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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part IV

PART IV – This Is Way Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

Time for another update in my search to add a classic car to my garage that I will probably only drive twice a week!  It’s been almost two months since my last update, but it isn’t because I have slowed or stopped my search, it is just taking much longer than I thought it would.  First off, winter is a tough time to buy a collector car.  You don’t want it outside in the snow, and definitely shouldn’t be driven on salty roads.  Buying a car in winter would mean I would have to store it inside, which means that I would have to park my regular driver outside.  I don’t want to do that either.  Also, it’s easy to get excited about a car you find for sale, but after the experience of looking at that Oldsmobile back in November and almost rushing into a purchase that I might have regretted, I learned to slow my roll, so to speak.  Lastly, it seems like the “pickin’s” are kind of slim, especially since I have limited myself to just a few makes and models.

Speaking of that 1967 Olds 442 convertible that I passed on, I found it for sale at a classic car dealership in Ohio, with a new sticker price of about $8000 more than when I almost wrote a check for it.

 

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Here’s the same 442 I drove with Kari back in November, looking shiny in Ohio instead of my garage.

 

 

THE DANGERS OF EBAY AND AUTO AUCTIONS

I should just rename this quest as “My Search For a 1967 Plymouth/Dodge B-body Convertible” because that is kind of what it has become.  When the search began I was mostly looking for a 1970 Chevelle SS or an Olds 442 from 1967-68.  I found that I really like the 1967 cars in general, they are probably my favorite muscle car year.  But after looking at the cars from that era, the Plymouth GTX and the Dodge Coronet R/T just get my motor running (pun intended) for some reason.  A couple of cars that I mentioned last time are still out there and I like them, but I’m still looking for one that isn’t that far away and would allow me to take a quick drive to go look at it.  I have recently found a couple GTX’s that fit that need.

Car #1

First up is this 1967 GTX convertible located about 25 miles from me:

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I first found this car by searching on eBay, where the starting bid was around $35,000.  Now I like it a lot!  So I bid on it, with my max bid at $44,000.  I think it is worth more than that, I was just being conservative with my bid.  I was the only bidder and I didn’t hit the reserve auction price when it ended.  The dealer rep sent me a message through eBay informing me that the car had its original window sticker and build sheet.  That’s great and pretty rare to have the window sticker, but I’m not buying it for the window sticker.   So I went to their website and looked for more info.  There they had the car listed at $59,990.  Now I had sticker shock.  No wonder I didn’t hit his auction reserve price.  Most of the non-Hemi 1967 B-body cars I have looked into have sold for around $50,000 or under on average.  He was asking way too much.

It hits all my wants:  GTX with a 440, a convertible, and it is local.  I should buy it.  But it has some cons too, mainly that it is all blue, which is a lot of blue.  I bet that dark-colored interior heats up pretty hot in the sun with the top down.  The driver side armrest on the door has a crack in it.  You would think that a car that is sporting a decent restoration would have had that issue addressed.   I also noticed that the tail lights were mismatched.  The 1967 Belvedere had two styles of tail lights, one with a chrome strip and one without.  This car had one of each version.  The dealer also adds that it has “Protect-o-Plate” which is wrong.  Protect-o-Plate was GM’s warranty plan, Plymouth had a similar version called “Certicard.”  All of this makes me think he hasn’t done his research on this car.

 

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You can see the mismatched tail lights above.  The left one doesn’t have the same chrome strip next to the trunk lid that the right one has.

 

 

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The blue interior with the cracked armrest.

 

I decided to keep an eye on this car and saw that he listed it again on eBay.  I found myself bidding on it again, this time with a max bid of $46,500.  I was bidding on it against another bidder, but he was a bigger cheapskate than I was and the auction ended somewhere in the upper $30,000’s with me being the max bidder.  Then I noticed that on the dealer website they had dropped the for sale price from $59,990 to $54,990!  They came down $5000!  I was starting to believe my patience was paying off.

It was listed again on eBay again this past week with the usual $36,000 opening bid.  I bid again but pushed my max bid to $48,000 just to see if I was getting close to the reserve price.  This time I had some serious competition in the bidding wars.  I quickly got outbid until the auction ended with me losing to a max bid of $48,300, which didn’t meet the reserve, and the car didn’t sell.  It’s now listed again on eBay with a “Buy It Now” price of $59,990!  Did we piss this guy off with our low bidding?  Their website still lists it at $54,990.  I guess I might have to find some time to actually go up there and talk with them about the car and actually see it and maybe even drive it.  Heck, I may find out that I’m not in love with it, just like I did with the 442.

One thing I need to be cognizant of is that whether buying a car through eBay or at an auction like Mecum or Barrett-Jackson is that without seeing it, I’m not sure what I am really getting.  That is what is making this quest so difficult.  Some of these cars are too far away for me to go see easily, even though I’m drooling at the photos on the auction and dealership sites.

Car #2

I went back to the old Google machine and found a newly listed GTX for sale online located coincidently enough about 10 miles from the one above, so again it’s really close to me and might warrant a trip to go see it.  The downside is that it is a hardtop, not a convertible.  The positive – 4 SPEED BABY!

 

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An actual outdoor photo of the car superimposed on a dumb display background.  Not sure if this color is the same Dark Metallic Blue as the other car.  It looks to be a lighter shade blue, but that could just be because the picture was taken outdoors.

 

 

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Another blue interior that looks to be in great shape, but with 4 on the floor.

 

 

I like it, but again my eye is catching things to be leary of.  There’s a photo of the engine bay that shows that the radiator at some point in its life had a leak and has a bluish copper oxidation type material on it.  Not sure if it is still leaking or not, but that could be a red flag.  My coworker and fellow car nut Carl thinks that may be a sign of the engine running hot, and might have a good point.  I think it may just be an old car showing its age.  The thing is though, my brother was the mechanic in the family, I am “handy enough to be dangerous” with tools.  I wish my brother was still alive, this search would be much easier and probably would have been over with by now.

The website does not list a price for this car.  Even though it’s not a convertible, I may have to inquire about the price and go take a look see.

Car #3

The surfing the interwebs for cars is something I spend my evenings doing, and I still look at the offering from all of the big three.  Although I am not much of a Ford guy, the most recent issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine featured a 1967 Ford Fairlane GTA, which looks pretty cool.  I may have to look at those a little closer too.

But this 1968 Buick GS convertible definitely caught my eye.  The first impression is that the photos jump off the page.  The sky blue color really pops.  I must have a thing for blue.  Another thing that caught my eye was the price – $34,900!  Now we are talking!  But the car is in Florida.  And closer inspection of the photos show some little things here and there that give me pause, mainly the door and trunk gaps, but cars built in the 1960s weren’t really that high on that type of quality.  My inlaws live in Florida, maybe I could get my father-in-law to go take a look at it.  I can hear him now:  “It’s very nice.  It’s blue.  It has four wheels.”  That would be the assessment I would probably get out of him.

 

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Pretty sweet!  400 cubes.  Very sexy curves!

 

So that wraps it up for this edition.  What it is coming down to I guess is that I am going to have to get off my butt and actually interact with these sellers to make a decision one way or another.  I need to get on it – summer is coming quick!

 

 

My Search For American Muscle – Part III

Hey everyone!  It has been a while since I thrilled you with my search for a classic car, so let’s return to another edition!  (If you need to get up to speed, you can read my previous posts at the links at the bottom.)

 

PART III – Why I Suck At Buying A Muscle Car

This was supposed to be fun.  This could have been simple.  Find a car you like.  Contact the seller.  Pay some money.  Get a car.  Nope.

Back in November of last year I got excited about a 1967 Olds 442 that I wrote about in Part I, and I rushed up to the northern Chicago suburbs to take a look at the car, test drove it, almost reached into my back pocket for the checkbook, and then hit the brakes.  I just had a bad feeling.  I felt like I was rushing into it too fast, and that I was buying on adrenaline fueled impulse.  The adult in me told me to take a pass and make sure I knew what I was doing.  I kind of regret that.  That car was pretty good, it was priced well, and the wife and I would have looked great in it cruising around town on the weekends.  That car is gone, and I needed to move on.

And move on I did, onto a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX convertible located in sunny Los Angeles, California.

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’67 GTX in Turbine Bronze Metallic!

This car looked great in the pictures online and I was hooked – hooked in the same way I was with the 442.  I think part of my problem is that these cars are pretty rare.  You could argue that the market for old muscle cars is plentiful, and there are plenty, but there just are not that many 1967 Plymouth GTX convertibles in turbine bronze metallic paint with white on black interiors.  Trust me on that one.  It’s not like you can go down to the local Plymouth dealership and place an order for one like they did in 1967.  (Plymouth doesn’t even exist anymore, so there’s that too.)  So when a cool optioned car becomes available, you kind of need to act on it if you want it.  But with the 442 lesson learned I decided to wait.  In late December we were going to be in Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses Parade with my daughter’s marching band.  I had the great idea that since we would be in SoCal for the parade, I would take a ride to Chatsworth, CA and take a look at the car.  But the trip was already pretty heavily planned out, and I had to take a pass on seeing the GTX.

I wrote in Part II of my search that I had done a little more digging into the history of the GTX and found out some things about the car that gave me a little pause, mainly it’s history of being auctioned three times, and that it had been in Virginia and Florida when the dealership was advising that it was an Arizona/New Mexico car.  But that didn’t really deter me, so I kept a close eye on it.

I was kind of sitting in the midwest in the middle of the typical winter polar vortex, and I came to the conclusion that trying to buy a car and have it shipped here in this weather was a bad idea.  But a few weeks passed and we moved into February and eventually I decided that I liked the idea of owning that car enough that I should either book another flight to California to see it myself, or have someone go look at it for me.  Guess what, there are people who are experts at classic cars (i.e. the opposite of me) that you can pay to inspect it for you!  I finally contacted one that I thought was trustworthy and was told that for my $400 I would get a detailed inspection of the car with an awesome report and tons of pictures.  All I wanted him to do really was to drive the thing and give me a thumbs up or thumbs down, but what he was offering to do was cool too.  So I contacted the dealer and told him I was going to send this guy over to look at the GTX and got the following email reply:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for reaching out.

The 67 has sold.

I have a 68 Hemi Coupe and a few other cars that I will be happy to have inspected.

All the best.

Bummer dude.  That’s a real drag, man.  He had the gall to suggest I buy a 68 Hemi Coupe.  A Hemi.  A HEMI WITH AN $80,000 PRICE TAG.  Sir, you mistake me for a Rockefeller.  And if I am heading into the year 1968, I’m buying a Road Runner, not a GTX.  They are basically the same, but the Road Runner is much cooler.  (I may regret that statement.  Okay, I already do.)

Okay, the car is gone.  Actually the second of two cars that had me drooling are gone!  What the heck?  I suck at this!  Turns out being patient and making sure I was making the right purchase was dumb too!  Buy on impulse = bad idea.  Wait and make sure it’s the right one = also bad.  I am really bad at this!

But I am learning, and I will keep looking.  Here are some cars that are on my current wish list, that I am sure I will not be owning any time soon:

 

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A 1968 Olds 442 convertible in green that looks pretty good, but is located in Maine and the dealer says the A/C isn’t working.  On my gotta have it scale it is a 6/10.

 

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Next up is a 1970 Olds 442, which is priced way below market value for some reason.  Could it be the Chevy emblem on the crankcase breather element?  The dash that has no vent holes?  Hmmm…  Positives are it looks pretty decent, is located about 1.5 hours from me, it’s a 4-speed, and it’s painted gold with a black interior. Looks nice.  Cons are it may not be original, and it looks like it sports a kinda okay restoration.  It’s a 5/10 on the scale for me.

 

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Here’s another GTX that’s within a couple hour drive for me.  I really like this one.  It’s much cheaper than the one I lost out on, but it isn’t pristine.  Looks pretty good though.  It has an aftermarket A/C that I am not sure I’m down with as the original Plymouth climate control levers were replaced with different knobs from the aftermarket unit.  I’d give this car a 7/10.

 

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Next up is a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T.  The Dodge Coronet and the Plymouth Belvedere were practically the same car.  They even rolled off the assembly line in St. Louis together.  This thing has got me excited like the California GTX did.  Apparently it was owned by a Vietnam vet who traded in a 60’s Corvette for this when he came back home.  I looked into the guy and it turns out he passed away.  In his obituary, a buddy of his recalls a proud time when they rode in the Coronet on a trip somewhere.  I dig that history.  The car is in Ohio, which isn’t that far and may be worth a weekend trip for me.  It does have a small visible paint chip on the front right fender, but the rest of the car is clean.  9/10 on the want it now scale!

 

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Guess what I found?  Another 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T convertible!  This one in Deep Blue Metallic paint.  The big highlight for this car is that it’s a 4-speed.  The downside is that it’s mid-80’s restoration is showing a little wear, and it’s in Minnesota.  But it’s still a big like from me.  I’d give it 9/10 for sure.

 

There are a few others I am following, but I won’t bore you with those for now.  I’ll save them for the next blog when I write about missing out on the cars above.  For now, I will keep kicking those internet tires and keep my hopes up for finding one that has my name on it.

Here are the links to the previous posts:

My Search For American Muscle – Part I

My Search For American Muscle – Part II