Classic Car Watch
Top 15 Classics - For Sale Right Now

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.

February 1, 2018
By Scott Lewis

Last month (in my Car Corner column) I told you I needed to tighten up on my selection criteria, both with regard to the makes & models of cars as well as the cars themselves.

This month we are going to take a quick look at my top 15 classic cars. This is before I start tightening up. This will give me a baseline of what I like... and hopefully tell me where I can start being more restrictive. If I do get a classic, this will be my first classic in Life 2.0 (no one to answer to on what I buy).

Keep in mind... at the time of this writing I have 97 cars on a wish list with an additional 63 cars selected, but not yet graduated to the wish list. I let a car marinate in my mind for about a month before moving it to my wish list, for those times when I have a "what was I thinking" moment. I am seriously addicted to this stuff. I need help!!!

I obviously need to get more selective. But for now, let's see what cars are currently interesting me, and give a little description of what I like and don't.

Also... I am likely going to need to publish columns much more often as I start contacting people about the cars (I did that for two below already). So expect these columns to come more frequently with specifics on cars as I look into them. Unless, of course, I decide to get a modern car, which means this classic thing will come to a screeching halt. If I do post articles more often... do you want to know when they are posted? With a newsletter update? Or just a monthly recap in the normal newsletter? Let me know, and join me on this journey to buying a classic.

1982 Corvette Collector Edition, 44K miles - $14,995 (link)

1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition Hatchback Coupe San Antonio, Texas 1

Notes: I have more than a slight fondness for the 82 Collector Edition Corvette. However, I have not made up my mind if I really want one or not. So why is this on my Top 10 list? Simple... this one is located locally in San Antonio. It will be easy to visit the dealer and take this for a test drive. If I like the car the price makes for an easy purchase, leaving money let over to look at a 2002 Thunderbird or 93-96 Camaro Z-28. The problem with these cars is that American workmanship was on the decline in the late 70's and into the 80's. This car will have lots of rattles and such. Also, I am concerned this car will be too slow. It is certainly slow by today's standards. A V6 Camry will out run it. But it does have a cool factor that appeals to me. I need to test drive it to get it out of my system. If it is bad enough, I can stop looking at them.

1970 Chevy Monte Carlo, Green on Black, 400, Auto on Column, Console, A/C (broken), 79K miles - $19,800 (link)

1970 Chevy Monte Carlo

Notes: This car is #2 for the simple reason that it is in Texas. I can take a Saturday to drive up and see it. Overall it looks good. He states the A/C is not working, but the price is low enough I don't mind getting it fixed or replacing it outright with a Vintage Air system. I want to see this car in person. Also, test driving this will help me make up my mind on the Monte Carlo itself. It is a necessary car to see so I know if I should stop looking at these. In fact... I am likely going to see this car a few days after this article goes online. Stay tuned!

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, Burnt Orange over Burnt Orange, 425 Super Rocket V8 - $16,900 (link)

Notes: I really like this car for being different. I need a closer look at it. It is located in Pittsgrove Township, NJ and I will be in Wall Township, NJ in April. If this car is still for sale in April I will call about it and take a look. The car is a classic you rarely see anymore. Considering it is less than $20K, I can easily see buying it and also putting money toward a 93-96 Z-28 or 2002 Thunderbird. The condition of this car needs to be checked carefully, since they do not make many parts for it. And that leads to the biggest concern for my first classic... getting a car that will be expensive or difficult to restore. Also, for a car like this there is not a lot of demand, so selling it could mean losing money to sell it quickly, or taking a long time to get a decent price. If I did get this car my goal would be to make it roadworthy enough to take on the Hot Rod Pour Tour.

1966 Mustang GT, Green over Parchment, 289 #'s Match, Auto w/ console, A/C, Pony Int, Rally Pak - $31,995 (link)

Notes: OK, I checked this one out already. I emailed them to open a dialog on this car. I was showing the pictures of some of these cars to a friend that owns an auto restoration shop. When I showed him this he said, "this is the one." He said I need to make them an offer on this car. I told him I am a couple of months from being able to have a down payment. He responded, "he could lend me the money to buy it." Holy Crap!!! I have NOT taken him up on the offer. But I did reached out to the dealer to get more info. I wanted higher resolution photos. They sent me to their web site (instead of the link on Hemmings). The pictures were better, but still only 1920 x 1440. I had hoped they would provide original resolution photos from the camera. Regardless, my friend and I both noticed the front fenders seem lighter than the doors. I asked the dealer about that and he took the car outside in the sun and told me there is a variation in the color. My friend thinks I should just offer them $27K. I may do just that... at the end of March. Before that I will have to see the car in person. It is located in the Dallas - Fort Worth area, so a Saturday might happening.

1970 Cutlass Supreme, Blue over Blue, 350, Auto on Column, Bench, A/C, 48K miles - $29,995 (link)

Notes: Looking at the Mustang GT priced over $30K, reminded me of this car. I like the Olds Cutlass/442, particularly the 70-72 body style. This car is very pretty. Do I really want one as my first classic? I would prefer a 442. This car is in really nice condition. And it does have the 442 hood. But it is NOT a Clone/Tribute/Whatever. So what don't I like about it? Well, it is a bench seat car. I really want buckets. Yea, but the Olds Toronado above is a bench seat car. This car is not stock (the hood) so maybe I can convert it to period correct buckets and console. If I did that I would want to add the Hurst His/Her shifter (the "his" side was a ratchet shifter for manually banging through the gears). The car does look a little bland. So maybe I do the 442 Clone thing. One way to "toughen up" the appearance would be to replace the blue vinyl roof with black vinyl. At what point would I be hurting its value? A lot to think about on this one as I try to get more selective.

1972 Grand Sport, Bronze with Tan over Tan, 455 Crate, Auto on Column - $24,500 (link)

1972 Buick  GS 455

Notes: Here is another car I waffle over. This one in particular is a cool bronze color, but the vinyl roof is an ugly color (to me). I would definitely have that changed to black. It is an original GS455, but now with a crate motor. At this price that does not concern me. I can drive it more and not be so precious with it. However, do I really want a 455 and the gas mileage that goes with it? I might not drive this as much because of gas mileage. But the same could be said for the Toronado above. Again, this car is equipped with a bench and column shift. I would want to change that to buckets and the Buick console that includes the horseshoe (staple) shifter. I am starting to see a pattern here.

1972 Corvette, Red over Black, 350 #'s Match, Auto, A/C, 69k miles - $25,995 (link)

Notes: Chrome Bumper Corvettes have always been a favorite of mine. I would like to get a very nice, driver quality car that I can use as much as possible. This car seems to fit that bill. I noticed in some of the photos the paint looks a little weird. It could be an issue with the resolution of the photos. Or it good mean the paint is not that good. I will need to get more information on this car. I do have some reservations about getting an older Corvette as my first classic. It is a 2 seater, so I can't load both of my sons in it and go for a drive. Granted, one of my sons doesn't live with me. It's just a weird feeling about getting a true sports car. And then shouldn't a true sports car have a manual transmission.

1969 Camaro, Blue with Black over Black, 350 NOM, Auto, Console - $32,950 (link)

1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Notes: Given that I looked at the Mustang GT above... this car should be #1 on this list. It's a 69 Camaro... in blue!!! However, this is pretty high for my budget and it does not have A/C, nor the original engine. I don't normally mind a car not having the original motor, but at this price for a regular Camaro... hmm. If money becomes tight for some reason I have to sell it, that could be an issue. Otherwise I love this car. The color is perfect and the car looks amazing. Of course I would add A/C to it pretty quickly to enjoy it during the summer months (about 9 of those a year here in San Antonio). This reminds me of a Camaro I saw last year for sale. It was a really nice 69 with a crate 350, 6 speed manual, 4 wheel disc brakes, mild suspension, and a complete stock looking interior. It was exactly what I want in a Camaro. All the right mods to make a great driver, but none of the stuff that makes the car too precious to drive all the time. If this car had a manual and A/C it would be #1... and I would be done looking.

1973 Camaro, Red over Black, 383/385 HP, 5 Speed, A/C - $27,900 (link)

SOLD – 1973 Chevrolet Camaro

Notes: Now we are talking. A warmed over engine, 5 speed manual, A/C. I love it. This could be the perfect driving classic. I absolutely love the fake wood dash insert. It definitely needs a console. Also, it doesn't sound like anything has been done to the suspension or brakes. So this is a bit of a project for me as I would put in 4 wheel disc brakes and a Hotchkis suspension. UNFORTUNATELY, this car sold almost as fast as I could right it up. I don't know how long for sure it was on their web site, but it was sold in less than a week after I saw it. Oops! You snooze, you lose.

1979 Pontiac Trans AM, Black on Tan, 400, Auto, A/C - $26,000 (link)

used 1979 Pontiac Trans AM  | Lakeland, FL

Notes: Do I really want a Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am? This has the same stigma as the 82 Corvette above. Build quality and performance (lack of it).

1968 Cougar XR7 GT, Green over Black, 390 #'s Match, Auto w/ Console, A/C - $31,000 (link)

Notes: I really like the Cougar. But I always see it as a runner up to a Mustang. However, this is the cream of the crop. An XR7 with the GT package and the 390 Big Block!!! This car is perfect as is for a classic. My only concern here is that it is pricey, and if I were in a bind could I get my money out of it. That, and how much would I drive an actual big block.

1971 Nova, Red over Black, 350 #'s Match, 4 Speed - $24,900 (link)

Notes: A friend when I was a high school drove his sister's 71 Nova with a 396. I tried to buy it from her when I had the money. She wouldn't sell it to me, she always intended it to go to my friend (her brother). But that has given me a fondness for the Nova. And this is the rare exception where I really like the bench seat. My friend's sister's Nova had a bench. I spent a lot of miles in that car. Nostalgia of driving a "sleeper" Nova again is strong with this car. But $25K seems like an awful lot to me. Maybe I just need to get over that. We do need to add Vintage Air to this car.

1971 Chevelle, Maroon over Black, 350 Crate, 4 Speed w/ Console - $27,995 (link)

Notes: I once had a 70 Chevelle. I like them. The Chevelle SS was Chevrolet's answer to the GTO for a True Muscle Car (intermediate car with a big block engine). This is not an SS, it just has some SS appearance items added. That's fine with me. The crate motor and 4 speed are what I like. This could be a Muscle Car I could drive a lot. We need A/C on this one. Once we add in shipping the car to me and the A/C we are over $30K. That's when I have to start wondering if I should be getting a real SS.

1969 GTX, Dark Green over Black, 440, Auto w/ Console - $27,900 (link)

352984 f36869974ce9 low res

Notes: I am a sucker for a Big Block Mopar. I once had a 73 Road Runner GTX with a 440. 73 was the only year the GTX was an option on the Road Runner. Years prior the GTX was a model of its own. So I love Road Runners and GTXs. This one looks perfect. It just needs A/C. But could my gas bill handle a 440???

1972 Challenger SE, Red over White, 340 #'s Match, 4 Speed, A/C - $39,950 (link)

1972 Dodge Challenger

Notes: Oh my... I am in heaven. I like Mopars, but they tend to be more expensive in good condition than comparable Ford & GM cars of the era. Notice here this car is expensive. But it has EVERYTHING we want is Dodge's Pony Car entry. 340 V-8, Check! The 340 was the only V-8 in the entire Chrysler line that only came in a performance version. There was never a 2 barrel version. It was straight up a performance engine from day one. Many say it was underrated at 275 hp (common practice back then and likely). Unfortunately, the 72 got detuned with lower compression and rated at 240, which was probably closer to the truth than the 275 number was for the earlier years. Back to this car... 340, check... 4 speed, check... pistol grip shifter, check... A/C, check. I want this car. The price is scaring the crap out of me.

As you can see I have a problem narrowing my choices. And this does not take into account how many cars would be runners up to the cars above. In fact, let's take a look at a few of those runner ups to give you an idea how much trouble I have narrowing my selection. 

1965 Mustang GT, Red over Black, 289, 4 Speed, A/C - $32,900 (link)

Notes: After getting slightly disappointing info about the paint on the green Mustang GT above I searched Hemmings and found this Red Mustang GT. This one has a 4 speed (+), but does not have the Rally Pak (-) or console (-). But those are easily remedied. I like this one a lot. It does start the refinement process... meaning, I really like Mustangs, especially a real GT with the right options.

1969 Camaro SS, Fathom Green over Black, 350 #'s Match, Auto w/ Console and Gauges - $39,995 (link)

1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Notes: This car is out of my price range. Granted, if I got a 10 year loan (possible for classics) I could get the payments pretty close to $400. However, that leaves no money leftover. And this car does not have Air Conditioning. I am listing it because I am hoping that the price goes down by the end of March. I will reach out to the dealer and give a lowball offer of $35K once I have my down payment. So, a pie in the sky dream car... but with possibilities. The perfect runner up to the 69 Camaro above.

1970 Monte Carlo, Red with Black over Black, 350, Auto w/ Console, Buckets, A/C - $24,995 (link)

Notes: This is more like what I want in a Monte Carlo. I love this color combination for this car. I would put this in the top 15, but since there is a nice Monte Carlo in Texas I can look at in person... this will be a runner up until I drive a Monte Carlo and make sure I really want one. And this does not even get into the really nice SS454 Monte Carlos I have seen in the mid $30K range. But this does tell me that I really like teh Monte Carlo. I need that test drive to see if I really want one.

1970 Firebird, Blue over Cream, 350 #'s Match, 4 Speed - $24,900 (link)

1970 Pontiac Firebird – Super Clean

Notes: Here is a nice consolation price to the 73 Camaro above. The interior color is holding this one back. It is definitely different that another Camaro, especially at Cars & Coffee. But I think I would be wondering what it would take to make a Trans Am clone out of it. Cutting a hole in the hood for the Shaker Scoop, and cutting holes in the fenders for the vents... that sounds like it will need a paint job. That could be expensive. Or maybe the hood and fenders could be painted to match. We would need to remove the stripes if we go for the T/A look. I like it. I just don't love it. It is a compromise. But there is nothing except the lack of A/C that keeps it from being driven all the time. Classic runner up, and the problem I have with liking so many cars and seeing the good in all of them.

1971 Grand Prix, White with Black over Black, 400, Auto w/ Console, A/C - $17,900 (link)

392840 2331d117cad7 low res

Notes: I love the price on this one. The car definitely has issues. Some of the detailed shots show the car is a driver quality car. A 10 footer. But if my goal is to have a classic I can drive all the time, this is just what we want. A car that will look good at Cars & Coffee and is priced below any Monte Carlo I have seen in the same condition. Plus I learned to drive on a 76 Grand Prix so I should settle into it nicely.

1972 GS, Orange over Black, 350 #'s Match, Auto w/ Console, A/C - $24,995 (link)

1972 Buick GS

Notes: This car is perfect except for the color. Though not a bad orange, it is ORANGE (follow the link and see how orange on their web site). I Love everything else about this car. Dyna Mat already installed during the restoration, mild rear suspension mods, buckets and the console with the horseshoe shifter... all perfect. But that color... YIKES! If it were red or almost any other color that looked like it could have come from the factory that way... this car would be listed above instead of the GS455. I looked up the cowl tag info and it is supposed to be orange, but really.. this orange. It can't be the original color. I don't know if I can get past the color on this one. I kind of want to see it in person to be sure. Especially after copy and pasting the photo above. It looks less orange here that on their web site. So is something going on with the photo from copying, or does their web site distort the color.

1974 Challenger, Red with Black over Black, 360, Auto, Console - $26,900 (link)

352599 d47da2ec1610 low res

Notes: OK, this is a perfect runner up to the Challenger above. We still have a V-8, but the 360 in stock form in nothing to write home about. This car also has the console I love so much. The shifter is not the T-Handle Slap Stick, but that might be an easy change. We need to add A/C. And likely some other tweaking. But the price is much more reasonable. I like it. I just don't know if I love it.


There you have it. Over 20 cars listed here... and another 100 or so in the wings. Why  can't I be rich. Well, next article I am going to pick a Make/Model and show all the cars ranked in the order I like them. We will start with....

Not so fast. Come back and see.