Classic Car Watch
Just Go Shopping

August 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis

I was stuck for a good theme this month. I originally thought about covering the Mustang. Last month's coverage of six cylinder cars showed quite a few, and I wanted to dedicate a month to just 65-68 Mustangs. That will have to wait until next month, because I found a great looking 70 Monte Carlo that I want to use.

I already did the "personal luxury car" thing with the Monte Carlo/Grand Prix in November 2004. I don't want a repeat of that column. So I came up with an idea to "just go shopping."

This would be a quick trip around the regular sites I visit and list cars I would seriously consider if I was ready to buy a daily driver classic right now. The idea is that I would not be shopping for a particular car, or type of car, and then hold out for the car that was as close to perfect as could be... and in my budget. The premise would be to just head out there and buy something... within my budget of course. Like going to Best Buy to buy a new TV. You know how much you can spend and you go there planning to come home with something, even though you don't know exactly what they have.

This Monte Carlo drives me like that. What if I could put 300 or so cars on a lot.. all at one time. Which ones would I consider? No compromise this, or make excuses for that. No big plans for a dozen modifications. Just a visit to all my "regular" sites to pick a few cars that I really like. No common theme. Let's see how well the Monte Carlo stacks up "parked" next to a few hundred other classics, the combined inventory of my regular sites.

I will put down one rule... the car must be available during the month of July (I publish on the 1st of the month, but do the looking the month before). If the car is sold, I don't care. If I really had the cash in my pocket I would have called when I saw the car. So this month I will not mark the cars that sell, since I don't have any reason to check back on them.

Let's see what I found when I "went shopping":

1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $10,995

70_mc_350_green_green_pw_ac_1.jpg (88935 bytes)Description: 2-Door hardtop, 350 V-8, automatic. Clean as a pin, great driver, professionally maintained and excellent, garaged and pampered, serviced as needed, original Protect-o-Plate, manual, receipts and records, bucket seats, center console shifter, air conditioning, power steering, power windows, tilt wheel, AM/FM stereo cassette, power disc brakes.

NADA Price: $12,430 - $18,590

Source: Specialty Sales

Comments: This is it. I can stop looking. I found the perfect classic daily driver. We have full power (including windows) on a car that is 35 years old. It looks great, has the factory console and buckets. The price is very right. It's perfect. I want it.

The ad actually said power door locks, but I don't see that in the pictures so I changed the description to power windows because those a clearly present in the photos.

A quick dig at NADA. NADA gives a 20% increase to the value of a Monte Carlo for having a 350 engine. The 350 engine was the standard engine. So I priced this car on NADA's web site without any engine option.

1970 Mercury Cyclone GT - $10,900

70_cyclone_gt_green_1.jpg (83721 bytes)Description: Very hard to find, especially this original. Ivy green metallic exterior with mostly original paint. White vinyl top. Gorgeous white interior. 351 cubic inch V-8 with automatic transmission. Bucket seats and console. Power disc brakes and power steering. Hideaway headlights. Motor compartment is clean, but needs detailing. Clean trunk. Stock wheels, caps, and rings. Raised white letter radials. Very stock throughout. Runs and drives excellent.

NADA Price: Montego: $5,100 - $8,050

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Comments: A returning guest. This car is still appealing to me. It needs air conditioning, but at this price I could pay someone to install it for me. In the end I would have to give the nod to the more popular Chevy, but this car is a close second. Air conditioning would have helped. If this has a 4 speed it would have jumped to the top.

1972 Buick Skylark - $9,995

72_skylark_350_ac_copper_1.jpg (155170 bytes)Description: 350 2BBL V8, automatic (Turbo 350), power steering, power brakes, correct AM radio, factory A/C, remote mirror, buckets/console, Halo vinyl roof, chrome Buick styled steel wheels, correct Burnished Copper, only 69,000 miles, 1 family owned car, well maintained, very original car w/1 repaint!

NADA Price: $3,964 - $5,985

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Comments: Wow! I was a little surprised at NADA's price for this car. I thought it was worth what they were asking from the pictures and the description. Let's just not tell the seller I said that.

I like the color combination, we have all the power accessories we need, and we even have buckets and a console. What's not to like. Let's go for it. If this car was on the same lot as the Monte I would have to test drive each to decide. It's that close. In the end I left the Monte in first place because of the power windows.

1970 Mercury Cougar - $15,000

70_cougar_green_elminator_look_1.jpg (90373 bytes)Description: Is it an Eliminator? Nope, it has a few of the Eliminator's features: hood scoop, chin spoiler, trunk spoiler and a new stripe kit in the trunk. With the exception of the Eliminator add-ons (and chrome valve covers and custom American Racing wheels), the car is a stock, 2 owner 80k mile car. 351 V8 engine with optional 4 bbl, optional Select Shift automatic transmission with floor mounted shifter, power steering, dual hydraulic brake system with self-adjusting brakes, and a flow-thru ventilation system. For comfort there is power steering, air conditioning and an AM/FM/cassette stereo. Extremely clean inside and out, this Cougar is powerful, agile and luxurious and earns every bit of its "top cat" status.

NADA Price: $11,906 - $17,406

Source: Midway Auto Sales & Classic Cars

Comments: I love the look of this vehicle. It looks tough, without looking too overdone. Cougars are basically Mustangs with a longer wheelbase (which provides a better ride) and different bodywork. Also, the Cougar was usually better appointed than Mustangs of the time.

I really like this car. If it looks as good in person and it does in the pictures I would love to start driving this car today. Price is the only reason this car did not beat out the Monte Carlo.

1965 Ford Mustang - $13,995

65_mustang_coupe_pony_int_blue_1.jpg (154551 bytes)Description: 289 2V, Auto, Power steering, Factory air, Factory AM radio ,Rally pack, Pony interior, Buckets/console, Correct Caspian Blue, Wire wheels, Southern car, Very nice Original Coupe! Great Driver!!

NADA Price: $16,403 - $25,110

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Comments: This Mustang, and the one that follows are very close. This one has the Rally Pak gauges, while the next one has style steel wheels. I love both options. Other than that they seem remarkably close. I guess it comes down to which color looks best. If these cars were side-by-side on a single lot it would probably be easy enough to judge by their condition. Since I can't do that I actually give it to the more expensive one below. The interior color looks a little better to me. Plus adding Rally Pak gauges should be easier and less expensive than adding style steel wheels.

1965 Ford Mustang - $14,995

65_mustang_blue_white_pony_ac_ps_pb_1.jpg (89088 bytes)Description: Professionally restored as needed recently, engine rebuilt about 12k miles ago. New carb, shocks, coils, sway bar, dual exhaust, alarm. Always garaged and extremely well kept. Doors fit tight, hood and trunk are just like factory install. If you want the best one around here it is. Pictures just don't do this beauty justice! Power steering, power door locks, radio, alarm.

NADA Price: $15,795 - $24,180

Source: Specialty Sales

Comments: What's not to like. We have a super clean Mustang. Jump inside and we have a two-tone Pony interior with a console & wood steering wheel. We look under the hood and we have power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. Walk around and we have a nice metallic blue car with the very nice style steel wheels and the valance for Trumpet exhaust. O.K. It doesn't have the correct tips to the exhaust. We will fix that in time. We will probably add GT fog lights to complete the look. Other than that, I love this car just the way it is. I could see driving this car a lot and taking it to as many local car shows as I can find.

Both of these Mustangs failed to make it to the top spot because of price. I get a little weary unloading my entire budget on a car.

1965 Pontiac Tempest - $9,888

65_tempest_6cyl_white_1.jpg (155466 bytes)Description: Custom 2dr hardtop, original 215 6 cylinder, 3 spd on the tree, gorgeous all original unmolested Tempest, white on frost blue w/bench, arrow straight & rust free, Cragar SS wheels.

NADA Price: $5,513 - $10,260

Source: Pro Max Performance

Comments: This car is a carry over from last month. I liked it enough to include it again. It's still for sale. I was going to add a restriction this month of only including cars with air conditioning. Well, this car failed that criteria, so I didn't make the statement in the introduction

I still think this car would be a great project/driver car. I like the basic look as is, and would find it cool to drive. This is the only car this month that I would be working on pretty quickly, but it is also the lowest priced car. It's still not number one on my list, but if I came across this car on a lot while I had cash in hand it would be very tempting.

1971 Pontiac Grand Prix - $13,900

71_gp_j_bronze_1.jpg (172170 bytes)Description: 1971 Pontiac Grand Prix Model J. Exterior paint finish in Castilian Bronze with Sandlewood vinyl roof complemented by a matching vinyl interior. This car is in fabulous condition both cosmetically & mechanically. Matching # 400 C.I. / 300 H.P. V-8, Turbo 400 automatic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, factory A/C, power windows, Rallye II wheels, rare factory tachometer. 

NADA Price: $10,159 - $15,863

Source: Brandon Classics

Comments: A Grand Prix to go against a Monte Carlo. The Monte looks better. I still have a fondness for Grand Prixs since I drove a 76 model for more miles than I can remember. However, for three grand less we get a great looking green Monte. Sorry, GP.

1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - $12,900

72_mustang_mach1_351_white_1.jpg (304575 bytes)Description: This second generation Mach I is a one family owned vehicle that has been kept in near excellent condition. The overall presentation is very good. It features a 351 block, automatic transmission, power steering & brakes, A/C, rear defogger, both spoilers, AM/FM radio and styled stock wheels. This vehicle is in excellent operating order.

NADA Price: $13,455 - $23,201

Source: Classic Auto Showplace

Comments: If my brother-in-law saw this he would flip and think I was off my rocker. See, he had a friend buy one of these style Mustangs at an auction. She paid about $12,000 for it, if I remember correctly, a few years ago. It was painted poorly (it looked like the paint was too thick) and it had wheels and tires that were too big, and finally it had a dual quad setup. Clearly it was not setup to run well. We had to feather the throttle to get it to accelerate at all. It was a slow car.

But having watched the coverage of the Mach 1 on American Muscle Car, they had one guy that said he preferred the 71-73 cars the best. Although overweight, they handle better than their earlier counterparts and have a much better ride. Also, the Boss 351 was a more balanced car on the street than the Boss 302s of 69-70. The 429 Super Cobra Jet was as good as, if not better than, the Boos 429 on the street. At least the road test magazines of the time thought so.

O.K. I am trying to defend thinking about the big Mustangs. This car looks like it's worth thinking about. If this were on a lot I would definitely test drive it before writing it off. And that's the point this month.

BTW... NADA gives an awful lot for the 351. However, they give more for the "generic" 351 than the one they list with 248 hp. However, that is incorrect. So I decided to price it without an engine option (I'll have more on this topic in a few months). 

1972 Plymouth Roadrunner/GTX Clone - $14,900

72_rr_gtx_brown_1.jpg (70100 bytes)Description: Roadrunner/GTX clone, clean New Mexico car, original Chestnut metallic, white vinyl interior, 360 ci. engine, Edlebrock 4 bbl, automatic transmission, chrome breather, manifolds, factory air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, bench seat, original am radio, Mopar seat belts, dual exhaust, 225/70/14 BF Goodrich tires, Magnum 500 wheels, Go Wing, Air Grabber hood, Clean! Clean! Mopar!

NADA Price: $7,469 - $11,563

Source: Southern Motors

Comments: We could spend all day taking apart the pricing of this car. For starters what is it? It's not a Road Runner, but is it a Satellite or a Satellite Sebring. I mention this because the difference between an equally optioned (360, a/c, air grabber) Sebring and regular Satellite is $3,000. The Sebring is a two door hardtop, as apposed to the regular Satellite which is just a two door coupe. That matters in some cars when there is a choice. Next up is the air grabber hood. I gave them credit for it, but I probably shouldn't because it is not a factory piece. They did say this was a clone, didn't they. Is this a numbers matching car? If not we can deduct the 10% credit NADA gives for the 360 engine. I was generous and priced this car as a Satellite Sebring two door hardtop with a 360, air conditioning and air grabber hood. Now, a Road Runner would have hit a high retail of $22,750 on NADA's web site. Is there any wonder why people build clones? NADA doesn't mention the GTX. From personal experience and prior research I can tell you for a fact that they did indeed combine the Road Runner and GTX in 1973... I had one. I thought that was a one year only thing, but I can't say for sure. Maybe they did the RR/GTX in 72. If they didn't then this guy cloned a car that was never made.

Enough with the pricing issues and complaints about the cloning. Let's just say I think this car is not worth what they are asking. However, I like it. This car has the bar speedometer. That is usually a deal breaker. Not only did this guy clone a car that didn't exist (in my opinion) but he didn't even do it right and put the proper dash with the round gauges. Oops, I said enough complaining about the cloning. Does the air grabber work? I hope so.

I mentioned that I used to have a 73 Road Runner GTX, so I have a fondness for the later Road Runners (post 71, when the Muscle Car era ended). So I can forgive a lot. If I bought this car I would finish the cloning and put in the proper dash as well as bucket seats and factory console with the slap stick shifter (mine had all that). My Road Runner had these same wheels so I would probably keep them. Nostalgia!

What would I pay? Good question. I have established a $15K budget for this column. This month we are supposed to be looking as if we were just shopping a lot. I really like this car, so I can't help but thinking I would walk up and try to offer something. I would probably try offering the $11,500 that NADA puts this car at if it were a Sebring. I might go up to $13K because of personal history. At thirteen thousand this car might compete with the Monte Carlo. Then again, the Monte is more complete with the buckets and console.

1970 Chrysler 300 Convertible - $9,900

70_300_conv_440_red_1.jpg (63406 bytes)Description: 1970 300 convertible red/white top & interior, 40,394 miles. Road wheels, new radials, #'s matching 440 4 barrel motor.

NADA Price: $11,770 - $15,235

Source: Gesswein Motors

Comments: I love this car. I was inspired by the Garmin GPS commercial with Yoa Ming. They look cool... in a huge way. This car is big. I did a little research and this care weighs about 4000 lbs. Dry! That's is actually right about what the Monte weighs. I would have to do a little more research on this car, and verify that it has a power top. I didn't see any air conditioning in the pictures either. So this car doesn't top the Monte, but it does intrigue me a lot. Maybe next time.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu - $13,900

68_malibu_327_ac_restored_1.jpg (144876 bytes)Description: # matching 327, at, ac, ps, 72k original miles, blue with blue int. Restored in excellent condition.

NADA Price: $9,685 - $14,430

Source: Just Muscle Cars

Comments: Another returning guest. This car was the preferred car in the June 2005 column. However, this time it is up against some tough competition. Why didn't it take the crown again. Simple, that bench seat. The Monte has the buckets and console, and cost three grand less. I still like this car a lot, but when there are better buys out there it just isn't good enough this time.

Of special note: this car has come down $1,000 from its original asking price. Everything is negotiable.

1972 Nova 396 - $11,957

72_nova_396_nom_green_1.jpg (225478 bytes)Description: Tennessee car, non original big block runs awesome! Previous owner stated fresh rebuild less than 1K miles! 396 Block # 3955272, eng pad# 'JC' indicates 396/350, automatic/floor, B/M shifter, Sunpro gauges, power steering, rallyes w/flat caps, Weiand intake, Holley 4 bbl carb, nice trunk w/spare/jack/mat, older dark green metallic paint still driver quality. We’ve been driving this car and it runs great! Nova’s are hot! Ready to cruise in this nice old car for the money.

NADA Price: $6,175 - $11,750

Source: Jake's Forgotten Past

Comments: One of the few non-A/C cars on the list this month. This car pulls at my youth. A good friend of mine's sister owned a 71 Nova with a 396. She bought it in 73 and it was originally a 350 car. The previous owner swapped a 396 to go drag racing. Her brother's detuned the car for her so she could drive it on the street. I still remember some of the times when she gave the car to my friend and we cruised around in it.

This car reminds me of that Nova. I would have to give this car serious consideration if it was on a lot next to the Monte. To be honest, I can't tell you how I would go. This car would require a little bit of work, but it might be worth it due to nostalgia. In the end I gave it to the Monte because it is complete and ready to go.

1967 Pontiac Lemans - $14,900

67_lemans_black_on_black_1.jpg (84391 bytes)Description: Clean Virginia car, slick black paint, black cloth interior, 350 ci. engine, automatic transmission, Edelbrock 4 bbl, Edelbrock RPM Performer intake, manifolds, power steering, power brakes, chrome breather, bucket seats, B&M shifter, gauges, am-fm-cassette, GM seat belts, dual exhaust, 10 bolt rear end, factory jack with spare, 225/70/14 tires, Rally II wheels, original owners manuals & protec-o-plate, Ready to Cruise!

NADA Price: $9,634 - $16,275

Source: Southern Motors

Comments: Wow! I was blown away by the appearance of this car. It looks sweet. But let's take it apart. The LeMans in 67 came with a 326 engine. Pontiac's 350 didn't come out until 1968. So this is a non original motor. When I priced it on NADA I didn't list any engine. I don't know how to tell if this is a two door coupe or hardtop, so I took the lower of the two for my pricing. The two door hardtop is worth about $1,000 more at high retail. I actually think it is a hardtop, but we won't tell them that.

If we need to negotiate we can use the non original engine to help. NADA deducts 10% from the value for a 6 cylinder... but that would still be a matching numbers six. We could use that logic to assume this would be worth even less than a numbers matching car with a six banger. O.K. I am reaching here, they seem to have it priced fairly, but I need them to come down just enough to fit air conditioning on the car for driving a black on black car in South Central Texas.

And the fact that I have to add air conditioning to a car that is already at my budget prevents me from rising it above all comers. Maybe while on a lot I could convince them to lower the price enough, but I would always be looking over my shoulder at the Monte because of its affordable price. 

1968 Mercury Cougar - $12,900

68_cougar_390_blue_needs_ac_1.jpg (363411 bytes)Description: This 1968 Mercury Cougar is a very interesting ride indeed. It sports a 390CI "Big Block" Engine coupled with automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The Sharp blue color compliments this Cougar very nicely and the Interior is in excellent shape. Other features include: .428 Ford Interceptor Head .C-6 Trans w/ Shift Kit .Original AM/FM Stereo .Detroit Locker This Cougar looks and runs wonderfully well!

NADA Price: $13,110 - $19,493

Source: Classic Auto Showplace

Comments: NADA lists four different 390 engines. Of course, I priced it with the "cheapest" one for this exercise. Enough with NADA. Two things kept this car form the top spot. I don't know if it is the original engine, and it doesn't have air conditioning. Close, but no cigar.

1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza - $3,800

66_corvair_4speed_black_1.jpg (571258 bytes)Description: This great Corvair Monza is black on black. With 106,925 miles, the engine is a 6 cylinder with 4-speed manual transmission. This is a nice daily driver road ready and one you can drive and eventually bring up to a show quality. It is an original car with good paint. Interior is in good condition. The driver's back has one rip seat repairs. There are new rubber seals around the windows, doors, trunk, and hood.

NADA Price: $3,000 - $6,250 - $9,250

SourceClassic Lady Motors

Comments: This car is returning form last month's six cylinder column. Why? Because if I saw it on a lot with that price on its windshield (which is $400 lower than last month... everything is negotiable) I would have to take a close look. I would love to say this car is a bargain, but then why didn't it sell already. But it could be a bargain, so I would have to carefully go over this car just to see if it was the gem among bigger and tougher competition. I really want a close-up look at this car.

1966 Chevelle SS Clone - $13,900

66_chevelle_ss396_clone_bb_ac_bench_1.jpg (38593 bytes)Description: Georgia car now in KY. 1966 Chevelle SS Clone with 396 Engine, auto trans, PS, PB and A/C! Driver quality white exterior paint with new red interior! New carpet, headliner, door panels, seat covers, package tray! Has SS hood & emblems! 15x8 Corvette Rally wheels. Dual exhaust! Runs good, nice SS clone for the money.

NADA Price:

Source: Herman's Classic Cars

Comments: Here's a nice SS clone. And I hate clones. Usually because they are not much of a clone. But this time they actually built a SS 396 clone with a 396 engine. Cool! White on red is almost my lest favorite color combination. And with all those new red interior pieces we won't be dying them black anytime soon. I guess we will have to live with a red interior.

If this had bucket seats and a console it would be perfect. And we can afford it. We better call before this one gets away.

1967 Chevrolet Impala SS - $9,995

67_impala_ss_yellow_ac_tlc_1.jpg (132626 bytes)Description: 350 4BBL V8, Automatic (Powerglide), Power steering, Power brakes, Factory AM radio, Buckets/console, Factory AC, Dual exhaust, Vinyl top, Chrome Cragar SS wheels, Yellow metallic w/white interior, 10 bolt rear, Needs a little TLC, Great Driving Car! A True Super Sport!!

NADA Price: $14,630 - $22,220

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Comments: I love this body style. There is just something about it. The price seems to be pretty low, so we have to hope that "needs a little TLC" isn't code for "needs major restoration." If I was walking a lot this car would be pulling at my wallet.