This week we’re gonna take a look at another popular auto restoration choice, the ’68 Chevy Chevelle.
Chevy switched it up pretty drastically in the Chevelle’s design from 1967-1968. Not only did they widen the wheel base from 115 to 116 inches, but they also opted for a sloping, semi-fastback roofline, that made it look a touch sleeker than the previous model. Many experts believe that this was a key factor in the Chevelle’s sales that year, which jumped up significantly. As a result, Chevy produced over 400,000 of them, which is probably why they are one of the top choices for muscle car restorations in Los Angeles and the west coast.
Another reason for their popularity is power. Chevy reintroduced the SS 396 series engine which kicked out an impressive 375 horsepower. Rebuilding these engines is relatively easy and REALLY fun. We had one at our auto restoration shop not too long ago that got around 420 lbs of torque when we did a chassis dyno testing. Of course this one had a custom exhaust and a custom ground camshaft built in, but you get the idea.
Back in ’68, the Chevelle had a base price of around $2800 and today at auction we’ve seen restorable ones go for about the same. Fully restored Chevelles, on the other hand, can fetch almost $40k!
Today we’re gonna focus on the 1987 Buick Grand National GNX. With a revolutionary fuel injected V-6, the GNX delivered 276 horsepower and an impressive 360 lbs-ft of torque! With that kind of power, why WOULDN’T you want to make this your next auto restoration project?
With a mid 13 second quarter mile, the GNX was considered the fastest production car in the world when it was released, and it dominated drag strips across the US. Because of all the torque available, Buick was actually forced to install a special “ladder bar” to the rear axle to increase traction. This made the whole back end raise up a few inches right before the car accelerated! Incidentally, this is a factor that you might want to consider before you choose a GNX as your next muscle car restoration; the ladder bar was not very widely manufactured by Buick so it might be difficult to find a replacement for it. You may even have to get one custom fabricated.
That said, though, one of the main reasons why this is a great auto restoration choice is the way the Grand National looks. It came in one color option: BLACK. In fact, the only chrome on the entire ride was found on the wheels! In addition, it’s sharp-edged body will really stand out from today’s modern cars that focus mainly on sleek, aerodynamic, curves. There won’t be many autos on the road that will have the look, or balls, of the GNX. Car and Driver Magazine may have said it best in 1987: “Lord Vader, your car is ready”!
As far as price goes, you can pick up a decent GNX for only a few thousand, and we’ve seen them fully restored go for as high as $35K!
The 1968 Javelin, our auto restoration choice of the week this time around, is perhaps somewhat lesser known than some of our previous choices; but take our word for it, it’s no less ballsy!
It came standard with a 290 cubic inch engine that pumped out 200 horsepower and and 285 pounds per foot of torque! Two other V8 engine options were available as well; a 341ci and a massive 390ci beast.
Price-wise, if you’re looking for a relatively cheap muscle car restoration project, you can’t beat the Javelin. We’ve seen them in decent shape go for as little as $5000 in some auctions, and after you fix it up you can probably get as much as $35000 for it!
But why would you want to sell it? With its short wheel base, power front disc brakes, dual exhaust, wide tires, comfortable interior and ample luggage space it’s a more than just a collectors item. You could probably make it your primary ride.
In ’68, the Javelin actually led the pony car pack in performance, according to Car and Driver, in every category except the quarter mile. With all of it’s horsepower, it was still only able to make it in 15.2 seconds.
A word of caution though, before you purchase any classic car for restoration, it’s a good idea to bring it into your local auto restoration shop to get it check out.