Buying Tips

There’s something undeniably special about purchasing a vintage car. It could be a reflection of your personality, especially if you have an appreciation for the finer things in life. A classic automobile could also be a status symbol of your affluence. You might also find yourself a chick magnet because of all the gorgeous girls wanting a ride in your noble, gasoline-powered steed. As the saying goes, “You don’t buy a car and make it look beautiful. You buy a car to make you look beautiful.”

But when you really get down to it, owning a vintage automobile oozes all the right kinds of cool. There are, however, some things you must consider before making that purchase. Like any item, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Here are 3 important guidelines to consider before buying your flashy coupe.

1) Purpose

What will you be using the car for? Is it a daily driver like a sedan, a trailer queen like those cars at autoshows, or an investment? All these things will determine the kind of money and action you need to take prior to purchasing. If you’re getting a daily driver, or something for everyday use, they you don’t need to shell out that much money for a true original. Owning a replica will do.

If you’re looking at a trailer queen, then you know you need some serious dough to show for. When parading your beauty on wheels at auto shows, people are looking for the real deal.

If investing is your game, then you need to know what the market is like. According to a forecast, the classic automobile market for this year looks good. There are low interest rates globally, a solid market for concrete assets, and a bit of leverage due to the ever-changing socio-political issues. A study done by the Historic Automobile Group, International (HAGI) confirmed the forecast, as the market grew by 17.8%. Remember that vintage cars are like real estate properties on wheels. The high value of these assets is beneficial to investors, as long as the cars are kept aesthetically pleasing and pristine condition while stored in garages.

2) Research

What specific brand of car do you want? Are you the type who prefers a sedan over an SUV perhaps? Knowing the make, year and even color can speed things along and gets you down to brass tacks.

An idea of the automobile’s appreciation value can also work to your advantage if you’re investing in a car. This comes in handy when you plan to sell it in the future so you won’t experience highway robbery.

There are certain taxes to be paid when you own an asset like a classic limited edition model. Check out what the rates are so you know where your hard-earned money is going.

3) Certainty

Lastly, be absolutely sure before buying the car. This protects your assets in case anything happens to the item before or during the delivery. TIP: see if you can enter an agreement with the owner where you pay half the amount prior to delivery and the rest after the delivery just to make sure you get your baby in one piece.

Having a working knowledge of what each brand is known for will also help you in the long run. It pays to know what you’re dealing with. For example, if you’re thinking of buying a Jaguar, make it a point to read a couple of Jaguar reviews before purchase. Who knows? It may be a significant game changer for you in the long run.

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Top Ten Muscle Cars


With the popularity of movies like The Fast and The Furious, Gone in Sixty Seconds and The last Ride, there has been some reference to the good old muscle cars which were immortalized in movies like Bullit, Vanishing Point and of course The Dukes of Hazzard series. This top ten list has a look at some of the muscle car icons born from the late 60′s and early 70′s.

The main measure of these cars is power, with Brake Horse Power (bhp) being the term flung around most commonly. What this refers to is the power released by the engine before the gearbox, generator, differential, water pump, and other components sap its power. If you are used to Kilowatts, then take into consideration that 250kw translates to 335.26bhp.

The 1969 Pontiac GTO

Conceptualised to gain appeal to the younger market, Pontiac put a 6.3 litre V8 engine into the midsized Tempest shell, making for a cheap fast car. To the surprise of Pontiac’s marketing team the GTO became massively popular and in 1969 they fitted it with a 6.5 litre V8 which could kick out 366bhp. The Judge was born.

The 1970 Buick GSX

Again the idea here was to squash a beast of an engine into a midsized body, in this case the Buick Skylark. In 1967 the Buick GS became recognised as a standalone model available as a sedan and convertible.

The 1970 model was given a monstrous 7.5 litre engine capable of producing 400bhp. The GSX body came in yellow or white only, adding to the image which made this car a distinct classic.

The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro

There were various options available to those purchasing a first generation Camaro, the Z28 package being the most exciting. With a 4.9 litre engine, power steering, disc brakes on the front and a four speed manual gearbox, the Z28 was made for racing – producing up to 400bhp.

The Plymouth Roadrunner

Built to beat 14 seconds over a quarter mile, the Plymouth Roadrunner was stripped down to the bare essentials, sacrificing even the carpets in order to make this into a beast of a machine. It featured a beefed up steering, brake and suspension systems and a 6.3 litre engine which pushed 335bhp. An optional boost came from the 7.0 litre version’s 425bhp.

The Dodge Challenger

Hitting the market in 1970, the Dodge Challenger was a hit from the get go, selling more than 80,000 in the first year. Although various options were made available, the R/T is the model which attracts the most attention with its 7.0 litre Hemi engine kicking out 425bhp. Later models lost the plot, with the ’72 model dropping to a measly 240bhp. See the Challenger in the cult classic movie, Vanishing Point.

The 1966 Ford Fairlane GT

Launched in ’62 with a 3.6 litre V8, the Ford Fairlane was given a makeover in 1966, complete with a 6.4 litre engine capable of 335bhp. As if this were not enough they decided to upgrade to a 7.0 litre NASCAR engine with 435bhp. Rigid front suspension and disc brakes gave the car better handling, and the brute power kicked the dial over 60mph (100km/h) in six seconds.

Oldsmobile 442

The Cutlass model was equipped with a police specification engine capable of 310bhp. The 442 refers to the four barrel carburettor, four speed manual gear box and the twin exhausts. The 442 had a reputation for its handling when compared to other muscle cars, thanks to its improved springs, shocks and the comforting safety of an anti-roll bar.

The 1968 edition was redesigned as a shapely coupe, with a 7.5 litre block blasting 390bhp.

Plymouth Barracuda

Although the Barracuda was launched in 1964, just a couple of weeks before the Ford Mustang, it was not until 1970 that Plymouth gained wider popularity with sexy lines and some serious growl under the hood in the form of a 7.2 litre 390bhp. The other choice was a smaller 7.0 litre Hemi block which knocked out some extra power at 425bhp!

Even with a revamped suspension the power was so much that the ‘Cuda gained a reputation for difficult handling.

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

The 1965 Chevelle SS sported a 6.5 litre block pushing 375bhp, which was all too much for the front end of the car, making for some pretty horrible handling. Luckily this was addressed with the revamping of the suspension and the addition of disk brakes on the front.

1969 saw the introduction of the top engine spec, which was featured in the El Camio pick-up as well. The 1970 SS was powered by a 7.4 litre V8 with 450bhp pulling the Chevell to 100km/h in just six seconds. Later models were adjusted for unleaded fuel and the power output suffered considerably.

Dodge Charger

Bo and Duke’s ride of choice, the Charger was launched in 1966 and some 37,000 cars were sold in the first year. A 7.0 litre Hemi reputedly kicked out around 500bhp, though it was officially rated at 425bhp. This monster reached 100km/h in just five and a half seconds. The Hemi engine option was available until 1972.

Written by Roger Theron

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Am I Ready to Restore My Classic Car?

Am I ready to restore my classic car or muscle car, that is the question that you need to ask yourself before you get in to the project. This is truly not for everybody. If you plan to restore the car yourself then you need to be sure that you have chosen a car that you can restore.

What I mean when I say you need to choose a car that you can restore; the project needs to stay in your skill set as far as the restoration work on the car. If you’re a body man, don’t buy a car that has horrendous electrical and mechanical problems.

This is where people get buried in the project and just push it aside. This is the main warning that I always give people who are planning to restore a car on their own. Obviously you need to plan ahead for the things that you may need to farm out to a professional shop.

If saving money on the project is your main concern you should look to another hobby. No matter how you do classic cars take a lot of time and money to build.

I’d suggest that if you’re a person who doesn’t have a lot of time to work on a car restoration that you should make the time, or plan to have a shop do the work for you.

My best advice if this is your first restoration project is to buy a car that is in good condition to start with. You need to get one done to build your confidence level. If you turn one out that looks great your confidence will skyrocket.

Plan to spend some cash buying the car $2,500 muscle cars either don’t exist any more, or they are such huge turds that you should not attempt to build it for a first project. You should come in to the game with about $10,000 to buy your car.

Things to look at when buying your classic car

  • Make sure that the floor boards and trunk floors aren’t rusted out of the car.
  • Make sure that the quarter panels don’t have rust in them.
  • Inspect the car for bad body & paint work.
  • Bubbles in the paint mean rust in most cases.
  • Listen to the engine run.
  • Check the electrical harnesses for burning and redneck repair work.
  • Look for parts missing that may be hard to find.
  • Make sure you know what you plan for the car.
  • Check body panel alignment, badly aligned panels usually mean body repair work which always means a wreck happened.

You need to have your ducks in a row before you begin a classic car restoration. What I’m saying here is that you should plan the restoration of the car down to the last nut and bolt. Make sure that parts are available for the car that you plan to restore.

Make 100% sure that you have planned the budget to buy that car, and to restore the car. These are two very different things. A properly planned budget means that you get the car done, and for close to what you want to spend on it, but this means planning.

So plan that restoration project and you will have fun building your car. Buy the right car to start with, make sure that you have evaluated you skill level to restore the car, and don’t buy a car that you can’t finish, or plan to farm out what you can’t do.

David C. Atkin

David C. Atkin is an accomplished custom car builder, and restoration technician, who also write articles to help people restore their car.

Muscle Car Restoration

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