Classic Car Watch
The Unusual

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.

December 1, 2012
By Scott Lewis

Recently I have focused my attention to looking for something to show here. In fact, that is what I wanted to do this month. I wanted to look for cars that are very far "out of the box." Cars that very few people would be interested. A 69 Rambler comes to mind.

While searching for less popular cars I got a little frustrated and bored. So I did something I had not done it quite a while. I browsed all the classic car dealers on my Favorites page.

I ended up clipping over 70 car ads. I will try to show as many of those as possible over the next few months. But that is way too many cars for this column. It does tell me something... that there are plenty of cars out there... both "in the box" and "out."

This month I will show you the most unusual of the cars I found recently. Maybe next month we will look at some mainstream classics, or at least a common theme. For now... let's get a look at the oddest stuff.

1976 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ - $11,900

Description: Runs and drives near perfect. Super clean, rust free body, Southern car per owner. Appears all original with 79,999 miles. Factory 400CI V8, 3 Speed Auto, AM/FM radio, power windows, locks & seats, cruise control, tilt and air conditioning. PS, PDB. Really nice car that is turn key and ready to cruise.

Source: Showdown Auto

Found: 11/18/2012

Comments: This is a negative of the car I learned to drive on. I drove my mother's 76 triple black Grand Prix for more years and miles than I can remember. She even gave it to me so I would lend my brother money to buy his first car (I was looking for a car at the time with cash in hand). That old black car was not a good car. But there were many things about it that I liked. Flip that old car in the photo processing lab and you get this triple white car. This car gets the far more desirable 400 V-8 (mine had a 350 - 2 barrel). This car is heavy. 4144 pounds dry... according to the registration on my old car. So the 350 was very slow. I drove a friends 74 Grand Prix with the 400... and it was much better with some real power.

I really like this car. It would look better in triple black. And although I like it, I don't love it. Yes, nostalgia is kicking in here, but I do remember the bad as well as the good with these cars. So I have a hard time getting past that price. I don't see myself paying more than $10K for a car like this. It will never get very valuable, and the driving experience will always be poor.

If I had the cash I would make and offer on this car... or one very much like it. For nostalgia reason. But it would have to be a bargain. After all, there are tons of Mustangs out there... and many for less than this boat.

1973 Plymouth Roadrunner - $18,500 --> $16,500

Description: 440 GTX automatic slap stick original; 2nd owner. Newer paint, vinyl top, re-chromed bumpers, CD/stereo in glove box, original radio; all else original, including spare tire. Original sales sticker included. Always garaged and well-maintained.

Source: AutoTrader Classics

Found: 11/5/2012

Comments: More nostalgia. I had a 73 Road Runner GTX. This is the only year that they put the GTX on the Road Runner. Mine was a car I bought of a friend's brother... the original owner. The car was crap. The paint was pealing/fading off the car and it had rust you could put your hand through. But... the interior was near mint, and there was that 440 under the hood.

I remember going to a Plymouth dealer and ordering a set of those GTX emblems on the hood for my car. My car was gray with a black vinyl roof. Like this car with it's vinyl roof, you don't get the stripes (similar to a Starsky & Hutch stripe) for this car.

Like the GP above... I don't know if I would go this high for car that has so little following. This car will never skyrocket in value. There was a picture of the speedometer showing just under 52k miles. If that is true, maybe this car is worth the asking price. I would prefer to get it below $15K. Especially because it is a vinyl roof car, which I find less desirable in this body style.

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle - $8,100

Description: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, 4 door sedan. 6cyl., 3 speed manual transmission. Radio delete package. 86,000 miles showing. Must see this car, really good restoration, undercarriage and paint in great shape, The fuel sipper of it's day.  Runs & drives great, very clean interior.

Source: AutoTrader Classics

Found: 9/2/2012

Comments: This was one of the cars I originally found when looking for out of the box cars. Four doors is out of the box, Six cylinders is out of the box. But I love that this car is clean and unmolested. It could make a great project car. I would try to build this car into a mild pro-touring car. Make it handle like a new car. It could be an American 60's version of a BMW 3 Series. Yea, right!

1971 Chrysler 300 - $19,995

Description: All Original. Immaculate Condition. Showroom Quality. Fully Loaded. 47,744 miles. Vinyl Top. White Leather, White Vinyl. Great Color Combination. An American Classic!

Source: Superior Auto Sales

Found: 11/5/2012

Comments: I love the big Mopar fuselage cars... especially with hide-away headlights. I don't love the price of this one. The car was listed with the 47k miles, but nothing about it in the description. So... we have to call and find out if it is original mileage, and they have documentation to back that up. Then I could see going higher in price. I still think you can find a car like this for under $15K, but I don't know for sure.

1970 Ford Mustang - $15,995

Description: This Ford Mustang Grande two door hardtop was sold new in California and spent its life there until 2004, resulting in an extremely rust and corrosion free vehicle. Powered by a 351 c.i. Ford Cleveland V8 that produces 250 h.p. and is mated to a three speed automatic transmission known as a Cruise-O-Matic. Equipped with power steering, power front disc brakes, and dual exhausts. The real beauty of this Mustang is the complete absence of any signs of rust out or replacement of body panels.

Source: Holt Auto Sales

Found: 11/16/2012

Comments: This car is not out of the box. But it is unusual in that I rarely see 69-70 Mustangs in coupe form. These seem to be significantly less desirable in coupe form than the 65-68 cars. So I added it here. I would not have gone looking for this... it just showed up while browsing.

1971 Pontiac Ventura - $13,995

Description: Powered by a numbers matching 307cid V-8 and mated to a 350 Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. This beautiful Starlight Black is contrasted with a clean, tan vinyl bench interior with like new loop carpeting. Many accessories include power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, dual exhaust system, Rally wheels and much more. This is a very clean car. The engine bay is very clean. Underside shows no rust and the body panels appear to be the originals. This vehicle has retained its original Bill of Sale, order copy, owner's manual and extensive maintenance receipts which authenticate the mileage of 74,339 miles.

Source: Streetside Classics

Found: 11/5/2012

Comments: The Pontiac Ventura, along with the Buick Apollo and Olds Omega, were the beginning of the end for GM with the over abuse of brand engineering. These cars are total rip offs of the Chevy Nova. And it is barely different. I had a friend with a 71 Nova back in the 70's/80's and the interior is exactly like this car's. Heck... the 307 is a Chevy engine!

Here we have a car were they literally changes the grill, taillights and steering wheel and sold it as another car. But that makes them a hard to find out of the box car. Perfect for what i was looking for... though I stumbled upon this while browsing. Which goes to show you that you usually find the out of the box cars when you are not specifically looking for them.

1976 Chevrolet Vega - $9,990

Description: Completely Original Vega w/ 35k Miles. Vega GT hatchback that still has the original Firethorn Red dealer paint and its original red check cloth interior. This sporty classic features a 2.3L inline-4 engine with the desirable 5-speed Borg Warner transmission and it is one of the nicest survivors that we have ever seen in this particular model. This rare vehicle is in near-perfect mechanical condition as well and it has been kept indoors almost its entire lifetime. In fact, the only issue that we have been able to find with this vehicle so far is that the clock in the dash does not work. Otherwise, it is in almost perfect original condition.

Source: Specialty Sales Classics, Inc.

Found: 11/18/2012

Comments: Now this is a car you don't find very often. A low mileage, all original Vega. Talk about out of the box.

Now.. how about a modern take on the V-8 Vega. Why not take a V-6 from a new Camaro. They have over 300 hp, and this car must weight over a 1,000 pounds less than a new Camaro. Hmmm!

1982 Mercury Zephyr - $4,950

Description: 1982 Mercury Zephyr 2dr fancy Z7 option, gorgeous correct yellow/gold finish. No rust, only 59k actual miles, like new in and out. 6 cyl, automatic, power steering, power brakes, cold air, factory turbine wheels, tilt and cruise, 25 mpg. Daily driver or show or go anywhere.

Source: Bob's Classics for Sale

Found: 11/18/2012

Comments: Now this is where you can definitely tell me I am crazy! However, this car reminds me of another car. My mechanic back in New York has a Ford Futura... which is the same as this Mercury. He swapped in a complete Mustang GT drive train into that car. It was a Mustang GT with a sleeper body.

Why not do that with this. A 5.0 motor would slip right into the engine bay of this car. And then you could embarrass Mustangs and Camaros with it.

This is definitely thinking outside the box... and a car I would never have found by searching.

1991 GMC Cyclone - $19,500

Description: Matching Numbers Truck: 62,892 miles, 4.3 Liter 280 Horsepower Turbo V6 Engine, 4-speed Automatic 700R4 Transmission w/Overdrive, All-Wheel-Drive, Power Steering, Power Disc Brakes w/ABS, Bucket Seats, Center Console, Factory A/C, Power Windows, Power Door Locks, Tilt Steering Wheel, Cruise Control, Premium Stereo, Factory Gauge Package w/Tachometer & Boost Gauges, Rear Tonneau Cover, Factory Fog Lights, Factory Ground Effects w/Side Skirts, 17" Chrome Wheels, 275-40-17 Radials.

Source: Sports Car Gallery of Beaver Falls

Found: 11/5/2012

Comments: Here is a car (?) I would not have thought to go looking for. OK, it is a truck. But this truck has the same engine they put in the Buick Grand National with the addition of full time all wheel drive. This is a sports car in a truck chassis/body.