Classic Car Watch
Overweight Cars

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.

November 1, 2010
By Scott Lewis

This month I take the polar opposite of last month's tiny cars. This month I find a couple of seriously overweight cars.

1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - $9,000

Description: RamAir 351 M-Code Car. Ram Air 351 Cleveland Engine, C6 Automatic Transmission, 3.25 Positraction Rearend, Power Steering, Power Disc Brakes, Bucket Seats, Factory Floor Shifter, Stereo, Rear Wing, Rear Window Slats (not installed), Crager SS Wheels.

Source: Sports Car Gallery

Found: 9/1/2010

Comments: If you are looking for a cruiser of a Mustang, this could be perfect. I would check it closely to make sure it is in decent shape. I do have a mild fondness for the big 71-73 Mustangs. They gave the best ride of all the Mustangs before... a perfect feature for a cruiser car. I could see taking this on long road trips. Hot Rod Power Tour anyone.

1976 Pontiac Grand Prix - $9,500

Description: This is a one owner all original 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ with only 36,000 miles on it. This car has always been garaged kept since day one and is in original condition. It was special ordered with a radial tuned suspension, 8-track,fully instrumentation, posi-track differential, heavy duty cooling system,400 c.i. engine with a Turbo 400 Trans, and rally wheels. The car is in great shape for being 34 yrs old.

Source: AutoTrader Classic

Found: 9/18/2010

Comments: You have all heard the stories... I used to have one just like that. My parents had one of those. I took my test drive in that car. I got my first speeding ticket in a car just like this. A lot of people buy classic cars for reasons like all of these. A car from there youth that they either couldn't afford when they were young or that got away.

Well for me it was ALL of those items above. I did have one just like this car. I can say i had one because eventually my Mom signed over her 1976 Grand Prix to me. She did this because i was shopping for a car and she wanted me to loan my brother the money to buy a car. I was using the Grand prix while I was looking. So... I took the deal.

I did learn to drive on my Mom's 76 triple black Grand Prix. I went from car to car while living at home. In fact... I went through 4 cars from age 18 through 22 when I joined the military. Between each of those 4 cars I drove the Grand Prix. It was a terrible car... but good in some ways. I remember a friend getting a 74 Grand Prix with the 400 engine. Mine (remember, my Mom sighed it over to me) had a 350... and a slow 350 at that. I think this was the first year for the catalytic converters in the Grand Prix. Anyway, the car weighed between 4100 & 4200 pounds, and that 2 barrel 350 was slow as dirt... and got crappy gas mileage. I averaged 9-10 mpg in those days, hitting my best of 17 on a long trip to Pennsylvania.

Back to the friends 74 with a 400. It was quite a bit faster than mine. I asked if I could take it for a quick spin. He gave me that keys and another friend and I jumped in as started around the block. Well, I was going through an intersection when a guy ran a stop sign and almost plowed into the front fender of my friend's GP. I was able to maneuver the car out of the way by... driving it up onto the sidewalk. The brakes on these cars would have just locked up and sent me into his fender making it look like it was my fault.

After the guy drove off... as if nothing happened... the friend that was in the car with me was very impressed how I was able to perform that maneuver on a car i just got into. I told him that in ANY other car we would have been in an accident, but because i knew how the Grand Prix handled to the Nth degree, I was able to put it in just the right spot to avoid hitting the car or anything else around us. It was a pretty impressive save.

So... my mother had one just like this... I learned to drive in one... I took my driving test in one... I got my first speeding ticket in one... and got it my first accident... and my third... with one. Oops!

And for how bad the car was I still have a slight fondness for it. I hate the huge bumpers that just make the car look ugly. But I do like the large personal luxury coupe aspect on it. It is because of this car that I have such a fondness for the 70-72 Monte Carlo and 69-72 Grand Prix. Those earlier years looked a lot cleaner and did not have the horrible emissions controls of the mid 70's or the heavy bumpers that help destroy the look of so many American cars of the day.

Now.. here was have a 76 Grand prix in triple blue (my favorite color) with less than 38,000 miles. I can't resist it. If I had cash in hand I would make an offer. I don't think i would pay $9,500 for this car, but I could not tell you without seeing it in person how much a memory like this would be worth to me.

As for the bumpers... the Spike TV show Muscle Cars is doing a build up of a 73 Buick Century. It too had the hideous bumpers, but they have trimmed them down to look attractive. I would look into that for this car. It will never be worth a ton of money, so some tasteful modification that could clean up some of the government mandated crap would go a long way toward making this car something I would be proud to drive around in. On top of that i would make it my personal goal to bring this car into the modern ear my updating the mechanicals to get better handling, brake and acceleration while improving the gas mileage. All with a nod toward making it a better daily driver.

Kind of cool, don't you think.

As a bonus this car is located in Texas... so maybe I should stop typing and go see it.