My Search For American Muscle – Part XIV

ONE SIMPLE QUESTION

I follow a few muscle car pages on Facebook just to torture myself with seeing what everyone else out there is enjoying while I sit carless in front of my computer.  

One day someone in Arizona posted that they were selling a 1966 Plymouth Satellite convertible, powered by a 318 Poly for $28,500.  It looks awesome and I was really trying to talk myself into inquiring about it.  The big issue is Arizona is pretty far away and buying a car sight unseen makes me extremely nervous.  Plus it has a 318 Poly for an engine.  

The 318 was one of the general workhorse engines for Mopar and there were many, many cars equipped with the 318.  In the Mopar enthusiast circles, the 318 has a nickname – “boat anchor”.  Basically, it’s a dog of an engine as far as performance goes.  But there is one saving grace:  it’s a 318 “Poly”,  and there’s a lot of love for the poly version of the 318.  Poly means that the combustion chamber is polyspherical, kind of like the hemi.  Kinda.  So, it’s a unique little engine that some Mopar lovers like to play around with.  Me?  I’d pull the damn thing and put in a hemi, probably a Hellcat.  Or at least pay someone to do that for me.  

Here’s the 1966 Plymouth Satellite for sale in Arizona.

I finally worked up the interest thinking it would be a fun driver even if it was woefully underpowered.  I poured over the pictures and came upon a photo of the door jamb showing the VIN of the car.  In the picture, however, was an unusual green wire coming from the car into the door.  I found that to be weird since there is nothing powered in that door – no power windows, door locks, lights or stereo speakers.  So I clicked on the comment box for that photo and asked one simple question:

“What’s the green wire for?”

A day later I checked back in with the post fully expecting to have it explained to me.  Nope.  But not only was there no answer there was no photo.  The poster deleted it!  What the hell?  Instead of giving an explanation, or even a “I have no idea,” they just decided to delete the photo.  Now it looks like they are trying to hide something.  My best guess is that it was an old speaker wire for a speaker mounted in the door, but the door panel looks new was probably replaced sans speaker.  Just a hunch.  But this guy decided to hide the photo for whatever reason and now I’m more confused than interested.  

I put a link to a video of the car below.  It is a nice looking car.  I’ll keep an eye on it.

This isn’t the deleted photo, but if you zoom in you can kinda see the green wire in the jamb of the door.

Link to the owner’s YouTube video

My Search For American Muscle – Part XIII

CAR CURIOSITY

I’m still searching for a muscle car to own and along the way I have developed a sort of search methodology.  You would think it would be pretty simple – go to Google, enter in the year/make/model of the car you are looking for and then start looking for the one that catches your eye.  Once you find the “one” all that is left is to pay, pick it up, and then enjoy.  But I like to go into much more depth and look into the car’s past for some reason.  And I do that because it can be worth the effort.

This week a 1970 Pontiac GTO popped up on a website I follow and it caught my eye.  I’m not really “jonesing” for a ’70 Goat, but this one was nice – red on red, 4-speed, and purrs like a kitten on the video.  Most of the time I can find the VIN in the photos or in the description and then the journey of discovery begins.

 

This red 1970 GTO caught my eye. Listed at Bluelineclassics.com

The first step for me is to usually find the VIN and do some research on the car by going to a website that can decipher the VIN and fender/cowl tags and tell you something about the car. This car’s VIN begins with the following: “242370B”, which is Pontiac-speak for Pontiac (2), GTO (42), two-door coupe (37), 1970 model (0), built in Baltimore, MD (B). This one checks out as a true GTO.

1970 was a peak year for muscle cars and horsepower, and that usually means cars from that year would bring in substantial money on the market. It seems unusual to me that this car would be under $50,000, being a numbers-matching car (the engine and drive train are stamped with the sequence number of the VIN). This car does lack the Ram Air and hood mounted tach options, but it is a four-speed and is presented nicely. So naturally, I had to try to find out more about the car.

I Googled the VIN and was surprised to see this:

This is the same 1970 GTO located in Ohio, the same state where the current seller is located.

This is the same car sold by a Chevrolet dealer in Ohio that sells classics on the side. It was listed for sale at $27,900. What? Now my alarms are going off. How does the car get sold for such a low price and then flipped for $17,000 more? Interesting stuff.

I also found a forum called “The Supercar Registry”, and someone had recently made a post about it. The poster mentioned the red on red GTO and how it looked pretty good. Then the experts checked in.

  • “Beautiful car, but it needs the correct bucket seat releases.”
  • “and correct dash (72 dash) and that stupid Buick sticker on the air cleaner…”

So apparently the bucket seat releases are from a 1968 Pontiac, and not the 1970.  The dash comment I had to look into and confirm, it is consistent with a 1972 model GTO and not the 1970.  Weird.  And the “Buick” sticker comment was explained in a further comment that it is consistent with the stickers Buick used, even though it bore a Pontiac emblem.  Pontiac apparently never used that design on their air cleaners.  

I also learned from the description of the previous sale listing that the car was originally painted silver and had been changed.  It seems to me that the car would be worth more and attract more buyers being a silver/red combo and not red/red just for appearance and originality sake.

I’m not that familiar with the GTO but I learned a lot was wrong about this one!

My Search For American Muscle – Part XII

I’m up to the twelfth post of my search for a muscle car.  I never thought that I would be having this difficult of a time in finding something that would satisfy my old car desires.  But I am having fun looking, even if it means that I am more of a virtual tire kicker than a real one.

I am a little perplexed as to the muscle car market right now.  It seems that it has dried up somewhat.  When I first started looking for a car in November 2018 there seemed to be a lot more available.  My three top cars that I have spent the most time looking at are the 1967 Olds 442, the 1967 Plymouth GTX, and the 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T.  Right now on Hemmings.com, there are only five GTX’s for sale, the Coronets number eight, and there are only four 442’s currently for sale.  A check of eBay basically has similar numbers as most sellers cross list their car on both websites as well as many others.  When the pandemic hit I figured there would be a lot of sellers, but I guess people are holding on to their investments for as long as they can.  And to add to my woes, I’m still hoping to find a convertible, which really limits the numbers.

What has been listed is being snapped up pretty quickly.  This 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T from Southern Motors in Michigan came up for sale this week and it’s already listed as “Sale Pending.”  It was listed at about $7000 less than what they are typically listed for, so I’m not really that surprised that it was snapped up quickly.  I have trouble acting that quickly on a car.  I like to really study them before I can even list them as a “favorite.”  

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The car lacked a drop-top, the Magnum 500 wheels, A/C, and it was black. I was trying to like it for $43K, but it was snapped up before I could.

 

One of the mistakes I have come to realize that I am making is that I have been limiting my search to primarily Hemmings and eBay.  I have discovered that there are some other good dealers out there that don’t list their cars on either site and seem to be doing just as well.

One of those websites is Bluelineclassics.com.  I’ve seen a couple cars on their page that had grabbed my attention only to be gone from the available cars within a week.  

Another page that I check on frequently is Brown’s Performance Motor Cars.  They currently have a very nice white 1969 Chevelle SS with a blue interior that I really like.  I’ll keep an eye on it, but I prefer the 1967 and 1970 Chevelles more.

I’ll keep virtually kicking tires for now and keep you posted.  Thanks for reading!

My Search For American Muscle – Part XI

PART XI – UPDATE!  UPDATE!  WE HAVE AN UPDATE!

Yes, I have an update, several actually, but not the kind you or I was hoping for.  Ha!  No, I haven’t bought a car.  I just thought that I would update the blog regarding some of the cars I have had my eye on in the recent past and report on their status.

A FAKE GTX MAKES A REAPPEARANCE

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A side shot of the Plymouth from the eBay listing.  The redline tires have been replaced.  Not sure why.  

In my PART VII post, I blogged about this super nice looking GTX that when I looked into it I realized that it had a lot of red flags.  You can read that post here:  My Search For American Muscle – Part VII

What I determined was that the car was probably a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II convertible cloned into a nice GTX tribute.  The problem with the car was the VIN, which was for a 1967 GTX coupe and not a convertible and looked like it was hastily added to the car with glue.  Needless to say, I took a pass on it as I didn’t want to spend money on a car that may not have a true and legal title and was being sold with false information.

The car spent some time on Hemmings.com but the pictures were awful and it languished there.  It later headed to an auction in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where it had previously been sold.  Someone from Arizona must have liked it enough to buy it at auction and it has now popped up again, this time on eBay.  Here is the link to the listing: eBay – 1967 Plymouth GTX

Curiously, the listing uses some of the same pictures from the Primo Classics original ad.  The listing describes the car as This is a quality restoration that has been sorted out. I can believe the quality restoration part, it does look nice.  It’s the “sorted out” part that is the head-scratcher.  Apparently, the sorting out part is from the description where it is described as “The car has an Arizona State assigned VIN # (see pic), apparently the original one was defaced.”  Here’s a picture of the newly attached Arizona VIN:

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You can still see the glue from the previously attached VIN underneath the new sticker.

Well, at least the Arizona Assigned Identification Number looks legit.  The listing also declares that there is a “clean/clear Arizona title in hand.”  I guess that sorts things out for the lister.

I’m still going to take a pass without any regret.  This car is probably a very nice cruiser and will make someone pretty happy and turn a lot of heads.  I just wouldn’t want to have to explain the erroneous fender tag or the Arizona AIN to anyone.

The current bid is $27,600.  Looks like others are aware of the value of this car too and the price is reflecting that.

 

UPDATE – 1970 CHEVELLE SS CONVERTIBLE

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My Search For American Muscle – Part X

I lusted over this 1970 Chevelle from PART X that was being auctioned online with no reserve and I foolishly thought that I might be able to get an awesome deal on a dream car.  Ha!  It sold for $84,000!  Oh well.

 

UPDATE – 1967 OLDS 442 AND 1967 PLYMOUTH GTX FROM VOLO CARS

My Search For American Muscle – Part VIII

I was watching these two cars online and their high asking prices made me feel like they would be for sale at Volocars.com for quite some time.  I was wrong.  Even with a pandemic going on, these two cars sold fairly quickly.  I wasn’t ready to spend over $65,000 on either of those.

 

UPDATE – 1967 PLYMOUTH GTX FROM PACIFIC CLASSICS

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Also from my same blog as the two above cars, I had been watching this hardtop GTX.  It has also sold.  Had it been a convertible, I would have pulled the trigger for sure.  Ha!  Yeah, right.

 

So there you have all the updates!  I’ll keep looking and I hope you’ll keep being interested in this dumb quest of mine!  Thanks for reading!

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part X

PART X – Time to Reconsider Buying A Chevelle

In my previous nine muscle car search posts, I have said a handful of times that I had sort of ruled out looking for my all-time favorite muscle car, the Chevrolet Chevelle, and in particular the 1970 Chevelle SS.  That car had been my favorite since I was a teen in high school.  I’m not alone in loving that car – it is one of the most popular muscle cars, if not THE most popular muscle car, from that era.  1970 was the peak year and the Chevelle was a beauty.

But as I started this journey to obtain a classic for myself I found that along with that popularity comes a super high price tag.  Also, I am kind of a “blaze my own path” type of guy, preferring to be a little different than others.  I wanted a car that is unique and not like the dozens of others that are at car cruises around the country.  Lately, though I am starting to rethink the Chevelle and maybe include it in my search again.  In reality, I like almost all of the cars that came from the muscle car era and would be really excited to own one and make some memories with it.

So why the sudden interest in Chevelles again?  Well, I got tired of looking at the same cars over and over again on Hemmings (Hemmings.com) and I had bookmarked a handful of old links to cars that I had looked at from online sellers/dealers from a few years ago, so I decided to check them out.  One of those links was to a website called Blueline Classics (bluelineclassics.com) and I saw this really awesome 1969 Chevelle SS convertible in Hugger Orange paint and it looked awesome.  The price was amazing too – not too far over my arbitrary limit of $50,000.  Most of these cars are going for a lot more than that.  The only thing that I could really see that could bring down the price was that it had a period-correct motor and not the original.  But that really isn’t a big deal for me.

Now wait a minute – I know that I said that the 1970 Chevelle model was my favorite and that is true, so why am I drooling over a 1969 model?  Well, when I was a kid my older brother had one.  My late brother Jon was about eight years older than me and he had a 1969 Chevelle SS in Hugger Orange with a black vinyl roof and black stripes.  I would beg him and his girlfriend Nancy to drive me around in it with them everywhere they would go, to the point that I would throw a fit if they wouldn’t.  Mom would get involved and somehow convince Jon to take me along.  Almost every time!  And Jon I’m sure absolutely hated it.  That’s why I liked Nancy more.  I think she tolerated me a little better.  If Jon was still alive I am sure he would remember how big of a pain in the ass I was as a little brother.  One trip I remember taking in the car was to the local amusement park called Old Chicago.  Weird place somewhat, it had an amusement park indoors and a mall area too.  I can remember a store in which some old guy would roll cigars and sell them.  And Old Chicago also is the place where I had my first Wendy’s meal, paid for by my brother of course.  This had to be around 1973 or 1974 or so.  My sister also got rides in the Chevelle too, until she tossed her cookies in the backseat.  Fun times for Jon.

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Nancy was kind enough to supply a couple of photos she had of the Chevelle.  Obviously, it’s the orange car on the right.  

 

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Nancy shared the story that these photos came from a road trip they took sometime around 1974.  I think someone locked their keys in the Maverick and they were trying to get them out.  I don’t really recognize anyone in the picture except maybe the girl on the far right possibly being Nancy’s sister Mary Jo.  

There always seemed to be muscle cars around when I was a kid, a 1968 Camaro that Jon rolled in a ditch, and I seem to remember 1973 or 1974 Olds Omega or Buick Apollo that he had.  Nancy said he had another Chevelle as well, but I don’t remember it.  I seem to remember Nancy driving a dark green 1970’s Monte Carlo.  And her little brother Tim had a 1970 Chevelle that was really cool, too.  But out of all of those, I remember that Halloween styled Chevelle the most.

Okay, so that is the beginning of my relationship with a 1969 Chevelle.  I still prefer a 1970, but when I saw that one for sale online it certainly brought back a lot of memories for me.  And then it was gone.

I saw the car online last Sunday, and even shared the website listing with my buddy Carl, who tells me he had a 1968 Chevelle (did everyone have a Chevelle?!) who also thought it was a top-notch looking car.  The next day I went for an afternoon walk and saw another Hugger Orange ’69 parked in a local’s garage.  That thing looked like a non-SS Malibu, but it definitely looked like it was a 1/4 mile dragstrip terror.  These ’69 Chevelles seemed to be haunting me!  So when I got back home, I decided that I would contact them and inquire about the car, maybe get a little more information, like maybe see a video of it driving.  But as I pulled up the webpage it wasn’t there.  I can’t even find a picture of it to share.  It’s not listed as “recently sold,” so I can only assume that it was and the website will be updated soon.  I figured that one would go quickly.  Out of luck once again.

But all is not lost.  A few weeks ago I saw a post for an online-only, no reserve, no buyer fee auction being held near the border of Illinois and Iowa.  At this auction is a couple of collections that have some really nice looking muscle cars including a 1970 Chevelle SS convertible.

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Umm, yeah – I will take a chance and bid on this car.   

This auction company typically auctions farm equipment and farmsteads and the occasional group of classic cars.  They claim that they have been auctioning cars since 2006 and have always sold cars without reserve.  I looked at some of their past auctions and nothing that was sold was all that great.  But this collection of cars seems very good.

Auctions make me a little nervous.  First, I won’t be able to go see the car in person unless I make the time to do so and that isn’t going to happen.  I’ll have to rely on the info they promise is coming soon.  Secondly, the whole issue with paying for it and going and picking it up when the auction ends makes me anxious.

Listen to me talk like I’m going to end up with the winning bid.  If I am aware of this car, I’m certain there are lots of others that are aware of it as well.  I’m on the tenth edition of this search, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to end with number eleven.

My Search For American Muscle – Part IX

PART IX – Interesting Hemi Dodge Coronet R/T 

I’m still looking for a classic car, and I am just a picky as ever.  I saw this 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T Hemi car pop up for sale on an auction site and got really excited.

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A very nice Hemi-powered 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T in a cool turquoise color.  It looks like it won a couple national awards, too.

 

The auction site listed the car as “no reserve” and with an estimated selling price of $50,000 to $60,000.  That is a steal for a Hemi-powered original car.  The car was being auctioned online only and was in Indiana, so I was very interested.

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The info presented on the auction site.

Then I started looking at the pictures with the discerning eye that I have developed on this car hunt journey.  First thing I noticed was this VIN tag:

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I’ve looked at numerous pictures of Mopar VINs from 1967 and this one doesn’t look similar.  The black paint is not very clean and the rivets aren’t the correct shape.  Plus there are no Chrysler Corp. markings anywhere.  The number does decode to a Dodge Coronet R/T with a Hemi engine.

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As a reference, here’s a real 1967 Hemi Dodge Coronet R/T VIN plate.  I suspect that the top one is a fake.

Then there was a picture of the fender tag of the car:

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This fender tag decodes correctly to a Hemi-powered 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T as best as I can tell.

The fender tag seems correct for the car as presented, but I see a red flag.  My main issue with it is that it is somewhat weathered and worn.  This car is pretty well restored and the fender tag looks like it sat outside for thirty or more years.  Seeing that the tag is screwed on, which is how they were attached, it can be removed quite easily from one car and reapplied to another.  It is correctly stamped for a Dodge Coronet R/T (WS23) with black interior (P6X) and turquoise paint (LL1).  I can’t dismiss it as not being the real-deal yet, however.

Then there was this picture of the Certicard:

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Certicard’s were Chrysler cards that were used for warranty information that could be swiped for records purposes.  They were kept in a plastic sleeve usually in the engine compartment on the firewall of the car.

This is a major red flag.  The vehicle identification number (WP41G…) doesn’t match this car at all.  It decodes as – W=Dodge Coronet, P=Premium, 41=Four door sedan, G=383 2-barrel engine.  All of this is wrong for the car listed for auction.  But…  this card could have been from another car and just is along for the ride with this one.  Maybe someone mixed up the cards?  I don’t know, but I am sure I’m not gambling $50,000 on this car being the real deal.

Knowing all of that I now suspect that the car was originally most likely a 1967 Dodge Coronet 500, that had been cloned into a Coronet R/T with a Hemi engine.  It was a very good clone though.  The correct 150 mph speedometer was present, as was the bucket seats and console, and painted the correct trim and exterior colors that appear on the fender tag.  I’m just not buying that it is real.  What is a little puzzling to me is that it won two AACA awards.  Those judges know a heck of a lot more than I do about the originality of these cars and they still gave it a thumbs up.

I kept an eye on the auction and saw that the bidding was pretty slow and was in the $30,000 to $40,000 range for a few days.  It finally sold for $50,000.  The current market value for a real Hemi-powered version of this car would be closer to $90,000 or more.  Someone got a really nice but possibly cloned Hemi-powered Dodge Coronet R/T to drive around.  I just hope that they know that it may not be the real deal.

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part VIII

PART VIII – STILL LOOKING!

I’m back after quite a hiatus from posting about my search for a classic car to buy.  My last post was last fall and I realized that the search would probably take a little break for a while over the holidays and through winter.  Fall and winter can be an enticing time to buy a car because the owners that want to sell generally do so after the summer cruise season.  But living in the Chicagoland area I didn’t want to have to displace my regular driver from the garage to the driveway and deal with scraping snow and ice off it and the rest of the misery of leaving my car outside.

But I was and am looking every day for cars that I am interested in.  It seems like the market for these cars has dried up somewhat though.  When I first started looking a year and a half ago it seemed like there were plenty of great cars out there for sale.  I’m not seeing quite as many good options.  Part of my problem is my narrow search scope.  I keep saying that I haven’t ruled out any make or model from the muscle car era, but I certainly have my favorites.  Number one and two on my list is still the 1967 Plymouth GTX and Dodge Coronet R/T, the two high-end B-bodies from Mopar from that year.  I also still have an interest in the Olds 442 from 1967 as well.  I caught myself studying 1968 – 1970 Roadrunners, too!  I’ve shied away from Chevelle’s, GTO’s, Camaro’s, etc. because they tend to be very popular with collectors and that drives up the cost.  I love those cars, but I want something a little more unique than what you see at every car show or cruise-in.  I’m also wanting to own a convertible if possible.  Wish me luck with that.

I was very busy last summer and fall and missed out on the blue Coronet R/T that was for sale.  I kept checking on it often and then one day it was no longer available.  I regret that I didn’t pull the trigger on it.  I regret not pulling the trigger on most of the ones that are no longer available.  You can read about that car in this previous post:  My Search For American Muscle – Part VI  – It kind of explains why I was reluctant to jump on that one.

The two things that I have repeated in these posts before is one, I am a little picky (see above) and two, the hunt for the car seems to be the part that I enjoy the most.  Maybe secretly I don’t actually want a muscle car, just want to satisfy my interest in them by acting like I do!

One thing that intrigues me about the cars I am interested in is their past history.  I find the provenance, as they say, to be an important part for me.  With that, here are three cars that are currently on my watch radar and what I know about them.

 

1967 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS 442 W-30 CONVERTIBLE – Volo Cars listing link

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Very high on my wish list right now is this beautiful 1967 442 W-30 convertible from the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.  The very first car I looked at in my quest was also a drop-top ’67 442, but after driving it, I felt like that particular car just wasn’t the one for me.  It had a few little issues that I wasn’t happy with.  (Read about it here:  My Search For American Muscle – Part I)  This one looks to be a lot nicer than that one.  This car has an awesome blue paint job that is pleasing to my eye, is super clean, is a four-speed, and – drumroll, please – it’s a W-30 optioned car!  What’s a W-30 option you ask?  It’s basically a forced air induction system that funnels cool outside air into the intake through inlets under the turn signals and through some tubes attached to a dual-snorkel air cleaner.  Also included was red plastic fender wells to reduce weight and to announce to everyone else that this car was no sleeper.  

So what’s up with this one?  The W-30 option was pretty rare in 1967, with approximately 500 of them made.  From what I can gather, the W-30 option that year was not limited to just factory installation and the dealer could install it as well.  While Volo doesn’t say that it is a true W-30 optioned car, they kind of leave it up to you to decide.  Time to check it out.

I searched the VIN of this car and found it to have traded hands a few times.  It appears that it was in Moline, IL in the early 2000s, then made it’s way to New Jersey where it was sold for $48,500.  But it was this photo that told me that it probably had the option added to it within the last two decades:

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The air cleaner and air hoses are present but the red fender wells are obviously not in this photo from a previous listing of the car.  Plus, the ad listing doesn’t mention the W-30 option anywhere in the ad.  Another ad had this quote: “THIS IS HOW A 1967 W30 EQUIPPED CONVERTIBLE WOULD’VE ROLLED OUT OF THE FACTORY HAD IT BEEN MADE.”  That clears things up somewhat.

The car is an award winner, winning at a few Oldsmobile based shows, and it appears in a poster of 442’s, so it is a super cool and well-admired car, but the W-30 option probably wasn’t added on the car in 1967.  That’s just my guess.

Another tell-tale sign that it’s probably not a true W-30 is that it was sold earlier for around $49,000.  A true 1967 442 W-30, if it could be validated as real, would easily list at over $100,000 I would assume.

PROS:

  • Definitely a head-turner
  • 4-speed
  • I love 442’s
  • It’s local, about 1.5 hours away

CONS:

  • Current asking price is $65,000, which is on the high end for me
  • W-30 option was added on later to this car
  • I didn’t like the first one of these I drove and I am a little worried that this one would leave me feeling the same way.

 

1967 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE GTX – Volo Cars listing link

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Next up is this awesome 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX.  There’s really nothing wrong with this car that I can find.  It’s been restored to factory specifications and just looks awesome.  It’s been certified Concourse Gold at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, which means it appears to be 95-100% original to its factory condition.   Here’s a picture of the car at the MCACN’s:

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One fun fact that I found about this car is that it was originally sold new for $3365 to a guy in Idaho.

There are two things about the car that are keeping me from buying it immediately.  First, it’s listed for nearly $67,000.  That’s a lot of cash.  The other thing is the car is so nice I would be afraid to drive it!  It’s a super nice car.

Another thing that is a head-scratcher for me is that the guy from Volo Cars knows his stuff, and really knows the value of these cars.  I’ve seen lots of lesser quality, non-Hemi 1967 GTX’s being sold for a lot more.  What’s up with that?  Maybe I should jump on this one!

PROS:

  • A super nice GTX, one of the best I have come across
  • Another Volo Cars vehicle, which would be easy to go see
  • Car has lots of paperwork including build sheet and original Certi-card

CONS:

  • It’s a trailer queen!  I’d be afraid to drive it anywhere
  • Expensive
  • Not a convertible, but I could live with that
  • I’d prefer the Magnum 500 wheels over the steel wheels with hub caps

 

1967 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE GTX – Pacific Classics listing link

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This GTX is in my wheelhouse!  It’s being offered at a decent price, it’s painted Turbine Bronze metallic (one of my favorite colors), and is a 4-speed.  The problem is that it’s in the Pacific Northwest, which is way too far for me to travel.  I do know someone in that area though – maybe I could talk my wife’s cousin into going to see it!

Here’s what I found out about this particular GTX.  A previous listing for this car revealed that it was sold in another part of Washington state just prior to this listing.  The pictures show it undergoing a frame-off restoration, which I believe was done before the seller bought the car.  The ad states that the car was a 2012 Mopar Nationals Silver awarded car.  So I looked that up and found a name for the owner:  Randy B. from Hebron, Kentucky.  Turns out Randy was typical of the car guys from the 1960’s.  He was a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran serving in the Marines.  Medal of Honor recipient.  Impressive.  I learned that from his obituary.  He passed away in 2016.  One of the condolences mentioned, “At least 1/2 of our conversations were about cars & his pristine ’67 GTX.”  I am kind of saddened to hear all that.  I found a listing of the car for sale for $45,000 with Randy as the contact, so he sold it prior to dying.

If my buddy John takes the time to comment on this post he would say “JUST BUY THE DAMN THING ALREADY” or something like that.  Of the four cars in this post, I would definitely be proud to own Randy’s car.

PROS:

  • A very nice GTX in Turbine Bronze Metallic paint
  • 4-speed car
  • Price is good – $54,000

CONS:

  • It’s out in the Seattle area and I’m not sure I want to go see it
  • The only flaw I can see is a small little indentation in the hood near the “M” in Plymouth
  • Not a convertible, although I do kind of dig the black vinyl roof

 

One last thing:  The current state of affairs in the world concerning the pandemic associated with Covid-19/Corona virus may dampen my search for a while.  Even the listing for the last car above said they are temporarily closed.  Although my wife and I are still working and have the money set aside to purchase a hobby car, I’m not sure how things with the economy are going to turn out.  It seems a little risky to make such a purchase right now.  Time will tell.

 

 

 

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part VII

I have been so busy training for Ironman Chattanooga and the Chicago Marathon this summer and fall that my search for an old car to buy has kind of taken a back seat to all of that.  The summer and fall have been so busy that when I finally was able to not be burdened with all that training, I realized that summer has passed me by!  And now that the summer cruise season is over I’m not sure I want to seek out a car to buy right now.  But in my own defense, I have spent nearly every night looking at ads for old classics and searching for what might be that special one for me.  It seems like I will be forever looking.

I haven’t ruled out any of the muscle car era classic cars at all, but I have really narrowed it down mostly to the 1967 Plymouth GTX and the Dodge Coronet R/T for some reason.  Those two sister cars just catch my eye.  We had a couple Plymouths when I was a kid, so maybe that’s why.  I’m also limiting myself somewhat by also hoping to buy a convertible because that would be cool.  However, there are only so many of that year/make/model out there in the 50+ years that have passed since they were created.  And as I look at more and more of them I have really learned a lot about them.  And some of them make me question their authenticity.  Here is a story of a recent one.

BUYER BE QUICK!

I was scanning the Hemmings.com page like I do almost every night when I noticed a new listing for a 1967 GTX convertible for sale in Florida.  It was somewhat of an odd listing because it only had one photo and not much detail regarding the car.  I saw that it was listed as being from Lakeland, Florida, which rang a bell for me because there is a classic car shop there called Primo Classics.  Sure enough, this car was one of their listings.  Now I have looked at their listings before and am usually very impressed with the cars they have to offer and they present them extremely well.  Maybe it’s the Instagram-type photo filters or something, but they really pop off the page when you are looking at them.  But this listing was different.  It didn’t go into detail and there was only one photo of the car from quite a distance away.  That wasn’t in their typical style.

 

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This was the original photo.  Not anything like what Primo Classics puts out on their website.

 

The car was listed on Hemmings for about a week and then it was gone.  I went to the Primo Classics website and now there were a ton of really nice photos of the car, but the word “SOLD” was present at the top of the page.  Still no detail about the car at all.

 

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1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX convertible briefly listed for sale in Lakeland, Florida.

 

 

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Same GTX with the top up.

 

 

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The interior was just as nice as the exterior.  Note the 150 mph speedometer, a standard feature of a GTX.

 

I would have loved to own this one.  From these photos and the rest of the photos posted online, I definitely would have inquired into it.  Just not quick enough I guess.

 

BUYER BEWARE!  

Being slightly puzzled by the quick post and sale of the car, I wondered what was going on with it.  So I dug a little deeper and took a closer look at the photos and saw the fender tag.

 

 

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The photo from the fender tag of this car from the website.

 

Fender tags were used by Mopar to detail how the car was built and were usually just screwed into the inner fender well of the engine compartment.  The numbers under the letters and the numbers along the bottom have special meanings and there are plenty of websites out there to help you decode them.  So I went to one of the decoder websites, put in the above info and here’s what I found:

First line:  g 0 is unknown; u 1 means the car was ordered.  

Second line:  R 1 is an AM radio; Y 1 means it has a black convertible top.  So far, so good.

Third line:  A 2 is a 2.94 to 1 axle ratio;  H4X is a trim color code, in this case, vinyl black seats;  LL1 corresponds to the exterior paint color, Dark Turquoise;  UB I think means the upper door frame color, black in this case.

Uh oh, now we are starting to have some issues.  The axle ratio was pretty standard for the GTX, but the trim color of this car is red, not black.  Also, the car is clearly painted dark red and not turquoise blue, and also dark red instead of black on the upper inner door frame.

Fourth line:  RH27 is the code for a Plymouth Belvedere II convertible;  31 is a 278 c.i. 8 cyl. engine;  5 is a 3-speed automatic transmission;  315 is the tire size, 31 means 7.35 x 14” black wall tires and the 5 means the spare had the same;  306 means it was built on March 06, 1967;  02025 is the production sequence number.

Okay, now there are a TON of red flags, most glaring is the RH27.  The 1967 Plymouth Belvedere and Satellite were basically the same car with some differences in trim and options.  The GTX was the top-end model of the Belvedere after the Belvedere I and II.  A real GTX fender code would read RS23 for a hardtop coupe and RS27 for a convertible.  If you look at the picture it shows that the fender tag is applied with a couple of Phillips-type screws, so these things could be taken off and swapped around very easily.  This tag could have been original to this car with some GTX upgrades added later on, upgrades such as different paint and GTX trim to make it appear to be a GTX.  One of the hallmarks of a GTX is that it had a special chrome flip open type gas cap, special to only this model in 1967.  These can be added pretty easily, and to the untrained observer, it would probably be unnoticeable.  Also, GTX’s only came with a 440 cu. in. or a 426 cu. in. HEMI engine.  This tag doesn’t indicate either of those.

So is this car a Belvedere II cloned into a GTX or a real GTX?  Let’s also look at the VIN.

 

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The VIN on the Plymouth.

 

Right away there is a huge red flag.  As noted above, RS23 is the code for a Belvedere GTX coupe, not a convertible.  So now we know that neither the fender tag or the VIN is accurate to the car being presented as a 1967 GTX convertible.  My guess this car was originally a Belvedere II in Dark Turquoise like the fender tag indicates, with the VIN tag added from some totaled old GTX found in a junkyard somewhere.  The rivets holding the tag on in the picture are fairly consistent with what Mopar used, but the tag almost looks glued on.  Heck, the glue that was used to mount this VIN tag has pushed out along the edges and through the rivets, and the guy’s fingerprint appears on it where his glue-covered finger pushed it into place!  Plus, if you Google Plymouth VIN rivets, you can see that they can be bought pretty easily.  VINs and fender tags can be recreated too if you look hard enough.

I searched this car some more and found a listing for it in Carlisle, PA, a popular locale for auctioning classic cars.  I searched their listings for auctions and found a Fall 2019 auction held in Florida, and there it was:

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A real GTX would have sold for closer to $50,000.00

It’s a nice car, a well done cloned GTX, but it is being sold as a real-deal GTX and that upsets me.  This is why you take your time and look into what you are buying.  I’m not sure how this car even has a clear title.  Sometimes I feel rushed into jumping on a new listing, but learning to slow down and do your research can save you a huge headache in the long run.  Buyer beware for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part VI

PART VI – GETTING TAKEN FOR A RIDE

Buckle up for another rough ride.  I’m pumping the brakes again.

I was excited to find another 1967 Mopar B body convertible for sale on Hemmings the other day.  This one is a Dodge Coronet R/T and it looked awesome, light blue with a white top and white interior, and riding on period-correct redline tires.  This car was being sold by a Dodge dealership in Sioux City, Iowa and I clicked on an inquiry tab and asked about the car.  A salesperson got back to me really quick, and I was getting that feeling you get when you go to a dealership to kick some tires and get the “buy it now” pressure pitch.  I could almost picture her wearing a plaid jacket and white dress shoes.  I was trickling blood in the water, and the shark had sensed it.

 

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A recently listed light blue 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T convertible.

 

The car was described as being a favorite of the dealership owner, kept at his house and that he personally enjoys driving it.  It was listed for nearly $50,000, which is a little higher than what I have seen a few of them sell for.  I let her know that I was interested, but I had to consider taxes and shipping, and that the asking price was pushing me over budget with all of that.  She inquired as to where I lived and advised that I would pay taxes in my state.  Then she offered the car for $49,000 with shipping.  That’s still pretty high for me, but it was in line with what these cars typically sell for.  I was interested for sure.

After that sales pitch, I advised her that I was reluctant to buy a 50+-year-old car without seeing it run or at least a video of it.  The website had a short video, but there was no sound and the car wasn’t moving.  I asked if there was a video of it driving and she provided this:

 

Lots of wind noise, but it runs and drives.  Did you notice anything different about the car?  It was the first thing I noticed as soon as it came into view.  The dealership removed the period correct and totally awesome redline tires and replaced them with white walls.  Not a deal killer for me, but I dig that redline tire/Hot Wheels look.

Since there are only so many of these cars available out there, I decided to see if I could dig up any history or information on this one.  I Googled the VIN and got only two hits.  And the first one was an a-ha moment.  I had seen this car for sale before.

When I peruse the Hemmings classifieds I usually skip over the cars listed for auction, as I am just not familiar with buying a car at auction.  There are rules and hidden costs involved, and if you aren’t able to be there in person to see the car you have to rely on just a description.  Plus you still have to get the dumb thing home somehow.  But I do look at the listings of the cars that I am interested in, especially the ’67 B bodies.   This particular car had been listed on Hemmings about 4 months ago as part of a Mecum auction listing.  Here is a photo from that listing:

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The car hit the auction block in the Phoenix area in March 2019 at no reserve and sold for $35,000 plus a 10% commission, for a grand total of $38,500.

 

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No reserve on this car and the buyer stole it.

 

The other Google hit was for a website called Rick Carey’s Collector Car Auction Reports, and it provided a ton of insight into the car:

“Restored and clean underneath. Redone to appropriate standards for what it is, but done on a budget and indifferently presented with some age and a few miles since the restoration. – The Glendale bidders clearly saw this Coronet for what it is and priced it appropriately for its weekend driver condition.”

Mr. Carey thought that this car sold well for $38,500 and that the new owner will enjoy his weekend driver.

So how does this Coronet go from being recently required 3-4 months ago, to being a “favorite of the owner who loves to drive it,” to being turned around and offered for sale at a markup of $11000?!  I think the reason the owner “loves” it is because he’s trying to flip it, and he stands to make quite a profit.  This was not settling well with me.

Now this happens all the time, and I get it.  The Olds 442 I drove last year had a price of $45K and after I passed on it, I found it for sale in Ohio for $55K.  This owner runs a new car dealership, selling classic cars on the side, and is in the business of making a profit on those great deals he finds.  Truthfully the car isn’t really priced out of what the actual value is.  My last post about losing out on another one of these cars, almost identical to this one, sold for $48000.  So it’s a fair listing price.  It’s just that he stands to make a huge profit, and I’m not sure I’m the one that wants to please him in that way.

I decided to reply with what I now know about the car and offered a low ball offer, an offer in which he still stands to make a profit, but just about half of what he was looking for.  His salesperson rep wasn’t having it.  She came back with what she offered before -$49K and delivery to my driveway.  I’m mulling it over.

I’m looking to take a ride in a classic car, not be taken for a ride.

My Search For American Muscle – Part V

PART V – STRIKE ONE!  STRIKE TWO!

Welcome back to my dumb journey of trying to find a muscle car to own.  I say it’s a dumb journey because, well, in all honesty, I’m a dummy and I am in charge of this quest.  Once again I find myself sitting in a chair driving a keyboard, instead of feeling the wind blow through what little hair I have left on my head behind the wheel of a classic car.

I’m up to Part V.  Let that sink in.  I started this search back in October 2018.  I came close to owning what I thought was the one, test drove it, and then said I better keep looking.  That car is gone now, as well as the second one I had my eye on.  After that, I focused on a couple of other cars and had been watching them pretty closely.  Both were Mopar B bodies from 1967.  Both had been for sale for a couple of months.  Now both are gone.

(I had written about both of these cars before, you can read more at the links at the bottom of this post.)

 

STRIKE ONE!

The first car was a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T for sale at Cruisin Classics in Ohio.  It had pretty good provenance, as they say.  The owner had been a Vietnam vet and acquired it when he got back home.  His name was on the paperwork that was in a posted picture and I researched him and found out he had passed away.  The car had been sold a couple of times prior to being bought and offered for sale at Cruisin Classics.  Tons of paperwork for the car as well.  I studied the pictures thoroughly and the only thing I could see wrong with it was a small paint chip on the front right fender.  Not a big deal, but I wondered why they didn’t try to fix it or at least cover it up with photoshop.  The trouble for me with this car was that it was in Ohio and I am in Illinois,  and I’m pretty busy to take time out to go see it.

I do most of my searching for cars on the Hemmings website.  I was checking my list of favorited cars and noticed it was no longer listed on there.  I double checked the listings for Dodge Coronet R/T’s and it was nowhere to be found.  I pulled up the Cruisin Classics website and sure enough, it was listed as SOLD.  To add insult to injury, I follow them on Facebook and they posted the car had been shipped to Phoenix, Arizona and enjoying new ownership along with this picture:

 

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Photo credit:  Cruisin Classics / Facebook

 

It looks like it is sitting next to a 1967 GTX convertible, too.  Now we are just pouring salt into my wounds.

 

STRIKE TWO!

The second car that I lost out on was local, and I had no reason to have not gone and looked at it.  Well, that’s not true.  The main reason that I hadn’t gone to look at it was that it was priced at almost $60,000.00.  This car was being sold by Auto Gallery Chicago and was located in Addison, Illinois.  I have followed this one a while as well and the dealer eventually lowered the asking price to $54,900.00.  Now I was a lot more interested.

 

 

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Photo credit:  eBay / Auto Gallery Chicago

 

 

They offered the car up for sale on eBay several times and I bid on it and won the auction two of the three times, with it going unsold after not reaching the reserve price each time.  It was put up for sale again on eBay just yesterday and I put in my max bid again.  I also promised to invest my Saturday and go look at the car.  I checked my email today and saw a notification from eBay:

Dear eBay Community Member,
The bid that you entered for the item has been cancelled. You can view the reason provided for the cancellation by selecting the (bid history) link from the individual item page.

What gives?  They canceled my bid?  Why?  A check of eBay revealed that the auction was no longer active.  Ah, now I am starting to see the light.  I checked the dealer website and sure enough, the car is no longer listed there.  Someone came in and bought it.

 

TIME TO DIG IN 

So it’s time to keep looking.  I’m still interested in the 1968 Buick GS and a 1966 Pontiac GTO convertibles that are being sold by Primo Classics Intl., located in Florida.  Both cars present themselves nicely but seem below market price for some reason.  I will have to look a little closer at them.

I used to tell the kids I coached on my baseball team that you will never hit a pitch if you don’t swing, and I certainly can learn from that.  I haven’t been swinging.  I’ve taken too many pitches.  Time to keep swinging, even if I just foul a few off.  Sooner or later I am going to connect.

 

Previous musings on my car search:

My Search For American Muscle – Part I

My Search For American Muscle – Part II

My Search For American Muscle – Part III

My Search For American Muscle – Part IV