The Trans Am has been delivered to its new owners. It was manufactured in Pontiac's Van Nuys, California plant and after 36 years it has returned home. The Trans Am was a real fun car to drive. It sounded great, had excellent handling, a great body style and every time I took it out for a drive I would always have several people give me the "thumbs up" sign and that is a very good feeling.
Now it is time to look for a new project. Over the last few years it has become increasingly difficult to find a quality car at a reasonable price. The pictures you see in the car ads rarely depict the actual condition of the car. Nine out of ten cars will fall into the "20 to 30 footers", those being cars that look good from 20 to 30 feet away, but as you get closer to the car you begin to see the rust, scratches, digs, poorly repaired body damage, cracks in the dash, faded interior and the list goes on. When I first began restoring cars I enjoyed going to see a potential new project but now I go with a very pessimistic eye. Most sellers will not volunteer information about the flaws in their car. If you don't ask they remain silent or if you don't know what to ask you can very easily purchase a money pit. It is not that I am looking for a car in restored condition, I am looking for a solid car that needs to be restored and one that the restoration cost does not exceed the value of the car. The 1964 1/2 through 1968 Mustangs are a good example of knowing what to ask. A decent looking coupe in average running condition can be purchased in the $8,000 to $10,000 range. One of the major problems with this era Mustang is with the air intake cowling. This is the vented area between the windshield and engine bay. Here's a pic to show what I'm talking about.
This cowling is where the fresh air comes into the car for cooling and heating.
Under the vented cowling is a metal box that has tubes to carry the air into the car and drain holes to allow water to escape. After a few years the drain holes typically became clogged from leaves and other debris allowing the cowling box to hold water and moisture. This metal air intake box was not painted, galvanized, or in any way protected from rusting when it was installed by Ford. With no protection from rust the bare metal quickly rusted through and water would leak into the dash area of the car, often causing severe damage to wiring and gauges.
If you are thinking a few hundred dollars to have the body shop fix it you are wrong. This is what is required to repair the box and stop the leak. The windshield has to be removed, the hood has to be removed, both fenders have to be removed and approximately 75 spot welds have to be drilled out. The average cost to have this repair performed at a body shop is between $2,800 and $3,200. Your Mustang still looks like an $8,000 to $10,000 car to everyone, but you just spent about $3,000 fixing a leak. Money that could have gone toward a nice paint job that would have enhanced the appearance and value of your car. In 1969 Ford began to install rust resistant cowling boxes in their Mustangs. This is one of the main reasons I purchased a 1969 Mustang to restore.
With all of the above said I can always use some help finding a new project. The following are the top ten cars I would like to restore. If you know of anyone who has one of these cars and is thinking about selling it please hit the "Contact Me" button and send me a message. It would be appreciated.
1. 1966-1967 Ford Fairlane GT 390 cu.in. engine
2. 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone or Caliente 289 V-8 & 4-Speed
3. 1964-1965 Chevy Malibu V-8 & 4-Speed
4. 1963 1/2 - 1965 Ford Falcon Sprint V-8 & 4-Speed
5. Plymouth Duster or Dodge Demon to 1972 340 or 360 cu.in. engine & factory floor shift
6. 1966 Chevy II V-8 & 4-Speed
7. 1965-1968 Plymouth Baracuda v-8 & 4-speed
8. 1967-1969 Firebird 400 cu.in. engine & factory floor shift ( auto or 4-speed)
9. 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass 330 cu.in. engine & 4-Speed
10. 1967-1970 Mercury Cougar V-8 & 4-Speed