Classic Car Watch
Boats (That's Boats on Wheels)

November 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis

This month I want to look at boats. I know, this is a classic car column. But boats can be cars too. In fact, the "boat" that inspired this article is the 1970 Chrysler 300 Convertible that Yao Ming drives in the Garmin GPS commercials. I also saw a Chrysler 300 Hurst on My Classic Car. I loved it. Then I stumbled on a Sport Fury GT web site with one black and one white Fury GT on the home page. They're Big! Huge! Gigantic! The anti-hero of politically correct cars. These are the Chrysler fuselage cars.

I have to wonder if these cars were fast, even with a 375 hp 440 under the hood. These cars weighed a good 4000 lbs. 0-60 mph probably was a "brisk" 8 - 9 seconds with the 440. This car would be eaten alive by many 4 cylinder cars today. Mileage? Well, that falls into that category of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it."

Of the fuselage cars, the ones I really like are the ones with hide-a-way headlights. These includes 69-71 300s, 70-71 Sport Fury and the 72 Gran Coupe Fury.

There are not enough of these cars on the market to fill this column. So, what cars did GM and Ford have that fit this bill. We are looking for cars that weigh a good two tons in a luxury oriented two door. Chevrolet's Monte Carlo and Pontiacs Grand Prix fit this description. However, the MC and GP are smaller inside, and fall in that "personal luxury car" niche. Next up the line I see the Chevrolet Caprice and its cousins (Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile 98). These were available in two doors, especially when the tops were of the folding variety. You could almost include the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado in this group, though they are probably too "heavy" at closed to 4500 lbs.

Our goal is to look for "cruisers" that get really bad gas mileage, but have a strong presence driving down the road. To find cars for this article I took a slightly different approach. With the fuselage cars I did specific searches to try and find cars for sale. But I decided to only check my usual group of web sites to see if I stumbled on the non Mopar cars.

If you are a fuselage fan, then this month's cars should be for you. Let's see what I can find:

1972 Plymouth Fury - $12,957

72_fury_light_blue_1.jpg (193690 bytes)Description: Oklahoma car in the 80’s, check out this super slick ISCA Show Car C-body Fury!!! 2003 3rd place Mopar @ ISCA Auburn Hills!!, frame off restored approx 5 yrs ago, 360 engine runs the best as it has been driven back and forth from the shows the last 5 years!! (we were told #matching 360 w/63K indicated miles), automatic, Power Disc brakes, Power Steering, remote drivers mirror, owners manual and sales booklet, several inspection receipts from Oklahoma along w/other misc. receipts over the years!! Super clean and chrome engine bay looks awesome!! Nice huge trunk w/jack and mat, undercarriage is very nice, Kenwood stereo, factory AC car!! ‘Fury’ side marker lamp lights up!! This car has been drove back and forth to the shows over the years so it’s been very dependable and a great trophy winner as well!! In the last 2 years here in KY it has won 7 Best of Mopars along with 30 or so other trophies, we have the previous owners name, address and phone number readily available to attest to condition and car show capabilities!! Rare C-body car w/hidden headlamps that work like a charm!! Dare to be different…….Looking for a PROVEN show winner and PROVEN dependable driver?

NADA: $4,500 - $6,660

Source: Jake's Forgotten Past

Comments: Once again I get to take jabs at NADA. The description doesn't tell, but from my own brief research this seems to be a Gran Fury, which was high in the Fury food chain... at least back in 72. NADA claims the Fury III is the highest valued of the 72 Fury models. I put the highest price here just to give this car a fighting chance.

Now to the car. I would MUCH rather have a 70-71 Sport Fury or Fury GT. I have seen the 72 listed as a Gran Fury and Fury Gran Coupe. This is one of those for all intents and purposes. It doesn't really matter. The pictures of this car make it look so clean it defies the normal pricing. If this really did get a frame off restoration it is worth what they are asking. My only grip with the car is the color. Baby Blue, come on. At this price we won't be repainting this car anytime soon, so we better like the color or get used to it quick.

I would look into converting the bench seat to buckets with a console. The key is to do it so it looks like a factory job. Make sure to use a slapstick shifter while your at it.

1969 Chrysler 300 - $10,900 (Sold)

69_300_conv_green_1.jpg (159498 bytes)Description: Just in! Only 1,933 built. Loaded with options including power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, air conditioning and more. Powered by the standard 440 v8 factory.

NADA: $12,938 - $17,020

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Wow, this is nice. Ready to go. Need I say more. This car would have made the top spot if it had not sold. But I have an answer for that coming on a couple of months.

1972 Chevrolet Impala - $12,500

72_impala_cs_black_1.jpg (62806 bytes)Description: CS, original interior, show paint, cold A/C, 18 American Torque Thrust wheels, very dependable, beautiful show and drive, front discs, 350 motor, 350 transmission, 50k original miles.

NADA: $5,088 - $7,563

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: This cars shows you what a nice stance and cool wheels can do for the look of a car. I don't know what CS means, so I decided to look up an Impala Custom Coupe on NADA. It didn't help. This car is overpriced. That show paint better be really top quality. If I was local I would check it out. It can't hurt to call with a low ball offer either. This car appeals to me more than any of the other non-fuselage cars this month.

1971 Chrysler 300 - $2,500

71_300_brown_pw_1.jpg (46001 bytes)Description: Runs good, original paint, new tires, no accident, power windows.

NADA: $4,250 - $6,375

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Hey, at $2,500 we can't go too wrong. He didn't tell us anything that would help us price it on NADA. Engine? A/C? It doesn't matter. He has it priced pretty low. If this car is rust free (we would hope with the original paint) it is a keeper. There is plenty of money in the budget to do a complete restoration (though maybe not concourse quality).

1970 Chrysler 300 - $9,900 (Sold)

70_300_conv_440_red_1.jpg (63406 bytes)Description: 1970 300 Convertible Red/White top & interior 40,394 Miles- Road Wheels New Radials CM27TOC 123039 #'s matching 440 4 Barrel Motor.

NADA: $12,375 - $16,280

Source: Gesswein Motors

Comments: This car doesn't thrill me much, but when I found it it was the nicest convertible I had seen.

1970 Chrysler 300 Convertible - $6000 (Sold)

70_300_conv_green_1.jpg (45192 bytes)Description: 440 engine, at, fully restored, 15K miles & 5 years ago, has always been an Arizona car, paint has faded & top is a little sun burnt, exc stereo system,

NADA: $12,375 - $16,280

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: I found this one early, but it sold. The picture was not good enough to justify a high standing on my list. But a fully restored car for $6K, how could you go wrong.

1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst - $19,500 (Sold)

70_300_hurst_1.jpg (50634 bytes)Description: 440 TNT 375 HP Very Rare-Only 500 Produced 78,000 Miles Lot's of documentation As nice as I've seen!!! Exceptionaly well maintained.

NADA: $12,438 - $17,625

Source: Gesswein Motors

Comments: This car is way out of my price range, but I wante to include it so you could see what a 330 Husrt looked like. The molded in rear spoiler of these cars is wild.... even for a Mopar. This particular car is in deperate need of a paint job. I feel it is way overpriced for its condition... as does NADA.

1970 Chrysler 300 - $5,500

70_300_conv_forest_1.jpg (21425 bytes)Description: 440/350hp, 41k on od, every pwr option, forest green, w/ blk top & int, new dual exh, tires, wheels, brakes, runs exc, int very good cond, body solid, could use paint, only 1770 were built.

NADA: $11,250 - $14,800

Source: Collector Car Trader

Comments: Can we assume that "body solid" means "no rust"? Let's hope so. Does "every pwr option" include air conditioning AND power windows? Again, I hope so. Why not call. With a nice paint job this car could be the one Yoa Ming drives. NADA doesn't mention a 350 hp engine option so I left it out. Clearly this is a bargain priced car according to NADA, but its condition might state otherwise.

1972 Oldsmobile 98 - $6,850

72_98_green_1.jpg (152400 bytes)Description: Oldsmobile 98 LS 2 door hardtop. Matching numbers, 53,700 actual documented miles car! Always garaged, triple green, 3 owner, copies of titles back until new. The paint and interior on this vehicle look like new, litterally! Some of the many options include a 455 4 barrel V-8, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power seat, power windows, cold air conditioning, fender skirts, rocker moldings, factory Oldsmobile bug deflector, vinyl top, working am/fm/8 track and much more. This car was appraised in 4/2001 for $9,000. It is very rare to find a car like this in such incredible original condition. What a collector car! Priced to sell.

NADA: $4,940 - $7,313

Source: American Classic Autos

Comments: This car was listed as a LS. NADA lists a Luxury version of the 98. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and went with the Luxury version when pricing this car. I wonder who appraised this car for more than NADA says it's worth.

I don't really like this car. The color is hard on the eyes. But I thought I would include it here as an alternative to the fuselage cars.

1971 Chevrolet Caprice - $13,500

71_caprice_402_bb_black_1.jpg (98778 bytes)Description: This is a 2 owner vehicle in original condition. Always garaged. No rust, bondo, or accidents. Big block 402, Rochester 4V, posi traction. An awesome original that looks, runs, and drives perfectly. Low original miles (51,000 mi.), ice cold A/C with new compressor and converted to 134a refrigerant, factory louvered trunk in 1971, power windows, power disc brakes, tilt wheel, factory dual exhaust that is brand new, outstanding original chrome, 4 brand new tires.

NADA: $5,873 - $8,990

Source: Gas Pump Classics

Comments: Wow, this is overpriced. NADA even gave a 35% boost to the value for the 402 big block. Regardless, I love this vehicle. If you want to be politically incorrect the only way to do it better would be with a factory 454.

I would ditch the hub caps and get some conservative aftermarket wheels on this car pronto. Check out the black Impala above. I would also look to get rid of the fender skirts, and put the appropriate chrome trim around the wheel wells. Then this car would be ready to cruise.

1972 Plymouth Gran Fury - $5400

72_gran_fury_360_blue_1.jpg (22218 bytes)Description: V-8 360, ps, pb, ac, new exhaust, recent tune-up & winterized. Good solid southern car. Runs great! A great deal priced below book value.

NADA: $3,840 - $5,610

Source: Time Rider Classic Cars

Comments: This car does not inspire me, but it is a fuselage car. Hopefully it just needs some TLC. We are at top dollar here, so this is a money pit. We will probably never get our money out of this car that we put into it.

1972 Chevrolet Impala - $9,925

72_impala_white_400_sb_1.jpg (217427 bytes)Description: Custom coupe, 2 previous owners, Colorado car, original 400 small block, 350 turbo transmission, factory a/c, power steering, power brakes, original interior, new base, coat clear coat paint, new dual exhaust, new 17" American Eagle alloys, new 255/40r17 tires, runs and drives like a dream.

NADA: $6,244 - $9,281

Source: Boulder Motors

Comments: NADA didn't list a 400 small block as an engine option for this car. So, just for fun, I priced it with the 402. The 402 is a slightly larger version of the 396. However, there was some confusion as to how this engine was advertised from car to car. I the Chevelle it was still called a 396, but in some cars it was called a 400. Go figure. NADA gives the 402 a 25% increase. So you can knock 45% off the NADA prices if you think that was unfair.

Here is another case of good looking wheels making a huge difference in the appearance of a vehicle. Unfortunately, I think these wheels are just O.K. Nice car, though.

1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV - $4,995

72_mark_iv_white_1.jpg (190271 bytes)Description: 460 V8 engine. Automatic transmission. Power steering. Power brakes. Very clean original car. Drive anywhere.

NADA: $5,575 - $14,100

Source: Oldies But Goodies

Comments: I'm not really sure this car fits with this month's cars, but I thought I would give Ford at least a shot at this list.

I don't think I have every seen such a spread from average to high retail price from NADA. It's almost three times as much in excellent condition.