How Much Money Would It Take?

1964 Impala Convertible. $1,000,000 Fine Sir.

Every car has a price, but the owners “value” is often far different than the price that reality says it’s worth, especially with car enthusiasts.  Maybe we’re crazy, and yes, we are dreamers, but how do you put a price tag on something that you have thousands of hours of work into?  Just the thought of selling my cars makes me want to sob hysterically.  Well, today’s the day in the wonderful world of imagination. A nice young fellow walks up to you with a blank check, and says “I want to buy your car, and it will go to a good home.  How much do you need to get for it?”  How do you respond?

Me? I know my 1964 Chevy Impala is probably only worth a few grand in reality, but 2010 is our 13th anniversary together and I would really like to drive it one of these days.  Thus, the “how much money would it take” to pry it away from me, would likely be in the $15,000 range.  I have a solid $10,000 in sentimental value whether you understand it or not. :)

So How Much Money Would it Take To Get Your Car?

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DO WANT: Monte Carlos

This week I wanted to bring up an important topic that we all need to think long and hard about.  Love for Monte Carlos.  Yes,  the Chevy Monte Carlos that were built from 1970-1988 were a beautiful bunch of machines, even the sadly forgotten 1973-77 models.   They all had giant engines, huge fenders, heavy doors, and tons of luxury options.   If you have never driven in one, I would compare it to sitting on a sofa that is strapped down to an erupting volcano.  To celebrate the true wonder that the 1970-88 Monte Carlos are, I have gathered a youtube video of each generation doing an elegant burnout, as only a high class Monte Carlo could.

Between 1970 and 1972 the Monte Carlo shared a large number of parts with the Chevelles, but for some unknown reason (to me), Monte Carlos don’t seem to rot out like the Chevelles and Malibu’s do.  Is it because beauty doesn’t age? Could it be because Monte Carlos are so full of magnificence, that rust cannot possibly break them down?  Maybe it is because they are so uncommon that deterioration itself wants them to last forever?  Whatever magical presence it is protecting these cars from rust, it deserves a high five.  With that, I give you elegant burnout number one!

I always felt bad for the 1973-77 Monte Carlos.  They were always the ugly bunch that nobody seemed to want.  They still had huge engines, and more class than you would know what to do with.  What people don’t seem to realize is that with one of these land yachts sweet rides, you have every single automotive option on earth for an unbelievable low price.  You have buttons that control other buttons, and switches that control knobs.  You have seats that move in like 879 directions, carpet that is 6 inches thick, and enough cigarette lighters to light 40 stogies at once.  The trunk is big enough to sneak 10 of your closest friends into the drive-in, which makes for 18 total passengers.  What is there not to love? As you may have guessed, this body style is the perfect candidate for elegant burnout number two!

The 78-88 Monte Carlos are unmatched in beauty and grace.  If these cars had a decent engine and transmission in them, they could have been the greatest vehicle ever built (……..by Chevy between 1978-88).  The downsides to these cars were the asthmatic V6 and V8 engines that GM loaded into them.  Chevy claimed 165 horsepower, but I assure you that it felt more like donkey power.  Yes, I would rate them at approx. 14 donkeypower.  People in horse drawn carriages would easily pass these cars in a race.  The interiors were slightly less plush than that of the 73-77 body style, but still high class compared to most.   Overall, the great looking body makes up for the lack in power.  You buy one of these cars to look awesome, not to go fast.  If you swap the engine for maximum greatness, you end up with elegant burnout number three!

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Top 5 cars that you MUST own at some point in life.


I am a big dreamer, so I often dream about the cars that I MUST own at some point in life. I do imaginary ground up builds in my head, with awesome engines, transmissions, brakes, paint, and everything in between. The stuff I dream about is usually strange stuff that nobody else wants, but that’s the fun of it, you can build it your crazy way.

So here are MY MUST have’s, in no particular order:

1964 Chevy Impala Convertible
– Aluminum block 409 cubic inch engine, fuel injected, with twin turbo’s and a giant intercooler hiding behind the grille.
– 6-speed manual transmission
– 4 wheel, 6 piston Brembo disc brakes
– Stock looking wheels, dog dish hubcaps, with white wall tires
– Dark green paint? Maybe Black? I am undecided at this point.
– Coil over suspension, very very low to the ground.

1939 Graham Sharknose Supercharged Convertible
– Supercharged factory engine
– 100% bone stock. It’s a work of art, I can’t possibly modify a car that they only produced 1 of!

1989 Dodge Ram 50 Extended Cab
– Painted all black with black 18 inch wheels, and 5% tinted windows
– 4G63 turbocharged Mitsubishi Eclipse engine
– Evo VIII turbocharger, custom intake & exhaust manifolds
– 6 speed T-56 transmission
– Lowered 4 inches with coil overs and 4-linked rear suspension
– Ice cold A/C

1936 Lincoln Zephyr 2 Door Coupe (2 door sedan pictured)
– Factory V12 engine with a new centrifugal supercharger for a little fun
– Lowered about 6 inches
– Stock wheels, wide white wall tires
– Again, it is a work of art as is, why mess with perfection?

This specific pictured 1963 Chevy Corvette Split Window Coupe
– On the whole, I typically don’t like Corvettes. That being said, I want this Corvette. It also has a very interesting history that my dad is a part of. It is one-of-a-kind and I am not rich, so the chances of me owning it are anywhere from slim to none. If anybody has more pictures of it, I would love to see it. It has been 12-15 years since I have seen it in person.
– It has a 427 Big Block with enough horsepower to blow the windows out of a garage door (That’s a fact).
– Mako Shark nose
– Clean body work, great engine, unique 1963 body….. it just doesn’t get better for me as far as corvettes go.

So those are my top 5 that I HAVE to own at some point. The good news is that I actually own 2 of them right now. The bad news is that neither are anything like my dream depicts them.

Now its your turn. What cars are on your top 5 list? Keep in mind that this is a dream, so go big!

Images borrowed from:
(Graham) http://www.remarkablecars.com
(Zephyr) http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3052/2479224114_8ac03af780.jpg?v=0
(Impala) http://www.rides-mag.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/64-impala-001.jpg

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Corvette: Do Not Want.

Over the weekend I went to one of my favorite junkyards.  It’s smaller than some of the others around but I feel like the guys that work there are friendlier than average, and 99% of the time, I can find what I need.  So it is definitely my number 1 pick for yards…. This time around, I stumbled onto a late 70’s / early 80’s Corvette that had clearly reached the end of the road.  It was rotted, crashed, crushed, parted out, beaten, and then disrespectfully smashed.  Cars like that are sad to see because you know at some point, a person brought it home from the dealer and loved every single inch of it.  They cruised the streets and showed it off to their friends , and now, all that’s left is rust and memories.  You had a good run at it Blue Corvette, a real good run…

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See! Rust isnt so bad after all.

Most car enthusiasts hate rust with a passion, because once it starts it never seems to go away.  However, growing up in Massachusetts, you quickly realize that cars without rust don’t exist in our area, and rust is just a part of life.  Naturally, I want to do everything in my power to have a rust free car, and last summer, I found some rust hiding in the deepest darkest regions of my 1964 Chevy Impala.  Describing where this metal came from is somewhat tough, but I’ll do my best.  Ok, imagine a 1964 impala (sweet right?), now open the gas filler door.  You see the filler pipe with the gas cap on the top of it.  Surrounding that pipe is a piece of metal that is welded to the inside of the outer wheel house.  This is THAT piece!  Naturally water collects in there and rots out the whole area.  I wasn’t having that so I tore it all out and began the rebuild.

First I removed it from the car and evaluated the situation at hand.  The outer perimeter was completely rotted out and needing replacing.

Not pretty from any angle
Edges rotted out

I then cut all the edges off of it and began making replacements from flat sheetmetal.  You can see where I welded the new pieces in on the back side in the next picture.  With some of the compound curves, there is some metal stretching and shrinking involved.  This can be done with hammers and dollies if you are really good, or you can buy yourself a metal stretcher & shrinker to make the job 1 million times easier.  In any case, new pieces were then welded in and ground down to make them pretty again.

Back side before the welds are ground down
Looking complete again.

Front side after some grinding

Then I decided that the easiest way to clean it up completely was to blast it with some extra fine sand.  So blast I did.

Blasted
Tada!

With a little bit more massaging after this picture, it was completed, and then spot welded back into its happy home.  See, rust isn’t so bad after all!

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