Classic Car Watch
9 Cars You Must Build

October 1, 2006
By Scott Lewis

Popular Hot Rodding's 9 Cars You Must Build.

The October issue of Popular Hot Rodding arrived at my house and had a cool article on "alternative" cars that would make good performance car projects. PHR is slanted heavily toward g-machines (cars that handle and brake as well as they accelerate) while having a smooth look. They included some really nice professional artist renderings of each of the 9 cars.

 thought it would be interesting to do a quick search for these cars and see what was out there. My normal procedure it to look at classic car dealers and search Collector Car Trader and a couple of other search sites. Collector Car Trader definitely gets the most cars, and for this month I am going to concentrate my efforts there. If I find something somewhere else that's fine, but this month I want to stick with doing a basic search of the most popular classic car selling site looking for these "less than popular" cars... from Popular Hot Rodding magazine.

The 9 cars they listed are:
  • 73 Chevrolet Laguna
  • 67 Mercury Cougar
  • 81 Chrysler Imperial
  • 66 Buick Riviera
  • 72 Ford Gran Torino
  • 80 Oldsmobile Cutlass
  • 93 Lincoln Mark VIII
  • 73 Pontiac Ventura
  • 82 Chevrolet Camaro

The Camaro is almost mainstream, but the third generation has taken quite a fall over the years. The early and late versions get all the magazine coverage nowadays. Plus 3rd generation Camaros and Firebirds are affordable.

As I go looking for these cars I will not be trying that hard. Why? Because not that many of these cars interest me. I do like looking at alternatives, but some of these are too far off the beaten path for me. If you actually like one of these models you could search harder and probably find better examples. I guess I just wanted to prove Popular Hot Rodding right by finding acceptable and affordable project cars.

I will try my best to look at cars that are under $10,000. Why? Because the premise of the PHR article was to build cool cars. And without a doubt we need to paint these cars to get them to look cool. I want to assume we will spend about $5000 for a decent quality, mild custom paint job. Mild custom would be a limited amount of graphics, or at the least a nice two tone paint job. I may be off the mark by allotting only $5K for a paint job, but that's what I am doing. Along with the paint, I would assume some minor body work. Nothing drastic, just door ding removal and basic prep. However, I would also try to include at least one custom touch... shaved door handles. Can you get a nice paint job with graphics, light body work and shaved door handles for $5000? Maybe. Maybe it's possible if you do most of the prep work yourself. Well, it works for this article.

Normally I leave the comments with the cars, but this month is different. I will go over the cars here, telling what I do or don't like about the car itself, and the cars I found. I will have very short comments on the individual cars below. So let's get down to business with the "9 cars you must build."

73 Chevrolet Laguna - This is probably my favorite of the cars on the list. Which is one reason you will see quite a few below. Granted, there are not a lot of Laguna optioned Chevelles out there, so I expanded the search to include Chevelles (Malibus) from the 73-77 model year. Two non Lagunas that stick out are one very clean, but plain Chevelle for only $3,000 and another Chevelle SS with a 4 speed. The plain one is cheap and ready to be a project. The 4 speed SS was pricey for this month at $7,000, but with the manual transmission it has the best chance to be a "late model Muscle Car." I included a couple of cars from Cars On Line below. The Blue 73 Chevelle SS was the preferred car here in April 2005. However, I firmly believe it is sold. I expect the red SS 454 from Cars On Line to also be sold... even though both show up as available. This is a hunch, and a dig at Cars On Line for not updating their web pages properly. If the blue SS were really for sale it would peak my interest as a clean car that is ready to drive.

67 Mercury Cougar - Personally I think the Cougar is too mainstream for this group. There seem to be plenty in the affordable range, but very few that inspire me. As soon as the condition gets good the price starts to ski rocket. I did not spend a lot of time looking for Cougars. I have done that recently and there are plenty to be found. With Mustang prices rising so much... even for plain coupes, the Cougar is starting to get too expensive to be in with this pack. Of course, I expanded the search to include 67-70 Cougars, preferring the 69 and 70 models myself. I did list a couple of Cougars below... just to wet your appetite.

81 Chrysler Imperial - I could not find it in me to like this car to ever seriously consider one. Maybe if Chip Foose built one and handed me the keys, but otherwise I just couldn't see it. I listed one... with the fuel injection replaced by a carburetor. It seemed a better choice for a project car. If you go this route drop in one of the new 5.7L crate Hemi engines.

66 Buick Riviera - I actually like these cars. They are too heavy to be a serious performance car, but should make for a great cruiser with a nice paint job and a few carefully placed custom touches... like shaved door handles. I did not find a lot of cars out there under $10,000, but the ones listed looked good enough that I expect better examples should be possible with a few extra months of looking.

72 Ford Gran Torino - These are the prelude to the Starsky & Hutch version. I like their smaller front bumpers, but they still had an ominous presence. We want to stick with the fastback version of this car, however, I was unable to find any decent fastbacks under $10,000. I don't know that I want to spend $12-15K for a 72 Torino... no matter what the value is. The point this month was project cars that would get painted, so $10K was the limit for any car here unless it was truly exception. I don't see the smooth theme with shaved door handles working on this car, so maybe we should just take the standard Muscle Car approach to this car. After all, it would have been sold against the 72 Chevelle SS back in its day. It's just a little off the traditional Muscle Car path.

80 Oldsmobile Cutlass - Here is another car I just couldn't get behind. I found one, but then went looking for what I believe would be better... an 81-85 Cutlass. I remember when they were new and the 81 looked pretty sharp. I remember liking it more than the Grand Prix and Monte Carlo that was using the same platform back then. I also liked the look of the Buick cousin, the Regal. The Regal was available with the soon to be infamous 3.8 Liter Turbo engine in the T-Type. Of course there is also the Gran National... which definitely goes against the "alternative" aspect of this month's selection. If I had to pick I would love to find a Regal T-Type that was any color except black. I would love to duplicate a project Hot Rod magazine did in the eighties dropping in a Gale Banks twin turbo V-6 into a Regal T-Type with a mild custom paint job. The car was very fast, and cool looking. A sleeper that might even get good gas mileage. A nice bonus in this day of $3+ gas prices.

93 Lincoln Mark VIII - Of these 9 cars, there is one that I dreamed about. The 93 Lincoln Mark VIII. Back in 93 my wife and I went to a "Parade of Homes" before we started looking for our first house. The homes were way out of our price range, but we went because my brother-in-law was a contractor and we hoped to come away with ideas we could use if we decided to build our own home. At the least we would get great decorating ideas if we bought a home. There were a lot of new cars parked in the driveways of these "model" homes. Clearly the local car dealers used this as a way to drive interest in their cars. I guess you can see where this is going. Yes, I saw a Lincoln Mark VIII in the driveway of one of these expensive $300K+ homes. It looked so sweet sitting there. I remember that this car was so far out of my price range I couldn't even dream about owning one. I did a little research and found the MSRP for a 93 Mark VIII was $37,040. Ouch! This car went though the 98 model year and prices rose to over $40,000. Today they seem to be a bargain luxury car. Thank PHR for turning me onto this.

Back in 93/94 I was jealous that the Mark VIII got Ford's latest and greatest (at the time) DOHC V-8. Why wasn't this engine offered in the Mustang. With that engine I would have bought a Mustang and not a Camaro. As we all know Ford eventually put this engine in the Cobra edition of the Mustang a few years later. As for searching, I had to search AutoTrader. After all, this truly is a late model car. You shouldn't have to worry about rust with these cars. However, condition is still important. Since there were so many Mark VIIIs out there (a search for all years with less than 75K miles and from any distance turned up 126 cars) I just picked what I thought were the two best on a single day. One was close by (less than 300 miles) and was Ivory, which is a way of saying pearl. It looked so sweet. It was priced at $8,000. I wanted to see what the lowest price I could find for a nice LSC version (the LSC got 10 more horsepower and a firmer suspension, something to look for). I found a nice silver Mark VIII LSC for $6,300. Not bad for a car that sold for 40 grand only 7 years ago. 

If you haven't figured this out yet... the resale value on these cars are terrible. However, at $5,000 - $9,000 for good condition cars, these should be something people in their late teens/early twenties might want to look at as an alternative to the tuner crowd. It pays to be different.

73 Pontiac Ventura - Uh... a GTO. Didn't they move the GTO option to the Ventura platform. I think so. That makes this the non-GTO version. I found a nice Ventura a little while ago, and put it below. When I searched for this article I found a very nice one for $8,000. I also couldn't believe my eyes when the same search showed a primered car listed as a "good project car" for $7,500. Why would anyone take the half done car for a mere $500 savings.

82 Camaro - Now this is mainstream. A quick search of Collector Car Trader showed 120 cars when I simply looked for 82 - 85 Camaros in the $2,500-$10,000 price range. I dreamed of these cars when they were new. I was in College and couldn't afford them... and didn't like the lousy cross-fire injection engines hooked to an automatic. I really like the 83 with its 5.0 HO motor and 5 speed. But these cars were beaten up pretty badly. More than any other cars on this list you will have to be extra careful about condition, and you will expect to spend a fair amount trying to get this car to be a solid, rattle free car. I knew guys with these and they were horrible rattle traps. But if you can find a good one... which I just happen to find... then it might be neat. I found a pristine low mileage one for what I believe is top dollar. But it reminds us what this car was when it was new:

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle - $3,000

73_chevelle_plain_yellow_1.jpg (49076 bytes)Description: Malibu, 350 engine, at, ac, power steering, new disc brakes, body in exc shape, runs good, tan, blk vinyl top, 121k miles.

NADA Price: $7,125 - $9,250

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Now this is what we are looking for. Yea, it has over a 120K miles, so does my 93 Camaro. The body is clean and we are just hoping for a rust free car. There is plenty of money left in our $15K budget to make a great project out of this. We just need to find a Laguna nose and get started. Love the price.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna - $7,500

73_chevelle_laguna_white_1.jpg (847960 bytes)Description: This is a 25,000 mile original with 350 cu in v8. This is as nice a car as you would expect with the low miles.

NADA Price: $6,411 - $8,280

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Since we were supposed to look for Lagunas, I decided to put it here first. I only found two decent Lagunas, and the second had a really bad quality picture. 

This guy priced his right between NADA's average and high retail prices. But they are that... retail prices. That hideous red vinyl roof will have to go. We would definitely be looking to strip the roof and paint this car. We also need to add A/C to this car. Maybe we can get him down to $5,000.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle SS - $7,000

73_chevelle_ss_4spd_1.jpg (41465 bytes)Description: SS, 350hp, 4 spd, posi.

NADA Price: $9,315 - $12,055

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Here's our potential late model Muscle Car with a factory 4 speed. It costs a bit more, so we really want a working manual transmission. This car is also locating in Arizona... rust free capitol of the world.

1973 Chevelle Super Sport - $9,500

73_chevelle_ss_1.JPG (22343 bytes)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.

NADA price: $4,375 - $6,930

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: Here's our returning guest, that I suspect was sold a long time ago. But it can't hurt to call. I love the color, and this car is ready to go as is.

1973 Chevelle SS 454 - $8,000

73_chevelle_ss_454_num_match_red_1.jpg (47016 bytes)Description: #'s matching, red metallic w/black interior, TH400 w/shift kit, 2.73 posi, new Flowmaster exhaust, new tires, swivel bucket seats with console, factory gauge cluster w/tach.

NADA Price: $4,844 - $7,673

Source: Cars On Line

Comments: Another car I suspect must be sold. I can't be the only one that thinks a factory SS 454 car, even a 73, is cool. If this car was available I would be tempted to call long before I did the Laguna models.

The 2.73:1 rear gear ratio will keep the revs low to help highway mileage. Imagine adding an overdrive tranny to this car. With a typical 0.70:1 overdrive you get an effect gear ratio of 1.91:1. At 70 mph it would only be turning 1660 RPM. Cool!

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle - $4,995

73_chevelle_laguna_nose_red_1.jpg (40250 bytes)Description: SuperSport, maroon with black top, 350 V8, Gold Series roller rockers, camel hump heads, holly 4-barrel, B&M Shifter, stall converter.

NADA Price: $8,084 - $10,440

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: The picture sucks... but it shows a Laguna nose already on the car. I didn't know how to price this on NADA's web site. He claims it's a Super Sport, but it has the Laguna nose. So what is it. I decided to give him a massive benefit of doubt and priced a Laguna with the Super Sport option and the 350. Worth a call to determine it true condition.

1975 Chevrolet Chevelle - $6,950

75_chevelle_white_on_red_1.jpg (237624 bytes)Description: 350 V-8, Turbo 350 automatic, power steering, power brakes, factory deluxe cloth interior which features smooth operating swivel bucket seats, floor console shifter, and color keyed sport rims. Showing just 53,975 miles and appears to be correct. A good driving car with nice body lines and recent paint and super clean interior.

NADA Price: $2,943 - $4,428

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This was the cleanest Chevelle I saw during my quick search. A recent paint job kind of defeats what we are trying to do here. If we are supposed to "build" a cool car then we want one right before painting it. Besides, we would have to paint this car after we find and install a Laguna nose and shave the door handles. Maybe at $5,000 we can relish in the fact that we might not have a lot of work to do.

1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 - $5,200

69_cougar_project_1.jpg (40846 bytes)Description: exc restorer, no rust, strong 351 2V, all gauges, power steering, power brakes, ac, fair interior, dashboard needs replaced, 118K miles.

NADA Price: $12,000 - $18,360

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: This was the lowest price for a decent Cougar I could find. Should make a good project car. It's in Arizona, so we should be able to believe the "no rust" claim.

1970 Mercury Cougar - $15,000

70_cougar_green_elminator_look_1.jpg (90373 bytes)Description: Mercury's top cat for 1970--the longer, sleeker, sportier and bolder Cougar. 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. The interior features high back bucket seats covered in vinyl, full door trim panels, color-keyed carpeting and headliner. This Cougar also has a carpeted trunk, dual sport mirrors and a dash mat. A nice additional bonus is the original owner's manual. 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 this car. I know, it is in excellent condition, and brakes the $10K rule for this month. I couldn't help putting it in here. This is what I want for a Cougar.

1970 Mercury Cougar - $6,750

70_cougar_forest_green_needs_paint_1.jpg (152233 bytes)Description: 351C V8, automatic, power steering, power brakes, bucket seats, console, AM/FM radio, hide away headlamps, vinyl top, American Racing rims. Nice, straight & solid body, runs & drives great, mediocre paint, very clean interior.

NADA Price: $11,500 - $17,595

Source: Classic & Collectible Cars

Comments: This should be a nice project car.

1968 Mercury Cougar - $9,000

68_cougar_4speed_gold_1.jpg (102186 bytes)Description: 1,000 miles on a sweet 302 4 bb, crate motor. This is a beautiful car. The engine is a work of art, a power house. I am estimating about $15,000 into the motor and transmission alone. The transmission has even less miles than the motor. The paint is in pretty bad condition as you can see from the pictures.

NADA Price: $13,145 - $20,460

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: At quick glace this car looked pretty nice. However reading the ad (it was a lot longer than I show here) this might be too rough for our needs. If the mechanical work is sound and all we have to worry about it paint then this might be worth it... mainly because of the 4 speed. I would look elsewhere if it had an automatic. The car is in Arizona, so it should be rust free.

1970 Mercury Cougar - $8,995

70_cougar_root_beer_1.jpg (154066 bytes)Description: Original CA car, 99,157 miles, 351W V8, AT, power steering, power brakes, factory AC, new vinyl top, interior exceptional, exterior is rust-free.

NADA Price: $12,500 - $19,125

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: The picture sucks for getting an idea about the car. Well, it's basically an affordable Cougar with air conditioning.

1969 Mercury Cougar - $7,900

69_cougar_orange_pw_1.jpg (42096 bytes)Description: 351 Pkg 4V C6 Auto, Drag Pack, ice cold AC, console, power windows, PDL, Tilt, all orig unmolested, low mile calif rust free collector car.

NADA Price: $15,000 - $22,950

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: NADA boosts the value of the Drag Pack by 25%, which is why this car is valued so high. I can't remember, but I thought the Drag Pack and A/C were mutually exclusive options. Maybe I am wrong. At this price we don't even have to worry. The power windows and door locks are what I am really interesting in. I'll take it.

1981 Chrysler Imperial - $2,900

81_imperial_1.jpg (35645 bytes)Description: IMP, burgundy, wife said sell it, stored last 11 years, troubled EFI removed, new carburetor, $550, new tires, runs/looks great, all options, even sunroof.

NADA Price: $3,108 - $4,208

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: I would never consider this car, but I wanted to oblige the PHR article, so here you go. If you go with this just drop in the new 5.7 Liter Crate Hemi.

1966 Buick Riviera - $2,850

66_riviera_gs_black_1.jpg (46796 bytes)Description: G.S. runs and drives great, fresh engine and new tires, needs paint and carpet.

NADA Price: $15,100 - $24,400

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Needs paint... that's just what we want. In this case I am interested because it is a GS... so it better be real. At this price how can we go wrong. Look at its NADA value.

1966 Buick Riviera - $7,000

66_riviera_gold_console_1.jpg (1238309 bytes)Description: Gold with black interior. California car located in Temple Hills Maryland. No rust, body in good condition, fresh tune up, interior is good, driver seat top has one cracked spot. very minor work needed, dash has cracked spots, not real bad. Air conditioning system needs charging, muffler has a leak.

NADA Price: $14,465 - $22,990

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Fixing the dash on this car could be a big problem if they don't make reproduction parts. Other than that it is minor work. I priced this car on NADA with air conditioning, but I bet it needs more than charging, or he would have done it and advertised it as blowing ice cold. Expect A/C repairs. NADA thinks its worth a lot all fixed up. I think they are wrong. This is my favorite Riviera

1966 Buick Riviera - $4,200

66_riviera_green_1.jpg (656828 bytes)Description: 86k miles, 425 V8, Rally Rims, AC, Automatic, nice interior, very good condition.

NADA Price: $14,465 - $22,990

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: The price is low enough to afford painting this car... which it surely will need. It is also located in Austin, so I could see it after work one day. Definitely worth a call when it's that close. I was stunned when I saw NADA's price for these. It can't be right.

1967 Buick Riviera - $6,500

67_riviera_maroon_1.jpg (621932 bytes)Description:

NADA Price: $7,625 - $11,100

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This guy clearly believes in the the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words." He didn't put anything in the description except the name of the car. I can live with that when we get a good picture... and we almost did. The picture was a high resolution picture... but blurred. Reduced it looks great. Seems like a clean enough car to start a cool project on. Nice wheels. Notice the massive price drop from NADA going to the 67 model year.

1967 Buick Riviera - $6,500

67_riviera_black_pw_1.jpg (53180 bytes)Description: Automatic transmission, 430 V4 motor, great shape, all original, ac, power windows, power steering.

NADA Price: $8,388 - $12,210

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: NADA doesn't think as highly of the 67 as they do the 66. The power windows got this car on the list. I love that in 60s cars. Being in Arizona helps this car as well.

1972 Ford Torino - $2,800

72_torino_gold_1.jpg (35789 bytes)Description: Very straight, new rad, fuel pump, and hoses, runs great, needs fuel tank restore, 351C, all original, never wrecked.

NADA Price: $4,150 - $7,025

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Another car priced right for a project. Just make sure there is no rust.

1972 Ford Gran Torino - $3,500

72_torino_silver_1.jpg (16336 bytes)Description: Silver, 102,000 miles, 351-C 2V, auto, power steering, alum wheels, just insp, runs good, have extra performance parts.

NADA Price: $4,150 - $7,025

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Not a fastback, but the price is right for a project... assuming it is rust free.

1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport - $5,995

72_gran_torino_red_1.jpg (352209 bytes)Description: This 1972 Ford Gran Torino is a nice driver that we received from a local couple who have owned and loved this classic for quite awhile. This beauty sports the much sought after and well respected 351 Cleveland motor. She's all original with no modifications, so it runs as a stock Cleveland should and the automatic tranny shifts fine. The starter every once in awhile acts up, it will take 1 or 2 tries to start her but its not really that big of an inconvenience and a cheap fix. The red paint is newer and is nice but has a few blemishes here and there, but is nice and shiny. The car was originally a mustard yellow. The interior has a brand new headliner and dash board, the dash is in good shape, but the seats could be recovered or swapped out for some Mustang buckets.

NADA Price: $5,530 - $8,925

Source: Image Motor Company

Comments: This car almost looks too good for this article. I found this one long before the PHR article came out. My first car... my very first car was a 1972 Gran Torino... with a 351 Cleveland. They are not kidding when they say much sought after 351 Cleveland as NADA puts a 25% premium on this engine.

1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass - $3,500

80_cutlass_1.jpg (18689 bytes)Description: gray/blue, 260 V8, reblt transmission, Centerline wheels, air shocks, new headliner, door & trunk rubbers, could use motor upgrade.

NADA Price: $3,393 - $4,313

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Yuck! I just could not bring myself to look at anymore of these. I would much prefer an 81-85 Cutlass as a starting point, or even the Buick which was available with the Turbo V-6 in the T-Type.

1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme - $2,800

81_cutlass_1.jpg (70324 bytes)Description: Nice clean car, 45K low miles, 2-door, good condition, smog/current tags.

NADA Price: $3,075 - $4,050

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Now this is an affordable, clean starting point for a project... that will surely have more money into it than it will ever be worth.

1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme - $8,995

82_cutlass_1.jpg (20191 bytes)Description: 2-door, only 33K original miles, 350 Rocket engine, rides & runs like a dream, non-smoker, fully equipped, garage kept, showroom condition, rallye wheels, landau roof, new paint, a real beauty.

NADA Price: $3,225 - $4,175

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: See, isn't this a much nicer looking vehicle than the 80 model. This one is overpriced, but if we were really interested we could always talk him down. Here is where the NADA guide comes in handy. Also, NADA doesn't show a 350 for 82. I think he swapped in an older Rocket 350, so we definitely have ammunition for negotiating.

1983 Buick Regal - $2,000

83_regal_t_type_two_tone_1.jpg (20798 bytes)Description: T-TYPE, 3.8 turbo auto, solid frame, good body, all original, many new parts, drive away.

NADA Price: $6,125 - $10,650

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Perfect. This is what a "non-assuming" Regal T-Type is supposed to look like. The two tone paint (looks factory) helps make the perfect sleeper. Clearly they did some bodywork because of the primer spots. That's fine, because we plan to paint this car anyway. Shave the door handles, dechrome and smooth the front and rear bumper to work better into the body, and give it a new two-tone paint job with some subtle colors that are not stock. I love the price. This could be a great project car if the overall condition is decent.

1984 Buick Gran National - $6,500

84_gn_needs_rebuild_1.jpg (81086 bytes)Description: Black, 3.8L, turbo, alloy wheels, tint, clean. Needs rebuilt engine. $6500 OBO, (512) 925-3911 anytime. Great project car if you want a classic turbo muscle car!

NADA Price: $9,400 - $16,500

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: The Gran National is mainstream compared to most everything on this list. What would happen if we painted this a color other than black. I can do a rebuild, so that doesn't bother me. In fact, while we are at it we can add all those speed parts that can make these cars a terror on the drag strip. This car also happens to be located in Austin TX. How convenient.

1997 Lincoln Mark VIII - $7,995

97_mark8_ivory_1.jpg (62407 bytes)Description: 45,147 miles, Ivory, 8 cylinder, 4 speed automatic with overdrive, power steering, power brakes, power door locks, power windows, power driver's seat, power passenger seat, AM/FM stereo, JBL stereo system, trip odometer, tachometer, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, alloy wheels, cruise control, sport steering wheel, CD player, leather upholstery.

NADA Price: $8,312 - $9,412

Source: Auto Trader

Comments: I really liked this one of the mainy I found. The color is great. We might not have to paint this one. I could really see driving a car like this. This car got a nice boost in value fow have low mileage.

1998 Linconl Mark VIII LSC - $6,295

98_mark8_lsc_silver_1.jpg (61486 bytes)Description: This is American luxury and performance car! Save over $3,000 off the suggested retail price on this very nice, low mileage Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (think luxury sports car). This coupe is ABSOLUTELY loaded with more features than I have ever seen on a car. If you like bells and whistles, then this one is for you. This is a very nice car at a great price. Mileage 43,100, 8 cylinder, 4 speed automatic with overdrive, driver air bag, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control, passenger air bag, rear window defroster, power seats, leather seats, power door locks, power mirrors, power windows, power steering, sunroof, tilt wheel.

NADA Price: $9,200 - $11,150

Source: Auto Trader

Comments: This was the lowest priced LSC version I could find that looked like a good car. Probably a better choice than the Ivory one above, but I like the pearl in the Ivory car.

1973 Pontiac Ventura - $8,000

73_ventura_gold_original_1.jpg (55254 bytes)Description: Custom hatch back, original owner, gold ext. w/white int., no rust, stored for last 20 years, 99% factory original.

NADA Price: $3,600 - $5,425

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: This is what you look for when you want a totally clean original car. Too expensive for a project car, so we might have to figure a way to make it cool without the paint job.

1973 Pontiac Ventura Custom - $3,500

73_ventura_custom_green_1.jpg (16532 bytes)Description: This car has a Pontiac 400 motor, you will get a 1974 Ventura, original motor and transmission, call for details.

NADA Price: $3,325 - $5,000

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: Call for details... that's an understatement. It sounds like this guy has two cars. Maybe he has a 74 Ventura as a parts car. It also sounds like he put a 400 into this car and has the original engine to go with it. We need those details. Because of the confusion in the engine I priced this without an engine option on NADA's site. This looks like a great blank canvas to start a project car. He seems to have price it reasonably as well.

1974 Pontiac Ventura - $8,995

74_ventura_blue_1.jpg (140767 bytes)Description: 350 2BBL V8, automatic, power steering, AM/FM-cassette, factory A/C, bullet style mirrors, newer paint, dual exhaust, chrome Cragar Pro Star wheels, well maintained, 3 owner car, only 65,000 actual miles. What a nice straight car!

NADA Price: $4,350 - $6,240

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Comments: I found this car a while before the PHR article came out. Didn't they move the GTO to the Ventura line in 73 or 74? This could be setup as a GTO look-a-like. I hate to say clone, but that is the direction I am thinking. Who knows.

1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 - $15,900

83_camaro_z28_super_low_miles_1.jpg (107462 bytes)Description: ONLY 15,400 ORIGINAL MILES!! This is the first year for this body style and real Z/28. One owner car. And very rare 5.0 HO with factory 5-Speed transmission and 4 Wheel Disc brakes. Posi rear end, factory bucket seats with floor console. Power Steering, Tilt Wheel, Power Brakes, Power Windows, Air Conditioning and Factory Aluminum Wheels. This car still has the original tires. Everything is showroom new and original except for an after market CD stereo the sounds awesome. Great driver or investment.

NADA Price: $5,128 - $6,780

Source: Cole Classics

Comments: I put this here just to show people what this car looked like new. Way too expensive for a project car. This is a nostalgia car... for those of us that dreamed of driving one in high school or college. NADA sucks again. They don't list any engines for this car, and this is the engine to get. They also list a 4 speed and not a 5 speed. Oh well!

1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 - $4,500

84_camaro_l69_5speed_1.jpg (849755 bytes)Description: L69, black exterior, charcoal interior, factory 3.73 gear, 5 speed t5, a/c, pw, cc, tilt, t-tops, 92k miles, body very good, never wrecked, no rust, interior very good, good paint, 4th gen front seats, factory 5 spokes with BFG Radial T/A tires are on the car now. 16 in IROC wheels with Eagle GSCs are included with car. Very good factory seats also included, car runs perfect, performer and spread bore Holley are only mods. 2nd and 4th owner. All electronics in order, in family since new, well taken care of.

NADA Price: $5,183 - $6,890

Source: Collector Car Trader 

Comments: This was the nicest early third generation Camaro with a manual transmission I could find the day I was looking.