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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.