Classic Car Watch
Damn The Budget For A Drivable Muscle Car

October 1, 2007
By Scott Lewis

Last month I came across a really nice looking Road Runner. I was floored by its appearance in the pictures. The car was way out of my normal $15K budget, but it did not seem unreasonably priced. Without even looking up its value I thought it would be a good buy. And its price seemed reasonable to use the car as a frequent driver.

With a nice Road Runner to set the bar, I went on the look out for other real Muscle Cars that inspired me to want to find other frequent drivable Muscle Cars.

1971 Plymouth Road Runner - $23,900

Description: True (RM23) Road Runner, beautiful dark green metallic, paint, dark green vinyl interior, white vinyl top, white roof strobe stripe, 383 ci engine, Pistol Grip 4 speed manual transmission, 4 bbl, factory intake manifold, mild camshaft, ceramic headers, Mopar HEI ignition, Accel coil with 8mm wires, power steering, Be Cool aluminum radiator, bucket seats, factory dash with tach & gauges, original am radio, Sun Super Tach II with Autometer Phantom gauges, Mopar seat belts, remote mirror, 255/60/15 Goodyear rear tires, 215/65/15 fronts, 15 Cragar SS wheels, 74,000 original miles, dual body color mirrors, hood pins, functional Beep! Beep! horn, Ready to Cruise! Mopar Muscle!

NADA: $31,421 - $58,223

Source: Southern Motors

Found: 8/26/2007

Comments: This is the car that inspired this month's list. Notice that they did not mention whether this car is a numbers matching car. Considering some of the aftermarket engine equipment I would guess it is not. That's can be a good thing if you are looking for a car to drive, but it will hurt resale value. The car does seem pretty reasonably priced based on NADA's average retail value being over $30K. I really like this car and if I had $25K laying around I would buy this car and install a Vintage Air system in it.

1969 Plymouth Road Runner - $19,950

Description: 2 Door Post! Matching numbers, California black plate car. 383 V8, automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, factory a/c. Very sharp body, paint & top. Nice original interior, dual exhaust and Magnum 500 wheels. Drives Great!

NADA: $31,460 - $64,240

Source: Brockers Beautys

Found: 5/1/2007

Comments: What's wrong with this car. First off, it is pretty rare to see fist generation Road Runners (68-70) with air conditioning. Next, why are they asking so little. Granted, this car is way over my $15,000 budget. But it is more than $11K below average retail price according to NADA. Based on the value of a fully restored Road Runner you could spend another $20K restoring this car and still sell it for a profit.

I love Mopars. I have for a long time. I owned a 1973 Road Runner GTX back in 1983-84 time frame. It died a miserable death and I always regretted that. I mention that in case you think I am just jumping on the Mopar bandwagon because they have been skyrocketing in price lately. I love that this one has air conditioning. Too bad they didn't provide a picture of the interior, though I am sure it is a plain column shifter, bench seat affair.

I wish I had the money to call about this car right now. All I can say is SOMEONE please buy this car now and tell me how good it really is.

1969 Pontiac GTO - $22,900

Description: PHS Documented Real GTO Sold New In Glendale Arizona. Window Sticker, Protecto-Plate, Owners Manual, Warranty Book, Original Sales Receipt And Service History Since New. Power Steering, Power Front Disc Brakes, Working Factory Air Conditioning, AM Radio with Rear Speaker, Rally Gauge Cluster, Rally Wheels And New Vinyl Top. Midnight-Dark Green With Dark Green Bucket Seat / Console Interior And Top. No Under Hood Modifications, Original Wheels With Whitewalls, 109k Actual Miles. Solid, Unmolested Car That’s Ready To Enjoy.

NADA: $34,730 - $64,918

Source: Memory Lane Motors

Found: 9/5/2007

Comments: Not the best looking GTO out there, but the price is right compared to NADA's value. This car needs better looking wheels and tires. And that it the first thing I would do if this car was parked in my garage.

1971 Plymouth Roadrunner - $22,000

Description: Lemon Twist Yellow with a black vinyl top, gold brocade deluxe interior, black chin spoilers, black rear wing, and Magnum 500 wheels. Matching numbers, very rare early 340 car in excellent condition! The matching numbers 340 engine has been upgraded with an Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley Dual Feed 650cfm carburetor, wild Mopar PurpleShaft cam, Hooker headers, and Mopar electronic ignition system. Matching numbers 727 Torqueflite and the 3.91 SureGrip rearend. Power steering, factory 150 mph speedometer, factory Rallye gauges, factory AM radio still in place but is disconnected. Factory air conditioning with all components in place but does not blow cold (may need charged?). No signs of body filler or panel replacement ever.

NADA: $38,903 - $72,085

Source: Sports Car Gallery of Beaver Falls

Found: 9/5/2007

Comments: I love Road Runners... can you tell? This one may stand out a little too much. I usually prefer my Muscle Cars to be big blocks, but the 340 being very unusual in the car kind of adds something special. NADA added 20% for the 340 engine... even though they list the car as a Road Runner 383. I tend to think NADA misses the point a number of times. My guess is that the 340 engine - an engine that was never made in anything but a performance version - would inclrease the value of any car where it was an option. However, in this car it was kind of the sign on the wall that the Muscle Car was ending, and the 340 was going to be more prevalent in the next model year. I think you should knock the value down by that 20%. I also priced this on NADA with air conditioning even though it is not working.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle - $19,900

Description: # matching 327-275hp, 4-speed, buckets, Rallye wheels, Cortez Silver with black interior, arrow straight, rust free! Excellent condition!

NADA: $18,450 - $28,940

Source: Just Muscle Cars

Found: 9/5/2007

Comments: The 327/275 engine was a really nice small block. In this car that would make this the closest thing to a small block Muscle Car. Kind of like the 340 Road Runner above. With the 4 speed this is a really cool car. I would have to add air conditioning, but I could really see driving this car as-is for quite a while.

1970 Ford Mustang Fastback - $27,500

Description: 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 clone - 351-4V Cleveland, automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, front & rear spoilers, window louvers, Magnum 500 wheels, Mach 1 seats & upholstery, Monte Carlo bar, export brace, console - Super Nice Boss 302 Clone - Performance Built 351 Cleveland - Older Restoration - Great Driver - $100K Looks For A Fraction of the PRICE!

NADA: $19,600 - $34,800

Source: Classic & Collectable Cars

Found: 9/5/2007

Comments: O.K. This is not a Muscle Car. At least not in the strict sense of a Big Block intermediate car. However, If I was going to do a non-stock Mustang this is high on my list. I love the 70 model year in Boss 302 guise. A real Boss 302 would be very expensive, though I don't know about $100K expensive. I would much rather have a car with the look of a Boss 302 than the real deal. The 351 Cleveland is a great motor for this car. Perfect. The only things missing are air conditioning and a shaker hood. This car is priced pretty high for a non-stock car. I would want a matching numbers car at this price, so it could at least be returned to stock for a purist.