Classic Car Watch
New Car Alternatives

NOTE: This column displays cars I have found on the Internet. I am not selling them. Please follow the links if you are interest in a car. Be mindful of the date this article was published. For an explanation why I do this read the original column here.

August 1, 2009
By Scott Lewis

In my Car Corner column this month I looked at used cars that are very close to the average price of a new car. These were alternatives to a new car. Well, classic cars can be thought of that way as well.

This month I decided to look for cars that bracket the $28,400 average price of a new car. I used $24,900 - $30,000. I was able to find some nice cars for under this that might also make for new car alternatives, but for this month I wanted to stick with this price range... just for fun.

Every car here has air conditioning. After all, if you are looking for an alternative to a new car A/C is a must, especially here is South Central Texas.

Here's the list.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro - $25,900

Description: This car has the original matching numbers 230 6cyl motor, with a power glide transmission, power steering, and factory air, painted the original butternut yellow, has original factory bucket seats, and console, the previous owner cloned it to a rally sports, with all new parts, has bumper guards, front and rear, this car has all the original body panels, and original floor pans, with no signs of ever having any rust or body repair, the air blows cold, it also comes with a disc brake set up for the front end, this car runs and drives as new, and will get 20+ miles to the gallon, or put a 502 in it and go fast, this is one of the nicest 67 Camaros around.

Source: Back in Time Classic

Found: 5/10/2009

Comments: I am first and foremost a Camaro fan. So we will start off with 4 first generation Camaros.

This is it. The is the Camaro I liked the best in the $25-30K range. I don't mind that it is not a real RS, or that it has a 6 cylinder. This would make a great cruiser. I love the overall look and wouldn't it a bit, expect for possibly some Torq Thrust II wheels. Mechanically I might upgrade the transmission to 3 or 4 speed auto, and I would probably upgrade the suspension with bolt-ons to make it handle better. This is as close to a perfect classic driver as I could come up with for this month.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro - $25,900

Description: Here is a very clean, solid 1969 Camaro SS 350 sport coupe with air conditioning and automatic transmission. Late production with an X-11 body code and Z21 style trim group makes for a strong probability that it is an original SS car. The very strong running 350-4bbl V8 is not numbers matching. The black vinyl bucket seat interior is in very good over all condition. The sheet metal is very good in all areas, as is the paint. This is the most desirable year of production ever for Chevy's pony car and this is a fine example.

Source: Auto Trader Classics

Found: 6/5/2009

Comments: Normally 69 is my favorite year for a Camaro. But the 67 above with the RS package and the chrome around the wheel wells and the black vinyl roof is just such a perfect combination, I had to list is first.

I went back and forth on this car. It mentions the A/C, but it is an aftermarket A/C system. I am not opposed to that. It is the installation. I see a box below the dash. With the console this air box is on the driver's side of the interior. You will probably bang your knee on this. I would prefer an aftermarket A/C system that was plumbed to push air through factory air outlets.

Other than that I really like this car. White is not my first choice, but it looks pretty nice here. I wouldn't mind taking this for a test drive.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro - $29,750

Description: RS/SS, Rally Sport hideaway head lights, tail lights are new, highly detailed engine compartment with brand new Vintage A/C and Heat, new aluminized exhaust, new windshield, new tires and Disc brakes, rally rims, chrome PS pump and brackets, automatic trans with console shifter, chrome water pump with billet pulleys, aluminized polish coated headers, smooth firewall, super nice car.

Source: Collectable Cars

Found: 6/5/2009

Comments: The pictures were a bit low resolution for me. The engine compartment is looking very show car like. I would like to see an interior shot showing the dash. This car looks good overall, but I need more info and pictures to justify its cost over the previous two Camaros.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro - $29,900

Description: A beautiful mostly original number matching 1967 Camaro 327. This Camaro was built at the Van Nuys California plant and purchased by its first owner in Palm Springs and remained there until 2001. The car has its original numbers matching MN code 327 ci 275 hp engine and power glide transmission with console floor shifter and factory air conditioning. The car is newly painted in Lemans Blue with it's original black interior and black vinyl top. The car runs and drives as new. This is a nice solid car with no signs of previous body damage or rust. The car still retains its original body panels and is straight as an arrow. Some factory options include: L30 V-8 275 hp engine M35 Powerglide trans A67 folding rear seat V01 heavy duty radiator C60 factory air conditioning U69 am/fm radio N40 power steering M11 floor mounted shifter, factory rally wheels, black accent stripe, 3:08 rear end. Nice 1967 Camaros are hard enough to find let alone one in this original condition.

Source: Steel Dreamz

Found: 6/10/2009

Comments: This car looks excellent. But I can't seem to get warmed up to it. It is the lack of the RS package with the hide-a-way headlights. For 67 & 68 I really like the RS package. It makes the car. If this car has the same RS look as the 6 cylinder car above it would have been listed first.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro RS - $24,900

Description: Cortez silver with black stripes, 350/300 HP, automatic transmission, power steering, power disc brakes, factory a/c, 12 bolt 3.55:1, positraction rear, older restoration. Runs and drives excellent.

Source: Oldtown Automobile

Found: 6/5/2009

Comments: Once we gets past 1st-Gen Camaros it's time to look at the 2nd Generation. Again, I am a huge fan of the RS package for the split bumper and the round turn signal lights. This car looks very nice from the pictures. This would make a much better driver than the 1st Gen cars. The suspension design and interior are much more modern than the one year would indicate. These cars really did make a huge improvement in drivability with the second generation. And this car has all the basic down, PS, PDB, A/C. A perfect alternative to a new car.

1972 Chevy Camaro SS Clone - $25,900

Description: 350 cu in, 4 speed, Hurst shifter, PS, PDB, A/C. and dual exhaust. The exterior in gold has a contrasting black vinyl top, air dam, rear spoiler and a Bold Stripe package. Adding to the exterior of this Chevy muscle car is a set of factory mags with B F Goodrich radials in 215/65R 15's.The interior in a light beige has buckets, console, AM/FM radio and tilt wheel. The metal bumper Camaros are on the move, Chevy enthusiasts don't miss this one. Great looking and fun to run up through the gears, very original throughout and well maintained makes this car a thrill to drive!

Source: PJ's Auto World

Found: 5/28/2009

Comments: This car is missing the RS package, but it still looks good. A 4 speed makes for a better performance vehicle, but might be a turn off as a replacement for a new car. That's a personal decision. The pictures don't show that tan interior well enough to see if it would put me off. For a classic like this I would prefer black.

1966 Ford Mustang Fast Back 2 + 2 - $27,995

Description: 289 c.i. 4BBL V-8 (6E5 Date Code), Automatic Transmission (C-4)(Trans Code-6), 8in Rear w/ 2.80 Gear Ratio (Axle Code-6), Seat Belts, Factory A.C., Buckets/ Console, JVC AM/FM/Cassette, Fold-Down Rear Seat, Dual Exhaust, Trunk Kit, Spare, Style Steel Wheels w/ Radial Tires, Ivy Green Metallic Exterior (Color Code-R), Parchment/ Gold Interior (Trim Code-D8), Some Maintenance Receipts, Original Books, Window Sticker & Invoice, Really Nice Pony Car That Appears Pretty Original!

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Found: 5/12/2009

Comments: Enough with Chevrolet's imitation, let's get in the original Pony Car. Jumping to this price range is almost a necessity to get a nice Fastback Mustang. And this one trumps that with the console and A/C. Makes me think of the TV Show Spencer For Hire, though his was dark green. I rarely get to look at fastback Mustangs because of the price.

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 GT - $27,995

Description: Watch out! There's a rare Cougar on the prowl in Charlotte, NC! This Marti report documented Cougar was purchased with both the XR7 and GT option groups from the factory. It's also an original numbers-matching J Code 390 big block with air conditioning. In the Cougar world it doesn't get much better than this! The XR7 option gave buyers luxurious options such as the custom wood grain dash w/tachometer, overhead console, and interior lighting group. The GT package added power front disc brakes, stiffer suspension, and a Ford 9 Inch rear end as standard equipment. This Cougar is also the correct Augusta Green Metallic with Beige interior color as when it came new. This is a very nicely restored car that is something you don't see every day. Stand out at the next Ford/Mercury car show you attend!

Source: Streetside Classic Cars

Found: 5/23/2009

Comments: Not a Mustang, but a very close cousin. This is one rare Cougar. Even without research I know a 390 GT with air conditioning in a Cougar is very rare. This is a great alternative to a Mustang. I could see driving this car regularly... gas price permitting. I would probably swap out the wheels for factory style wheels or Torq Thrust II wheels. Other than that, this car is perfect as is.

1970 Mercury Cougar Convertible - $26,000

Description: This is a very rare, documented car. Also very sharp with highly desirable features: 4-speed, air conditioned convertible! Factory competition yellow, only 134 made this color. Only 64 came with styled wheels! Claimed to have 36,000 original miles. Original interior is in excellent shape and helps support the mileage. Previous owner spent $6,500 repainting the car. Very straight, glossy finish. New weather stripping, re-chromed bumpers. Chrome on the tail lights and grill is mint. Top is replaced and has a glass window. Trunk compartment is painted and has a styled wheel spare. Engine compartment is very clean. Everything works from the cold air conditioning to the clock. Excellent driver. Working rim blow horn. Numbers matching engine. Power top, power steering, power disc brakes, AM-FM radio.

Source: Volo Cars

Found: 5/31/2009

Comments: Another rare Cougar. Cougars were rare with 4 speeds, yet here we match that up with air conditioning and a convertible. Not my favorite color, but I like the rarity of the car. This could make a nice driver if you live in a climate that is good for convertibles. I had a convertible and I am not looking for another, but I could be persuaded with something like this.

1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 - $25,900

Description: Very Nice True Super Sport with Factory Build Sheet. Correct Code 75 Cranberry Red with YF8 Black Striping. Big Block CE Code 396/402 with Performance Upgrades. Rare A52 Bench Seat Factory 4 Speed Car. Power Steering and Power Disc Brakes. Working Cowl Induction. Very Rare A/C with 4 Speed Combo. Factory AM/FM Radio Still Intact. Nice Chrome and Stainless. Very Clean Engine and Trunk Compartments. Original Five Spoke SS Mag Wheels with New Goodyear Tires. New 2 1/2 Inch Exhaust with Correct Oval Tips. Runs and Drives Very Well.

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Found: 5/11/2009

Comments: Enough with the Pony Cars, it's time for some intermediate size Muscle Cars. Now we are talking. I real Muscle Car with a 4 speed and air conditioning. That's an awesome combination. He doesn't say if it is a numbers matching car, but we can hope. I love the bench seat, but might want to up grade this to buckets and a console. The working cowl induction hood is a bonus, but the air cleaner does not have the rubber to seal it to the hood. I would look into that. This is the last year for the SS 396. With the less desirable, and heavier 73-77 Chevelles you could only get the 350 or 454 in there performance models, and they were pretty choked on performance.

1970 Pontiac GTO - $27,900

Description: Automatic, console, buckets, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, hood mounted tach.

Source: Harwell Motors

Found: 5/12/2009

Comments: I really like Harwell. They seem to have some very fair prices and take lots of nice pictures. But leaving no description with a car is bad. If I am in the market for a numbers matching car, how can I tell. They need to get the description up for this car. I made up the description above from what I can see in the photos.

A real GTO fits our new car alternative theme. And it would only work for me if this was a numbers matching car. Overall the many, many pictures show this car as probably being a nicely restored car. Everything looked very clean. Since Harwell is in Texas I would just go there and browse their lot.

1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 - $27,900

Description: The Gran Sport Was The Truly Muscular Buick With Its Functional Hood Scoops, Red Filled Chrome Lower Body Mouldings And Blacked Out Grill With GS 455 Emblem. This Real Code 46 GS Has The Numbers Matching 455 Engine. Among Its Other Features Is A Turbo 400 Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission, Power Steering, Power Front Disc Brakes, AM/FM Factory Push Button Radio, Ralley Gauge Package, Dual Rear Speakers, Factory Air Conditioning, Tilt Sport Steering Column, Remote Drivers Side Mirror, Power Windows, Power 6 Way Front Seat, Factory 10 Bolt Rear End, Rear Spoiler, Newer Dual Flowmaster Exhaust With Chrome Tips - Black With Red Tail Stripe And Black Interior . . Excellent Solid Rust Free Body, Frame, Floor Boards And Trunk Floor - Nice Solid Piece Of Muscle.

Source: Midwest Car Exchange

Found: 5/28/2009

Comments: Power windows, power seats and tilt wheel. Wow! That on top of power steering, power disc brakes and air condition. Maybe this is a new car. It certainly has all the new car attributes... in a car almost 40 years old. I love that.

1974 Plymouth Road Runner - $26,500

Description: 400 V8, automatic, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, bucket seats, center console, rally wheels, tinted glass and more. A very nice mostly original low mile example.

Source: Orlando Classic Cars

Found: 6/5/2009

Comments: Those that have followed this column since the beginning know I use to own a 73 Road Runner GTX. So when I saw this car I just had to include it. A year later with a smaller engine (mine 73 had a 440), but we have the console and buckets. That is not the slapstick shifter, so I would consider adding that. I can't help but wondering if this car is overpriced. This is into the big bumper era at the tail end of the Muscle Car era. These cars are only popular now because of the massive prices being asked for the prime 72 and earlier cars.

1972 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible - $26,995

Description: 85,916 miles. Powered by the original #'s matching 350 v8 engine with factory 3 speed automatic transmission. Finished in War Bonnet Yellow with Saddle leather interior. Equipped with air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering, power windows, power steering, power disc brakes, white convertible top, Corvette floor mats, factory style radio, original gauges, factory rallies, new visors (with originals in box), and dual exhaust. The paint looks excellent, this War Bonnet is truly a beautiful color. When getting inside the car the seats and carpet show minimal wear and everything feels nice and tight. The rallies are in excellent shape with no visible dents or dings. The top is bright white and in excellent shape. The engine compartment is very clean and looks well maintained.

Source: Holt Auto Sales

Found: 5/12/2009

Comments: As you know from last month's column I really like the chrome bumper Corvettes from 68-72. I did not search for these, but I did some serious browsing at some of my usual sites. I found this one and it stuck in my head with the relatively low miles and the power windows on top of it being a convertible and having air and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. What more could you want? The color blue is the only thing missing.

1969 Chevrolet Corvette - $28,900

Description: Unmolested, original, matching number, survivor corvette with only 28,000 miles still retaining much of it's original paint. She is just as she came from the factory loaded with options which include 350/300 HP engine, Turbo auto, Power steering, Power brakes, cold Factory Air, Power windows, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, Am/Fm radio, Tinted glass, Side grill trim, and Rally wheels. All this on a no hit original body. The rare condition of this car will amaze you. I have never seen functioning fiber optic lights on these cars work, once they were 10 years old or so, much less 39. They work on this car, along with the problematic vacuum operated headlight doors and the wiper door.

Source: Purebred Motors

Found: 5/26/2009

Comments: Now this is low mileage. I have never been a fan of red interiors with white cars, but I could make an exception in this case. Wow, less than 30K miles. Talk about an alternative to a new car, this car is almost like a regular used car. Take care of it and it will go up in value. Or be like me and drive it while maintaining it as well as possible to keep from loosing value.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette - $29,995

Description: T-Top, 350-270 hp, 4 speed, numbers match one family owned car with 41,553 actual miles. Warbonnet Yellow paint (Gold) with Black Deluxe interior. Original, unrestored, unmolested car in very nice condition. Original paint! Original interior! Original engine compartment! Original chassis! Original drivetrain! This would be a great car for Bloomington Benchmark® or NCRS Bowtie judging! Fully documented one owner car bought brand new in northwest Ohio. Optioned with factory air, power steering, power brakes, leather, shoulder harness, posi, SS brakes, AM/FM radio, tinted glass, rallys, and raised white lettered radials. Most all factory correct type components including the spare, jack, jack tools, T-Top bags, seat belts, washer system, shifter, shielding, air cleaner, owners manual, sales brochure, and T-3 headlights. Documented with the window sticker, warranty pamphlet/P.O.P., dealer invoice, dealer bill of sale, vehicle inspection procedure sheet, owners manual packet, and miscellaneous maintenance receipts. Original one family owned car for 37 years. Looks, runs, and drives excellent for an original, unmolested, unrestored car.

Source: ProTeam Corvettes

Found: 5/31/2009

Comments: Another low mileage original. This one seems to be more original than the last. I love these cars. This one has a 4 speed, a nice plus. Like they say... a car can only be original once. Once restored you can't go back.

1971 Corvette Convertible - $28,000

Description: Mille Miglia Red with Tan Leather Interior and Black Soft Top. Original 350 with Matching Numbers and Automatic Transmission. Options include Factory Air Conditioning, Power Steering, Power Brakes, Power Windows, SS Calipers, Original AM/FM Radio, Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column, and Rally Wheels with White Letter Radials.

Source: Mershon's World of Cars

Found: 5/28/2009

Comments: This is the last Corvette. I like Mershon's. They always seem to have nice cars. So I included this one. Again the power windows is working on me. Bright "resale" red is working too. I think I would like it better with a black interior, but beggars can't be choosers.