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Coldsnap
Coldsnap
1/14/13 9:29 a.m.

I'm looking for some advice from seasoned wrenchers. I'm 25 years old and like most people my generation I have no clue how to A) Change a spark plug B) Change my oil C) Anything motor related. Luckily this thing called the internet exists which will guide me on how to do all that. I've always liked muscle cars from the 69-77 era and figure why not get one for around $5,000 and do some minor wrenching on it and learn as I go. So my criteria would be 1) 69-77 era 2) Running with some maintenance needed (As I learn I'll be able to do the bigger fixes later) 3) around $5,000.

I've been looking at some Novas first.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/14/13 9:30 a.m.

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/200x-classifieds/78-2door-chevy-nova-running-for-700-or/59018/page1/

'78 Nova?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/14/13 9:31 a.m.

From a simplicity perspective I think all of them would qualify - they're still mostly from the "fix it with a hammer and a broken screwdriver" period.

What I'd look for is good spares availability - mechanical parts shouldn't be a problem but body, trim and interior can be and IMHO you don't want ebay as your only source of those kinds of spare parts.

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 9:34 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/200x-classifieds/78-2door-chevy-nova-running-for-700-or/59018/page1/ '78 Nova?

Good deal, but I'm in Raleigh NC

BoxheadTim wrote: From a simplicity perspective I think all of them would qualify - they're still mostly from the "fix it with a hammer and a broken screwdriver" period. What I'd look for is good spares availability - mechanical parts shouldn't be a problem but body, trim and interior can be and IMHO you don't want ebay as your only source of those kinds of spare parts.

Good point on the availability of body parts, didnt think of that.

bravenrace
bravenrace PowerDork
1/14/13 9:39 a.m.

Your price cap is going to rule out most of the real muscle cars that aren't total basket cases. But it depends on how much wrenching you want to do. All of them are fairly simple, but a Chevy or a Ford are likely to be the most economical to work on.
My advice would be a Mustang. Not because I have one, as I've owned just about every muscle car in the era you mentioned, and while the Mustang technically is a pony car, they are relatively cheap to buy and work on. They are heavily supported by the aftermarket, and there are always decent examples available for purchase. If you want a V-8, make sure you buy a V-8 car. Converting a 6 cylinder car is usually not worth it, because of the 4 lug wheels and small brakes. My local Craig's list has several driveable 65-66 V-8 coupes for under $3500. If you don't like those, consider a Nova or Dart, or a 4 door version of what would otherwise be a car that would be out of your price range, like a Chevelle.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet Dork
1/14/13 9:43 a.m.

1970-81 2nd Gen Camaro or Firebird.

I'd go Camaro and don't count out the 79-81 cars. They are pretty much the same underneath all the way back to 1970 and the aftermarket is pretty good for these cars. Keep in mind that Firebird/Trans Ams are more expensive to build. If you have the money and patience, they are cooler though.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
1/14/13 9:45 a.m.

One thing that you may or may not be interested in is a Truck from that era.

Not a muscle car, but it has the same drivetrain, basically. EASY to work on (I changed the clutch in my '65 Chevy truck on gravel WITHOUT jacking it up), parts are available (not always CHEAP, but available), and they fit well with the "occasional use" mentality. They can still be entertaining to drive.

When I mention "occasional use" I think about runs to the home improvement store, landfill, towing the next project car you get (if you get hooked, it's inevitable) around on a trailer, etc. I also think about Historic License plates and how limited annual mileage is usually involved in the requirements for them. Not that that has ever stopped me from Daily Driving a car registered with Historic tags, lol.

Some cool stuff I found in your area:

'69 El Camino: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3483394646.html (You've have to put the Southern Culture on the Skids song "Sixty Nine El Camino" on repeat)

'69 Chevy shortbed: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3443115986.html

'70 Ford truck: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3383240246.html

'71 Cutlass: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3472828623.html

'72 Monte Carlo: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3543347396.html

'73 Monte Carlo: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3537915334.html

'73 Dart: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3458468018.html

'74 nova: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3542232003.html

'74 Duster: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3503221152.html

'74 Omega (Nova with "style"): http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3421533720.html

'75 Nova: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3468035987.html

And holy MOLY...you guys seem to have the market cornered on Aircooled VW Bugs out there...I came across a TON of them in my quick search (but didn't post any due to the lack of "muscle").

Clem

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 9:48 a.m.

i like this

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3543528386.html

mtn
mtn PowerDork
1/14/13 9:50 a.m.

Cougar?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/14/13 9:54 a.m.

The Nova sounds a bit overpriced as four door Novas aren't exactly worth a lot, so I'd haggle, especially with the work involved.

That said it looks like it has a good body and if it does look this clean underneath, too, it's probably a good buy as bodywork tends to be more expensive than mechanical work if done right.

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 10:01 a.m.

Good recommendation on the trucks. My friend mentioned that they are easier to wrench on. I will check out those links, thank you very much

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
1/14/13 10:05 a.m.

1st question, What do you consider a muscle car?

2nd question, What budget?

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 10:07 a.m.
aussiesmg wrote: 1st question, What do you consider a muscle car? 2nd question, What budget?

I would like a v8

Budget is around $5,00. I wouldn't mind getting a great deal on something for $3,00-$4,000 though, just in case this all goes south.

Klayfish
Klayfish Dork
1/14/13 10:08 a.m.

Honestly, I think I'd stay away from spending that much money on a car you plan to practice wrenching with. If you want to learn the basics like changing plugs, oil, brakes, etc... start simple. I'm older than you by a good bit and have always been a car nut, but not all that long ago I had no real mechanical experience beyond oil changes.

To get yourself started, I'd recommend finding yourself a super cheap beater, a "cadaver" car. Something around $500. Change it's oil, change it's plugs, put brakes on it. Do those simple things. When you're done, either sell it for a tiny profit or at worst what you paid for it. Something like an old Escort, Neon, etc...would fit the bill perfectly. I've had a few cadaver cars I've used. Most recently is a '91 Geo Tracker I picked up for $400. Cars like this are super simple mechanically, parts are dirt cheap, and online help is plentiful.

Once you get the basics down, then look at something in your full budget. Old Camaro/Firebird would be a good choice.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltraDork
1/14/13 10:13 a.m.

For some reason Chevelle came to my mind. You won't get a real SS for your budget, but you can get a V8 and go from there.

Other more obscure cars would be a V8 Maverick or Fairmont. As you get more car savy, you could throw a Mustang 5.0 in there.

And I've always had a soft spot for Buick Skylarks, Olds Cutlasses and any MOPAR with a 340 (Darts, Demon, Cuda and Duster).

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/14/13 10:13 a.m.

$5k should be doable but definitely won't be show winner. Finding a 6 cylinder that could be converted to a V8 or a four door should be too difficult. Also makes like AMC provide some more affordable options.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde Dork
1/14/13 10:37 a.m.

Anything common (mustang, camaro, nova, firebird) with a common engine ( 302 ford or 350 Chevy) so parts and knowledge are cheap and easy to find. Wrenching on most of them is about the same so find something you can afford that you like the looks of.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
1/14/13 10:41 a.m.

Miata would also make a good 'cadaver' car or just a general fun car to wrench on - and drive too

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 11:10 a.m.

Having a second car on your insurance can be cheap right?

forzav12
forzav12 HalfDork
1/14/13 11:34 a.m.

dont get a "cadaver" car tht will have little in common with what you really want. Little, fwd,fuel injected wheezers won't teach you much about vintage domestic V8-and will probably sour you on the entire idea. Don't get a 6 cylinder either. If you cant even change plugs, you probably dont want to do an engine swap. Plenty of good stuff in your price range. Here are a few I just spotted-69 Torino, 390bb, all original with rally wheels, runs and drives well, 4200. 73 "garage find" Dodge Dart with v8, 2door, no rust, all original-picked up for 700. 73 Road Runner, 318 V8, runs drives, minimal rust, 3200. So forget cheezy little imports and 4-doors-get what you want, they are out there and that's what you'll be inspired to work on if you are looking for vintage "muscle".

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
1/14/13 11:40 a.m.
Coldsnap wrote:
aussiesmg wrote: 1st question, What do you consider a muscle car? 2nd question, What budget?
I would like a v8 Budget is around $5,00. I wouldn't mind getting a great deal on something for $3,00-$4,000 though, just in case this all goes south.
  1. Fox Mustang or
  2. 3rd gen Camaro/Firebird

Simple to work on, V8 fun, lots of upgrades and info around, manual cars aplenty.

IMHO

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
1/14/13 11:42 a.m.

Oh and I have gone this route myself, for $2012

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/86-mustang-challenger-build/41304/page1/

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt SuperDork
1/14/13 11:48 a.m.

I like the truck approach myself - I've got a '72 Chevy pickup that the owner was asking $2250 for; ended up working out a trade deal for a '90 Suburban and some cash. They've got a lot of muscle car era personality, can be bought cheap, and you can haul stuff with them.

One thing I'd add is that the REALLY hard to replace parts are the little chrome trim items, both interior and exterior. Body panels are a close second.

For insurance, check with your agent, and you may also want to check if you can get a collector's policy based on limited use. My truck doesn't qualify as it gets used for hauling stuff, but a liability only policy on it is super cheap.

yamaha
yamaha SuperDork
1/14/13 11:48 a.m.
bravenrace wrote: My local Craig's list has several driveable 65-66 V-8 coupes for under $3500.

I believe this right here just won the thread.....you can go many paths with the first mustangs(street/drag/autox/road course/etc). I'd stay away from anything mopar that has rust, unless you like throwing cubic dollars at it.

Coldsnap
Coldsnap New Reader
1/14/13 11:49 a.m.

The nova guy said he would take 5,500

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/3543528386.html

I do like it. I only have a girlfriend to drive around so no real need for a 4 door, but i like the idea of being able to insure it as a station wagon. And maybe i will have some little ones running around in 5 years from now..

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