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.
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!
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
My friend and co-worker Scott Young and I have had a competition going on for about 12 years now. Every once in a while it comes up in conversation and puts the look of shock on people’s faces. Our competition is “who has owned the most vehicles”. We have defined “ownership” as having the vehicle’s title officially in that person’s name. In Massachusetts, getting a title can be a huge hassle, so we agreed this would be a great way to prove ownership. Now, we have been legally driving for about 12 years now, and the amount (and kind) of vehicles that we have owned could really make you question what is wrong with us. Some of these vehicles were great deals, and some were huge mistakes, but they were all great learning experiences.
1) 1964 Chevy Impala Convertible straight 6, 3 speed on the column:
I bought this car when I was 15, and started a body-off restoration to it. I have driven it 10 miles in 12 years. I still have it, because it is a lifelong project. Someday I might drive it a few more miles.
I spent about 1 million hours making this truck look discretely custom, super clean, and straight. Regretfully, I got bored with it and sold it for a mere $800. It is now in a junkard, completely destroyed. I visited her often to make sure she was ok, then one day she was gone.
3) 1995 Chevy S10 Truck:
It was ok for basic transportation, but terribly slow with it’s 2.2L & automatic transmission. I bet I drove it for a solid 4 months before selling it.
4) 1994 Chevy S10 Extended Cab Truck:
I liked this truck a lot. I lowered it, put a big stereo in it and tried to make it loud enough to set off car alarms. Gosh, I was a real jerk back then, I’m sorry about that.
5) 1994 Dodge Intrepid:
Awesomely big and comfortable car, but it ate up timing belts, water pumps and transmissions like nobody’s business. If it was a rear wheel drive car with a manual transmission, I would probably still have it. Unfortunately, it was just way too stressful to own. It was the only car I purposely did damage to. I still have nightmares about the timing belt I broke in a snowstorm, that was the absolute worst.
6) 1996 Saab 900 SE:
A fairly fun car to drive with the turbocharged engine, but replacing the clutch cables on a regular basis was getting annoying. It was also not a cheap car to fix when it needed parts.
7) 1990 Mitsubishi Mightymax:
This was my first truck that I did the turbocharged eclipse 4G63 engine swap to. I finished the engine swap and thought about driving it on the road legally. However, after realizing that it was going to take 10 years of bodywork to get the panels straight, I stripped it to a shell, and junked it. No regrets.
8 ) 1990 Plymouth Laser Fwd turbo:
For $300, I pulled this out of a back yard and drove it home with a bad turbo, running on 3 cylinders. I cleaned it up, replaced the turbo and the burned valve, and drove it for several thousand miles. Sold it to another 1A Auto employee that continued to drive it for many thousands of miles. It is rumored to be a full time drag car these days.
9) 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse AWD turbo:
This car was abandoned in a parking lot, and I had watched it sit there for about 2 years untouched. I hunted down the former owner, and bought it for $500. I threw a different ECU in it and planned on keeping it for many wonderful years. Unfortunately, I got pulled over a lot, and decided that it needed to go. It was also bought by the same 1A Employee that bought my Plymouth Laser. It was then sold to another friend of mine that is currently swapping a stroker motor into it.
This was the slower, 4 door, replacement car for the Eclipse. I bought it with an automatic transmission, and swapped it to a 5 speed manual transmission because automatics are awful. It starts everyday and always gets me where I’m going. I like it.
11) 1996 Chevy S10 Truck:
I got an absolutely spectacular deal on this and I knew the entire history of it. I drove it about 500 miles and sold it for a nice profit.
12) 1991 Chevy Camaro RS 305:
This car was received in trade for some work on our very own Rob Conlon’s 1975 Corvette. It really is a clean car, but the clearcoat just doesn’t want to stay on the roof for any period of time. I recently sold this one to a good home. It is in good hands.
This is my current truck that I put a turbocharged Eclipse 4G63 engine into. It is the cleanest truck that I have ever owned and the free price tag was just right. I thoroughly enjoy this truck and I hope I don’t come up with any reason to get rid of it. It is really quite fun to drive, and it doesn’t scream out “arrest me” while I drive through town.
14) 1988 Honda Hawk GT 650:
This is my motorcycle that I completely customized and ride in the summertime. It has 1964 impala tail lights, viper yellow paint, and a huge list of modifications. I like working on it more than I like riding it. I’m a car guy at heart.
This was a good deal like many of the vehicles that I have owned. Its fun in the sun, and makes me feel more important than everybody else on the road. I’m going to sell it soon because I don’t belong in this car, and I could use the driveway space.
1) 1980 Toyota Celica:
This car was the best off-roading vehicle that either of us have owned. It was rear wheel drive, had a manual transmission, and the reliability of a Toyota. If he didn’t total it, I have no doubt that it would be a full time race car right now. Gosh that car was fun.
2) 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer:
3 speed manual transmission, V8 and an unimaginable amount of rot. It was truly amazing that the body stayed in 1 piece, because there wasn’t a solid piece of metal on it. On the other hand, it was quite a reliable truck, I don’t believe it ever let him down.
A true piece of American history. This car was no less than 200 feet long, and the 14 additional speakers could deafen people from a 1/4 mile away. With it’s red racing stripes over the hood, it raced its way to the junkyard under its own power in 1st gear with no brakes. It was truly hilarious in every way, shape, AND form.
4) 1988 Chevy Camaro T-Top 2.8L (Z28 look-alike):
Scott got this Camaro for free because it had an engine fire, was disassembled, and left out in the weather for several years. As crazy as it sounds, the car was in great shape other than the engine. We put over 1 trillion hours of work into this car at the time, and it hated us in return. The injectors constantly had what appeared to be chocolate brownie stuck in them on the fuel side. The car had a new tank, new fuel lines and a dozen fuel filters. To our knowledge, the brownie fairy wasn’t filling his injectors in the middle of the night, so we were baffled. We both learned immensely from that car, and although it was a major headache at the time, I am glad he had it. I am also glad it is long gone.
5) 1988 Chevy K5 Blazer:
This truck was a value that could not be beat. It had new everything, looked great, but kids were scared to ride in it. So Scott bought it for about a 1/10 of what it was worth, and began customizing. It got a monster truck size lift kit, big tires, a light bar, soft top roof, vinyl floor covering, and a loud flowmaster exhaust. With all of these things combined, getting a legal inspection sticker became impossible. It was sadly sold, and the regret is still deep in Scott’s heart.
6) 1986 Mustang GT 5.0L:
This was free to Scott if we helped a friend move to a new house. The car had been sitting long enough to begin to sink into the PAVED driveway. After siphoning a few mouth fulls of bad gas out of the tank, we got her running again and drove her to her new home…. hidden at a friends house. Seriously, if Scott brought another junk car home, he may have been kicked out of the house. This was a decent car and quickly flipped for a decent profit.
7) 1964 Thunderbird 390:
Thunderbirds seem to always end up in Scott’s hands, nobody can explain it, because he doesn’t really even like Fords. Anywho, he bought this from my family, he did some work to it, and drove it a bit. Then he re-sold it to a friend that sadly parted it out. This was truly disappointing, because it was a very original car.
8 ) 1995 Ford Windstar Van (The Teal Serpent):
A free van can’t be passed up sometimes, even if it is teal green and was rumored to have a pair of blown head gaskets. After quickly learning that “head gasket in a bottle” doesn’t actually work as shown on TV, he replaced them the “right” way. It was then that he learned that the radiator was the actual problem that caused the head gaskets to blow from overheating. It was a learning experience for all parties involved. Good van, too bad it was so darn ugly.
9) 1998 Geo tracker:
This was passed down through Scott’s family until his sister released the pistons from the engine while driving down the highway. The carnage was immense, and fun to look at if it isn’t yours. Scott bought it off his sister and tossed an engine in it so that he had a reliable 4 wheel drive beater.
10) 1963 Ford Thunderbird:
People call Scott and myself all the time with automotive bargains, and this was one of those. It is a beautiful looking and driving T-bird that had been sitting in a friend’s driveway for a few years because the “family thing” happened. It is now in Scott’s capable hands and he drives it regularly to car shows and to get ice cream.
11) 1991 Honda Hawk GT 650:
Yes, Scott and I have the same bike… pretty much. After riding his bike, I knew I needed one too. I can’t say enough great things about Honda Hawk’s. They have a V-Twin, a single sided swing arm, and a short wheelbase to carve corners with. Both of our bikes are unbelievable fun to ride and extremely unique.
12) 1985 Pontiac Fiero GT:
While trying to sell “The Teal Serpent”, I nonchalantly put a sign on Scott’s windshield that said “may trade for Fiero” because he is a Fiero Fanatic. We laughed at the thought of a Fiero owner wanting a teal van in trade, but apparently it was nothing to laugh about. A guy left his business card on the windshield saying that he would sell his 1 owner 85 GT 4 speed V6 for “cheap money” if Scott was interested. Well, Scott sold the van, and bought that guy’s Fiero. It is currently in the middle of a fastback conversion. Hopefully we can get it done soon!
13) 1951 Dodge B Series Truck:
This was a good deal from a friend & fellow 1AAuto employee. It was sitting in her parents yard, and Scott was pretty sure he could do something with it. That is still yet to be determined.
14) 1992 Chevy Lumina:
The high class Geo Tracker was rear ended and totaled, so a replacement was needed fast. A few phone calls later, a $1, one-owner Lumina arrives. It had issues, but they are sorted out, and now he is riding in style. Temp gauge, oil gauge, voltage gauge? Who needs em!? Not this Chevy Lumina.
So as you can see, we have both had quite a few vehicles. This is not counting the ones that we have owned and not titled in our names. You can assume there have been 40-50% more if we included those, but that just wouldn’t be fair.
How does your collection compare? Do you have us beat?
I have owned more Chevy S10 truck’s than I care to admit. The one thing in common with all of these trucks is that they all needed shocks. I don’t know if there is a shock eating gremlin that comes stock with these trucks or what, but they don’t seem to survive. As you may have guessed, Here at 1AAuto, we show you how to do it!