, factory numbers matching inline 6 cylinder with 4 speed and
factory A/C! Beautiful, show quality restoration. The paint and body are nearly flawless. We have the factory original
Protect-O-Plate, as well. Factory A/C, power steering, buckets,
Rallyes and more. Drives perfect. If you want quality, this car is for you!
Value: $ - $ (+%) 7225/11925
Source: American Classic Autos
Comments: Damn, this car is expensive. I know, it is way over my budget. But it is perfect. I mean it. This is exactly what I want for a classic daily driver. A 69 Camaro with a 250 c.i. 6 cylinder engine backed by a four speed manual transmission and air conditioning. They say it is a show quality restoration. It looks like it. There were plenty of pictures on their web site.
If I could afford this car I would call today. I really want it, I just can't afford it. However, I have been tracking it for about 6 months now, so hopefully the price will soften as time goes by. Sure enough, the weekend before this column went to press this car left their web site. I knew someone else would feel like me... and have the money to buy it.
1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 - $15,900
Description: Candy Apple Red with a black vinyl top, black & tan houndstooth interior, black front chin spoiler, black hood scoop, black eliminator hood stripes, and chrome Magnum 500 wheels. Gorgeous show quality car with only 68,145 actual miles! Original 351 V8 engine has no internal modifications, but has been upgraded with an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, an Edelbrock 600 cfm 4V carburetor, and a dual free-flow exhaust. Beautiful black and tan houndstooth interior with the factory high-back bucket seats and factory center console with the factory floor shifter. The interior is absolutely beautiful! There is no wear on any of the controls, the headliner is excellent, the door panels are excellent, and the center console is excellent. The original dash has no cracks and no modifications, all of the gauges work correctly (including the factory 6000 RPM tachometer), and the RimBlow steering wheel even works correctly. Power steering and power disc brakes. Factory air-conditioning; blows ice cold. Laser-straight body with perfect panel fit, no dents, no dings, no waves. I cannot find any body filler anywhere and no evidence of collision damage or repair. Show quality candy red base coat/clear coat paint done to a very high standard. Factory vacuum operated Hide-Away headlights (work perfectly). Factory sequential turn signals (also work perfectly).
Value: $4,800 - $7,850 (+5.0%)
Source: Sports Car Gallery
Comments: I love this car. I see two problems with it. Can you tell what they are? First, it has an automatic, but this is more expected with the Cougar than it is with the Mustang. Remember, Mercury is supposed to be an upscale nameplate. The Cougar was a Gentleman's Pony Car. Second, it has the 351 Windsor engine instead of the 351 Cleveland. The Cleveland had more power, and much more power potential. However, I can let this slide as there are a lot of Windsor parts available because of the popularity of the 289/302 engine.
You are probably thinking I should have mentioned a third thing wrong with this car. The price. Why didn't I ding this car on price? Well, for a couple of reasons. Mainly I am going by the "show quality" description they mentioned more than once (in the original ad, I cut this one down). The car looks amazing in the pictures on their web site. I could not find anything wrong. If the paint is really show quality then it should have been buffed out so there would be no orange peel. We will have to check this out in person. If this car is as good as they say, and we account for a truly show quality paint, in an attractive color, plus the extra work in getting the Eliminator look, I am willing to throw the book out the window on this car.
NADA's high retail price for a Cougar XR7 is exactly $15,900. These guys did their homework. That NADA price does not account for the 351 4V engine (assuming it was factory equipped as a 4V) or the air conditioning. Also, I have yet to see a dealer that won't come down a mere $900 in price. I bet if we offered $15K in cash they would jump at it. And this car looks good enough to warrant that price.
I like it. A lot!
What would I do to it. Well, I would look into a rear spoiler to complete the Eliminator look, then I would slowly tinker with the performance. Cougars take almost all the Mustang speed parts. GT-40 cylinder heads and a nice cam, suspension upgrades, etc. But all these can be done over the long haul. If the suspension is sound (and at this price it should be) we can just drive this car as is until I am bored with it. That should take a while.
This car was my second choice after the 67 Dart below was sold. However, it too sold... just days before press time.
1971 AMC Javelin SST - $12,995
Description: This car features 28,000 original miles. Factory A/C, power steering and brakes. Original body and paint are mint. CD player. Very stock and original. This car runs and drives like new.
It's the nicest SST in the country.
Value: Javelin: $3,975 - $6,550 (+1.9%)
Javelin AMX: $5,400 - $8,900 (-2.7%)
Source: Premium Motors
Comments: This is about as far from a 69 Camaro as you can get. AMC made a feeble attempt at the Pony car market with the Javelin. The 68-70 AMX model was better, and the car to collect today. AMC did not do well after the AMX was dropped. Regardless, if you are looking for a classic Pony Car to drive, this qualifies. For those that like AMC cars this is a nice find. I would say it is a great find, but that price doesn't jive with the pricing guides. Is this car really worth that much because it is low mileage and has the original paint. Those are great features, and in any other car it would boost the value. But does it almost double the value of a less popular, lesser appreciated car. I don't think so. I had to consult NADA to see if there was a chance this car had a price we could justify. Even NADA puts this car at under ten grand, and that even accounts for the SST model and air conditioning. Sorry, this car is just overpriced.
Inspiration sometimes means throwing the book out the window. I was inspired very quickly by the pictures. The air conditioning was the clincher. Keep in mind the car does fit in our budget, and it is a very low mileage original. I would be willing to go up to about $11,000 for this car. Other than that I can't really say much about it. Performance parts are going to be very scarce for this car, as will any restoration parts. But if you want to be different and drive a classic old Pony Car this will work as well as may other cars. And its unique look should turn heads thirty years after it was new.
Note: I was saving this car for an "alternative" Pony Car article. Unfortunately having been sold this month it won't be back to take the preferred status, which is was very likely to do.
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $13,900
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: This is a strange one. If you look back at the November 2004 edition of this column you will find this car listed as a 1970 model. I know myself and I did not make that mistake. The web site this car was listed on must have made the mistake. The car went off their web site that month, and I assumed it was sold. Due to other Monte Carlos also being sold it was in the preferred place for a short time itself. This month it fails to take the top spot because they raised the price. That's right. They took it off their web site and a few months later brought it back for an extra thousand dollars. That doesn't jive in my book.
Now, let's take a look at this car on its own merits. All that's missing is buckets and a console. We have all the power accessories I want, plus power windows. We also get a big block and stay within out budget. CPI doesn't give credit for a big block in a Monte Carlo unless it is has the SS 454 trim. NADA does give credit for the big block, but the numbers from NADA are a little vague. Regardless, I still think this car is a bit overpriced. Actually, I was cool with the price at $12,900 (from November), but because they messed up the year (is it a 70 or 71, because the 71 gets more credit for the 402 than 70 does on NADA) and the actual value is in such question I would start off with an offer of $11,000 and plan to go up to $12,000.
If the price could be set right, I would love to get my hot little hands on this triple black beast. I would start searching for a mint console and put in leather covered bucket seats. Then we cruise at 12 mpg for a long time.
1971 Pontiac T-37 Tempest - $16,750
Description: Beautiful Lucerne Blue Pontiac Tempest T-37. 350 4 barrel, rear wing,
Turbohydromantic transmission, Power Steering, AM/FM. New radials and Pontiac Snowflake wheels, new bumpers, and new Legendary black interior.
Value: $ - $ (+%) 3325/5475
Source: Classic Muscle Cars
Comments: The T-37 Tempest was basically a stripper car. This was a very base level version of the LeMans, like a 300 Deluxe Chevelle. So, it won't have a lot of sound deadening, as if a lot of cars had much for this era. However, it should be a little lighter than the same year LeMans. They claim this car is rare, and I am sure it is. But just because a car is low in volume does not automatically make it worth a lot of money. They have a video of this car on their web site and tell how rare it is and how good an investment. But this car has a 350 Chevy engine. Sorry, any chance for this car to be collectible went out the window with the original engine. It doesn't even have a Pontiac engine. It looks like they either replaced the factory tach with an aftermarket unit, or they just replaced some other gauge (like the clock) with a tach. This car just keeps losing its collectibility the more we look at it.
Let's take a longer look at that price. Normally I use CPI to get my value ranges. I also looked this up on NADA (which this dealer uses) and this car barely broke the $5K mark. What gives? How does a dealer that normally touts NADA prices for their cars justify three times the NADA value for this car? Good question. I also saw on their web site that this car was lowered $3,000 in price (froom $19,750). That's quite a bit.
So why is this car listed here this month? Simple, it inspires me. I really love the look, love the color combination and love the wheels. So, I could try to get this car or I would have to plan for some paint work, interior work and hunting for some nice wheels on another car. This car is so appealing to me in appearance that we can concentrate on the mechanicals. We could upgrade the suspension, brakes and engine for more performance. Of course, we would need to put in air conditioning. At least we don't have to worry about originality.
I am hopeful. If we track this car for a few months they may drop the price again. We can show interest and once we have them contacting us to try and "close the
deal" we can start low balling the car. How low? I don't know. I really like the color, and really like those wheels.
Are the wheels original? If so that would be a nice touch. Is the wing a factory item?
What is the quality of the paint?
I would love buy this car for $11-13K. The paint looks excellent, and I can see myself driving it as it with just A/C added.
1972 Pontiac Grand Prix - $7,950
Description: Hard top coupe, nice paint & interior, good vinyl top, V8, full power, A/C, original mag wheels. Clean, runs & drive good.
Value: $ - $ (+%) 4500/7425
Source: Country Classic Cars L.L.C.
Comments: This dealer is more like a clearing house for old project cars. I am sometimes afraid to click on the links to the pictures because they will be cars in pretty sorry shape. Even when they have a higher priced car I cringe before clicking. I don't know what made me click on the pictures of this car, but I did. And I was pleasantly surprised. This is what I like for a Grand Prix. This is a decent shade of blue, and it has a black vinyl top with a black interior. The interior really does look clean, and the overall color combination really works.
At this price this is a project car, which is a good thing. I am inspired. I recently watched a restoration of a Thunderbird on DIY Network. They took a car that looked like crap and brought it back to life. They must have searched a long time for that car. Why? Because they were able to take a car that looked like crap and wet sand the paint to bring out an amazing shine. Clearly the paint was not in as bad a shape as they wanted us to think. If it was I think it would have been beyond wet sanding. In fact, that car had a base coat/clear coat paint job which was not common a decade or two ago. So the paint was probably less than ten years old. I am guessing huge here.
This car looks like it could do the same thing. This car doesn't look as bad as that Thunderbird, but it looks like it might really take to a good wet sanding to make the paint really pop. I would like to try that. This car could be updated with some new weather stripping, rebuilt suspension and a few carefully chosen engine parts to bring the entire car back to like new standards.
I like it.
1972 Pontiac LeMans - $9,995
Description: YS 400 engine, 4 speed Muncie M20 transmission, original HURST roundstick shifter, HAYS clutch, bucket seats, suspension overhauled, transmission rebuilt, Flowmaster exhaust system, Rally II wheels w/radial tires, factory A/C, factory radio.
Value: $3,875 - $6,400 (+4.1%)
Source: Play Toys
Comments: What is wrong with this vehicle? Why are they only asking 10 grand? I know CPI and NADA both list this car in the six thousand range, but this is looking a lot like a GTO. It even has GTO graphics on it. Why aren't they selling it for $20K as a GTO clone?
I just can't pass this car up. The color is the only question. That is some seriously bright paint. The interior looks like it needs some TLC. We have power brakes and air conditioning. I can't see a power steering pump in the engine picture, but it might have that too.
Overall I just can't pass up a GTO look-a-like with a 400, 4 speed and A/C. At this price it also makes a good project car candidate. Where do I sign?
1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $11,990
Value: $5,000 - $8,250 (-6.0%)
Source: Ventura Classics
Comments: Wow, a Monte Carlo that looks great, has all the right equipment and is priced right. I simply love the look of this car. I would immediately start searching for the proper console and bucket seats. I might change the interior over to black, but that would depend on how it looks with the buckets and console in place.
I really like the early Monte Carlo. And this is one of the reasons. This car looks great.
1973 Dodge Challenger R/T Clone - $15,950
Description: Beautiful Arizona vehicle! Loaded
with lots of options. P/S, P/Disc brakes, A/C, bucket seats & console, Rallye wheels, dual exhaust, excellent paint & interior, drives new!
Value: Challenger: $7,425 - $10,075 (+38.0%)
340/360: $13,500 - $18,150 (+39.6%)
Source: Brockers Beautys
Comments: I love the Challenger. This is like a Gentleman's Cuda. This car looks like it is ready to drive as is. It has everything I look for in a classic daily driver. I have yet to know a dealer that doesn't expect to negotiate at least a little on a car. All we need is for the dealer to come down a mere $950.
So... what engine does this car have? As you can see from the
values I have compiled, a 340/360 car is worth a lot more than a 318. I would be
weary that this is a 318 car because they claim it to be an R/T clone. But they didn't
even make the R/T in 73, so maybe it is a 340 or 360 car. If this is a 318 car I would just leave. It is not worth trying to talk someone down 1/3 of the asking price.
If it is a 340/360 car (with numbers matching) then I would go for it.